I remember the first time I heard a priest say, "God made us human beings. Not human havings and not human doings." It struck me dumb and I had trouble listening to anything else he said. We were sitting outside a hotel in the Philippines listening to Fr Duc, a priest from Vietnam, and it was the first time I recognized how much I placed my self-worth on what I did, for others, for myself, and for God.
Today I listened to Father Mike Schmitz from Ascension Presents talk about how our culture has evolved from the status symbols of the eighties (what I own defines who I am) to our current cultural rush for experiences (what I do defines who I am). He says this take on existence is easily understood in the light of social media and our phone cameras which allow us to show and document every little thing we DO.
What he said really struck me since I tend to document my trips and other experiences on Facebook (and somewhat here) with multitudinous photos and comments. Someone else gave a talk recently, at the Catholic Medical Conference in Denver this past September, and she talked about how easily social media turns what should be a qualitative appreciation of the things we share (people looking and thinking, Oh how beautiful) into a quantitative appreciation (how many likes do I have?! how many comments?). And I think she is right.
I'm just not sure what to do about this in my own life. On the one hand, would I be better off just closing down my social media pages and not interacting at all? Is there a place for sharing pictures in my life without being drawn into a false sense of worth because I base my value on the cool places and stuff I do? When is it sharing with people I love and when is it showing off? Hmmmm. Maybe I should shut off Facebook and Instagram for Advent and re-evaluate this after Christmas....after I have some distance between it and me.
Anyway, thanks for listening. On the day after the anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima's final apparition, I bid you good day!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!