I like to read the New Testament writings of St. John the Evangelist, the mysticism always reveals something new (to me at least). I was perusing through the First Letter of John during meditation recently when this verse popped out at me:
1 John 4:4 You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
The first part of the fourth chapter of this letter concerns itself with how to discern whether spiritual “truths” come from God or from the spirits of the world (Satan, perhaps, or competing ideologies that fall short of Christian Truth). Basically, if the spiritual truth is rooted in the Trinity, observing that Jesus is God Incarnate (God made human), then it is True. Anything else is false.
This passage can be adapted to our needs in sobriety. We have given up alcohol and by whatever path we took, now have embraced, or are seeking to embrace, Catholic Christianity as our means to stay sober. We have accepted Jesus into our lives and as a result have started out on a radical approach to living that rejects the world’s moral values and customs. Values that say it is OK to diminish others as mere means of economic production or consumption (the capitalist/consumerist “ethic” that erodes the soul of human culture). Values that regard human life as disposable (abortion, sexual permissiveness, along with the already mentioned economic ethic). We have Christ within us. We are baptized into His Body, and if we are Catholic we can partake of the sacraments, especially Communion and Confession. We are no longer our own but it is Christ who lives within us (a Scriptural reference, and for the life of me I can’t find the passage) who is our guide and light.
Since he is now dwelling within us, we can “fill our soul” with Him, who will never abandon us, and who can satisfy us like alcohol cannot. We can use our devotion to and love for Jesus to repel the spirit of the world, which calls us to satisfy our pleasures and cravings here and now at the expense of our well-being and future.
Jesus is our protector and guide. We have conquered our alcoholic past, it is in our history. We have Him now. He lives in us, and we are changed. We embrace our fundamental dignity as human beings, and start to care for others about us. “The one who is in the world” would seek to have us remain selfish and unconcerned.
You belong to God, move into the world and transform it. Don’t stop at your own sobriety, work as best you can to meet the world and change it.
There is a criticism of AA’s who spend all there time just living soberly. They have families and jobs, attend meeting and such, and stop there. Compared to their alcoholic past, this is an improvement. Their response to criticism that they should get active is usually along the lines of “Hey, if all I’m doing is raising a family, holding down a job and staying out of jail, then that’s better than most.” This may be true, and for perhaps most, quite enough. But if you have all these things, why stop? If you have it within you to use these things for something greater than just being normal and ordinary, then do it. At your job preach the Gospel, not with words, but with your actions. Don’t just be a Christian during prayer time and Church. Live the Faith on the job. Get your family unit organized around a spiritual and religious life. Too many families are broken or breaking, too individualistic with the group. Lead by example.
Get outside allow your “belonging to God” to renew the world.
Get radical.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"