Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Why do you care?

Yesterday I awoke to my social media news feed overtaken by prayers and well wishes for the survivors of the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, and I asked myself, “Do these people really care?” Now before you jump all over me for the question hear me out…

When I was a newly ordained priest serving as an assistant to a senior priest who was mentoring me, a woman I knew was going through a divorce. I asked my mentor priest if I should call her? He asked, “Why do you care?” I was shocked at his question! What did he mean, why do I care? He explained, but before he did he asked another question. “When was the last time you called her to see how she was doing?” Indeed, I hadn’t. “So why do you care now suddenly that she is going through a divorce? Is it because you want to be known as the priest who cares? If that is why you suddenly care enough to call, you shouldn’t. I’m her priest, you’re not.” He went on to explain that if I had been her priest and discovered a difficult time, I should in fact call and follow up, but never just because I wanted to be known as the priest who cares. I have taken that bitter pill of advice with me in my priestly journey every day since.

So back to my question. Why do people on social media insist on posting “Prayers for….” memes every time there is a tragedy. Are the really praying? Do they really care, or are they just wanting to be known as the people who care? Has our caring become politicized?  I don’t recall my news feed filled “Prayers for…” during other events that I would consider tragedies. I understand the conversation about the tragedy and how our society may or may not be going over the deep end, but if as many people posted that they were praying, were really praying, I suspect our society would be in a different state than it is today.

Next time you are tempted to post a “Prayers for…” meme, ask yourself why you care? If you really care, pray and move on. It doesn’t really matter what you post on social media.

1 comment:

Stephen Anderson said...

Very well said. And I do pray for our clergy twice a day, without posting a meme to that effect.