The Evening Prayer for today (Monday, First Week of Lent) has one of my favorite passages from Scripture. I wrote about it once before during a period of the year I call “Second Chance Lent,” and that post also has another passage from Scripture that is perfect for “real” Lent.
The Second Reading from Today’s Mass of the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time has one of my favorite Scripture passages, and the first one I ever attempted to memorize. To me, it is at the heart of being a person in recovery:
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
In recovery, we are essentially becoming transformed. We live by the principles of our recovery program (be it Twelve Step or something else) and if we are Christian, we seek out what the Church has to offer people struggling with their addictions. And one key thing, and this is something I’ve stressed from time to time: you don’t conform to this age, you do not seek value in the so-called “morals” of the World. They do not offer anything of substance and certainly they do not offer anything good for your salvation.
In this “transformation” and our “renewal” we gain the capacity to discern what is the will of God, “what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
How to discern the Will of God? Reading Sacred Scripture is one way. In the Gospel Reading for today’s Mass, Jesus tells His disciples:
Matthew 16:24-27 “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”
Again, “taking up the Cross” is essential to our recovery. We do not seek to run away from our troubles, all of the problems, big or small, that life throws at us daily. That is what we did while drinking. Everyone has troubles, it is a fact of human existence. We now have to tools to effectively deal with them, and perhaps even people around us who can assist us.
But it’s more than that. It’s building a new life in recovery, and becoming a better follower of Jesus Christ! Our lives today are better than when drinking. And even better than before we first picked up a drink due to our “renewal” and “transformation.”
Mass Readings via USCCB.
So, “renewing your mind” is a recovery theme. We drop our old ways of thinking, acting, reacting and feeling and so on, and adopt new ones assisted by God’s grace. “Taking up the cross” is what all Christians are supposed to do, we cannot be followers of Christ unless we willingly embrace the Cross.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)