Lent Day 5: ‘I Felt Stuck In A Second Adolescence’


Facebook sign-off: Cate is fasting from the social network this Lent

By Cate-291547


This Lent I would finally like to follow the pope’s suggestion that we fast from our dependence on technology. I am taking a 40-day fast from a particular social networking site, which I suspect I’ve become slightly addicted to.

I knew I was spending a lot of time on the site, but I realized the issues went deeper than time wasting. I became uncomfortable when my friends and I would collectively trash a musician, mock some fallen celebrity or engage in negative political discourses.

In the words of one of my favorite Jesuits, Rev. James Martin, I feel I’ve become one of the people who forgot “Jesus’ words in our digital age, when snarky blogs, terrible texting, snotty Facebook posts and mean-spirited Tweets zip around the Web and cause serious harm.”

This perfectly encapsulates the discomfort I felt. I tended to think of celebrity-trashing as a victimless crime, because obviously famous people aren’t reading my posts. But it’s a matter of being charitable and empathic in speech, no matter who is being discussed.

My quasi-addiction to social networking also revealed another issue: It served as a painful reminder that I had time to waste because I had no spouse or children to attend to. In a sense, I felt stuck in a second adolescence, having time to hang out online with no responsibilities.

But I’d often had a distant, nagging feeling that I should be doing something more useful. Of course, that feeling usually faded the minute a friend logged on to chat or posted a video clip that interested me. And while the teenager within me was satisfied, the adult remained unproductive…and unmarried.

Knowing that the Lenten season is a threefold attempt to remind us of Christian ethics, I also plan on adding to my prayer life and to works of charity. So I’m going back to the practice of Centering Prayer.

My work schedule doesn’t allow me to attend the weekly meetings – and I’m lucky to live near the parish where Centering Prayer began – but I will try praying on my own for Lent.

Finally, I plan on visiting Potter’s Field, a cemetery for homeless New Yorkers. I’m going with a non-denominational charity who goes bi-monthly to pray before the unmarked graves for all the souls of the forgotten.


Reflection question: In what way have you extended adolescence?






4 Comments

  1. Dawn-58330 March 15, 2011 Reply

    Cate! What a beautiful reflection– honest, humble, penitential… all that Lent should be. I really like the idea of going to Potters Field to pray for the souls who have no one to visit their graves. So charitable, creative and spiritually adventurous. It will take you out beyond the computer, into the city, into the depth and breadth of Lent.

    About the addiction of technology… you are so right that we must step away when it erodes our Christian charity and behavior toward our fellow man, whether he (or she) be physically next to us on the couch or living his (or her) life far around the world. It matters not if they are someone we hug and live with, or if we know of them because they provide some sort of entertainment. The challenge to us as followers of Christ is to be the Good Samaritan, not the bandits, the Levite or the priest.

  2. Michelle-346850 March 15, 2011 Reply

    What a great reflection! It struck me when you mentioned something about being charitable in words or speech. It’s so easy to disregard that part of Jesus’ teaching because we think those people will never see our posts. I’m going to start thinking twice before I post something — really see whether it’s out of charity or not. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Frances-26250 March 15, 2011 Reply

    Potter’s Field is a great place to do the chief spiritual work of mercy of praying for the dead. I love it. You will have thousands of Holy Souls for friends and you’ll never be alone. What friends you will have interceding for you in heaven! God bless you.

  4. Paula-176068 March 16, 2011 Reply

    I agree that it is a beautiful reflection, but the last part bothers me a bit. Not about the praying at the cemetery, but more about who do you go with. Here is an article about bible study with non-denominational from a catholic website that I found. Not exactly what you are doing, but I hope it helps you to understand my position. http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2007/0701fea5.asp

Post a comment