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Faith/Spirituality Forum: My Thoughts

by Catherine Frakas 28 May 2001

My Thoughts QUESTION from Thinker August 6, 2001 Hello. I have a few thoughts I wanted to share. I don't know why, but I felt like posting them here. Please share with me your thoughts, if any.
Lately I find myself during walks thinking that the majority of the modern world, is heading in the wrong direction. That this hurried pace, the increased noise all around us, and a change from a radical spiritual life to a crazy materialistic life is rotting us from the inside out, probably partly responsible for the cancer in our society. I see the frantic drivers in rows, like herds of cattle, stampeding to their destination, always hurried. For what? A few extra bucks to spend on junk? I'm also concerned about the killing of the earth. I think the miles of concrete are choking the earth .. I don't believe in any sort of concrete or pavement, I think plants and wildlife should exist there. Sometimes when I am surrounded by all the streets, buildings, and concrete this and that, I imagine fields of corn, big grassy fields with trees of various sorts. God's beautiful creation.
Television and computer use has turned into insane abuse. I noticed during a few visites to loved ones who were sick, when TV and computer use was almost eliminated, families got together, talked, really learned about each other, and _cared_ for one another. What I see throughout many people's families is the TV or computer being a source of division. The constant noise from these two sources of entertainment, and the dizzying array of flashing effects and # of frames per second, HAS to be doing SOMETHING negative to our minds. Nevermind the subliminal messages that ARE being displayed on TV, especially during advertisements.
Our culture is becoming so fast that if you notice next time you walk through a crowded mall, or any large assembly with people, the majority are talking constantly, almost nervously, about anything. Quickly, and constantly. In cars, on airplanes, everywhere it seems, almost no one can be satisfied with being still. Everything has to be entertaining, everyone has to be stimulating, or something is wrong. I've had people actually get after me for being too quiet sometimes. I happen to enjoy thinking more than babbling. I've read surveys where people have said they agree we're moving much faster in things than the past, and people are growing less tolerant of slow people. A good example of this is in the poor treatment of our elderly today. Take a walk into a nursing home and return a few weeks later, and again a few weeks later. Meet with people living there and examine their progress. Often you will find neglect, and nurses who spend more time chatting over their patient's medcarts and TV's with one another rather than actually helping them. Another good example is euthanasia. A third example is our aging Holy Father. People are always looking for younger, and thinking better. In my opinion, the elderly should be treated with the most respect.
I'm not very amused at what I see in the next dozen years. I think people will almost be possessed by machines, and may be treated as such, as computers move quickly from exterior use, to integration with our bodies through the guise of entertainment. With the attack on life raging both in abortion and euthanasia, are most of us destined to become the tin man? Without a heart, cold, and without feeling for our fellow man?
I think of the Amish people, and the Catholic Monastics. Though I don't agree in the Amish's split from Catholicism or their claims on authority, they along with the Catholic Monastics follow more of a lifestyle I believe we should all start learning from and adapting to our lives. I compare the state of our current society to the barbarism that was occuring in the middle ages. The Church along with its monasteries carried learning and a God fearing lifestyle through to the present day. Today we see a similar trend, I believe, to barbarism of a different sort, though similarities can be found.
These are some thoughts I felt important to share. Thanks for reading. God Bless
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 31, 2001 Dear Mr. Thinker:
I agree with you. This is way in the Legion of St. Michael we take a vow of Substantial Solitude and Substantial Silence. We take seriously the admonition of God to be still and know that I am God.
Even busy seculars can find a few minutes of solitude and silence if they try. There is no exuses not to.
Your comments reminds me of something I experienced while on retreat to a Benedictine Monastery. We have just finished singing Vespers. There was a group of Teenagers from a parish choir on retreat at the monastery and they joined us for Vespers.
In the Monastic way of doing Vespers there are LONG periods of total silence. These kids participated very well and sat through the silence without figiting.
After Vespers I was walking down a sidewalk outside the chapel and a small group of teens were behind me talking about the Vespers experience. I thought, oh, here we go, these kids are going to say something negative. But I was wrong. The kids said, All that silence was neat.
It was probably the first time in their whole lives they had experienced such total silence and they were impressed. I only hope it planted a seed that as they grow older and get busy with the world that they take time to turn off the TV, the radio, the CD player, the computer, the lawn mower, etc. and just sit in silence contemplating the majesty of God.
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