By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB
Each Lent we are each asked to pick a book to read. I have chosen the book Walking Together: Discovering the Catholic Tradition of Spiritual Friendship by Mary Deturris Poust. I did not get far along when this passage made me stop and think:
“The very technology that is supposed to make our lives so mush easier and so much more integrated is, in actuality, cutting us off from face to face contact, leaving us with mostly virtual relationships that may supply superficial satisfaction but never feed our deeper need for something that touches the heart and soul.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. Today we have many wonderful tools that can help us stay in touch with friends and reach out to new ones.
It helps us very much in vocation work. It helps inquirers search for information and insight, and it helps us reach out to them.
But there’s a danger that all the information and insight we offer can lead inquirers to believe that they really know the community. That they don’t need to visit to see for themselves who we are. They believe they’ve seen it all online.
Here’s the thing: Staying online is safe. It’s where you never have to say these scary words out loud, “I think God is calling me to more.”
It’s where you never have to hear a Sister say, “Tell me about yourself.” Or, “What are you looking for in a community?”
Whether or not you’ve read every word we’ve ever posted, received every newsletter, liked our Facebook page or followed our blogs, if you haven’t come to meet us, you don’t know us.
You’re not answering your call to explore religious life. Exploring doesn’t mean choosing. It means taking steps to discover whether you are being called.
When you answer your call to explore religious life, you learn about it in person. You visit. You get to know the Sisters. You participate in our daily prayer, listening to the unity of our one voice. You see a younger Sister helping an elder to Communion with great gentleness and compassion. You experience profound peace.
How can you know if this is what you long for? It takes time. It takes human contact. So fill up on our tech side, but make plans now to visit face to face. Find out whether we, a community of living human beings, meet the need that keeps nagging you deep in your soul.