Let’s face it, most of us live some sort of life online. I’ve been part of the Facebook social community for a long time, and, despite my recent lack of involvement comparatively, it’s still a major feature in my interpersonal connections. But even though people aren’t always there when they are here, sometimes they’re still here well after thay’re gone. But when Facebook reminds you to wish a happy birthday to somebody not there to receive it, it’s a level of inhuman pain not mitigated by any feelings that belong to an image of God, and so there is no comfort there to be had. That kind of community need is why God put those he redeems in families, the Church.
Electronic reminders put the “artificial” in “artificial intelligence”,
taking the intentionality out of our good intentions
and putting guilt in their place;
sometimes the guilt of wanting to forget
when the reminder is too painful for a few words and an emoji,
and you are prompted to wish a happy birthday to one no longer
monitoring their cloud account, but instead monitoring us from above.
It feels like eternal memory, but it is not the same as a “Memory Eternal”;
social networks and cloud storage banks do not look lovingly
on the precious death of their saints,
and we are less connected to that world
than the one to come. So instead of flashing LEDs, we
light our candles and cross ourselves over the divide to where they
are kept always in sight and in mind by the one who remembers us all.