I was recently privileged to write an article for the periodical Horizon, which is the professional publication for the Nation Religious Vocations Conference. If you are a vocation director for a religious order or congregation, men or women, you most likely belong to this group. The article is on the use of smartphones for vocation ministry.
Like so many of our brothers in the Order, I have and use a smartphone all day, every day. I cannot imagine being without my cell phone. It is a tool that I find most necessary in my ministry, and I am sure many of the brothers of the Province would agree with me on this point.
But as I roam through life, I am continually amazed at the utter lack of communication or even faint interest people have in each other when the cell phone is out and in-hand. In saying this, I first convict myself, since I am one who was all consumed by my cool phone and its awesome apps for so long. Then I started riding the train more often. No one looks at each other. No one talks to each other. So, unless absolutely necessary, when I travel on public transportation, including and especially airplanes, I make a concerted effort to not have my phone out and to try to pay attention to the people around me.
With this small gesture in our modern, busy lives, maybe I will be able to connect with people, talk to people, and maybe remind them that we are meant for relationships with each other and not an inanimate object. No matter how awesome that object may be, it will never replace authentic human contact and love, which is what Our Lord brought to everyone he encountered. As Dominican Friars, this is witness we bring to the world.