Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Closing the (Face)book!

Happy Almost-Lent!

I have made known my Lenten intentions to some of you, and I wanted to address one of the sacrifices I will be making this year for the sake of my Jesus:

I'm giving up Facebook.

I have been receiving way more amazed reactions from people than I thought. I thought many would say, 'Seriously? That's it? Big Deal." ( I am doing other things, btw) But it has turned out to be a Big Deal!

Many wonder my motivations for doing it. Some wonder how am I actually going to do it ( will I still respond when Facebook sends me a notification email? Will I sign on if someone posts a picture of me? Answers TBD! This is going to be a sacrifice as you go kind of Lent ;)

This is definitely a new type of sacrifice, but I can't take credit for the idea. Last year when I was with the Daughters, one of the teens from my youth ministry who kept in touch with me revealed she was giving up MySpace/Facebook. I was in awe of her sacrifice, because for a teenager especially, the constant connection with friends is essential for 'normal' socialization among peers. (This year, btw, she informed me she is giving up texting! A modern day saint in the making, I tell you! And she continues to one up me incidentally which I don't know how I feel about....:)

My use of Facebook started as a ministry tool. One of my youth minister friends from NET sent me the initial invitation, and I saw she used it for contacting teens about programs and events. Also, just to be a Catholic presence in the midst of a secular cultural phenomenon. I used Facebook pretty well, I would say, for almost THREE years (hard to believe!) that way, including when I was in the convent. Like this blog, it was a great way for people to keep in touch with me and see what our life was/is like.

But now the craze of Facebook is extreme- nearly every friend and family member has arrived on it! And I no longer just use it to minister, but rahter to 'check up' on people who I haven't even thought about in ten years and see how their lives measure up to mine, or just to kill and pass time where I could be doing something more productive for Jesus and others.

I also find it has become a source of instant gratification for me. If I am feeling lonely or I need to be affirmed, I go and read my wall, look at my pictures, see who is online to chat. I go to it when I'm seeking self, that is to say. It has no longer become a presence for others, but a very me-focused initiative, trying to satisfy an instant need for attention.

As you know, I am opposed to many things in our culture, but this instant gratification aspect is one of the worst traps we all can easily fall into. I gave up fast-food one year for the same reason. Not because I ate it all the time, but because I didn't like the convenience aspect of it. I needed to learn to take time to prepare, and work a little bit for the satisfaction- in one case, eating, and now for...I don't know, affirmation.

And so I'm going to be praying about ways to satisfy my personal needs and desires for attention (hopefully) and hopefully relying more on Jesus for that satisfaction and gratification.

I also deny myself alcohol each Lent as an added sacrifice (it just doesn't feel right to indulge in this way to me during a repentant season!) and I usually try to add another prayer element to my routine. I have found Stations of the Cross soooooo helpful when I've committed to it, so I will be making time to pray them at least once a week each week this Lent.

I just throw that all out there to give you all some ideas and to let you know where some of my thoughts will be for the next weeks.

And if you want to get in touch with me, email or call! :)

God bless your Lent! We will be in touch :)

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