When someone suffering from addiction desires to stop his addiction, radical changes in his way of life are required in order for him to isolate the behaviors that feed his addiction. This is the process that is so successfully carried at drug and alcohol rehab facilities throughout our nation. Many times the first step in rehab is spending time “in detox” which gives the body time for the particular drug to be cleansed from his organs etc.
The same process is required when we desire to stop our addiction to any sinful behavior; and addiction is the best description to use when discussing sin. Just as in drug addiction, sin addiction at first may go unnoticed until the sin begins to affect our life and those around us. When the sin begins to control the choices we make, just so we can “get our fix” of the sin, we may take notice (others most definitely take notice) and begin to desire a better life.
Such was the life of St Mary of Egypt. As a harlot she was very “successful” in her business but it consumed her and began to control her decision making. In her sinful boldness she attempted to enter the Church but was “by some unknown force” kept from crossing the threshold of the Church. Her sin affected her judgment and someone took notice – the Theotokos. Mary prayed to the Holy Virgin to help her and promised that her life would change. She was allowed to enter the Church.
In thanks to God, Mary spent the remainder of her life in “detox” living in the desert repenting of her sinful life. After many years, she sent for the Priest for Holy Communion. After living in severe repentance in the desert for forty-eight years, and on the day she finally received Holy Communion, she fell asleep in the Lord on Holy and Great Thursday.
Great Lent can be our detox from sin. This coming week is the final week of the Great Fast, and our final chance to prepare our soul for Holy Week. Take notice of your “sin addiction” and ask the Theotokos to help you make a change. She will help you just as she helped Saint Mary.