Rules to live by

New rule. You aren’t allowed to criticize someone on social media until you’ve first said a decade of the Rosary for them.

Just thought it might be a good time to re-share this rule.

By the way, I highly recommend publicly posting your own rules that you want to live by. I’ve found it to be extremely helpful. I’ve caught myself about to say something to someone, or post something and thought, “Seriously? You’re going to violate a rule that YOU wrote?” I think it’s been so helpful because it’s a kind of promise you’re making to other people. I think it’s easy to break promises we make only to ourselves (and God), but it’s easier (not easy, but easier) to keep promises we make to others. This is why having another person or group is helpful for maintaining your diet, or reading X number of books a month, or saying a novena, etc. etc: we want to be the type of person that can be counted on to keep our promises.

You know what I’ve discovered since posting this rule? It turns out that very rarely would the person I was going to criticize actually benefit from my public criticism, but 100% of the time they would benefit from my private prayers for them. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes public criticism is just and necessary. Criticism without charity, however, is not “admonishing the sinner” or “instructing the ignorant.” Rather, it is more akin to the man in Our Lord’s parable: “Look everybody how I am not like this sinner over here.” Most of us, myself included, have an amazing ability to see the faults in others, but strangely we never seem to post about our own faults. I suspect in my case, it is because I am perfect, and I suspect the same is true for you. :) Most of us are auto-hagiographers. If Rome ever needs to find new saints, they need only read our Facebook posts: how little faults we have to accuse ourselves. And, on the contrary, if Rome needs to know who is certainly not a saint, they need only read our posts: we have played the devil’s advocate for so many other souls. Only, be careful that you don’t play the devil’s advocate for too long, or one day you will find that you are no longer playing.