Good Friday morning,

Tonight here at the parish house we will have mass and all night adoration where we will of course be praying for everyone who is not able to get mass or adoration due to the virus.

Every month the Pope seems to have a prayer intention and this months intention is for those with addictions.

The Pope is so very aware that addictions come in various new forms nowadays. Obviously we still have all the old ones too but the now ones are mainly in the world of the internet!

Photography, Netflix, Facebook, internet……can all become addictions and even more so during this period of lockdown where the internet is opened up more than ever.

It is wonderful to see a Pope who is so in touch with the realities of what people are living and struggling with and not stuck on a mystical and magical cloud of theology!

I have said it many times and I’ll say it again, I really love Francis and pray for him all the time.

Like all addictions, cyber-addiction somehow fills a void in people’s lives in a very unhealthy way.

People find chats and pornoraphy with utter strangers instead of true friendship and intimacy with friends.

Yet over time these addictions lead to depression, anxiety, fear, shame, self-isolation and often an inability to have friendships, an inability to have a stable relationship and one’s concentration severely affected and afflicted in every way!

When I lived in Croatia I met a young family and the little girl, though only two was already almost addicted to her mum’s phone and watching cartoons. Take it off her and she could explode!

These are extremely delicate and difficult situations for parents and major challenges for us all!

The Pope is aware that people need help to break the addictive cycle!

In my opinion they need prayer! Not just babbling the rosary but a true encounter with Jesus through a reawakening of the graces received at baptism!

When someone really meets God, they fall in love and develop a thirst for things of the spirit. Things that are true, meaningful and lasting and bring true happiness both to them personally and to the people around them.

For this to happen people must meet Jesus and those of us in evangelisation must bring Jesus to the people not only in the church but also in the world of cyberspace!

Yes! With Jesus we must put on her space suits and our helmet of salvation and boldly enter the world of cyberspace with the truth of the Gospel!

How? Well already there is a lot being done and yet we need more! There are many Christian websites giving testimonies and teachings on prayer to all and everybody. There are online prayer groups, online addiction recovery groups. There are online masses, online adoration and of course there are blogs like my own and lots other websites not to mention all the wonderful Christian music available!

However considering the vastness of the cyberworld, the healthy side may perhaps be likened to the tiny planet earth in a vast universe with little signs of other life!

We need to get more out there and to reclaim the internet and put it to good use!

Thanks to the internet we can Skype loved-ones, we can do all our banking, we can find immediate answers to questions through Google….it’s utterly amazing!

So in response to Francis cry to healing and helping those especially struggling with the internet, let us reach out in love, mercy and truth and turn the internet, the very thing leading them astray, into a wonderful tool of life-giving love, friendships and salvation!

And let us too be vigilant that while helping others that we somehow don’t get trapped ourselves by taking regular breaks, enjoying quality time with friends, doing some sport for the body and of course by praying.

Thank you Pope Francis! God bless your wonderful heart and my the Holy Spirit equip and convict many of us to boldly go with Jesus into cyberspace!

Have a great day and you will be in my prayers tonight.

Michael