As media creators, we use these amazing “gifts of God” in our professional and personal lives. Yet, living and working behind a screen can sap our energy and leave us feeling listless and spiritually dry. Growing our spiritual lives immersed in a digital world requires a media spirituality that centers us in Christ, the perfect communicator. Blessed James Alberione developed the Pauline Spirituality to root modern-day communicators in the Word and Eucharist. Alberione’s spirituality of communications follows the example of the greatest evangelizer and lover of Christ, Saint Paul the Apostle.
In Alberione's thinking, Saint Paul did not wait for people to approach him or speak only to his Jewish family, but instead he went forth to proclaim Jesus to every person he encountered in the ancient world—Jew, Greek, Roman and Arab. His message always drew on the culture around him, making connections for people with the stories, poets, and orators of the times. Saint Paul realized that cultural stories often touch upon humanity’s deepest yearnings. When in Athens, he went to the Areopagus, the “public square” of learning and philosophizing, to discover altars to various gods. When he saw the altar to an “unknown god,” Paul found the hook to attract his audience. Human beings long for a connection with our God and Creator, in whose image and likeness we are made. So, he quotes their poets and writers to speak to them of the One God, Creator of all, and Jesus Christ, Redeemer of humanity. He started with the people's culture to address their deepest desires and lead them to Christ.
Blessed Alberione wrote about how a media apostle is to imitate the example of Paul, when he says: “Saint Paul held all peoples in his heart. He affirmed that his heart had opened wide to embrace all nations. In his intentions, his prayers and his desires all were present. We are to have love for souls, therefore, and show it especially towards those who live in the darkness of ignorance. We are also to nourish zeal for the salvation of souls not with words, but with action—the apostolate performed with fervor and love.” (Rome, 1958)
The Public Square
The darkness of ignorance proliferates our media feeds. As media apostles we can prayerfully consider how to address the intellectual confusion of our day. Saint Paul guides our pastoral approach in communicating the truth of the human person and humanity’s ultimate search for God, through zeal for the Gospel and love for each person we encounter.
To be authentic communicators of truth, we need to be imbued with Christ, the goal toward which we tend as disciples. The Pauline media Spirituality of Alberione roots us in Jesus Master, as Way, Truth, and Life for humanity, present tangibly in the Word of God and the Blessed Sacrament. These are the pillars of a media spirituality. As communicators, we listen attentively to the Word in the Scriptures, meditate on it, and sit at the feet of the Master present in the Eucharist. There, like Mary, we experience “the better part” (Lk 10:42) and become imbued with Christ so to go forth and communicate Christ in the digital spaces. As disciples of Christ, like Saint Paul, we enter the “public square” with the Gospel of Christ seeking to change hearts by pointing out the beauty, truth, and goodness of God present in the world and in the cultural stories of our day.
Practicing a Media Spirituality
Though you are surrounded by media and sometimes feel the need to break away to pray in silence, you can also pray the media you use each day. Try praying the news. Scroll through your social media feeds or watch a television news channel or listen to a news podcast about the situation in our world. Pausing afterwards, offer intercessory prayers for all that you read or heard about in the news. Instead of feeling anxious and disturbed by such news, make this a regular practice to grow in media mindfulness and discernment regarding media messages and to raise up the needs of the world to God.