From the Gospel Reading for Saturday after Ash Wednesday:
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”
The season of Lent is the season of repentance. Lent is probably the best time of the Church’s liturgical year for people to focus on the interior life of conversion. It is that time when we seek to identify those aspects of ourselves which demand improvement or shedding.
We cannot do this on our own. As recovered alcoholics we still suffer from the disease or disorder of alcoholism regardless of how long we’ve been sober. We need a physician, as does anyone who is sick. Jesus is the Divine Physician, He comes to minister to us.
Our alcoholic past produced much pain, both in ourselves and in others. In our recovery from alcohol we needed to clean up that past and to make amends. This process resulted in the healing of our self-inflicted wounds and maybe the wounds inflicted on others. This continuing process of amending our life produces the results of our recovery. We attend to our conversion process, we continue to grow and develop.
Jesus is our healer. He heals us when we petition Him, but does so in His own time, not ours. The duration spent in healing (the waiting I feel is a part of it) helps us to grow and develop our relationship with Him. We learn from our patience and from our suffering, and we carry this education in our dealings with others. Everyone is suffering in some way. Everyone is a wounded soul. The wise know this, the fools delude themselves.
As we come to terms with our past, we move forward and learn from our experiences and the pain caused. “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” (from Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., 2001, pg 83). We have divorced our pain from the memories associated with the past actions, but we retain the experience. The memories push us forward into wanting a better future with others and with God than our past indicated. And so we repent.
“I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners,” Jesus says in John’s Gospel account. We are all sinners, but us alcoholics and addicts have perhaps been a little selfish in accepting and acting on that part of our nature. By repenting, we are truly sorrowful and contrite in our admission of our past actions. We turn to Jesus and beg forgiveness and continued healing. The graces from God are freely available in the sacrament of Confession. It is a sacrament of healing. Guilt is removed and you are restored.
Let the healing begin. Go to Confession.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"