Those of you who are long-time readers of my blog know that from time to time, I like to write about the importance of following the news. As Christians we are called to pray for the needs of our brothers and sisters. To do so, we need to know what is going on in the world.
I would like to propose two questions for your reflection. “What in the news depresses you?” and “What in the news gives you hope?”
One does not have to look far for depressing news. My primacy source of news is the internet. When I go to news websites (national or local), it seems like most stories that come up on the first screen are negative stories.
The two recurring negative stories that it seems we can’t help but see in the news are the continuing COVID pandemic and the war between the Ukraine and Russia. We have been dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic for over two years now. On a positive note, there are those who say we have moved from “pandemic” to “endemic.” This is a move in a positive direction for which we can be thankful. We can also be thankful that most cases are not serious now. Yet, I struggle to understand how we move forward with. What does it mean to move from “pandemic” to “endemic”? Lord, please help us move forward, knowing what precautions to take and how to be set free from too much worry about COVID.
Turning to the war between Ukraine and Russia, it is difficult to see the people of Ukraine lose their homes, schools, and lives. I find this very hard to accept. I pray for the people. For me, part of what discourages me is not having any real understanding why Russia is attacking Ukraine. Just this morning I read a news story where Putin said in a speech today that he started the attack because of the expansion of western ideas and the possibility of the expansion of NATO, including Ukraine. I don’t understand how this justifies war. I pray for Putin, and for everyone involved, to allow their actions to be led by the Holy Spirit. I know I can’t fix this but God can, if people would let him.
Now, for the second question, “What in the news gives you hope?”. I have been looking for stories of hope for the last couple of days. Since Mother’s Day was Sunday, I hoped for some stories about the wonderful mothers who I know are out there. I only saw one story about Mother’s Day.
Does the fact that I haven’t seen stories in the news recently about good things mean there is no good news? No, I believe it is a matter of choice of what stories make the “front page.” Here, I pray for the news media to bring the good news to the front. I know they sometimes do stories of amazing things people to help others. We need to see these stories!
There is hope! Even in the negative events, there is hope. As Russia invaded Ukraine, there were amazing stories of help for those fleeing the Ukraine as refugees. People do care.
The pro-life movement in the United States received some hope this week. While I believe the work of the Supreme Court should never be leaked, one sees hope in the possibility of a court decision open to life in the womb. I feel discouraged by the negativity by those who support abortion. However, I am not surprised. The Supreme Court has not made a decision. We pray for them to make a decision in accord with God’s will. For more on this case, see https://www.prayfordobbs.com/. For help understanding the pro-life teaching of our Catholic faith, please see my four-part series of video presentations, Treating Life with Dignity and Love. Part I focuses on why all human life deserves dignity. Part II discusses abortion in particular (as well as the death penalty).
There are many troubles in the world. I would love to fix them all but it is not for me to do it all. I try to do what I can. Please share stories of hope. I would like to end with the Serenity Prayer composed by Reinhold Neibuhr (for my previous reflection on the Serenity Prayer, click here).
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.