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When it comes to prayer, many of us think that it is a prerequisite to turn off all electronic devices that might distract us. Although we certainly need to cut down on distractions, the truth is, the world of cyberspace offers us numerous opportunities to deepen our prayer lives. With that in mind, I encourage you to read an excellent article by my friend Jonathan Sullivan, Executive Director of the Department of Evangelization, Education, and Liturgy for the Diocese of Lafayette, IN: “When You Pray, Open Your App: Technology, Prayer, and Catechesis.”
Jonathan makes some excellent points about how the virtual world will never be able to replace the real world when it comes to connectedness with others. He warns of the “cheap engagement” that can occur in the wake of tragedies and natural disasters and cautions that we can find ourselves living in a “culture of immediate response that substitutes the click of a mouse for authentic social justice.”
The meat of the article, however, highlights the benefits that the virtual world offers us when it comes to prayer. In particular, Jonathan mentions three such benefits:
- The countercultural nature of silence in prayer and liturgy. Jonathan emphasizes that more and more catechists are employing greater silence in their catechesis, teaching that moments of disengaging from the digital world “can help engender clarity and peace (even if young people find such a pace initially uncomfortable), which is carried back into the digital world.”
- Accessibility to the great treasure of Catholic art and music. Jonathan reminds us that we can and should use beauty to evangelize.
- Using digital tools to maintain and strengthen connections with others. Jonathan points out that, “Social media platforms may be used to request prayers and respond to prayer requests, while video conferencing services such as Skype can be used to facilitate prayer together across great distances.”
To further support the points made by Jonathan in his article, I offer the following links.
- To promote the integration of silence into our lives:
- Accessibility to the great treasury of Catholic art and music
- Connecting with others
What other resources—especially Catholic resources—can you suggest in these three areas?