What Do You Think of Drinking? ~ Fr. Daniel A. Lord

This subject is dear to my heart. There is an Association some of us belong to in our home. It is called the PTAA, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. (Please note that I don’t endorse this website in its entirety, only because I don’t know much about it. I only use it to be united to others in making the pledge.)

It is a Catholic, Dublin, Ireland-based Association and one of the first members was Frank Duff (pictured above) who founded the Legion of Mary (and is now a Venerable.)

In the following excerpt, Fr. Lord laments the fact that the pledge is no longer in use….well….it is! Through this association, you can make the pledge to abstain for alcohol until you are 21, or for a temporary time (say, a year) or you can become a “life-er”.

We wear a pin (hubby’s lousy at this…he loses it…so do I), and say a prayer twice a day offering our abstinence for those who suffer from intemperance.

Our daughters have taken the pledge for a time. Margy did it for a 3 year period, Rosie has done it for a year and then renewed. It is great for the young people to be involved. They see the potential dangers of alcohol…and are doing something about it!

So many people suffer from the ravages of alcohol. No, of course, alcohol is not evil, and if used in moderation, it is a gift. (And our kids understand this, too).

But…so often we see those who can’t (or choose not to) do the moderation thing.

Alcoholism touches so many of us. It is not prejudiced….it ruins lives among the poor and rich, among both men and women, the lower class and the elite, Catholics and Protestants, etc….

So, if you want to check out this Association and make the pledge….go for it! It can be such a valuable mortification! It is there for those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism and for those wishing to make this sacrifice to help those who suffer from it!  Click here for more info: PTAA

What do you think of drinking?

Fr. Daniel A. Lord, 1950’s, Questions They Always Ask

God made the vine and the fruit of the vine. As He sat with His disciples, He drank with dignity and deep friendliness from the unconsecrated cup upon the table.

The discomfiture of a young bride in Cana led Him by His first miracle to turn water into wine for her feast. St. Paul advised the use of “a little wine for your stomach’s sake.”

It is worth noting, however, that the Apostle advised a little wine, and that he took it for granted that his old friend and disciple, to whom he was writing, had reached the years when he was likely to be having stomach complaints.

Few people have been hurt by what they drank in the protective wholesomeness of their own homes. There have, however, been exceptions even here. But when parents serve wine on festive occasions, their children drink with relative safety.

If to commemorate a birthday dad shakes some cocktails and gives a small one to the children, no harm is done. Then, as a person grows older and his powers grow weaker, a little stimulant may serve to make him slightly less boresome, less dull.

Old people are likely to find the party a bit tiresome and to doze by the hearth unless they have the artificial stimulation of a drink or two. Besides, there are parties so dull and conversations so wearisome that only the false glitter of a cocktail shaker keeps the miscalled celebrants from screaming in pain or staggering off in a drugged coma.

So drink can have its place. In measure, it can be an added joy to a family party or to a pleasant gathering in a home. It keeps old people briefly from remembering that they are old.

When a tired businessman faces a social ordeal which he just isn’t up to, he may find the strain less rending if he is fortified by a cocktail.

A mature person with a book and a glass of wine near his own fireside or in the companionship of congenial friends is a social symbol of relaxation and restfulness.

Socially acceptable is the group of men sitting around beer steins, singing far more than drinking, loving the good fellowship much more than the mild beverage.

But drink was intended to be stimulant for conversation, not substitute. It was meant to be an aid to a party, not the party itself. Like all of God’s good gifts, it was to be used with dignity and self-mastery by mature men and women.

Men and women were not supposed to find it a trap for their feet, a stutter for their tongues, a cloud for their brains, a snare for their souls.

Time was when men were proud of their ability to “hold their drink:” They would have been bitterly ashamed of themselves if they found out the next day that they had, on the strength of a couple of mugs or glasses, made fools of themselves, passed out of the picture, or slid under the table in a lump.

But a new tradition marks our age. Young people are positively proud of the fact that liquor makes a fool of them, that they can’t “hold their drink:”

They brag about how drunk they were and the speed with which the liquor threw, them. “Oh, boy! was I ever pie-eyed last night. I can’t remember anything that happened after ten o’clock.”

“Omigosh! what a head I’ve got this morning. I was boiled as an owl last night.”

“After that second highball, honest I can’t remember a thing.”

“Powerful stuff. A couple of snifters, and I was out like a light:”

What is there about drunkenness for anything other than shame? Physically the drunkards were weaklings. Morally they behaved like fools.

As a matter of cold fact, young people have no more need for liquor than they have for crutches. They have their own innate vitality to furnish the power for a good time. When a crowd of them are together, song should be easy, jokes should fly fast, their feet should fairly itch to dance.

They’re not a lot of old codgers needing an alcoholic build-up. Their digestions are not so dulled and their minds so jaded that they must be stimulated before they come alive.

They have simply none of the excuses which make drink understandable in those very elders whom youth regards with patronizing pity.

Quite willingly I concede that drink within their own homes is for young people seldom a peril. The same thing is true of drink in the well-conducted well-conducted homes of their family’s friends. But for young people to drink elsewhere is something quite different.

There is something particularly sinister about a “snort out of a flask” in a parked car; the ancient excuse of prohibition no longer makes that understandable.

Most of the places that sell drink look as dismal, dark and dank as the mouth of hell. The people who frequent them seem in large measure to belong right with the bats and other lower forms of life.

Why can’t drink be associated with family feasts? Right now it is linked with water-front brawls, obscene laughter, animal pawing, taverns that are the old saloons with new names and the old fixtures, sick stomachs, bad breathe, and fiery headaches.

That young man or woman is extremely smart who takes the pledge until he or she is twenty-one years old. An excellent reason for the taking of that pledge is to atone for the sins committed today by young people under the influence of drink and to prove by their strength that young people can get along nicely without drink.

There is something splendid in the examples of the young man and woman who simply do not drink. They are willing to forego legitimate pleasure for the sake of the good example they give to others.

Young people are wise if they always realize that drink for most young people is inflammatory. From the dawn of seduction evil men have known that drink lowers a girl’s resistance and increases their own passions. Get a girl to drink, they felt, and the gates of her virtue were at least unbarred, if not open.

So if young people are tempted, as by nature’s arrangement they are during the days of youth, they are wise to put aside the added temptations resulting from drink. It is an easy way to solve some of their most severe problems.

When they reach maturity, they should learn to use drink wisely – if they think they need or want to drink. It can be an aid to social life, a stimulus to high converse, a pleasant lubricant for song, a bond of friendship.

But to drink just to be drinking, to have a cocktail party just to drown the tonsils in alcohol, to use drink to lower one’s modesty and decent inhibitions or to make evil seem amusing – these are indecent, inhuman and un-Christian.

It’s a wise rule always to see that drink has a companion. Drink with good food is urbane. Drink with good talk may be excellent. Drink with a beloved book may be good.

Drinking alone in dangerous. Drinking with strangers is an affront to friendship.

But always as a Catholic looks upon a glass filled with an alcoholic drink, he should hear the cry of Christ, “I thirst.” He may then put aside the glass, in order to suffer or sacrifice a little with the thirsting Christ. He will then certainly not add to the torture that men’s drunkenness has caused the dying Christ.

No Catholic can escape the misery that has come to the world through the abuse of drink. He can then be a source of strength to tempted souls. If need be, he will bravely abstain throughout a lifetime, if by so doing he can help his weaker brothers and sisters to overcome their temptations and break away from the slavery of drink.

At prayer, I was for a long time near a Sister who used to handle incessantly either her rosary beads or some other thing; perhaps none heard it but myself, for my hearing is extremely acute, but I cannot say how it tormented me!
I should have liked to turn my head and look at the culprit so as to make her stop that noise: however, in my heart, I knew it was better to bear it patiently, for the love of God in the first place, and also to avoid giving pain.
I kept quiet, therefore, but was sometimes worked up to fever-heat, and obliged to make simply a prayer of endurance. Finally, I sought out the means of suffering with peace and joy, at least in my innermost soul; I tried to like the teasing little noise.
Instead of endeavoring not to hear it – a thing impossible – I listened with fixed attention, as if it had been a delightful concert; and my prayer, which was not the prayer of quiet, passed in offering this concert to Jesus.

“The Crucifix on the wall, the pictures of Our Lord and His Mother – the loveliest you can afford – the little shrine with lights and flowers – these unceasingly speak to your little ones of God’s love and His Beauty, preparing them for that friendship with God, that willing, personal submission to Him that is true freedom and happiness.” -Dominican Nun, Australia, 1954, Painting by Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller

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4 thoughts on “What Do You Think of Drinking? ~ Fr. Daniel A. Lord”

  1. Very very good reminder. I think, guys in general, tend to think they can handle more than they should. And I have seen it happen were a party went towards a major fight. Personally, I like tasting a flavor of a vintage now and then, but it is always a “beware” thing in my mind.
    Thank you.

  2. A grateful reader said:

    Something I’ve seen among Catholic men is this manner of thinking: “I’m a Catholic guy, and Catholics have no problem with alcohol, so I will proudly drink!”…and sometimes, in my observation, they drink too much, or make too much of a show of having an extensive and varied beer/liquor collection. Just an observation of mine.

  3. Tracy Green said:

    Thank you so much for this timely information. It’s not just men who drink too much. There’s a whole mommy wine culture that’s been going on for too long. I did not know many mothers who drank on a regular basis, especially to the point of drunkeness, when I was growing up. Now it’s all different…at least in the northeast where I live.

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