#11 is the Most Important… and Dangerous

Today’s homily, for the first Sunday of Lent, was ended with “if you focus on loving God, and not SELF, this will be the most painless Lent”. He did not mean that in terms of we Catholics are trying to escape suffering, but that the more we love Jesus and Mary, the more we are able to bear our crosses. And it is just that, the cross will not become lighter, we will just be given greater strength to carry it because our love is great. Which leads me to this amazing list that the priests included in today’s bulletin.

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I said #11 is most important, and dangerous, did I not? The last time I took a selfie was years and years ago. In fact, when I came back from Africa and came to know Our Lady intimately, She Herself made me completely stop taking them. And before permanently removing myself from Facebook I posted a very old selfie and a good friend, who also deeply loved Mary, reached out to me privately and said the image was not pleasing to God or Our Lady.

That was all I needed to never take them again and officially pull myself off those overrated self-absorbed websites. Can we just take a moment to pause and study how the word SELF is in the word SELFie? We might as well just say, “hold on while I take a selfish“. Seeing this list today, especially number 11, was so edifying. I have felt this way for a while, so you can imagine why I feel the way I do about priests and religious, of all people, who are called to represent Our Lord and Our Lady, take selfies… makes me question even their spiritual life and state of their progress toward union with God.

I am no saint, I have many logs to remove from my own eyes before calling out others, but my point is this: If Saint Paul were walking around today, can you see him taking selfies? He referred to the followers of the crucified as “dead to the world and hidden in Christ in God”. Can you see Christ Himself going off to the mountain to pray to the Father and pausing to take a selfie with the glorious landscape behind Him? Neither can I. And lastly, can you see the Immaculate Conception Who said that “The Lord regarded the humility of His Handmaid” taking pictures of Herself? No one should argue this and say, “well we are living in different times, and we need to use modern technology to win souls for Christ”.

I agree with that, but can you honestly say that selfies win souls? I cringe and cringe and cringe when above all priests and religious do this; the very consecrated persons who represent the Trinity are engaging in such behavior. I have no problem with someone taking a selfie with a group of people or even simply one other person, but if it’s just you… perhaps examine this area of your life. If you truly desire to give yourself completely to your God, we must love ourselves in an ORDERED manner, and place Our Lord in the center. Perhaps Lent is painful because our love for self is greater than our love for Our Lord. Remember, as CS Lewis said: “true humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less”.