I am in the middle of a panic attack (yay -- note the sarcasm) but I am still writing this entry because I need a distraction. It's part of a new resolution I forgot to mention yesterday. Anyway...
I'm a big geek (not the biggest but pretty big) and I love technology. It's a bit funny that I was the last of my friends to get a computer, or even the internet, and I'm the one that's telling them how to do certain things. lol. While we can't deny that it's a big part of our every day life, it seems that more and more people are getting so enthralled with the world wide web that they're forgetting about their prayer life. Trust me, I know first hand that this is true... says the girl who has too many tabs open on her browser. lol.
A Vatican aide, Fr. Federico Lombardi, spoke out on this topic a few weeks ago. He said, in a nutshell, that we're so wrapped up in our things -- cell phones, internet, etc. -- that we forget to take time out in our day to have silent prayer and/or meditation. This is also something Mark mentioned in the list of "Thing to Do/Not Do" when it came to anxiety. One of things he suggested was "Taking spiritual breaks and holidays, especially away from television and computer screens and other electronics. Spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament more instead. Not watching television and films in the evening is a good one too – try reading instead." I think this is really important.
I've luckily found ways to help with this... and even merge the two. Oh yes, I have. :D First, you can always pray the Rosary. I've found this to be the easiest way to get back into prayer and silent reflection. Again, this is from my personal experience so results may very. Keep losing your Rosary beads or easily lose track of what Hail Mary you're on, and want to use technology? If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, you can download an application called "Holy Rosary" for $2.99. It's worth the money. That's what I've used on two occasions now. I prefer to use the actual beads in my hand but sometimes I can't find them or don't have them handy. That's when I've used this application. Out of the Rosary applications out there, this has been the best. It has all the prayers, as well as the readings AND pictures of that particular mystery. It also includes the Fatima prayer for those of you who say it after every decade *points to self*.
And while I'm on the topic of Catholic applications for iPod touches (and iPhones), there are a couple that I really recommend. First: the Catholic Calendar. It's free, you get the information for that day, and can even looks back (or forward) to see when holidays land and who the saint of the day is. It doesn't have saints every day, which is the only downside. But, did I mention it's free?
Second: The iBreviary. Wow, LOVE it. It's only 99 cents and it's really good. For this one, you'll need to have WiFi to download the readings and prayers for each day. If you don't, you can probably find WiFi somewhere... like your local Starbucks. I first heard of this application on Fallible Blogma a couple of weeks ago. This morning, Fr. Paolo Padrini left me a comment about advertising this application. He totally beat me to it because I'd always planned on talking about it. :D If you download this app (which I totally recommend!), you'll see that it's in Italian. Don't fear! You can change that. Just go to your Settings (for your iPhone or iPod touch), go down to the iBreviary and click it, and then click on the language to change to whatever you want yours to be. I haven't updated any of my apps because I don't have WiFi so mine has Italian, English, Spanish, French, Rite Ambrosiano, and Latin as the languages but I believe there's an update (or will be) with more languages and more options. If you want to read the message Fr. Paolo left me, click here and go to the bottom where the comments are.
I don't need to warn you from staying away from certain tv stations, do I? I don't think so. I have faith that y'all are smart enough to know what to avoid watching. If you do want to enjoy t.v. with Catholic programming, EWTN is a great place to watch shows and other Catholics things. I have the Spanish version (part of the Spanish package we have for my parents) of it because Time Warner makes us pay extra if we want the English version. Oh, if you speak Spanish AND have EWTN en Español, check out Fr. Alberto Cutié's program, called "Hablando Claro con el Padre Alberto". It's fantastic. I know Catholic TV is great as well, but it's not offered as widely at EWTN. You can look actually view those channels online as well. You just have to go to their websites. :D
A great place to find various Catholic podcasts, amongst other great things, is SQPN. I highly recommend Fr. Roderick's Daily Breakfast podcast. I've been listening to it since the end of 2007 and I love it. Catholic in a Small Town is funny too. You should go on over and check the entire site out. :D
I also recommend the XT3 website as well. There are a number of good, faithful Catholics on there. It started off as the official World Youth Day website but it's now expanded to being a place where Catholics can have great discussions and meet other like minded Catholics. If you're already on there, let me know. :D
There are plenty of Catholic website and blogs you can check out when you're on the web. I have a list on the left hand side in case you're ever in need of a particular thing. :D
I do have some things I am advising you to stay away. Stay far away from the whole Second Life thing. Please. Just say no to it. I've tried it and, while there are a surprising number of Catholics on there -- a few which get together to pray the Rosary in real time with each other, using their avatars -- and it's not to hard to avoid places which are completely disgusting, it's very easy to fall into or view things you'll end up going to confession for. You might not even look for it, but it'll come up. There a number of places which are actually quite nice -- developers have made virtual churches and spiritual places that exist in real life -- but don't get fooled by it. There's too much temptation on it. It's not worth it, especially with the weirdos on it. I downloaded it and deleted it in just a couple of hours. Stay away for this and similar things to this!
So, as you can see, there are a number of ways you can merge the two... but it's important to remember that is DOES do the mind, and soul, good to take breaks from technology. Why not go read a book on your favorite saint? Why not go take a walk and think about what great things the Lord has done for you? You can also go to a church and just sit and meditate in it. That's something I love to do. I go to my parish during the week and just sit there, by myself, in silence and pray or just reflect of things.
And with that, I will end this blog. I am going to go pray the Rosary and then try to finish one of the Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati books I bought myself for Christmas. Oh, and... hey! My anxiety's gone from when I started this blog. Isn't it great? :D
Alright, I will stop writing now. lol. I'll write about the saint dreams I've been having lately in the next post. Hope everyone had a great week! As always, thanks for reading and God Bless. :D