Every once in a while we read about the death of someone that forces us to consider the true cost of discipleship. This past week the obituary of Sister Dianna Ortiz brought to mind a dark page in our Nation’s history. An Ursuline nun, Sr. Dianna went to Guatemala to be with the poor and to help them rise out of their poverty.
The problem was that the oligarchs who ruled Guatemala convinced the U.S. that anyone who worked for the poor had to be a communist. She was kidnapped one night and was tortured, raped, and brutalized in ways beyond the imagination of civilized people by soldiers trained by the U.S. Blindfolded, she was interrogated by someone who was clearly an American. On the way to what would have been her execution, she managed to roll out of a vehicle and hid out in a convent until she could leave Guatemala.
No shrinking violet, she brought a complaint in the Inter-American Court for Human Rights which determined she had been wrongfully treated. A continuing spokesperson for human rights, Sr. Dianna was an accomplished poet as well. She died of cancer at the age of 62.
Prayer for the Day
Although we may mouth our prayers, O Lord,
You know what we really mean when we ask to be your disciples;
Discipleship is easy when it does not demand much,
And you know, O God, that we do not want much demanded of us.
Forgive us our weakness of heart and of spirit,
Forgive us our fear of what discipleship may cost.
In the name of him who bore the cost of following you,
Even Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Thoughts for the Day
Sometimes you brush against a truth, feeling it before you can say it, and instead of theories or conclusions, tears are the evidence it leaves.
- Sr. Dianna Ortiz (1958-2021)
Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down.
- Monseñor Oscar Romero, martyred March 24, 1980
Help me, O Lord my God; recue me as befits your kindness,
That they may know that your hand it is, it is you, O Lord, who did it.
Let them curse, but you will bless.
They will rise and be shamed and your servant will rejoice
Let my accusers don disgrace, and wrap shame about them like a robe.
I give thanks to the Lord with my mouth and in the midst of many I praise God.
Psalm 109: 27-30 (Tr. Robert Alter)