Role of the blogosphere for people who are shut in or disabled: WDTPRS POLL

One of the benefits from my having posted a strong and urgent request for your prayers is that many people in turn sent me requests for prayers along with descriptions of what is going on in their lives.  I was deeply impressed by this.

More than a few people have shared that they were in some way limited in their ability move around.  That got me thinking.  For example, I remember one Thanksgiving Day many years ago when I wound up spending nearly all afternoon and evening in an internet chat room with people who, as I came to learn, were alone that day and therefore very down.  They found great solace in being able to connect with people through these tools of communication.

So… I have a question in the form of a WDTPRS POLL.  Perhaps I could have phrased it differently, but pick the best answer for your situation.   This is, of course, aimed at people who are shut in or limited in their ability to move or perhaps ill.  I am happy to have people add their comment about their answer, if they chose to give it.  But in the combox do be sensitive to each other and their situations.

Are there any physical factors which make using the blogosphere/using the internet more important in your life?

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Finally, remember that visiting people who need visits is a true work of mercy.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jacob says:

    I’m deaf and mute and due to my inability to swallow solids, I am hooked up to a pump for formula fourteen hours per day. I lost my hearing when I was in my twenties before I had a chance to hear a properly chanted Mass, one of my great sorrows.

    Blogs like Father Z’s and Catholic websites in general are very important to furthering my formation in the Faith and knowledge of Catholic culture.

  2. Liz says:

    This is a timely post, Father. The internet has been important to my mom as she struggles to hear and talk now among a host of debilitating problems as her body betrays her. Most days she would struggle to get to the computer and that was one pretty good way that I could connect with her. She could check her email and surf the net a bit. It was a good reason for her to get up and move about a bit. I directed her to your blog a few times (especially when her new little grandbaby was on it!) and normally I would send her a link to this post. Unfortunately, she had “one of her falls” yesterday. She had a pretty nasty break in her arm. (My dad say she fell and her arm stayed up on her walker. Ick.) Her arms are one of the few things that sort of work these days. My dad uses them to pull her out of her chair or bed, and she used them for her walker, wheelchair etc. She does still have the use of her right arm, at least, and God has some sort of plan for her. I keep reminding myself of that when I feel so helpless. I am so grateful for the Faith. She does offer this all up over and over except sometimes when she gets discouraged by it all. Back when she could go up steps she would offer each step for a person. I thought was really neat. Actually, she is a trooper and a good, Catholic example for my family and her friends. If anyone has a moment to say a prayer for her I would really appreciate it. (Sorry this is so long.)

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    I have asperger’s syndrome, a mild autism spectrum disorder, and traumatic brain injury and although I’m far from being a shut in since I am always going to church or to a volunteer job, there is a definite hermit aspect to my life and for significant periods of time in the past I was a shut in. Social connections and learning opportunities on the Internet (not to mention prayer, never let us forget this is the foremost of all our personal relationships) helped me to return to the Catholic Church several years ago which has also been my pathway to healthy engagement with the “IRL” world. I generally communicate better by writing than by speech, and also it is often easier to find people with similar interests online (especially if it is a niche interest), so sometimes there is a potential for much more satisfying or enriching conversations online.

  4. Janol says:

    I’m retired, living alone without a car in a rural area. I try to organize my time for prayer, the LOH, reading, and interests, but the internet is my window to the world, especially the Catholic world, as the only Catholics I see are those who bring me weekly Communion. So yes, your blog is important to me.

  5. Melody says:

    I’m only 27, but I’m single and I only have one living relative left, who I am not close to. Until recently, I also lived alone. I don’t have a car. I have depression to a degree that some days it’s hard to go outside. Frankly, I would have lost it completely without the internet.
    I’m happy to see more elderly and disabled making use of online communities.

    Also, I have a friend with the same challenges as Jacob who I remain close with primarily because we chat frequently via the internet.

  6. lethargic says:

    I’m caregiver for my 52-year-old spouse who had a massive stroke last year. We live more than 1500 miles away from our closest relatives. We do not have support from our parish (bad sad story there) or from the local religious hegemony (as Catholics, we’re chopped liver). The net is vital for both of us. Some days, it’s my only interaction with humans other than my spouse. It’s my only link to a useful caregivers’ support group (we tried the local in-person support group, it’s sad). For my spouse, it’s news and access to information that wouldn’t be readily available otherwise. He is able to work from home as a programmer, thanks to the net. I don’t want to imagine what our lives would be like without the net.

  7. Liz says:

    Prayers for you all! Gosh, there is a lot of suffering out there. Thankfully it can all be used for a greater good. I can’t believe some of the lives I’ve been touched by because of the internet. I’m happy to be able to pray for people I don’t know and I am so grateful for the prayers of others that I don’t know.

  8. A reader who couldn’t post because of a password problem or other sent me this by email:

    Brief comment: I do rely on this site, and belong to some online classes as well. Work from home almost as hermit, which is not how the Good Lord wired me, but so be it and it is helping to support me. Have Fibromyalgia and a constellation of other chronic illnesses. Mobility isn’t so much the issue as is pain, sometimes mental fog, and mostly alone time, which I strive to have the Lord fill.

    Thank you for asking the question. Your site is a daily read for many reasons. Would dearly love to be able to comment more regularly. The next password I get I will write down many places so as to be able to write it in correctly.

    I am grateful for the notes that this blog helps.

  9. Jack Hughes says:

    Although I Have no mobility problems the catholic blogosphere is a lifeline for me as apart from Daily Mass (which due to an internship that ends 8th auguast) I have not been able to get to recently I see very few Catholics as everyone else in my family does not believe.

  10. lux_perpetua says:

    though my disability is not one of mobility, the Internet still plays a vital role in my relationship with the Church. I am completely blind, which means i rely exclusively on public transit. sometimes, things fall through, and I resort to the net when i would otherwise be at a Church in person. The net allows me to download the propers for the EF i attend each weekly [prayers of gratitude for whomever maintains the Tridentine Latin Missal project]. it has also given me access to many writings of the early Church fathers and seminal books like The Imitation of Christ which i would otherwise have had to scan myself. i realize that that is more about knowledge than communication, but the biggest, most wonderful thing that blogs and the net have helped me find are written descriptions of so much that is beautiful about our Catholic faith. from descriptions of churches, statues, and icons to reading comments on a blog which give me infinitely more insight about avideo which i can hear but not see, my whole world has exploded with an understanding of the visual elements of Catholicism that i never had before. of course, the flip side is that it’s also exposed me to many dissident behaviors about which i was blissfully ignorant [such as the hand sanitizer phenomenon].

  11. JP Borberg says:

    I don’t know if this counts, but when my parents were trying to be good Catholics in the 70s and 80s they felt like they were completely alone, and sometimes wondered if they had gone crazy as that seemed a more plausible hypothesis than accusing the rest of the Church of going crazy. They were isolated for being orthodox and didn’t even know there were others who thought and felt as they did until, quite by chance, they saw a man on the street who looked (and acted) like Catholic priest. He was Fr Gentili of the SSPX, through him they found that there were many in the world who desired to remain faithful to the Church of all ages.

    But I live an a small country were outside one city with a very strong SSPX parish traditional Catholics are few and far between. If it weren’t for the internet providing a community for orthodox Catholics we would be as isolated as my parents were when I was a kid. And without intending to belittle those who live with real physical and mental disabilities, as far as the faith goes my parents seemed as isolated as people who could not leave their home.

  12. basenji says:

    I worked in what was called a “sick building”. Actually, the part of it that we were in was condemned. The conditions became so bad for us that the fire department eventually declared it to be a haz-mat area and we had to perform a long-term evacuation. Many of us have had some odd health effects since then. Now I am totally knocked on my can by such things as perfumes, scented products and occasionally incense at Mass. It’s not some fussy little reaction to the smell. Actually, the aromas are often quite pleasing. There’s just unfortunately something about the ingredients used to make them that cause pretty much an instant migraine and asthma attack, both of which can take hours to a day to recover from.

    This condition (or gift as I try to perceive it) has cost me a lot of opportunities to become involved in my parish as well as to be able to follow what I feel is a call to religious life. This 6-01, 300 pound man here simply and prayerfully sits in simple prayer, often identifying with and asking the fond intercession our Our Little Flower, St. Therese.

    Thanks for your time in reading this.

  13. Torpedo1 says:

    Lux, I’m blind as well, with just enough vision to get me into trouble. I’m going for my new Guide dog in a few weeks and can’t wait. I love dogs, but I love more, the feeling of mobility that a dog brings. Cane travel is very draining for me. Anyway, I digress. I love this blog and the many Catholic blogs I visit almost everyday. Not only do they give me a chance to read what is visually described at Mass, but they connect me with other Orthodox Catholics and that feeds my soul. Fr. Z, you are a very special and blessed Priest for me. In reading your blog, you have taught me what the Mass really is, what community means within the Mass and why we Catholics attend it. God bless you and I’ll keep you all in my prayers. Also, one prayer request. I’ve got some loved-ones who are on the job hunt. Please ask St. Joseph to pray for them?

  14. Torpedo1: I am moved by what you wrote, especially today. Thank you very much.

    We will pray for each other and for your intention for your loved-ones.

  15. lux_perpetua says:

    Fr. Z:

    perhaps you have a special calling to help the blind that you never even knew of. you are also a very special person to me as well [though i didn’t know if posting such was the right thing to do]. you saved me from converting to Eastern Orthodoxy and i truly believe that discovering your blog was the fruit of months and months of agonizing prayer and despair because i did not want to leave Holy Mother Church but i could find no reason to stay. i had moved to MLPS and was googling parishes. St. Stephen’s was the closest and so next i did a google check to see how orthodox it was. the first google hit was to your blog. i came, i read, i fell in love, i stayed a Catholic. I will probably never meet you but i could never thank you enough for the role your presence has played in my spiritual life.

    [That was such a kind note. Thank you for that. You know, when I was last in NYC I met someone who helps run the Catholic concern on 23rd Street which records things for blind people to listen to. Xavier Society for the Blind. He invited me to come record some things. I have thought about that ever since. Just today in the chapel after Mass when I was reading my daily portion from Divine Intimacy I started thinking about perhaps asking permission from Baronius Press to record the whole thing. You’ve got me thinking even more now.]

    @torpedo: where are you going to get your dog? i’ve been a cane user my whole life, but i live close by one of the biggest guide dog centers in NJ.

  16. lux_perpetua says:

    please do! i am intimately familiar with XSB. unfortunately, much of their material hovers on the… tepid side of Catholicism. i wouldn’t say outrightly disident, but their catalog includes little of the treasure trove from the early Church, and their monthly magazine often includes articles from America, for instance. in fact, the most traditional things i ever found in their catalog were recorded by Fr. Thomas Hopko, an OCA priest. what a gift it would be to have you be involved with one of their projects!!!

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