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All students in 6th-12th grades are welcome. Invite your friends to join us!
Kelsey Burgans |Youth Minister
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Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you, and he never abandons you. However far you may wander, he is always there, the Risen One. Taken from Christus Vivit, pope francis's apostolic exhortation to young people
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Capturing the True, Good, and Beautiful in a Post
Recently, the social media app Instagram turned 10 years old. It promotes itself as a visual platform where people can share photos of their life. It prides itself on being neat, attractive, and interesting. Often, people don’t post the whole truth on social media because it can be messy and ugly. We want to make sure that just the right thing is captured and shown to the world and not the parts of our lives that won’t make the #bestnine. Let’s further examine Instagram and all social media, as well as its purpose in our lives.
Instagram has several features that allow us to post pictures/videos, invite others to be a part of our “live” experiences, and even decide what is temporary/permanent. You can even add a filter to make your photograph even prettier. However, Instagram, like other social media companies, refer to the people who engage on it as “users”. We must be willing to contribute and not just consume. If we did this in our spiritual lives, if we only asked God of things that we could get, instead of asking God how we can give ourselves to Him, we would quickly become dry. We’re called to be in the New Evangelization, but that doesn’t mean that we give our lives over to a screen. Rather, we should give our lives back to God. We ask God to come in to many, if not all, parts of our lives. Why can we not ask him to come along on social media?
Several people have been able to successfully run a business based upon what they post and their account’s aesthetic. They are known as “influencers.” Influencers across many social media platforms have become celebrities (especially among young people) and have been to attract the attention of companies. Larger companies have noticed the amount of followers these individuals and will have the influencers talk about how great their business is, how much they love their products, and why they should buy from that particular company. However, we must remember that things are not always as they seem. The influencers are paid (whether financially, in free product, or both ways). While this means that they can promote products that they like, they can also promote products that are not helpful and might actually end up being harmful to you and your teen. Now, whether you subscribe to these popular people and products is not the issue, though we should examine if we’re quicker to follow what an influencer says than the Holy Word of God. We must ask ourselves if we’ve ever run a #ad for Jesus or the Church on our own pages? Sometimes we’re scared to put our faith out there because we don’t want to be known as one of “those people,” or maybe we are afraid of falling short in our personal lives to what we post on social media (or vice versa). Let us pray to become influencers for Jesus and be engulfed in the flames of #newfire.
We know that God is Beautiful and what He creates is beautiful- even if we don’t see it first. Sometimes we don’t recognize this in ourselves. Talking with our teens this past week made me realize that while we are quick to notice the overall awesomeness of our friends, sometimes we don’t see it for us. We’re often hard on ourselves and don’t want to show how amazing we are because someone might see the cracks in the facade. By shutting ourselves off from the world, we are depriving the world of just the beauty that someone might need to see our Lord. On the other end of the spectrum, some people overshare in life and on social media. Whether displaying their bodies, arguments with others, or something else, people can take the gift that God has given them and distort it. Our lives on social media don’t need to look like we’ve run them through Photoshop and three filters; instead, let us live with #nofilter and the knowledge that we are made in the image and likeness of God.
So, what is a young (or not-so-young) Catholic to do with Instagram? We’re called to be a part of the New Evangelization. So- what does that even mean? We’re supposed to share God with the world, and the best way to do that is to showcase what is True, Good, and Beautiful with the world. Inspired to do this, we’re going to try and be intentional about doing this on our own social media accounts. Be sure to look for the fun that we have during the week, as well as #testimonythursday and other things that will invite you to seek out God. We also want to encourage you to post something about our Lord once a month. Sometimes the only gospel someone reads is the way that you live your life. Let’s give the world the reason for our hope!
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church abides by the Diocese of Birmingham in Alabama Youth Protection Program. Through annual training, our students are reminded that they are made in God's image and carry dignity. To review the materials associated with our Safe Envioronment/Sexual Abuse Prevention, please click here. For more information about becoming a chaperone and earning Youth Protection certification, click here.