Once again, we continue with this, the 4th Day of our Novena through St. Maximilian Kolbe. As usual, go here and read the prayer while thinking about a loved one who is struggling with addiction, and then contemplate the following:
This would have been my father’s 95th birthday. He died in 1995. I didn’t really grieve over him as we didn’t get along much, plus whatever”grieving” I did was drowned or expressed in alcohol. He was not an alcoholic. The honor of being the “family drunk” goes to me.
My last conversation with him was an argument. It doesn’t matter what it was about. But about 2-3 weeks later I received the phone call from Mom that he had died. I was asked to call a brother of mine as they were having trouble reaching him.
My brother and I hadn’t been on speaking terms ever since I moved out on him 2 1/2 years before. He had been upset that I did unto him (moving) what he was planning on doing unto me. I left a message on his voice mail to “Call home, it’s about Dad.”
This led to a reconciliation of sorts between us that lasted for a decade. We don’t talk much now, but that can change. There was never any reconciliation between my father and I, but that really doesn’t matter anymore.
The reason that doesn’t matter anymore is I do feel that my father is in Heaven, and that he has been observing events in my life and the family’s life as a part of that “great cloud of witnesses” described in Hebrews;
- Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.
He knows what’s going on and he understands why I’ve done things that I did. Plus, any flaws or imperfections of the self that he retained at death were purged from him in Purgatory (as nothing impure can enter Heaven) and there is no longer any reason on my part to hold any resentment against him for anything he did.
The thing is, one shouldn’t wait until after the finality of death to “reconcile” with a loved one. The person that you are praying for in the Novena is a loved one (or once was). That person could die in their addiction, and no chance of a happy life with you would be possible. As hard as it is, it is acknowledged that trust may be hard for you to grant that person. So don’t trust them for now. Wait until they’ve earned it. You do have the right to withhold trust until you feel safe enough to grant it.
But you can love that person. Never withhold that. Love conquers all things, or so I’ve read somewhere. It can heal. And it can heal both ways. To the addict it can be a lifeline, and for you it can heal the wounds inflicted upon you by the addict or alcoholic.
So, take heed the writer of Hebrews admonition to “…let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus…” Jesus can help you love. Gaze upon Him on the Cross. That’s love. You needn’t get crucified, but you can nail your anger and resentments to that Cross.
Go to the sidebar and under “Labels” and look up “Forgiveness”. Read those posts at your convenience.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)