What if I approached my Catholic faith like a game of Pokemon Go?

I’m hooked.
My sons and I can’t get enough of Pokemon Go. We have had such fun discovering Pokemon and capturing them and talking about which ones we hope we can catch next. It has become a wonderful mother-son activity, and we are happily becoming experts in Pokemon.
At Sunday Mass our pastor gave a terrific homily, and he talked about how people are so distracted by Pokemon Go that they are seeing less of the world around them. It’s a totally legitimate point.
But it made me think. Maybe instead of seeing Pokemon Go as a distraction from what really matters, I should reevaluate how I could be using this experience to consider what actually does matter.

  • We get so excited about capturing a Jigglypuff. Shouldn’t we feel that same excitement—and even more—whenever we pass a Catholic church? Jesus is inside those churches in the tabernacle! His very body is there! Waiting for us to bring Him into ourselves! If ever there were a time we should be falling off cliffs or trespassing, it would be to encounter Jesus in that way.
  • We should recognize that just as you need to go to the Pokestops to continue to catch the Pokemon, there are times when you need to refuel in your faith journey, as well. So you might go to Mass or on retreat or designate extra prayer time with friends or at home.
  • While walking with my sons, we have fallen into conversation with many people, and the boys always think that people with phones are also playing Pokemon Go. What if we assumed that other people are also searching for Christ in their lives? What if we stopped to ask them? Maybe we could connect with them more easily than we imagine. After all, aren’t most people searching for something—something besides rare evolved forms of Eevee?
  • In Pokemon Go, you can use a “lure” to encourage more Pokemon creatures to come to a Pokestop—not just for you, but for others. What could I be doing in my life that would not just help me in my faith, but help others grow in their faith, too?
  • When the phone buzzes, we all jump wondering which Pokemon we might see. What little reminders can we find throughout the day to reconnect with our Lord more intimately? We pray when we hear a siren, but maybe we should pray whenever we pass a church? What other prompts could we embrace to make us connect more deeply with God on our faith journey?
  • One of the reasons I like Pokemon Go is that it gives me and my children a common vocabulary and a common goal. Our Pokemon conversations remind me that I need to make sure I listen when they are talking about what matters to them so that we can have the important conversations, too. I also keep thinking that I need to find more and better ways to communicate with them about what really matters—and that maybe listening and letting them lead the conversation is the key.
I’m not ditching Pokemon Go by any means. I just think there are some lessons here that I could apply to other aspects of my life. And then maybe I could power up or evolve into a better version of the person God wants me to be.

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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.