During my meditations this morning I decided to wander about outside and ponder things. One of the things I mused upon was my whole life in general. Basically, where I’m at versus where I’d rather be, and why there’s a chasm in between. Simple stuff. Part of this is because today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, and the beginning of what I’ve come to annually call Second Lent.
As usual in these situations, which occur frequently every few months over the past twenty-five years or so, I get rather deep and prying and this morning was no different. And as I often do during these times, I ponder my writing career or lack thereof. My blogging efforts have been added to the mix; it seems there’s no end to the list of things I think I’m lacking diligence and dedication in.
I came to the conclusion, or realization, that despite whatever I may say otherwise, whatever my stated intentions, I do all of this writing and blogging for me. Me, me, wonderful me. The fiction writing, yes, that can be partially selfish inasmuch I’ve adopted the theory of writing-as-therapy. But any writing talent that I have is God-given and I should really be doing it for His greater glory. Same for this Sober Catholic blog and the online recovery stuff.
But no, I did some soul-searching and I honestly think I do it for recognition. I’ve gotten some, but nothing to really boost the ego to atmospheric proportions. Still, “Look at me!”
That shouldn’t be. We Catholics (all Christians, really) are supposed to be humble in considering our God-given talents and to use them to give glory to God as well as being of use to others.
So, using the skills or training that I learned in recovery, I am going to try to reorient and retrain my thinking and attitude. It is a recovery exercise after all. Humility is a tool that is essential to maintaining one’s sobriety. Selfishness is not conducive to good sobriety. Although I’m not in danger of a relapse, the added precaution is not a bad thing.
How? By sticking to a routine each morning of daily prayer first. Too often I stray away from it and justify it by thinking that my brain is too foggy to really concentrate on the Divine Office. I could say the Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy, first. Brain is sufficiently awakened afterwards! If the first thing I do upon awakening is to put God first, I am victorious in my first battle of the day. I can build upon that.
Also, just recognizing the red flags of pride. Recognizing the “red flags” of some character defects was the first clue I had that 12 Step recovery was working some positive affects in my life, wayback when. I trained myself to recognize the tell-tale signs of anger, hostility, impatience, or whatever, as they were starting to erupt, and thus was able to quell them. I am not perfect, but I’m way less angry and impatient than I was back in the day. “OH, YEAH, WHAT’S THAT? YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME??? WHY I OUGHTA….” Oh, heh-heh. Thinking that “Oh, I should blog today!” as if that of itself is important. Sure, it may be to a number of people. I have received numerous emails over the years from people expressing gratitude for Sober Catholic. But honestly, and this may sound strange, but in doing it for me (at least subconsciously thinking that, and occasionally consciously thinking it), I thereby reserve the “right” not to bother with it. Hence, my not blogging as often as I should. Or writing my fiction as often as I should.
(This may connect with my relationship with Jesus that I discovered a year ago that is lacking in actual substance. It is a blogpost long overdue, so perhaps I’ll set about myself and correct it.)
And so I think I can apply the same concepts to redirecting my attitude towards my blogging and fiction writing. Personal therapy, sure; feelings of satisfaction, fine; but ultimately the first reason for writing or blogging has to be to give glory to Him who made me and who gave me whatever talent I have, and whatever mission I was assigned.
It may instill a better sense of personal responsibility. Since we are to “…seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added to you as well,” this sense of personal responsibility will engender a greater faith in Divine Providence, as “these things” are basic living needs. But also, this strengthens our partnership with God. Our relationship with Him flows both ways. We seek Him and give glory to Him in our works, He provides for us in ways we may not see right away. He didn’t need to create us, but did so anyway as He is Love, and Love creates. Love needs something else to love. It cannot be directed to the self. Self-directed love is self-absorption and destructive (“destructive” being the opposite of “creative”). So, we do things not for ourselves, but for others. That we may also benefit is a side point. So, doing this for Him, is doing it out of love. Not a selfish love, but one that is outward-directed. Creative!
The resulting creative-ness builds upon itself as there is inherent joy in doing good for others, if that doing good is the happy consequence of faith. Sort of like the Scriptural mandate that “works alone” do not suffice so that we may not boast of them and think we can merit Heaven on our own.
I think I am starting to wander off-topic and so I’ll close for now.
(Incidentally that passage, “Seek first the kingdom…” from Mathew 6:33 was one of the names I was thinking of for this blog, back in 2007. Turns out it had been taken many times by other bloggers. I don’t think any were Catholic.)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" Get inspiration delivered to your mailbox! Click here for details: Lighthouse Catholic Media