Veteran's Day Commemoration at Victory Park in Rumson
Mother Frances Cabrini

Five Were Wise, Five Were Foolish



Advent approaches

We are called to watchful attention

For the coming of the Lord in our lives

And our world.

The foolish virgins are an example

Of inattention and distraction.

Distractions are all around us

None more powerful these days

Than our electronic devices.

The computer age has certainly

Changed our world

But the age of smartphones

Revolutionized it.

And experts say they are

Changing us. 

If our phones and the

Social apps are too much

To ignore

They’re designed that way…

To be used as much as possible

…to be addictive.


A recent study tabulated

25 % of our waking hours are

Spent on our phones

Email, texting, surfing, shopping,

Gambling, game playing. 

A good portion of the rest of the time

Is spent anticipating their use

Waiting for return texts, emails

Nomophobia: fear of being separated from our mobile devices


World of Warcraft may be one of the most addictive behavioral experiences on the planet

Ten billion dollars, 100 million subscribers, 12th nation on earth


We can do and see almost anything

At the click of a button day or night:

Gamble, shop, work, look at sexual images.

Smartphones have unleashed unprecedented powerful addictions.

It isn’t that we have no willpower,

It’s that there are an army of

Highly paid experts

Behind every online app

Figuring out how to overcome

Our willpower.

Convenience, availability and the illusion of privacy are factors.

Facebook’s stroke of genius

Was adding the “like” and “friend” functions

Which provide unpredictable

But small rewards for using the app

And then digitizing the results:

       Likes, dislikes, comments, follow, unfollow;

Providing badges or awards for incremental use.


Who knows what post will be liked?

How can I expand my network of friends?

Can I get to level three?

What will go viral?

How many likes do I have now?

Click, click, click.


Work invades our leisure time with 

Nearly 24 hours of work email, texts, alerts...

Even on vacation.


Our young people are particularly susceptible

to these devices and apps.

False social values and self-worth

       Determined by Likes and followers and clicks.


Social interaction of young children - it's 

Important to be free from screen time.


Steve Jobs wouldn’t allow his children

       To have iPhones.

One of the first presidents of Facebook

       Wouldn’t allow his children

       To use the app.

Some of the best game developers

       And programmers won’t play

       World of Warcraft.

They are very powerful changers of behavior


How they change social interactions,

       Family get-togethers and other

       Functions is obvious to all of us

Even our worship is periodically invaded


So what do we do?

Work stays at work.

       One company in Europe has all the desks

       And office furniture wired to cables

       And at closing time

       The furniture is hoisted to the ceiling

       Converting the space to a recreation area

Some companies are shutting off email

       After hours and during employee

       Vacations: mail on holiday

       Providing an alternate contact for emergencies

       But not accepting new emails

       People don’t return from vacation

       With overflowing inbox.

For measures we can take:

Parents are prohibiting any unsupervised internet access to young children

And if they provide them cell phones, only those without internet connectivity

No computer screens or TV’s in childrens’ rooms

Limiting hours of screen time

       Self and others

       Social interaction

       Text-speak not the same as face-to-face communication


Advent is coming...

       Think about a plan.

       It’s easy to become distracted,

       We don’t want to be caught off guard

       And miss occasions of grace

       Gratitude and good-will.


How can we become more attentive

To what’s important,

Not distracted by irrelevant

Digital pleasures.

Advent 11 PM to Midnight Adoration

       On Wednesday nights

Spending time with God

       With family, friends

       With the poor and hungry

       With the sick and suffering

       Praying for those we miss

       In the real world

       Not the virtual world


See  Irresistible  by Adam Alter and The Power of Silence by Robert Cardinal Sarah.