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Social Networking and Friendship: Aren't We Brothers and Sisters?

By Nikolai R. Brelinsky
November 1st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

On social networks, becoming "friends" is as easy as pushing a button.  Minor arguments may lead to pushing a new button to "un-friend".  Is this what has become of the human race?  We are told by some to be "evolving", but are we really?  Are we moving forward when we can't really love our fellow human beings?

ROCKY MOUNT, NC (Catholic Online) - It seems today, in our culture filled with internet, cell phones, and various other electronics, we humans have lost sight of our humanity.  Do our lives really belong to us?  Do we spend all of our time doing things for ourselves?  Maybe we know the meaning of life, but do we really know the point?

Everyday, we see people.  Not only people we know, but people we may have never met.  Are those people alone?  Are they struggling?  Do they feel loved?  How any times a day do we ask ourselves these questions?  For too many people: not enough.

Every year, I visit the state fair.  Last year, I asked myself for the first time, "What do these vendors do all day behind their tables?"  Then, later in the year, I wore the other shoe as the person behind the counter.  It was my job to hand out free samples of the product  as well as answer anyone who had questions.  I realized that, while there were few people who were rude, not many people at all seemed to address me directly.  I was just the boy behind the table; the boy who they would not likely ever see again.

This opened my mind to a new thought: "Do I think of people that way?"

When we look across the table of a vendor, do we treat the person as though they are an electronic device?  Are they simply programmed to sell, serve, and thank you for your business?  Maybe our electronics have blinded us.  They have made us think of everything as something programmed.  Maybe even our friends.

On social networks, becoming "friends" is as easy as pushing a button.  Minor arguments may lead to pushing a new button to "un-friend".  Is this what has become of the human race?  We are told by some to be "evolving", but are we really?  Are we moving forward when we can't really love our fellow human beings?

All of us who have attended Sunday school know the answer when asked "What is the meaning of life?"  You suck in your gut, puff up your chest, and proclaim, "Why, to know, love, and serve the Lord, of course!"  However, is this the meaning of just your life or mine?  Or perhaps, it is the meaning of life for every human being.

The bible tells us we are all "brothers and sisters".  We are all called to know, love, and serve the Lord.  Every human being has the same mission.  Why, then, are we so separated?  Shouldn't we love our neighbor as ourselves?  It is obvious that we all love ourselves to some degree.  It is not so hard at all to show the same love to every person we meet.  What holds us back?

We cannot live our lives for ourselves and still fulfill our mission.  We need to discover something within ourselves.  We are always, always yearning for understanding.  If we wish to be understood, should we not first understand?

Our world today seems to be crashing down around us.  Violence, recession, hunger, abuse, murder.  All of these seem to have become things seen daily.  Maybe the reason for violence is because people do not understand.  Maybe, they do not understand because they are not understood.

So there it is.  The sum of the world's problems.  Too many humans are selfish beings.  No one person is going to stand in front of the crowd and proclaim, "Enough of this selfishness!" and solve the problems of everyone.  However, what is stopping you from standing up for yourself?  No one can stop you from loving.  So, every day, go out of your routine, and love your brothers and sisters.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us!

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Nikolai Brelinsky lives in North Carolina.  He attends Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Rocky Mount.  He is a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol cadet program.  Nikolai plans on possibly going to college in the future. He is a home-schooled high school student.

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