I write this brief reflection on Mercy Sunday, after having been without email or an electronic calendar for just over one week now. Due to various issues and technical difficulties, the main servers at my parishes, Saint Frances Cabrini and Immaculate Conception, were knocked off line eight days ago. Despite the heroic attempts of some top IT personnel to restore it, everything is still off line.
Lately in my life I have become a firm believer in Divine Providence, and this whole experience of being unable to communicate in the usual fashions with the parish staff, and the outside world, has I am sure been allowed by the Good Lord to teach valuable lessons, and I will spend a fair amount of time unpacking it all in the months ahead.
One lesson: it is amazing how much easier electronic communications have made things. It is clear, after this past week with it all grinding to a halt, that there is no way I can function as a pastor of multiple parishes, with a large staff, thousands of parish members, and so many moving parts, moving at the speed that we always do, without electronic communication. Remarkable what we take for granted until it is gone, no?
Another lesson: it is amazing how much harder electronic communications have made things. And by that I mean it is also the case that in this past week, I have probably been calmer than I have been for quite awhile. Ordinarily the phone is continually chiming with new messages that need attention, the emails are piling up, there is pressure to get back to people, etc, etc.
But I have quietly had to stand by helplessly and just admit that there is not one thing I can do about being essentially cut off from my right hand, i.e. the iPhone. And it’s been great to be honest.
Electronic communication has created a sense of immediacy about life and about situations that is clearly unhealthy and I dare say demonic. It is amazing how much we don’t realize how unhealthy we are until some curse (like continual electronic communication) is broken. Even if temporarily.
All of this happened because of a power surge that happened in the middle of the Holy Saturday Mass during the great Easter Vigil. This gives new meaning to the insurance company term “act of God.” Perhaps God wanted us all to have a little email Sabbath? A different type of Octave? You be the judge.
He is the God of wonderful surprises. And my belief in Divine Providence has grown precisely because I have come to see that when things collapse, He is always pushing us to the next level of trust.
I will keep telling myself that as I await the blessed hope, and the glorious return of our savior- not email- but Jesus Christ.
A Blessed Easter to you all as the Octave draws to a close. My email-free octave is going to stretch into tomorrow, which makes it a novena. And on Tuesday a decade.
God does have a wicked sense of humor.