Saturday, April 28, 2012

Will Our Ungodly Silence Cease? by Denny O'Mara

This poem was written by my El Paso neighbor (and Columban priest) who was arrested and jailed multiple times in Chile while protesting Pinochet's rule of death and terror. His reflection here was inspired by this week's Voice of the Voiceless event in El Paso sponsored by Annunciation House.

I thank him for allowing me to share his poem with you here.

When will we open up our mouths,
unlock our lips which we've kept closed?

God needs to free us to defend
those suffering, those crucified.
Each sees us hurry past their cross.
We fear to look; we fear to speak
lest others criticize, attack
us for defending victims' rights,
the rights of those who have no voice.

Will our ungodly silence cease?
Will we speak out? They're crucified
on battle fields and city streets;
in schools, homes, abortion rooms;
in camps with other refugees;
in places where those trafficked work:
in sweat-shops or as prostitutes.
There are immigrants who fear that they
will be sent back to where they're from,
to be hungry, homeless, unemployed,
be threatened with torture or death.

We would not ever want to be
on crosses where they have been nailed.
We'd want that others free us or
speak out, help us to be set free,
be our voice when we could not speak.

Today will my voice be set free?
Will I help free those crucified?
I need not be alone in this.
Today I vow to join my voice
with others of like mind and heart.

Today set free my voice, O God.
Today set free my voice.

I pray for voiceless, all oppressed.
They ask that we help them restore
"peace, justice, love, their dignity."
What we will do or fail to do
will speak more loudly than our words.
Make clear, God, what we need to do;
move us to do what we can do.
~Denny O'Mara, April 2012

1 comment:

Nicholas Temple said...

Thank you, Billie, for sharing Denny O'Mara's poem.

I've questioned and confronted this "ungodly silence" for many, many years.

I hate the response I normally receive from those of the ME (+ others) generation : "It isn't my problem!"

If they will listen (which the majority won't) I remind (most have never heard or considered it) the statement attributed to German pastor Martin Niemöller:

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."