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The Internet: Greatest Modern Accomplishment or Dangerous Temptation?

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Is your time disappearing and you're not sure where it goes? Do you know how much time you spend online every week? Emily Derois reminds us of the importance of conscious decision-making. "If I know that certain associations will expose me to temptations and to giving way and yet willingly go there, I am undoubtedly guilty of all the temptations I encounter there." ~ St. Francis de Sales "For the fascination of the wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind." -- Wisdom 4:12 What has been the greatest accomplishment of our era? Many would be quick to answer, "Why, the internet of course!" There is no doubt of the ease with which information can be found when using this tool. But how often does it become a tool for sin? Think about it. Pinterest often fosters sloth. Twitter produces conceit. Omegle breeds impurity. Fashion sites harbor gossip. This is merely the beginning of the evils that have become second nature to us. They are everywhere. And so we have become desensitized. Yes, it is amazing that we can talk with anyone from any corner of the world at any given time. Ever heard the Brad Paisley song Online? It's all about a short, overweight pizza man who becomes a dark and mysterious model whenever he fires up his Mac. Although it is incredible to have this accessibility to just about anyone, how are we to know if someone is truthful online or not? It's so easy to stretch the truth a little (or a lot) when you're online. Who's to ever know? They cannot see you and you can't see them. There is zero consequence for lying. It becomes natural even. This is among one of the terrifying results of the internet, lying without repercussions. Never before has sin become so easy or so unaccountable. We are able to sit contentedly in our pj's, sipping hot coco while countless images swirl across the screen. And yes, you may not be viewing porn, but what about diligently following Kim Kardashian's immoral lifestyle? Or subjecting oneself to crude language for the sake of learning the secret to amazing hair? I sometimes feel whenever I open the internet I inevitably compromise. Material I had once found shocking is no longer so. And this is the secret danger with this access, over the years we have allowed our conscience to be deadened. The Average American spends 23 hours per week online, according to Yahoo News. That's nearly a full 24 hour day spent plugged into devices. Are you still certain you're too busy to spend an hour in Church on Sundays? Or how about praying the daily rosary, which would only equate to 1% of your day? We are so quick to proclaim how our lives are too busy for prayer and sacramentals. News flash! Your life isn't busy. Your life is cluttered. But I only read Christian blogs and use bible gateway to find that special verse, you might say. The allures of the world have no hold over me! What about your time? Every minute is a gift to be treasured. And certainly, it is commendable if you are looking only at pure images, but is it beneficial to you spiritually? Are you using your internet time fruitfully, or do you look at the clock in surprise at how the time has flown by? No, I'm not saying the internet should be banned from all Christian homes or that all leisure is sinful. Both have their place. But our nation has become consumed in this activity. Teenagers in particular have forsaken reality for a virtual time and world all their own. We must end this dangerous habit before it ends us. Let us heed the wisdom found in St. Padre Pio's words, "Oh, how precious time is! Blessed are those who know how to make good use of it. Oh, if only all could understand how precious time is, undoubtedly everyone would do his best to spend it in a praiseworthy manner!"

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