Suppressed consciences

This excerpt from the First Reading for Mass for the Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent serves an interesting insight into the inner workings of the mind on its way to committing sin (and an addictive relapse):

Daniel 13:6-14: “…These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim.

When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk.

When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her.

They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments.

Though both were enamored of her, they did not tell each other their trouble,

for they were ashamed to reveal their lustful desire to have her.

Day by day they watched eagerly for her.

One day they said to each other, ‘Let us be off for home, it is time for lunch.’ So they went out and parted;

but both turned back, and when they met again, they asked each other the reason. They admitted their lust, and then they agreed to look for an occasion when they could meet her alone.”

Via USCCB.)

Take out “Susanna” and substitute any of the “people, places and things” that serve as triggers for relapse and we see a mirror of the mental processes that lead to a relapse.

The image of the object of desire, be it a lustful target or just an old drinking establishment, somehow causes the conscience to be supressed. Anyone who has relapsed, or came close to it, understands. Your “right-thinking” is turned off, God is distant and “just judgments” are far from your thoughts.

The object takes over and mindlessly the addict succumbs and falls prey to it.

I heard it explained in an AA meeting that meeting attendance interrupts this thought process and halts the trend towards relapse. This is fine for those who still actively attending 12 Step meetings. But for those who do not, there is prayer, Mass and the sacraments. The grace of God present in these can be enough to save the addict from falling.

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"

2 Comments

  1. When I went to Mass today and heard the verse “they supressed their consciences, they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgements…” it was like a light went off in my heart… this is the “perfect prescription for relapse and truly the process that happens when we succumb to sin. It always amazes me the way Scripture can be applied to our everyday lives… such practical wisdom and instruction! God is good.

  2. Hi Anne! I’m glad that you agree.I had a hard time trying to come up with an idea for today’s Lenten blogpost, and then, like you said,”a light went off in my heart” over this passage. The rest was pretty easy.(How’s your coworker?)

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