Psalm of Lament

My Friend, my Friend,
Why have you allowed them to hate me,
Why can’t you stop the discrimination, the bashing,
the misogyny, and homophobia?
I have called to You, but You remain silent,
You do not answer.
You are supposed to be the all powerful One.
Many of my ancestors trusted You,
And You delivered them.
They cried to You, and You responded,
They were freed.

But are You listening now?
I am considered deserving of being attacked,
And being left to die in an alley,
Despised by the pious, they mock me.
They gossip about me; they raise their eyebrows.

The Inquisitors prepare a case against me.
The ‘faithful’ are suspicious.
By intimidation they try to trick me, and take away my civil liberties.
My soul is anxious.
I am worried and alone.
My tongue is dry.
My chest is tight.
My body shivers in fear.

Yet it was You who created me.
When I was a child You showed me
the simple mysteries in nature.
Since infancy, You have been my God.
Do not leave me now to die in loneliness and addiction,
Now in old age I need You.
You, O Lord, do not be long in coming.
Do not put me on hold, or voice mail.
Forget the technology,
I’m tired of inanimate e-mail.
Do not be a fair weather friend,
Gone when the winter wind whistles cold.

Save me from authoritarian legalists and religious technologists.
Protect me from the orthodox police. 
Hear my anger as well as my love, Dear Lord.
Hold me in my suffering,

And the many deaths I have experienced.
From the narrow and self-righteous,
You save me.

I will tell the others of your goodness to me.
Showing me unmasked love in the dying.
Or those of us who have lost friends to AIDS.
You do not ignore or feel embarrassed by us. 
But You remember Your love and compassion.
When I cried to You, You heard.

All the people shall know of your compassion.
And You shall be made known
Through the lives You touch in love.
Through the witness of those
Whose hard hearts You have softened.
Before You, all will pay respect and offer praise.

May the sound of quiet wind,
The silent tear falling on the cheek,
The young Chechnayan refugee,
Bring Your name to their minds,
As they wonder at the mystery of the one who is gone,
And the one who is left alive,
And they know in their hard consolation,
They are fully alive.

Because there is more than what we can see,
And hear,
And smell,
And taste,
And touch,
And that mystery is You.

John Montague earned his Master of Divinity from Regis College, University of Toronto. He is an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He has a Master of Social Work, and, until his retirement, provided counselling to individuals, couples, and families. For the past seventeen years he has organized a Day of Reflection for Catholic parents of lesbian daughters, gay sons, and transgendered children.

  • Peggy Spencer
    Posted at 01:41h, 23 July Reply

    Very deep and beautifully expressed.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 08:11h, 23 July Reply

    Thank you very much John!

  • Philip Shano
    Posted at 08:31h, 23 July Reply

    Thanks John. That is quite beautiful.

  • Susan Tomenson
    Posted at 08:56h, 23 July Reply

    Thanks, John, so much for your psalm of lament- a very good prayer for me today.

  • Richard Grover
    Posted at 09:16h, 23 July Reply

    Brilliant! A voice in the wilderness.Thank you John.

  • Maria Skarzynski
    Posted at 10:37h, 23 July Reply

    Thank you for the poem that is wise and sees so much in others and oneself.

  • Charles Pottie-Pâté, sj
    Posted at 11:56h, 23 July Reply

    Well done contemporary version of q psalm of lament (cf Psalm 44,88). They are rich sources of prayer for many situations in our lives today. Thank you.

  • Frances Cheung
    Posted at 13:28h, 23 July Reply

    I am not a fan of poetry, but this one got me. Thank you, John.

  • Rodney Bell
    Posted at 14:21h, 23 July Reply

    Very thought provoking. Many thanks

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