Nobody Prays at the Slumlord’s House

Nobody Prays at the Slumlord’s House June 23, 2022

I saw a post online recently, about people praying the Rosary outside the public library. It’s a rally they’ve planned to “make reparation” for Drag Queen Story Hour.

They think Jesus is offended by Drag Queen Story Hour, and for all I know He is. They think praying a Rosary will cheer Him up. And for all I know it will.

But I can’t help but notice that no one has ever prayed a Rosary to make reparation outside a payday loan office, where poor people go into crippling debt just to buy themselves another few weeks of life. No one prays the Rosary outside a furniture and appliance rental scam which is more of the same. No one prays the Rosary outside used car dealerships who offer predatory loans. No one prays the Rosary outside of pawn shops. When my friends pawned their coats and boots to buy food, nobody made reparation for that.

Nobody prayed a Rosary to make reparation outside a row of gentrified houses after the poor were thrown out. Nobody prayed for reparation outside a slum apartment building where the landlord won’t fix the furnace, where the tenants have to hang towels over the windows and sleep in their coats to stay alive. Nobody prayed the Rosary outside the city utility department office when poor people’s water was shut off. Nobody prayed when the City shut down the park and demolished the playground to deter drug dealers or when children found a needle in the vacant lot. Nobody prayed when the derelict where homeless people were building a campfire burned to the ground.

Nobody prayed outside the slumlord’s house when a building went up in flames because the slumlord forgot to put in smoke detectors, and a whole family burned to death.  The neighbors built a little shrine on the spot where the house used to be, with flowers and teddy bears and a wooden cross, but nobody prayed at the slumlord’s house. Nobody prayed outside the apartment building with the black mold and the broken air conditioner, when people began to get sick. Nobody prayed at the spot where the homeless camp was “cleaned up” by the city, and the homeless lost everything they had.

Nobody prayed outside the grocery store that called the police on the person shoplifting a few boxes of pop tarts at the end of a hard month, even though it would be cheaper for everyone o just give them some pop tarts or pretend they didn’t see.

Nobody prays outside the courthouse when the addict goes to jail and loses their children, instead of getting mental health care before the situation got so out of hand in the first place.

Nobody prays outside the brothels.

Nobody prays outside the police station when they raid the brothels, and take the enslaved women to jail instead of to safety.

Nobody prays outside the school when the cafeteria won’t give a lunch to a child without lunch money. Nobody prays outside the welfare office when they cut the family’s food stamps. Nobody except me prays when my friend texts to say that her baby hasn’t had formula all day because there’s none in stock in town– because I’m the only one that knows, besides God.

Nobody prayed on that street corner where that man overdosed, then dropped the needle on the ground and boarded the city bus before his heart stopped.

Nobody prayed when the addict stole my daughter’s bicycle off the porch, then returned it and apologized when he couldn’t sell it. Nobody prayed when he finally overdosed and died last year.

Quite a few of us got together to pray in my neighborhood, the day after a homeless man was shot to death. But I didn’t see the Catholics from the wealthy part of the neighborhood show up with their Rosaries. They stayed home. They don’t like to be on that block in the neighborhood, because it’s dangerous.

When the mentally ill woman downtown starved her baby to death, a lot of people prayed. But we didn’t pray outside the Children’s Services office, where the agents were notified again and again but nothing seems to have been done.

They think Jesus, who wore a dress every day of His life, is offended by a man putting on a dress and a wig.

They don’t care about actual sins.

 

 

Image via pixabay

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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