Sunday, February 24, 2013

Prayer, Technology, and Looking Ahead

I'm praying a chaplet during this Lent. That's routine for me. (February 17, 2013; February 22, 2012)

While I pray, I usually wear a longish hood-and-collar thing that covers my head and shoulders. It's similar to what my European ancestors probably wore, five hundred to a thousand years ago.

There isn't anything particularly 'spiritual' about that hood, although it looks a little like the top part of the uniform for many monastic orders. It's a practical bit of clothing.

I'm often at my desk when I pray. It's near a north window, a cool and drafty spot during winter. My oldest daughter made the (hood?) to help keep me warm.

Looking Forward, Not Back

Being Catholic doesn't mean trying to live in the 15th century, Or the 11th. Neither of which were particularly tranquil times, and that's another topic.

Some folks, Catholic and otherwise, present the 'good old days' as a model for how we should live. I don't, partly because I remember some of the 'good old days.' (January 27, 2012)

Besides, Matthew 28:18-20 doesn't tell us to maintain the status quo.

Wrenching myself back on-topic: We've seen quite a lot of change over the last fifty years; and over the last two hundred or so. Some of it involved new technology. (January 27, 2013)

It's small wonder that some folks seem to see today's problems as the result of smog replacing manure as an urban pollutant. On the whole, I'd rather have catalytic converters and emission standards. (July 9, 2011)

Technology and Prayer

I could be Catholic without an Internet connection: folks did so for two millennia. But Information Age technology doesn't keep me from following my faith. In some ways, it makes it easier.

For example, the Apostle's Creed is part of that Lenten chaplet. I got the words, in my native language, after a quick search on the Internet. I copied the text and pasted it into a file that I display on my computer's screen while I pray.

The same file has a short list of prayers for the Divine Mercy chaplet, another habit I've started for Lent.

I could writhe in anguish and torment myself for not memorizing the prayers, or using new technology, or not wearing shoes while I pray: but that doesn't make sense. Not to me.

For one thing, there's nothing liturgical about these prayers. I'm doing this at home, by myself. There's a discussion going on about liturgical use of 'prayer apps,' and that's almost another topic.

Being Human, Being Catholic

Learning about this astounding creation, and developing tools, is part of being human. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2293) By themselves, science and technology are neither good nor bad: what matters is how we use them. (Catechism, 2292-2295)

If there were no disease, if love of neighbor made crime impossible, and if poverty was unknown, there would be no reason to change the status quo.

That's not the way the world is. Not even close.

A "scandal of glaring inequalities" demands that we change the world. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1928-1942, 2419-2442)

There's no point in trying to turn back the clock. There is no perfect society in history. We need to face forward, not back: keep what works; change what doesn't; and build a world that's better than today's.


(from http://raredelights.com, used w/o permission)

And that's another topic. (March 14, 2012)

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2 comments:

Brigid said...

A couple of the monks in that picture look like they could be secret service, or maybe working for the mob.

The article of clothing I made is a cowl, archaic usage of the term.

What is that structure in the last picture and is it real?

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

:D

I see what you mean about the monks.

About the structure: it isn't real, yet. A designer (clothing and jewelry, mostly, I gather: http://www.pierrecardin.com/home_en.html ) decided that Venice should have a new skyscraper and associated lower complex - as an aesthetic and economic attraction for the city.

I think he's got a good idea, but some folks think it's not like what folks in Venice built during the Renaissance, which is true; and therefore shouldn't be built, which I think is debatable, at best.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.