One curious phenomenon…

I’ve taken to regular repeat readings and studies of AA’s “Big Book” and “12 and 12.” Although my Catholicism takes precedence in my recovery, Twelve Step literature – especially the main reference works, do provide major assistance in dealing with life issues and such.

I have noticed one curious phenomenon every time since I last read the books. New insights are gleaned and I’ve notice things I missed previously, or I understand them in a new way. It is like “as if” a passage has been “rewritten,” or otherwise is substantially different than it was before. This same phenomenon occurs when reading the Bible. Others have noticed this, too.

I’m told that this is because you have made substantial “spiritual progress” since previous readings. You are different than before, and it shows in your understanding of the text.

So, go back and reread, better yet study, the basic texts of your recovery program. And obviously, keep a Catholic Bible handy (and looking well-read)!

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"

California Mystic- future saint?

I learned of a new potential saint in the Church, Servant of God Cora Evans. Born into Mormonism in in Utah in 1904, she died a Catholic in California in 1957. Her Cause for Beatification and Canonization was opened in 2012.

Her appeal is based upon numerous mystical visions she experienced, including many which revealed new details on the life of Christ and St. John the Baptist. I won’t go into details here, rather than duplicate efforts I strongly urge you to read 20th Century California Mystic, On The Road To Sainthood: Servant of God Cora Evans on Glenn Dallaire’s excellent blog, Mystics of the Church.

The reason why I am making this Servant of God known to you is that there are some interesting teachings contained in her writings from these visions. Namely, the “the Mystical Humanity of Christ, a way of prayer that encourages people to live with a heightened awareness of the indwelling presence of Jesus in their daily lives.” (From the Mystics of the Church blogpost on Evans.) This is not a new teaching, no private revelation ever has anything new to add to the Sacred Deposit of Faith. But revelations can emphasize certain “old” teachings or present them in a new way, perhaps to remind us of something forgotten or to prepare us for whatever is coming up in human history.

This “Mystical Humanity of Christ” appears to be a re-presentation of the Pauline doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ; the divine indwelling of Jesus in each of us baptized is nothing new, either. But apparently her writings teach a manner of prayer where this can be maintained constantly. Even that isn’t really new, for we are exhorted in the New Testament to “pray unceasingly.” Perhaps Evans offers a practical method. (I have not read any of her writings beyond what is excerpted on her Cause’s site: The Writings of Cora Evans. If you spend time on that site and study Glenn’s post on his Mystics… blog, you’ll know as much about Cora Evans as I do.)

If this “heightened awareness of the indwelling presence of Jesus in their daily lives” is legit, then this is an excellent spiritual exercise for all Catholics, but especially for those of us struggling with addiction (regardless of how long sober or clean.)

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"

Fifteenth Sober Anniversary: Went outside to get outside (of myself)

Today I celebrated my 15th Anniversary of getting sober. I celebrated it in good sober Catholic fashion: I went to Mass, prayed a lot this morning and as it was my day off and the weather was nice spent a lot if it outdoors. I practiced gratitude for a (finally) working lawn mower by getting caught up with the lawn mowing, and “went outside to get outside” of myself by getting the garden ready for planting. The fences needed attention (posts and chicken wire fencing) and I will finish that up when I get a few new posts to replace some old ones (destined for compost pile support-duty.) I also hoed up the few weeds and other things growing where they aren’t supposed to. I will have a nice compost heap going by the end of the month.

What I wrote last year on my anniversary is interesting.

Also, today is the feast of St. Rita of Cascia

That’s all! I hope your day was good one as you Trudge 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"

Books on the Fatima Apparitions and Message

The following books are excellent and are the basics on the Apparitions and the Message (there are several other worthy books written on the history of the Apparitions and placing them in an historical and religious/spiritual context, I won’t bother with them here as they may be out-of-print.) The links are to where you can purchase them from the World Apostolate of Fatima’s online giftshop. I DO NOT get a ‘cut’ of the proceeds, I’m merely posting the direct link as a convenience. You should be able to get them in most Catholic bookstores of other online shops.

Fatima In Lucia’s Own Words I (The first four memoirs of Sr. Lucia, the only seer to survive the Apparition era.)

Fatima In Lucia’s Own Words II (The last two memoirs of Sr. Lucia.)

“Calls” From The Message Of Fatima (In which Sr. Lucia answers many of the most recurring questions asked of her about the Apparitions and the Message. THIS BOOK IS INVALUABLE AS A MEANS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH. I thought I had read it previously, right after completing her memoir volumes, to my great surprise I found out that I hadn’t. I am reading it now! I am finding it an excellent primer of growing in holiness! Sr. Lucia relies heavily on Scripture, so your Biblical knowledge should improve, too!)

Fatima For Today (One of the best and most recent introductory books on the Apparitions and Message. Fr. Apostoli also covers those pesky controversies and puts them to rest. I agree with his positions.)

WAF Spiritual Guide (World Apostolate of Fatima-USA, “Spiritual Guide.” An excellent compendium of all of their pamphlets and booklets in one handy volume. A wealth of information on living the Message.)

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"

Focus on the Message of Fatima

This is a slight detour from the regular postings I do here. Last Saturday marked the 100th Anniversary of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s appearance to three shepherd children near Fatima, Portugal. I’ve written posts of varying degrees of competence here: Fatima postings.

The message of Fatima is basic: prayer, penance, reparation and conversion. In recent years the message has gotten obscured by various controversies that essentially are pointless. If you are unfamiliar with these, never mind. I never know the extent to which readers know about something I write; I assume many are reverting to the faith of their childhood or are others seeking Catholicism out of curiosity or a need to be more fulfilled spiritually. And perhaps many know more about the Faith than I. I will post links at the end of this so that you can learn more about the Apparitions. The link above on my Fatima postings is a good start, however.

The two major ones are whether or not the “Consecration of Russia” was done. The options seem to be 1) Yes. 2) Yes, but improperly. 3) Yes, but too late to be any good. 4) No, because the so called consecrations were done improperly. (I vote for number 3.)

For those of you who are new to the Fatima Apparitions, there’s been a decades-long debate as to whether or not Russia was properly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Pope (whoever was Pope at this or that Consecration.) The links below will give you the needed information on the whole thing. It’s not important anymore, mainly because Sr. Lucia authenticated the last Consecration and the Vatican has concluded it was done. For those hoping that Pope Francis or a future Pope will “do it right,” don’t hold your breath. The fact that it probably should have been done before World War II is essentially agreed upon by all; whether the Consecrations actually done during the war and afterwards were effective or legitimate are debated heatedly, some to the point of forming schisms.

It’s beside the point, now. Carrying on the debate is getting the Message obscured, people debate certain issues rather than live the Message. Same for the other controversy:

The “Third Secret.” What was it, and what was actually revealed to be it in 2000 the “real” secret? Like the Russia Consecration, information on that will be found when you review the links below; I’m not getting into it here. And also like the debate over the Consecration, going on about the Third Secret just gets in the way of living the Message.

So, do that. Focus on living the Message of Fatima, for in doing so you are living a life of Catholic sobriety; the ‘Way’ of Matt Talbot. Penance, prayer, conversion, reparation for sins (offering up things and making sacrifices for your sins and other people’s), modesty in attire and a close study of Sacred Scripture and Catechism. All these are essential ingredients to live a sober Catholic existence.

At this moment in time, 2017, debating and arguing about these or other controversies surrounding Fatima are just stoking people’s egos (“My side is right, and I will prove it!”) and expressions of uncharitable self-will. They have nothing to do with the reason as to why Our Lady appeared to the children with the Message she gave to them for the World to hear. And they get in the way of living the Message and spreading it to other people.

Which may be Satan’s plan.

Links to sites on Fatima:

Official Shrine in Fatima, Portugal
Vatican’s Fatima Page
EWTN’s Fatima Site
EWTN’s page on the Apparitions
EWTN’s page on the Message
Living the Message by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate
EWTN’s Page on the Consecrations
EWTN’s Page on the Secrets
World Apostolate of Fatima (Int’l)
World Apostolate of Fatima (USA)
America Needs Fatima
Marians of the Immaculate Conception Fatima Page

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"

Saints Jacinta and Francisco Marto, pray for us!

We have two new saints! Francisco and Jacinta Marto, brother and sister seers of Fatima, were canonized today in Fatima, Portugal by Pope Francis. You can read more about them by clicking on the links in the previous sentence.

I awakened extra early this morning to watch the Canonization Mass Live on EWTN. Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the day when the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, appeared to three little Portuguese shepherd children from an obscure village. See Fatima posts archive on Sober Catholic.

The Message of Fatima is the message of this blog (if I may be so bold!): “Prayer, penance, conversion, reparation.” We must pray, especially the Rosary… and daily! We must do penance, for ourselves and also for other people’s impenitence (reparation). And we must work on conversion. Our own is a lifelong process. We can never say “I’m done converting! I’m as Catholic as I’m ever gonna be!” And we must never stop praying and working for the conversion of other people.

Today’s new saints did all of that, even though their lives were short. They served as perfect models in their innocence of what we should try and achieve in our adulthood sophistication.

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"

All things work together unto good

The following quote from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans has appeared quite frequently in recent days in my Facebook feed and this morning in my daily reading from The Imitation of Christ (Book III, Ch. 59 No. 2):

Romans 8:28

And we know that, for those who love God, all things work together unto good, for those who, in accordance with his purpose, are called to be saints.

Source: Romans – Catholic Public Domain Version of the Sacred Bible

God must be trying to tell me something. Perhaps for you, as well. We are all called to be saints, and although such a prospect seemed distant, even laughable during the practice of our addictions, nevertheless it is true. We were not called to be damned, but to reign with God in Heaven.

If we properly respond to God’s grace, even the bad we have done during our addictive life will work out for our good. At the very least we should be more humble and solicitous of others’ problems. Or at least try.

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"

Daily Prayer routine

Thanks to an email conversation with a reader, I thought it might be useful to divulge what I do concerning my prayer life, especially as it is central to my recovery within the Faith.

After I awaken each morning (waking up is key 😉 ) and get a mug of coffee firmly placed on a coaster on my prayer table, I begin my morning prayer and devotional routine.

First up: The Liturgy of the Hours. Also known as the Divine Office, this is the Official Prayer of the Catholic Church and involves Psalms, Canticles and Readings (Scriptural, Patristic and saint’s writings and such). If you wish to learn more, there’s the excellent “Coffee and Canticles” blog by Daria Sockey.

Next: the Chaplet of St. Maximilian Kolbe. I have been a member of his Militia of the Immaculata since 7 October 2002 (links in the sidebar) and over the past couple of years have seriously increased my devotion aand study of his life and writings.

Immediately afterwards is the Rosary.

About now is a second mug of coffee.

Then I use another prayer book: Prayers from the Heart: The Prayer Book of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Militia of the Immaculata. Quote: “This booklet contains formal prayers dear to members of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s movement of Marian Consecration, the Militia of the Immaculata, but is a spiritual help for all Christians.” I use this for traditional prayers such as the Morning Offering, Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity, as well as some other Marian prayers and the like.

Then comes some readings from the Gospel or the Old Testament Wisdom books and then the classic “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis.

Following this is a few minutes with some daily devotionals. These change over the years and therefore I won’t bother telling what I’m using now (perhaps in a separate blogpost?).

My morning routine usually takes 75 minutes. Evening is typically shorter, perhaps 15-20 minutes or so. Evening devotionals include the Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, and whatever I may have neglected in the morning due to running out of time.

There, that’s how i keep my head on straight each day. (Which reminds me, I had some blogposts with that phrase in the title. They’re an earlier description of my prayer life from about when I began SoberCatholic. Here: Keeping Your Head on Straight, Part 1 (Regular Daily Prayer) and here: Keeping Your Head on Straight, Part 2 (Regular Daily Prayer)

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"

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"