a song about porn

I keep hearing a song on a new radio station in my area that plays, get this, contemporary Catholic music that doesn’t suck (unlike most contemporary music heard at Mass, which I suspect is actually Protestant.) The station’s budget is low and thus they have no DJs. Therefore, if you want to know what that song is you just heard, you have to become pretty good at remembering lyrics and typing those in to YouTube or a search engine and hope you score a hit.

The lyrics I hung onto were “My mother raised me to be a lover of the truth: she said don’t ever compromise it.” And sure enough, Search produced some hits!

The song is “Dismantled by Love” by Alanna Boudreau. At the moment I know little of her apart from this: About Alanna and that she has a wonderfully distinctive voice. The station plays some more of her songs, too (more lyric-remembering and searching! I’ve already found “Champion” and “Pem,” two more songs…) The song “Dismantled by Love” is about pornography and the damage it causes. It is beautiful and haunting.

Sober Catholic is about alcohol addiction and how the Catholic Faith can help you stay sober; hence I rarely write about other addictions, preferring to refer readers to people more competent than I. This is one time I’ll digress from that, mainly because I have the opportunity to help spread good Catholic music. I’m unsure if Alanna is Catholic, although she quotes Pope St. John Paul II on her blog and appears in concert at Eucharistic Congresses. A quote from Charles Peguy currently appears on the landing page of her music site.

And in that blog of hers she writes about why she wrote “Dismantled by Love,” and a quote stood out for me:

“You are neither loved, nor lovable: in fact, you are loathed. So it makes no difference if you loathe these other people and treat them as mere bodies. They cannot reject you: of course, if they knew you, they would surely hate you. You are immanently leave-able, forgettable… But they do not know you. So there is no harm done. Loathe yourself further: but at least make it indulgent. You are neither loved, nor lovable. But you have nerve-endings, so why the hell not celebrate that, at least.” A hell-hole of pride and fear, self-loathing and loneliness.

Source: [why i wrote] a song about porn. | alannaboudreau

That’s porn all right. Self-hatred reinforced by the world and thus why not dehumanize others? And if pleasure can be gained, in this case sexual…

Two verses:

“Lust is a coward, a liar, a beast
And it waits between the pages
Poisoning hearts with sated duplicity
Starving souls within its cages

I ask you brothers, I ask you men
For the love of all that’s holy
Release the stallion trapped in its pen:
Regain a thirst for who you should be.”

Source: Alanna Boudreau Music: lyrics

Her YouTube Channel: Alanna Boudreau YouTube

Music website: Alanna Boudreau Music

If you live in western New York state, like around Buffalo and points about, tune into 90.7 FM, “WLGU – iCatholicMusic.” It is owned by The Station of the Cross Catholic Radio network.

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"

“Catholic in Recovery”

I found on another blog reference to a group called “Catholic in Recovery.” I had never heard of it before and I am intrigued.

The website is Catholic in Recovery and you can read their self-description at “About.” The organization was started by a Scott Weeman, and you can read his story here: MY NAME IS SCOTT — I’M AN ALCOHOLIC. There’s also a Catholic in Recovery blog.

Go see for yourself!

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"

Spiritual alchemy II

This is a sequel to the post Spiritual Alchemy.

There is another benefit to what I said then: I quoted from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Christians of Corinth. In “making up” for what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, in accepting our sufferings we can add to the tremendous storehouse of graces available to others.

1 Corinthians 2:26 “And so, if one part suffers anything, all the parts suffer with it. Or, if one part finds glory, all the parts rejoice with it.”

Scripture quotes courtesy: Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version

“All the parts” of the Body get this when we offer up our sufferings or glories in prayer like this:

O Jesus, through the immaculate heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your sacred heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all the apostles of prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.

That’s a traditional Catholic “Daily Offering” prayer. There are many like it, some longer, others shorter. You can make up your own; all that is needed is a sincere offering up to the Lord whatever the day brings, good or bad, for Him to use as He sees fit for the Mystical Body.

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"

More on “Seeking first the kingdom…”

Just before Lent I posted on Seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness… and said

“In “seeking first” we yearn for Heaven, our True Home and we order our lives so that we can get there. Prayer, partaking of the Sacraments, especially Mass and Confession, spiritual development in ridding oneself of character defects (making oneself more pleasing to the Lord), learning more about the Catholic Faith and applying what you learn to your life. We build up the kingdom of God within us, become more Christ-like and Mary-like. We live by the moral and social teachings of the Church. We live by the Beatitudes and Matthew 25:31-46 (sheep and goats “Final Judgment parable.”)

We seek His righteousness and we seek to establish that on Earth (that pesky social and moral…).

In return, the positive effects of this might lead to a greater intimacy and friendship with God and the workings of Divine Providence becoming manifest in your life. But probably “Just Enough.” 😉

I try to study Scripture daily as a part of my morning (and sometimes evening) meditations. Just after I wrote the above, I entered into Matthew 13 and all of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God.

In reading them, I came away with the notion that “Seeking first…” is more than what I wrote above. (See? I did say then that “this is what I got, today… 😉 ) Grab your Bible and open to the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 13. Carefully, prayerfully read each line, and try to get past the surface and dig into the depths of each parable.

In studying those parables is dawned on me that while what I wrote was a part of the teachings, I think the ultimate goal in “Seeking first…” is that building up the Kingdom of God within you is an all-encompassing and all-consuming endeavor. Not “merely” with just “a greater intimacy and friendship with God and the workings of Divine Providence becoming manifest” in your life but the “seeking” itself is to push away all other distractions as being detrimental to the quest.

Sort of like the journey itself is a part of the destination; the seeking establishes His Kingdom within you bringing you closer to Heaven…

Today I was skimming over parts of the Old Testament (Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers) and not even thinking about “seeking” and something else related to this jumped out at me…

More later…

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"

Spiritual alchemy

The word “alchemy” is defined by my dictionary software as:

“-An imaginary art which aimed to transmute the baser metals
into gold, to find the panacea, or universal remedy for
diseases, etc. It led the way to modern chemistry.
[1913 Webster]

– Miraculous power of transmuting something common into
something precious.
[1913 Webster]”

In other words, something is transformed from a lesser into a more valuable thing.

As a part of my Lenten practices, I have been meditating on the nature of suffering and what it means. Mostly, on how to cope with it. For as Christians, we are called to accept sufferings, not reject them or escape from them. By accepting them, we unite ourselves to the Cross of Christ and as St. Paul says in 1 Cor 24: “For now I rejoice in my passion on your behalf, and I complete in my flesh the things that are lacking in the Passion of Christ, for the sake of his body, which is the Church.”

Not that there is anything deficient in Christ’s passion and death, but as members of His Mystical Body (The Church) our sufferings are united to His.

And so I finally get around to the word “alchemy.” In the art of transforming something that is a lesser into something that is a greater, we can see how we can transform suffering into a good. We typically consider suffering to be “bad,” but that is a worldly opinion. But we can use it anyway, here.

The key step in the spiritual alchemy process is love. Specifically, our love for Jesus. If we love Jesus, then we will accept our sufferings for the love of Him.

Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If anyone is willing to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.'”

If you love someone, you sacrifice for them. Our sacrifices are our daily crosses, be they little or great. We offer them up to the Lord.

This was the “Way of Matt Talbot,” he transferred his love for the drink onto Jesus. He suffered the loss of his crutch, alcohol, but used that suffering to increase his love for Christ, since it was for Jesus that he suffered. Matt knew that Jesus is the “Way, the Truth and the Life,” and thus he accepted sobriety as his path to Jesus.

The offering up of one’s suffering to Jesus is the mean by which we transform the pain of the suffering into a good. As Christ suffered for love of us, we return that by suffering for love of Him.

It is also the “Little Way” of St. Therese of Lisieux. Doing little things for the love of Jesus and others, accepting sufferings as an expression of love for Him who suffered and died for us.

I have a pain, a suffering, doesn’t matter what it is specifically. I can either bemoan it, drink over it, endure it grumpily, or say “Jesus, this pain is afflicting me; I offer it up to you so that I can join you on the Cross. For love of you I accept this pain.” The pain is then transformed by your love into some incredible spiritual benefits, namely God flooding you with graces.

Graces are the free, undeserved and unmerited blessings or spiritual assistance God gives you. They are “undeserved” or are “unmerited” because God isn’t obligated to give them to you; for when you offer something “in love,” you do so without expecting anything in return.

You may not feel better right away, you may not sense anything. It doesn’t work that way. But you might be given endurance and fortitude; the abilities to “get through” the trials better.

He may not return your gift right away, He may allow the suffering to continue for a period. This isn’t cruelty, it is the consequence of our Fallen Nature and Fallen World. Suffering is a part of life and it continues… However, faithfully enduring suffering even when you do not think that you are “getting anything in return” still increases your dependence on God, for you know, in Faith, you love Him and need Him and will do so anyway, even if there is no immediate benefit. True love knows no boundaries, you will do anything for the One that you love. While things happen in God’s time and not ours, the fortitude and endurance, if not outright cessation of the suffering, or consolations of a spiritual nature will eventually manifest themselves. For God is a loving Father who knows what is best for us and does provide for our needs (rarely our wants.)

Matthew 7:11 “Therefore, if you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your sons, how much more will your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to those who ask him?”

In not using suffering this way, it just remains an unbearable pain that causes us to seek relief in ways not always good for us. We seek relief in alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, abortion, euthanasia, whatever it is that can “eliminate the problem.”

But in seeing it as a way of proving our love for Christ, (if not in proving it to Him, but in bearing witness to others), suddenly it has value. It is a “lesser,” (something undesired) that is transformed by a process of spiritual alchemy into something of great value.

What greater value can there be by becoming more like unto Christ? The possibility of this helping us gain Heaven?

Perhaps…

Scripture quotes courtesy: Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version

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"

Lent 2017

Lent is upon up once again. That time within the liturgical year when Catholics practice more intensely the arts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Prayer is the act of lifting the heart and soul to God and becoming closer to Him. Although He knows our wants and needs better than (and before) we do, it is still preferable to engage in it anyway as it reminds us of His Providence. Also, it strengthens our relationship with Him. Prayer is communication.

Fasting is traditional, although the requirements are easier than times past. I urge you to look up the fasting guidelines from your national Bishop’s conference or local diocesan websites, I think they differ from country to country. Fasting typically involves refraining from food, but you can always fast from habits and behaviours.

Almsgiving: supporting the Church and the poor by the donation of your time, talent and treasure.

I have frequently over the ten years of blogging promised or planned to blog daily throughout Lent. That ain’t a-gonna happen. You can look up older posts from previous years on Lent, just find the Category “Lent” in the Categories drop-down menu on the left. I will attempt to blog more frequently, but no promises.

One good practice is to read the Daily Mass readings, (or better yet, if possible, attend Daily Mass.) Many graces will be showered upon you.

Try and go to Confession more. Try weekly!

Have a fruitful Lent!

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"

Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness

In this excerpt from the Gospel reading from today’s Mass for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time we read:

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

Source: EWTN: Catholic Mass, Daily Mass, Catholic Mass Readings, Catholic Mass Online

This is one of those “God incidences,” in that I had been dwelling on this passage from Matthew for several days last week, without realizing that it would be in the upcoming Sunday Gospel! Seriously, coming unbidden from the depths of my inner being, from which all sorts of good and… other things… occasionally spring up, bubbled up this passage. It is one of my favorites, despite my wrestling with what it actually means from time to time.

In “seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness,” I think we realize a tremendous need to TRUST in the Lord, trust in His Mercy and Providence. This isn’t easy. Quite often there is a chasm between where we are and were we should be in our relationship with Him, especially in the area of material needs and wants.

Narrowing the gap of this chasm, to where we are at that point when we can jump across without a perceived safety net is the goal of a spiritual life. Developing such an intimate, trusting relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) that we know He will take care of us in our needs. Sometimes giving us just enough, but always giving us our daily bread.

How to do this? That’s a toughie. It takes time to develop this relationship and this trust. But I think there is a sort of common sense aspect, especially if we read the rest of the Gospel passage; which you can find at the end of this old but very relevant Sober Catholic post: Just Enough.

God knows what we need. Asking for things for ourselves and others is nice, especially as doing so reminds us of Who’s in charge. But still, He knows what we need before even we do. Therefore, I think that our primary task is to “Seek first the Kingdom…” and all else will be provided for.

And what does “Seek first the Kingdom…” actually mean? You men, after all these years of pondering I am finally going to come up with a definitive answer?

Maybe, maybe not. “Seeking” is a process and this may be one of those things you dwell on and over the course of time it grows in meaning for you.

But this is what I’ve got, today. In “seeking first” we yearn for Heaven, our True Home and we order our lives so that we can get there. Prayer, partaking of the Sacraments, especially Mass and Confession, spiritual development in ridding oneself of character defects (making oneself more pleasing to the Lord), learning more about the Catholic Faith and applying what you learn to your life. We build up the kingdom of God within us, become more Christ-like and Mary-like. We live by the moral and social teachings of the Church. We live by the Beatitudes and Matthew 25:31-46 (sheep and goats “Final Judgment parable.”)

We seek His righteousness and we seek to establish that on Earth (that pesky social and moral…).

In return, the positive effects of this might lead to a greater intimacy and friendship with God and the workings of Divine Providence becoming manifest in your life. But probably “Just Enough.” 😉

You don’t worry about all those other things in the Gospel reading (food, clothing…) They will be provided for, in some way. You might have to learn how to look for them, but He will provide.

Personally, I’m depending on “Seeking first…” to help unravel some very knotty problems in life that I do not see a way out of with massive Divine Intervention. But, He knows what they are, I will will trust in Him to solve them.

His Will, not mine, be done.

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"

Take up the cross, and follow me

The Gospel reading for today’s Mass for the Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time is an appropriate one for a Friday, given the day’s significance as the day Jesus suffered and died.

Mark 8:34-37 “And calling together the crowd with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone chooses to follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whoever will have chosen to save his life, will lose it. But whoever will have lost his life, for my sake and for the Gospel, shall save it. For how does it benefit a man, if he gains the whole world, and yet causes harm to his soul?

Or, what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

(Via Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version)

A key line in the Gospel excerpt, “If anyone chooses to follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” is the crux of recovery with a Catholic perspective. In drinking and drugging, or even just making daily choices and preferring our will to His, we refuse the Cross.

Taking up the Cross is in opposition to our own selfish desires as expressed in our self-will. Our instinct for self-preservation insists that we pick “self” first; the pain of the Cross goes against this. And part of the “contradiction of the Cross” is that we reject the self, we “deny ourselves” in order to be saved. In denying ourselves, we have to trust in Jesus.

And so we make a choice. We choose to follow Jesus, “The Way, the Truth and the Life,” deny ourselves and reject addiction. This becomes a cross as we naturally suffer without our addiction. (That we were suffering with it is obvious, but we typically focus on how it “helped” us cope.) We are denying our preferences, our “crutches” and our need to fulfill our base desires. Our mind and body scream, “Give us the drink!” But we reply, “No.”

And so we follow Him: Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician. In choosing to save our life through Christ, we lose the old one. It was nailed to the Cross. We live now by the Gospel and if we persevere to the End will find ourselves reigning with Him and the saints for all eternity.

There is a trade-off. In keeping our addictions, we “gain the world,” or at least our fantasized version of it. But we lose our soul. We do not become the person God made us to be. That one is buried in the addiction. The other trade-off is clear: giving up the addiction we recover who we were meant to be.

This better “trade-off,” that of denying yourself and becoming a disciple of Christ, is essentially the method Matt Talbot chose. If you are a regular reader of SoberCatholic, you know who he is. If not, a short bio tells that he was an Irish drunk who tried several times to become sober after running out of money to buy himself liquor. His friends, for whom he loaned money for booze in the past, didn’t help him. Shocked at this betrayal of alcoholic solidarity and brotherhood Matt tried the “pledge” which worked for a while. He found continued sobriety only after he transferred his love for the drink onto Jesus. Matt lived a life of piety and devotion. He died sober. His Cause for Canonization is open and they’re just waiting on the requisite miracles. There are links in the sidebar to help you learn more; the best one is The Venerable Matt Talbot Resource Center.

Matt gave up the drink in exchange for his soul.

What will you give in exchange for your soul? That’s a daunting question. And not an easy one to answer for most people. It is the question that starts the conversion process. Even if you were not consciously aware of it, when you began your conversion process upon attaining sobriety you started to answer that question. And you continue to answer it every day you are sober and continue to learn and live your Catholic Faith.

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"

The ‘Nineveh 90’ Challenge is almost here! You in?

It’s almost here! One of the toughest spiritual challenges you might be facing outside of rigorous Lenten mortifications! And it begins next Monday the 13th of February! What is it, you ask? “We Sober Catholic readers are all about tough spiritual challenges! Tell us, Paulcoholic!!!”

It’s the “Nineveh 90 Challenge,” of course! I blogged about it before: Spiritual prepping for Fatima and 2017. That post has been updated a few times, please see it again if you were unawares.

Father Richard Heilman has a wealth of resources on his Roman Catholic Man website as well as the “go to” place: “Nineveh90” to assist you in your quest. If you’re on Facebook, there’s also a Group focusing on the Challenge: Special Forces Training. Members are posting links to other FB Groups that focus on regional meetups and the like.

If you are interested in doing this, please look at the above links for thorough information. I’m giving a “last-minute” heads up so that you can do whatever prayer and prepping you need to do before Monday.

I won’t be doing a few of the items on the ‘Ten Elements of the Challenge,’ namely the ‘rigorous exercise’ and the 33-day Consecration. Nor will I join the Angelic Warfare Confraternity (I’ll step up my resolve to say the “Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel.”) A number of things I already do as a part of my daily prayer life. There’s a link to the AWC in my sidebar under “Porn Addiction Links.”

The fact that this overlaps Lent is of great significance!

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"

 Prayer Book for those Affected by Addiction

The Venerable Matt Talbot Resource Center recently posted a reminder as to the availability of a A Free Pocket Prayer Book.

It is an initiative of the Irish Bishops. For the background, please see: Address by Bishop Noel Treanor.

I got mine! The link for the download is in the VMTRC post. Get yours!

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"