Tuesday, August 01, 2006
"Fixing a hole..." - Beatles
Painting of Jesus Crucified, Alphonsus Liguori.
Over night I read a few reports on Mel Gibson and his struggles with alchoholism. A person close to him said he was suicidal over the inability to stop drinking and take control of his life.
His mug shot looks so pathetic, you can see the shame he felt. Alcholics say crazy things. Lashing out as he did may have emanated from that place of pain in his heart - hurt trying to hurt. Drunks say and do crazy things that they regret.
He's "fixin' a hole" through drink. When someone is drunk they can easily believe the good feelings they have about themselves and believe they see how others are out to get them. Drunks who stop drinking without healing the inner depression and lack of self-worth can find similar consolation in their conspiracy theories and criticism of others - blaming others for their misery. The need for ritual and rules and regulations becomes for some a source of stability and assures them that they are doing the "right thing" - they are good. External "observance of the law", if you will, does little; what matters is the conversion of heart in humility, obtaining healing of the wounds of the soul by the wounds of Christ. It seems to me that only the holes in the body of Jesus are able to heal the hole in our hearts. Sometimes it's a lifelong struggle with many, many defeats.
My parents were alcoholics; my older brother died of alcoholism - at various times my little brother tried to kill himself, I know how alcoholics act and think. They were all depressed people as well. Sometimes pretty paranoid about other people. They knew they weren't as bad as other people may have thought they were, yet, strangely enough they felt they were even worse. They believed they had to relieve and medicate the pain with alcohol, and then they did the things they were later ashamed of...deeply angry with themselves and others. Themselves because of their weakness, their sickness; with others because they couldn't possibly understand that and they knew they couldn't be like them. It's such a terrible struggle. My mother tried to kill herself as well. So I just bet I know something about Mel Gibson that his peers who want him blacklisted do not. I'm praying for Mel.
In today's meditation frrom Magnificat, there is a gentle, loving passage frrom St. Alphonsus Liguori, whose feast we celebrate today:
"The more we distrust our own strength, the more we should confide in the divine mercy. This is a balance in which the more the scale of confidence in God is raised, the more the scale of diffidence in ourselves descends.
"Listen to me, O sinners: if the devil tells you that but little hope remains of your eternal salvation, answer him in the words of Scripture, 'No one has hoped in the Lord, and has been confounded.' [Eccl 2; 11] No sinner has ever trusted in God, and has been lost." - St. Alphonsus
Incidently, my mother and dad and brother all died reconciled to the Church with the Sacraments. They finally found healing and peace.