Category Archives: About this blog

The Future of the Four Last Things Blog

I have spent much of this past month discerning the future of “The Four Last Things Blog.” Originally it was to be an auxiliary to Sober Catholic but focusing on the specific subjects of Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell (the four “last things” we are all going to face one day), rather than general recovery topics from a Catholic perspective. Purgatory, too. Although that isn’t a “Last Thing” as it precedes Heaven. This was because these subjects are rarely covered in Twelve Step meetings. However, despite the good intentions, I haven’t really done much. I never intended to blog extensively here at “The Four Last Things” anyway, but I had hoped to delve somewhat more into the various topics, even wandering off into metaphysical speculations and other randomness, as well as any possible grief recovery blogging. There are just over 150 posts which averages to nearly 18 a year. A lot are repetitious ones from prior years on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, cemetery visits and devotions and the like. But, “I never intended to blog extensively anyway” when combined with a slacker-blogger attitude has resulted in the blog being essentially undeveloped.

More activity has been found on the blog’s social media Pages on Facebook and Google+. I might keep those. That’s part of the discernment. I could just as easily post Four Last Thing’s material to “Sober Catholic’s” social Pages in the future, I just don’t know. It might be better to just consolidate. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a way to export content from a Facebook or Google+ Page and import that content into another one. There are points to continuing the Pages or deleting them (or consolidating them into “Sober Catholic’s” if that’s possible.)

So, given that the stated purpose of the blog was to bring a focus onto the Four Last Things as they are mostly ignored in the real life rooms and online universe of addiction recovery, and as this blog’s publishing has fallen way short of that desired goal, I think that the most reasonable solution is to combine “The Four Last Things Blog” into “Sober Catholic.” Relevant posts can be published there, and in case I feel a need to blog on matters such as death, dying and the afterlife but without the recovery aspect, those posts can go on “Paul Sofranko’s Blog.” At any rate, “Four Last Things” type posts will be far more visible than they are now, continuing to exist in the post-shutdown afterlife 😉

So, the possible plan for shutting it down will be to export the blog’s file, then import that file into Sober Catholic. This file includes all posts, comments, categories, tags and media. I have to manually transfer blogrolls and sidebar widgets; one of the latter, the “Find a Grave” widget, will go to “Paul Sofranko’s Blog.”

But for now I’ll just post this here for now and think about it. One historical sidenote: way back before I self-hosted my blogs they were on Google’s Blogspot servers; I decided once to delete “the Four Last Things,” then changed my mind and resurrected it. So, there’s been some doubt all along as to whether this is a worthy standalone effort. However, it has been in continuous existence since 2010.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Death is gain

The Second Reading from Today’s Mass for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Philiippians:

Philippians 1: 20C-24: “Brothers and sisters:Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

via USCCB.

This is one of the two essential “missions” for this blog. One being to discuss certain things that don’t get much traffic in Twelve Step meetings; the other is a way to express my yearnings for the afterlife.

The latter is by no means a suicidal wish for I will remain on the Earth for as long as God wishes to keep me here.

But I do long to “depart this life and be with Christ,” for that is truly better. But, unless I am mistaken, I feel that He still has plans for me in this life, plans I continue to discern and carry out to the best of my ability. Which quite often seems very insufficient.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Cemeteries in the quiet places

I ran across a blogpost today from Katlupe of Homesteading On The Internet that I found of interest.

“Homesteading” has various meanings, the easiest is living simply off the land as much as one can. Usually a homesteader has a house and small farm somewhere, or at least a house with sufficient land around to grow things. There are also “urban homesteaders”, people who live in cities and make the most of their small surroundings.

It is an interest of mine as my wife and I live in the country in a nice house with lots of acreage. Eventually I hope to go beyond small vegetable gardens and live far more “self-sufficiently” than we presently do. Anyway, the point of all this is Katlupe’s post:

Little Country Cemeteries On Back Roads

She wrote a nice piece on country cemeteries that pop up in the rural countryside. You are driving about and suddenly just by the roadside is a small, possibly slightly overgrown and always very old, cemetery.

My attraction to these places is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I intend to (but alas, haven’t done so just yet) take my small digital camera with me on my days off from work, and when I see these country cemeteries, stop off and wander through them and take pictures of the headstones. Not all, just those that strike my fancy for whatever reason. This “project” was planned to be an major theme of this blog.

Perhaps I shall start doing this. My work schedule has changed and this makes it easier for my wife and I to take day trips throughout Western and Central New York State (we live near Lake Erie, and I am originally from the Syracuse and Utica areas) and cameras are a requirement for our travels (Rose is a photographer, see: ARTIST4GOD: Rose Santuci-Sofranko)

Small cemeteries in “the middle of nowhere” are a wonderful reminder of one’s mortality, and the peaceful surroundings help you to meditate on that and reflect of God. Death is not always an enemy.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Memento Mori

The original intended name for this blog was “Memento mori” and was to be a part of the URL (website address). I couldn’t get the URL I wanted and ended up settling for “The Four Last Things.” I didn’t know that you can have a different blog title from the URL at the time. But no matter.

This is just a reminder as to what this blog’s focus is on: Death, as in it’s going to happen and you can avoid it.

So, “be mindful of it” (that’s what “memento mori” means in Latin) and start accounting for your moral behavior.

(Link to information in the first line on what “Memento Mori” means is courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

The Four Last Things

There are four unalterable, unavoidable truths that every human must eventually face.

You will die.

You will be judged.

You will be received into Heaven or…

 … your life will condemn you to Hell.

Period. No wishful thinking will alter the above truths. They are expressly laid out in the Bible and they cannot be avoided.

“But I’m not Christian…” Yeah, so what. Non-Christian religions may have much truth in them and they may lead people to God, but only in Judeo-Christianity has God revealed Himself to us and wrote a roadmap to the afterlife and salvation in the Bible. You will be judged for what you are responsible for (more on that in a later post).

Anyway, my name is Paul, and I am an alcoholic who found sobriety from drink in the Twelve Steps of a recovery program but discovered sustained sobriety in the Catholic Church. In the course of my recovery, I thought more deeply than most other 12-Steppers of my acquaintance on the eternal verities. Death. Judgement. Heaven. Hell. The four unavoidables.

I’ve rarely heard these topics brought up in recovery meetings, except that some members presumed that they’ve already experienced Hell or went through Purgatory on Earth as a consequence of their drinking. I understood that as an expression of suffering, but I wondered about the real places , or whatever they are. That will be explored in this blog.

This won’t be your typical recovery blog, not that my primary blogging effort: Sober Catholic is normal, either. (At least by people who are used to straight up Twelve Step blogs.) This blog should also be of interest to people not in recovery but who are curious about the afterlife from a Catholic perspective. Just filter out any “Don’t drink” talk. 

Concerning not drinking, another reason why I am starting this blog is that one thing I’ve heard in 12 Step meetings is the basic conviction or feeling that once you’ve stopped drinking, that’s it. You’ve run the race and you’re “in”. That’s always bothered me. Just not drinking today isn’t enough. You may still sin (that is, offend God), and perhaps even mortally sin. There are whole other ways to screw up your life besides drinking. You may still do those. Hopefully this blog will make you aware of that and start thinking beyond “just not drinking.”  

I will try my best to present everything from a point-of-view that is Catholic, and authentically so. No pick-and-choose “cafeteria Catholic” here.

Hopefully, this will actually be fun, in a strange sort of way.  I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to to do this beyond musings and meditations on the four unavoidables and related things, using my own thinking and authentic Catholic teachings.  I have this image in my head of me going around and taking pictures of cemetery plots and using them as visual reminders. “Someday, this will be where you’ll be, or someplace quite like it.” 

I will discuss grief, a particular interest of mine. I will also talk about Purgatory, and yes, the Church still teaches that it exists. 
Anyway, take care and read on.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"