Self-surrender and the new technologies PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 August 2015 11:15

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

We should have no doubt about this. There is a great need to surrender ourselves. Of course, not just to anybody, but to God, our Creator and Father, our everything.

And because of God, we need to surrender ourselves to anybody who has some authority over us in the name of God—our parents, teachers and other superiors we may have in the different aspects of our life. In a sense, we will end up surrendering ourselves to everybody in the name of God.

Without that self-surrender, we would simply be floating on air in this life, with no foundation, no pillar, no stability. And, of course, no purpose either, even if we seem to look otherwise, and quite impressively, in fact, according to purely human standards.

Without that self-surrender, there’s no other way but to succumb to self-assertion and all the other forms of egoism and egocentrism which we have to avoid at all costs like poison.

Sad to say, these latter phenomena are rapidly rising, strongly supported by the general world culture today that cleverly panders to our tendency to be self-centered and self-absorbed.

This self-surrender, to be sure, is not just about self-annihilation, but rather the contrary. It in reality will fill us up with what is actually proper to us. And that is, to be filled with God in whose image and likeness we are, and whose children we also are. It is what will identify ourselves more and more with God. And for us there can be no better thing than that.

The ultimate basis for all this is that we are creatures of God, his masterpiece, in fact, who cannot and should not live without our Creator. But since we are like him who acts with freedom and whose very essence is love (Deus caritas est), we have to make sure that instead of loving ourselves, we have to love God first, before we can love others and ourselves properly.

This is the real beauty of self-surrender, the complete picture about this whole business of surrendering ourselves completely to God. It’s a deal that, while demanding everything from us, will give us the best return or dividend we can imagine.

This fundamental need for self-surrender to God has its ultimate model in God himself who became man. St. Paul describes it very graphically when he referred to God in Christ emptying himself to become man, and emptied himself to the full by dying for us. (cfr. Phil 2,5-8) This is the ultimate love of God—surrendering himself to us to win us back to him, from whom we come and to whom we belong.

This need for self-surrender is now being tested severely with the emergence of the new technologies that tend, if we are not careful, to imprison us into our own world. We really have to study how to tame this animal that can be very helpful indeed but, at the same time, can also be harmful.

These new technologies demand a stronger spirit of piety, a deeper sense of ethics, a more complex type of discipline. Without these, there’s no way but be practically swallowed up by their worldly dynamics.

We would lose the sense of balance as they often desensitize us from our other, even more important duties of praying, studying, and resting. Our power of discernment and right judgment would most likely be impaired and often hijacked by passing fancies.

These new technologies stir up our curiosities to the extent that we can waste a lot of time. They can get us entangled with a lot of trivialities. Charmed by their siren call, we can lose our proper focus and develop a certain lifestyle of promiscuity. Disorder follows as we get confused as to which is essential and which is merely incidental, which is of absolute value and which only of relative value.

It’s important therefore that we follow a certain structure and clear plan to prevent us from falling into the dangerous allure of the new technologies. This structure should include specific acts of piety that would reinforce our need for self-surrender.

This structure should include a specific time for prayer and meditation, for having recourse to the sacraments, especially those of the Holy Eucharist and confession that should include regular spiritual direction, and for attending to ongoing formation in the different aspects of life—human, spiritual, doctrinal, professional, etc.

We cannot anymore be naive with respect to these new technologies. They demand nothing less than a boost in our sense of self-surrender to God and to anyone who has authority over us.