Personal Museums

Family-Texting3As mentioned in last week’s post, “Saint Francis the Impudent”, I too find myself holding my breath whenever I hear that the Holy Father is once again sharing an airplane with reporters. I agree that some of his reckless, off the cuff remarks not only cause confusion amongst the faithful but are certainly beneath the dignity of the office. However, what I find saddening is that these pontifical bombshells eclipse some the Holy Father’s more insightful and poignant remarks. For example, during his recent trip to the Philippines, Pope Francis had the opportunity to give an impromptu speech to students at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. During a question and answer session this is what the Holy Father had to say to Leanado Sandos II regarding the age of information: “Today, with so many means of communication we are overloaded with information. Is that bad? No. It is good and can help. But there is a real danger of living in a way that we accumulate information. We have so much information but maybe we don’t know what to do with that information. So we run the risk of becoming museums of young people who have everything but not knowing what to do with it. We don’t need young museums but we do need holy young people. “
It just takes a moment to consider how much digital information our children are now taking in, and to acknowledge that the Holy Father right. For example, a 2010 Kaiser Foundation Study found that U.S. youth spend more than seven and a half hours a day using media. How often have we witnessed families sharing a meal in restaurant only to find they have all retreated into their own museum of information once the meal has been ordered?
I think it’s great to hear the Pope call our youth to curtail their consumption of information. Each of us is given a relatively small amount of time with which we must learn to selflessly serve our God, our families and our Church. Youth need to hear that they have been created for great things and their lives should not be squandered. Let’s take the Holy Father’s advice and unplug our children (and ourselves) from a bad diet of shallow texting, mindless tweets, and aimless searching.

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