Our Holy Father Pope Francis has been using his Wednesday Audiences to share catechesis on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Although these are given in Italian, we are blessed there are many online outlets that make the English summaries available. The sites I use most often for following these audiences, as well as other Pope related news are Rome Reports, Zenit, and Vatican Radio.
Pope Francis gives a simple definition of wisdom: “it is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God.” In the new CatholicLane.com column, Front Row with Francis, writer Kevin Tierney discusses the Pope’s definition adding, “Due to the reality of sin in this world (in the individual and communal sense), man does not see as God sees. (Is 55:8).”
For the next seven weeks, I too will be discussing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. My angle will be how we can use these God-given gifts in the work of evangelizing, particularly through the various new and social media outlets available. Each of these Tech Talk columns will focus on only one gift and (primarily) one social or new outlet. Since Pope Francis began with the Gift of Wisdom, so will I.
I always assumed I missed this gift because I related it with being extra smart. You remember that old joke, “When God was passing out brains you thought He said ‘trains’ and left the line.” I’ve always been able to relate to that joke, never feeling I was the brightest “bulb on the Christmas Tree.”
The good news is my grasp of wisdom as it relates to the great Gift from God was not even close. A more appreciate explanation is the natural ability to know right from wrong and this gift helps us to see things as God sees them.
This reminds me of the Brandon Heath song, “Give me your eyes”:
One afternoon I was driving in my car listening to this song. I had been grappling with some difficult situations in my life that had left me cranky and incredibly agitated with people. I remember driving, and looking at the faces of the other drivers, and growing more and more dark in my thoughts and mood.
Out of habit, I had turned on the Christian Radio station, KLove, and as I drove around lost in my thoughts Brandon’s voice broke through my angry fog. Suddenly, I found myself singing along, and praying for God to bestow this grace on me. To allow me to see the people I was encountering, even if it was just through our windshields, with His eyes. People started to look softer, friendlier, and each one more and more beautiful.
God had heard my prayers, and bestowed this amazing gift to see them as he did. At that moment, I knew in a new deeper sense, that God sees everything and everyone with love.
This gift was never more useful and apparently necessary when I first joined Facebook. I have to confess, I did not use my Facebook time very well or wisely. I was busy being nosy, gathering gossip, and definitely not being a good example of someone whose life was transformed by her love of Jesus.
Over time I was convicted that this behavior was not the best for me. I encountered much temptation to judge, bear false witness, and waste away hours in idle activity. It did not mean I had to leave Facebook, it just meant I needed to reconsider how I wanted to spend my time on there.
I recently attended an insightful presentation from Catholic Voices USA’s Scot Landry entitled, “Pope Francis the Communicator.” Scot helped us see the key characteristics of Pope Francis’ communication style, preparing the group to formulate our personal testimonies.
As I listened, I instantly started to consider how to use these techniques on social media, where I hope that the bulk of my interactions are a witness to my love of Christ, and my need and dependence on him as my savior. Scot spoke of taking advantage of what is called the, “Francis Effect,” capitalizing on how Pope Francis has endeared himself to Catholics of all practice levels as well as non-Catholics.
It makes good logical sense to use the current popularity of Pope Francis and his sound catechesis and humble relatable character, showcased in his (very shareable) quotes, videoed and photographed interactions, and simple teachings. These media tidbits are perfect for sharing with our Facebook friends, planting seeds and opening (we pray) communication about what it truly means to be Catholic.
In addition, I love to post uplifting or thought-provoking Bible verses or share the link to a daily Gospel reflections such as those found on here at CatholicMom.com. I may put up pictures and quotes from a saint.
My posts and activity focus on the everyday ways I live my faith. I share what is going on at my parish, an upcoming retreat, or a local event featuring Catholic Speakers. I post what is important to me, but never in a preachy way. I’m just circulating what is available and what touches my heart – you never know who might see it and how it might inspire them.
Read other posts in Allison's Social Media and Gifts of the Spirit series.
Copyright 2014 ALlison Gingras
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.