As I said before, the first step in becoming sober and therefore open and available to the grace of God to transfigured you into a Christ-like person is to admit you need sobriety.
While this may sound like the first few lines of an AA brochure (the similarities are striking), it is meant to call us to confront the very first stumbling block to our own healing - our fear of change. Many of us prefer the "devil we know" as opposed to the unknown world of spiritual health. We say we want to be saved. We say we want to be transformed by God's grace, but too many of us either know precious little about what that actually means or are really fooling ourselves.
The truth is I want to be changed as long as it doesn't hurt too much or cost too much or isn't too much trouble. Come on, confess! You feel that way too!
If you've ever tried to break a bad habit then you know how hard it can be to stop doing one thing and start consistently doing another. Some have become so despondent of change that they have concluded its impossible. "A leopard can't change his spots." Others give up and declare that "this must be the way God made me, so I'm OK as I am."
But the scriptures and Holy Tradition are clear that a man can be transformed by God's grace, but that transformation never happens by accident or "magic." It is never enough to say the "sinner's prayer" and then POOF, you're saved. No, it happens in a heart warmed by faith and strengthened by hope. It happens when a man turns to God as his only hope and cries out for mercy. God always answers "Yes!" And this is a continual turning toward God and away from inebriation.
So, my first step in sobriety, toward authentic spiritual healing is the confession "I need help." At that point, your heart is open to receive what you have always needed, grace and mercy from the God Who came Himself to rescue you from sin, death, and Satan.
But this is only the first step. Let's say it now - this process of authentic sobriety and spiritual health will take the rest of your life, but the process is always the same and it always starts with confession of need.
Our God is the ultimate Gentleman - He will only enter where He is invited.
Panegyric for St Raphael
1 year ago