As we begin the first day of this Novena to St. Joseph for Alcoholics, we pray:
O chaste Spouse of Mary most holy, glorious Saint Joseph, great was the trouble and anguish of thy heart when thou wast minded to put away privately thine inviolate Spouse, yet thy joy was unspeakable, when the surpassing mystery of the Incarnation was made known to thee by the Angel!
By this thy sorrow and this thy joy we beseech thee to comfort our souls, both now and in the sorrows of our final hour, with the joy of a good life and a holy death after the pattern of thine own in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Now recite the “Our Father”; the “Hail Mary”, and the “Glory be”.
(Prayer courtesy of: Inter Mirifica.)
If you recall from Sacred Scripture, when Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant with Jesus, he was going to divorce her according to Jewish custom. It is beyond the scope of this blog and this novena to go into that here. It is sufficient to say that he was troubled by the perceived scandal of her “unwed pregnancy”, and that her child was not his. The fact that there was nothing wrong with the pregnancy, as the Angel informed him of its propriety, does not get in the way of the prayer intention of the first day of this novena, which is:
For all who have “unwanted pregnancies” or all those who are experiencing fear and aloneness as they face their pregnancy without a spouse (or responsible partner). May they receive the help and encouragement they need to bring their child into the world. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord, Amen.
What does this have to do with this blog? Easy. If you have been to any number of 12 Step meetings, you are aware that sexual impropriety and misconduct is not an uncommon event in many a member’s past. Single parenthood is common today even way outside of the meeting rooms, but within them there is quite often a tragedy as addiction may have taken its toll on the parent or child. A tragedy may have even been the cause of the pregnancy. Whether by rape, or prostituting oneself for drugs or alcohol, or a lack of discipline caused by the addiction, not all pregnancies are happy and joyous ones.
Often abortion was the “final solution” to the problem, but some had the courage to bring the baby to term rather than commit the abortion.
Some, for whatever reason, chose the abortion out of fear or coercion, or a misguided sense of “inconvenience.” We pray for these people, as well. There is often a subsequent psychological cost to abortion. Many eventually seek out healing for the immense regret over their lost child. We pray for their healing, also. These people are not to be condemned for their act if they have come to regret it and have remorse.
The point of all this praying is that this issue of “illicit” or “unwanted” or “out of wedlock” pregnancy and single parenthood is a work of mercy in need of action. As I’ve said or hinted at before, it is not merely that we stop drinking and develop our sobriety. We need to use our sobriety to grow closer to God and experience His love and forgiveness and to lead others to it. Too many people are hurt and wounded by a number of things. This novena is going to address a whole bunch of those things.
In 12 Step movements we are told to “practice these principles in all our affairs.” Jesus commissions us to live according to His teachings. We don’t just take care of ourselves. We grow in sobriety, therefore we must grow in our responsibility to others.
Sexual sin, even when addressed by repentance and contrition, is painful, even years later. We try to see past the emotions and issues that often cloud our vision and judgment of why people do things. It is in the past and hopefully they’ve reconciled to God.If they haven’t, we pray that they do.
Everyone is broken and wounded. All of us need healing.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"