“Instead, he was playing a video game.”

I am planning to read Fr. Martin’s latest book Jesus: A Pilgrimage during my upcoming Ignatian retreat this September. Heather King did so during her own recent retreat and wrote a brief review of the book which is about his trip to the Holy Land and him meditations, observations and stories he made while there.

Perhaps it’s a reflection of my current burnt-out state regarding humanity, or just as likely the fact I had a bad day Sunday (bad being a relative, poor pitiful me term) followed by little to no sleep. But the following anecdote leapt off the page at me as described by Ms. King:

Of course, not everyone visits the Holy Land with the orientation of heart we might wish. At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Father Martin observes the guy in front of him obsessively fooling with his smartphone.

“Probably ignoring some code of pilgrim’s etiquette, I peeked over his shoulder to see what could be so important and half-expected him to be typing, ‘Can’t talk. In church where Jesus died. Call you in five.’ Instead, he was playing a video game.”

Followed, I suppose, by his taking a selfie of himself in line at the church and posting it to Twitter (#HolySelfie!) or Facebook.

So to recap…

While looking at this:

smartphone game

…and standing in line outside of this:


…once inside, he may have missed this:


Or this:


Sorry…that was rather sarcastic of me. I’ll make it for it next time. Perhaps after my retreat.

In the meantime I’ll be found tonight looking westward towards yet another boring, same ol’ same ol, nothing special to see sunset.

Join me?

No smartphones.


10 thoughts on ““Instead, he was playing a video game.”

      • Maybe a dumb question, but do people have Mass in there? That’s amazing looking!…except…no mountains? Just kidding. It looks so fragile but also very ark-like and sturdy. Some people are so talented. Thank you for sharing!


      • Yes! Our men’s rosary group (and our families) had Mass there several years ago with our priest, and I know various other groups have as well. I’ve always planned on taking my camera there and write a post about the location. I guess now is as good a time as any. Stay tuned. 🙂


  1. I don’t see how people can be on their phones so much… I mostly try to ignore mine. Sometimes I even leave it in my purse and forget to charge it.


  2. Yes, it’s a frightening thing, isn’t it? How internet and virtual reality is eclipsing flesh and blood? And there are no historical precedents for how to deal with this sort of catastrophe.


    • Catastrophe is the right word when you look at the consequences of all of this. I read two articles today that I plan to include in something soon. (I should never comment like this before I actually follow-through and write the danged things. As always it comes down to the availability of time.) That said, the virtual is replacing our common humanity, empathy and humility. And that is a catastrophe.


  3. Accepting that others can’t see the beauty around them only intensifies the beauty I observe. If I had been there with my cell phone I would have been taking photos. I love that God gives me choices every minute of every day. Putting away electronics would not guarantee the person would be capable of observing and appreciating the beauty surrounding them…or even realize they were in a Holy place. Choices, my friend. We make them constantly.


    • Taking pictures with an electronic device is one thing, Kay, and I would be right there with you taking photos as well. But playing a video game is another matter entirely. While taking pictures your eye is at least trained on your surroundings and looking for the beauty you wish to attempt to capture in a photo. Ignoring it completely while burying your face and attention in an video game does not allow the person to observe or appreciate the beauty that surrounds them.


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