First before I blog… I need to praise God for our wonderful new Pope Francis!
“Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit…” – Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis)
In today’s gospel Jesus says, “I seek not my own will….” (John 5:30)… Obeying… doing God’s will. Like humility and patience, obedience is another virtue that I find …difficult. I have always had a hard time doing what I was told. I have always been rebellious and giddily (is that a word?) went against what others (in authority) said …sometimes “just because” it was cool, obnoxious and funny. Yes I was a pain in the @$$ when I was a teen and even into my 20’s (and 30’s… hahaha)… as a Catholic I now try (TRY!) to obey God’s word… I try to do the will of God… Your will Lord, not mine… but it is hard… Lord knows I cannot do it alone.
St. Patrick’s Day was always the time of year to relish in drunken joviality! HA! It was another excuse for me to drink with abandon and a great excuse to become “three sheets to the wind” a phrase my mother always said …which I never understood, but it was a cool funny saying. Drinking was something I did. I was good at it and I was, in an odd way, proud of how much Guinness I could down in one night, drinking other men under the table. Yes… I could drink. And I loved my beer, ale, stouts… Guinness being my all-time favorite. For years I drank. I never thought I should stop. Why? I was not an alcoholic (or so I thought). I did not drink every day. I pretty much only drank on the weekends and occasionally I’d drink during the week. BUT when I drank…. I DRANK. That six pack?… That is MY six pack. No, you cannot have one, go buy your own. No you cannot have a glass of wine from my bottle. It’s my bottle… go get your own. And … I drank the whole six pack… or the whole bottle of wine….plus some. I could never drink just one beer or one glass of wine… HA! Why bother?… what a waste… If I had one I wanted five more …fagetaboutit. Sure I would be hung-over the next day. Man I hated hang-overs… but there I was… buying yet another 12 pack the next Friday night (to get me through the weekend)… no problem. I wanted needed desired my beer… my husband always said, “It was like you were angry at it … you had to drink it to get it out of the refrigerator.” Yup.
So when I started hearing that still small voice telling me to stop drinking… what did this good Catholic do? I ignored it. I did not obey… I ignored. I was good at ignoring. Hm. So I kept drinking … for years… even though, as a fairly new born again Catholic revert, I knew I should stop… but I didn’t. I liked to drink. I wasn’t stopping, no way! I even drank the night before I taught Children’s Liturgy… and yes I would be hung over the next day, Sunday, at church…feeling horrible… but I would teach the kids about Jesus… PATHETIC! Yes… I ignored God’s voice telling me to stop drinking. I ignored it for a long time. I was disobedient.
And then he got persistent. He got louder. Sometimes God needs to SHOUT at me for me to hear him…. Well, he didn’t shout… but I did hear him …very clearly… it was the summer of 2010, the end of August and I was visiting my family in Syracuse, NY. When I would visit my family I would DRINK. I would drink every night. A LOT. So mid-week there I was, standing in my mother’s kitchen and I heard a voice. It said, “Stop drinking.” Simple as that… and what was my response? “No way! Are you kidding me? I am on vacation!”… the next day.. in the kitchen again.. “Stop drinking.”… again I said “NO!”…. the next day, yes for the third time I heard, “Stop drinking.” …. Hm. Really? Hm…. *sigh* So I thought about it. It was Saturday night, we were drinking again (of course, duh)… and it was one of those nights, at the end of a vacation where you are supersaturated with beer because you have been drinking all week… so much so that you cannot get a buzz on. If you drink you know what I am talking about… Bleh. I thought, “Okay Lord. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will start. I can’t say that I will completely stop. My birthday is in a month you know….” … and I did stop on August 22, 2010. My birthday came and went… no beer…
Now over two and a half years later…. no beer. No… not one. WOW. I am still amazed …completely blown away that I no longer drink. I LOVED drinking beer. LOVED IT! LOVED MY GUINNESS… yet here I am… Me… over two years later… not drinking. And really I don’t miss it. Huh… how could that be? ….that must be God… I give all the glory to God because there is NO way I could have done it without him. I was obedient…finally… but with His help. I am weak and He is strong. I need Him.
The only time of year that it (not drinking) is hard for me is this time of year… St. Patrick’s Day… I usually listen to The Pogues and watch Darby O’Gill and the Little People or The Quiet Man…. which makes me want to drink a Guinness. *sigh* it is the only time of year I really do want a beer… But I have always prevailed… by the grace of God.
Obedience to God …for me it is realizing that I need to grow up and get rid of my selfish childish ways. God knows what is good for me, he has a plan for me so I need to listen to Him… not only listen but obey Him. Because I can hear Him… but I don’t always do as I am told. Stubborn fool. I still have many vices and urges to control, but I know… if God could help me with drinking, something I never thought I would stop doing, He can help me overcome all my vices. God loves me and knows what’s best, the perfect Father. I need to be obedient and do His will… desire that His will is my desire…
For there cannot be perfect love without obedience….
Joan of Arc .. yeah.. now she obeyed God…. and she is …. awesome.
“I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God’s will.”