Lord, teach us to pray:
(To be read by the Leader)
“God created humanity in His image and likeness, in His divine image He created him; male and female He created them….God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good, (Gen. 1, 27, 31)”
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace, (Numbers 6, 24-26).” My dear brothers, this beautiful Hebrew blessing imparting sincere wishes for happiness and prosperity is my prayer for you and your loved ones as we enter the year of our Lord 2019. We listened to this Blessing Prayer as part of the First Reading, on January 01, the Solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God. We continue our journey of becoming conversant on the morality of the legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. In December 2018 the Holy See facilitated an international conference on Drugs and addictions as obstacles to integral human development. As a preamble to the beginning of this conference, Pope Francis regarding stated: “addictive drugs are a worrisome problem in the world today” which is fueled, not without concessions and compromises on the part of institutions, by a shameful market that crosses national and continental borders, intertwined with organized crime groups and drug trafficking.”
Is marijuana one of these addictive drugs? The jury is split on this issue. Is alcohol addictive? Under the right conditions it certainly is and so are eating, gambling and various other forms of, can we use the word self-gratification. “Marijuana use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder, a medical illness in which the person is unable to stop using even though it is causing health and social problems in their life. Severe substance use disorders are also known as addiction. Research suggests that between 9 and 30 percent of those who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder. People who begin using marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a marijuana use disorder. (National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA June 2018)” As Catholic men gratification and a joyful living of our lives results from the good we do in our families and our greater communities. Our Lord created the virtue of charity is such a way that when we serve the other, when we care for the other, often we feel that perhaps we have received more than we have given. Having said this, the consumption of any mind-altering drug, (yes alcohol is also a drug) has the ability to change our perspective on and perception of reality, or to provide one with a feeling of euphoria (feeling of well-being) regardless whether the situation at hand is a good situation or not. To consume alcohol at a gathering of friends and family is not a bad thing. In moderation the feeling of well-being might be heightened by the addition of alcohol. To consume alcohol after experiencing
devastating news, the death of a loved one for instance, will also have the tendency to heighten our emotions and therefore potentially our reaction to the news. Our sudden devastation at this bad news can potentially be magnified in a negative way, by the use of alcohol. Marijuana is no different, in that it alters our perception of the reality that we are engaged in. There is a corny but apt expression used in the AA world. Reality is for people that can’t handle drugs and alcohol. Yes, I do find that expression very amusing and very true.
(To be read by the Leader)
Brothers, what I have just offered is my Brothers, I want to be clear as I bring alcohol in to the conversation. This is not a temperance meeting, but alcohol use and abuse as a drug has verifiable history that we can refer to, when looking at the pros and cons of legalized recreational use marijuana. Many of you have probably heard the “marijuana is like alcohol argument”. The similarity begins in that it was not so many years ago that alcohol was also illegal. The reality is that it has been legal for so long that we know longer even relate a cold beer after golf as anything but enjoyable, and so it is. Is there credence to this argument? Is it then fair to say that with legalized recreational use marijuana we can expect the same type of societal and social ills that are very evident with the free access to alcohol in society. It is too early to present empirical evidence on the longterm challenges or issues that legalized marijuana may cause to our society. However, if we parallel alcohol and marijuana as they are both drugs and they are both legal it is reasonable to say that we can expect to see some of the same effects to our families and our society with marijuana use, that are certainly evident and apparent with long term use of alcohol today? Next month we will look at the morality of marijuana use.
“Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial.
Everything is lawful but not everything builds up. (1 Cor 10, 23)”
(The Leader now invites the members to spend a few moments in silent reflection, as the above text is not meant to be a ready-made answer but a starter for personal reflection on the theme.)
(The leader now invites the members to share with their Brother Knights any relevant thoughts that came to them during the meditation period.)
(Recited by all)
Let us pray: “Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”