Engagement with the world - Madonna Magazine

Engagement with the world

David Braithwaite SJ 03 March 2020

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network works to integrate the digital reality of modern-day life with the incarnated nature of the Catholic faith.

The recreation of the Apostleship of Prayer into the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network has been driven by a desire to promote innovation and creativity.

In this way, engagement with the digital world has been a natural missionary impulse.

To neglect the digital reality of people’s lives would be a betrayal of the fundamental challenge to translate the Gospel into the categories and language of the contemporary world. We know this, and yet, it comes with many tensions.

First among these is the loss of the sense of place the digital world involves. The incarnated nature of the Catholic faith is, potentially, undermined by the increasing acceleration of the modern world, particularly digital’s abstract disconnection from the physical world.

It is this ‘de-carnating’ tendency that can so easily reinforce the destructive dualism that bedevils the mind of contemporary people, in the West at least, and most obviously in the Anglosphere.

Consequently, the digital frontier, with which Click to Pray and the Pope Video, among other exciting initiatives, seeks to engage, harks back to the concrete world of an incarnated faith in the Christ.

It is a call to return to, or deepen, one’s real engagement with the enfleshed Body of Christ in its places of worship and service – that is to say, the sites of memory for God and the poor.

All of the radical creativity of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is a call to engage more fully in a love that goes beyond the abstract into the face to face encounter with our neighbours in the here and now.

This paradox of evangelising the digital world is a life-giving one, and part of the constant and ongoing challenges of the missionary project which is always God’s work, first and last.

As with all our endeavours, to know that God is the chief architect of our works is a deep liberation. The complexities of the missionary ‘translation’ are beyond us but not Him.

This knowledge allows us the courage and the indifference to continue the great journey in a rapidly changing era.


Identity: The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network addresses the challenges facing humanity and assists the mission of the Church.

Vision: To pray and work to meet the challenges of the world identified by the Pope. His intentions are keys for our prayer and mission.

Mission: You are apostles in daily life, walking a spiritual path called ‘Way of the Heart,’ working to serve Christ’s mission.