Is God present in your life through social media?

Over 100 young adults partook in an engaging discussion on social media @ Faith Connections' Theology on Tap: Examen Your Social Media. Blessed with 2 guest speakers, Andrea Scapinello and John O’Brien SJ applied St. Ignatius’ Examen Prayer to our social medial use.

The 5 Step examen, a reflective prayer on your day which notes where God is present, incorporates the following steps: acknowledging God’s presence; thanking God; asking holy spirit for guidance; revealing how you’re living out your day; and resolve/reconciliation. The question posed to the young adults to silently reflect on was: where is God present in my life through social media?

Andrea shared her experiences of where God is present in her life through social media by applying the examen to her use of Facebook and YouTube. She reflected on her experiences of consolation: it’s a great way to connect with others and to plan events. However, she can also experience desolation when she uses social media: the diminished human element of one-to-one interaction, the anxiety that comes with responding to messages/posts, as well as, the loss of time watching hours and hours of YoutTube videos. In these cases, Andrea felt her time could be used in more authentic forms of interactions which would nurture her and others. A call we heard echoed in the opening prayer read by Sr. Dorothy: “Lord, you have chosen us, inviting us to enter into Your divine love and to share it with the world.”

John spoke of how neurological studies have shown the addictive elements of social media. This has had a negative impact, for example, mental absence is now frequently reported as one element of marital breakdown. St. Ignatius provides us with discernment tools which allow us to be conscious users of social media; to be able to identify at what point I am saying no (or yes) to God in my use of the internet. St. Ignatius encourages identifying this point and then as quickly as possible remedying it so that one can return to the light of who we are called to be and do. Discipline is important.

Leaving the talk, it occurred to me that perhaps a way to move forward is to fast from social media during the upcoming Lenten season, allowing myself to be more mentally present to my family and friends; a grace that allows us to grow into the divine connection breaking into our everyday life.

Author: Patricia Soscia (January 25th, 2016.)