Shine Your Light with Facebook Friends as a Spiritual Work of Mercy

Would go to the lion’s den for your faith? I’m guessing everyone has asked themselves this question. These days, in this country, we are more likely to go to court than the lion’s den. Standing up for our faith is having social and legal consequences, sometimes huge ones.

For most of us, it’s about having an unpopular opinion in which we get attacked either indirectly in the liberal media or personally in conversations. A repeating refrain I hear among Catholics is, “I don’t have time for this,” or, “I unfriended a lot of people on Facebook after the election.”

Preaching to the choir has is merits. The choir needs a boost of confidence and support too. That’s the easy part, however. The greatest work is evangelizing those who don’t get it. It’s a corporal work of mercy. Are you doing that? You might not even now where to begin.

Abundant Opportunities

I can think of no greater opportunity to evangelize than Facebook and other social media. It is there where you can get into the minds of people opposed—sometimes passionately—to Catholic teaching. Yet, many people have unfriended anyone who dares to venture an opposing opinion. Sometimes the opposition is passionate and rude about it. So what? It’s not like you are getting beheaded.

I don’t advise being aggressively in people’s face and only preach the Gospel as you are basically inoculating everyone against you in this way. In that way, you also will be someone with a high un-friending rate. But if you live your life for and with the Lord, that is going to naturally come out from time to time.

Don’t hide that in fear of bothering some of your friends. Better to bother them than to bother God. “…but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 10:33

It’s uncomfortable or inconvenient to have a troll on your page, but consider that perhaps his guardian angel brought him to you for instruction. Unfriending or blocking such a soul might not be the right response.

Crazies and people that have a dangerous or relentlessly futile essence in their postings are probably best dealt with by ignoring, deleting or blocking. However, that leaves a lot of other people as potentially fertile ground for speaking the truth in charity and wisdom.

Evangelizing on social media is so much easier than being a missionary in hostile lands where torture, death and speaking without looking things up on the Internet may be the price to pay to spread the Gospel message.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

You can pray for others and pray to the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom in your answers. This is God’s work. If you are in position to do it, how can you say you have better things to do?

While researching for articles and reading information on radically liberal sites, I have discovered that there are good people who are reverse trolls in the comment sections. People advocating for life, chastity and marriage, sometimes venture into liberal worlds to share truth they may have never really had presented to them before. I find them heroic!

Conversions don’t usually take place with tea and crumpets. It means stirring up emotions that are fiercely defended. The fact is that you can’t fail if you approach these encounters with humility and in union with God. Remember, converting their hearts and minds is the work of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to plant seeds and to pray. That’s it. We don’t have to measure our success by their response but rather by our own.

As Christians, we have an obligation to participate in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Engaging people on social media with a Catholic witness to truth while praying for people you encounter, can fall under the Spiritual Works of Mercy on many fronts.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offences willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead.

We can put God into our time on social media and participate in his work. If you don’t want to make people upset or don’t want to take the time to engage, it is your own interest you are looking after. That’s something we need to consider in our encounters so that we are not drained for the rest of our obligations, but love of others means we are willing to make ourselves uncomfortable for them, even if they think we are the crazy one.

Patti Maguire Armstrong, is the mother of 10, and has a B.A. in social work and M.A. in public administration. Her newest book is Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven. Others include Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and the Amazing Grace Series. Follow her at @PattiArmstrong and read her blog at PattiMaguireArmstrong.com.