Whether by television, radio or print, people frequently keep up with the news. Several nuns have taken their observations of the world to the next level by committing to “Pray the News.”
The Carmelites of Indiana’s Web site, PrayTheNews.com, brings Web surfers face to face with the need to not merely follow world happenings, but involve oneself in them through prayer.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
Their beautiful and streamlined site is the work of a politically and spiritually active cloister.
“We look … and all too often, it seems, there is no one to help,” reads the site. “We may view these events through a television screen, the front page of a newspaper—or even the eyes of someone who has seen. However they come to us, these painful reminders of the incompleteness of the world are everywhere.”
It is in this context, the nuns write, that they pray the news.
“By continuously making ourselves aware of the present moment of the universe, we awaken ourselves to our presence to God—and in our own way, participate in the healing, loving and creative energy this process can spark,” reads the site.
The site provides links to news sites the sisters frequent, including CNN.com, the New York Times, ABCNEWS.com and various others.
Topics like female genital mutilation, the possible war with <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Iraq, weapons in North Korea, the recent sniper shootings and even President Bush’s tax plan are all topics of interest to the nuns. They have even discussed and prayed about the Enron scandal and an issue that hits them close to home, the Roman Catholic pedophile scandals.
The sisters pick a topic and then offer individual perspectives on the topic.
For instance, in discussing the war with Iraq, Sister Betty wrote, “One of the most heartening things that I have read in all that has been written about a proposed war with Iraq is France’s President Jacques Chirac’s second point of response: ‘for us, war is always evidence of failure. Everything must be done to avoid war.‘ To me this is a sign of progress in the maturation of human thought and morality.”
Sister Terese wrote, “I cannot claim to be a pacifist. I found that I approved our response in Afghanistan. But I do not believe in war without provocation. Life is too precious to ask young men and women to risk death or to take lives of others.”
Sisters Betty, Terese, Ruth, Jean, Joanne and Rachel all provide personal reflections on the news topic at hand. Their reflections end with prayerful requests for grace and intervention from God.
Visitors to the site can also learn about the life of these Carmelite nuns, arrange for retreats or visits to the cloister and explore personal callings to the monastic life.
The sisters also want to equip visitors to engage in their own contemplative prayers. They have devoted a whole page of the site to teaching people how to pray.
Sister Jean writes that prayer for her is “being in the presence of mystery and in the flow of Divine energy.”
The sisters also offer a prayer for the week for visitors to join in with them. And for those who wish to offer up prayers on their own, the sisters provide a place where prayerful visitors can light a virtual candle.
Visitors to the site can also get a look at why many of the nuns chose their vocation.
The site is an informative and contemplative look into the lives of spiritually charged and active Carmelites.
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.