Sunday, January 6, 2013

Adopt a Twerp - A Prayer Project to Assist the Holy Father, @Pontifex, on Twitter

Here at The Charcoal Fire, I have been embedding the Papal tweets as they come along. The new evangelization, 140 characters at a time! Yet there is a dark side. Many faithful Catholics may have no idea of what goes on every time the Pope posts a new tweet. You really need to see this, because the beloved members of our curia see it, and perhaps the Holy Father as well. I will embed some of the initial responses from the "twerps" (I say that euphemistically) on Twitter.

There's a strong contingent of support out there ...

There's also a lot of "twerps" on Twitter. First, the puerile ...

And sadly there are a great many of the crass, loathsome, and faithless ...

The Pope knew this would happen, of course. L'Osservatore Romano quotes Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli: "A bit of everything came in. We have received the most beautiful messages from all ages of young people, and with differing content – at times joking, offensive and critical messages too; but, for us who live in these circumstances, it was no surprise, I confess. We were fully aware of what would happen: when the Pope wishes to enter into dialogue with modern man and puts himself on that level, there are risks to be taken and borne."

Thus, I have a two-part plan. First of all, look at his account on Twitter and you will see a pattern. His posts are generally at the same time of the day. Whatever that time is in your time zone, if you are on the Internet, open the Pope's page and leave it in your tab bar. If he posts, a (1) should appear. Open his post and respond with a loving and supportive message--quickly!

I know, I know... some of you are still Twitter hold-outs. I was holding out until last year. (Realistically, if you are on Facebook, you could even use Twitter to reduce your Facebook time. I digress.)  The second part of the plan is for everyone--even Twitter holdouts. Back in March of last year, the blog Acts of the Apostasy began its "Adopt a Priestess" campaign. Here, The Charcoal Fire begins a similar campaign: Adopt a Twerp

What to do? When you see someone you want to spiritually adopt, such as one of those above, offer a prayer such as, "Eternal God, I offer all my prayer, fasting, and alms this coming Lent for the conversion of ______________." Please remember this person in your daily prayers as much as possible, and offer him or her in your rosary intentions especially.

Very simple. That is all that is necessary. I do not even ask that you tell me about it. It would be good to have a more coordinated effort, but I will trust the Holy Spirit to do the coordinating and guiding you to the one for whom you should offer prayers. I do ask that if you feel so moved to please share this post.

I thought about laying down some sort of no-contact request, but upon further thought, I realize 1.) I cannot stop you, and 2.) on Twitter many people (including Catholics) are contacting these people and scolding them for their public disrespect. Probably not very effective. Here's my recommendation if you are thinking about it:

a.) If you are an adolescent reader, please do not contact strangers directly; that is very, very dangerous.b.) If you wish to contact one of these folks, pray about it first and use prudential judgment--some are very angry or deeply disturbed. c.) If the Holy Spirit urges you to contact someone, don't tell them you are doing this as part of a prayer campaign. Perhaps you could say something like, "I saw your Tweet to the Pope and wanted you to know I am praying for you" or "I saw your Tweet and thought this link might clear things up a bit [insert link related to their issue]."d.) Be honest with yourself. Is your faith strong enough to enter into dialogue with a learned atheist? If not, contact could pose a spiritual risk and you might want to start reading your Catechism first! Do not feel obligated to contact the person, but pray, fast, and give alms for the "Tweeter." Your heavenly Father who sees in secret will reward you.

I see a lot of people returning hostility to these angry or confused individuals, and it's clear that they too are angry and confused. Remember, Our Lord said,

"You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:43-48).Do you not see? If you pray for your enemy and he has a change of heart (μετάνοια), he is no longer your enemy but your brother!

To my international readers: If you set something up on your own blog for your readers to engage in a similar spiritual endeavor for the Pope's other tweeting languages (German, Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic, Polish, and Portugese), please let me know in the commentary box.

Lent begins on February 13 of this year, and so we have some time to build this up. Please click on the buttons below to share this on your Facebook wall, or Re-Tweet to your Twitter followers, or Pin it to your Pinterest board.

The Holy Father has sought to shine the light into the dark corners of all the nations. Let us not be afraid to follow him and support him. Let us especially pray for him, that he not be discouraged from all the hatred (which is one of the reasons I think that the first part of this plan is important). Lent is just around the corner, so adopt your twerp now; they are plenteous!

Oh, and one last thing, pray especially for this guy (in addition to your Twerp of choice)!