The Enemy

The Enemy

That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam’s tragic race.

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Something out of the Ordinary

Or perhaps, for you, not so much. Today or I should say. Beginning late last night I went to Christmas midnight Mass. I felt led to participate in this blessed tradition and am not sure of why. I went embracing the mystery of it all.

I am not Catholic and am still mystified by all the gestures and rituals. I have found great value, though, in ritual. It has become the foundation for improving my life, from my however flawed, perspective. I did feel a bit out of place but welcome none the less.

Inside

I attended the celebration at The Cathedral of Saint Paul. What a magnificent place! I can only imagine what it must have been like in 1915 when the first liturgy was held on Palm Sunday, March 14th of that year. This is the biggest Church I have ever been in.

Nothing out of the expected occurred. There were carrols, prayers, readings from scripture, a homily by The Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Arch Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. A profession of faith. The offering, and of course Communion. I did not take communion as I am not, or do not consider myself Catholic. I did, however, go up for a blessing Arms crossed over my chest.

Liturgy Guide

I am still processing the occasion and take away these

  1. All are invited
  2. I am flawed and in need of forgiveness
  3. I am forgiven in Christ’s Life, death, and Resurrection
  4. His Spirit as God Lives in me
  5. I am to give as I have been so graciously been given

Merry Christmas until then enjoy divinely inspired Rock Guitar

The Objective Seems Obvious

I find the writings of Thomas Merton a profound foretaste to what is painfully obvious to me in today’s media and political and cultural discourse.

“A message to Poets” Thomas Merton  February 1964

“COLLECTIVE LIFE is often organized on the basis of cunning, doubt, and guilt. True solidarity is destroyed by the political art of pitting one man against another and the commercial art of estimating all men at a price. On these illusory measurements, men build a world of arbitrary values without life and meaning, full of sterile agitation. To set one man against another, one life against another, one work against another, and to express the measurement in terms of cost or of economic privilege and moral honor is to infect everybody with the deepest metaphysical doubt. Divided and set up against one another for the purpose of evaluation, men immediately acquire the mentality of objects for sale in a slave market. They despair of themselves because they know they have been unfaithful to life and to being, and they no longer find anyone to forgive the infidelity.”

Anthony DeMello
To be unaffected by praise or blame

Hope is not lost!

I have been blessed with the gift of being a drug addict. In being led as a byproduct of despair of epic proportions found a community where every walk of life come together in common search for a remedy for the Hell of active addiction. The differences that would divide us, in the workplace or social setting are forgotten for a common objective.

The recovery, recovering, recovered from whatever affliction is the same. In my opinion is a spiritual malady and the solution is an awakening to the Love that is inside all of us.

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will apparently be worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

That had been my exact experience with the people I encounter in “The recovery community.”

How could I?

I like to think that I have a strong faith in God. Yet I have recently had occasion to doubt.

DOUBT

transitive verb

  1. archaic a: fear b: suspect
  2. to call into question the truth of : to be uncertain or in doubt about
  3. a: to lack confidence in-Distrust b: to consider unlikely.

I had been thinking it unlikely that I would be able to accept a job offer due to having prior commitments, I had worried that I would have to tell customers that I would not be able to provide service due to traveling. I wasn’t sure I would have time to complete commitments after a scheduled orientation meeting today.

I was tossing last night doing my best to let Him have my cares and to forgive my faithlessness. All of my prayers were answered. I felt a warm sense of ease. I knew it would all work out. I could not comprehend how, based on the information I had at the time, I just knew.

  1. It didn’t snow while I was away no need to let customers down.
  2. My offer to work for the biggest online retailer as a seasonal delivery station associate came after Thanksgiving
  3. The shifts I will work will allow me to continue to work during daylight hours.
  4. the orientation lasted 2 1/2 hours instead of the 4 I had expected. Allowing me to complete jobs I had committed to, and better yet, the last job was much easier to get done than I had expected.

I had to stop and Thank and praise Him and was in tears as I knew I had doubted that it was all going to go better than I could have dreamed. It always does

The most valuable thing

It was slightly more than 20 years ago. A delightful summer afternoon, ironically this memory includes me mowing the lawn. Ironic because I because I mow lawns for a living in the summer. My friend John is walking by. I stop what I’m doing to visit. He tells me about a new type of treatment program that is solely based on the spiritual principles found in the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous.  At this point, having a little more than 2 years of continuous sobriety/clean time. I thought, boy I sure wish I could go there.

Well little did I know at that time, what the mighty Jester of the Cosmos had written in the book of my life. On November 16th, 1998 I entered the program at The Retreat.

The first thing that hit me was, during a Big Book study with Roger B. He says. “I hope you’re DONE and not just here to take a break.” Woah, just woah. Yes, I’m so done. The next thing was again Roger B. “Are you willing to believe in the possibility?” That a Higher Power could restore me to sanity. Yes! That would be the beginning of an intention to improve my conscious contact with God “as I understand God” which is impossible to comprehend. The basis of which is how I am willing to carry on without chemicals.

Fast forward to today. I have discovered the enlightened self-interest of, and the key to staying sober is helping others to recover. Wait, how can I help? What do I have to offer? Well as it turns out I have my experience. Which through sharing that, I am able to stay in recovery from addiction. I have found something else even more valuable than my experience. It is worth more than any material or financial commodity. It costs nothing but requires an immense amount of energy if offered with intention.

The most valuable thing is My Attention

Giving freely of my attention is the most generous thing I can do. With attention I discover understanding and that is what I get in return.

Faith in the Love that surrounds me

I can’t see it, touch it, smell it or hear it. I do know, however, that it is there. I can feel it if I am open and attentive to it. Love is infinite, unbounded and beyond description. I must, if I am to pass it on to those I encounter practice faith in it. Devote my entire being to it continually, perpetually. From that Love comes Forgiveness, Gratitude, Hope and Generosity

Discernment

The act of perceiving. Well, that’s just great. Admitting that my perception is egregiously flawed, I have arrived at a crossroads where I must summon that which cannot be fathomed by the human mind but know is there.

I have a choice to allow myself to be devoured by all the injustice and chaos swirling in the news. Or I can choose to be consumed by what is now and what is true. Because what is on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook is most likely merely a distraction. Come on Twitter…Really with tens of thousands of fake profiles, this is where we place our trust in gathering accurate information? God help us.

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What after all is really important? That I am looking down at the dirt, rather than looking up at it. I am able to devote my life to helping. I can express and acknowledge immense gratitude for the opportunity placed before me to Be Here now!

Stop and discern the vastness of this moment and perhaps the love and light will become apparent.