The ARM of St. Michael
"Man's freedom is always a shared freedom. It has to be borne together, and it therefore demands service." - Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Neither our addiction nor addiction recovery process, call for general public announcement, lest the sufferer receive fatal stigmatization, and our family, friends and neighbors the scandal of shaming horrors. Yet, recovery does not follow as a 'solo work' either: isolation was a major ingredient of enslavement. A middle way seeks the afflicted.
Sharing freedom is, for the recovering addict, the radical dawn of community. Whether the final door of actual freedom is found sooner or farther on, the journey includes finding and walking through a number of doors. Freedom waits behind the right door where others already pray for our arrival. It is a very great service to help others find the right door, to the welcoming circle of others.
The doors and their sequence are unique for each person, and it is a corollary that each threshold crossed, will soon reveal the door next. Knowing there may be many doors should not make us sag with discouragement but instead lighten our burden to make us attentive simply to whatever is the next one. The Lord's patient, calm, perfecting procession of healing is always "one door at a time".
There are just 'two' persons in the world, the saved and yet-to-be saved. Separating us is the first door, faith: the choice for a Power endowed with transcendent capability to deliver us from evil, from disorder, from the dead past, from unfreedom. God 'knows what He is about', and waits, laying the gravel for our roadbed of belief that freedom is possible. Prayers and fasts of others accomplish this also.
The choice to shatter denial, to boldly make the 'sacrifice' of a fearless, admitted, broken spirit, to the waiting God of all creation, is the light-switch beginning. Soon following, appears a road of revelation and purification. The road will teach us who we have been and who we should be. One cannot heal from what cannot be named; "one cannot enter Heaven without knowing oneself completely".
The reason recovery is a patient process is because Purity is what it is: absolute, immaculate, without one blemish, true-clean, holy. If purity came to the impatient all-at-once, it could be a blinding, crippling and probably lethal event. I pray that we desire the greatest wish, Heaven - purity Himself. And, if we don't want purgatory after earth, we will receive it in this life. Which leads (back) to the reality of the way of Christ while we are living, to wash our robes in the perfect blood of the Divine Lamb.
Choose: God, Who can make pure forever. Pray: for endurance and willingness to enter the hidden journey. Bear: in patience its time of completed purification, however long the watch for its end.
Standing in the doorway of growth and change can expose a tall coming landscape of ascent. Frozen in place by thinking 'too much view', some turn away saying, "I'd rather not, thank you", like Scrooge after Marley's announcement of the three visiting Spirits, which will involve the retouching of autobiographical depths, in old wounds, dead idols and empty solitudes. We must remember always our Jesus, who in the Garden of Gethsemane (Hebrew: oil press) contemplates what is before Him: the sins of all men past, present and future.
As Jesus is the atonement which will set all free from Adam's catastrophic error, He takes into Himself, as God, all human errors. He enters the abyss of sin and its nadir, death. All of the suffering each of us has known and will ever know has already been experienced by Jesus on the cross. Our Lord has already taken into Himself the entirety of all lives on earth. The Cross stands at the intersection of all pasts and all futures.
God as man literally goes before us. Before we come to "my sacrifice is a contrite spirit", He has already blazed the way. He says: Come,Follow Me. He has already suffered the cost of countless wounds of trauma and abuse. Can we accept the humility and weakness of God, demonstrated for our gain?
All addictions are intoxications, but before that, they were the wounds that occurred during formative life which at some point led us into Satan's snares of numbing oblivion. Christ has already felt everything that you have felt and will feel. His Spirit has opened the way into the darkness and the fearful pain of every wrong and every hurt. When a door of painful truth is finally passed, we may say 'how did that happen?!' We look to Jesus.
Christ is The Door. He leadeth me. Do not be afraid. Before there was addiction, there was a wound, or two. The hidden journey will take us through the processed past, where peace will enter by the grace of the Savior, Who will dry our tears and where there will be no more painful mysteries, unconfigured emotions, missing love, broken spirits. No more unconsciousness.We will know who we are and will figure out His Spirit conducts us into every nook and cranny of this thorough, secret retreat, customized for each one of us. We will realize He does it all, we have merely to let Him. Let it be done according to your word.
Now some have speculated, with doubt, that a support group will become a new addiction. But the truth that sets free is not a new addiction, it is the end of aloneness, it is the discovery of love, and comm-unity.
Love is the miracle that on the lee side of the doorways remains the insanity of darkness and on the other side is the amazing embrace of Light, the blessing of the Father. Re-ligio: reconnection, to the divine.
Going to meetings is not the new addiction, but with intellectual preparation they begin a means of service that community 'structurally' demands naturally: being there, listening to and praying for, the brother. The demand is not about force, but flows from the generosity of a new heart who has perceived the ardent generosity of the Father, provider of all healing grace. No one gets to Heaven by solo route. Love is not an "intransitive verb".
The flesh and blood at this meeting is the proof that our labors have an object. But we will minister to yet others beyond 'these rooms'. Slowly,as we emerge through the chrysalis of healing, we will find ourselves standing in greater circles of community, or more naturally in existing community than ever before. The dead and lonely past will be unable to be called to mind. Smiles will come easily.
For most of us, recovery may take some time. Its okay, it is life and life is larger than human brains were made to gather. Yes, it is a dark night of the senses and of the soul, "a time of great distress", and it is all the price of glory beyond our wildest visions and hopes.This is the adventure of recovery: how pure is Purity?
Jesus come, flow in our bodies and think in our minds. Give us a share in godly patience. Open us to all you want to do, to free us so that we may be healthy and live in good deeds. Amen.