Walk in the dark valley

The Responsorial Psalm for Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent is:

Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

via USCCB.

We have all been there, this stroll through the dark valley, when all is dark and we feel that there is no hope. We may have reached our “bottom,” that “jumping off place” where we know that if we continue drinking we will die, and if we don’t drink might be afraid to live and wish for death. Or we could be sober for quite a while but are feeling “thirsty” and we are unsure of how to get back on the beam.

We are not alone. The Lord is with us; He stands at the ready, able to help us if only we ask. If we nurture this relationship with Jesus, we shall “fear no evil,” for no threat about us can possibly discourage us from the path we are to tread.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Come to Believe

In today’s Gospel Reading for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Martha says:

“I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

via USCCB.

The Second Step of recovery holds that we “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.”

As a “spiritual but not religious” program (for good reason), 12 Step recovery obviously leaves it up to the individual in recovery to decide upon a “Higher Power.” Rather than force one religion’s view of God upon people, you are free to worship in whatever faith tradition you feel is “true.”

So, as a Christian, what is your “Higher Power?” Have you “come to believe” that Jesus is the “way, the truth and the life?”

Sounds like the perfect “Higher Power,” to me.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

A simple and quite possibly powerful Novena to Mary

I was thinking of a Novena to say to the Blessed Virgin Mary one day a week ago, and it occurred to me to cleverly combine two ancient and classic prayers. Quite possibly this has happened before, but I do not know of it.

I use as the basic prayer the “Memorare” (first paragraph below, and use as the petition (or intention, whichever term you’d rather use) the “Hail Mary.”

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
Implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come,
before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.

Amen.

The Memorare requests her intercession, the Hail Mary is the petition (“pray for us sinners”). I sneak in another small petition immediately after “hour of death.”

Not sure if this is odd, but I’ve been saying it for 8 days already, and feel that the petition has been heard.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Virgin Mary. Here is something I wrote last year about him:

St. Joseph.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Set things right

This excerpt of the First Reading from today’s Mass for Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent is from Isaiah 1:18

Come now, let us set things right,says the LORD. Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.

via USCCB.

The Sacrament of Confession is how you can “set things right” with the Lord. No matter how serious your sins are, no matter what you have done, forgiveness is always available from God. Go to Confession soon, it can save your soul. There is NO SIN that God cannot forgive!

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Forgive and you will be forgiven

This excerpt from the Gospel for today’s Mass is Luke 6:37 “…Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

via USCCB.

Forgiveness is a recurring theme recently on this blog. It is one of the more difficult things that I find to write about.

Elsewhere (not on this blog) I wrote: “This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Saying the “Lord’s Prayer” and really thinking about the part near the end (“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others…”) helps.

I had always thought that in not forgiving, that in maintaining the hold that the wrong had on me, is like a victory. That in forgiving them I would be like letting them “get away with it,” and they would “win.” Now I realize that in not forgiving them, I keep giving them power over me, I am enabling them to continue winning, with no effort on their own. Without even realizing it, they were still hurting me, even long after their initial hurt.

In forgiving them, I am releasing their power over me, and in effect, defeating them.

This may enable me to love them, again. Someday. Maybe.”

A big “maybe.”

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Go as the Lord directs you

An excerpt from the First Reading of today’s Mass for the Second Sunday of Lent is from Genesis 12:4:

“Abram went as the LORD directed him”

via USCCB.

Abram, later renamed Abraham, goes forth with the promise that he will be made the father of great nations with innumerable descendants.

While that may be appealing for some, we alcoholics have to shoot for a more humble and modest goal: that of not drinking and staying sober. If we follow the direction of God’s will that we can discern from our prayer life, scripture meditations and talks with spouse, family and friends (and perhaps 12 Step Meetings), we can be assured of achieving this goal. There may be slip ups along the way, but we can get back up with the help of God’s graces and resume or course along the road of happy destiny.

So, pray on it and “Go as the Lord directs you.”

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Love Your Enemies

In the Gospel Reading for Saturday of the First Week of Lent (I had meant to post this yesterday, but was having connectivity issues with the blog)

(Matthew 5:43-48),

Jesus said to his disciples:

“You have heard that it was said,

You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

But I say to you, love your enemies,

and pray for those who persecute you,

that you may be children of your heavenly Father,

for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,

and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?

Do not the tax collectors do the same?

And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,

what is unusual about that?

Do not the pagans do the same?

So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

via USCCB.

This admonition by Jesus is a very difficult one for us alcoholics to muster the courage for. And yet I think it is essential for our long-term recovery. It is difficult indeed to “love your enemy,” but if we persist it hating “our enemies,” the festering resentments that this implies will only threaten our recovery.

It is hard. I have trouble mustering the courage to forgive those who have hurt me. I periodically go through forgiveness exercises and review my feelings towards people who have hurt me, and struggle to cut loose the emotional bonds to the hurt. It is one thing to pray and forgive them, another to no longer feel the pain they have caused. That, I think, is a sign that forgiveness has settled in, and that the power your “enemies” has over you is over. Your forgive, and you subsequently no longer replay the tapes in your head of the hurt. The bonds are cut and it is behind you. Whether you reconcile is another matter.

And so you go on. Although forgiveness is hard, it is neccessary. As long as you keep trying, chipping away at the bonds of resentment, hate and self-pity, you will make continued progess along the road of happy destiny.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Shall not die!

The First Reading for today’s Mass is from Ezekiel 18:21-22: “But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown.”

via USCCB.

Today is also Friday, meaning the weekend is upon us. Almost all Catholic parishes have Confession on Saturdays. Avail yourself of the Sacrament. Spend some time doing a good Examination of Conscience (you can use the Beatitudes, Ten Commandments, and Matthew 25:31-45 if you don’t possess a good guide.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media

Asking God for help

I’m going to be lazy today and not pick from any one of the Mass Readings for this post’s Lenten reflection. All three are interrelated (they usually are) but today the commonality among them is rather important. Hence my laziness. ;-)

Mass Readings for Thursday of the First Week in Lent 2014.

They all involve asking God for help.

In the First Reading, Queen Esther is in dire, desperate straits and the Israelite people more so. Survival is at stake and only God can rescue them. And God does, through Esther. In a way, doesn’t that sound familiar? Might God at some dark period in your life sent someone to pull you out of your misery and hopeless situation?

The Responsorial Psalm is gratitude for the Lord answering a prayer. Are you grateful for the Lord answering your prayers? (And sometimes that the reply is “No!”)

And the Gospel reading is a classic “comfort read” about your Heavenly Father giving good things to those who ask. (Although it isn’t as straightforward as you ask, and God gives. He isn’t a vending machine.)

So, As St. Pio of Pietrelcina said, “Pray, Hope and don’t worry.”

Place it in God’s hands.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media