Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Carry the message...

I have just begun to read an amazing book by Richard Rohr. “Breathing Underwater: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. In it, Rohr explores the parallels between the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and what St. Francis calls the “marrow of the Gospels.”

In skipping around the book, I was particularly stuck by Rohr’s comparison of the twelfth step and two biblical passages.

The twelfth step in Alcoholics Anonymous reads, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principals in all our affairs.” The original wording of this step took it a little further and encouraged recovered alcoholics to, “carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and practice these principals in all our affairs.” I prefer the older version of the step. The reason I prefer to carry the message to others, especially alcoholics, is that the message is not just about the recovery from alcoholism. It is about Redemption for all of us through Grace. It is a message about being welcome to “Come to the Feast” (Fr. Richard Fragomeni) at God’s table. God invites us all to be transformed. We are all capable of having a “spiritual awakening.” Redemption, through Grace, is available to us. Whether our “fall” comes in the form of alcoholism, consumerism, lust for wealth or power, greed, false pride, or of any number of other common failings healing is available to all of us. Alcoholism just seems to be a particularly public type of catastrophe, much more outwardly apparent than other “addictive” behaviors.

So, winding my way back to my starting point…

“What was given to you freely, you must give away freely.” Matthew 10:8

“Simon, Simon, you must be sifted like wheat, and once you have recovered, you in your turn must strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

What then do I have to freely give to others? How may I strengthen my brothers? What part of myself do I have to give?

In the example of alcoholism, I can certainly offer my experience, strength, and hope to other suffering alcoholics. But there is so much more. I am so much more than just an alcoholic. I am a teacher, parent, brother, son, husband, friend, musician, thinker, writer, farmer, homesteader, Christian and so much more. There are so many ways I may be of service to God and my fellow man.

Today’s challenge is to think of how you may be of service. What can you give to strengthen your brothers and sisters? What part of yourself do you have to give to others?

Thanks for reading. Blessings.

1 comment:

  1. You have a LOT to give away. It makes me think about what I have. Good post!