Facebook, Google, and Youtube are all familiar terms in people’s vocabulary in the 21st century. The spread of information through the Internet allows for people to keep in touch and to stay updated with news around the world in mere minutes sometimes even seconds.
The Catholic Church even has a saint dedicated as the patron of the Internet. His name is St. Isidore of Seville. As a bishop he brought unity to present-day Spain in the 7th century. Yes, you heard me right, Isidore lived in the 600s! Why was he chosen as patron of the Internet? Almost all our daily routines contain things not even invented his Isidore’s time!
In 1997 Pope John Paul II named Isidore as patron of the Internet. This is due to the structure of his writings was similar to that of databases. Isidore desired unity. He brought peace to a society devastated by years of war, and united all Christians in Spain. As Doctor of the Church, Isidore’s writing promote unity and healing for those suffering separation or doubts about the faith.
We can also use the Internet in a similar fashion to evangelize and advocate ecumenism among various Christians denominations. This can occur through teaching friends via social media about the Church or even educating yourself on Catholic doctrine.
Be in Good Company
According to Orpah Winfrey, “Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” Timeless advice, St. Isidore definitely stood in good company. Pope Benedict XVI, in his General Audience on June 18, 2008, as ” He was a younger brother of Leander, Archbishop of Seville, and a great friend of Pope Gregory the Great.” His humility and fervor for knowledge helper him to better evangelize the Visigoths and other converts to Christianity at the time. The emeritus pope put it this way, “The wealth of cultural knowledge that Isidore had assimilated enabled him to constantly compare the Christian newness with the Greco-Roman cultural heritage ( General Audience on June 18, 2008).
Commonly referred to as the Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages, Isidore acted as a true model of Christ the Teacher for the Catholic Church as a whole. Setting up rigorous schools and seminaries, the saint desired to properly form the newly converted Visigoths in the faith. The words of the 15th Council of Toledo, in 688, sums up Isidore’s character best, “The extraordinary doctor, the latest ornament of the Catholic Church, the most learned man of the latter ages, always to be named with reverence, Isidore.”
Isidore, archbishop of Seville, ranks as an outstanding leader in the Church during the 7th century. His personal acumen along with the desire to catalogue human knowledge with precision makes him the perfect patron for the internet, computer technicians, and computer users!
While you surf the net, reflect on life St. Isidore. Seek to imitate his life by uniting Christians and all humans around you in worship of Jesus Christ.
Prayer Before Logging onto Internet
Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
One of my favorite things to watch is to watch NFL football games. I even own a cheese head to don during Green Bay Packer games. Nothing in sports is more exciting than when a football game goes into overtime and for the first time in NFL history the 2017 Super Bowl went to overtime.
Extra regulation is needed in instances where teams end the fourth quarter in a tie. Neither team played well enough to earn the victory or bad enough to lose the game. I used to have a similar mindset when it came to the doctrine of Purgatory. Let me give 3 reasons for why I had this limited view when it came to arguably one of the more intriguing teachings of the Catholic Church.
Legalistic Outlook of Right versus Wrong
I thought for the longest time that if you followed the law [i.e. the Commandments] and your good actions outweighed your bad actions than you were on your way to Heaven after death. I viewed God as a divine accountant who tallied up all the good and bad that we committed in this live and granted us purgatory as an extra period for instances of ties.
Limited view of suffering
Until recently, I do not truly suffer much. I always thought that purgatory was a period of “time” after death whereby people got extra suffering to make up for the comforts they received in this earthly life. My view on this has since changed immensely. I came to learn that suffering has not only a redemptive, but a purgative quality to it. On a quite practical level, my marriage and family life has schooled my in this topic. For example, my lack of patience especially during our children’s bedtime routine, causes me much suffering. Through prayer and spiritual guidance I learned that God is using my children to help me grow in the virtue of patience- and sometimes growing is painful!
Learned More about the Saints
Until a few years ago, I did not know that St. Therese of Lisieux suffering from tuberculosis and that St. John Paul II’s mother died a mere month per his 9th birthday and his father passed away about 10 years later. And yet, there was something different about these two individuals and really all saints in general—their faith grew in spite of the suffering and loss experienced. Looking at the lives of the canonized saints I became aware that purgatory is not something that needs to begin after our earthly death. Rather, for them it begins in time and space. Because of this purgatory does not need to be limited to an “extra period” given since we failed to achieve sanctity in this life. We can start the process to being SAINTS today!
I will continue to write how my journey toward a more Catholic understanding of purgatory has changed my life for the better in future posts. St. Maria Faustina saliently wrote, “Jesus says; ‘My daughter, I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.”