In recent weeks, I’ve been reflecting a bit on what it means to me to have a presence as a blogger on the Internet. Over the past two months, I have started to track visits to my site. It’s been sobering to realize how many people visit the site, mostly from the United States, but occasionally from places as far away as Singapore and Uruguay. On an average day, I have 250 visitors, 190 of whom are visiting for the first time. Over the course of two months, that’s over 11,000 new visitors to my site. And 15% of those visitors spend five or more minutes on the site… which means they’re actually looking at the content. This is pretty intoxicating for a writer: the notion that someone actually reads what I write.
It’s true that having a blog is like having a platform on which to speak. As the youngest of ten kids — one who didn’t always get the microphone (for obvious reasons) — this is a heady opportunity, and one not without its dangers. What use I will make of this platform? Will it simply become a place to assert myself? Will I slip into detraction? Will I be an instrument of communion or alienation? Will I help to make cyberspace a place that is more humane, or less so?
Every so often, I get some angry e-mails and comments. I think this is perhaps one of the greatest benefits of having a blog: the opportunity for fraternal correction from my fellow bloggers. Day in and day out, my ideas are being exposed to an audience and are being challenged and (hopefully) refined by the process. I have this unrealistic fantasy that maybe I will shave off some time in purgatory because having a blog is a purification of sorts. I can dream, anyway.
In the end, everything must stand the test of confrontation with the face of Christ. I am reminded by a passage from one of my favorite authors, Dietrich von Hildebrand, in his spiritual classic entitled Transformation in Christ:
Christ, the Messiah, is not merely the Redeemer who breaks apart the bond and cleanses us from sin. He is also the Dispenser of a new divine life which shall wholly transform us and turn us into new men: “Put off the old man who is corrupted according to the desire of error, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.” Though we receive this new life in Baptism as a free gift of God, it may not flourish unless we cooperate….
A strong desire must fill us to become different beings, to mortify our old selves and rearise as new men in Christ. This desire, this readiness to decrease so that “He may grow in us,” is the first elementary precondition for the transformation in Christ. It is the primal gesture by which man reacts to the light of Christ that has reached his eyes: the original gesture directed to God. It is, in other words, the adequate consequence of our consciousness of being in need of redemption on the one hand , and our comprehension of being called by Christ on the other. Our surrender to Christ implies a readiness to let Him fully transform us, without setting any limit to the modification of our nature under His influence.