Not a destructive drug

The First Reading from today’s Mass on the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time is a rather interesting one from a sober Catholic perspective:

Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24…

(italics mine)

“God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.”

Courtesy: USCCB

God does not desire for us to perish. But perish we do, as a consequence of our actions. But it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

The things of the earth were not supposed to be destructive in nature, God created everything and called it “good.” (Genesis, Chapter 1). Life wasn’t drudgery and full of pain; that didn’t set in until our Rebellion (Genesis, Chapter 3). That Rebellion, when our First Parents were duped by Satan in to thinking that they can be “like gods” and decide for themselves what is “good” and “evil” is when “death entered the world.”

Literal death, but also other “deaths,” anything that devalued and destroyed life. Disease, addictions, pain, suffering…

Despite the beliefs of certain Protestant Fundamentalists, there’s nothing wrong with drinking alcohol. Abusing it, yes. But merely consuming it, no – if done in moderation. Many things done in moderation become sinful when abused. That is inherent in sin, which is the abuse and misuse of the good things God gave us: our minds, bodies and stuff about us. Just like what our First Parents did, and their Original Sin is replicated quite often today when people disregard God’s Laws and make their own…

You don’t have to suffer from addiction… you can be free of it…

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"

Immaculate Heart of Mary and Purity

Back when I was looking around for Catholic resources for addiction recovery, I was stunned to discover that almost all of them dealt with porn, lust and sex addiction.

Today is the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, an optional Feast Day on the Church’s liturgical calendar. Mary is the refuge of those seeking purity, as it was only through her immaculate conception that Our Lord was able to become Incarnate and redeem us from our sins (as He certainly could not be born through a woman enslaved by Original Sin, right?)

Today is also the 98th Anniversary of the Fatima Apparition of June 13, 1917. It is a happy coincidence that the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary falls this year on that anniversary.

One of the significant parts of the “Message of Fatima” is that the Lord is greatly offended by the increase in sexual impurity. Those are my words, Our Lady didn’t speak that way to innocent children. She basically said that various fashions are displeasing to the Lord and many people go to Hell for such offenses. Later on, I think, this was interpreted to mean the increasing secular nature of culture and the growing trends towards immodest fashions and casual sex.

If the Lord was offended by the standards of sexual culture 100 years ago, you can imagine His offense today.

Anyway, if you are troubled by lust and impurity, the Rosary is a safe refuge. Praying it slowly, meditating of the Mysteries can interrupt the thought processes leading you to impure acts. Perhaps find sacred art and place it around your residence. Fill your mind with holy things! It will take effort, some times easier than others. Lust never sleeps; like alcohol, it is “cunning, baffling and poewerful.”

Related posts: Immaculate Heart of Mary and IHM and Fatima Apparition of June 13th.

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"

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an ancient and popular devotion amongst Catholics. The Sacred Heart is also important to alcoholics in recovery, as those who know AA history are aware that Sister Ignatia of St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, (who worked closely with Dr. Bob, the co-founder of AA) gave out “Sacred Heart Badges” to those alkies who were successfully treated there. From it came the AA tradition of “chips”or coins marking periods of sobriety.

An example of a Sacred Heart Badge:

PC983

 

Image courtesy of Roman Catholic Sacramentals Foundation

Romans 8: 35-39 “Then who will separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation? Or anguish? Or famine? Or nakedness? Or peril? Or persecution? Or the sword?

For it is as it has been written: “For your sake, we are being put to death all day long. We are being treated like sheep for the slaughter.”

But in all these things we overcome, because of him who has loved us.

For I am certain that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor the present things, nor the future things, nor strength, nor the heights, nor the depths, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Sacred Heart represents Jesus’ love for us, and our devotion to it represents our returning that love, our offering of ourselves as sacrifices to make reparation for sins against Jesus (blasphemy, sacrilege, indifference).

How can YOU do this? By consecrating yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus! You can read the prayer on EWTN’s site, go here: Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I have written previously about the Sacred Heart, check the Sacred Heart Post Archives out to learn more!

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"

in all our affairs

We practice these principles in all our affairs, taking the vision of God’s Will into our lives asking, “Not my will, but thine be done.”

When stumbling along the path, confused, angry, irritated or just plain lost, we recite: “God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

For we may be the only Gospel of Christ or Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that anyone sees that day. We must be ever mindful of that, as well as when we meet other people throughout the day, that moment is but a snapshot of who they are along their journey. And that moment doesn’t define them.

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"

St. Rita of Cascia, patroness of lost causes

I always found it to be a sign of Divine Providence, or maybe evidence of a Divine Sense of Humor, that today, my sobriety date, is also the Feast Day of St. Rita of Cascia. She is known as the patron saint of lost causes, of which I think I was nearly one. My early recovery was marked by a lot of drinking. Yes, I know that’s not the way to do it.

That she is known as the patroness of lost causes is due to her marriage to an abusive husband and their two sons who appeared to be following in his path. She has nothing to do with alcoholism except that a lot of us drunks and ex-drunks have been considered “lost causes” by many. The fact that she prayed for his conversion for all 18 years of marriage before finally succeeding (just before he died) is the probable reason for her patronage. Some people can be pretty intransigent.

There is a popular biography of her (the one published by TAN Books) online: “Saint Rita of Cascia: Saint of the Impossible” by Fr. Joseph Sicardo, OSA

Her entry in Wikipedia: Rita of Cascia. One really incredible thing I just learned about her from Wikipedia is that St. Rita is the unofficial patron saint of baseball! Apparently she was mentioned in the 2002 movie The Rookie. More on that here: Patron Saint of Baseball.

I’ve blogged about her before: St. Rita of Cascia post archives.

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"

Thirteen years sober

Thirteen years ago today I sobered up. I took my last drink on the evening of May 22, 2002. If I can get sober, so can you. I’ve probably mentioned this before in various “soberversary” posts and drunkalogues, but I was not exactly the poster child for early recovery. I only attended AA meetings for the first seven months of meeting attendance so I can get out of my old house and visit a liquor store. I also needed the booze to get courage for sharing at meetings. Yep, there I was, exhorting new members that “AA works if you work it!” while slurring my words and then returning to my nap on the room’s couch. I did arrive at meetings drunk. My sponsor had told me that there was some consideration given to banning me from meetings due to my behavior. Never happened as by that time I temporarily stopped going to meetings because I was physically unable to leave my house. I wound up in the hospital for 6 days with DTs and hallucinations. I returned to AA all sober, only to relapse 3 1/2 months later.

So no, I was clearly NOT a shining example of early recovery behavior. But eventually something took hold, and I stopped drinking, never really had any burning desire to drink except for the occasional, wistful wish that I could have a beer on a hot summer day now and then, or maybe red wine in the evening. But such thoughts are readily dismissed.

I do say that while AA helped in providing a basic understanding of alcoholism and much need specific tools to address “how to handle sobriety,” it is my Catholic Faith that keeps my head together. Regular readers if this blog know that. New readers can explore the post categories and learn!

Today is also the Feast day of St. Rita of Cascia. I am running late to get ready for work, so I’ll post about her tonight when I get home; but she is a appropriate saint for this soberversary day of mine as she is regarded as the “patron saint of impossible cases.”

That described me perfectly in “early sobriety.”

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"

Filed under Me

Fatima: Prayer, Conversion and Penance

Today, May 13, 2015 is the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. On this date 98 years ago the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three little shepherd children near Fatima, Portugal. I introduced this last year in this post: Fatima. It also contains links for your further edification as you should really, really, be interested in this Apparition of the Virgin.

As I said in that post, I plan on blogging about the Apparitions at Fatima on or about the anniversary dates of each one. The reason is that the “Message of Fatima” is an important one, and is very applicable to those struggling with addictions.

On May 12, 1982, Pope St. John Paul II gave a General Audience just before leaving on a pilgrimage to Fatima. His intent was to give thanks to the Virgin Mary, whom he felt had preserved his life after an assasination attempt one year earlier in St. Peter’s Square. He said in that General Audience, “I am going particularly as a pilgrim of brotherhood and peace to that land that the Virgin chose to launch her sorrowful appeal for prayer, conversion and penance.”

The Holy Father later stated that “I nourish the hope that this gesture of mine will serve to reawaken in believers a renewed sense of responsibility, inducing each one to question himself fairly about his consistency with the values of the Gospel.”

I was reading a compilation of speeches that Pope St. John Paul II gave on the ocassion of his 1982 pilgrimage to Fatima, compliled by the Daughters of St. Paul, entitled “Portugal: Message of Fatima,” and these quotes jumped out.

“Prayer, Conversion and Penance.” These are the core strategies for those of us struggling with alcoholism. We pray, we have an ongoing conversion, and we live penitential lives (or, we do this as best we can. Some times and years are better than others. But we carry on.).

And we must always do a “self-check” ala AA’s “Step 10″ concerning how best we live our lives according to the Gospel’s values. Do we choose the Gospel, or the World? Do we live by the divine Gospel message, or secular political or economic messages? Do we cause an injustice and refashion the Gospel so that it fits into our secular ideologies?

If you missed last year’s posts, all my Fatima posts are here: Fatima Post Archives.

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"

Rogation Days

There is a pious Catholic practice I recently became aware of, even though it is over a millennia old. It is the service of the “Rogation Days,” which takes place annually on the Feast of St. Mark (the Gospel writer) on April 25th, and on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday preceding Ascension Thursday. I missed the April 25th observance this year.

It is normally done in a church, but is rare nowadays as it was dropped from the Liturgical calendar in 1970; it is now only practiced in those parishes that celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass an its accompanying calendar (and even then, I’m not sure how common it is…)

From the “Catholic Rural Life Prayer Book,”

The word “rogation” comes from the Latin word “rogare” meaning “to ask.”
The three Rogation Days are over 1,500 years old. They began in the fifth
century at Vienne, France, when, in the year 470, there had been crop
failures–due to earthquakes and bad weather–with resulting great food
scarcity and destitution. St. Mamertus, bishop of Vienne, ordered a triduum
of prayer and penance on the three days preceding the Ascension. The clergy
and the people made penitential processions calling upon God to help and
asking the intercession of His saints.

The purpose of the Rogation Days’ service is to implore the mercy of God
that He may keep us from all evils of soul and body, and give to the plants
of the field an increase. In the spring, when the fields are becoming green
and there is promise of a good harvest–but also the possibility of
destruction through frost, hail, or rainstorms–the prayers and processions
are a reminder to feeble man to turn with humility and confidence to the
Giver of all good. For, it is not the earth alone which brings forth fruit,
and not alone the busy hand of man on which the increase depends; but it is
God who gives the increase.”

The words I emboldened give you an idea as to why I’m making it known to you. Although as a pious practice it traditionally is a fixture in rural communities, I think it can be applied for people in addiction recovery. It’s a stretch, but “to implore the mercy of God that He may keep us from all evils of soul and body” is a worthwhile use of this devotion for us alcoholics. The parts referring to “growing things” is… well, I frequently suggest that readers “go outside to get outside” of yourself. Outdoors is where you can meet and get to know God through the study and observance of His works. (The best place is, of course inside a church, at Mass or in front of te Blessed Sacrament) but being amongst His creation is good, too.

I am not sure exactly how the Rogation Days can be practiced at home if they aren’t observed in a parish near you; I do have a copy of the “Rural Life Prayer Book” and am going to just prayerfully read the section on the Rogation Days and go from there, adapting as best I can. You can obtain a print copy for yourself here: Catholic Rural Life Store or download it free from EWTN here: EWTN Document Library

I’d suggest buying it fro the CRL site, it supports a good cause and you can find things easier with a print copy 😉 .

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"

Help Support Prairie Hoof Farm

It seems like there’s been a flurry of meritorious GoFundMe campaigns during this Lenten/Easter season. Well, there’s another worthy campaign that I am bringing to your attention…

PLEASE… if you can.. support Prairie Hoof Farm by Kevin and Mary Ford in their attempts to re-establish their farm to the Topeka, Kansas region.

The Fords:

TheFordFamily

Kindly go to the GoFundMe link and read up on it; Kevin tells it much better than I can.

But in short, the Fords currently run a farm in south-central Kansas. It has experienced a few bad years, “bad” enough that it would have convinced most people to hang up their mucking boots (or whatever it is that farmers wear when they muck around in pig … stuff…) and repurpose their life. But not Kevin. Kevin, you see, is the founder of the “New” Catholic Land Movement. Kevin descibes the NCLM succinctly:

“A great hope we have for our farm is to make it a place where families can come to live, work, and pray together. Our culture so fragments life today that we feel an experience like this on a farm could really help families to be what they are meant to be. Making our business successful will help us to be able to fulfill this ministry. We would like our farm to one day be a base for the New Catholic Land Movement to use to train families in homesteading and farming-related skills.”

This is Kevin with a pig friend: (The boots he’s wearing are what I was referring to a couple of paragraphs above.)

Kevinmuckingwithapig

Kevin maintains a site and blog dedicated the the NCLM, where there is a more complete description of it: Introduction to the New Catholic Land Movement.

Please find it within yourself to contribute… This is an excellent opportunity to help an independent business, complete with family to boot AND help an aspect of American culture that need invigoration. If you are a Catholic who supports certain aspects of Catholic Social Teachings such as “solidarity” and Distributist economics, this is a way to get involved. Thanks!

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"

repentance posting

OK, I did it again! Although I didn’t formally announce it, I sort of strongly implied that I’d be blogging daily during Lent. I actually may have come out and said it, I don’t remember.

Well, no posts these past two days. {{{sigh}}}

(The “I did it again!” refers to my annual Lenten pledge to blog daily, and then failing to do so. It’s been done once, maybe twice. Probably once.)

Well, I’m not going to beat myself up over it; I will just resolve to get back up and proceed onward. And that is a lesson for all of us sinners. We repent and confess our sins; we relapse and sin again. Do we quit with the repentance and confession? After all, we’re probably just going to do it again! Of course not! Even though we will probably commit the same sins, or even new ones, we still pick our sorry selves back up and repent and confess. As long as it takes (which will probably be the rest of our lives).

This separates the saints from those who are not. Saints ALWAYS pick themselves back up and resume.

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"