I don’t wear a watch.
It’s not so much a matter of fashion as it is of redundancy: I’m typically within a two-foot range of my iPhone, which helpfully displays the time on its screen.
But I often pull my phone out to check the time and forget my initial objective. I open my email, Instagram, the weather. Five minutes later, when I’ve put it back in my pocket, I realize that I never actually looked at the clock. (If I had a dollar for every time I’ve done this, I might consider buying a watch.)
We are overwhelmed by information.
In an age where the internet fits into our pockets, it’s difficult to understand our place as individuals. What digital discussion is deserving of our time? How do our virtual and off-screen lives intersect? How can we make sense of what’s happening in our communities, in our country and internationally when we are inundated with content?
Abstract though these new questions may be, our role as Catholics remains the same: to bring the Gospel to others.
Pope Francis outlines some of our responsibilities as Christian disciples in a digital era in his 2014 World Communications Day message.
“We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death.
“We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert.
“To dialogue means to believe that the ‘other’ has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective” (emphasis added).
This obligation to evangelize means that we must be prepared for conversation wherever we go. Regardless of how we spend our days, we are missionaries to the people we encounter.
And as Pope Francis says, if we are to do this effectively, we must be attentive to our surroundings, be spiritually alert and be willing to dialogue with those who do not share our perspectives.
Toward this end, my husband Kevin and I last year launched a daily email newsletter, Go Forth. Its purpose was threefold:
• to know and understand news related to our faith, whether that be the latest papal interview, a city’s measures against homelessness or a new legislative effort to restrict abortion;
• to encounter a variety of perspectives on these relevant issues, including those with which we may disagree;
• and to foster spiritual growth, featuring practical tips for living out our faith on a daily basis.
Ultimately, the newsletter’s goal is to equip us to become better evangelists.
We are excited to announce that, come Monday, we will continue this work with Angelus News. We hope it helps you make sense of the abundance of news and commentary online — and in your daily commitment to be a missionary.
Fittingly, St. Junípero Serra — himself “the embodiment of ‘a Church which goes forth,’” as Pope Francis said at his canonization — has become patron not only of Angelus News but also of our newsletter. The new title, Always Forward, comes from his motto: “Always go forward, never go back.”
In the words of our Holy Father, St. Junípero “kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward!”