As a Catholic, I’m reminded that Holy week is supposed to be a time of contemplation on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that all Christians commemorate. Whenever I reflect on the crucifixion, I can’t help but think about rape survivors and their suffering. The cruelty, evil, and humiliation that innocent, men, women, and children suffer from being raped or sexually assaulted.
A poem in my book, A Rape Survivor’s Reflections: My Poems and Practical Exercises, seems appropriate along with some positive words of reflection that follow. Please note the words in italics are God’s, not mine.
Are you kidding me?
Who am I? The virgin Mary?
Well, my name’s Mary, and I’m no virgin,
but then you already knew that.
Tell me why. Why is there suffering at all?
I know we’re all suffering unless we’re physically dead,
so why not kill us all and let the world end.
I’ll give you your answer,
but first answer ME.
Why do people, hate, kill and maim?
Why do they torture, prolonging the pain?
Why do they cheat, steal and lie?
Why do they want a bigger piece of the pie?
Why can’t they be happy with all they’ve got?
Why can’t those that have, help all the “have-nots?”
Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to want more,
but it’s certainly not right just to hoard.
Then there are talents.
I gave everyone some.
To some I gave more. Others only have one.
How many people do you know, tell me now,
that have found and really use the talents they have?
How many have done so and are eternally glad
to go to work every day and get paid
for what they feel is essentially play?
You know the answer, and, of course, I do, too,
because so many come to me unhappy like you.
So, tell me why. Why is there suffering at all?
You know you’re all suffering unless we’re physically dead,
so why aren’t you doing something about it before the world ends?
Inspired by Fr. William J. O’Malley, S.J.’s book,
Redemptive Suffering: Understanding Suffering, Living with It,
and Growing Through It
(New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997. Print).