Today is the feast of St Francis de Sales, patron of writers, journalists, and the media! Pope Francis has also released his Message for World Communication Day. As a blogger, there was some seriously good food for thought in it. So naturally, the only option was to blog about it.
The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.
But you already knew that the internet was a
gift gif from God, right?
The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests. The world of communications can help us either to expand our knowledge or to lose our bearings.
My take-away question: Am I reading articles and blogs that give intelligent and well-reasoned arguments for stuff I disagree with? Or am I just reacting to the strawmen and looking to score a few easy points?
The desire for digital connectivity can have the effect of isolating us from our neighbours, from those closest to us.
My take-away question: How often do I avoid real relationships with my family and friends in favour of internet-bliss? For me, this is particularly easy because I’m a stay-at-home kind of gal. Given the choice between pyjamas and my computer or a new dress and a party on a Friday night — I will take pyjamas every time. Plus, you can’t just alt-ctrl-del reality when it’s just too much…
Those who communicate, in effect, become neighbours. The Good Samaritan not only draws nearer to the man he finds half dead on the side of the road; he takes responsibility for him. Jesus shifts our understanding: it is not just about seeing the other as someone like myself, but of the ability to make myself like the other. Communication is really about realizing that we are all human beings, children of God.
My take-away question: How can I empathise with someone if I’ve already labelled them as something abhorrent to me? That means name-calling is totally not okay. Never. Just NO.
Whenever communication is primarily aimed at promoting consumption or manipulating others, we are dealing with a form of violent aggression like that suffered by the man in the parable, who was beaten by robbers and left abandoned on the road… It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply “connected”; connections need to grow into true encounters.
My take-away question: Do I comment on other blogs because I want to encourage others or because I want some click-thrus? Do I write to go viral (ha!) or do I write to glorify the Lord Jesus? And how far would I go to try “win” at this whole blogging thing?
As I have frequently observed, if a choice has to be made between a bruised Church which goes out to the streets and a Church suffering from self-absorption, I certainly prefer the first… The digital highway is one of them, a street teeming with people who are often hurting, men and women looking for salvation or hope.
My take-away question: Do I automatically spring into aggressive apologetically mode? Do I think that IF ONLY I CAN REFUTE ALL THE SPURIOUS ARGUMENTS CHRISTENDOM WILL BE SAVED! But even if I have the knowledge of Scott Hahn, the passion of Dave Armstrong or the panache of Fr Z, if I have not love, I am nothing. (Slightly adapted from 1 Corinthians 13.)
The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ.
My last thought: it’s ALL about Jesus. It’s that simple. We graces from the throne of heaven, we need to keep our wits about us, we need to use our common use, but above all, we need to be so in love with Our Saviour and Redeemer that not even “23 Adorbs GIFs of Cats Reacting Frozen” can stop us doing His work.
“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
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