Love Your Bible as Your Phone
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment…” –1 Peter 2:2
While PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, and other reputed medical institutions and research centres are currently doing surveys on the dangers of cell phone addiction, Pope Francis, in his first Lenten sermon, asked his congregation to imagine how different their lives would be if they were to treat their Bibles as they did their cell phones.
It really does merit thinking about. Cell phones have allowed human beings to have unlimited access to information and to connect with others in a way previously thought impossible. Now psychologists and psychiatrists are coming out with theories and studies that show problematic mobile phone use as a behavioral addiction thought to be similar to that of an Internet, gambling, shopping, or video game addiction, that can lead to severe impairment or distress in one’s life. At the root of the addiction is: (1) impulsiveness and materialism. (2) A preoccupation with material objects as opposed to intellectual spiritual or cultural values. The dangers are listed as:
- The obsessive use of the Smartphone has been compared to that of credit card misuse and compulsive buying
- Cell phones have become synonymous with social status, which leads to the pressure to have the latest and best
- People are developing a condition of fear of being without one’s cell phone
- It leads to social media addiction with associated harmful effects like impaired self-esteem, deteriorating work performance, and interpersonal conflicts.
Pope Francis wonders…
On his ‘first Sunday in Lent’ message, the Holy Father took the congregation in St. Peter’s Square by surprise when he suddenly said, “What would happen if we treated the Bible like we do our mobile phones?”
Yes, think about it. What if at any spare moment, in the dentist’s waiting room, or while waiting for your taxi ride, instead of reaching out to your iPhone, you had to pull your Bible out of your back pocket (or even from your phone where you have downloaded it), to pass time more fruitfully? Pope Francis says he cannot even begin to imagine how our lives would be transformed if we were to read God’s messages to us in the Bible as if we read worthless forwards on the mobile phone.
The Pontiff wants us to think more about the Word of God during the forty days of Lent, when, “as Christians we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and address the spiritual battle against evil with the power of the Word of God.”
The Pope recalled the temptation of Jesus in the desert by Satan. It happened soon after Jesus’ baptism just before He could begin His mission. His enemy, Satan, presented him with three temptations. “By means of this triple temptation, Satan wanted to divert Jesus from the path of obedience and humiliation.”
However, the Word of God is like a shield against the poisonous arrows of the devil, Pope Francis said. Jesus doesn’t use just any words – he uses the words of God, and in this way, the Son, full of the Holy Spirit, emerges victorious from the desert.” This is what we must do against the temptations of the devil, the Pope said. The comparison between the Bible and our cell phones “is strange, but sobering.”
“In effect, if we had the Word of God always in our heart, no temptation could turn us away from God and no obstacle could deflect us from the path of goodness,” he stressed. We would know how “to win” against the daily temptations within and around us.
It would be a daily victory through every day of Lent, the Holy Father said, once more asking us to treat the Bible as if we treat our cell phone. “Think about this. The Bible always with us, close to us!”