A recent edition of America Magazine, a periodical that I read with regularity, carried, as it often does, a panel with a poem that caught my attention. Poetry, at its best, juxtaposes words and images that challenge perceptions and invite a new way of seeing the world. Kathleen Pesta, the author, directs a confirmation program at St. Catherine’s parish in New Jersey and is a freelance writer and editor. I share her poem with you, in the hopes that it might open up in you what it has within me…
“Repeat this prayer 10 times.
send it to 15 friends.
Within 3 days you will receive a blessing
you have been waiting for.”
Who is this God, I wonder, who people think
has to be begged, cajoled,
into caring for his children?
He is not my God.
Still, it makes no sense, what we call prayer.
Me, six times on bended knee pleading
for my daughter’s unborn babies
and each time only blood and death.
“What father whose child asks for bread
would hand him a stone?”
All the while I hear my mother’s mantra,
“I prayed to St. Anthony and found my keys,”
The steadfast creed of those
secure in their on-the-job God.
Who is this God, then, this finder of keys,
who attends to household needs
but ignores a mother’s strangled cries?
I cannot imagine, but this I know:
That is not my God.”
“And you,” to paraphrase the gospel from two weeks ago, “Who do you say that God is?”