January 30, 2010

The Little Bird and the Lions

I had a striking dream last night--a very biblical style dream, in fact--and I think it was about Twitter.

I have to say that I'm surprised nobody has called me out on my having resurrected my Twitter account after I quit another micro-blogging service, Plurk, with such a display of fervor some months ago. I had a Twitter account then too, but I synced it with Plurk so the updates were duplicated on Twitter without my having to look at it.

Two things coincided to make my try Twitter again. First came the Holy Father's message for World Communications Day, in which Benedict recommended the use of internet social media to priests as a means of evangelization. Second was the obsolescence of my PDA combined with a need to upgrade my cell phone, which led me together to enter the smartphone world. The possibility of mobile micro-blogging was too much to resist.

But what of the spiritual impact? In my individual case, which is the only one to which I can speak, are the possibilities of serving the glory of God through Twitter worth the risks of distraction? Well, last night I had a dream that suggests to me a cautious 'yes.'

In my dream I was on a neighborhood street. There was a small vehicle something like a chariot. Drawing the chariot was a team of three lions. Driving the chariot was a little tiny bird wearing a little harness that was attached to the back of the chariot with something like a set of leather straps. As I stood there, I was amazed that the little tiny bird could keep three big lions under control as it drove the chariot slowly along. But then something odd happened. The little bird fell into a pothole or some kind of fissure, and was being pulled along under the ground. I watched. Eventually the little bird emerged, all dusty and disheveled from being dragged underground. Then I realized that the bird wasn't moving and was probably dead. Then somebody was screaming from one of the houses and I knew that the lions had escaped their harnesses. I ran away in terror. In fleeing I realized my guilt; I had stood there with morbid curiosity as the bird was dragged underground. I could have helped it, and maybe it wouldn't have died and the lions wouldn't have escaped. Then I woke up.

I think the little bird was the tweeting Twitter bird. The lions, because they became such a danger when they became unbound, were the lion from 1 Peter 5ff., a reading familiar to anyone who prays Night Prayer on Tuesdays: "Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devout. Resist him, steadfast in faith."

The little bird was able to tame and manage the big lions. In the same way, micro-blogging done for the glory of God could be a 'mustard seed' planted amidst the confusion and sins of the internet. But if we begin to use such a service for simple or even morbid curiosity--as I indulged when I observed the little bird's misfortune without helping--we can be providing an occasion for the devil's work to be set free through ourselves.

Anyway, that's my interpretation.


Sarah said...

Aw man, I wish I could have cool dreams. All I ever dream about is removing viruses from other people's computers (which becomes a reality).

Was the little bird blue?

Brother Charles said...

I think it was white, which doesn't cement my interpretation. ;)

Owen said...

You really have no idea how helpful that second to last paragraph is to me Father and I thank you for writing it.

I linked to this post from my Plurk and Twitter.

4narnia said...

wow! what a dream, Fr. C! seems like you understand a clear message from your dream. i agree that the sevond to last paragraph is a great reminder for us all to remain "sober and vigilant"- at all times.i dream pretty vivid dreams, but i never write them down. remaining "steadfast" and remaining firmly rooted and grounded in our faith is what will help us resist temptations and distractions. i think you're doing a great job "evangelizing" and spreading the Good News through the internet. PEACE! ~tara t~

"little" said...

I love the image of a little bird 'taming' the huge lion. Mustard seed faith moves mountains and one small stone slung from a young shepherd's hand can fell a nasty giant. God loves to use insignificant little things/little people, of no consequence to the sophisticated world, to confound the proud. Wonderful dream! I'm also a lover of St. Francis/St. Clare. ~PAX~