Friday, March 21, 2014

God Invented the Internet: radical availability and vulnerability

If you are like me the idea of the internet fascinates you: start from anywhere, go anywhere, see almost anything at anytime. If the internet means radical availability, such that one is always able to be reached but also vulnerable to being ignored, then God invented the internet.

It all started 2,000 years ago on a small hill outside of the city of Jerusalem, when a man was put to a most shameful and bloody death on a tree with perhaps two or three of his friends present, at the most. You see, it turns out that the man on the Cross was not only a man. He rose from the dead the same but different: he had a body but it was "glorified", capable of heavenly as well as earthly things: he could move and reappear very rapidly from one location to another, he could walk through walls, he showed the wounds of his suffering but they no longer had power over him.

That man was Jesus and He invented the internet. If the internet means having the capacity of being in more than one place at a time, enabling communication between distant points, then Jesus invented the internet.

How do we find this internet today?  Go to a Catholic church and locate a candle burning all alone in the darkness. Search around the area near that candle for a secure box decorated with beautiful images and perhaps shrouded with a violet or white cloth. There: you have it, the internet. You have found the contact in one place that brings the ability to touch another place at the same time. It is an "internet" in the most real sense, for the living presence there brings living contact with a distant place, and not just any distant place, but the one farther away from you than can possibly be imagined. What you have before you, then, is not an image only of that place, but actual contact. You are here and there, both at once. If anything can be the "internet" then this must truly be the one.

The presence of Jesus in that tabernacle brings living contact with Him, because He is truly present, and because He is Divine, then living contact with Him brings you into direct contact with eternity, with God. This is the real "internet" because there is no greater distance that a human being could possibly travel: from earth to heaven, from man to God, from time to eternity.

We can also turn the internet off, and we very often should, because we need time for the real: real relationships, real people, real events, in order to live a real life.  Unfortunately, sometimes, we also try to turn God "off" but He is not an internet in that sense: we should never turn Him "off" like a computer, cell phone or tablet, because although He is in the tabernacle in any church, He is there so that we can visit Him outside of Mass for prayer and presence, also so that through grace we have contact with Him throughout the day and throughout life.

Start at the tabernacle, visit and worship Him there, but then go forth to remain in the contact of loving worship, through intellect and will, through the day and through all things, by grace and love. This "internet" one need never and must never turn "off".

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