Make time for the spiritual in the New Year

By  Bertone
  • December 22, 2006
Aaaahhh, New Years. The time where last year's unresolved resolutions are reviewed and rewritten. There is one resolution, however, that we as Catholics should make and keep every moment, or else there'll be, well, Hell to pay. The resolution I'm talking about, of course, is to encounter the Father.

In a world where technology makes just about everything we could want or need appear at our fingertips, becoming Christ-like is as challenging as it was 2,000 years ago. Unfortunately, no one has yet invented a computer program to process a one-way ticket to paradise.

This flash of divine understanding came to me as I was discussing column ideas with a classmate. When the teacher came in we were forced to abandon the discussion. "We can talk about this tonight on MSN," she said. More than slightly uncomfortable, I stopped blushing and forced out a barely audible, "I don't have MSN." The truth is, I don't even have the Internet, or any other advanced technology for that matter. My camera takes film and my music is recorded on those flat round things called CDs. Until last year, the width of my TV screen was 27 inches, and the only gaming platform I owned was a Scrabble board.

On the subway in Toronto, where I was alone with my thoughts, I realized that although having MSN, a digital camera and a Nintendo Wii would be great, and not to mention elevate my status from neanderthal to normal Canadian teenager, they are not what make life important. In the long run, think Judgment Day. Will having the latest version of Facebook really matter to God?

While I don't care about being stuck in the technological dark ages, I find it odd that people will recoil when they learn I don't have the Internet, as if not being able to instant message is contagious. While in Canada the Internet-less are a rare species, there are other countries where having a computer is about as rare as a true Bigfoot sighting.

Technologically speaking, in Canada, it seems as though we really have come a long way. Almost all food is cooked in a microwave and travelling to another country takes hours, not weeks. But it seems to me that our spiritual development has not gone through the same extensive evolution. Many still doubt the existence of God, and we still have as much trouble following the Ten Commandments today as we did when Moses came down off Mount Sinai.

I believe the cause of our stunted spiritual growth is related to all our wasted time watching TV, chatting on MSN and downloading music off the Internet. Some of my friends say they don't even have time for homework, much less time for church, but they always find time for their favourite TV shows and for MSN.

So, in the spirit of New Years, instead of resolving to lose 10 pounds by next January, why not make a resolution to tune in to some Christian channels on TV, or check out a Catholic web site while waiting for your friend to message you back? You can even find podcasts discussing religious issues, which are probably more interesting than a rebroadcast of the sports scores. Even resolving to do, say, five good deeds by July, would help us stay on the straight and narrow towards our ultimate goal: Heaven.

(Bertone, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Bishop Allen Academy.)

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