Revolutionary Saint

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“A window into the soul of an ordinary man who was an extraordinary witness to the mercy of God in a merciless world.”—Daniel G. Groody, University of Notre Dame

Many years after his death in 1980, the world is still absorbing the witness of Óscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, martyred for his commitment to the poor and social justice. In this work, Michael E. Lee offers a profound reflection on the theological implications of Romero’s life and ministry.

Drawing on Romero’s biography as well as his homilies and other writings, Lee considers specifically how Romero’s witness challenges Christians in the U.S. to reimagine a robust Christian spirituality that is at once a mystical encounter with God and a prophetic engagement in the struggle for justice. In light of Romero’s beatification and pending canonization, Lee reflects on the implications of the archbishop's recognition as a martyr and on the model of holiness he offers for the wider church today.

Michael E. Lee is professor of theology at Fordham University. He is the editor of Ignacio Ellacuría: Essays on History, Liberation, and Salvation (Orbis 2013), and author of Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría (Crossroad).

Book Details

Revolutionary Saint
The Theological Legacy of Óscar Romero
Michael E. Lee

Revolutionary Saint Table of Contents (978-1-62698-226-0_toc.pdf, 64 Kb) [Download]

An admirable resource for any student or scholar looking for entry into the current types of research on biblical ethics emerging within the world church.
The power of this book, especially for students who are asking critical questions and for reading groups looking for deeper meaning, lies in Lee's slow, careful presentation, which allows the person of Romero in his context to take hold in one's imagination. Through his spiritual commitment to his people, Romero gradually learned in a new way the deep meanings of Christian faith and acted them out in our turbulent world. This book represents a new high standard for biographical theology.
This is a many-faceted book. It is theology and spirituality; it is biography and history; it is politics and sociology. it also has an Index and Bibliography. Anyone interested in Oscar Romero and who looked forward to his canonization will read it with profit and pleasure.
As we continue to grapple with the challenges of postcolonial struggle, the blight of poverty, and the rise of reactionary movements, we can draw upon such works as Lee's to retrieve a Saint Oscar Romero who speaks a prophetic word for today.
The author of this book convincingly highlights the theological reasons why Romero fits the classic criteria of a Christian martyr. But he develops this in a contemporary context of a Christianity distorted by colonialism and imperialism. Examining this characteristic, he presents Romero as a "witness of solidarity".
Michael Lee traces the astonishing journey of Archbishop Romero from pious seminarian to courageous Vatican II archbishop of the crucified people of El Salvador. In Lee’s telling, Romero shines forth as a model for the revolutionary rediscovery of God’s preferential option for the poor, wherein ‘He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly’ (Lk 1:52).
In this extraordinary account of Romero’s theological legacy, Michael Lee skillfully analyzes Romero’s social, political and religious contexts to convey the enduring significance of the ‘revolutionary saint’s’ remarkable journey and witness. He also offers timely insights regarding the importance of Romero for the political mission of the church as the ‘microphone of God’ in a world marred by structural sin.
Michael Lee’s timely account of Romero offers us a window into the soul of an ordinary man who was an extraordinary witness to the mercy of God in a merciless world. It is a powerful reflection on a person who encountered the God of life in his own heart and in the heart of those who are crucified today.
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