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Too 'connected' to connect?

Too 'connected' to connect?

Computers, cell phones, iPads, iPods, Facebook, Twitter – all new technology, new concepts in our lives. While I agree with Pope Benedict that the Internet and other technologies should be used to foster communication all over the world and promote evangelization, I ask myself and others: Is that how it is being used in your life?

We now have the ability to communicate with people from many different nations and, at times, accomplish great goals more quickly and efficiently. But, in the process, it is easy to allow the technology to govern us. If these tools “control” us, then what happens to our overall priorities?

In any gift that God ordains or permits, we are to become its steward. That is, the gift should serve those purposes for which we were created. As is often the case in the human condition, we get so fascinated by a new invention that what should be used to serve the good ends up controlling us.

As human beings made in the image and likeness of God, we have certain priorities – our relationship with God, our relationships with others in family and work, our responsibilities and choices in rest and recreation, our care for one another and service to those in need. How does/can the new technology serve those non-negotiable priorities?

Where is the time for God to have access to me? Where do I pause in my daily life to ask myself – how am I serving my wife, my husband, my children, my friends? Where do I take time to listen to God so I can follow his will and receive the blessings that come with willing submission? This is not a matter of pious luxury. It is a human necessity! We need to regularly ask ourselves: Who am I and where am I going? We should address these questions to ourselves and with a spouse or with truly good friends once or twice a year! Yes, once or twice a year – because in this age, the tyranny of the urgent can regularly overcome the truly important. If we don’t take concrete steps, we can end up filling our days with the “noise” of videos and games and music and “urgent” texting. This din can block out the quiet voice of God. We need to prioritize our day so the urgent doesn’t overpower the truly important.

Take a look at the shift in attitudes and priorities that are occurring because of “speedy” communication access.

Spiritual exercise

The new technology does enable us to do more things in a given day and to do them much faster. But what follows from that good is a rise in expectations for more things to be accomplished even faster. Examine yourself:

• Do I even think about or consider the eternal priorities in the midst of the accelerating pace of daily life?

• Have I fallen into the trap that fast is always good; speed is the top priority?

• Is getting through the “to do” list in a given day the most important thing?

• Am I goal oriented to the exclusion of people?

• Anything that slows me down or keeps me from accessing what I need to get the job done is an “enemy.” Person, place, or thing? Have I fallen into this mind-set?

• I was created and baptized as a son or daughter of God. In that reality is my dignity and my worth. My value is in who I am primarily and only secondarily in what I do. Do I believe this?

How can I use the new technology to teach and foster the above truths? How can I grow in the reality of who I am in God? How can I treat others in a way that reflects these truths?

We have a choice! What personal responsibility will you take to see that a gift from God doesn’t get twisted into a tool for the enemy?