It can be difficult to know how to respond to the overwhelming concerns of the world that come to our attention. How do we listen with compassion and love, without becoming numb to the troubles that surround us?
The daily newspaper can become a valuable tool. As we read with sacred attention, the newspaper can slow us down, informing us about issues and events while also touching the wellspring of our hearts. Adapting the method of holy reading to the paper, enables us to listen deeply with the Spirit to the world’s concerns and pray with intelligence, understanding and compassion.
This is a simple prayer technique that can be used any time. All that is required is a desire to pray and a current newspaper.
- Allow yourself to come into stillness.
- Place yourself in the presence of God.
- Pray to the Holy Spirit for assistance.
Step 1. Take any newspaper
Browse over the headlines. Choose some good and bad news or any topic to pray with.
Step 2. Good News: Prayer of Thanksgiving and Praise
Give thanks for any good, joyful, inspiring or edifying item you found in the paper.
Step 3. Bad or Sad News: Prayer of Petition
Pray for sisters and brothers anywhere in the world that have to suffer tragedy, trials and injustices. May God give them courage, faith and strength to bear their pain. Ask God to improve their condition.
Step 4. Prayer of Intercession for those Causing Suffering in Our World
Pray for those who are the cause of evils, scandals and injustices that they may repent, come back to goodness, and be kind to others.
Step 5. Prayer of Personal Examination
a. Have I in any way, in the present or in the past, been a cause of joy, peace and justice to my sisters and brothers around me? Reflect, and thank God for it.
b. Have I, in the past, in any way, contributed to the hurt and suffering of others? Have I, even unconsciously, through anger, revenge, dishonesty, lust, greed, injustice or exploitation harmed others? Reflect. If so, be sorry for it. Ask God for pardon.
c. How can I make my home, my neighborhood, my place of work, even the world at large a better place to live? Reflect. What am I going to do? Be as concrete as possible.[Adapted from You Can Pray by Pedro Ribes, SJ, published by Gujarat Sahitya Prakas, India (2013).]