Sunday, May 16, 2010

Few Are The Blessings that Can't Be Abused

A writer commenting on the Feast of the Ascension, which is also World Communication Sunday, begins with a story from Africa. In the forests is a dazzlingly beautiful but poisonous snake. The small animals, mesmerized by its wonderful colors, come close and are grasped and eaten by the snake. In the forest of civilization what snakes are there to enchant us?

There are many, we are told, and he goes on to introduce us to a man whose marriage of just over two years is on the verge of falling apart. Conversation has diminished and arguments are more frequent. The reason? TV, the computer, and a host of other addictive electronic marvels of communication that are taking up more of his time and reducing the time available for his wife. She wants to talk when he comes home from work but has to compete with the ball game for his attention. And while watching the game, he only half listens until it becomes so habitual he hardly notices he's not paying attention to her.

This way of living was not new to him; it preceded his marriage by many years. He walked with ear phones, connected to the internet with ear phones while driving, and was always in front of the TV. He found no satisfaction in books, socialized less frequently, and attendance at Church was no longer a part of his life.

In earlier years children would read fairy tales and books about great people. These books gave the children ideals to imitate and many were greatly influenced by them. Now, electronic and video games provide the stimulation, often leading to addictive behaviors so that we are less prone to read or think creatively.
This lifestyle tends to foster alienation, individualism, and an unhealthy life.

The writer finishes his article by noting the many benefits of modern day communication. The good that can come from cyberspace and audio-visual media is too great to even attempt to list. In the providence of God, we were led to discover this medium to advance the common good. The Church on Communication Sunday makes a special appeal to us to use well our newspapers, magazines, the internet, TV, radio, etc., so as to live life more fully. Those who are working in these areas should also do their part in achieving this common goal. But in the end, it will depend on us, on how disciplined and conscientious we are, whether they are being used wisely or not.