The ARM of St. Michael
The work of recovery initiates when coming to know how to ask the Lord for help: with humility, true desire and expectation of transformation. It sounds straight forward enough, but it is not necessarily immediate. We beg the renewal of our minds, for the removal of scurf and scales that blur eyes of discernment, caused by long immersion in the mud of sin: addiction.
The second work is the actions of asking, crucially with the conviction that the Prayer-hearer can grant what is asked. Maintaining the perseverance to keep asking until something happens might be the large part of this labor, ever aware of what the Savior said: "It takes faith in My healing power to effect any healing".
The third part is waiting with trust and patience for the answering. But while waiting, our salvation can be decisively advanced through initiatives of love and self-giving, as if perhaps deliverance might be contingent upon them, than anything else.Love covers a multitude of sins.
Sin deforms everything including the sense of time. "We have suffered too long", or, "knowing by inflow of new grace, having at last gained the true orientation, we can't ever get away from old wounds and errors fast enough." Recovery is in part a slowing down to learn and join the majestic work of God. God has made life delicately merciful.
So much of reality reveals the majesty of this slow God-time. In nature - dewfalls, growing grass, hulkening oaks, the pace of seasons, there are always changes, but not with violent or visible velocity. Healing embraces slowing down again, realizing how much an addict always runs toward or away from the oblivion of intoxication. Be still and know that I am God.
Is there accounting for the strange excess of impatience in the modern world? 'Time distortion' has accumulated into society, as self-fixation. St Catherine of Sienna gives us: "[Self-love] robs us of the life of grace. It gives birth to impatience as the root of pride sends out its branches."
The distorted experience of time seems itself a significant part of the 'religion' of dry secular existence in our day. In a supposed world without God, men "luxuriate" in defining time and then in dread and hapless irony, escaping from it. Recovery in part fosters this dismantling of artificial, often pressurized sense of time, so often thought to be relieved by 'ecstasies'.
Recovery is grueling.The extracurricular processes of converting unhealth, seem too much weight. How the fruit of sins recriminate! - teaching not souls but whole nations: do not enter into what is false! Do not sin! Sin - costly, troublesome, toilsome, repugnant and repulsive, a vast waste of many orders! Truly, let us know what sin is, let us not go to it, let not our fathers or anyone blindly grow us into sin! Recovery itself is a cross, this burden we pick up day after day, agreeing openly to the remedy and especially in not knowing how long it makes for completion.
The Church is, contrast from the world, a sanctuary of the Eternal, the hidden refuge of Grace. Jesus, beyond death forever now, lives in His Church, and gives Himself to the sick. To receive Him is to receive His eternal glory, healing, and freedom from the false. The evidence is simple and sublime: Jesus is the center of all time.
Jesus incepted the Mass with the greatest of all the miracles: transubstantiation of his sacrificial body and blood out of ordinary bread and wine. The Church holds out to all the faithful, daily Bread, which both disperses the false image of time and replaces it with compassion, openness, presence, true freedom, the Eternal Now.
Jesus continues to feed a multitude with Himself Who is love. All Masses are unified as a single offering, cosmic, perpetual, unending, unto the consummation of the world. There is really only One Mass. The Universal Church, the mystical family of God is before all other things, One.
God is a single act.
Oneness is truly in the remedy. The supernatural realm of God opens out before the believers because we consume God's holy food, the supernal bread beyond death. Jesus has already died and been raised forever. In the sacrament we receive eternity and charity Himself. The true mystical substance of the Mass, in its inexhaustible depth and power, ministers directly into human poverty.
It seems a paradox to wait still longer for what a lifetime has already begged, even if unknowingly. But with every advancing step of love the view telescopes back, pulling away from the human-myopia that could only before see poison and suffering; prodigal escape of all kinds.
We can never see precisely how long are addiction's mummific windings. Diligence's work remains for us, but with an increasing trust that the bands of unfreedom are being unwound in God's time. It is a mystery. Turning every day, with every conscious act, with every opening of the heart and soul - a little one receiving Salvation, Jesus, we know we are coming into the new land, by the mercy of the perfectly gradual.
It is a long way and therefore tempting to see the path ahead and even far ahead. A long slow steady glory; is it not better than the blinding avalanche of remedy all at once? If God were received in His entirety, if He gave all of Himself all at one time to us, as we are now, would we not burst, would we not die? Like the parched earth that drinks patiently the gentle rain, humans in recovery need ample time to gather the majesty of God Who is far greater than all our ability to apprehend Him.
It is one foot in front of the other, our eyes on Christ alone, morsel by morsel, and we are getting there and we will get there. Trust in God. Hope in God. Have faith in God. If we are warriors of anything it is these three things, unified in patience.
"Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance" is thus not mysteriously proclaimed. Perseverance and love attain the triumph: to wait, by coming to Jesus, by praying, by giving away time talent treasure.
Living in love,"my time" and "my impatience" begin to disappear. God and other, increase, crowding out our agenda of self-fixations and wrist-watch gazing. God's grace makes it possible, as we conform ourselves to what His will asks. Unbound by time, Love is free and infinitely inventive. Jesus is Love.
Lord Jesus, we see little, know little and struggle to grasp the enormity of the Father's wilderness of healing. Help us to accept the narrow way, the one moment at a time, entrusting each moment to the Father's perfection of delivering mercy. Amen.