The ARM of St. Michael
Obedience is worth more than all sacrifices and burnt offerings.
In Jesus of Nazareth, God lowers himself to earth to be visible, in the very condition of his creature, man.
In the journey to Gethsemane, Jesus' unitive identification with the Father emerges in what first seems an unexpected light. In the agony of the garden, the two wills, of the Father and the son, appear to 'mismatch'. Jesus is a human being, like all of us. It is the most vulnerable moment in a long, compassionate, 'condescension' into shared human nature.
His holy Mother went to the temple for the purification after Jesus' birth, but she did not need purification. Jesus is raised in a respectful orthodox jewish household, that does not spare him observances, nor any faithfulness to the temple, even though He is part of the Triune God. In the Jordan, he accepts baptism though He does not need cleansing from original sin.
At Eastertide we contemplate Christ's utter humbling of self, permitting the experience of death. In the silence of Holy Saturday, Jesus enters into solidarity with the human dead. He voluntarily goes to Hell before all others[first, because Hell is not named anywhere in the Old Testament] to renounce it forever. Death and Hell cannot and will not hold him.
Again and again, Jesus opens the way, being meekly human and complicit. Jesus shows us our humanity, goes before us entering into it completely, humbly. He is called 'the Way'. He is God with us, showing us how to be our humanity, simple and trusting. His every 'Yes' is blessed and all-powerful. He consecrates all human 'yeses' with his first yes. He does not ask us to do what He himself has not done.
God so loved the world that He sent is only son to be like us, with us, to befriend us and to lead us by example.
Dying to intoxication and addiction is not without pain. It is passion and crucifixion. It is the death of something old, something false and for many, all we may have had up until the hour of redemption, to cope with life, with wounds, with mysterious unsolvable difficulties.
Paid for by the Perfect One, Who has already "died it" for us on his cross, our 'yes' to death of old ways promises to produce a freedom glorious and imaginable.
We adore you o Christ and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
We are obeying, we are having faith, we are entrusting to God something that is over our heads: our life and its reclamation. It is like walking through a parted sea. [O greatness of God!] Be not afraid.
Purity and chastity, the healing of the past's invisible wounds, the healing of the wound of addiction; the life of freedom in Christ; are all gifts that follow from the three tasks taken up in the road to recovery.
We have to desire them. New life, freedom, a deeply functional, meaningful existence.
We have to ask for them. God will not toss freedom blithely into a prayerless lap. He waits for our firm and often unrelenting request.
We may have to wait for them. Wait on the Lord. Bearing the glory of total instantaneous freedom is improbable, instead we embrace the mercy of gradual, on-going deliverance.
With the third task, patience, is the committed surrender to God in faith, to do all that is within my power to be and to do all that God calls me to be able to do in this life, for which He in fact has made me. In the end of all searchings, this is where the true joy of peace and freedom is found.
The Israelites spent forty years doing laps in the desert. Isn't addiction like doing laps in a desert? Are we ready to declare the full, deep, resolved, trusting "yes!" to God's way in our life, with God's strength and grace accomplishing all that He has planned, through us.
Jesus' fiat in the Garden of Gethsemane:...the enduring of this moment as a human act, void of all consolation, the Father super-endowed with fecundity and power. In so many of our Lord's moments that show Him towering over everything by virtue of divine grace, the seeming smallness of Jesus' hesitation and pleading for dismissal at Gethsemane have in fact an altogether different significance in view of the aridity imposed on him. Human frailty in Jesus Son of God shows us the way his human brothers and sisters can make offerings, yeses that are gifts only we can make to God because they do not flow from His preordaining or control or force.
With prayers and fasts, the demon of lust will go out of us by the power of Christ who has authority over all things. But God does not cast out demons idly, or "for sport". He casts them out to fill us with something vastly superior: abundant life, a unique living purpose. Ours is to trust in His plan and the unfolding of what we shall become as His servants, filled with His virtues, letting Him 'fill our house' with works, sharing, giving. Our sincere "yes" unleashes His power to do all this, as His instrument. Living for and in God naturally follows deliverance. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
It is said "a man's addictions are the result of his refusing his strength". It is not human strength that is refused for we already know we are powerless over virtually everything. But it is grace, the strength that comes from God that we refuse, in an untrust, which life-deformed-by-addiction has usually taught us.
"They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of thy pleasure." Psalm 35:9
What all addicts really want is to be possessed by God; to be intoxicated in God.
Jesus taught us to pray without ceasing, but verbally that is not usually possible unless one be a consecrated hermit. Knowing we cannot pray in the world with our mouths all day, we can follow a tradition of prayer that covers us for the whole day in one moment at the beginning.We state our intention and entrust that intention to God's care for the whole new day to come. For example:
I abandon to God this day - every moment of this day - all weakness to indulge intoxication, allowing my God to freely act, to provide safe haven from my brokenness and deformity and the wiles of Satan. In the name of Jesus, with faith, I ask and believe I can receive. Amen. Thank you Father.
A prayer of Yes
Heavenly Father I give you the only thing that is mine, my yes. To Your Will, I say: let it be done. Fill me with humility, charity and obedience. Help me to not be afraid, to always stay here in this present moment with you, knowing you will not test me beyond my strength, or ask of me what your grace cannot also provide. I do not need to know about all future things, but what it is I can and should do lovingly next, with your help. Amen.