Patience and Endurance

The First Reading from today’s Mass

Sirach 2:1-11

My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you; trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

There are many actions and promises listed in the passage from Sirach. It is important to read and re-read the above quotation, for it addresses numerous issues familiar to people in recovery.

“Prepare yourself for trials.” We are acquainted with this. In our ill-preparation for trials, we were unable to meet them. Defeated by them, we drank for solace.

“…receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.”

Listen with a receptive spirit and you will receive God’s word, you will receive comfort, and be undisturbed in time of adversity. People of deep faith are routinely shown to have fewer problems with anxiety and fear. The experience those things, but they are not controlled by them. They handle adversity with apparent calmness.

The next two sentences, from “Wait on God… through …grow old therein.“ show how important this steadfast faith is, and how we need to be patient with God’s benevolence and guidance. Things happen in God’s time, not ours. Adversity is to be accepted as part of the deal, but God is supporting you throughout. (We accept His Cross, and He will help us carry it. Read this.) In time we will be shown through our troubles, and be marked as people worthy of His love. Bemoaning adversity solves nothing.

In the next paragraph, “Fear the Lord…” means respect. It doesn’t mean cringe in terror. Study the promises of what happens when you respect God, and “wait”, “hope” “trust” and “love” Him.

You will be saved and protected. And reap much enlightenment along the way. Faith and perseverance on the long road to Heaven brings that reward.

In our drinking days and also in the early times of our recovery, we were impatient. We wanted what we wanted, and we wanted it NOW. This is not the way. We learn nothing from immediate gratification. In our recovery, we do learn that the journey itself is part of the destination. Take that to heart.

Now go read Sirach.

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"