Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Peace of the City

From time to time I read or hear of someone, usually someone who doesn't actually use the internet very much, worrying that the web is making us more and more isolated from one another. If people can tailor their own newsgathering preferences, subscribe to blogs, podcasts and newsfeeds of their own choosing, even publish their own blogs without help, guidance, or permission from professionals, then how will any new ideas ever get in, they wonder? And I suppose the potential for extreme narrowing of subject matter to the exclusion of anything fresh is theoretically possible. If I only wanted news about my favorite rock band I suppose I could set up all my incoming media to funnel in only that one, narrow subject. The question is, how many people actually do that? It would take considerable work to accomplish such a complete closing off of all unwanted information, since the science of newsfeeding isn't exact, nor are all the various news sources so strictly on-topic all the time anyway. My newsfeeds and Google alerts catch all kinds of stories and articles completely unrelated to what I intend for them. For example, I have a couple of different alerts set up to catch stuff that appears online about my religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province. It works pretty well, I think; I pretty much know when our community is mentioned in newspapers, on blogs, websites, etc. But along with that, which is what I want, I also get links to stories about Civil-War era battleships, high school soccer teams and local political squabbles in Canada, scripture references, and genealogical information and obituaries about men named Joseph and Paul. I suppose there are ways I could set up my searches to exclude some of these things by using Boolean operators and other methods, but I don't, mainly because I'm afraid I might miss something I do want, and also because I might miss something that I'm not looking for but which is, nevertheless, interesting, delightful, or seems in need of prayer or attention.

I suppose it takes a certain amount of multi-tasking ability to keep from being driven crazy by the constant need to sort and filter these alerts, and I do realize that there are people for whom multi-tasking really is difficult and distressing. However, even when reading a newspaper most people do sort and filter, don't they? In any case, it's never been clear to me exactly how everybody knowing everything going on everywhere helps make the world a better place, to tell the truth. Better to focus on a few people, events, or things that interest and/or delight one, try to do what one can to help the good in them flourish; and be open to whatever tasks or needs might be coming one's way each day.

I think this is what God wants us to do: look around at what interests us, and see who and what there is to love and to aid in flourishing.

And seek the peace of the city to which I have sent you,
and pray for it to God, for in its peace you shall have peace.
Jeremiah 29:7

Today I'm grateful for: several good phone conversations today, including one with my mother and another with Monica, who is in Gulu; the sisters who are ministering in Uganda; a day of nice weather; a day of rest; the success of LM's garage sale to raise money for a good cause; new sisters in our community and the gifts they share; the novels of Charles Williams.

Holding in prayer today: JK,PC,MF,KH,MB,ML,RH and all struggling with serious health issues; KS coming to the end of her life; M and all lonely people; people moving from their homes and living in new places; people working in jobs that do harm to the common good or to individuals, esp. people who work for ICE; LL and the people in southern Mexico; Archbishop Nienstedt; members of the Chesterton Society that they may remember Whom they serve and what conduct that requires of them; Sisters of St. Joseph in Argentina.

1 comment:

Kelly_SSJ/A said...

I've just come across your blog and enjoy reading it.So..I thought i would say hello. :) I enjoy the lace work at the top. It has become an important metaphor for the journey for me, especially lately.