‘The Medium is the Message’

Marshall McLuhanAnyone who has taken a class in media studies has heard of Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian professor who coined the phrase, “The medium is the message,” in the 1960s.

McLuhan was a godfather of media theory and, as it happens, Roman Catholic (convert). Ever since I discovered this glorious fact, I have been struck by the parallels between media and Catholicism. I’ve illustrated a primary example of these paralells: the Incarnation demonstrating McLuhan’s insight that “The medium is the message.”

Consider this paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: “Jesus,” “YHWH saves.” The name “Jesus” contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.

Both the Message and the Medium that God gives to mankind is Jesus! He is the Divine Word – both message and the medium. Through Him, we should learn how to communicate God’s Love to the world.

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