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How My Smartphone Helped Save My Faith

As many readers know, I endured a brief, but jarring, faith crisis last summer. It was chronicled in three lengthy posts, but I have yet to write about how I (thankfully) emerged from it. As many have asked me to, I will soon do that. There was a huge part of the process (and it was a process) that I thought probably merited separate treatment, and that was the role technology played in helping me.

Around the first of the year, I was attending Sunday Mass at a parish in Los Angeles that was very close to my house, but which I rarely went to. I wasn't familiar with the priest, who was a bit older. In his sermon he railed against modern technology, focusing mostly on smartphones.

While some of what he said was valid -- yes, technology can be a wasteful distraction at times -- I took umbrage with his insinuation that it was mostly bad. He wasn't exactly saying that tech was a tool of the devil, but it wouldn't have been a stretch to infer that.

Of course, hearing an older person complain about whatever infernal tech plague is purportedly dooming society at the time isn't anything new. Still, my own recent experience made me bristle at the sermon.

Full disclosure: I am more likely to be prickly about sermons since the problem I had last summer. It's still unclear to me why my patience is now thinner but here we are.

After speaking to a priest about my problem last summer, I began reading a couple of books that he recommended to me. The needle wasn't moving for me yet, but I did take comfort in spiritual reading. This was in a period of my life where I wasn't taking comfort in much.

Noting the fact that just reading about spiritual matters made me feel less agitated, I opened up an app named "Laudate" that had been on my phone for over a year but I'd never really used for anything. It's a pretty comprehensive Catholic faith app that has daily readings, the rosary, a bible, and a variety of other things.

I was at a point in my struggle where praying wasn't coming easy to me. My lifelong nighttime prayer ritual wasn't happening so I began simply opening Laudate and praying the short daily prayer it offered. Mountains weren't moved but, hey, at least I was praying.

After several days of this is, I was casually perusing other things the app had to offer. I began checking out the daily Bible reading. Not every day, but often enough.

This prompted me to take a look at some other Catholic apps. Some I used for a few minutes and realized I didn't like, some I gave a longer test run. I plan to do a post listing my favorites in the future so I won't mention them all here, but a couple of my favorites were Catholic Daily Reflections from My Catholic Life and a novena app simply called Pray. I also downloaded a couple of free study Bibles. I own a regular study Bible, but thought it might be handy to have one on my phone.