In addition to the blessing of writing for CatholicMom.com, I am also the founder of Reconciled to You ministries. I choose the name Reconciled to You after reading St Paul’s words to the Corinthians(2 Cor 5:20):
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
There are many ways we can live as Ambassadors for Christ in our everyday life. In this special 7-part TechTalk series, I have been discussing the many ways we can share the Catholic faith especially on social media and how we can use the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to guide us.
In our last segment, we’ll be looking at the Fear (or Awe) of the Lord. This gift refers to how we never want to do anything that will bring dishonor to God by our failing to live up to being his sons and daughters. We are not afraid of God, no the word fear used here refers to a reverential awe. We are in wonder of who HE is, the creator of heaven and earth, and by our love for Him, we NEVER want to displease him.*
As Pope Francis describes it in his final general audience relating to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit,
We know that this is no servile fear, but rather a joyful awareness of God’s grandeur and a grateful realization that only in him do our hearts find true peace. Through the fear of the Lord, we become, as Jesus asks us, like little children, trusting in the goodness and the protection of our heavenly Father.
One of the ways I have chosen to honor and hopefully also please God is to keep my social media, what I refer to as “Catholic-centric”. My online activity has a focus of not only creating and posting Catholic content, but also maintaining a God-pleasing standard with my all that I post.
Criteria to consider:
• Is the material good catechesis, have I considered the source?
• Does it inspire people to want to learn more about God or Catholicism?
• Will the person viewing the post be uplifted or encouraged by it?
• Does this help information articulate what Catholics are against or for?
When my children were younger, I would ask them, “Would you watch this show or read that book if Jesus were sitting with you?” Whatever I am going to put out, personal or professional, I hold myself to the same criteria I posed to my children. I take a moment and ask myself, “Would I tweet or retweet this, if Jesus were following me?”
On no social media outlet is this more apparent than in my use of Pinterest. Wikipedia (and before you comment below, YES, I am aware this is not always a reliable resource but I figured it was a safe for this point), anyway, it defines Pinterest as a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks called “Pins”. Personally, I think of it as this big visual filing cabinet.
I have Attention Deficit Disorder, so once a piece of paper is placed in a file cabinet in my desk, it is pretty much gone forever. If I am honest, I don’t do much better with bookmarked websites on my computer. Aside from keeping things tidy, the visual nature of Pinterest enables me to easily re-locate sites or pictures that I have pinned and that in turn makes shareable. That is hands-down my number one favorite reason for using Pinterest -- share-ability! When I find quality websites, memes or blogs – I no longer lose them NOR keep them to myself!
I’ve created very “Catholic-centric” content on my Pinterest – with fun boards entitled Catholic Peeps, Pope-ology and Rosary Swag. There are also more pragmatic boards such as Catholic Blogs, Social Media 4 Evangelization, and Catholic Cache. Recently, as if I had been living in a shoe, I was made aware of one of the MOST EXTENSIVE Catholic resource boards on Pinterest, simply titled: Catholic Pinterest . I’m still scratching my head at how I missed this board as it was launched or “christened” (as the board description says), by Allison Girone, whom I met virtually after someone incorrectly tagged one of us in place of the other. [As an aside: this actually happens to us a lot. I’ve even had moments of seeing her name next to a pin, post or image and thought, “hmm, when did I post that?” See how much fun social media can be – yes I am that easily amused. ]
Another evangelizing feature of Pinterest is the ability to add commentary to explain why you are pinning a particular item, which in turn can also be used to instruct in the faith, as well as witness. Most people might not identity Pinterest with building or interacting in community, but it does fall into the social media realm. Not only can comments be added when you are pinning onto a board, but you can comment on other people's bins. This is not limited to only people you know, providing a missionary aspect to Pinterest, by allowing us to reach out to strangers or casual acquaintances. You can also forward a pin that you think one of you friends might find useful, funny or inspiring - a friendly visual seed.
Ultimately, social media is about connecting with people, as so is the New Evangelization. Aware of the Holy Spirit's Gift to be in Awe of the Lord, my heart overflows with joy, and I am compelled to share this Good News. As missionaries before me, I will wisely use the technology of my time to go forth offering prayers and a faithful presence, most importantly "prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is within me." (1 Peter 3:15).
*The Gifts of the Holy Spirit definitions used in this series have been adapted from the teachings of gifted preacher Fr. Roger Landry, of CatholicPreaching.com. A man I am very honored to know and to be guided by.
Read other posts in Allison's Social Media and Gifts of the Spirit series.
Copyright 2014, Allison Gingras
About the Author
Allison Gingras works for Family Rosary, Catholic Mom and the Diocese of Fall River as a social media and digital specialist. She is the author of Encountering Signs of Faith (Fall 2022, Ave Maria Press). Allison developed the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series including her volumes—The Gift of Invitation and Seeking Peace (OSV). Podcast host of A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras and a co-host of Catholic Momcast.