I've decided that for Lent this year, I will give up the web. Not just Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube, or the amount of time...my intent is not to use the internet during Lent.
Sound crazy? Let me tell you how I decided on giving up the web for my Lenten fast:
Being in Novitiate allows for a prayerful and a reclusive feel, allowing us to focus solely on our vocations without the influences of the outside world. Because we are a Franciscan order, we are defined by how we exist in that outside world, making Novitiate a balancing act between the external and the internal.
The internet provides that external interaction for me. But more importantly, the web provides a limitless field of possibilities for ministry, catachesis, parochial services, and so forth. Not to mention, I feel it's incumbant on us to develop a sense of ethics and morality based upon scripture, the Magisterium, and the Capuchin Constitutions.
With those things being said, I think it's fair to say that this idea kind of scares me. I am old enough to remember life without computers, car rides with no cellular phone or MapQuest directions, doing homework on a typewriter, and keeping contact either with a phone or a letter (that's snail mail for the younger readers.)
However I am young enough to see the many possibilities available to the Order and to the Church by taking advantage of today's technology. I see it in the many other Catholic blogs that I read, the information that is shared for everyone to use, the mobilization and organization that is capable by gathering people around an issue. My little corner of the web here in this blog opens into a vast sea of ideas and opportunities.
Recognizing the opportunities as well as the dangers involved with the Web and internet usage, I've decided to take my time this Lenten Season to reflect on my attachment to the Web by giving it up for Lent. My goal is to give it all up: email, wikipedia, blogs, music, news, etc. For a tech-savvy person as myself, it won't be easy. In fact, I don't think I'll be able to do this by myself...which is kind of the point for Lent.
What will happen is that on Ash Wednesday I will put up a blog for the season. Each Sunday I will add a reflection on how I'm doing, what struggles I'm facing, and what graces I've received in such a task. I recognize that the Web is as much a means of witness as it is a waste of time, and I wouldn't want to abandon a ministry completely for this. So I decided that while there is importance for me to give up the internet, it is just as important that I document and share the experience the best way I can...here.
So keep me in your prayers, and be sure to check out the last article I write for beginning of Lent on Wednesday. God knows I'll need em!
Bro. Vito Martinez, OFM Cap