Technology should boost piety

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

I remember receiving my first MP4 player some years ago. It was a small electronic gadget that stored a tremendous load of material for listening. To the young, it became an irresistible apparatus, a must-have. It's where they could have their fill of music in the most convenient way.

Thanks to God, many have outgrown that technology and have acquired many other more powerful and sophisticated gadgets. I suppose like anybody else, I also have some of them.

When you see a teener wired with earphones, looking hypnotized but with sudden twitches on his face or jerks in his shoulders or legs, you can be sure he is in his own world, enjoying music. He is either singing or dancing in his mind or simply dreaming.

But I have discovered these gadgets are most useful in my prayer. There I download the gospel, the Holy Rosary, homilies of famous saints, the psalms, etc. I'm still in the process of gathering more materials.

Instead of reading them, I just listen to them. It's a more relaxing way of learning, thinking and praying, since it frees me from some eye and intellectual strain, and allows my mind to capture ideas more quickly and to explore them more deeply and widely.

All of a sudden, my time for driving, commuting, waiting in terminals for my boat or plane rides has acquired a more substantial and meaningful dimension. Instead of just trying to pass the time, snoozing or struggling to read and stay away from distractions, I now have a good way of keeping my mind, heart and soul in focus. I can now say goodbye to these idle time-fillers.

In fact, even in my time meant for serious study and prayer, I sometimes use it, since it facilitates things. Yes, it´s truly a blessing as long as one has mastered the appropriate discipline and has a clear sense of purpose. Otherwise, I know it will dominate me and can lead me to unknown and dangerous destinations.

This discovery has also made me realize that though we can be swimming in an ocean of images, data and information, thanks again to the high tech we now have, the media and publicity work that has gone ballistic, we can manage to get nothing, or worse, something that can actually be a sweet poison to us.

This is because things depend on how our mind works, what motivations move us, what objectives we want to pursue. If we are not properly grounded, we can appear to do a lot of things and yet end up with nothing. We can think we are gaining, when in fact we are losing.

We have to understand that the reality that governs us is not simply a physical, material reality. Neither is it only intellectual which already gives us infinite possibilities of scenarios, always malleable and ever morphing.

Our ultimate reality lies on how we develop our relation with God our Creator and Father. That´s because our spiritual faculties of intelligence and will that put us into a subjective world in the end have a beginning and an end, and these can only be God.

I just hope that we can be more aware of this truth about us. Very often, we get stuck in the physical and material dimension of our life, and then in the purely biological, emotional and psychological level.

Or we just play the game of the social, political and economic factors that also mark our life. We might simply follow the requirements of practicality, profitability and popularity, and forget about morality that tries to conform our life to God´s will.

For example, politicians may just think about what will get them more votes, at the expense of what is objectively good for the people. We have to be warned about this predicament that can likely fall on us if we are not careful.

That´s why, the tremendous practical advantages offered to us now by our growing technology should always be related to God. We just cannot get stuck at the level of fascination because of the novelty it offers, the convenience and practicality it gives. We should relate them to God.

At the very least, we can thank God for them. After all, the human ingenuity that produced them comes from God. These new things should bring us closer to God and to one another, instead of distancing us from Him and putting us in self-absorption.

From here, let´s try to discern what God´s purpose is for these new powerful things. They are supposed to boost our love for God and for others.

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