In the Newseum in Washington, DC there is a display of iconic news photographs from the last 50 years or so. They are gritty, black-and-white, moments forever frozen. Most are unforgettable and immediately take you back to the time and place where you first saw them. Your stomach clenches as war, famine and upheaval come roaring back into your mind.
Along with the photos are a few words describing the time and place, plus a short biography of the photographer who won a prestigious award for the photograph. I was stunned by how many of these photographers had committed suicide. They were unable to get the images out of their heads. They could not help the people they immortalized. The war, or the famine, or the genocide were not their fault but they could not escape what they had seen and felt helpless to change.
I mention this today because I want to bring out the power of images and the impact on our lives of what we see. It can be difficult to guard our eyes, being careful of what we see and let enter our minds. But it is necessary. Images are hard to forget whether they are in print, TV, movies or the internet.
Where can images lead us? They can lead us to good or evil. Jesus knew this problem when he said, "(A)nyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). Adultery and lust are old issues made worse today by visual images that leave little of the human body uncovered. So we must be careful about what we look at for we are responsible for what we do because of it.
For reflection: What response do I make to news photos? Do I pray for the people involved? Send aid to the afflicted? What response do I make to other images in the media? Do they lead me to good or to evil?
Let us pray. Today, Jesus, the people of Chile have suffered an earthquake. What response should I make?
(My apologies, faithful readers, for not posting on Monday. I've been sick but I am recovering now. Thank you for your prayers.)
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.