Commentary on technology — especially smartphones and social media — and its negative effects on relationships has gained traction in recent months.
This April, Vivek Wadhwa of The Washington Post, previously a champion of social media, recently cried uncle. “I was wrong. Too much tech is ruining lives,” his column’s headline rang out. In his column, New York Times writer David Brooks opined on the steady decline of quality in our relationships for decades, with the trends intensifying in the last five years, thanks to our technological advances. The breakdown of relationships, naturally, has lead to loneliness, isolation and polarization, all of which are on the rise. An article in last week’s issue of OSV Newsweekly (online April 22), too, offered an in-depth look at how the digital age is altering relationships — and generally not for the better.
From our own anecdotal experiences, most of us can relate. We are spending much more time looking at tiny machines or scrolling through endless feeds of mind-numbing information than is good for us. And our relationships often take a hit.
If we’re honest, though, we know that it’s not just technology that inhibits healthy relationships. Sometimes we don’t want to put in the work. We’re lazy, selfish, prideful, stubborn — you name it. We’re human, and we sin.
Yet we know, too, that a little goes a long way in terms of building up relationships. Regular conversation, spending time together, learning more about the other person can all play a part in a stronger relationship. This is true whether it’s a relationship with our spouse, our children or a friend — but it’s especially true when we’re speaking of a relationship with Our Lord.
Do we engage in regular conversation, in frequent prayer? Do we spend enough time together, whether at Mass or in adoration? Do we continue to grow in knowledge and understanding of his life through reading Scripture? If we don’t do these things as frequently as we might like, have we ever stopped to wonder: Why not? The ultimate loneliness, after all, is a life without Christ.
As we approach the Marian month of May, we have a perfect opportunity to reconnect with Jesus Christ through his mother. Those of you who are regular readers of this column will know that last year at this time I published my first book, “Why the Rosary, Why Now?” that helps us understand why this prayer is more important now than ever. This spring, we are offering a free study guide for parishes or small groups who would like to use the book in group study. It can be used during May, during the month of the Rosary in October, or anytime individuals or parish groups want to grow closer to Christ through Mary.
If you’re interested, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send it to you. It’s never too soon to strengthen our relationship with Christ.
Gretchen R. Crowe is editor-in-chief of OSV Newsweekly. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.