April 2020: Liberation from addictions

by Fr. Andrij Hlabse, S.J.

Pope’s prayer Intention April 2020: “We pray that those suffering from addiction may be properly helped and accompanied.”

In his prayer intention for the month of April 2020, Pope Francis asks everyone to pray for those who suffer from addiction, especially addiction to gambling, pornography, and the internet.

In our world and our Church, many of our brothers and sisters struggle with addictions. Indeed, almost half of Americans report having a family member or close friend who has struggled with drug addiction, and one in seven report suffering from substance addictions themselves. Today, the internet also provides an avenue for addictive behaviour, including to internet use itself, to electronic devices, and to pornography. The latter is especially prevalent and known to have devastating effects on personal relationships. Which family has not experienced something of addiction’s difficulties?

Whatever factors push a person toward addiction, as a result relationships are sure to suffer: one’s relationship with God, with family, with friends. Addiction can be a tremendously isolating experience. As a Church, as persons bound together to one another through our common love of God, we recognise and pray that individuals struggling with addiction not only have their needs met through appropriate professional help, but also that their relationships with God and others be strengthened and healed.

We celebrate in our Christian faith that Jesus has set us free from sin and death; such is Jesus’ greatest victory and His gift to us. In Baptism each of us is made a sharer in this mystery and is washed clean of sin and illumined with the light of God’s grace. Yet, we struggle to live according to the “glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rm 8:21), and this gift typically becomes actualised only progressively in our lives. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters who suffer from addiction, that they may be both helped and accompanied by healing relationships along the road of recovery, in order to enjoy in authentic depth their dignity as God’s image.

It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month.

The full text of his intention is below:

Surely, you’ve heard about the drama of addiction.
And… have you also thought about the addiction to gambling, to pornography, to the internet… and the dangers of virtual space?.
Supported by the “Gospel of Mercy” we can alleviate, care for and heal the suffering associated with new kinds of addiction.
We pray that those suffering from addiction may be properly helped and accompanied.