Accordingly, we must flee from all vanity and show an utter hatred for the deeds of the evil way. Do not turn inward and live only for yourselves as though already assured of salvation; join together rather and seek the common good.–St. Barnabas
Participating in blogging and other forms of social media is a common practice, and is here to stay. Indeed, many Catholics participate in them. It is a practice that should be fostered and encouraged as it, speaking as one priest, clearly helps Catholics, especially the laity, fulfill their role in preaching the gospel throughout the world.
However, blogging and other forms of media on the internet have a severe spiritual danger to them as well. When one is commenting from his own perspective on everything in light of Catholic values, one can easily become self-focused and develop a higher opinion of him or herself. This is a danger in any form of social ministry.
As you know, my blogging is connected to the religious community to which I am committed, Canção Nova [Cahn-Soum Noe-vah] (New Song) which is a Catholic Community based in Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil. It has mission houses in various countries including the United States. Presently, there are committed Canção Nova Missionaries in Atlanta, and there are missionaries who are what is known as alliance members, such as myself in Texas, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and other US States. There are such missionaries both who are fully committed and those who are alliance members all over the world. Indeed, the majority of this blog is material translated from New Song missionaries in South America and Europe.
Canção Nova runs TV, Radio networks, book, CD, DVD publishing, blogging and internet pages with the interest of promoting the Catholic Faith. Recently, for example, they held their annual youth retreat in Brazil filled to close to the 100,000 person capacity stadium on campus with the South American Catholic youth who attended.
When one is doing this kind of work, it is quite easy to become full of yourself and as we say in the business, believe your own press. That can lead to spiritual disaster. Narcissism, which is the occupational hazard of doing any form of communications ministry, is always a danger. Once you lose your spiritual anchor, you are lost to an over-inflated or false self-image. Pride is the mother of all sins. Finally, like halitosis, you are the last one to know.
That is why Monsignor Jonas Abib founder of the Canção Nova (New Song) Community requires those committed to it to live a rule that includes: daily rosary, daily mass, adoration and bible study. In fact, throughout Canção Nova in Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil there are adoration chapels to ensure spend time before the Blessed Sacrament and do prayers and bible study.
It is in this spirit, I am writing this to the Catholic bloggers wherever you may be. I don’t care how big you are, how big your organization or if, in the words of a former network executive who dismissed bloggers and ending up leaving that network, you are sitting in front of a computer in your pajamas. If you are a Catholic blogger, you need a rule to live by that recognizes that you are sharing your faith and participating in your faith to the degree to which you were called at baptism, but that requires a lifestyle that reflects it.
Therefore: may I propose the following Holy Rule for bloggers.
1.) Daily Mass whenever possible. For some I realize it is not possible everyday, but as much as possible, daily mass.
2.) Rosary daily, in the US that means 5 mysteries of the rosary. (In Brazil the rosary is all 20 mysteries daily, by the way)
3.) Daily adoration if possible (St. Benedict Parish in Somerville is open daily as are many churches and chapels here in the Boston area.) Archbishop Fulton Sheen recommended for the laity to be in daily adoration for 20 minutes and clergy for 60 minutes daily. Monsignor Jonas Abib recommends about 40 minutes daily for non-ordained members of Canção Nova. I would agree: priests 60 minutes and laity 20-60 minutes with the optimum to be 40-60 minutes.
4.) Daily bible study using the four color pen method taught by Mons. Jonas Abib. (can be done during adoration) (Monsignor Jonas learned that Pope John Paul II used the same method.)
b.) Underline any principles in black (i.e. 1John 4:8 “Who does not love does not know God, because God is love”)
c.) Underline any promises in green (i.e. Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”)
A suggested method for bible study, I would highly recommend for those involved in this work, is to do the Church’s prayer which is the Liturgy of the Hours a/k/a the Breviary, at least morning and evening prayer in the one volume. If you want to do the full complement of prayers, this you would find in the four volume set. You can also use DivineOffice.org which is the liturgy of the hours in American English or Universalis.com which is the same in European English. There are other suggested methods of bible study including that which is found through Canção Nova. (They are in Portuguese)
5.) Monthly confession
6.) Canção Nova missionaries also engage in Daily Divine Mercy Chaplet and a yearly forty days prayer to St. Michael the Archangel that precedes the feast of the Archangels in October. Missionaries also engage in regular retreats and regular formation and follow the Church’s rules for fasting on all Fridays.
It is clear that blogging is here to stay and that bloggers are here to stay as well. It is a ministry, after all. As with any ministry, it must be done in union with prayer and in union with the whole Church.
May I recommend bloggers reading this to commit themselves to some form of rule such as above?
God Bless You,
Fr. Robert J. Carr
others: Canção Nova
Canção Nova is a Catholic Community based in Brazil with mission houses in various countries, including the United States. Its mission is to preach the word of God and form new men and women for Christ.