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Summary: In the study, one person related not having a fear of death, and another related that death and resurrection are a continual process following the psychic deaths she had while in her addiction.

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I want to continue with an article I read from a university in Santa Barbara about Catholic Mass and its healing implications for the addicted person.

In the study, a psychological sense of alienation and loneliness appears to be a common experience for the addict, because the drug of choice, including pornography, tells the addicted person that in order to keep that addictive outlet, many people will be effectively shut out of their hearts and minds.

To worship at Mass means going somewhere with other people even if you don’t talk to anybody there. You will be talking along with others during the responses during Mass “in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs” as our Second Reading said. The Catechism says that sacred music gives glory to God and sanctifies the faithful. It edifies us, builds us up which includes feelings. St. Augustine is quoted in the Catechism, saying that,

How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face - tears that did me good. [1157]

2. The study also highlighted the response by the congregation just before getting in the Communion line. Prior to the reception of the Eucharist, the priest holds up the Host and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. And, the assembly responds, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Several participants expressed specifically a connection and gratitude for being able to make that response statement. The author of the study noted that this response is meaningful because it acknowledges that no one in the congregation—no matter what their lifestyle, disease, social standing, sins, or mistakes—is worthy of the great gift of the Eucharist, but that at each Mass, healing is offered everyone as part of that gift.

It’s like Pope Francis' celebrated maxim that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

As the great doctor of the Church St. Ambrose wrote: “If, whenever Christ’s blood is shed, it is shed for the forgiveness of sins, I who sin often, should receive it often: I need a frequent remedy.”

Of course, our faith teaches us, as the Catholic Catechism says, that anyone “who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion … without having first received sacramental absolution,” (1457), but, barring that, “Holy Communion augments our union with Christ” (1391) and “Holy Communion separates us from sin” (1393). Since the Holy Mass represents our Lord’s sacrifice for sin, and the Holy Eucharist unites us with our Lord, receiving the Holy Eucharist must both cleanse us of venial sin and protect us from future sin.

The Council of Trent’s, Decree on the Holy Eucharist (Chapter II) taught, “…(The Holy Eucharist) can be also a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sin.” (See also No. 231).

To illustrate being protected from mortal sin, in 1991, Mario Van Peebles directed a motion picture about street life which contains a scene in which a character accepts some illegal drugs. When this scene was shown at a theater in New York City, a man in the audience stood up and yelled at the screen, “Just say no, man!”

Mr. Van Peebles who was present in the theater at the time says this is one of the best things he has witnessed in his life.

Lastly, in the study, one person related not having a fear of death, and another related that death and resurrection are a continual process following the psychic deaths she had while in her addiction.

There was the hope found in her faith that things are going to work out somehow....and we don’t know how. This hope was not based on fear, rather it was a hope that brings an understanding of the past, even the wreckage or destruction of the past...leading to an understanding of what the future could be, so the past could be seen through a spiritual lens and deemed something that God could make useful which brings hope.

Amen.

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