Social Media: Help or Hindrance to Prayer?

SrJosephEstradaPhoneEd

I love this photo of our senior Sr. Maria Joseph keeping an open prayerline…through her smartphone!

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve received a few queries about “managing” social media in our lives. For those who have an active lifestyle and are truly engaged with the world, the pressures of our culture have made it harder to navigate that world with serenity. The question of how social media influences our lives—especially our interior lives of prayer and recollection—is a subject that the sisters in my community have been discussing for a few years now, and it’s a question that our young women preparing to be Daughters of Saint Paul also wrestle with. At our Apostolic Mysticism seminar—an international meeting of Daughters of Saint Paul around the world in May—it was the subject of several in-depth discussions. For the Clay Pots Retreat that we are offering in October, I hope to address it in a way that invites each retreatant to look at the balance in his or her own personal lives in a creative way.

In the meantime, many of our sisters are addressing this question—for families, for busy professionals, and for those in ministry.

Sister Helena Burns, FSP, shares her interaction with teens on their use of social media in “Teens and Social Media,” a particularly engaging Life on the Rock Show on EWTN. Social media and smartphones truly can be both a help and a hindrance in family life—it all depends on how we use them!

In “Three Ways To Avoid Being a Workaholic,” Sister Kathryn Hermes, FSP, shares her tips on how to avoid being a workaholic when you are surrounded by many urgent demands—including managing websites, an online store, and social media for our ministry—which is worldwide. This is a great article for busy parents, working professionals, and those in ministry.

Sr. Kathryn is also offering an 8-week online mini-course based on material in her wonderful book, Beginning Contemplative Prayer. She describes it this way:

The 8 Week Beginning Contemplative Prayer Mini-Course has been created for the busy Catholic who is looking for something deeper in their life, as well as for the person who has developed a spiritual life but would like to deepen their understanding and practice. Each week you will receive an email with an introduction to the material for that week. A link in the email will easily open up a seven page digital magazine that will guide you through your spiritual development that week. The digital magazines contains presentations, guided prayer experiences, prayer exercises to try for yourself, and multi-media material.

As I prepare for the “Clay Pots Retreat,” I need your help. What are your biggest questions and concerns regarding social media and cultivating an interior life? I’d love to hear from you! Please post your thoughts in the comments below, or send me an email! Your input will be invaluable.

* How do you balance the various aspects of your life?

* What is the greatest challenge you have to face in balancing your life?

* What is most helpful to you in cultivating a spirit of prayer and an awareness of God’s presence in your life?

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2 thoughts on “Social Media: Help or Hindrance to Prayer?

  1. I am retired, yet I am committed to volunteering. So, I’m still busy. Social media is unnecessary for my volunteer work, so I have come to the point of considering it a big distraction from both prayer and my activities. After having attended a weekend silent retreat, I made the decision to disconnect from Facebook, my biggest distraction. I may soon leave other such venues if they end up distracting me like FB did. I can keep in touch with my loved ones and friends through email, texting, and writing old-fashioned letters.

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    • Thank you for your insights, Ruth Ann! It sounds like you made a good discernment on your retreat with regard to Facebook! It can be very, very distracting, I agree–as can all social media. Are there other social media that you use that you find less distracting? Personally, I used to find Facebook super-distracting, but once I changed how I was using it, I found it much more helpful for staying in touch with people and less distracting. Twitter is the social media platform I am still praying about: it’s such a great way to meet people for the first time, but to be present as I want to be, I have to go on several times a day. All a matter of discernment!

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