One of the effects of social media, it seems to me, is that the whole world has become like a giant courtroom with the combatants shrieking at each other, “J’accuse!!” I accuse, I accuse, I accuse. We are led to believe that the shrieking, the outrage, the often utter failure to take responsibility for our own actions equals strength.

Mothers spy on and accuse other mothers, friends rat out friends, committers of egregiously poor sportsmanship, judgment, morality or taste blame the purported perpetrators of racial, sex, and/or gender discrimination.

Whereas real strength, it seems to me, consists in going to the other, in private, in the trembling and awe of love, to present a grievance, or to say “You hurt me” or “I love you and can we talk?” or “I’m worried about you–is there anything I can do to help?” or perhaps most difficult: “I was wrong and I’m sorry.”

Like lemmings, or indentured slaves, we willingly drag the most intimate matters of our bodies and hearts into this public forum.

“Connecting” comes to be a public performance, not an intimate exchange. And this phenomenon has spilled over to all of culture, so that we are less and less in contact with…reality.

No accident, of course, that one name for Satan is The Accuser.

Yesterday I went to noon Mass at St. Philip’s in Pasadena. Afterward a class of what looked like first-graders, were lined up in the parking lot in their dear school uniforms. Another parishioner, a guy about my age, both paused and cast our eyes over these innocent-ish young kids the way you’d cast eyes over a garden.

Like the deer that yearns for running streams,
so my soul is yearning for you, my God.
–Psalm 42