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EDITORIAL: These 40 days are an opportunity to minimize the flood of excessive information in our lives and replace it with prayer, silence, scripture, service, and meaningful conversations with others

Catholics can certainly be forgiven if the prospect of making voluntary sacrifices during this year’s Lent seems far more daunting than usual. The past 12 months seemed like an endless “long Lent” for many “

Throughout the period we endured the collective difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic Socially distant from one another and at times almost completely locked up, we took refuge in our homes to be caught by the relentless flow of disruptive information about the pandemic and about the political and political social divisions visible before and after the stress of being blocked Election 2020 – all around the clock about the wonders of modern electronic media

So here’s a suggestion: why not cool this year off from this epic information overload by turning off our computers, cell phones, televisions, and other electronic devices unless it is really necessary to use them?

Such a fast is, of course, not a novel idea. Detachment from our electronics has been recommended by many spiritual guides over the last century, since modern media began to take over their dominant role

For example, in February 1996, Pope St John Paul II Advised Catholics to turn off their television and talk to each other during this year’s Lent “In many families, television seems to replace rather than facilitate dialogue between people,” he noted, “A kind of ‘fast’ might be healthy in this area too ”

There is nothing inherently wrong with staying up to date on current events via the news media (We appreciate that our readers rely on the register to keep them informed with daily news and analysis that comes through the lens of the Catholic Faith) Similarly, there is nothing wrong with watching high quality movies and sports through the entertainment media and connecting with friends, family and other people through social media

Modern media can be used in moderation, and particularly in the interest of fellowship among one another, and can be of great benefit during the pandemic, television of mass and other communal forms of prayer has certainly encouraged prayer and helped maintain the connection with the Church for those Who did not have access to the sacraments Live two-way video communication has also helped keep family and friends connected when social isolation has weighed heavily on individuals and communities

Even so, the three most important spiritual practices of Lent can help us at times distract ourselves from the central Christian goals of loving God and our neighbors for a period of attachments that are not inherently evil love

Almsgiving helps to break away from money and the material things that money can buy and to focus our attention on helping others with their needs Fasting helps us detach from food and other personal gratifications and redirect our hunger to God and spiritual matters Prayer helps us disengage from relaxation and other distractions and focus on building our relationship with God

An electronic media Lent will similarly help those of us suffering from information overload to break away from it. And frankly, most of us are, as every ping or blinking light on our smartphones challenges us on to look down at the screens We are not proposing a complete retreat In terms of news media, for example, half an hour a day to stay up to date on important topics on a quality website like NCRegistercom might be well justified even during Lent! (Or join Father Mike Schmitz online on his journey through his podcast “The Bible in a Year”) But when one of the contributors to the register asked this week: “Do people in the US. Do you really need to know the daily number of COVID cases in Thailand? “

Similarly, during this prolonged period of social distancing, connections via social media or live video calls may be particularly necessary.But again, we may wonder if our forays into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other such platforms are making authentic and healthy connections other people who lead us to fellowship and witness to Jesus Christ, or whether they are instead a way to distract ourselves and separate us unhealthily from others or even try to sin against our neighborly love and thus harm our Christian witness

On Ash Wednesday 2020, Pope Francis warned that our communications, especially the Internet, “can be polluted by too much verbal violence” and “insulting and harmful words”

“We are inundated with empty words, with advertisements, with subtle messages. We have become used to hearing everything about everyone and we risk falling into a worldliness that withers our hearts,” he said

To counteract this, he encouraged: “Lent is a time to disconnect from cell phones and reconnect with the gospel. It called for the use of fewer words, taking in greater silence, and more direct communication with the Lord through prayer

“It is the lack of words to make room for another word, the Word of God”

As Lent began last year, the Holy Father reminded us that every year during this liturgical season the Church calls us to make more “space” in our lives for Jesus by minimizing the incessant worldly noise that so often upsets our souls.This is all the more necessary this year as the events of the past 12 months have been particularly problematic and the contemporary media has acted as a megaphone to add unnecessary distractions

These 40 days are an opportunity to minimize the deluge of information in our lives and replace it with prayer, silence, scripture, service and meaningful conversations with others. In this way we offer Jesus the space he needs to to fix our gaze on him, to rid ourselves of attachments that kill our souls, and ultimately to refresh our own living testimony of his life, death and resurrection

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Lent 2021

World News – CA – What to Give Up for Lent 2021: Minimize media to maximize the word

Source: https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/what-to-give-up-for-lent-2021-minimize-media-to-maximize-the-word