Catholics need help experiencing interactive prayer, magazine says

The church must offer people — especially the young — a spirituality that responds to their computer-driven desire for interactive experiences, said an influential Jesuit magazine.

The Italian magazine, La Civilta Cattolica, said the church does not have to invent a new spirituality for a new generation. It just has to recognize that because of intensive computer and social network use people have changed, so the church must change the way it offers its spiritual treasures.

The key, the magazine said, is to help people take the step from superficial interaction — “surfing the net” and clicking on link after link — to contemplation.

First, people must recognize the need “to safeguard spaces that allow interiorization to develop.” That means a bit of silence and being out of arm’s reach of the computer or smartphone, the magazine said.

But the church also must offer Catholics ideas of what to do with that quiet time, and the magazine started with something its Jesuit staff knows something about: the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits whose feast is July 31.

The exercises, it said, offer a systematic formula for helping someone take the already-interactive experience of reading to a new level. [More]