By Fr Francis Ongkingco

Aug 10 2020

One day, a friend showed me a video of her baby daughter on the floor playing with her toys. Suddenly, her attention was caught by the magazine that her mother had left beside on the floor.

Her eyes were captivated by the cover full of fancy colorful letters—though she couldn’t still read—she grabbed the magazine with a hungry curiosity. She examined it carefully, gave it some twists and flips to see what would happen. Then she laid it carefully on the floor and gently glided her palm over the cover.

She was a bit confused when nothing happened. Once again, she glided both palms but again with no satisfying result. Disappointed and distraught she cried hopelessly to her father for some explanation, as if saying, “Why doesn’t the picture change when I swipe the screeeeen!!!?”

That day, she learned to differentiate a tablet from a magazine!

Swiping or scrolling up, down, left and right is a very normal routine for us in our digital world. We use our mouse to scroll through infinite pages on the Web, and most of the time, we use our thumb or index finger to swipe and scroll through content in our smartphones or tablets. As much as these motions seem totally normal for us, we are actually not aware of the paradox behind every swipe and scroll we make.

This is what we take for granted: to see the latest content on the screen we swipe up to see what is new, and to go back and read past posts or news we need to swipe down. In other words, to go down, we must swipe UP and get latest post, and to go up, or the history in the thread, we must swipe DOWN! This relationship between the swiping movement that is opposite to the content we are looking for also holds true in our spiritual life.

Jesus already taught us a similar lesson: if you want to live and be fruitful, you must fall to the ground and die like a grain of wheat, if you wish to be great and enter the kingdom of heaven you must become a little child, and He reminded His disciples that their ‘greatness or success’ is determined by how willing they were to become the servant of the others. This is the paradox of Christian life and fulfillment!

Thus, let us not take for granted the casual swiping up and down in our smartphone and other gadgets.

Here are some examples that may be helpful to take advantage of our swipes:

Swiping ourselves ups means:

  • That everything new in our life point us upwards, that is, all graces come from above.
  • Receiving new lights and guides in our spiritual life always comes from above, that is, God.
  • Giving thanks to God for many blessings received personally and those we love.
  • Offering up inconveniences or trials to God so that they will help us to trust in Him more.

Swipe ourselves down means:

  • Everything that is old or belonging to our past life are seen when we swipe down.
  • This entails examining experiences of joy and sorrow, successes and failures, healings and hurts and more.
  • Swiping down reminds us to be humble and docile, to realize how God never left our side.
  • The gesture will constantly remind us to give thanks, ask pardon and to serve others.

Next time you find yourself monotonously swiping up or down, pause for a bit and consider if you were going up or down. Then ponder on the possible lesson that a simple movement can actually bring about in our heart and soul. May these simple gestures help us to live in God’s presence rather than simply being absorbed with manually swiping, scrolling and clicking. – CBCPNews