My Facebook Page now has over 1,000 followers. I feel validated. It’s certainly better than just 44 of my Catholic friends and family. Then again, they’re not friends and family. What’s the point of having a thousand followers on Facebook? Does that help me get closer to God? Does it help my Page followers? How are we any holier because of it?
The honest answer is that my soul is in danger of being distracted from focusing on God. The more followers I get, the greater the temptation towards vanity. As I reach greater milestones, I will trick myself into believing that I’m engaging in the New Evangelization when in reality I’m sculpting an idol to worship with my own hands. How do I fight pride when the Page has more than 5,000 followers? 10,000? The temptation would be strong to commit more time and resources to support my vanity. This will take away time from prayer, from my vocation as a husband, father and a U.S. diplomat. Instead of being more active in my parish, I will exalt myself in my own virtual congregation. Instead of helping U.S. companies, I will use my work time to maintain the Page.
So, what do I do? Delete it? That’s a possibility. Can I somehow give glory to God?
My spiritual friend suggested I be a genuine voice in curating Catholic content. How am I living out my Catholic faith? How am I growing in prayer, growing within the Church? There is tremendous value in faith-sharing within a spiritual friendship. Can it be translated into a social media environment? I do not know. The authenticity of my soul combined with a personal reach to my fellow pilgrims would be a generous act, worthy of God because it requires sacrifice. It’s a lot of work to reach out personally to each Page follower.
The goal now is not to get more followers, but to get to know each one as a son or daughter of God. Each one has an immortal soul. Seen that way, how awesome is that? Each person deserves to be known for who they are and not just to be used as a number to boost my pride.
This means I will have to make myself vulnerable. Scott Hahn showcases his life like a Catholic billboard; he can be a model. I will have to use my personal account to “friend” these Facebook followers. And I think AgoraPulse is just the right tool to help me determine who to reach out to first.
Glory be to God! Dear Lord, may my activities only be pleasing to you. Teach me if they displease you. If my blog or Facebook Page or anything takes me away from you, correct me. I’ll delete my blog and Page if that is your will. My desire is to love you more and more is greater than these tools. Save me, keep me from making these tools into idols. I humbly ask this in Jesus name, together with you and the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.