FOOTSTEPS AND FINGERPRINTS
In today’s realities of life, we feel, we be lieve that we need, that we MUST, be connected. At all times, to everyone, even if we do not really know them. We want to be continually updated on happenings around the world. We want to know the thoughts and what is happening to and with our friends, even if we have never met them.
This is the age of constant technology upgrades. Mobile phones with digital communications networks, i-pads, laptops, notebooks, computers. Every month something new is developed. TVs are being wired and rewired for instant world-wide communication in an increasing variety of mediums.
New digital social networks have emerged and keep updating their technologies. Virtual relationships are available at the click of the finger.
Yes, we are connected. But what are we communicating? I have been pondering this question for some time.
Reflecting on the significance of the new technologies, I realize that it is necessary for us to have a more comprehensive knowledge of people and the world for us, individually and as a people, to survive in today’s world.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in one of his spiritual reflections summarized this issue. He says that while new technologies are significant in their value to our lives, it is important to focus not just on their undoubted capacity to foster contact between people, but on the quality of the content that is put into circulation. He continues, “I would encourage all people of good will who are active in the emerging environment of digital communication to commit themselves to promoting a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship.”
Respect. Dialogue. Friendship. Cyberspace communication opens up avenues to encounter and know each other’s traditions and values. Such encounters should not be used to criticize, to make fun of, or to belittle the other’s lifestyle or person.
True connectedness and communication, Benedict believes, should be rooted in a “genuine and mutual searching for truth if the connection is to realize its potential to promote growth in understanding and tolerance.”
To me, life is not just a succession of events or experiences. Personal relationships are what make life meaningful, fun, and memorable.
Life, according to God’s Word in Scripture, should be a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. The freedom of considtoday’s connectedness and communication should therefore be directed to building friendships in truth, in goodness, and in beauty. Such friendships should promote happiness and joy, the wonder and awesomeness of life in God’s world as well as the intimacy of worthwhile, personal relationships.
I believe that friendship- making is a great human good and necessary for having a meaningful, fruitful life. Friends support and encourage each other in developing their gifts and talents and in putting them to use in building and nourishing vital, strong, viable, peaceful, and responsible communities.
Connectedness and communication are at their best when exhibiting respect, dialogue, and true friendship in action. As people striving to ensure a better future and world, these qualities are a MUST. And, it is up to us, to you and I, to live out these qualities as much as we can, every moment of every day.