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Can there be spiritual benefits to social networking?

Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp - published on 01/21/13

The story of a healing from cancer shows the power of social media can be harnessed for spiritual purposes.

We are all aware of the destructive uses of social media, from irresponsible reporting to flaming in comboxes to sexual predators trolling for innocents. Social media can be a powerful force for good as well, even in our personal lives. For a start, it can unite us in prayer as the following story shows.

Facebook, Twitter, emailing, texting and the like have recently taken quite a beating. You have heard the stories about how married women have discovered their ex-boyfriends Facebook and started affairs; the woman who tweeted as she made the decision to go through with an abortion and the fatalities due to people texting while driving. With all of this negative attention it is difficult to find the good in any of these venues. If you use these social media outlets, however, then you may suspect they have positive effects as well.
Let me tell you a story about the power of united prayer facilitated through Facebook, Twitter, texting and emails.
My father was diagnosed with colon cancer last spring. Reeling from the news I asked him “How can I help you dad?”
His reply was simple “Lori, pray please pray. Ask everyone to pray for me. Ask the people you email weekly, put me on a prayer line. Just pray for me.”
I write a daily blog called Faithfilledmom.com; it is based on my faith and every day happenings and stories in my life. Over the course of the past 2.5 years I have written this blog I have acquired a bit of a following and have about 150 people I email weekly with updates on my life and the blog.
So that evening I went home and set to work. I emailed my faithfilledmom list of followers. I put my dad’s name on the prayer-line through our church. I emailed to another 150 people who have completed retreats with me to pray for my dad. I texted almost every contact I had in my phone. Then I started tweeting prayer requests. Next I turned to Facebook. Because of my blog I have almost 3,000 “friends” on my account. I started posting on their home pages my prayer request.
Here’s what happened.  A priest in New York said his Mass for my dad the following morning. There was a man in Denver who dedicated his prayer during Eucharistic Adoration to my father’s healing.  A group of Africans in Kenya, seminarians, who read my blog regularly,committed to praying daily for my dad.
I contacted people in almost 30 different States here in the US and then I went global to Germany, England, Australia, Africa, Croatia, and Thailand. There were literally hundreds of people praying for my dad.
The doctors removed the tumor: it was the size of a racquet ball and the cancer had not spread.
My dad said during those days he could feel the prayers and he completely attributes his recovery to God and the hundreds of prayers that knocked on heaven’s doors all those weeks.
If you have ever prayed in unity with others you know the power of prayer. Prayer connects us to God intimately and to one another as the living body of Christ.
I truly believe if the apostles of Christ had access to Facebook, Twitter, emailing and texting they would have utilized it so that they could have reached all corners of the globe to proclaim the Good News of Christ. I have a mission to move people closer to God one word, one daily reflection, one retreat, and one prayer at a time, and the social networks and technology of our time help me to fulfill that mission.
Social Networks were invented to bring people together. Many times they are abused and used in a destructive manner.   But just as there is the darkness there must be some light. If used for good, our social networks can facilitate many good works. Today, think about posting something positive on Facebook or tweeting for support on Twitter. The Pope is even tweeting now. Can’t you just imagine St. Peter doing the same to spread the Word of God to the entire world?
Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp blogs at faithfilledmom.com and is a frequent contributor to catholicmom.com, where this post first appeared
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