How many newcomers assume they know what prayer and meditation is?  I did. Tonight's topic, Step 11 is a short study on prayer and meditation.  AA has very definite instructions on the HOW's of meditation.  Bill also lifts from Catholic thought on prayer when he writes:  

Prayer is the raising of the heart and mind to God—

AA World Services Inc. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (p. 102). AA World Services, Inc. Kindle Edition.

In Calix Father Lugar writes in Step 11, 

Consequently, if we have difficulty with Step Eleven, we might do well to examine ourselves in each of the preceding ten.

Lugar, Fr. Arnold E.. Calix and the Twelve Steps (Kindle Location 792).  . Kindle Edition.


Lastly, St. Francis de Sales in Introduction to the Devout Life  

One man sets great value on fasting, and believes himself to be leading a very devout life, so long as he fasts rigorously, although the while his heart is full of bitterness;— and while he will not moisten his lips with wine, perhaps not even with water, in his great abstinence, he does not scruple to steep them in his neighbour’s blood, through slander and detraction. Another man reckons himself as devout because he repeats many prayers daily, although at the same time he does not refrain from all manner of angry, irritating, conceited or insulting speeches among his family and neighbours.

Saint Francis de Sales. Introduction to the Devout Life (p. 1). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.


Lastly Father Martin speaks about the importance of "Prayer." He talks about spirituality verses religion. We believe that prayer helps with strengthening our spiritual being. 


How many newcomers show up to the rooms of AA with the best of intentions? They want to get sober, to enter.  They fail to get small enough through the steps to enter into sobriety or Jerusalem. Jeusalem is the focal point of life and so it is for sobriety.   I read the Master's penalty as the consequence of self-will.  The pleading of the 'excluded' reminds me of someone 'wanting twenty years without tweny years of the earth going around the sun'.  Those wailing and grinding are full of envy and self-pity. Sounds like the newcomer  Sound like me!

The Gospel reading is our topic for discussion :  Luke 13:22-30


Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, 'Sir, will there be only a few saved?' He said to them, 'Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed. 'Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door, saying, "Lord, open to us," but he will answer, "I do not know where you come from." Then you will start saying, "We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets," but he will reply, "I do not know where you come from; away from me, all evil doers!" 'Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrown out. And people from east and west, from north and south, will come and sit down at the feast in the kingdom of God. 'Look, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.'


Image result for Narrow Gate in Bible

Gospel, Luke 12:49-53


49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!

50 There is a baptism I must still receive, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!

51 'Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

52 For from now on, a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three;

53 father opposed to son, son to father, mother to daughter, daughter to mother, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law to mother-in-law.'


Today is the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe Patron of drug addicts, prisoners, families, and the pro-life movement.



 For consideration

In the Big Book : "My wife and I abandoned ourselves with enthusiasm to the idea of helping other alcoholics to a solution of their problems." reminds me to be not afraid and where my heart is there is my treasure.


Gird your loins exemplifies to become ready. To gird loins one lifts and wraps his/her tunic and gets moving on work. The third step in AA is pointless “unless at once followed by a strenuous effort” and that sounds like loin girding to me. What is the goal of this effort? To become ready and then wait. Sounds a lot like Step Six and Seven.1 Getting ready and then to wait for the Master's further instructions. We read in the Gospel, “When He arrives He will wait on us.” In Step Seven, Twelve and Twelve we read, “Of myself I am nothing. The Father doeth the work”.

I cannot fix myself on my own power. Be persistent because He takes those things that block my usefulness to Him on even “the second or third watch”. Leave the results up to God- for He knows when the thief comes – not me. I must stay vigilant.


God promises sobriety, “ ..the master will put the servant in charge of all his property.” My body is his property. He frees me from the compulsion. In the rooms we hear, “Don't quit before the miracle”. I do not know which resentment will NOT get me drunk, which excuse, which rationalization- so stay vigilant. Those things are left to those better qualified. When He comes, be ready by staying ready. Simple but not easy. The affections of sin distract. The road is narrow. Progress not perfection as we read in AA.


Peter's dialog echos nicely How it Works, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path...” though in HIW the presupposition is the question has been asked. Peter asks who. Who then can get sober? The honest servant : the one who doesn't point the finger, makes excuse as to delay working the steps. The honest servant girds his loins and gets to it. The consequence of excuse is to beaten up by alcohol again. Simply put to slip. The servant who knew his Master's will is the one who are constitutionally capable of being honest.


I pray today I gird my loins. God help me to gird the as I am capable. Help me stay focused on the the NOW- one day at a time.

1  1 Peter 1: 13 Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind,* live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


The Gospel Luke 12:38-48


The gospel for this week


Gospel Lk 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,'
and he says in reply from within,
'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.'
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"