At the service of our central love

The Lord explicitly calls the human person to a covenant of love, so that they can fully become what they are: the image and likeness of God in his capacity to listen, to welcome, to give space to others. Fundamentally, listening is a dimension of love. 
(From Pope Francis' message for today's World Day of Social Communications)

Earlier this month twenty of us gathered - in-person and via zoom - for an all-day meeting. Our focus was our presence on, and engagement with different types of social media, especially Twitter, Facebook and blogging. We did not, though, spend the day talking about how to 'grow our audience', or extend our reach, or debating the merits of promoting certain Facebook posts. We could have, but we didn't; this wasn't what we had gathered for.

Instead, we talked about communicating the Gospel and its values; about discernment and prayer, community and hope. And underlying all this we talked, especially, about what all this calls us to as religious: women and men who have pledged our lives to God, to be lived in prayer and mission, according to our charisms. One sister who was already on Twitter when she joined her monastery spoke about her ongoing discernment and reflection about her social media presence. Another felt her gift was to offer prayer; others shared their experience of offering online retreats, or campaigning on issues of social justice. We talked about what we had learned from each other, and the encouragement and inspiration received.

None of us had seen Pope Francis' message, but essentially, like him, we too were talking about listening with the ear of our heart; about welcoming, and creating community, and a space of love, humour and hope in a medium often better known for its rancour and divisions. Each of us, living our own covenant of love, seeks to fully be and share that love wherever we may be, which definitely includes online.

And in between all this we laughed and teased, shared homemade goodies and chatted like old friends, even though several of us had never met 'in real life' before that day. There was pure joy in being together; as friends, yes, but also as fellow-travellers, sharing a common call and consecration, even if lived and expressed through a diversity of spiritualities, charisms and lifestyles.

In her account of the meeting, Jessica OSB quoted from my presentation about eleven years of Heaven, in which I went back to the aims and ideals of my first postThis [being a religious sister] is who, what and how I am, and what I want to share with others. So in this blog I hope to bring together my different loves - of words, photography, creativity - and place them at the service of my central love, the Love that will not let me go. 

Those were my words - they still are - but I am sure the sentiment is not mine alone. Whether it be creativity, campaigning or cooking; scripture, liturgy, prayer or art; outreach, videos, photography or blogging, we could all say that we hope to bring together our different loves, and place them at the service of our central, primordial love... the Love that will not let any of us go.

On this World Day of Communications especially, please pray for all of us - as we do for you - that we may fully live this ideal in our presence and mission on social media.