Love at the heart of Twitter

Sunday's Mass Gospel came from Matthew 5, and as I read You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world... I thought especially of social media. There is a call and a challenge for all of us here, and especially on Twitter, to be a light which shines in the sight of others... so that, seeing your good works, they may give glory to your Father in heaven...

Then, yesterday I read this blog post by Digital Nun, in which she writes of the creative and healing possibilities of social media, as well as its ugly side: fake news, anger, trolling, hatred. What began as a utopia of connectivity has rapidly evolved into a place full of darkness, even as it can be flooded by light, humour and solidarity. Thus Digital Nun writes of trying to take Christ into a situation, a world, from which more and more are trying to exclude him... ending by reminding us that Everyone who uses social media can use it for good or ill, to build up or tear down... Let us make friends online by being friendly, by being truly social. 

Today's Gospel reminds us, too, of the ugliness which can come out of a person - what truly matters is the state of our hearts, and the depth of our love. Or, as St Madeleine Sophie said (and an American Associate has just reminded me): Let love be your life...


Last year I led a workshop on social media for a large group of Carmelite nuns, including those who run their national Twitter and Facebook accounts. We talked about social media's dark side, and the role and witness we religious, and other people of faith and goodwill could have here. Paraphrasing St Therese, I suggested to the sisters that maybe they were called to be love at the heart of Twitter.

But of course, we should never challenge or volunteer others for a walk we're not prepared to walk ourselves! My daily call as an RSCJ is to be love at the heart of the world - which includes the world of Twitter, Facebook and the rest of social media; to let love be my life, online as well as everywhere else. To let a love which builds up, encourages and nurtures be my life: to be a love which takes part in humour but not ridicule; which knows when and how to speak truth or challenge prejudice; and knows, too how to do this kindly.

Blessedly, I don't do this alone: I'm part of an online community who do aim to let love be their life; who aim, too, to ensure that Christ, and his example and teaching, are at the heart of whatever we share or tweet, and however we are, towards one another and everyone else. The loving heart is alive and populated - but it can also expand, and expand yet more. There is always room - and sadly, always need - for more love at the heart of social media...


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