If it is true that grace builds on our human nature, then it’s helpful for those wishing to cooperate with God’s grace to examine the state of our human nature in 2017. Are we more caring in these times than we were 50 years ago? Less altruistic than 200 years ago? Could it be said that we are smarter?
It depends on whom you ask. One thing we can definitively conclude is that the average person’s attention span has been decreasing at a precipitous level. In fact recent studies have shown that our attention spans in these contemporary times are now less than that of a goldfish. Geez!
This emerging reality poses for Catholics several challenges. If our attention span is limited due in part to the increased usage of technology, then it stands to reason that we are less able to hear God’s voice and therefore do the good to which He calls us. And the response to that, for all of us, is to train our senses such that they become a conduit and not barrier to God’s will. Writers like St. John of the Cross call this the purgative way.
This issue extends to moral theologians as well. We learn in Catholic Theology 101 that a lack of freedom or knowledge can inhibit one’s moral culpability. So are we in 2017 therefore less responsible for hearing and subsequently following God’s call in our lives?
When the Lord called Samuel, He did so in the form of a whisper. I wonder … could Samuel even hear the Lord’s call today?