Week 2 of Lent: Understanding the Internet and "Separation from God"

It feels like no matter what situation I try to put myself into, the simplicity and of the internet has made this week extremely hard. I feel there have been times when not using the internet would have separated me from God, an ironic twist for a Capuchin who's trying to understand "joyful simplicity" and "dependence on God" in a digital world.

First and foremost, I'm still awaiting a response from last week. I feel bad: my response came after an away auto-response from my email account. It's possible she won't try to contact me until after Easter...or maybe even later. All I can do is pray and not let this near-miss bring me down.
However there have been other issues. In preparation for Post-Novitiate (this fall), I found out I got accepted to St. Xavier University in Chicago. I'm still awaiting word from DePaul University as well. The thought of returning to college is exciting; I feel like I have the chance to make up for the time I wasted my time at college. I'm also excited because with the ever-growing digital world and it's effects on the world, my Order has encouraged my desire to work in either Interactive Media (web development,design) or Computer Science in conjunction with my schooling for Ordination. There are infinite possibilities for a priest who's also at the forefront of technology, and I'll talk about it more as Novitiate comes to an end in July. Needless to say, with that kind of focus, staying away from the internet has been tough.

Another "task" I picked up was making an homily blog for my provincial minister: Fr. John Celichowski. For the past few months, I've been getting his homilies in my email. John's an excellent preacher, and reading his homilies is great for my own reflection on the Sunday readings. Hoping to share his homilies with a broader audience, I set him up on blogger with John, Capuchin as his blog. Of course, one cannot set up a blog without internet, but I feel that it was for a good reason.

The biggest even this week was dealing with the death of a resident from my ministry. In the short time that I was here in Pittsburgh, I got to know her and her family quite well. When she died, we (the Novices) were asked to speak at the funeral. I was elected from the guys to speak at the eulogy, so I spent a lot of time thinking of what to write. However the day of the funeral, the Snowpocylpse returned in full-force, and our Novice Directed canceled all activities. Not able to deliver the eulogy, I decided to email a copy to the family, and one of them would read it. In spite of the weather, they were very grateful for the words.

From these experiences, I'm trying to discern a course of action with the internet. This morning, I listened to a Benedictian priest talk about how Facebook, Twitter, iPods, and technology can "block out" God, yet as I remove more and more of these things from my life, I see that, just maybe, God can be found in all this new technology. This week has been full of opportunities to see God in others - with the internet as a facilitator. Where does that leave me with regards to giving up the internet for Lent?

Perhaps the question isn't "Does technology block out God?" but "Do we use technology to block out God?" It's a reflection I sit with at meditation...wishing I had my iPod to hear something relaxing.

Until next week...

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