Friday, April 28, 2017
A drug is something that changes us. It is the purpose of the drug, be it pill, liquid, solid food, and sometimes exercise. We go from pain, discomfort, unhappiness, out of sorts, to a new happiness and new freedom from whatever pained us. The drug does for us what we could not do for ourselves, just by our existence. It has a power greater than singular me. This is "beginnings" reactions. Over time, we grow dependent. Even the gym becomes a must or else we cannot go on with any contentment. In the end we become bonded to the drug. We cannot do without it, and it begins to bring on new pains, different from the initial miseries we wanted to escape. Left to ur own devices, we generally cannot escape from the escape. We are hooked. Injuries may get us out of the gym. It can be a physical bottom. Car wrecks, divorce, liver issues, unemployment, homelessness are some of the things that accompany the endings of our drug. That pill that made me "well" is killing or destroying my life. When I am hurting, before I go for that elixir of relief, I try to connect with someone else, do some good for someone, or go for a jog. Oh, I forgot. That last one could be a drug. But so far for me, it still works. I am so skinny! Light jog. Easy does it.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Too often, institutional religion is into behavior rather than relationship. The emphasis is on how well or badly you behave. Ethics comes into play. If you act correctly then you are in a good relationship. This is the deity as a parent or boss. You are "good" according to how you act. Go to church, keep rules, and you are good. Relationship on the other hand, that which most post modern searchers want, is not about behavior, but rather love and intimacy. How do I experience the love of the deity when I am not so good, when I am shattered, broken and imperfect? Does this Spiritual Power, Force, Personal God, love me just as I am? It is only from there that we can begin to grow, change for the better, and become all that we are supposed to be. The latter is a much harder and more demanding path than simply keeping rules. Love is what changes us. Behavior only keeps up in line. Institutions like control.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
People think that going to church will make them better people, or make them "good." Attendance does not change us much. We go in with faults, recognized or not, and we come out with the same faults. Church is not magic. It is the same with recovery meetings. Attendance might keep you from drinking or drugging for an hour, the same as church might prevent you from jay-walking, or commiting mayhem for the time you are in church. We won't change our behavior, or become better people until we realize that we are the enemy. The problem is ME. Once we recognize this we can begin to take spiritual steps, that is, God help, to discover my faults and weaknesses. We come to recognize in our behavior that these have become bad habits, or vices. We cannot get rid of them on self-will or self-power. Self is weak and damaged. This can bring humility. We ask our God for help, which is prayer. We apologize for damage caused to self and others. Now good stuff is happening. Attendance is good as a beginning habit. We cannot hear what we need to hear unless we get out of ourselves, we bad self-advisors, and listen to another voice. Could this blog be another voice? Hopefully for someone. It did help me though!
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I hear people say that they got some help so that they could stop ingesting an addictive substance, or stop partnering with the wrong people, or stop some other destructive behavior. In the beginning the process is one of stopping something. But there must be more than stopping. Why? Well, there is the solution and there is the problem. People choose a solution such as alcohol, food , drugs, sex, work, shopping, that does not seem to make them happy. That is, they chose the wrong solution. If you focus only on this, your solution, you are left with the problem that the solution was meant to "fix." That is why all successful solutions are spiritual. The problem is an interior one of soul. I meet people who stopped drinking and said, "I am OK now." Really? Short term they feel physically better. But the problem that alcohol addressed remains. They thought that alcohol was their problem, but alcohol was their solution and it did not work. Soon enough they are back to the bottle. All our addictions are our solutions to a problem, but the problem is ourselves. Many more people are always giving up something for a short time, but far fewer are those who will do the inner work. The inner work is the tougher journey, one step at a time.
The pathology report came in. The surgery got all the melanoma. I am free. The stitches irritate on my shoulder because of friction with clothes. But this is minor and may get me a few days off from purgatory. I also realized from the blog hits I got, on the day I announced my melanoma diagnosis, I have over 1400 people responding. This social media is powerful. Nowhere do I go that 1400 people come to listen to me. So many people prayed for me. I think I am loved. With all the silliness of my life, of which these people know so much, I am loved. I may cry now, but there is another more substantial blog posted for this day as well.
Monday, April 24, 2017
This Good Friday prayer is one I like as well, for non-believers, judged "Pagan" or "Infidels" by some. Here is the prayer:
For those who do not believe in Christ,
That, enlightened by the Holy Spirit,
They, too, may enter on the way of salvation.
Nothing here about enlightenment coming from torture, or death threats. Our trust is in the Holy Spirit, to show them their way to salvation. It does not say that they have to be Catholics to get there. The prayer does not say that they have to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Could there be another way to fulness with God? Perhaps. We believe that Jesus came to save all, not that all would believe in him or what he did. I am a Paulist priest, so I still like conversion work, but I am reminded that I am but a piece of God's great plan. If I can keep loving God in my actions, that is the best introduction to Christ I can give.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
On Good Friday, following up on yesterday's blog, we Catholics pray for Non-Catholics, the ones we were killing or forcing into conversion in our history. Here is this prayer:
For all our brothers and sisters who believe in Christ,
That our God and Lord may be pleased, as they live the truth,
To gather them together and keep them in his one Church.
This is a prayer for unity among Christians, called Ecumenism, so that we can speak the Gospel with one voice, but it does not call for punishment or damnation. Nor does it call upon anyone to force someone to join up. We call one another, brothers and sisters, not heretics, and leave it to God to join us together in one Church. Go visit a Church building of other Christians. Maybe you will find God there?