Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Nope, there’s no cure for a christoholic. Sometimes I don’t know for sure if I think this is good or bad. Sometimes I don’t know if I am one or not. Most days I’m not, at least I don’t feel like one. I guess I am just afraid of being obsessed. And I ask myself, what the difference can be, between being obsessed and possessed. I know the term ‘demon-possessed,’ but I also think demon-obsessed would better fit some of the negative predilectious fantasies of today’s world. Even though the red skins, horns and barbed tails have joined the ranks of other mythological beings, the reality is still with us, and is now even more dangerous, as a shape-shifter.

But christoholic? What does this mean? Well, it’s Greek, after all, so that should make it hard to understand. Listen up! From Strong’s Greek Concordance: hólos (a primitive adjective and the root of the English term ‘whole’) – properly, wholly, where all the parts are present and working as a whole – i.e., as the total, which is greater than the mere sum of the parts. This factor is especially significant in metaphorical contexts or those focusing on the spiritual plane.

Duh! There we have it! Christoholic defined, a person for whom Christ is everything. But again, I ask myself, is this a good thing? After all, we’re just humans. Aren’t we supposed to have a life of our own? Paul can’t be serious when he writes that it is not him who lives, but Christ who is alive in Him. It must be metaphor—aha, yes! Even Strong’s agrees with me! ‘…especially significant in metaphorical contexts or those focusing on the spiritual plane.’ So being a christoholic can just be your, uh, imagination after all! You don’t really have to do anything. Yes, I like that.

But there really are people who act, at least, like Christ is everything to them. Maybe they’re a kind of fundamentalist christoholic. They don’t seem to know when to stop. A few of them are even clergy. Imagine! Priests (and even presbyteras) who live as though they hadn’t a private bone in their bodies. They just always seem to be available. (I wonder if their kids are a mess?) I personally knew a priest like that once, but after serving the community for nineteen years he reposed early, from cancer, not from exhaustion. His presbytera just kept going, as if she were the Energizer Bunny. The last time I saw her, she was leaving to visit some more shut-ins. As for their kids, well, they all turned out as far as I can tell.

‘I know a woman in Christ,’—taking off on a phrase of St Paul’s but changing gender so you know I can’t be talking about myself—I know a woman in Christ who is such a christoholic that almost nothing keeps her away from church, and I’m not just talking about services. Wherever she goes and with whomever she hangs out—her family, her friends, yes, probably even her enemies if she has any—she speaks and acts as if the Lord Jesus and His blessed Mother were also with her, and she never seems to stop giving. The strange thing is, she never makes you feel obligated to her. Afterwards, you just feel thankful. People like her go beyond metaphor, skirting metamorphosis, radical change. That’s a real christoholic.

When I was younger, though I hadn’t thought of giving christoholism a name yet, I really thought I had this dis-ease. I called myself a ‘total immersion’ Christian, to point out that I didn’t just want the triple-dunk and then a merely ordinary, work-a-day life. I wanted to be a disciple. I had many good examples, but here I am ‘still crazy after all these years,’ but still not a real christoholic like my mentors. I haven’t given up, though. I still hope to make the grade, but even if I don’t, I am just glad to know that christoholics exist, and whenever I meet one, I am deeply grateful.

Yes, ‘still crazy after all these,’ as poet Paul Simon sings. I just hope my kind of ‘crazy’ is the same sort as the Desert Fathers had, those intrepid christoholics who lassoed me, a wild horse, and brought me to curb, for Christ, so that I might let Him be for me, ‘all in all.’

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