Christian detachment and the digital world

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WHAT a very good deal Christ is giving us! When Peter told him, “We have given up everything and followed you,” Christ immediately reassured him—and us—“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers…” (Mk 10,28-30)

It’s good that we keep these words very much in mind so that we can protect ourselves from our strong tendency to get attached to the things of this world, making them irresistible instruments for self-indulgence instead of being powerful instruments of love for God and for everybody else.

In today’s digital world where we are provided with tremendous facilities and advantages, let’s see to it that everytime we use them, we have the proper intention. And that is none other than to love and glorify God and to help and serve the others. We need to have the relevant practices that would help us keep that proper intention.

The advances and progress in our sciences and technologies should challenge us to develop the attitudes and practices proper of a person who needs to be in constant relation with others, let alone, of a child of God who needs to always be with God.

We cannot deny that nowadays we are seeing a lot of people sinking in their self-indulgence, completely deceived by the pleasures these powerful facilities and technologies give them, not knowing that these pleasures have no other purpose than to trap them in their own world and bubble, and to cause cases of obsessions and addictions, etc.

We need to have a massive campaign to educate everyone on how to properly use these new technologies. This has to start in the families where the little children should be taught how to use them. It’s not to prevent them from using these tools, but rather to instill in them the proper attitude and practices.

Everyone should be taught that these new technologies should be used primarily and constantly to give glory to God and to help others. The pleasures, fulfillment and satisfaction we can derive from these tools should be the effect, first of all, of such love for God and for others. Otherwise, these pleasures can only turn into sweet poison for us.

Definitely, a considerable amount of sacrifice and self-denial would be involved here. But if things are also taught properly, everyone should be made to see that whatever sacrifice and self-denial would be involved would only lead to a certain joy that is most proper to us. The teaching method should be such that it is always done in a positive, constructive and attractive way, instead of in a negative, off-putting way.

This is a big challenge since many young people nowadays are easily turned off whenever some sacrifice would be involved. Thus, a lot of patience and creativity in teaching is a must. And more than just giving classes and modules, to carry out this duty of teaching people about the proper use of the new technologies undeniably requires accompaniment.

We have to know how to deal with the danger of self-indulgence, self-absorption and self-centeredness that these new technologies can occasion. Christian detachment has to be taught and lived properly.