Why be Catholic?, Part 2

In the previous post I briefly mentioned about the Catholic Church’s rules and regulations and how people may view them as obstacles that get in the way of a personal relationship with God.

People forget that God Himself established rules. (“Ten Commandments”) Although He wants a personal relationship with each one of us, that doesn’t mean that we get to pick and choose what we can do. Humans, being such, usually pick the path of least resistance or the “lowest common denominator”. Rules are designed to tell people the right and correct way of living and acting so as to be pleasing to Him. They can be viewed as negative, but only by those who seek the temporary and passing joys of the world, things which do not endure. They are not easy, rules usually aren’t, but viewed from the right perspective they can be seen as a sort of safety mechanism. They assist in achieving long-term survival, as opposed to short-term gain. Pleasure is here today, gone tomorrow. If you wish to perpetuate it, you need to keep chasing after it. It doesn’t endure. The peace and serenity that is derived from following the Commandments endure.

Same for the obligations that the Catholic Church expects of its members. Instead of being viewed as chains keeping us down and limiting our enjoyment of the passing fancies of the world, the precepts and “regulations” of the Church can be seen as an attempt to liberate the average person from the limitations of being human. Face it, the joys and pleasures of the world (like alcohol) are ultimately destructive at worst, forgetful at best and possibly humiliating in between (Are you paid what you’re worth? Is your dignity as a human being respected by the world at large? This is what I mean.)

Instead of focusing on the short-term pleasure and satisfaction that rules may seem to deny you, try to focus of the long-term gains achieved by following them. You already do this in a manner of speaking if you’ve attained any degree of sobriety. Wouldn’t a drink taste very good right now? Wouldn’t it help take the edge off, ease the pain and suffering you’re going through, or even just the petty little inconveniences called “daily living”? Of course it would! So why not have a drink? Just one? Of course you wouldn’t! Why? Because some time ago you learned that the fruits of long-term sobriety are better than the pleasures of a short-term drinking spell. Following the principles of a 12-Step movement are grand, but they only deal with sobriety. And I am aware that sobriety is the basis or starting point from which the rest of life is lived. But why limit yourself to just that? There is so much more to living than just not needing to take a drink today. That is a part of it, and indeed an important part. But there is so much more. Too many AA’s are chained to the notion of “not drinking” almost as much and as desperately as they were chained to the notion of “drinking”.

Liberate yourself from such a deterministic attitude. Yes, you’re sober. But you can be Catholic, and instead of seeing life through the lens of sobriety, you can start seeing life through the lens of a vastly universal spirituality. The things that drove you to drinking in the past, and to AA meetings now, will seem minuscule.

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"