I often forget to pray before using the internet. I sometimes fail in charity when using it. This tool of social communication and research and entertainment has amazing upsides, but it also has spiritually deadly perils. We all should be very careful in how we use it – and through it – use each other, “use” in the finer sense of “treat” each other.
Today is the feast of St. Isidore of Seville, Bishop and Doctor (+4 April 636). He is not to be confused with St. Isidore the Farmer. St. Isidore defended the faith against the Arian heresy, which was still around. It is amazing how tenacious heresy can be. It still is around.
Some years ago there was chat about having St. Isidore proposed as the patron saint of the internet. He has NOT, however, officially been named such. Keep that in mind.
I was asked to write a prayer people could recite before using the internet. I wrote the prayer in Latin and submitted it, with a translation into English, to a bishop who gave it his approval.
Now, this prayer is all over the same internet (both with and without attribution!).
You will want to know why some people proposed St. Isidore for this role.
St. Isidore’s most notable work, the Etymologiae, us a massive encyclopedic work of 448 chapters in 20 volumes indexing just about everything people thought it was important to know at the time, rather like a primitive database. I think that’s the connection.
You can, of course, pray to any saint in this matter, and nothing official about any patron for the internet has been handed down from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (which is the competent dicastery of the Holy See in those matters). Bottom line: people wanted a prayer for St. Isidore, and I wrote one. You should feel free to change the name to whatever saint you prefer. Others have proposed St. Maximilian Kolbe (+1941), St. Bernadine of Siena (+1444), St. Rita of Cascia (+1457), and the Archangel Gabriel (still around).
I am happy for people to use this prayer. I ask that you give attribution.
To see all the versions of the prayer which are now available, go HERE
If you can offer a new translation (and audio recording by a native speaker) into a language missing from those I’ve archived, please send it. To email me, click HERE.
I would also like a video of the prayer in ASL, American Sign Language.
Meanwhile, here is the English and one other as a tease:
A prayer before logging onto the internet:
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Finally, I’m still waiting for an improved version in Klingon.