Category Archives: El Salvador

Father Rafael Palacios – Salvadoran martyr

On June 20, 1979, thirty-eight year old Father Rafael Palacios was gunned down in the streets of Saint Tecla, El Salvador, one of many priests, religious, and catechists killed in El Salvador in the 1970s and 1980s.

Raised in Suchitoto, he studied for the priesthood in the diocese of San Vicente and was ordained in 1963. But his commitment to the poor brought him and other priests in conflict with their bishop who suspended them. He was later accepted in the archdiocese of San Salvador.

In my unpublished work on the parish of Suchitoto, I wrote this about Padre Rafael.

        Fr. Palacios was ordained a priest in Suchitoto on May 26, 1963. He then began working as a priest in Tecoluca, in the diocese of San Vicente. But his liberating style of evangelization brought him into conflict with his bishop, Monseñor Arnoldo Aparicio, who suspended him and nine other priests who were outspoken in their commitment to the poor.  Palacios was forced to leave the diocese but was taken in by the parish of El Calvario in Santa Tecla. His work there also brought him trouble. As Plácido Erdozaín relates:

“Members of his local community, born of the city’s poor, worked out an interpretation of Jesus’ imprisonment based on their own lives of exploitation. On Holy Thursday, 1979, they acted it out in a passion play in the parish of El Calvario. The old accusations surfaced again and Rafael was criticized by some of his fellow priests and some members of the hierarchy.
“He was a hard worker, poor, very quiet, and built like a prize fighter. He spoke right to the point, Despite the accusations, he kept on working as before, but now with the poorest of the poor, those who lived in and around the markets, and those who had been evicted from their miserable dwellings. He refused to be tied down by territorial or liturgical restrictions. His goal was to create communities of free Christians, there where they lived, suffered, resisted, and struggled for liberation.

Palacios worked somewhat outside of the normal canonical parish structures. However, in 1979 he was persuaded to take over the parish of San Francisco in Mejicanos after the killing of Father Octavio Ortiz in January. While pastor in Mejicanos, he also coordinated base communities in Santa Tecla and in Santa Lucía, San Salvador. He also served as the representative of the Pastoral Reflection Group to the National Committee of Christian Communities. He was also a committed member devoted to the Pastoral Reflection Group, sometimes called “the thirty” and was its secretary at the time of his death.

Fr. Palacios was killed on June 20, 1979, in the streets of Santa Tecla, on his way back from a meeting of the communities he worked with. The UGB, Unión Guerrera Blanca, the White Warriors Union, took responsibility for his murder.

A hymn written in his honor notes his attempts to have people understand their faith and live it, not as mere individuals seeking to save their souls, but as members of the community seeking the Kingdom of God. “Nuestro Dios no está en el templo / sino en la comunidad. Our God is not in the church building but lives in the community.”

He is buried in the church of Santa Lucía in Suchitoto. For several years there was a mural with the images of Padre Rafael and Monseñor Romero on the wall of the convento of the church of El Calvario in Suchitoto.

convento painting copy

Different types of missionaries

Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the sixteenth century Jesuit priest who is one of the patrons of missionaries, who died on December 2, 1552 on a deserted island off the coast of China.

But these first three days of December offer us visions of three different types of missionaries.

On December 1, 1916, Blessed Brother Charles de Foucauld was killed by rebels in Tamanrasset which is in what is now southern Algeria. He had sought to live among the poor as Jesus in Nazareth, hidden and poor – and so found himself living among Muslims in Africa.

For him to be a missionary was to be a witness by being present.

“The whole of our existence, the whole of our lives should cry the Gospel from the rooftops  .  .  . not by our words but by our lives.”

Blessed Charles teaches us the importance of being present with our poor sisters and brothers:

We must infinitely respect the least of our brothers … let us mingle with them. Let us be one of them to the extent that God wishes… and treat them fraternally in order to have the honor and joy of being accepted as one of them.

On December 2, 1980, four US women missionaries were killed in El Salvador. Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clark and Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and lay missionary Jean Donovan offer us the vision of missionaries who accompany the poor in situations of violence and oppression.

Not only were they present, living among the poor, they were also responding to their needs, accompanying those who were being displaced inside the country, largely because of the repression by government and death squad forces.

They also noted that the poor can evangelize us. As Sister Ita Ford wrote:

“Am I willing to suffer with the people here, the suffering of the powerless, the feeling impotent. Can I say to my neighbors — I have no solutions to the situation, I don’t know the answers, but I will walk with you, be with you. Can I let myself be evangelized by this opportunity? Can I look at and accept my own poorness and learn from other poor ones?”

They accompanied the poor in their powerlessness and shared the fate of so many poor in El Salvador, a violent death at the hands of government forces.

St. Francis Xavier offers another vision of mission.

In some ways he appears to be the traditional missionary, in his ten years in India and the Far East.

He baptized thousands in India – and complained that students in the universities in Europe were thinking more of themselves than of the thousands who needed to hear the Gospel message and to be baptized.

But there is more to Francis Xavier than this.

In India he served the poor, visiting prisoners, slaves, lepers and people at the margins. He lived as a poor man.

But he was aware of the exploitation and violence wrought by Portuguese colonial rule in India and wrote back to the King of Portugal calling on him to correct the rampant injustices. He was a missionary who was not afraid to advocate for the poor.

But, though he identified with the poor and spent most of his time in India with the poor, he realized that, like St. Paul, he needed to be “all things to all people” (1 Corinthians 9: 22). So, when he went to Japan and saw that the rulers looked down on him with his poor clothing, he put on fancier clothes and brought gifts – opening up Japan to the message of the Gospel. He was a pioneer in inculturation.

And so, Charles de Foucauld teaches the missionary the importance of being really present among the poor. The US women religious martyrs teach the call to accompany people in the midst of poverty and violence and to be open to learn from the poor. St. Francis Xavier teaches the importance of being an advocate of the poor in the face of injustice and of being willing to make changes in the face of different cultures.

These missionary witnesses can help us who are missionaries in a foreign land to examine our ministry. (They also can help all Christians who seek to be missionaries, witnesses of the Gospel, wherever they may be.)

Yesterday, December 2, 2015, Pope Francis took up the call to mission and also provided food for thought.

He first challenged young people to think of becoming missionaries and recalled an 81 year old Italian woman religious he met in Bangui in the Central American Republic. She had left Italy when she was in her early twenties and had devoted all her life to Africa.

Pope Francis’ message reflects the challenge of mission in the twenty-first century, echoing the witness of Charles de Foucauld, Francis Xavier, Maura Clark, Ira Ford, Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel.

But I address young people: think what you are doing with your life. Think of this sister and so many like her, who have given their life, and so many have died there. Missionary work is not to engage in proselytism: this sister said to me that Muslim women go to them because they know that the sisters are good nurses and that they look after one well, and they do not engage in catechesis to convert them! They give witness then, they catechize anyone who so wishes. But witness: this is the great heroic missionary work of the Church. To proclaim Jesus Christ with one’s life!  I turn to young people: think of what you want to do with your life. It is the moment to think and to ask the Lord to make you hear His will. However, please don’t exclude this possibility of becoming a missionary, to bring love, humanity and faith to other countries. Do not engage in proselytism: no. Those who seek something else do so. The faith is preached first with witness and then with the word, slowly.


For more on the missionaries mentioned here, you can find short biographies in Robert Ellsberg’s All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time.

Subversive women feeding the poor

On December 2, 1980, four US women missionaries were killed in El Salvador by government forces.

The only crime of Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clark and Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and lay missionary Jean Donovan was to have worked with the poor.

But theirs was not a work done from a distance, distributing goods to the poor – though they did provide material assistance to the many Salvadorans displaced by governmental repression in the face of an impending civil war.

As Jesus fed the crowds (Matthew 15: 29-37) and Isaiah revealed God’s promise of rich food and choice wines (Isaiah 25: 6-10), these women lived among the poor, served them, and sat at their tables – sharing the rich food of tortillas and beans.

But to give food to the poor can be a crime. It can awaken in them the vision of a world where all can sit down together at the table of the Lord.

But these women were not political activists, as some US government officials said in an effort to undermine their witness and to support military aid to the repressive Salvadoran government.

No. Their work was based in their faith, in their love of a God who had compassion on the crowds and fed them.

When the Peace Corps was withdrawn from El Salvador, Jean Donovan reiterated her decision to stay and be with the people:

Several times I have decided to leave—I almost could except for the children, the poor bruised victims of adult lunacy…. Whose heart would be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.

She, as the other women, had accompanied the people and been converted to the God who takes the side of the poor.

They worshipped a God who became flesh, not in the palace of a king but in a humble manger.

They worshipped a God who had no place to lay his head – and who was killed for offering the people real life in God’s Reign, not the substitute kingdoms of wealth, power, influence.

They worshipped a God who is Love.

And that love is subversive.


The martyred seminarian and companions

Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?
We are able.
Matthew 20: 23

When James and John – or their mother – ask for seats of power in the Reign of God, Jesus first asks them if they are able to share in the cup of His passion. They say yes. Even though they hesitated several times, most notably in the Garden of Gethsemane, they did suffer for their commitment to Jesus and His Reign.

The question is whether we are ready – at any moment – to give our lives for the Reign of God.

Othmaro Cáceres

Othmaro Cáceres

Thirty-five years ago today,July 25, 1980,  a young seminarian, José Othmaro Cáceres, was martyred.

Othmaro was studying for the priesthood in the diocese of San Vicente.  He had been involved in the evangelization of the parish with Padre Higinio Alas. Whenever he visited his family, he met with many of the young people in the area.

On July 25, he was meeting with young people within the walls of an unfinished church in Los Leones, Platanares, just outside Suchitoto, El Salvador.


Los Leones unfinished church

He was going to be ordained shortly and so they were probably planning his first Mass in the chapel near his family’s home with some young people who followed him around when he visited home while studying in a seminary in Mexico.

While they were there, a joint operation of the Salvadoran Guardia Nacional and a death squad came upon them.

Othmaro and thirteen others were killed. Several young women escaped. According to one report, Othmaro had left the meeting for a short time and the young people were sharing candy. He hid in the brush and when he thought all was clear he was walking to another place when one of the invading forces saw him and said, “Here’s the one we’re looking for.” He fell on his knees, asked God for forgiveness, and was killed.

2001 procession

2001 procession

In 2001 I took part in a Mass in the walls of that church which is still unfinished. Relatives of Othmaro were there as well as mothers and relatives of some of the young men.

I felt I was on sacred ground, the ground of martyrs.

Would I be ready to five my life? Only God knows and only God can give me strength to respond with love at that point.

But what is important now is that each day I drink from the cup of the Lord, truly opening myself to God and to others, learning how to give of myself, to empty myself for others – as José Othmaro Cáceres did.


Today I pray for that grace of self-giving.


An extract on the marytyrdom from my unpublished study of Suchitoto can be found here: The massacre of Los Leones extract

The first photo is from the exhibit in the hall of the martyrs at the Universidad CentroAmericana (UCA) in San Salvador. The final photo was taken at the 2001 Mass in Los Leones, a photo held in the hands of one of Othmaro’s relatives.

Rafael Palacios, Salvadoran martyr of the base communities

On June 20, 1977, Padre Rafael Palacios was gunned down on the streets of Santa Tecla, El Salvador. He had worked with base communities and had recently been named pastor of a church whose previous pastor had been martyred.

convento painting

Padre Rafael identified with the poor and worked, accompanying them in their efforts to grow in a liberating faith through the base communities. One of his strongest actions was to arrange a Lenten Stations of the Cross with strong justice themes.

He was buried in a side chapel of the church of Santa Lucía in Suchitoto where his family lived and where he grew up.

DSC00586Blessed Monseñor Romero said this of him in a homily:

“In him we see the new man and the zeal he had to fashion those new human beings that Latin America needs today—not just by changing structures but above all by changing hearts. It is the voice of conversion, the voice of genuine evangelization.”

Today I’d like to share parts of the hymn that was written in his honor:

La verdad de la
anunciaste siempre fiel;
por seguir a Jesucristo
te mataron, Rafael.

The truth of the Gospel
you announced, always faithful.
They killed you, Rafael,
for following Jesus Christ.

1. Los campesinos han doblado,
anunciando si dolor
ante el cuerpo acribillado
por el odio y el rencor.
No entendieron su lenguaje,
no aceptaron su misión,
no aguantaron su mensaje
que exigió liberación.

The campesinos have bent down
announcing their sorrow
before his body riddled [with bullets]
because of hate and resentment.
They did not understand his language;
they did not accept his mission;
they could not stand his message
which demanded liberation.

2. Como a Cristo flagelaron
con un látigo feroz
con calumnias te azotaron
para hacer callar tu voz.
Caminaste hacia el Calvario
como caminó Jesús
señalado por denarios
la metralla fue su cruz.

As they scourged Christ
with a fierce whip,
with slanders they whipped you
to silence your voice.
You walked toward Calvary
as Jesus walked,
branded by money,
shrapnel was your cross.

3. Que tristeza Santa Tecla
mucho rezo y devoción
pero matas el profeta
cuando exige conversión.
Hoy nos grita con su ejemplo
vivan con sinceridad.
Nuestro Dios no está en el templo,
sino en la comunidad.

What sadness for Santa Tecla,
with much prayer and devotion.
But you kill the prophet
when he called for conversion.
Now you cry out to us with you example:
live with sincerity.
Our God is not in the church building
but in the community

4. Trabajaste por el Reino
fue en tu vida un gran ideal;
por un mundo más fraterno
denunciaste siempre el mal.
Tus palabras ahora queman
con su fuego de verdad,
el Reino de Dios comienza
al construir fraternidad.

You worked for the Reign;
it was a great ideal in your life;
for a more fraternal world
you always denounced evil.
Your words now are on fire
with your fire of truth;
the Reign of God begins
by building fraternity.

5. Aunque tu cuerpo han matado
vivirás en el Señor
y los que te han escuchado
resucitarán tu amor.
Una cruz va adelante
nos invita a caminar;
una antorcha muy brillante
ilumina nuestro andar.

Even though they have killed your body,
you will live in the Lord
and those who have heard you
will raise up your love.
A cross goes before
and invites is to walk;
a very bright light
lightens up our way.

Another Salvadoran martyr

On June 14, 1980, Franciscan Friar Cosme Spessotto was killed praying in the church of the parish of San Juan Nonualco, El Salvador, where he had served for many years.

An Italian by birth, he arrived in El Salvador in 1950 and spent his life in service of the poor until his martyrdom.

He served his flock, visiting the sick (as a good priest should), brought in the cultivation of grapes (as a good Italian might), helped some construct dignified houses, and buried the dead (as a good Christian should even though it might be dangerous). He even denounced the grave injustices committed by the Salvadoran Armed Forces.

In May he entered a hospital for a liver problem and was fond to suffer from leukemia. But he went back to visit his parish, where he was martyred by members of the Treasury Police.

He returned even though he had received three death threats, warning him not to return to San Juan Nonualco.

After his death this note was found among his possessions:

“I have a feeling that at one time or another fanatical persons can take away my life. I ask the Lord that at the opportune moment he give me the strength to defend the rights of Christ and his Church. To die a martyr would be a grace I don’t deserve. To wash away with the blood, poured out by Christ, all my sins, defects, and weaknesses of my past life would be a gracious and gratuitous gift of God.”

Another martyr who identified himself with the God of the poor.

Laura López, martyr of solidarity

laura lopezduranThirty years ago, on April 24, 1985, a Salvadoran catechist gave up her space in a bomb shelter and was killed while running to escape the guns of the Salvadoran government troops, near Valle Verde, in the municipality of Suchitoto.

Laura López was the pseudonym of Felipa Duran. She was active as a catechist in the rural region of Suchitoto, a region devastated by the Salvadoran civil war. The Salvadoran guerrillas operated fairly freely in the region since they had the support of many rural communities which had been evangelized in the style of liberating theology by a series of priests and lay leaders.

Thus the Salvadoran government military often invaded the zone – both with troops and with major bombings. There were a series of major massacres in the area.

Laura came into this area, allied to a number of priests and religious leaders who supported the cause of the guerrillas, though not always their tactics. Though she was not from the area, she came in solidarity.

She led Celebrations of the Word. I heard several people say how she always seemed to come in the most difficult times and offered a word of consolation.

She also passed on the testimony of the crimes of the Salvadoran government troops to the church’s legal aid office.

But she was not uncritical of the guerrillas. Her denunciations of promiscuity among the guerrilla troops almost had her expelled from the region, but the communities resisted such a move.

Her stance was based in her faith and so her opinions were not as ideological as some supporters of the guerrillas. As reported in the Memorial Martirial, “she used to say that the members of both the guerrillas and of the armed forces were not as much to blame for what they did as were those who led them.”

On the fateful day when she was shot, she was fleeing with her daughter. She told her daughter to hide, lest she be killed. Handing over her knapsack she told her, “Adelante. Go forward.”

She had gone forward, giving up a place of safety – not only in the shelter but also by entering and serving in a war zone. But she did it out of love, with a vision of a civilization of love. As she once said:

“We have gotten used to hating, to being afraid. We have to put an end to that. We have to confront ourselves, to kill the false pride within our soul, so that a new person may arise, so that a new civilization may come into being — one composed of love.”

Laura was but one of thousands of pastoral workers in El Salvador who were killed. In a month, on May 23, Monseñor Oscar Romero will be beatified. He is but one of those who were martyred for their commitment to a God who hears the cry of the poor.


A more detailed description of the witness of Laura López can be found in this extract from a book I’m writign on the witness of the church in the parish of Suchitoto, El Salvador: Laura Lopez extract.


The dying grain of wheat

…unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a single grain;
but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Those who love their life lose it,
and those who hate their life in this world
will keep it for eternal life.
John 12: 24-25
NRSV translation

Monseñor Romero and Padre Luis Espinal

Monseñor Romero and Padre Luis Espinal

When I die, I’d like John 12: 20-26 read at my funeral.

Years ago, I came across Archbishop Blessed Oscar Romero’s commentary on this passage, in Fr. James Brockman’s collection of quotations, The Violence of Love:

“Those who, in the biblical phrase,
would save their lives —
that is, those who want to get along,
who don’t want commitments,
who want to stay outside
what demands the involvement of all of us —
they will lose their lives.
What a terrible thing to have lived quite comfortably,
with no suffering, not getting involved in problems,
quite tranquil, quite settled,
with good connections
— politically, economically, socially —
lacking nothing, having everything.
To what good?
They will lose their lives.
But those who for love of Me uproot themselves
and accompany the poor in their suffering
and become incarnated and feel as their own
the pain and the abuse —
they will secure their lives,
because my Father will reward them.”

Brothers and sisters, God’s word calls us to this
Let me tell you with all the conviction I can muster:
it is worthwhile to be a Christian.
To each of us Christ is saying:
“If you want your life and mission
to be fruitful like mine, do as I do.
Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried.
Let yourself be killed. Do not be afraid.
Those who shun suffering will remain alone.
No one is more alone than the selfish.
But if you give your life out of love for others,
as I give mine for all,
you will reap a great harvest.
You will have the deepest satisfaction.”
Do not fear death threats; the Lord goes with you.

I also want this quote read at my funeral, since it has been central to my understanding of God’s call for me – even before I came to Honduras.

I think it was important for Monseñor Romero who used a shortened version of this in his last homily, on March 24, 1980, moments before he was martyred at the altar as he finished his homily.

Today, I came across another quotation that sheds light on today’s reading, from another Latin American martyr. Fr. Luis Espinal, S.J., was abducted on March 21, 1980, and his tortured and bullet-ridden body was found on the afternoon of March 22. The quote, taken from Margaret Hebblethwaite’s Base Communities is found in Jim Manney, An Ignatian Book of Days:

Losing one’s life means working for others, even though they don’t pay us back. It means doing a favor without it being returned. Losing one’s life means jumping in even when failure is the likely outcome— and doing it without being overly prudent. It means burning bridges for the sake of our neighbor. Losing one’s life should not be accompanied by pompous or dramatic gestures. Life is to be given simply, without fanfare— like a waterfall, like a mother nursing her child, like the humble sweat of the sower of seed.

These two quotes express the challenge of Jesus’ call to be like the grain of wheat. Meditating on this Gospel and the two commentaries of martyrs will be a good discipline for me in these last two weeks of Lent.

The quotation from Romero, from The Violence of Love, is reprinted from Copyright 2003 by The Bruderhof Foundation, Inc. Used with permission.

Crucified peoples

Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the killing of two women and six Jesuits at the Jesuit Central American University (UCA) in El Salvador.


The Jesuits, only one of whom was a native Salvadoran, had spent their lives at the service of the poor, some in direct work with parishes and the poor, others as world-renowned intellectuals. Some were both – Father Ignacio Martin-Baro was a social psychologist and also served with the parish of Jayaque; Father Segundo Montes was a sociologist and an advocate for Salvadoran refugees and displaced because of the civil war.

I remember the morning when the word reached Ames, Iowa, where I was serving as a campus minister. I was outraged; I called my senator and spoke with an aide who insisted the killings were the work of the guerilla. I told him that he was absolutely wrong and that Salvadoran archbishop Arturo Rivera y Damas had placed the blame directly at the feet of the US-backed Salvadoran forces.

In 1990, Orbis Books published Companions of Jesus: The Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador, with article by Jon Sobrino, the martyred UCA rector Ignacio Ellacuría, and several other of the Jesuits. I used it several time when teaching the course “Belief and Unbelief” at Iowa State University.

What especially struck me were these words of Jon Sobrino that reflect on a meditation of Ignacio Ellacuría, related to St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises:

Something that was very original and extremely relevant to our situation was Ignacio Ellacuría’s interpretation of the meditation on our sins in the presence of the crucified Jesus. He related it to our Third World, and asked what have we done to cause all these people to be crucified, what are we doing about their crosses and what are we going to do to bring them down from the cross.

That is a good meditation for today – and for everyday, as we seek to look at the crucified peoples of the world, who often suffer from our sins as Jesus died for ours.


Dean of Solidarity

Dean Brackley, a Jesuit priest, died of pancreatic cancer in San Salvador on October 16, 2011. I feel privileged to have met him several times and to have profited from his wisdom. His book of Ignatian spirituality, The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola, helped me discern my decision to come to Honduras.

Dean had worked in the South Bronx and at Fordham University before going to El Salvador and teaching at the Jesuit University there – the UCA, the Central American University. He had volunteered after the killing of the Jesuits there on November 16, 1989. Besides working in a parish he taught at the University and welcomed groups from the US that came to visit El Salvador and the UCA. Every so often, Dean returned to the US to speak as well as to teach at a Jesuit university.

Dean is an embodiment of the solidarity that Christ calls us to. He was a bridge between the world of the poor in El Salvador and the world of those of us who have much.

I like to share his essay “Meeting the Victims, Falling in Love” with people who come to visit. Here is an extended excerpt:

These people [the poor] shake us up because they bring home to us that things are much worse in the world than we dared to imagine. But that is only one side of the story: If we allow them to share their suffering with us, they communicate some of their hope to us as well. The smile that seems to have no foundation in the facts is not phony; the spirit of fiesta is not an escape but a recognition that something else is going on in the world besides injustice and destruction. The poor smile because they suspect that this something is more powerful than the injustice. When they insist on sharing their tortilla with a visiting gringo, we recognize there is something going on in the world that is more wonderful than we dared to imagine.

It seems that the victim offers us the privileged place (although not the only place) to encounter the truth which sets us free. The poor usher us into the heart of reality. They bring us up against the world and ourselves all at once. To some extent, we all hold reality at arm’s length — fending off intolerable parts of the world with one hand and intolerable parts of ourselves with the other. The two go together. As a rule, our encounters with the world place us in touch with internal reality, as well. In particular, when the world’s pain crashes in upon us in the person of the victim, the encounter dredges up from within us the parts of ourselves that we had banished. The outcast outside us calls forth the outcast within us. This is why people avoid the poor. But meeting them can heal us. We will only heal our inner divisions if we are also working to heal our social divisions.
The victims of history — the destitute, abused women, oppressed minorities, all those the Bible calls “the poor” — not only put us in touch with the world and with ourselves, but also with the mercy of God. There is something fathomless about the encounter with the poor, as we have said — like the opening of a chess game with its infinite possibilities. If we let them, the poor will place us before the abyss of the holy Mystery we call God. They are a kind of door that opens before that Mystery.

A copy of the full article can be found here.