Veni, Pater Pauperum…
Come, Father of the Poor…
Sequence for Pentecost Sunday
Some might be surprised that the Pentecost sequence invokes the Holy Spirit as Father of the Poor.
How could this be?
The Spirit is the Comforter – and comforts the poor in their sorrows and pain.
The Spirit is the advocate, the Paraclete – who advocates for the poor in the face of injustice.
The Spirit gives the People of God the gift of Courage – so that the poor and their advocates witness to the justice of the Reign of God.
The Spirit is the force of Initiative in the lives of God’s people, renewing the Church – so that the Church be truly “a poor Church and a Church for the Poor,” as Pope Francis as said.
The Spirit is continually be poured on the People of God, the Church, so that it may live the mission of Jesus, to be Good News for the Poor.
But I was surprised yesterday when the Pope’s Apostolic Letter announcing the beatification of the martyr Archbishop Oscar Romero called him “Pater pauperum,” “Father of the Poor.”
Romero who lived the Spirit of Jesus shows us how the Spirit walks on earth.
Romero was a comforter of the poor, accompanying those who family members were killed or disappeared.
Romero was an advocate for the poor, the voice of the voiceless, speaking out often, especially in his Sunday homilies, to denounce the injustice being done to the poor.
Romero gave people courage by his words and by his presence, as well as by listening to those whom the powers held in contempt – the poor, those struggling for justice.
Romero was a force that renewed the Church of El Salvador in his time – and that hopefully will renew the Church today, opening us up to the initiatives of the Reign of God.
Romero witnessed to the mission of Christ, especially by his option for the poor and marginalized, in the name of Christ.
With Romero, the Spirit of Jesus breathes among us.
A friend of mine, Jaime Vidal, in a reply on a Facebook post, reminded me that the Pentecost sequence includes much that shows us how the Spirit breathes among us and how Romero showed us we can let the Spirit blow through us.
to the point we let the Spirit into us, we become what He is — pater pauperum [father of the poor], consolator optime [the best comforter], in fletu solatium [solace in the midst of tears]… and we flecte quod est rigidum [bend what is rigid], fove quod est frigidum [fire up what is cold], rege quod est devium [correct what goes off course]… May [Romero’s] glorification on the feast lead many more to open their hearts wide and let that same Spirit in, and become like Oscar, and one with the Spirit.
I can think of no better prayer today than this:
make us one with you
as you were one
with the blessed martyr Oscar Arnulfo Romero.