We live in a world where people seem to have no problem sharing the most intimate or graphic elements of their lives. Yet there seems to be reticence when it comes to sharing how we live our faith in our social media posts.
The fear is real that you may be judged, unfriended, unfollowed or filtered for sharing your faith. A few years ago I shared a picture of myself with ashes on my forehead on all my pages, even the super-conservative LinkedIn platform. I remember that after pressing the publish button, a feeling of anxiety washing over me. Anxiety coupled with an expectation of an impending onslaught of negative comments. As time passed there were no negative comments; instead, my post garnered some likes and positive comments. This fueled my desire to look for opportunities to share me authentically practicing my faith.
Sometimes it’s super easy to share things like First Communions, Confirmations, or graduations happening at my parish. But how I live my faith is not just about what happens in or at church. My faith shapes how I see and live in the world. Sharing my faith through social media allows me to answer the call to evangelize without doing it in person.
As we enter the summer season the beauty of nature is in full bloom and an easy way to get started sharing your faith through your social media. When I read the first book of Genesis, land and sea are so intimately intertwined as the source of life for all living things. Maybe God ordains that we are drawn to beaches in summer. We find such peace and rest lying on them, basking in the glow of sunlight, gazing upon the blue sky as the clouds slowly move across it and for me a feeling that God is truly present.
God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky” – Genesis 1:20
When you post the beautiful snapshots you capture this summer, simply adding a hashtag or comment attributing the beauty to the hand of God is a powerful statement and inspires others to remember the blueprints outlined by Earth’s holy architect. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ encourages us to participate in the care of Earth is a simple ways. Sharing that you recycle with the hashtag #laudatosi is a great social share. I share the ocean views from my room at whatever resort I’m staying in, don’t you? Add a hashtag or comment expressing thanksgiving or something else that reflects how you see God’s connectedness to your experiences.
So thankful for the gift of sight to behold this awesome view #Thanksbe2God
One of my favorite things to do when on vacation somewhere is to visit the local Catholic church and capture pictures of unique elements of the church, grounds, or simply the bulletin. In some cases I even take a picture of the priest (with their authorization of course). I cherish one taken at the Shrine of the Holy Redeemer in Las Vegas of Fr. O’Brien sporting his St. Therese of Lisieux vestments on her feast day this year.
To encourage vacationing parishioners to attend Mass while on vacation, my parish shares a post with a call to share pictures hashtagging them #missingmartyrs from wherever they are attending Mass – so fun!
Be the Change
In the past two years people are increasingly turned off by all the negative social media posts. You have the power to turn the tide on this by posting about positive things. Injecting a little #JesusintheNewsfeed allows you to practice evangelization via your social media. Think before you post, what would Jesus post? #WWJP
I find inspiration from so many others sharing our Catholic faith through their personal social media. One of my favorite celebrities sharing their faith is Mark Wahlberg. This year he and his wife shared video of their daughter heading to her first confession through the @ConnectCatholic Twitter account. To be quite honest, Mark looked more scared than his daughter did about her experiencing reconciliation. I’m also a fan of Lizzie Reezay, an under thirty-year-old new Catholic from the RCIA class of 2018, and @Catholicsistas. There are so many others that also inspire me, but each one of you can be an inspiration to someone too.
This article has ended; go forth, glorifying the Lord by your life and social media posts!
Copyright 2018 Sherry Hayes-Pierce