A Prayer for Lent
Recently I found this Lamentation in my files. It was published in Dominican Life/ USA in 2009, 6 years after the beginning of the war in Iraq, which began 20 years ago.
It’s a “Lament for Iraq, Gaza, Afghanistan, and other countries struggling with extreme violence.”
Today the list of countries struggling with extreme violence is exponentially longer: Iraq, Gaza, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Myanmar, Iran, Cuba, Haiti, Turkey, Syria, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and the list goes on.
Mary Ellen Bennett
A LAMENT FOR COUNTRIES STRUGGLING WITH EXTREME VIOLENCE
How lonely she is now, the once crowded country.
Widowed is she who once held strength over nations.
The queen of the region has become broken and shattered.
Her occupiers have the upper hand and they enjoy their prosperity.
The men search for income for the survival of their families.
Women fear for their lives and for the lives of her beloved.
The Woman groans and cries out and there is no one to comfort her.
Her youth have lost hope and cannot see a future and carry guns.
Her lovely children once strong and healthy have seen war and have lost their innocence.
We on distant shores beg of you, O God, to hear our prayer on behalf of this weeping woman.
For we too weep for her losses and for our part in causing her suffering.
We plead with you to heal the broken hearted.
Restore justice, health, and wellbeing, and bring forth hope and peace
To this once-prosperous land of love, peace and creativity.
With all our hearts we want the killing to stop,
The guns and bombs to cease, and the enemies to become friends,
And our sisters, Iraq, Gaza, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Myanmar, Iran, Cuba, Haiti, Turkey, Syria, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru to stand strong and tall
And reclaim their voices in our world.