More Than Prayers. . .This Poem Really Grabbed Me


[Syria, Wikimedia Commons]

While reading yesterday, I stumbled upon a powerful poem that I have never encountered before. This poem is by Alejandro Romualdo, a Peruvian poet. He says,

Pray, Christian, pray. But let your God
not starve my comrade to death.
But let your God
restore the land to those who work it.
But let your God
not bury forever in hell
those whose hearts are full of hatred
because they love.
Pray, Christian, pray.
O, if only the fire of your hell might warm
the dreams of the poor!

And if you see my comrade
dead of rage against the earth,
and if you see him, night and day,
dead of cold under the sky,
and if you know that on the morrow
he will be persecuted
and kicked
and put against a wall and shot
at dawn,
do not pray, Christian, do not pray,
for words accomplish nothing.

-Alejandro Romualdo
“Reza, cristiano, reza” in Poesia integra (Lima: Viva Voz, 1986), 112.

Today, we are seeing videos and tweets from civilians in Syria who are sharing their last words as the violence of death comes to them and their children. For years, we have seen this genocide coming from Syrian and Russian state powers but have largely done nothing.

And immigrants and refugees in this nation, including Syrian refugees,  are fearful that they will face violence on our shores as well.

Our prayers matter, but our humanity requires us to be a part of the very prayers we make. Our prayers may be the vehicle by which we are called to action.

But we have to act.

Renee Roederer


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