Catholic tradition holds us to three Lenten observances: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. For most people, though, it’s all about the fasting and the sacrifice. “What will I be giving up this lent.”
A new trend that is gaining popularity is to give up Social Media, such as Facebook, for Lent. This can seem like a worthwhile sacrifice, if we were to approach social media as if it were just technology and devices. But the truth is social media is relationships. I would no more give up my relationships for 40 days than I would give up family or church. I do recognize that the problem for some is that they have gone to the extreme and thus neglect their face-to-face relationships. For those folks it would be time to implement a Lenten Fast or a scaling back. Just like our rules of fasting for Ash Wednesday or Good Friday We cut back to one main meal and the rest light meals.
I would like to take a new approach. First, let’s stop for a moment and take a look at what it is we are called to do during Lent.
“We can begin to embrace this call by fasting from or "giving up" material things, including foods, that are superfluous to our basic needs; "taking up" habits that are directed to helping and caring for others; and "lifting up" our brothers and sisters who are in need through prayer and devotional practices.” – From the USCCB.org - Lent: Give up, Take-up, Lift-up!
When I read those words, I see an opportunity for us focus on the ways that we can take these three disciplines of giving up, taking up and lifting up, and integrate them as part of our Lenten social media plan.
In Pope Francis' message for Lent, our Holy Father writes
“The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness.”
With our intentional, deliberate and focused usage of our Social Media this Lent, we have at our disposal a powerful medium to spread the Good News, to share the riches we have been entrusted, to console the broken hearted and to offer hope to those in darkness. Don't give up your social media this Lent. Instead, let's make a Lenten pledge to use our Social Media privileges in positive, evangelizing and loving ways. It’s time for a new SOCIAL MEdia pledge this Lent. Does anyone want to join me?
by Cyndi Marlow
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