Monday, June 12, 2006

Steps to Sobriety

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.


Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes! Joe R.

Proserpine said...

And yet You didn't answer...

But I will for these our steps.

I have noticed that people as if beat around the bush. And miss the honey-fall of the transforming…

Matthew 9,
16 And no man putteth a piece of undressed cloth upon an old garment; for that which should fill it up taketh from the garment, and a worse rent is made.

17 Neither do `men' put new wine into old wine-skins: else the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins perish: but they put new wine into fresh wine-skins, and both are preserved.

What is it an ‘old garment’ and a ‘and old-wine skins in ‘respect of’ a sin?

Till this ‘I am capable and always will be capable to do this again’ goes on proudly proving , the desire and the visible and invisible attempts (even with the invocation for help from Gentle God) to change reminds me the situation when one tries pouring new wine into old-wine skin: wine is spilled, and the skins perish All has been said from Him and He proposed us to have known this as a recommendation, maybe even a some kind of a help from Him. You may ask why? Why so Conventional Wisdom in effect becomes such unpractical in a long life?

Something missing here, is it? But what? Tremendously famous – well, I will say – get ready! – repentance. Yes, yes, yes! Listening to people lately with their constant repletion of this term,. Phenomena – (inimitable miracle and indeed but they do not know) I unhappily realizing more and more that THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE SPEAKING ABOUT. From details begirding mentioned around it, attributes, mood and words coming from the whole process etc – the whole line of the developing shows the absence of this part in their desire to change themselves and get the hand of help. Indeed its only your own personal desire – but how? When something really happened, seriously happened – so strong – that from this ‘grief’ you lose your way to come back to your senses, when this happened – and it doesn’t matter what was it at all – but you by yourself will know this moment when GOD ‘open HIS face’ to you – in His wrath and yet with this His passion, in His trust. Because He hopes His wrath was not gratis. And after you take this hand of Wrath and Trust – you gradually become hear and see the most unpleasant things of you…. Jeremiah lamentation stars and all events in your life are open as one path of proud and ingratitude. WHEN you catch this tail of the rope from the ladder in your heart – means the half of work has been – congratulations! – it means next day you will meet with the John the Baptist in the desert – and now you are almost ready to hear words of REPENTANCE.

God and prophets do not say words to no end. If it was something from what Jesus started, from what all NEW things come to their revelation – you can not neglect it, to be transformed – to make this processes of putting new wine into new- wine skin. THIS length of repentance - this confess I know – I remember as one of the most miraculous part of my life – and IT is nothing to do with words mostly people refer to this – it is not the penance. How to demonstrate it to you in two words – people have no idea of it – like many of the population in the earth if you ask it what Orthodox Christianity and Sacraments mean (including Christians themselves) they will start telling you many interesting things that you say – thank you, thank you so much! – and find your hand empty as before.

Repentance it is a beautiful transformed world of your soul and life. Changes follows with insane speed - you have no space to speculate for this theme… things of your transformation become your evidence. Not 'the worse rent' as I observe everywhere.

God knows limit of each person and He offers to each the situation (one by one) when you get the real capability to make a repentance – God remembers your tears and variate them --- He is so attentive and we don’t even notice it -- how much He - from them He creates your transformed land – but from you – what you personally can do – desire, desire tremendously the truth, the justification – demand He will open His justice as He promised to Jerusalem after demolition. So that the other people may see it – suffered sinner asks, demands Him to show His JUSTICE upon the desecrated sanctuary where was the Temple – and must accept the fact of God’s pain…. In visibility you do a little, practically nothing, you have your own struggle – there in this reality of your struggle – you meet with God. No ONE take you on knees – its a time of receiving a new skin for new wine – (God Himself makes this action, now you see why He mentions it, yes?) – a homely and warm time of repentance….

I didn’t consciously be silent of love in this process, just if there is no love - you will always be capable to come back ‘as dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly’. People just did not do not know love. It was a sobriety for me to know it recently.

After the first experience of repentance I am waiting these days for the second - when Jesus crosses with Fire Spirit. I don’t speak of some events – but this is just this is the way of each flesh – to be born, to be transformed, and not to die. :)