God and Pokémon

By: Francis B. Ongkingco July 15,2016 - 09:57 PM

As I jogged in a subdivision I overheard a very surprising conversation between one of the security guards and a gardener.

“Have you already downloaded Pokémon GO?” The guard asked.

“Not yet. I will try later in the evening,” the gardener replied as swept away some dead leaves on the lawn.

Their conversation made me realize how one of the Internet’s hottest games has really gone globally viral. For now, the game can only be played in the US and Australia. Soon it will be hosted in the UK. Our guard and gardener who cannot wait, however, may attempt to trick the program by using a foreign account that will allow them play Pokémon GO in the Philippines.

What makes Pokémon GO such a hot game?

Like all games it’s addictively easy to play by catching those cute and cuddly critter-mons! It also brings home to many Pokémon fans a chance to relive what was once a craze on TV and 2D digital games. So what makes Pokémon GO so special today that it has boosted Nintendo’s stocks and even disrupted traffic in some cities?

The novelty of the game is a combination of virtual interaction –catching Pokémons with a Pokémon Ball– but set in a geo-real-time world of where one plays: his house, the street, in a park or a mall. The game basically requires a smartphone with GPS locating capabilities, constant Internet access and, of course, a camera. With these, you’re good to go –assuming you have installed the game in your phone– playing Pokémon GO!

The viral concept of the game made me reflect on how God has been already doing something like Pokémon GO since He created man. In Genesis, God was looking for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they disobeyed Him. This is repeated in the lives of so many men and women who experienced a God who never tires in seeking them out in order to shower them with His love and gifts.

Man, on the other hand, is an expert when it comes to hiding from God. We may naturally hide from God when we sin against Him and others. After committing a fault, we are filled with shame and guilt that makes us hide. God seeks us out more on these occasions, because He loves us and also because only His mercy can forgive us. We have but to trust in Him like children in order to regain our confidence and begin again.

We may also hide from Him when we are consumed by and attached to earthly activities and concerns. We are no longer easy to find as we are buried by work, leisure, comforts and other engagements. These noble realities of life are not bad, but they can prevent us from receiving greater enlightenment and strength from God. Perhaps, we presume that as long as haven’t sinned big time, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, this attitude can endanger our spiritual life since it foments mediocrity, ingratitude, and eventually weakens us against serious temptations and faults.
So how do we make God enjoy playing His own version of Pokémon GO? Easy! Allow Him to catch us by making ourselves visible and accessible. Although God knows everything about us and can do what He wants with us, He is powerless to make us love Him. Only when we let Him catch us will He be delighted with our playing with Him. Isn’t this how our parents played Hide-and-Seek with us when we were children?

We allow God to catch us in prayer as we do our best to converse with Him. He can also catch us during Holy Mass where in turn He allows us to catch Him in Holy Communion when we are properly disposed to receive Him. Then He catches us, in fact, embraces us in Confession. There, like children, we sorrowfully and confidently tell Him our sins and ask for His forgiveness. We become prisoners of His Love!

Finally, let’s catch others for God. Once we are caught up by His love, let us not forget –through a constant compassion for souls– to help them catch the fire of God’s love and mercy. Through our kind words, patient example and constant service, we will help souls to also discover the wonderful game of love that God has been playing with men since the beginning of time.

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TAGS: Enlightenment, God, jogging, Philippines, pokemon, pokemon go, Subdivision

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