It is the middle of the night. While the rest of the world sleeps, the monastery bells calls the brothers to prayer. All the monks chant the beautiful Divine Office. Their voice echoes through the stone hallways and fills the otherwise silent abby. The dark chapel is illuminated only by a hundred tiny iphone lights as the monks read their liturgy of the hours ebooks.
The side chapels are filled with the glow of LED votives, perpetually lit, sending their positive ions heavenward in never-ending prayer.
Later during Mass, the abbot pauses before his sermon. He carefully places his smartphone on its stand and begins uploading to periscope. He also texts the superiors at the satellite monasteries to remind them to watch live.
In the pews, several brothers nap through the sermon. But that’s okay. They can replay it later.
Ridiculous? This picture of monastic life kinda loses something, huh? The holy monks would have a very difficult living out the fullness of their vocations saturated in this level of technology. What about our vocation to family life?
How could anyone possibly hear the quiet voice of God? Look around our home.
Right now, I’m typing this into my phone while rocking the baby. Across the room the TV is playing a waterfall white noise video from YouTube. My husband is watching a movie on the laptop. The girls were playing a game on the tablet until naptime.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-technology. The internet is a fantastic resource for learning and perusing interests! Yesterday Giacinta spent over an hour on YouTube watching people make cotton candy art, and recently we spent an afternoon yodeling along with online tutorials. Homeschooling is so much cooler now than when I was a kid!
But where is the space saved for God? Where is the still? The quiet?
How can my children possibly hear His voice if they are surrounded by constant noise?
As I think more and more about holding space for possible religious vocations in my children, I’m realizing a HUGE part, the most vital part, possibly the only part I have that really matters at all, is providing quiet. Creating the space for that tiny voice to be heard.
So while I’m not going to be throwing the TV out the window anytime soon, or taking the kitchen shears to the Google Fiber line, I can work on a little more quiet. We can play I spy instead of having a movie always playing in the car. When my kids request to watch TV at home, I can suggest I read a book or tell a story first (they love stories!). We could eat a snack outside, listening to birds, instead of youtube. We could take a wall and see the fall leaves. And right now, this very second, I can put down my phone and pray the Rosary, just me and my baby, before everyone wakes up from nap.
Holy Saint Benedict, father of Christian Monastic life, fill my home and my heart with your wisdom.
Ora et Labora.
In Corde Maria
featured image via flickr user eosmaia