How often do you check your phone every day? How often do you look at it, touch it, or think about it? Do you even know?
According to studies, on average, Americans check their phones around 350 times a day and touch their phone around 2600 times a day.
“Like it or not, personal technology pervades American existence and even for those who make the concerted effort to stay away from it, it’s becoming increasingly harder to function without it,” said Patrick Conley on a recent episode of The Inner Life.
Fr. Ethan Southard joined Patrick on the show to discuss what it means to be a Christian in the digital age, how we can conduct ourselves online, and what dangers we should be aware of. The expansion of the internet and online connectivity has opened Pandora’s Box and we are now exposed more than ever to pornography, cyber-bullying, hacking, and identity theft among other things.
However, the internet has also given us some of the most effective tools at spreading messages, including the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, how can we use these tools well to give glory to God?
Fr. Ethan began the conversation by reminding listeners that the guiding principle in our lives, online and offline, is virtue. Whether we’re behind a keyboard or face-to-face with another person, we should employ the same virtues when dealing with others.
“You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are hearts of flesh.” (2 Corinthians 2:2-3)
“We are the technology. We are the media. We are that expression of God,” said Fr. Ethan. “The spirit of God is within us. We’re carrying His message. We’re carrying His vision. We’re carrying His image.”
As living witnesses to that message and vision, we have to be conscious of the way that we represent and exemplify Christ in everything that we do. If we’re driving a car, how are we driving? Are we plastering our cars with inappropriate bumper stickers, cutting people off, or driving dangerously and illegally? That wouldn’t be Christ-like. That would be an inaccurate representation of the Good News that God wants us to spread.
In the same way that we should be conscious of our conduct behind the wheel, we ought to be conscious of the way we act online. Be a beacon of light.
Besides bringing others to Christ through our example, we can also use digital technology to grow and mature in our own spiritual lives. The internet has everything. And while much of it is unsavory, there are also infinite resources to foster and cultivate a vibrant spiritual life. Fr. Ethan suggested several useful, basic tools that he uses, including the USCCB website, the breviary online, and the Divine Office App. Finding ways to pray has never been so easy, whether you’re looking for the Liturgy of the Hours, the Daily Readings, or basic prayers.
As Fr. Ethan pointed out, there are so many apps and websites available to help you become a better Catholic that you just have to look. However, there is only one app that has it all: The Relevant Radio App! We have audio prayers, basic prayers, prayers for before and after Mass, devotional prayers, Latin prayers, a guide to the sacrament of Confession, the daily readings, a place to make prayer requests, and much more. Not to mention, you can also listen live to Relevant Radio shows, as well as access all podcast episodes. And the best part is that it’s free! Download it now and take your spiritual life to the next level!
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