Pope Francis talked about the internet being a gift from God and it is. It links me to souls I’d never meet otherwise, and reminds me of my past, reconnects me with my cousins and constantly challenges me to make sure my words are as kind and honest, holy and good as I can make them. Or at least reminds me to work at it.
Last week, I felt pushed to speak up to two high school friends, both of whom posted what were mostly political posters, but which came from Planned Parenthood. I’d tried to ignore them, but I couldn’t. My initial response was short, no explanation, just “Ugh.” My comment resulted in a protracted Facebook discussion I didn’t win. I didn’t feel the push to finish the discussion and I left early, having presented why I disagreed.
The next conversation came the next day, probably because the Holy Spirit wasn’t satisfied with my initial fire and forget Facebook face off. Sigh. God tells us there will be tests, and make up exams until we get it right if we’re willing to put forth the effort. I’d read a piece I liked on a popular website and clicked “Share.” I’d focused on the analysis of the sowing of the seeds, as each of us having seasons when our soil receives deeply, and times when our roots are shallow, times when weeds choke off what we can hear, and times when we are dry and allow everything else to go on except receiving the seed.
But the beginning of the piece talked about “liberals” perception of Pope Francis, and one of my high school Facebook friends felt hurt. She commented about how conservatives seem afraid of liberals being attracted to the Church. I didn’t think that was part of the piece or my own thinking, but I reread the piece through her eyes and saw her point. We tend to believe in dividing Christ’s garments, to keep Him to ourselves or to shut Him off from us, but never to get Christ is both and, loving us singularly and each of us fully. We are all the lost sheep, we are all the prodigal son and older brother, we are the Pharisees with the stones and the woman facing their accusation, we are always both, and Christ wants all of us prodigal sons and daughters and all of the older brothers and sisters, to come into His house where there are many rooms prepared.
The conversation yielded good fruit, a deeper understanding of each other. We remained friends, real friends with real differences that did not change, but did not preclude love or demand the weakening of principle from either party. I suspect the Holy Spirit felt more satisfied with that exchange which was 1) personal 2) private and 3) didn’t end prematurely. We’d been made more than Facebook friends for the exchange, we’d become more ourselves with each other by speaking than if I’d ignored or blocked her owing to a political litmus test regarding Catholic sensibilities. If I’d chosen to create or demand an echo chamber, I’d have confirmed in her mind the narrowness of my own.
So I too say “God Bless it!” for the internet, and hope today in the course of your cyberspace travels, you make real friends by not remaining virtual yourself.
This week’s small successes include:
1) My daughter got her hair cut short and it looks fabulous, it’s quite a switch from her 14 inch ponytail, but we all love her new do’.
2) Today my son went to the potty at school and once at home, unsolicited. I promise you the Halleluiah Chorus sang in my head most of the day.
3) I’d taken our 12 passenger van in for a repair. It turned out to be under warranty, so we were pleased when the cost for the repair was zero.
Now it’s your turn.
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Copyright 2014 Sherry Antonetti
About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.