God and the Smartphone

God and the Smartphone

by Sr. Sheila Campbell MMM             Ireland              02.06.2023

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about artificial intelligence and its development.  It can be used for good or ill purposes, as most of our recent discoveries.  Just think about nuclear power.   But without getting into the merits of advancing technologies, sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the gifts they seem to present to us each day.  Take, for example, the smartphone.

Last week I was asked to bring two Sisters to visit a bereaved family in a town in Northern Ireland that I did not know too well. To be even more honest, I had never set foot in the town.  But I had Google Maps on my phone, and what could go wrong?

So, off we set, said a prayer for the journey and proceeded without difficulty up to the very street in this small town. The lady on the phone said, “Take the next left”. Of course, I couldn’t because it was a one-way street. So, we circled and circled, trying to find a back way into the street. That did not work, so I parked the car and we walked to the house. It was only on entering the street on foot that I realised I had read the sign wrong. It was not a “One-way”. It was a cul-de-sac. I had not listened to “the voice”.  I thought I knew better.

On leaving the town, I set the journey on the app and was prepared to listen to the instructions. One of the Sisters suggested that we pray for a safe journey. “Oh, please don’t”, I called out in alarm. “I need to listen to the phone!”  Then, of course, I immediately felt guilty.  How could I stop someone from saying a prayer?  For a few moments I felt really bad and then it hit me.  God was speaking to us through the modern technology of the smartphone.  He wanted us to get home safely, he had already heard our prayer and was sending us a means to guide us.

As I weaved my way past the many roundabouts on that route (I called it Roundabout Road), I just thanked God for his constant care and attention to all my needs and asked forgiveness for the times I didn’t listen or thought that I knew better!