January 2018: I’ve been asked to provide specific resources that I access on my phone to those who might be interested. Please see the updated bullet points below.
Yes, they have a place in our spiritual lives
Recently, I read with some bemusement an editorial by a priest decrying the proliferation of smart phones he saw as he celebrated Mass. While I appreciate his concern that the phones might be distracting Mass-goers, I was disappointed at his presumption. He seemed to assume that the phones the phones were only being used for texting during Mass.
The reality is that phones are tools. Like any tool, they can be used appropriately or inappropriately. When used appropriately, they have the potential to bring us closer to God.
Here’s an incomplete list of some of the roles my phone plays in my spiritual life:
- Prayer book (Magnificat.org. The online app that mirrors the content of the monthly prayer resource is available via subscription. It includes daily readings, morning, evening, and night prayer, meditation on the day’s Gospel, profile of a saint every day, and more. I highly recommend the print or online versions.)
- Missal (Again, Magnificat)
- Bible (USCCB.org, the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, contains a wealth of resources, including the entire New American Bible, daily readings (text based and audio) with video reflection)
- Rosary companion (several Rosary podcasts are available, including “A Rosary Companion” and “Pray the Rosary with Bishop Barres”)
- Examination of conscience (Jesuit Prayer app includes the daily Ignatian Examen)
- Spiritual reading (Magnificat, God in All Things, and other Catholic blogs)
- Video player for scriptural reflections (USCCB.org)
- Mass finder (Masstimes.org)
- Church directory (the Masstimes app includes a mapping function to find nearby parishes, as well as links to parish websites and bulletin)
- Prayer group scheduler (the calendar in Outlook and other programs comes in handy for keeping track of group meetings, religious education sessions, etc.)
I could go on, but you get the point. Obviously, I don’t use my phone for all these things during Mass. However, if you see me looking at my phone in church, don’t assume I’m texting or checking sport scores.