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    Opening Prayer

    Lord, teach us to pray:

    “Our Father…”

    The Reading
    (To be read by the Leader)

    “Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial.
    Everything is lawful but not everything builds up. (1 Cor 10, 23)”

    “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)
    Brothers, last month we explored the morality of marijuana in relationship to its legalization for recreational purposes. In a comparative discussion we concluded that though alcohol is only morally (sinful) an issue, when it is abused, with cannabis it is not the excessive use or abuse but the use of it itself. Why? What makes cannabis different than a cold beer? Fr. DeSouza makes another comparative argument, again using alcohol as the comparison.

    The Christian tradition has never considered the consumption of alcohol sinful. The Holy Scripture have a long tradition of looking in a positive way on the “fruit of the vine.” With that comment we also see that alcohol has been problematic historically in Scripture. As well we see that abstaining from alcohol has been a long and honored tradition in the ancient (Samuel) and the modern world, (John the Baptist). So how and when was the use/abuse of alcohol line drawn in the sand? “The traditional answer was refined during the scholastic period by authorities such as St. Thomas Aquinas. Alcohol consumption becomes immoral when it compromises our reason, that rational faculty which makes us distinctively human, (DeSouza).” The challenge often enough with alcohol is that the line between jovial and upbeat and where our rational faculties go out the window is that the line can be kind of blurry between the two. “When wine or spirits or beer help us to be more convivial, or even help us to relax or appreciate the goodness of creation, they are to the good. When they corrupt us, in reason, in speech, in behavior, drinking is a moral problem, (DeSouza).” I realize Brothers that these observations on alcohol are not new revelation for you, but they help set the stage for the marijuana argument, and drugs in general for that matter.

    “Thus, the moral problem with drugs is that they aim directly at compromising the reason, altering the perception of reality and the capacity to think clearly. With marijuana, it is often this hallucinatory effect that is the principal purpose of the use. Drug use is better likened to alcohol abuse, a violation of temperance, not simple alcohol use, (DeSouza).” To summarize Fr. DeSouza’s

    commentary, alcohol is only immoral (sinful) when it abused to the point where our rational faculties are compromised, which can lead to behaviors’ that might be quite regrettable and inappropriate. Marijuana use is immoral (sinful) simply in its use, not its abuse, because the pure intent is to escape from the rational faculties that God has blessed us with in order to function as we are called to function, as God’s children created in His image and likeness.

    The Reflection
    (To be read by the Leader)

    Up to October 17, 2018 Canadians had civil law and moral law to guide us in the choices we made regarding marijuana. We now have moral law alone to guide us, which as Catholic men should not be much of an issue. This secular world we live in though, sends a clear message and that it is all about me and my own perceived happiness. The message our Lord delivered was straightforward as well. Love God and love one another (Mt. 22, 37-39). Note the disconnect between the two messages.

    Finally, I would say there is a tendency in these situations to say, I am only affecting my own life when I abuse alcohol or smoke pot. Brothers make no mistake; when we eliminate the reason and rationale that our Lord has blessed us with, others will suffer the consequences of our decisions. The unfortunate side of this legalization, long term is that we do not know long range social and health effects with any degree of accuracy. Prohibition of alcohol was lifted about one hundred years ago. It will be interesting to see the social, economic and health challenges that will result from legalized recreational marijuana, even a generation from today.

    “Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial.
    Everything is lawful but not everything builds up. (1 Cor 10, 23)”

    Meditation Period

    (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.)

    Fraternal Sharing

    (The leader now invites the members to share with their Brother Knights any relevant thoughts that came to them during the meditation period.)

    Closing Prayer
    (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.”