Katie Fitzgerald reflects on the ways social media use has enriched her spiritual life.
Social media often has the reputation of being divisive, contentious, and fraught with opportunities for all forms of negativity. Certainly there are good reasons to avoid it, or at the very least limit its use. For me, though, after carefully curating who and what I follow, social media has become a real blessing to my spiritual life. There are a variety of ways in which scrolling my Facebook and Instagram feeds has provided spiritual nourishment.
The biggest impact social media has had on my faith has been its enrichment of my prayer life. Because I follow many Catholics and many Catholic groups, each day, I come across dozens of opportunities to pray for others’ intentions, big and small. These prayer requests remind me to look to Jesus and the Blessed Mother many times throughout the day, and often, as I offer up a Hail Mary for a fellow social media user, I also offer up a few more for people in my own family or circle of friends. Because I see these requests on social media, I pray much more often throughout the day than I might otherwise.
From a more practical standpoint, following Catholic social media outlets helps me to live the liturgical seasons in my own home. Thanks to Facebook pages like Catholic Icing and Shining Light Dolls, I always know which saint’s feast day it is, and I always have ideas for activities to celebrate. Because of Kendra Tierney at Catholic All Year, I can quickly find out when meat on Fridays is permitted and what foods my family might enjoy for various feast days. Even following faithful Catholic women who don’t have activity-filled blogs often gives me insight into how different families make the liturgical year a central part of their daily lives.
Equally practical but decidedly valuable are the book recommendations I find on Catholic social media. By following published authors like Carolyn Astfalk (https://www.instagram.com/cmastfalk) and Katie Warner, and readers like the husband and wife team @wellreadcatholic and Fountains of Carrots podcast host Christy Isinger, I am exposed to a whole host of books by Catholic writers. I also get Catholic perspectives on secular books that help me decide whether to read them or give them a pass. Catholic book recommendations aren’t something I can find at my local public library, so I’m grateful to those who share them online. I am also always inspired by writers like Emily Stimpson Chapman and Laura Kelly Fanucci who write beautiful reflections on the faith in their social media posts.
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Social media helps me to appreciate the universality of the Church. #catholicmom
Finally, social media really helps me to appreciate the universality of the church. Each Catholic family who offers a glimpse into their lives online shares a different, unique way of living out our faith. Knowing that there are so many of us around the country and around the world united by Catholic tradition is a comfort and an inspiration, especially during times when in-person connection with other Catholics isn’t always available.
Everyone talks about the ills and evils of social media, but if you look in the right places, there is truly an abundance of blessings to be found as well.
Copyright 2021 Katie Fitzgerald
Image: Grant Whitty (2020), Unsplash
About the Author
Katie Fitzgerald is a former children's librarian turned stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. She and her librarian husband live in Maryland with their five children, the youngest of whom are boy/girl twins. She has published two textbooks for librarians, and she writes about homeschooling, books and the reading life from a Catholic perspective at ReadAtHomeMom.com and on Instagram @read.at.home.mom.