Faith Alive!-No. 25 STORIES Jul-11-2005 (590 words) xxxe
Relating God's power and the human genius for progress
By Father Paul Campbell
Catholic News Service
My brother bought a calculator in the early 1970s that was portable, but it did not fit in his pocket. It was, however, filled with the latest technological advances and cost more than $100. I remember marveling at this latest display of human progress. Today you can buy the same calculator for about $2.
Our nation's youngsters carry heavy backpacks filled with books so they might gain knowledge. We want the best education for them so they can get good jobs and be happy. However, we neglect to equip them with skills to cope when the job is terminated.
Today's mantra is that "the only constant in our world is change." Society continues to experience advances in the use of human power. Yet there is one dimension of our lives that does not change and that is our human need to belong. The challenge for all of us is to find ways to use our human power to bring us closer together.
While advances in medicine and technology can make us more comfortable, do they actually bring us closer to one another?
With technology and the Internet it is possible that I would rarely have to leave my house. Yet, does something suffer?
--I can reach out and touch someone across the world with my cell phone, but it is not the same as a human embrace.
--I can be involved in chat rooms, but is something lost when I remain anonymous?
On the other side of the coin, I recall that the first time I saw pictures from the moon I was struck by the realization that God's creation is so vast! Our little world is just part of it. Human progress had brought me closer to God and helped me grasp our human place in it.
So, what is a balanced view of the relation between God's power and our human talents?
First we need to remember that we are made in God's image and likeness, but we are not God.
Creation was made for God's glory, and we are God's creatures. We belong to God. Our talents are God-given and made to further God's kingdom, not our own.
Just like my brother's then-new calculator, our time is limited. We can't achieve love and unity in our world unless we experience it around our kitchen tables. With all the time-saving devices that have been invented, how much time do we spend together as families? Are we too busy to sit together and have time for one another? Just having a family cell-phone plan doesn't mean our need to belong is being met.
The second step in maintaining a balance between the creature and the Creator is to evoke the Creator's name. The post-World-War-II era was filled with progress in medicine, electronics and overall quality of life. These advances were seen as blessings. It was not uncommon for people to use phrases like "Thank God" and "With the help of God." God was the reason for the progress, and people realized it.
Another way to ensure that we continue to progress as humans is to be attentive to our prayer. We seem to call on God when things are not going well. Yet what is the frequency and quality of our prayer when life is going well?
While prayer of intercession is important for each of our needs, prayer of thanksgiving unites us to all creation while focusing us on the true Creator.
(Father Campbell is associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Middletown, Del.)
Copyright © 2005 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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