Wednesday, January 6, 2016

“Baptizing” our Technology


If you Google “Blessing Technology” you will find reflections on technology as a blessing or curse, a burden or a blessing, a gift or a danger.  The other day I found out that I had posted a greeting on someone’s page that I don’t remember posting. Only after the person thanked me did I see it. Then it happened again and I caught it. My touch screen is so sensitive that I hit a suggested greeting accidentally. In the first case the greeting was very thoughtful (thank you Facebook). In the other accidental post the symbol of a hand toasting with a bubbly drink greeted a friend. I was able to delete it since it did not express what I meant to say. After these two occasional posts, I thought of getting my technology blessed. What if I accidentally post something thoughtless (thanks to ready-made greetings)? What if I text a funny icon – unwittingly? What if a gif slips onto a message I am sending and it throws off my conversation? What if…?

These “what ifs” are just the tip of the technological iceberg.  There is the possibility of someone stealing my account and using it for ill. It is possible I will “Friend” or “retweet” a troll. Then there is my phone, a great piece of technology of whose use I need to maintain discipline. When do I keep it off, answer it, and use it to text? What about how I use my computer and e-mail? Technology permeates my life now -- YouTube, blog articles, Google searches, and so much more. I realize that I need to have a prayer that dedicates all of my technology for good, protects me from unwitting conversational responses, and reminds me of when to use these means and why I am using them.


Blessed James Alberione, the “first Apostle of the New Evangelization,” recognized media as a gift of God that can be used for the uplifting of people and society. Instead of telling people to avoid new technology because it could be “a curse,” he decided to consecrate it to God. To consecrate something is to make its use sacred. If the means are consecrated then on our part there is a more mindful use. In our own media apostolate all of our printing presses, binding machines, computers, were “baptized” in holy water and named after a saint. The saint’s name usually reflected the technology. Video cameras may be named after St. Gabriel, patron of audio-visual media, for instance.  You too can “bless” or “make holy” your use of technology.

Naming your devices after a saint may be a way to have your whole family involved. Perhaps the television could have St. Clare, patron of television, as its guardian. A picture of St. Clare could be placed somewhere on it. Other patron saints can be chosen for their saintly attributes. Our Lady of Guadalupe (for visual media), St. Anthony (for Google searches), St. Peter (for passwords), St. Joseph (for family plan phone use), St. Augustine (printers), or St. Monica (for safe searches).

Since “every baptized person is called to be a ‘blessing,’ and to bless” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1669) I wrote the following prayer that may be used in your family or by an individual to bless the use of their technology. Add the use of holy water for your blessing by tracing the sign of the cross on the technology.  

Family Blessing of Technology for the New Year
Loving Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus Truth, Way, and Life, bless the use of our family’s technology. Bless the technology we use each day. Bless our phone, the Apps we use our text messages, our posts, our photos, and our every conversation. Bless our computer, the work we do on it, the games we play, the e-mail we write and send, and the YouTube videos we share. Bless our iPad, iPod, Kindle, Nook, Game Boy, and Nintendo. Bless our keyboards and remotes, our Wii and television, our media viewing, our media sharing. Thank you for having inspired humanity to discover all the new technology that we use for conversation, friendship, family communication, work, enjoyment, education, and for our spiritual uplifting. You created everything for us, as we are for Christ. May these inventions give you glory and help bring peace to humanity.
 Individual Blessing of Technology for the New Year
Loving Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus Truth, Way, and Life, bless the use of my technology for you. Bless my phone, the Apps I use, my text messages, my posts, my photos, and my every conversation. Bless my computer, the work done on it, the games played, the e-mail I write and send, and the YouTube videos shared. Bless my iPad, iPod, Kindle, Nook, Game Boy, and Nintendo. Bless my keyboards and remotes, my Wii and television, my media viewing, my media sharing. Thank you for having inspired humanity to discover all the new technology that we use for conversation, friendship, family communication, work, enjoyment, education, and for our spiritual uplifting. You created everything for us, as we are for Christ. May these inventions give you glory and help bring peace to humanity.
Patron Saints of Technology 
St. Gabriel the Archangel, Patron Saint of all Audio-Visual Media (radio, telephone, etc) 
St. Clare of Assisi, Television (remotes, cable, Wii) 
St. Cecilia, Music (creating, listening, adding music) 
St. Francis DeSales, writers (blogs, e-mail, text messages) 
St. Lucy, writers (emoticons, memes, gifs) 
St. Luke, art (Pinterest, Instagram) 
Michael the Archangel (holiness in communication) 
Raphael the Archangel (safety in communication) 
St Francis De Sales, Internet

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Sr. Margaret Kerry, FSP, celebrates 40 years of life and mission as a Daughter of St. Paul. With a Masters from Boston College School of Theology & Ministry, she gives presentations on the vocation and mission of the laity, media literacy, and evangelization. She directed the Association of Pauline Cooperators for 15 years and was creative editor of The Pauline Cooperator magazine. An author (St. Anthony of Padua: Fire & Light; Strength in Darkness: John of the Cross), Sr. Margaret is working on a young adult book. You can reach her at mkerry@paulinemedia.com.

2 comments:

patchamp said...

Great ideas! Thank you for sharing!

patchamp said...

Great ideas! Thank you for sharing!