Our family had been doubly blessed by God. Not only is our eldest son nearly 2 years into his recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, but my youngest brother is now 2 years and 3 months into his. In fact, recovery is not even close to what happened to them both; resurrection is a more apt word.
When Jesus rose from the dead, Mary Magdalene did not recognise him, perhaps because he was free from the fear and the certainty of a pain filled passion and death. How this must have transformed him, so much so that even a woman who had dedicated the remaining days of her life to his service, no longer saw him as he once was.
I know I speak for all the family when I say that this is how I feel when we see our son and my younger brother now. They stand straight and strong. Their skin is clear and healthy; their eyes are bright and unafraid to hold your gaze. You find yourself actually seeking to spend time in their company because you know that they have worked hard to find what you would dearly love to have; an awareness of where your life has become broken, and a willingness through prayer, self denial and discipline to be healed.
The road they have chosen is not an easy one and when I saw my son in Italy in December, he was experiencing some difficulties in his personal Cenacolo journey. I prayed hard for him when I returned home, as I did for all of those who knew of his struggle. My son was granted the privilege of spending some time in the same house in Italy as my brother and wrote that this helped him greatly. When I visited the Kendal house in March for its anniversary celebrations, I was asked to make arrangements for my some to come home on Verifica. This is when the guys and girls get to spend a few days back with their families to reflect on their progress and to decide if they are going to continue in community.
I found myself questioning whether my son would have the strength to resist falling back in his old ways; the parent of every addict will recognise this fear. I need not have worried. As soon as we picked him up at the airport, my son made it clear that he was going back to continue his walk. His time with us brought blessings. He spent much of it with as many members of the family as he could. He actively worked to reconcile those in his dad’s family who had not spoken to one another for some time. He shared his experiences and difficulties with a member of my family who has struggled with alcohol addiction for many years and who, in the week my son was at home, was facing a desperate situation.
My son gave him hope, so much so that he is preparing to enter community too, by the grace of God. My son returned to community and is now settled in the house in Kendal. The whole family speaks with joy and gratitude of the man he is becoming and of the healing God has begun in us and through him.
I pray that like all the guys and girls in the Cenacolo Community we will open ourselves up, through the intercession of Our Lady, to the transforming graces of the Holy Spirit, so that our lives will have purpose and peace.
What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.
(by permission of Mary McNally)