It’s difficult to turn on the television or hop onto social media without seeing another devastating report of violence and hatred. Ended friendships, families feuding, and a continued lack of respect for fellow human beings.
Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. ~ Luke 12:51-53
When it comes to social media, it can be a slippery slope for our society. I am at fault for getting on my cyber soapbox, just as many of us do, for sharing things that may upset those who do not believe in what I do. Written words are not the same as expressing ones thoughts face to face. I know many times I have been at fault for this. After reviewing my own words, as a writer, I realize I did not express my point with grace. Damage is done and feelings are hurt, and yet the cycle continues.
We must be better than this. What we need to do is follow in the footsteps of Jesus. St. Teresa of Kolkata was a great teacher. Let us reflect on her words on loving our neighbor as it suits our technological era:
There should be less talk, a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone’s house. That says enough.
We truly are blessed to have Elizabeth Ministry in our country. In an age of hiding behind computer screens and iPads, we as humans crave human contact. Yet, we have so often forgotten how to be human to each other. There was a time when the women in the village went to wash clothing together in a common area of town. They would minister to each other, laugh together, and assist with child rearing when necessary. Men would hunt in groups while their wives and children prepared for their kill for the tribe. We now live in a society that has their meats and vegetables delivered to their door after a quick click on the computer. We need Elizabeth Ministers now more than ever to bring back human interaction. We are all ministers in different ways; whether it be that you are running with haste to the woman who has just given birth, preparing a meal for a couple who suffers from the stresses of infertility, crying with a friend who confided in you about her miscarriage, or listening to a fellow wife sharing her joys and sorrows. We need human contact. We need to follow in the example of Mary in the visitation to her cousin, Elizabeth.
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. ~ 1 Cor 13:1
Although social media can bring people together, but it can also isolate us, keeping us from real, human connection. Consider Facebook, or any other social media source you use. Many people find themselves plugging in multiple times a day, realizing in retrospect they had remained online much longer than they meant to. We can be absorbed in mindless internet chatter while forgetting to notice the people right in front of us.
Advent is here however, the beginning of the Church year. This Advent, I will try something that I know will be challenging:
My hope is that it will transform me internally, challenging me to be present not to cyberspace chatter, but to The Word deep within. I want to hear it, be transformed by it, to fully live it.
If you’d like to join me in this challenge here are some pointers:
- Take one day, or one hour, at a time. Stay off the computer (or your phone/tablet/iPad). Tell yourself you don’t need to see what is on that newsfeed. Rather, take that time and read a good book for an hour, or pray a rosary for 20 minutes.
- When you feel like you want to see if you’ve missed something a friend posted, call them and have a good conversation with them, or better yet, go knock on their door if it’s possible.
- Call your family and friends on their birthday rather than commenting on their page. If you do not have their number, send them a birthday letter in the mail.
- When a loved one has a differing opinion, listen to them with love, and do not think of what your response will be. Just simply listen to them.
- When a friend asks your opinion, be considerate and tactful with your words. Remember, if you have nothing nice to say, do not say anything at all.
- Pray more. This is different for everyone. Praying more simply means to make a conscious effort in developing a more intimate relationship with God. Pray the rosary, or just one Hail Mary or Our Father, go to Adoration, attend a weekday Mass on top of your Sunday obligations. Whatever you must do to pray more, do it.
- At the end of each day, reflect on your actions. Did you stay away from temptations? Examine your conscience.
- Each morning before getting out of bed, thank the Lord for a new day to be a better version of yourself. Repeat this process daily.
Let us remember the love Jesus has for each of us. Let us deny ourselves for love of Him. Let us love our neighbors more and truly show that we love Christ.