Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Paper and Digital and the World Today

Editor's note: This is another great contribution from the one and only Holly Vaughan. You can follow her on Twitter here!

I have recently discovered so many new and good books.  When I visited the monastery a month or so ago, I picked up the book on Dorothy Day written by her granddaughter, and am super excited to start it.   Jen Fulwiler’s new book is coming out on May 1st, and I’ve found some new books on some traditions of the Church.  Some of these I have purchased on my Kindle and some I have purchased the physical book.  This is always a conundrum for me - I love my Kindle because I can have so many books and they are portable.  But I just love the feel and experience of a real book - especially old books with history or a story behind them, such as books that belonged to my grandparents.  I feel like my grandkids won’t have the same experience firing up my old Kindle one day as I have when I read my grandparents well-loved books.

All this was on my mind when I stumbled across a statement by someone saying that anyone who prays the Divine Office either uses an app or the physical Breviary, and that there is no in between.  This gave me pause because I pray all the hours of the Office, and while I err more toward the app simply because of how busy I am and the fact that I don’t always have my physical book at the times that I need to pray, I also love to pray with the Breviary.  I clearly jump back and forth as needed, so I didn’t fall into this person’s tidy assessment. So, I did what any well informed Catholic would do - I asked the Twitter priests what they thought.    The responses, as you can see if you click the link, were varied, but most use a mix of both.  Father Anthony clearly is the most dedicated of us all, using both for every hour. 😉 Props, Padre, for always keeping us on our toes! 😂

I feel like we can see the Church evolving, even in this small way.  The world is changing fast, and we as Catholics are called to be in it but not of it.  We must hold fast to our traditions, even if the way we do that looks different to some than it does to others.  Evangelization for instance looks different now than it did twenty years ago, and the way I carry it out probably looks different than the way you carry it out.  But that doesn’t change the fact that we are called to lead people to Christ. Some of the ways we serve the churches needs today just don’t look like what we’re used to; but things aren’t always what they seem. Take this photo for instance:

I do everything in my power not to use my phone in church, even though I have some great prayers on there, because I know how easily I get distracted.  Someone like me, who avoids phone use in the church, might wander into this church and think these Friars are being disrespectful in front of the Blessed Sacrament, when in fact they are assisting in a ministry where people can text them prayer intentions and they pray for them in real time.  

Tradition is so important, both in our faith and in our world.  I love to pray with the physical Breviary the same way I love to read real books that have history and connections attached to them.  Praying the Office with a physical book connects me to centuries of Catholics that prayed with their books the same way. We need to stay connected with our heritage, and most importantly with the core teachings and practices of our faith.  But we also need to be able to hand those same things onto the younger generation, who is coming of age in a world that looks nothing like what it used to. We need to utilize every means we can to reach those seeking Jesus, and those Jesus is seeking.  Some will like traditional practices, while some will like a more modern approach. The more versatile we can be, the more people we can lead to the Lord and His Church who, like we are called to do, loves to meet people right where they are.

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