Dr. René Padilla is a founding member of the Latin American Theological Fellowship and the Kairos Foundation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is presently the President of the Micah Network and Executive Director of Ediciones Kairos. Along with Samuel Escobar, René Padilla is widely credited for coining the term, integral mission.
Recently, I had the privilege of being part of a round-table session at which Dr. Padilla spoke. At the conclusion of the morning-long session, René asked for the following comments to be read to those present. His reason seems self-evident.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confessions brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Who spoke these words?
They were spoken by Óscar A. Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador in El Salvador. Some time later, on March 24, 1980, he was assassinated while celebrating Mass in a small chapel in La Divina Providencia, a cancer hospital where he lived.