There is much questioning, conversation, and consternation about to the level of noise in contemporary society. We are all too easily drawn to forgo our personal space through the habitual reach of portable devices and social media. One effect of this instant and continuous access is an incessant barrage of news updates and text-messages—with the loss of personal quiet and decreasing ability to concentrate.
I myself have found this anxious “need” to incessantly check my e-mail and the latest news every few minutes, even immediately upon waking up. The loss for me is that these “tools” form a greater portion of my “interaction” with the world, rather than my own personal experience.
Some of the current solutions to this “noise” speak of mindfulness and meditation as ways to cultivate deeper interior quiet and stronger personal interaction with others people and with the wonderful world around us. The Ignatian Examen is one way of practicing this interior quiet, but also with the opportunity to invite God to more personally interact with us – to feed us with his love and grace.
Today’s reading from 1st Kings shows us that the distraction of “noise” is a perennial aspect in our world. In Elijah’s situation he has to find quiet after various noises and “news updates” of the world pass by – wind, crashing rocks, earthquakes, fire. Only then does he hears the voice of God in “a tiny whispering sound.”
What are some practical ways—spaces and times—by which I can intentionally disconnect from my mobile devices? Can I trust God enough to disconnect from these things in order to connect with him?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. serves in campus ministry at Loyola University Chicago and is also minister of the Loyola Jesuit Community.