In about a week I will commemorate the twelfth anniversary of my Mom’s death. One of the impacts of her dying and eventual death has been my increasing interest in Catholic teaching on the afterlife and specifically a growing devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory. When I started Sober Catholic almost eleven years ago I also started a “sister” blog to discuss issues on Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell, which are the called the “Four Last Things” in the Church. Hence, that was the blog’s name (“4LT” for short.).
4LT was a nice little blog, kind of intimate as I was probably one of a half-dozen readers. 😉 Last year I started thinking about whether it was necessary; that any posts there should be on here as “death and dying” and the afterlife are topics rarely discussed in recovery blogs or meetings. I thought that maybe they should be showcased in their own blog given how queasy some people feel about such things.
Excerpts from its first post:
There are four unalterable, unavoidable truths that every human must eventually face.
You will die.
You will be judged.
You will be received into Heaven or…
… your life will condemn you to Hell.
Period. No wishful thinking will alter the above truths. They are expressly laid out in the Bible and they cannot be avoided.
“But I’m not Christian…” Yeah, so what? Non-Christian religions may have much truth in them and they may lead people to God, but only in Judeo-Christianity has God revealed Himself to us and wrote a roadmap to the afterlife and salvation in the Bible. You will be judged for what you are responsible for (more on that in a later post).
Anyway, my name is Paul, and I am an alcoholic who found sobriety from drink in the Twelve Steps of a recovery program but discovered sustained sobriety in the Catholic Church. In the course of my recovery, I thought more deeply than most other 12-Steppers of my acquaintance on the eternal verities. Death. Judgement. Heaven. Hell. The four unavoidables.
I’ve rarely heard these topics brought up in recovery meetings, except that some members presumed that they’ve already experienced Hell or went through Purgatory on Earth as a consequence of their drinking. I understood that as an expression of suffering, but I wondered about the real places , or whatever they are. That will be explored in this blog…
…another reason why I am starting this blog is that one thing I’ve heard in 12 Step meetings is the basic conviction or feeling that once you’ve stopped drinking, that’s it. You’ve run the race and you’re “in”. That’s always bothered me. Just not drinking today isn’t enough. You may still sin (that is, offend God), and perhaps even mortally sin. There are whole other ways to screw up your life besides drinking. You may still do those. Hopefully this blog will make you aware of that and start thinking beyond “just not drinking.”
However, because I rarely posted (there are 150 or so posts, and many are reblogs from prior years) there doesn’t seem to be much of a point. I think discussion of the Four Last Things is important for Catholics and anyone in recovery, but that blog had little exposure and thus its purpose was defeated. I never planned to blog on 4LT as much as on Sober Catholic, but I had hoped to much more often than I did. And so I have decided that further posts on death and the afterlife will be here (mostly around November).
The fact that I had debated this nearly a year ago and am only now doing something about it is further proof of 4LT’s “demise” in my mind. Read: The Future of the ‘Four Last Things’ Blog
The plan for 4LT’s closure will be different from what I envisioned in that post. I will not import 4LT’s posts into Sober Catholic; that won’t increase their exposure unless you explored the Categories and discovered a bunch of new ones. They will be edited for content and any needed updating and republished here (with an appropriate disclosure, just in case you’re one of 4LT’s six readers and would be wondering where you read that before 🙂 . Any that are of a “non-recovery” value will be appear on In Exile and thus giving it some bloglife.
One thing I will NOT do is go into endless debates on Purgatory, which seemed to crop up in 4LT’s comments section and are repetitious. I will hopefully post something on the Church’s teaching on that and be done with it. Doubters can read it and if it isn’t enough may politely ask a few more questions or make some more points; otherwise they can follow links to more information and pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit. Polite inquiry and dialogue I’m OK with; my temperament doesn’t jibe with what passes for “debate” or “dialogue” nowadays.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"