Go Gray for Lent: Reclaiming a More Robust Understanding of Penance

Good Friday Crucifixion by Thomas B.
Good Friday Crucifixion by Thomas B. (Modified) Public Domain

*My conversation with Dr. Maria Morrow is embedded at the bottom of the page*

Doing Penance for my phone with my phone.

In a mindless trance of endless facebook scrolling, I came across this article which arrested my attention. I all at once felt vindicated in finding this gem at the end of a long scroll, and also convicted for having scrolled so long. This tiny article called out my flickering screen addiction and gave me the means to overcome it. Well, to slow it down at least. As I finished the article, I followed its instructions, and immediately contacted the author to see if she would join me on my show to talk about it.

“Sometimes, I have felt it was like an eye looking at me. and I am always wanting to put it on and disappear, don’t you know; or wondering if it’s safe, and pulling it out to make sure. I tried locking it up, but I found I couldn’t rest without it in my pocket. I don’t know why. And I don’t seem able to make up my mind.”

These are Bilbo Baggins’ words in Chapter 1 of The Fellowship of the Ring, as he speaks to the wizard Gandalf about his ring. A smartphone, of course, is not a magic ring, and yet, we may echo Bilbo’s words to some extent here. Many smartphone users are always wanting to take out their phone and perhaps “disappear” from whatever or whoever surrounds them: disappearing from the household chores, the work responsibilities, or the strangers in the waiting room. Like a magic ring, a smartphone can be very useful.

Unnecessary checking on phones is not altogether different than Bilbo’s wondering if the ring is safe, and pulling it out to make sure.

Sometimes, we recognize the pull that the device has on us, so we put it away from us, only to realize we can’t rest without it in our pocket. What if we miss out on something important while it is tucked away in a drawer?

Read the rest here.

Penance is a Virtue?

I had a fantastic conversation with Dr. Maria Morrow on Outside the walls, as we explore all the things we used to know, but have conveniently forgotten about living a penitential life. Find all the show archives at www.outsidethewalls.com.

As always, the conversation continued after the show ended. Patreon supporters get an extra 10 minutes of interview content at https://www.patreon.com/posts/dr-maria-morrow-17471043.

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