Category Archives: Life

To dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life

The Second Reading from the Office of Readings for Sunday in the 29th week of Ordinary Time of the Liturgy of the Hours is “From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop:”

Why in our fear of not praying as we should, do we turn to so many things, to find what we should pray for? Why do we not say instead, in the words of the psalm: I have asked one thing from the Lord, this is what I will seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to see the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit his temple? There, the days do not come and go in succession, and the beginning of one day does not mean the end of another; all days are one, simultaneously and without end, and the life lived out in these days has itself no end.

Courtesy: DivineOffice.org

Indeed, why do we pray for so many things when Heaven fulfills all our desires?

From the Gospel According to Matthew:

Matthew 6:33 “Therefore, seek first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added to you as well.”

Courtesy: The Sacred Bible: Catholic Public Domain Version

From God come all things; we seek Heaven above them all. If we seek with all our desire to live in the Lord’s house all the days of our life, and place that above all other things, how can He not give us what we need?

It is such an earnest prayer. It is a prayer in which we desire to come Home most of all, away from this life’s troubles.

Just remember, there’s a difference between praying for what we want and praying for what we need.

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"

Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi

Today is October 3rd and that is the vigil of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. For Franciscans worldwide, tonight is the “Transitus,”or the ritual observance of his death.

I won’t go into details as to what transpires during the ritual, as I am not a Franciscan and thus have never participated. However, I will blog briefly on the event as it is significant for this blog in some ways.

I read up on the Transitus and various Franciscan sites and blogs variously describe the ritual observance as important as it connects Franciscans with each other – those living today and those who have gone before. That this great community is united by the observance of the death of their Order’s Founder is a wonderful lesson. It is something that can be incorporated in our lives.

“Memento Mori.” “Be mindful of your death.” In memorializing the anniversaries of when our loved ones died, we remember them as they were if their death was lingering due to age or infirmity; but we can also remember them as they had been when still vital and younger. If they died suddenly, it can be a way to “manipulate time,” they were suddenly taken from us but in or memorial observance we can “be there” in some spiritual fashion. If they died too young, well, perhaps it can be a manner in which they are brought forward in life along with us.

Our beloved dead are not forgotten, they are still with us, although in a ritualistic spiritual way. Their death is no longer some event isolated in thr past that might fade a somewhat in memory over the years. Oh, we still remember when Mom or Uncle Jimmy died, but over the years the date slowly becomes just another day in November or July.

Ritual is important. It helps organize life and mark time. “Ritual” is also the hidden word in spiRITUALity, something lost, I think, in those who eschew religion in favor of only spirituality.

As I write this, the feeling is growing within me to actually think about doing this somehow for some of my beloved dead. One way is on the Anniversary of a death is to say the “Office of the Dead” from the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours. Here is an online source: Office of the Dead.

Perhaps I’ll think of some thing to do in addition. Maybe whoever reads this can offer suggestions in the comments.

(I may reblog this in an edited form on SoberCatholic.com.)

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"

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

The Second Reading from today’s Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is: I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me,but to all who have longed for his appearance.The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom.To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

via USCCB.

We must always “keep our eyes on the prize;” inasmuch as there are so many distractions and attempts to thwart our perseverance by the world, the flesh and the Devil. We must remain steadfast in our Faith.

This Reading is a good one to known and perhaps memorize portions of, for all those times we feel like quitting.

Saints persevere. We sin, but we get right back up and resolve to do better so that we can also attain the “crown of righteousness.”

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"

Your Digital Afterlife: A book about digital death and legacy

I am currently reading the book Your Digital Afterlife: A book about digital death and legacy. It is something I hadn’t bothered thinking too much of in the past, having considered my so-called “digital legacy” to be a frivolous worry. After all, I don’t use online services that much to store digital images and such, and don’t regard Facebook postings as something worth being concerned about after I die. It isn’t as if there will ever be a bestselling “The Collected Facebook Posts and Likes of (Enter a Name Here).”

However, the book does indicate in a very systematic, methodical and thoughtful manner the importance of our online lives, and how interconnected we all are, and that our online activities are indeed worth considering when we plan our Wills and Estates.

Basically, the book is about “What happens to our online stuff when we die?” And, “Where is it all, and who controls and has access to it?” The explorations and answers are eye-opening and worth checking out.

You can order the book through the link in the first sentence. Also, the authors have a website set up to provide ongoing news and information about digital legacies. It is here:

The Digital Beyond | Insight about your digital death and afterlife

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 this date in 1995 my father died

Feeling a little more melancholic than usual, perhaps as this is the 18th anniversary of my Father’s death. So, a repost.

NOTE: This is reposted from an earlier date:

On this date in 1995 my father died.

He and I weren’t very close, (“fathers and sons …”) generational and attitudinal differences separated us.

As a result, I didn’t really grieve over his death. I mean, I was saddened and did feel the loss, but I wasn’t ripped apart by his death like I was over my Mom’s 10 years later.

This relative lack of impact was aided by the fact that I was 2,500 miles away and hadn’t seen him in 4 years.

I went home for his funeral, and reconnected with the family, but when I returned home to California I continued life as usual. I had started drinking heavily to cope with life’s problems a year before (failed romance) and my drinking picked up a little more upon my return, so that may have softened the need to grieve in a sober manner.

The point of this is that although I wasn’t too close to Dad during his life, I am much closer to him now. That would seem strange to non-Catholics, but for believers with a knowledge of the Communion of Saints, that shouldn’t seem strange at all.

Death doesn’t end a life. Death is just a passage from this life to another. This life is temporary, everything “is”, and then passes away to dust and a dim memory. The life after is eternal. Whether that life is spent in Heaven or Hell depends on what you do in your Earthly life.

There is a connection between those of us still here on Earth and those deceased. It is called, as I referenced in a previous paragraph, the Communion of Saints . (Via New Advent.) This is comprised of the “Church Militant” (those still on Earth), the “Church Suffering” (those in Purgatory) and the “Church Triumphant” (those in Heaven). Only the souls that have damned themselves to Hell are excluded.

“Communion” implies a community, wherein the members still can relate to one another. This relation is conducted by the means of prayer. We pray to the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering for their intercessory power with God. We can somehow sense their presence (although admittedly that “sensing” may be wishful thinking).

They are there to help, comfort and console us. We are separated from them by the chasm of death, but that chasm can be crossed eventually by our own deathly passage.

I said earlier in this post that I am much closer to Dad now than while he was alive. I have grown to be much like him, at least with regard to the practice of my Catholic Faith. (I still haven’t taken up woodworking as a hobby, nor returned to fishing as a pastime, but may in time. I do enjoy yardwork, like he did, and love baseball, too.) I understand him better as the years progress and as I grow older.

To anyone who has lost a parent (or anyone beloved) to death, fear not. They are not gone from you permanently. Consider them as just having moved far away, and the distance you need to travel to meet with them again will take the rest of your life.

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"

Dying, One Day at a Time

Quite often you read or hear about how we Christians are supposed to keep our “eyes on the prize.” In other words, be mindful of death. (In Latin, that is “Memento Mori.” That was to be the name of this blog way back in one of its early incarnations, but the domain name was unavailable)

We should try to keep our minds on our ultimate goal, Heaven, and remember that we will be judged upon our death. Doing this may help us become focused and get our act together concerning whatever it is that God placed us here for.

We all probably fall into the trap of thinking that death is far off. And so the urgency to “become focused and get our act together” may not always be there. There is a way, however, to keep it in mind every day. Borrow a powerful tool from the Twelve Step movements and combine it with the realization that death may come at a moment’s notice.

Any day may be our last. Today, even.

So, taking the “powerful tool from the Twelve Step movements,” which is the philosophy of “One Day at a Time” and merging it with the possibility that each day may be our last, may help us to realize that sense of urgency. We each have a specific mission that God placed us here for, a mission that we are each uniquely qualified to do. We do not have all the time in the world to do it. “One day at a time” helps us cope with that falsely satisfying feeling that we have years ahead of us. We may only have today. This sort of turns around the 12 Step basis of “one day at a time,” which is intended to help people in recovery with the idea that they have to be clean and sober for the rest of their lives, which may be for a long time. That may be hard to fathom, but just focusing on today is do-able. “Just for today, I can stay away from the drinking or the drugging.” So, “Just for today,” is all that I may have left. What can I do?”

So, each day when we wake up, we should think, “Today may be my last day alive. What must I do today in case that were to become true? What can I do to mitigate any accounting I may have to make before the Lord?”

And then we should, to borrow a phrase from Pope Blessed John Paul II, “Arise, and let us be on our way,” and set out to achieve something.

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"

Paid the last penny

In this excerpt from the Gospel Reading for the Mass for the Friday of the First Week of Lent, Jesus gives a pretty telling sign of the existence of Purgatory:

Matthew 5:26: “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

(Via USCCB.)

The Gospel prior to this is about reconciliation and paying debts while you can before you meet the judge. An indication that while you are alive you should work out your penance, forgive others and settle debts against people you have sinned.

And if you don’t? You shall have to pay for it in afterlife. But if that afterlife is an eternity in Hell, how is the debt to be paid? There must be an intermediary place, a place of punishment where your penance is completely fulfilled.

And only then will “you be released,” for we known that there is never a liberation from Hell.

This can only mean Purgatory, a place of expiation so that you can enter Heaven pure and undefiled from the stains of sin.

Work out your penance now, in the transitory place that is “Life.” Why wait until Purgatory? Granted, you know that you are saved if you should find yourself there, but why delay any longer your grand entry into Heaven? This “Life” is passing, it exists solely to determine where you’ll spend Eternity.

This is Lent, start making good use of it.

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"

Freeing those subject to slavery

This excerpt from the First Reading from today’s Mass explains that Jesus frees us from the power of death. We had always feared death, and still do to an extent, but Jesus’ death and Resurrection opened the gates of Heaven to us all, and destroyed forever the enslavement that Satan foisted on humanity.

Hebrews 2:14-15: “Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life.”

(Via USCCB.)

Satan had us enslaved before Jesus’ Passion and Death. We had been subject to the World, for the Original Sin of Adam and Eve had barred us from uniting forever with God in Heaven. Jesus is the liberator, calling us through Him to the Father in Heaven where we will be happy for eternity.

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"

November 7th: a Death and a Rebirth, Part 2

Earlier today I wrote Part 1 of this post.

This “rebirth” part is difficult to write, as the birth pangs were years-long, torturous and the result (which is still developing, in a way) was inconceivable at the beginning.

The rebirth was in essence that of a “new me” slowly being born. Not in the born-again context of Evangelical Christians but in that a large part of me died when Mom did, and out of the ashes of that life a new person arose.

The symbolism of this was apparent when I went through grief counseling and I discovered major parallels between that and alcohol recovery work. Just as I am being reborn during my recovery from alcoholism, so I was experiencing a rebirth in trying to establish a “new normal” without Mom around.

The “new normal” is a term in grief work which means that you have to establish a new rhythm to your life without the deceased in it. The dead person was a part of your life, and that person is no longer in it in a physical manner. A part of you is now missing and somehow you have to account for the missing piece. How will you go on living now? What will pass for “normal?” What will the new “ordinary life” look like and how will you get there?

It wasn’t easy. I had wanted to die. I felt that my mission in life was over now that Mom was gone. I didn’t consider myself particularly good at anything and so I thought I existed to care for Mom when she got old. I prayed for death. Not in a suicidal wish, just that God would take me home.

The Lord had other plans. He stomped on me and put the crushed me through a wine press. The fermentation process took a few years and various people came and went while seeing me through it.

And “through it” was key. You have to go through grief, work through it for if you avoid or defer it you will suffer greatly later on. Much like a recovering alcoholic who doesn’t completely clean up their past or face resentments. You refuse to deal with things, then they will deal with you.

And I trudged on, through the grief and the soul-scorching aloneness I felt.

As I said three paragraphs ago, various people came and went through my initial period of griefwork. All served a purpose and I was grateful to them. But stability was not a crowning achievement of my life in those days. I felt as if I was living in quicksand.

More, later today or early tomorrow in Part 3.

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"