Young man, I tell you, arise

The Gospel Reading for today’s Mass (Wednesday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time) has been special for me these past few years.

Luke 7:11-17: “Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.

As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.

A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her,‘Do not weep.’

He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, ‘Young man, I tell you, arise!’

The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, ‘A great prophet has arisen in our midst,’ and ‘God has visited his people.’

This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region. “

(Via USCCB.)

I was not the only son of my mother, but I was her youngest and I had lived with her for her last 10 years on Earth. For her last 18 months I was her caregiver of sorts.

I discovered sobriety just in time to be useful to her in her final years. The thought of my still being addicted to the bottle at any time during her last couple of years scares me to this day, I am very grateful to God that He pulled me away from the bottle in plenty of time for Mom to see me sober and responsible enough to care for her. This is why I have a special connection to this Gospel passage. I was dead, but with God’s graces through AA and then the Catholic Church I arose from the death of alcoholism and I became sober and a strong Catholic.

Today I was reflecting on her death and the hellish period that followed for me. I remember walking around the streets of my hometown on the day she died muttering and mumbling to myself about how alone I was. This was in between tears. I was convinced that I was alone and that I would forever be alone. I do not believe that I had ever felt this way, this mind-numbing, marrow-curdling feelings of aloneness and abandonment.

I wanted to die. I wasn’t suicidal, but I had prayed to God that He would take me as I was convinced that my mission on Earth was over. I was born late in Mom’s life (just after her 47th birthday) and things seemed geared for me to be useful to Mom at various points in her life, especially after Dad died in 1995 and as I stated above, just before her own death in 2005. I hadn’t amounted to much of anything through 2005, at least by most people’s standards.

I am glad that God didn’t agree with me. I am glad because I have discovered relative security and deep love in my life. My faith in God’s Divine Providence and reliance on His Catholic Church pulled me through and gave me a new meaning in a life that I wouldn’t have scripted, but am happy with nonetheless. I am still puzzled by many things, but life isn’t really a problem to be solved, but a mystery to unravel.

I had arisen, like the young man of Nain.

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"