When the Lord passed through my life, I was really into the digital networking. And when he said “Come, follow me” (Mt. 4:19). I went and follow him… but I didn’t leave the net. Instead, I brought with me the Word and circulated it in the digital continent.
Because of Computer Engineering, my head was wired with data, circuits, and codes. In that situation I was called. The deciphering of codes to make a computer software work was converted into deciphering the code that Jesus left to make heaven unveiled on earth. For many years I wondered why I had been called from among so many others. And at the same time, He gave me the opportunity to navigate, investigate, dominate the digital continent. Later I realized that God called me to proclaim the Word through the digital continent; to encode in my heart the digital numbers 0 and 1: ZERO (= none) another God and the ONE and only commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34); to continue fishing men and women citizens of the digital continent.
We can be missionaries in cyberspace and not just in the real world. It is an immense and unfathomable frontier. We can use the cyber world as a tool to make our God and Lord known to all. And through it, to invite others to know him more: share the daily, communicate the history of the people chosen by God, share the love story between God and his people. Use the web to build networks of faith and decrypt the true and hidden message of the Word.
We can show our love and be Missionaries of the merciful and loving God by spreading love and promoting peace in the social network and overcoming cyber bullying. We can inspire people to circulate the antivirus of hate through videos, graphics, and music. We can be mediators between the love of God and his people across the digital continent. Of course, always with caution and prudence. The Church invites us to be present in this “new continent” and also warns us of its illusions and traps (cf. LS 47).
We are accustomed to the old and conventional way of mission: to go out and meet people, be seen physically, preach and convert people to be believers, be seen doing many things, facing all the danger at the frontiers. I think it’s time to upgrade our operating system; this version of missionary is limited. Throw your net on the other side of the boat. We too can serve God and His people, we can be Servants of the Word, missionaries on the digital continent, even just by sitting in front of the computer or by using our mobile phones.
After all, both conventional mission and digital mission have the same goal as the song “The Mission” by Steve Green sums up perfectly: “To love the Lord our God is the heartbeat of our mission, the source from which our service overflows. On the other side of the street or around the world“, and I add, even on the digital continent, “the mission remains the same: Proclaim and live the truth in the name of Jesus“.
As servants of the Word, we feel called to search for the signs of God in the digital world, to share our experience of the Gospel in new communication codes and to combat the viruses of manipulation, superficiality and depersonalization. What a revolution Claret would have encouraged if he had the possibilities offered today by these new technologies! (cf. MFL 2j) (MS 18).
May the Lord be praised and others be encouraged to praise Him in and through the fiber optics. Be a Servant of the Word. Share the Word and be missionaries in the cyber continent. The DNS and gateways are always open for all!
Fr. Louie Guades CMF