Worth Revisiting: A Slippery Slope


She was a bit surprised to see him there..standing among his homeless companions of many years. For several months he had found sobriety along with an apartment and a day job, maintaining his distance from a number of his former friends. The last time we had seen him he had appeared healthy and in much better spirits thankful for the care and concern shown. Not today though. Today, he was visibly agitated and the closer she got the more she realized his sobriety was no more. Greeting everyone present, one by one she checked in with them and handing them coffee as they spoke.

“I need 5 dollars and if you really cared about me you’d give it to me”. “Jim”, said one of the other men “now you know she doesn’t give money. Leave her alone.” Yet, he persisted getting more belligerent each time he spoke, till finally he said. “You know what I need it for, and if I don’t have a drink soon I will die”.  Sadness, filled her heart at that moment. She had seen him at this point before and it had nearly taken his life. There was no such thing as one small drink, or a stopping point for “Jim” it was all consuming. He had fallen into his addiction again, and all of the old habits that befriend it.

As any conversation with an AA or NA member will tell you..sobriety is not a sprint but a lifelong cross country journey. A constant attraction towards your own destruction, with the deceptive lure of rationalization and self reliance there at the ready. Those family members and friends that stay the course are well accustomed to the roller coaster of pain, joy, success and failure that are present along the way.

Yet this is true, though perhaps to a lesser extent, of every battle with temptation, sin and desolation.  Do we recognize our own weaknesses and the slippery slope that we start down when we once again find ourselves facing our worst selves? Will we be pulled under, will we try to go it alone, or will we seek help?

Awareness and Accompaniment.

While each of us were made for more, we repeatedly find ourselves choosing less. Being aware of that which is lesser and our own inclinations to a particular temptation or sin is a good step towards being better prepared when we meet it again. Still, the beauty of our faith is that we are never alone in our journey towards God. Though sin usually carries with it guilt, shame, and insecurities- our faith bears mercy, love and hope.  Through reconciliation, and in community we find both strength and accompaniment, encountering not condemnation and an all loving and merciful Father. Only then are we truly able to accompany others- to offer love and mercy in the struggle, and compassion and hope where none were evident before.

“Lord, thank you for loving me- knowing all of my weaknesses and being there to catch me when I fall.  Help me to keep my eyes open to the pitfalls ahead, and my ears ready to hear your voice. Carry me through, Lord. And please I ask dear gracious Father, make my heart ready to respond to the needs of others.” 




Faith and Addiction: Fr. Mike McNamara

Image result for fr. Mike McNamaraToday’s guest post by Fr. Mike McNamara, a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston, was from an article that appeared earlier in the  Scituate Mariner on June 8, 2017. Fr. Mike’s ministry has both been the work of evangelization but also a focused response “to the darkness of abortion and addictions as it affects individuals, families and the church”.  I am so pleased to share his thoughts on the challenges that have beset our families and communities and what faith provides.


“And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings…”   Psalm 91

‘And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings’ is a line found in the refrain of the popular contemporary hymn, ‘On Eagles wings’.  Using words of scripture in the song, it touches many hearts.  It seems that no matter how often we sing it, people never seem to tire of it.  Many have hung onto its words at Church Services and especially at funerals, where it offers much comfort and hope.  

We have just celebrated Memorial Day.  Remembering the eagle as a national emblem, we cannot help but reflect on the bird’s unique strength and majesty and beauty.  It was these qualities that attracted the Fathers of our country to make it a sign of our nation.

What many do not realize is that the eagle, taken from the Bible, is a symbol for Christian people of faith.  It symbolizes those people who allow the Holy Spirit to lift them beyond the limitations of this life to share in a life of communion with God.  Unique dimensions of the eagle’s abilities are identified with the unique abilities of the Holy Spirit.

One unique quality is their way of seeing things. Eagles are able to see a prey from great altitudes and another bird from up to 50 miles away.  The Holy Spirit gives us a new ‘vision’ and ability to ‘see’ life and truth.

Eagles also have a great ability to sense wind currents and instead of relying on only the great strength of their mighty wings, instead use them in response to the wind currents around them.  As a result, they are able to fly higher, farther and faster than other birds.  The Holy Spirit does not abandon a Christian to ‘fly’ through life under their own power.  Rather, the Holy Spirit lifts them up with His power to reach the heights of their full potential.

Today, our communities are suffering under the terrible blindness of addictions. They bring us down and rob us of seeing what is true in life.  They bring down so many of our families and friends.  We seem to have no ability to stop their wave of destruction once they enter into our lives.   

However, with the Holy Spirit, there is the power and a fullness of life that no addiction can destroy.  

When we allow the Holy Spirit to be our strength, then there is hope and freedom.  The Spirit shines the light that no darkness of addiction can withstand.   The Spirit is the truth that reveals the lies that we have been duped into believing.  The Spirit of life destroys the spirit of self-destruction and death that is robbing us of so many loved ones, and the love, gifts and blessings they were intended to share with us and the world.

United, in the love of the Lord, as a community, we have the ability to change the direction of the world around us.  Living one day at a time, beginning our day on our knees before God, doing His will, allows The Lord to bring victory over these powers in our lives.

We have just celebrated Memorial Day and all the sacrifices so many made for us to be free.  May we not loose our freedom because of this enemy that wants to destroy so many.   May we experience in powerful ways that great strength and power of the Holy Spirit, lifting us high, on great wings of faith, to set us free and making all things new.

Fr. Mike McNamara

Priest of the Archdiocese of Boston

Director of Servants of Christ Ministries in Scituate

Part time Parochial Vicar of the collaborative parishes of Resurrection and St. Paul’s in Hingham.