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Authentic Communication in a Digital Age

How intentional are you about using technology? As Pope Francis has said:  “It is not technology which determines whether or not communication is authentic, but rather the human heart and our capacity to use wisely the means at our disposal.” (Message for the World Day of Communications, 2016)

“Discernment is less about seeking direction than allowing God to guide one’s heart,” says Capuchin Father David Songy, S.T.D., Psy.D.. The president of Saint Luke Institute, Fr. Songy notes, “The various passions move us toward a particular good and away from evil, manifesting our true desires. The spiritual masters offered wisdom on being attentive to the experience of God in prayer and within the community so that Christians could  recognize these movements. One particular principle was mindfulness, i.e., attentiveness to experience.”

This can be applied to our use of communication technology. “In this virtual age, images and messages can seem overwhelming and even chaotic, but they are nevertheless the ‘stuff’ of human experience, demanding thoughtfulness and attention,” Fr. Songy notes.

We should consider whether “our experience in the digital world moves our hearts toward God or toward another good” as we discern our participation in media. This includes contemplation on how we are engaging in online dialogue, such as what we write and share on social media, what we consume and how much time we spend online.