18 March 2020, The Tablet

Electrifying the route to the Kingdom

Electrifying the route to the Kingdom

St Oscar Romero walks with people in the town of Arcatao in 1979
Photo: CNS photo, Octavio Duran


St Oscar Romero was martyred 40 years ago, on 24 March 1980. Revisiting a village in El Salvador, an English journalist found the excitement generated by Romero’s canonisation in 2018 replaced by confusion – but an imaginative sustainable energy project offers hope of a lasting legacy

Curiosity, it is generally agreed, is a good quality to encourage among the young. But perhaps within limits. With the benefit of hindsight I now feel a strong sense of pity for my poor beleaguered parents, whose departures from this world mean they are now spared my annoying battery of questions.

Good Friday, 1970: I was 10 years old and had been perplexed by the Passion According to St John.

“Mum, if Jesus says to Pilate, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world’, why does he have us say, in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Thy kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven’? Aren’t we just wasting our time?”

After a shake of the head, not for the first time, or the last, came the maternal response: “Ask yer dad.”

I find that elusive intersection of, on the one hand, mortality and our embeddedness in time and, on the other, eternity, best captured in the lives of our saints, their earth-bound inspiration followed by our subsequent pleas of intercession. Is this what T.S. ?Eliot hinted at in the opening words of Four Quartets? “Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future.”

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