God Goes Hi-Tech
Father J.D. Zatalava
©Catholic Online 2005
I used to think the single most destructive force in the history of history was the digital watch. The digital watch references nothing of what has gone on before the instant, and promises nothing to come after that instant. It acknowledges neither the past, nor anticipates the future. It neither demands Faith nor allows Hope.
I used to think those were bad things. Not anymore! The real lesson to be learned today from the digital watch is this. Charity [i.e. Love of God and Neighbor] happens in the present moment. Carpe diem!
Santa brought me a theo/techno upgrade. Now, my sun powered, atomic, WWJD bracelet wristwatch is quite literally completely out of my hands. It has no battery to be changed by me. It has no buttons for me to press. The exact time is transmitted by satellite. I can do nothing to this watch. I can't even push it five minutes ahead so that I'm not perpetually late, nor can I drop it five minutes behind so that I can feign surprise when I am late and vehemently insist that my watch says I'm right.
I am totally dependent on this ridiculous piece of plastic-leather strapped to my wrist. How is it that I allow myself to be totally reliant on immanent natural powers and forces which are outside of myself, yet hedge all bets when asked to place total dependence on the will and dynamics of the transcendent God? If I rejoice in my dependence on watches, computers, routines, schedules, itineraries and palm pilots, why am I so hesitant to revel in the fact that I am totally in God's hands?
Sunday's Gospel presents the Beatitudes. Two through nine of these blessings are really refinements of number one. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Being poor in spirit has little to do with my financial status. Poor in spirit means to simply recognize, acknowledge, and accept my complete dependence on God. Period. Amen. That's it. Ka put.
No amount of verbal gamesmanship can diminish that central fact and foundational element of the spiritual life. The word detachment describes how and why we pray, give alms, and fast. Soon it will be Lent, 2005 during which every look at my wrist will remind me: I don't pray to get what I want. I pray to find out what He wants. I don't fast to lose weight. I fast to gain insight. I don't give my stuff away because I need an upgrade. I give away so that can detach from. Carpe diem!
Catholic Online's Featured Columnist Fr. James D. Zatalava is the Founder and Creator of the world's largest online religious e-education program for children and adults: CatechismClass.com. A Diocesan Priest, Fr. Zatalava directs the development of all curricular materials for CatechismClass.com and is responsible for the e-education of tens of thousands of youthful and adult students worldwide. Fr. Zatalava addresses over a million Catholic readers every week through this column.
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