Do not deal with us according to our sins

The refrain from the Responsorial Psalm from today’s Mass for Monday of the Second Week of Lent is “Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.”

See: Monday of the Second Week in Lent.

Be grateful that we have a merciful and loving Father who will not “deal with us according to our sins”, if we ask forgiveness and repent.

Lent is that time where we focus on repenting of our sins and turning closer to the Lord. Like we hear on Ash Wednesday, “Repent and belive in the Gospel,” the formula is right there. Repent, and believe in the Good News of Jesus Christ. Believe in the Gospel, don’t just read it. Live 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"

Getting on into Lent

Today is the Second Sunday of Lent (which is odd as Sundays aren’t considered as a part of Lent ;-) ) As I have been dutifully blogging at least once a day during this Lenten season of 2015, which is something I intend to do yearly, but typically fall short, I just thought I’d write up a brief Sunday post, especially as I couldn’t come up with anything from the Sunday Mass readings to use for a post.

So, how’s your Lent going? Being penitential? Feeling more distanced from your sinful past and are closer to God? No? Good! That means that Satan is attacking and not liking what you’re doing. It isn’t about a “feeling” anyway. If you are making a solid effort at eliminating/reducing character defects and sinful behavior, then you probably are “feeling” like you’re not making much progress. Keep it up! The Lord will shower you with graces to stengthen you on your journey.

Whatever you’re doing, continue. Even if it’s just a small effort, as long as progress is made. Carry on!

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"

Wash yourselves clean!

The Reading from the Morning Prayer for Saturday of the First Week of Lent:

Isaiah 1: 16-18

“Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim; redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. 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 DivineOffice.org.

Today is Saturday, a day in which almost all Catholic parishes offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation (a/k/a Confession). Avail yourself of it, and like the Prophet says, “Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool!”

Make use of it often for the more you go, the less painful and scary it becomes. You gradually appreciate the effects it has upon your soul and overall spiritual development. I recommend at least once a month. (Yeah, you heard 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"

If the wicked man turns away

An excerpt from the First Reading from today’s Mass for Friday of the First Week of Lent:

Ezekiel 18: 21-23

“But if the impious man does penance for all his sins which he has committed, and if he keeps all my precepts, and accomplishes judgment and justice, then he shall certainly live, and he shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities, which he has worked; by his justice, which he has worked, he shall live. How could it be my will that an impious man should die, says the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways and live?

via Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible.

If you’re a practitioner of the Twelve Steps, then ridding oneself of character defects and making amends for past wrongs may bear a lot more fruit than just becoming sober. If you turn away from your sins, you will gain eternal life.

We are all “trudging the road of happy destiny,” what more encouragement can there be than for the Lord to tell us that our sins will be forgotten?

Then we can safely cease dwelling on the past…

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"

Fled to the Lord

Esther was a Queen, and secretly Jewish and living in Persia. The Persian king Ahasuerus had decided to commit genocide against her people living in exile within his realm. She prayed to the Lord for deliverance for them.

An excerpt from the First Reading from today’s Mass on the Thursday of the First Week of Lent:

Eshter C: 12

“And Esther the queen, seized with deathly anxiety, fled to the Lord…”

via EWTN.

“Deathly anxiety,” some translations read “mortal anguish.” Anyway, we’ve all been there in the depths of our drinking or using. We reached that point where we have to decide, “Do I continue to drink and then die, or do I wish to stop and just wish I were dead? (knowing full well the pain of facing life without the crutch of alcohol).”

Be it mortal anguish or deathly anxiety, what would seem like an easy choice for most people is fraught with pain as you cannot see a way out.

And you have no recourse except to the Lord. For many of us, He sent someone or arranged a situation where we were pulled out. And sometimes we did not see the help offered.

Pray for those who still suffer…

(Lest anyone think I am making light of attempted genocide by linking Esther’s actions to a person suffering from addiction and seeking a way out; I am not. One goal of this blog is to link Sacred Scripture to recovery, even when the connection doesn’t really exist. Scripture is about salvation for all, God’s plan for humanity as revealed over time. At times we can draw something from Scripture that is not a direct connection with the original event.)

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"

There is one thing I ask of the Lord

I often focus on the path we are on to get where we’re going. “Trudging the road of Happy Destiny,” it says in the “Big Book” of AA. I don’t discuss the actual destination that much, although I do have a sister blog to Sober Catholic, totally dedicated to the afterlife: The Four Last Things – Death. Judgment. Heaven. Hell.

In today’s Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, there is a passage which reflects the sweet desire for the Lord’s house:

Psalm 27: 4

“There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long, to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to savor the sweetness of the Lord, to behold his temple.”

via DivineOffice.org.

It is a nice image, and one that can help us maintain our focus during 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"

Forgive us our trespasses

Have people wronged you? Have you wronged others? Of course, you cannot go through life without experiencing either event. As much as we are loath to admit it, we have screwed over quite a lot of people over the decades of our lives.

We can ask forgiveness. If it is not possible to seek forgiveness of those we have harmed, we can still go straight to God.

However, there’s a catch. In order for our sins to be forgiven, it is contingent upon our forgiving others for actions committed against us. We cannot expect to be forgiven if we do not extend that to others.

It’s hard. Sometimes we feel that in not forgiving we are not surrendering to those who have harmed us; that in not “letting go” we are still binding them to our pain and grief. Fact is, they’ve likely moved on and have forgotten the incident, or worse, don’t care. So in holding onto the resentment, we are in fact letting them continue to defeat us, without their ever doing anything.

So, forgive. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. You needn’t seek out the person and make up. It might be nice, but it is not always desireable. Some relationships are best left in the past.

But you can cut the ties that bind you to the emotions of the thing they did to you. You can forgive them and finally “let it go.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Matthew, from today’s Mass on the Tuesday of the First Week of Lent:

And when praying, do not choose many words, as the pagans do. For they think that by their excess of words they might be heeded.

Therefore, do not choose to imitate them. For your Father knows what your needs may be, even before you ask him.

Therefore, you shall pray in this way: Our Father, who is in heaven: May your name be kept holy.

May your kingdom come. May your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.

Give us this day our life-sustaining bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation. But free us from evil. Amen.

For if you will forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father also will forgive you your offenses.

But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your sins.

via Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible.

Recite the prayer, slowly and prayerfully. Especially the last few lines on forgiveness.

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"

You did it for me

A passage from the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Matthew, from today’s Mass for the Monday of the First Week of Lent:

Matthew 25: 31-46

“But when the Son of man will have arrived in his majesty, and all the Angels with him, then he will sit upon the seat of his majesty.

And all the nations shall be gathered together before him. And he shall separate them from one another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

And he shall station the sheep, indeed, on his right, but the goats on his left.

Then the King shall say to those who will be on his right: ‘Come, you blessed of my Father. Possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me.’

Then the just will answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when have we see you hungry, and fed you; thirsty, and given you drink? And when have we seen you a stranger, and taken you in? Or naked, and covered you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit to you?’

And in response, the King shall say to them, ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you did this for one of these, the least of my brothers, you did it for me.’

Then he shall also say, to those who will be on his left: ‘Depart from me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and you did not give me to drink;

I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked, and you did not cover me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.’

Then they will also answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?’

Then he shall respond to them by saying: ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.’

And these shall go into eternal punishment, but the just shall go into eternal life.””

You’re still living, and thus can still choose. Sheep or goats? Eternity: Smoking or non-smoking? Lent is that time of the year where you can be focused on “self-improvement,” if by that abused term you mean casting off the character defects that dominates your life and “put on Christ,” to become more like Him. Will you succeed? Maybe not as well as you hope to, but no matter how well you try, you’ll be that much closer to the Lord in how you live.

And as the passage from Matthew’s Gospel says, there are things that you can do to ensure your salvation.

For as Jesus said in another part of Matthew’s Gospel:

Matthew 7: 21-23

“Not all who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does the will of my Father, who is in heaven, the same shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and perform many powerful deeds in your name?’

And then will I disclose to them: ‘I have never known you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.’”

So, faith alone does not save. You have to do something, something that tell the World “I am a Christian, and by these works you know this!”

And in doing these works, you are doing the work of God.

Scripture passages via:
via Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible.

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"

Guide me in your truth and teach me

The best way for conversion (or reversion if you left the Church and are coming back) is to humbly petition the Lord by prayer to guide you. The Holy Spirit does wonders if you ask him.

In this excerpt from the Responsorial Psalm from today’s Mass of the First Sunday of Lent…

Psalm 25: 4-5

“Lord, demonstrate your ways to me, and teach me your paths.

Direct me in your truth, and teach me. For you are God, my Saviour…”

via Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible

…we see the psalmist do just that while also recognizing the authority and legitimacy of God to do this (“”For you are God, my Saviour”).

The psalm for today’s Mass is a wonderful prayer of petition.

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"

Those who are healthy do not need a physician

Today’s Lenten post is an excerpt from the Gospel for today’s Mass for the Saturday after Ash Wednesday.

Luke 5: 31-32

“And responding, Jesus said to them: “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who have maladies. I have not come to call the just, but sinners to repentance.”

via Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible.

I know I have blogged about this passage before, given its significance for us alcoholics. For we are truly sick and in need of a physician. Who better than the Divine Physician, Jesus, who heals all?

In fact, His healing didn’t stop with His Earthly life, it continued on ever afterward in the Church He established. The Catholic Church is the repository of His mission: to preserve intact the Gospel message, free from error and heresy, to preach it to the nations, and to continue healing the broken and wounded. The sacraments offer healing. Avail yourself of them. Go to Confession and receive the Eucharist at Mass. Pray before th Blessed Sacrament.

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"