Friday, August 1, 2014


Selfie with Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.
I was just reading the Dominican student brothers' blog, from the Western Province.  Brother Thomas Aquinas Pickett, O.P., wrote an article warning Christians about "selfies." Brother tells us to look at our intentions.  Why do we want to take this "selfie"?  Isn't it a sign of pride?  If so, then the selfie is a hindrance to one's spiritual life.  Are you constantly taking "selfies?"  Why?  To show off?

See what brother is getting at?

In fact, I feel sorry for Brother Pickett's mother.  Didn't he ever shout over to his mother, "Look Ma, no hands!"  The purpose of this "shout out" is the same as the "selfie."

"Look Ma, I'm in Italy, see me and the pope."
"Look Ma, I'm in the Holy Land, see me and the Wailing Wall."
"Look Ma, I'm with the President."

Of course, anything can be overdone, but to have one's very first reaction to a "selfie" be repulsion, is puzzling.  Pictures are visual aids to help inspire, remind, and communicate. That's what I get from "selfies."  When a family member, or a friend, sends me a "selfie", I'm delighted. It's a remembrance of a happy occasion.

I can just picture Saint Catherine of Siena meeting Saint Dominic, you don't think she'd take a "selfie?"  Just think how much more effective the Dialogue would be with pictures.

Nevermind worrying that "selfies" show that one's too prideful; how about repulsion of someone taking a "selfie" with you is a sign of one's exaggerated sense of self.  Do you think you're too important to be seen with this peasant?  Are you a felon and afraid to have your picture taken?  Are you embarrassed because you're having a bad hair day?

How about stop thinking of yourself, and think of pleasing your neighbor?  They want their picture taken with you.  It doesn't hurt.  It's such an easy thing to do.  In fact, it just might make someone's day.


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