- Life In
A large portion of the New Testament consists of the Epistles of St. Paul. St. Paul wrote these letters to various Churches to encourage them and to instruct them and they are still a source of instruction for us some 2000 years after they were written. They are that important to the life of the Church.
Imagine what it must have been like to be a part of one of those Churches when they received that letter from St. Paul. We take for granted how easily we can communicate with each other today, but it would have taken a very long time for St. Paul's letters to arrive at their destination.
When I was younger and attended Camp Nazareth as a camper, one of the things we all looked forward to was receiving our address lists at the end of the camping session. We would waste little time sitting down and hand writing letters to our friends. Now, compared to when St. Paul was writing, it didn't take very long to send a letter and receive a response-anywhere from one to two weeks-but compared to the instantaneous world of text messages and e-mails, two weeks probably sounds like an eternity.
And yet, there was something very special about the mail arriving with a hand written letter from a friend; just as it must have been very special for the Churches in Corinth or Thessalonica or Ephesus to receive those letters from St. Paul. St. Paul loved and cared for the faithful in these cities, many of whom he instructed and baptized himself. That he took the time to write to them after he moved on to another city, or even while he was languishing in prison had to have been very re-assuring to them.
Technology is a wonderful thing, and the ability to communicate instantly is very convenient. However, it also allows us to communicate without much actual interaction. People have whole conversations without hearing the other person's voice. It really can depersonalize the relationships we have with our friends and loved ones. A whole generation of young people, as well as future generations, may never know the feeling of receiving a hand written letter in the mail; of knowing that someone took the time and effort to think about what they wanted to say, and to put write it down and place it in the mail. People make all sorts of resolutions in the New Year. Why not resolve to doing something the old fashioned way. If you're exchanging text after text with a friend, call them up and actually converse with them. If you have something really important to say to a dear friend, send them a hand written letter. It might take a little longer to get your response, but making the effort might be well worth the wait.