Do you have so much power that you determine our freedom, our spaces and our times... you desacralize and dehumanize...?

on 29 Jun, 2022
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Province of El Caribe, 06/24/2022, Sr. Nícida Amparo Díaz Leal.- The following article is intended as a reflection on the formation meeting of inter-congregational temporary vowed sisters, who expressed the following concern in their reflections: "We are concerned about the compulsive use of the mobile phones in some of our sisters in community. Tthere is no personal discernment and it is justified to have it, in time and out of time, with the pastoral work and the different commitments that one has...It has become the daily companion of life and this disconcerts us because we are losing the referents that help us to forge our will, responsibility and freedom" (Group of inter-congregational juniors, May 2022. Venezuela)

I am writing the following article in the light of this inter-congregational concern, because I believe that it would be good for us to reflect on this subject that affects relationships, which are the most sacred mediation between God and his sons and daughters. I believe that it is also an unavoidable commitment because of the challenge, we have set ourselves in JPIC at the interprovincial level: "To respond with our lives and actions to everything that can restore human dignity, denouncing abuses that threaten life, with evident actions of justice and peace, in defense of life and the care of the common home" (55th GC 2019. P. 14). A challenge that we have to live in all the environments where we find ourselves, whether in our Congregation or inter-congregational context.

Dehumanizing reality:

The use of the mobile phone has become a dehumanizing dynamic in human interpersonal relationships. This small device is determining our lifestyle, affecting our time, space and freedom.
We no longer know how to move if not from our relationship with it, in such a way that the sacred spaces of our relationships are deteriorating, desacralizing; we are not discerning neither the time, nor the places, for the good use of this small device: with it, we go to chapel, we are in the dining room, at a community meeting or a reflection or retreat ; it rings, we go out or we distract ourselves by answering or looking at messages…… It is an idol that the established order is imposing on us to distance us and to create relational ruptures. Instead of encounters, it imposes misunderstandings......

It imposes a lifestyle on us to break us from the inside, to stress, divide and dehumanize us. A small thing that has a great dominating force on our will and freedom and not only that, it also closes us off from the possibility of creating a new way of organizing ourselves, so that it does not determine our life; and instead of dominating us, we dominate it by saving what is most sacred, namely the encounter of God with us and between us, saving fraternal charity, in listening, discernment and being together, sharing the table, the meetings, the liturgy? We need to be attentive and vigilant, to exercise our freedom, responsibility and discernment. What if tomorrow we are no longer here? Then let us be today more than ever... Let us not let it rob us of our fraternity!

Respond with radical choices:

I was telling the sisters of temporary vows that one of my options is freedom in the use of the mobile phone, in such a way that it does not determine me, and I proposed to them, speaking from my experience, to take the risk of taking the first step, without shortcuts and to discover that it is possible to live against the current of the dehumanizing proposals of the established order. The choice must be radical and discerned, with freedom and responsibility: not to take the mobile phone to chapel, nor to personal or community prayer, not to take it to the dining room, not to take it to any meeting, or to retreats to live each moment to the full, because I am convinced that life is woven of daily and fraternal gestures that save the community are by listening and communication.

References that encourage us and sustain our hope:

Among us, in the consecrated life, there are sisters who are faithful witnesses, of living first of all in relationships and recreating their way of being in the community, without the mobile phone, thus favouring humanizing and fraternal environments, discerning spaces and time. They tell us with their lives that, if it is possible, when there is willpower and clarity in the style of life that we have decided to live following Christ and according to the charism of their Congregation.

They are leaders and have authority because they live their choice in coherence, without making noise, without imposing themselves, but being witnesses that when we take risks, we go forward without shortcuts, because God is the only horizon that must inspire our way of being and being in this fractured world, thirsty for humanity and fraternity.

We need to be aware and create this environment of freedom and responsibility, from the smallest details, to save our relationship with God, with our brothers and sisters, with creation and with ourselves, because if these relationships are fractured, everything else will be fractured and we will not have the strength to respond to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, much less to the ecological conversion that we hope for so much. So, "Let our yes be yes and our no be no". For it is not a question of saying, it is a question of living with authority, in the manner of Jesus, with humanizing, fraternal and hopeful gestures.