The other day I was wasting time on the internet, and on reflection, started to realize the effect it was having on my perceptions of reality. What I came up with was not good, and if I recognize it in myself it must be true on a massive scale in our society, our church and most frighteningly, among our children and young people.
I’m talking about the enormous amount of absolute idiocy, insanity, lies, trash and deceptions that flood into our lives. There is the ubiquity and iniquity of pornography to start with. The vile voyeurism is destroying real sex, emasculating men and undermining marriage on a global scale. It is a cancer on the soul. However, this obvious trash is only the most slithery aspect of the tsunami of destructive garbage that pollutes our lives.
I have been out of Facebook now for almost two years, have pulled out of other social media like Instagram, MeWe etc and have pulled away from Twitter–only using it to promote my blog posts. However, I’m aware of the toxic influences of social media. It is full of lies, stupidity, gossip, detraction and unreal speculation. Ask yourself how social media has actually helped you. I expect very few of us will say, “Social media has enriched my life, deepened my spiritual life and broadened my understanding of reality. Add to social media the rest of the screen stuff we look at: the news websites, the YouTube videos, the television, streaming programs etc.
I’m not wishing to be a spoil sport or a puritanical killjoy. There is plenty of room in our lives for relaxation and entertainment, and I believe most of us are too busy and need some positive downtime, but there’s a balance.
What worries me is the human appetite for bad news and lies. Why do we soak up the sensational, listen to the lies and gobble up the negativities? Take the lust for conspiracy theories, for example. Why get all worked up over the bad guys–the conspirators, the villains and the creeps? We know there is evil in the world. We know rich, powerful people meet in secret to plan ways to become richer and more powerful. That’s what rich, powerful people do. What can little people do about it? Nothing–not if you play their game that is. However, the history of the world and the history of the church shows that the little guys win in the end. David slays Goliath is a perennial lesson. The martyrs win. The little people eventually conquer. The victims are the victors.
To get to that point–to be a little one who prevails–we need to recognize reality. Cut through the crap. Discern the truth. See through the fake news, the deception, the temptations, the ideologies, the shallow, ridiculous painted show the devil is always presenting.
Since there is so much misinformation, propaganda, ideological nonsense circulating it is all the more important for the faithful to be rooted and grounded in reality. What is that reality?
In thinking about this blog post while waiting for the coffee to brew my mind settled on one of those old gospel songs I learned as a kid. You might remember it:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look Full in his wonderful Face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely Dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
I always contend that everything good, beautiful and true within Protestant Christianity can be found within Catholicism. How sweet it is, therefore, to find that there is a devotion to the Holy Face–and that it goes back to St Veronica, and that none other than my favorite saint–Therese of Lisieux is a patron of it. Her full name in religion was Therese of the Infant Jesus and the Holy Face.
To contemplate the Holy Face is to dispense with all the frippery, foolishness and fakery the world is throwing at us non stop. To contemplate the Holy Face is to recognize Reality. because the Holy Face is the visage of the incarnation, the passion and the resurrection of the one who is the source of Reality. The Son of I AM who said I AM.