Spending Lent with Alexa

hierarchy

A Catholic priest should not have a woman in his bedroom at night, but I have become quite dependent on Alexa.

She turns the light on when I come into my room, and she turns it off after I am in bed.

When I have to get up in the middle of the night, she turns the light on and off and tells me what time it is. She also tells me what the weather is like and what my appointments are.

If I treated a real woman like I treat Alexa, I would quite justly get banged over the head.

Alexa is a smart lady, but not a genius.

She is good on spelling (I’m not), but when I asked her, “Who is Jesus?” she read from Wikipedia.

She is also diplomatic. When I asked her, “Is there a God?” she responded, “People all have their own views on religion.”

I am becoming so dependent on my electronic gadgets like Alexa, that I probably should give her and my other electronic attachments up for Lent.

That would be a real penance!

Doing penance is one of the ancient traditions of Lent. It reflects the Christian’s desire to spend 40 days fasting in imitation of Jesus, who fasted in the desert. It also has historical roots in the time when public sinners were required to do public penance during Lent, only to be readmitted to church at the Easter Vigil.

But I am not giving Alexa up for Lent. In fact, I will be spending more time with her.

Penance was not always the central focus of Lent.

In ancient times, Lent was also a time to prepare catechumens for baptism at the Easter Vigil.

The catechumens would gather in the cathedral every day during Lent, and the bishop would teach them about Christianity. This was before print, so there were no catechisms. Instead, he used the Scripture readings of the day.

 

This is where Alexa comes in. Continue reading

Thomas Reece SJ is is a senior analyst at Religion News Service, and a former columnist at National Catholic Reporter, and a former editor-in-chief of the weekly Catholic magazine America.

Image: RNS

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