I was in the adoration chapel and I had an urge to tweet. I was so enthralled by Fr. Robert Barron’s eloquence on the life of St. Thomas Aquinas that I couldn’t hold it in. I just, couldn’t help myself, I HAD to project this moment of celestial clarity through the closest means digital evangelization possible.
“It pleased God to save those who believe by the foolishness of our preaching.” #AquinasGotJokes
— TJ Burdick (@TJBurdick) November 3, 2014
But as “tweet sent” brandished my screen, I suddenly felt all filthy. Was I supposed to tweet in the adoration chapel? Would Jesus approve?
I then took my uneasiness to the interwebs of had friends and mentors weigh in on exactly what was acceptable and what was not acceptable when it comes to using technology in the adoration chapel.
Here’s what we came up with:
I found this on one parish website:
Please do not use cell phones, pagers, electronic devices. Adult adorers are permitted to have these devices for emergency use only (e.g. if they are at adoration in the middle of the night, are a doctor or nurse on call, etc.) and only in silent/vibrate mode. Under no circumstances should children or teens have any hand held email/web devices, small computers, cell phones, pagers, electronic games/toys, or other electronic devices in the adoration chapel. (source)
Suffice to say, I think this rule goes too far. To negate the use of technology for the group that most often uses it could potentially lead to lower adoration attendance from that age group. I know I’m a techie and the majority of the spiritual books I read are on my kindle, I use the Divine Office App and I sometimes jot down some Godly notes on Evernote.
Does that distract me from the True Presence?
The truth is, I honestly don’t know. St. John Paul the Great and Blessed Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to spend hours in front of the Eucharist with pen and notebook in hand. Sheen himself said in his autobiography that there isn’t a word he wrote that didn’t see its birth under the observance of the Sacrament.
And still, the questions remain. Sure, advances in technology have made it easier for us all to access truth, but what if Truth Himself is right in front of you. Does the knowledge He wishes to impart unto you come from the reflection of your smartphone or the glass encased beam that strikes your eye from the monstrance?
The Diocese of Marquette answers:
“One of the challenges of Christian spirituality in our society today is to avoid the heresy of activism on the one hand and escapism on the other. The practice of perpetual adoration should lead the faithful to a sense of gratitude for God’s tremendous love and a response of reaching out in the spirit of love to their neighbors and the community, especially to the poor. Pastors should be attentive in their preaching and catechesis to encourage the people of the parish to ponder Jesus’ teaching in their hearts and put it into practice. Parishes may want to place prayer cards throughout the adoration chapel which remind the people to pray for the parish, the community and our brothers and sisters around the world, especially the poor and the oppressed.” (source)
When all was said and done, I came to the following conclusions:
- Tweeting in an adoration is unacceptable.
- Reading and writing the old fashioned way (using pen and paper) is fine, but proceed with caution.
- Reading and writing using technology? Use only as a last resort. Books still exist in their natural papyrus form. Our brains have been programmed to respond to physical texts since the invention of written language. We’re still trying to figure out what to do with digital text.
- Listening in silence is best spiritual investment possible as it allows for grace to enter, the heart to swell with Love Himself, and the soul to manifest said Love in deed as one leaves the presence of the Most High. (Unless you are Blessed Fulton Sheen or St. John Paul II who could simultaneously do all of this because of their heroic piety).
What about you? What are your thoughts about the use of technology in the adoration chapel?