Tomorrow (or Sunday, depending on where you live) is the Solemnity of the Ascension. This is the Christian teaching that Jesus bodily ascended into Heaven 40 days after He died. (How He accomplished this is unknown, and is irrelevant. God is not subject to the physical laws He created.)
What is important about this is in doing so He opened Heaven to all who believe in Him, a Heaven that had been closed since the Fall of Adam and Eve. Heaven was barred to us due to our First Parent’s arrogant decision that they could be just like God and decide what is right and what is wrong for themselves. Jesus paid our price for their sin. And now Heaven is open again.
He had said that this was necessary for another reason. Without His leaving, the Advocate would not be able to come. Who, or what, is the Advocate? It is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. It is the source and guide for each of us, the ‘inner promptings’ that we sometimes receive that encourages us to do a certain thing. Our conscience is guided by it.
Our alcoholism made it impossible for us to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit tells us. Distractions from the world around us and from our own inner turmoil prevent us from hearing the ‘still, small voice’ that is the will of God caring for us.
Prayer and a disciplined life (living moderately and responsibly) helps us to keep in tune with the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
But the Ascension, important as it was for the Holy Spirit to descend upon the Earth (10 days later on the Solemnity of Pentecost), how does it relate to our sobriety?
Jesus had completed the task for which He incarnated Himself. He came down to Earth to die. He had done this, along with leaving behind a body of teachings to live by. He also established a Church to safeguard and defend those teachings until He returns. The Holy Spirit’s chief task is to prevent that Church from teaching error in matters of doctrine and dogma. It doesn’t prevent that Church or its members from behaving sinfully, after all, the Church is composed of sinners. But we have the guarantee that where the Church speaks on Faith and Morals in line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit protects the Church’s voice, namely, the Pope. We have an assured guide when we are confused, or when our moral compass is not pointing True North.
If we are sober then we have completed a task. We have stopped drinking. Our alcoholic self has essentially died, and a new person is born. That person is now open to clearly an willingly receive the graces and guidance that the Holy Spirit offers, and we as Catholics can receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Jesus died and lives in us in the sacramental nature of the Eucharist, and through this union we can better live out our Baptismal promises of rejecting Satan and sin. If we were Confirmed in the Faith as young adults we can grow more deeply in the Holy Spirit and spiritually develop in ways that those who adhere to a more secular way of living are puzzled and confused over. They need false and valueless stimuli as TV and and other worldly crutches to cope with the day.
Pray to Jesus, go to Mass and receive Holy Comunion, if you can. And start preparing for Pentecost, which comes in 10 day’s time.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"