Category Archives: Catholicism

Solemnity of All Saints

In his Angelus message for today, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on, quote: “the liturgical feast, and how it draws our earthly gaze toward Heaven. He spoke of how the Saints, those we are familiar with and those known only to God, are where heaven and earth meet because formed and opened by the spirit of Christ already here on earth, encountered in the communion of his Mystical Body, the Church.”

The Saints, where heaven and earth meet

(Via Vatican Radio.)

Today is an special solemnity in the Church’s liturgical calendar. It is the day we celebrate all those in the Church Triumphant, all of those in Heaven, whether formally canonized or known only to God. This is why I called it “special,” because it is one that can be very personal in that it is the feast day of all of our loved ones who have gone on before us, whom we hope are resting in the Beatific Vision of eternity.

It is a day of great healing and hope for me, as I yearn to some day be united with my loved ones, in that place where there is no loss, sorrow, pain or parting.

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"

Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics – a new ebook by ME!!

Yesterday I released through Smashwords.com my first book, Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics

To quote from my description, “The ‘Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics’ is a book that is rooted in an ancient Catholic devotion. It is intended to assist Catholics and other Christians find deeper meaning in their struggles with alcoholism, by connecting the oftentimes hard road of sobriety with Jesus’ suffering road to His Crucifixion. The reader sees that their old alcoholic ‘self’ is being led to the Cross and the joy of eventual resurrection of a new sober self can follow. Whether they are still drinking and struggling, or have been sober for many years and still have difficulties coping with sobriety, this book should help readers maintain that sobriety.”

It is available for download and at USD $2.99 and can be read on any ebook reader. It is right now only available through Smashwords.com, but it should be released through Apple, Amazon, Sony and other ebook publishers and distributors perhaps later this week. There will be a followup blog post announcing when that happens.

The meditations are drawn from old posts of mine, but they have been edited for length and quality (I noticed some errors in the originals). These old posts may be deleted this week.

It would make a good Christmas gift for someone you care about!! 🙂

Anyway, thanks, and I hope you all find it useful.

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"

Matt Talbot Way of Recovery

(Note: This is reposted from SoberCatholic.com) The launch of the “revived Catholic-based recovery network” is on! I actually started it last night, on the Vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is called the “Matt Talbot Way of Recovery.” Although Matt Talbot is widely associated with recovery from alcoholism, his way to sobriety can be applied to all addictions. His model of sobriety is a good, Catholic-based one that can serve as a framework and guide.

The Group is on Yahoo, I chose that rather than start a standalone website like a discussion forum or social network as it is easier. Past attempts at a Catholic-based recovery network have ended in failure for a number of reasons, this way of an email discussion list is less risky. If it proves to be very popular and successful, then perhaps sometime down the road a discussion forum-type of site can be done. I am not looking that far ahead.

Here is the link to click on to join:

Matt Talbot Way of Recovery

Here is some important information about the Group:

Once you submit a request to join, your request must be approved by a Moderator. So far, I am the only one. Please be patient, I should get back and approve your request within a day.

Afterwards this is the email address to post messages to the Site and Members: MattTalbotWayofRecovery@yahoogroups.com

You can also access messages and post new ones just by going to the Group’s web page at (in case the above link doesn’t work, copy-and-paste this: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/MattTalbotWayofRecovery/

These are the site’s settings(as of now, can be changed later):

Membership requires approval (probably not going to be changed. Need to keep out spammers and bigots)

Messages from new members require approval (I think once your first message or two is approved, you’re then unmoderated)

All members can post messages

Email attachments are distributed, not archived

Members cannot hide email address (therefore it is important that you have an email address that has a good spam filter, or one that is just devoted to online recovery work. This is to preserve anonymity, if that is important to you.

Listed in directory (again, see the email address suggestions in the previous point)

After you’re in, you can the determine how you wish to interact. As stated above, you can either post and reply to to messages either by way of email, or by going to the Groups web address. You can decide which way by the following settings:

MTWofRecoveryMessageDelivery

So, you can receive each email as it comes in, or just a digest of all emails for that day, or for that week. Or, just visit the website. You can visit the website anytime, even if you subscribe to emails. This is useful if you wish to search through the archive of past messages.

As far as I know, that is it! If I have forgotten anything, I’ll add it later. Jump in, join, and let’s have fun! 🙂

Back story: Revived Catholic-based recovery network possibly starting on Monday (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe)

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"

On the Origin of All Souls Day

Taylor Marshall, over at Canterbury Tales, has an interesting article on theOrigin of All Souls Day .

NOTE: It’s another article from last year that for whatever reason I didn’t get around to blogging about.

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"

And so it begins… a cycle of anniversaries

(NOTE: edited significantly from earlier today on Sober Catholic)

One of the things that I found helpful in Catholicism is finding that the liturgical calendar is a handy way to live out the year. In doing so, you are reminded that the seasons do not just correspond to geography and climate, but the spiritual world as well.

There is an ebb and flow to it, and if used as intended serves as an excellent way to grow spiritually closer to the Lord.

Six years ago today my Mom was taken to the ICU for reasons unknown at the time. We had thought it was related to her heart condition (she had surgery earlier in the year and a stent was implanted in her heart), but as it turned out she had a ruptured bowel.

She died from it on November 7th, but that is for a later post. But today begins a particular cycle of anniversaries of her final weeks, for the dates now fall upon the days-of-the week as they occurred in 2005, the first time this has happened since her death that year.

Not that it really makes these anniversaries any different, it is just another year. But somehow the coincidence of dates and days makes them a little more, I don’t know, poignant is a word that comes to mind. A special emotional feeling triggering the heart and mind in a way that is unique to the event.

Every year I am reminded by these anniversaries of my Mom’s decline and death that November is coming. November, the “month of the dead,” during which we celebrate All Saint’s and All Souls’ Days, and during which we are encouraged to visit graves and cemeteries.

My favorite month, and I wonder if God planned for my Mom to die when she did. Oh, well, Im shall not know that until I am reunited with her in Heaven, and get answers.

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"

My interview on American Catholic Radio

Well, it’s out! Judy Zarick’s interview with me, scheduled for this week, is available here:

American Catholic Radio looks at Ash Wednesday, conversion and social justice

The program is called “Living Faith with Judy Zarick.”

(Via Franciscan Media.)

All in all, the editing was great. It is a 5 minute distillation of a 20-25 minute-long interview.

(The only issue is that although the physical link to my blog is correct, at the end she spoke the old Blogger link. No matter, it just gives me a greater reason to edit the old site so that it is clear it is the defunct version.)

Anyway, click on the link above and give a listen!

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"

Bringing to Light all Things Hidden

In the Office of Readings for Tuesday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time we read an excerpt from “A treatise of St Augustine on St John’s gospel – You will come to the spring and see light itself”: “When, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ comes and, as the apostle Paul says, brings to light things hidden in darkness and makes plain the secrets of the heart, so that everyone may receive his commendation from God, then lamps will no longer be needed. When that day is at hand, the prophet will not be read to us, the book of the Apostle will not be opened, we shall not require the testimony of John, we shall have no need of the Gospel itself. Therefore all Scriptures will be taken away from us, those Scriptures which in the night of this world burned like lamps so that we might not remain in darkness. When all these things are removed as no longer necessary for our illumination, and when the men of God by whom they were ministered to us shall themselves together with us behold the true and dear light without such aids, what shall we see? With what shall our minds be nourished? What will give joy to our gaze? Where will that gladness come from, which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, which has not even been conceived by the heart of man? What shall we see? I implore you to love with me and, by believing, to run with me; let us long for our heavenly country, let us sigh for our heavenly home, let us truly feel that here we are strangers.”

(Via Universalis.)

We realize that once we arrive at our true home, Heaven, we will no longer have any need for aids to know God and any for intermediary means to discern His will. We will be with Him, in our true selves (minus our human frailties and flaws, for nothing imperfect can enter into Heaven) and see Him as He is. The One who is “I Am Who Am” will be present in us and around us.

Take heart from the exhortation near the end of the passage, about how we should yearn for our heavenly home and how we are strangers here on Earth.

In this time just before Advent, we prepare for Christ’s Coming. We should also prepare for our homeward journey. Being in one-on-one intimacy with the Lord of All Creation should be incentive enough to do whatever it takes to get there.

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"

Where was Mary assumed to?

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a Dogma of the Catholic Church that when Mary “died” she was taken up into Heaven, body and soul, due to her preservation from Original Sin and therefore not suffering the corruption of death. This is connected to the Dogma of her Immaculate Conception, which says that based on the anticipated merits of Jesus’ suffering and death, she did not inherit Original Sin, like everyone else.

These are required beliefs for Catholics and if you find them hard to take just consider meditating on them as ways of spiritual progression. Even if it takes the rest of your life, which would most likely be the case.

There is an excellent article entitled: Where was Mary assumed to? via New Theological Movement that offers up an interesting take on where exactly is Heaven? Read it and ponder!

The discovery of this article (I found it on Spirit Daily) also gives me the excuse to start the occasional and irregular series of posts on Catholic and Scriptural metaphysics. Wow.

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"

Prayers for the Dead and Dying

November 2nd is the Feast of All Soul’s, when we as Catholics pray for the deceased who are suffering in Purgatory. I’ll write more on Purgatory during this month of November.

One of the primary devotions for those who accept Church teaching on Purgatory is prayers for the dead. (If you reject the Church’s teaching on Purgatory, you cannot consider yourself a Catholic, but rather a Protestant.) . Below is a nice website that contains information on such prayers, along with a wealth of Church teaching on Purgatory and the Afterlife.

Prayers for the Dead and Dying

(Via Fr. Pat’s Place.)

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"

Purgatory

What happens when you die?

A lot of hopeful people assume that you go straight to Heaven. Hell is a fantasy to scare people into being good, and that God would never send anyone to Hell (This is true, God would never send anyone to Hell. But people send themselves to Hell by the choices they’ve made in life that have as their consequence the ultimate rejection of God.)

But since not everyone goes to Hell, do the rest go straight to Heaven? What about people who by the choices they’ve made are destined for Heaven, but have not fully repented for the sins they committed before converting? What about people who make “deathbed conversions”, is it fair that they enter into Heaven with sins not fully remitted through Earthly penance? What about us alcoholics and addicts who think that “Well, I did my Step 4* and Step 5**, that’s enough.” Since according to Ephesians 5:5: “Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God,” (Via USCCB.) what about those who just fall short of perfection? Who dies perfect? We all die with stains on our soul and junk in our trunk. One small impurity and we’re banned from Heaven?

Well, there is hope for those of us that are not perfect. That hope is “Purgatory”

(Via New Advent.)

Purgatory is that place where we go where we are finally and completely purged of any attachment to selfish and sinful inclinations. I strongly recommend that you read that linked article from New Advent, it explains a lot and includes Scriptural passages supporting the idea, along with excellent human reasons for Purgatory’s existence, even if there was no Scriptural basis.

I envision Purgatory to be a place and a process. As a place, perhaps some domain outside of Heaven (“Heaven’s foyer”) in which we see the glory of God and the beauty of Heaven, but our sinful attachment to ourselves and to Earthly pleasure prevents us from entering. The pain we feel at this separation is our “purgation”. It is the process by which we are cleansed of all impurities so that we can finally enter into our true home.

This cleansing is a suffering, and if we accept and not reject the Earthly suffering that we experience, we can begin our purgatory now.

* and ** : Steps 4 and 5 for the unknowing are those of the 12 Steps of recovery programs in which the recovering addict does a “fearless and searching moral inventory” of their lives and then afterwards “admits to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

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"