An excerpt from the First Reading from today’s Mass for the First Sunday of Lent:
- Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?”
- The woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'”
- But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!
- No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.”
- The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
- Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
This is the explanation for the cause of evil and suffering in the world. We humans are responsible for a decision in which we believed that we can be like gods and decide for ourselves what is morally good and what is not. It isn’t in today’s reading, but the next verses from Genesis Chapter 3 detail the punishment God meted out to our first parents and their progeny. Read on and decide, “Yes, that explains evil in the world and why life is a succession of toil and drudgery.” Granted there are breaks in between full of beauty and peace, but essentially things are tough because we chose long ago to decide for ourselves to be arbiters of morality and justice. This was wrong as before this we had lived in perfect harmony with God, therefore what need had we to try exalt ourselves to His position, the source of all that is good and moral? For our arrogance we Fell and life is the way it is.
One reason I started this blog was due to my perception that this was in a way being replicated in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, at least where and when I attended them. But in reading AA literature such as the Grapevine magazine and online forums, I think it is common elsewhere. The concept of AA’s “Higher Power” had drifted away from it’s original intent. It had been designed to enable religious members of the early AA to continue to believe in whatever their concept of God was, as taught by their religious tradition. It has come to mean that “It doesn’t matter what you believe in, as long as you believe in something”. It has become to be used as an excuse for disavowing organized religion (particularly Catholicism as it is the example used most often) and just doing whatever feels nice and spiritual to you. The “Higher Power” has become God designed in our own image.
God made us, not we Him. By creating Him in our image as the “Higher Power” concept has devolved into merely serves to permit people to follow the path of least resistance morally. We decide for ourselves what is moral and what is not, by our own self-determined convictions. This is not the way to believe or behave as Christians, Catholic or otherwise.
We have a clearly defined moral path as laid out in Sacred Scripture and authoritatively interpreted and taught by the Church. We go our own way and we repeat the Original Sin of Adam and Eve.
It’s a tough road to trudge, submitting to a power greater than yourself and the earthly institution He created. No getting around that. Easier and softer ways in one’s relationship with God may be all feel-good and inoffensive, but ultimately unfullfilling.
But on the other hand, it’s the tried and true roadmap to eternal peace and happiness. Really, not a tough decision.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"