Reflection: Facebook and the Face of God

Mary Wang

Mary Wang

Have you heard that more than 250 million people use Facebook? For the few people who don’t already know, on Facebook people can write short lines of news that their friends can see. More than 30 million people update their statuses in this way at least once each day. Viewing your Facebook homepage, you see the most recent updates from various friends such as: ‘Yasmin is trying out the new BBQ’, ‘Pete’s kids have let out the hamster again’, or ‘Sheila is wondering why the date didn’t go well’. You might get a hint of what’s going on in a friend’s life by reading the updates and it’s a fun way to keep in touch. They can even send a one-line tweet through Twitter. However, it’s not the same as a seeing someone in person and really having time to listen and share, knowing from her face how tired she really is and sensing from her tone of voice why the date didn’t go well.
It’s easy for our prayers to God to become like brief Facebook updates or tweets from Twitter. We can find ourselves only saying little prayers now and then – brief appeals for help while we do other things. They land on God’s homepage but we might not stop to look Him in the eye or to involve ourselves: ‘Lord, help Rachel’s dad who’s not well’, ‘I’ve lost the folder, please help me find it!’, or ‘Give me the grace to cope with this difficult conversation I need to have’. These are still very valuable prayers. For some people, such as busy parents, it might be an act of heroism even to be making brief prayers now and then. If we can, though, it’s also good to set aside some time which is specifically for quiet prayer.
When we pause and make space for prayer we’re better able to listen and to share with God, and to do more than offer our latest updates. We can adore Him in our hearts, give thanks for the good things and receive gentle forgiveness for our mistakes. If we are honest with Him God can help us in the areas of our lives that are of most concern. In prayer, His light can shine on problems that we’ve been worrying about and the Holy Spirit can help us to see more clearly what we should be doing. God might even surprise us by drawing our attention to issues we need to be noticing.

Instead of rushing through the day giving Him brief words we can share what’s really on our minds. Christ Himself suffered and understands our heartaches with great compassion and love. He can give us wisdom, courage, and the grace to do what’s right and not to do what’s wrong. Brief prayers to God are wonderful but our extra time set aside for Him brings grace pouring down upon us. Like precious time spent with a friend, our ‘face-to-face’ time with God bears great fruit.

Mary Wang has recently joined ICN and will be writing reflections for the Faith Notebook page. A Psychology and Theology graduate, for  a number of years Mary was a web manager and project manager for a Catholic movement. This involved online catechesis, and catechesis through art. At present she works for a Catholic charity which supports mission dioceses around the world.

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