News as a Method of Prayer


There are days when I decide not to listen to or read the news!   The reason?  it is mostly bad news.  In a recent email publication, Spirituality & Ethics,  a Jesuit American friend, Max Oliva, bemoans: “Are we in a moral collapse right now in this country? We seem to have lost our way.

Late-term abortions, which signify a total disregard for basic human life; lack of compassion for those at our southern border who only wish for a better and safer life for themselves and their children: avoidance of doing what is necessary to save our planet; an unreasonable stubbornness in passing gun control laws despite multiple school shootings in the past twenty years. The list goes on.”

Although his context is his own country, what happens there has an effect on us whether we are in Canada or any where else.  And constantly reading about it or our own particular parochial woes can be discouraging and a pall for the soul.

After expounding on the importance and need for prophets for our time, Fr. Max recalls in his article Karl Rahner’s contention that “the news is the scripture of the world”.  He then presents a method of prayer that can turn news into a vehicle for prayer.   I pass it on to you!

  1.  Choose an article or story that has some human interest in it.
  2.  Pray for anyone in the story who is a victim (s).
  3. Next, pray for anyone in the story who is assisting the victim, e.g., first responders, a good Samaritan, etc., for their safety.
  4. Pray for the conversion of any oppressors in the story; they can be from any walk of life: ordinary citizens or people in power.
  5. Finally, pray for yourself. Do you need deeper compassion, greater generosity, freedom from a prejudice, or more courage to speak the truth.How useful and important is this kind of intercessory prayer because we know, as Father Max reminds in his email, that God’s power is greater than the power of human beings.

What a great idea to use the news to pray for our world.

Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ, is pastor of St. Ignatius parish in Winnipeg.

  • Vicky Chen
    Posted at 03:27h, 27 April Reply

    Thank you for posting this. “The news is the scripture of the world.” Most often I have used the Ignatian Gospel contemplation to focus on one image, one person…. I become that person. It may be a victim, a responder, a by-stander. I try to imagine his/her situation. Then I prayer for that one person as if I am praying for myself. It is also possible to read some news as the text for Lectio Divina. Praying through news really helps connect us to the rest of the Body of Christ.

  • Donna
    Posted at 06:35h, 27 April Reply

    That is the answer to the news weary news troubled desolation that threatens to numb us!

  • Sharon Walters
    Posted at 09:00h, 27 April Reply

    Thank you. A reminder which I very much needed!

  • Sharon Walters
    Posted at 09:02h, 27 April Reply

    Thank you. Just the reminder I very much needed!

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 11:06h, 27 April Reply

    Thank you Frank!

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