Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Social Media: "Offering" it to Christ

What is the use of all these communications technologies that we call "social media"? Do they have a positive value for our lives as human beings, and more particularly for our vocation as Christians?

Certainly they provide many ways to bear witness the Gospel, and to perform "works of mercy." I want to focus in particular on the opportunities they provide for us to give of ourselves - through attentiveness, instruction, sympathy, and awareness of one another's needs - and in these ways to encourage and build up one another and pray for one another. Here we can share words, images, music, prayer, and solidarity in the Lord. It is all “offering,” to Christ, to be His instruments to build God’s Kingdom, and the Lord brings our offerings to fruition according to His measure, in His time. Much we do not see, and what we do glimpse - what touches our experience - is only the beginning. 

To encounter brothers and sisters all over the world, to pray for them (and with them - even in powerful and moving ways, such as many experienced during the live streams last year), to learn from them, to receive their gifts of expression, wisdom, and witness, and to offer my own encouragement and words (the two “small coins” of my poverty, which is not much but it's what I have; it's what I can give) - all of this is blessing, a cause for gratitude, a sign of the mystery of the Father’s love and the Lordship of Jesus who has won the victory and draws all things to Himself. 

Communications technology belongs to Christ, and through it He brings us to possibilities to experience our “being-together” person-to-person, and to live in greater solidarity in this moment. A heart emoji❤️ is only a shadow of the inexhaustible “Yes” that Jesus says to our whole humanity, to each person, through the gift of His pierced heart on the Cross. Through His Heart, we can express gratitude and fraternal charity even with these apparently superficial means of communication. Jesus gives them value on a whole new level, which we experience insofar as we remember our belonging to Him and to each other in Him.

We don't need to worry overmuch about how "effective" our interaction is here, or on how many people we "reach" in our efforts to communicate. The Spirit is at work, and His measure is infinite - beyond all the small limited unstable statistics, “likes,” followers, responses, or anything we can measure. Of course we make our best practical attempts to reach out in appropriate ways that media make possible. But our efforts for "success" have only a relative importance, and will be fruitful only if we “offer them” to the Lord and receive our own value from His love.