Sunday, December 23, 2007

Matt Talbot, AA, and the Blessed Sacrament

Matt Talbot
by Leslie K.
Leslie's Univesal/Catholic Thoughts
Public Journal
January 4, 2006

Matt Talbot (1856 - 1925) was born in the poverty of Dublin's inner city. He began drinking at twelve years of age and became a chronic alcoholic. It was the drug culture of the 19th century. Matt was an addict. After sixteen years he decided to 'kick the habit'. A priest helped him, giving him a rehabilitation programme, which providentially incorporated the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. That was fifty years before AA was founded. After a horrendous struggle, he found sobriety through prayer and self-sacrifice. His Higher Power was the Christian God. He remained sober for forty years until his death. His life story has been an inspiration for alcoholics and addicts throughout the world. He is a candidate for canonisation in the Catholic Church.

Today, I thought of Matt and the struggle he had getting and staying sober. During my morning meditation it occured to me that the blessings I have received in my life are too many to count, but the hard times can be easily numbered. Interesting, isn't it?

Last night I sat quietly before the Blessed Sacrament and just understood that the incredible power available to me through the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of my Savior, Jesus Christ would have remained behind a locked door if not for AA and my willingness to say, "Yes" to one question - Are you willing to go to any lengths to stay sober?

The ongoing question must become, am I willing today to go to any lengths to stay sober TODAY? It becomes much more than simply following my heart. It means following those few simple steps and embracing the life that the Holy Spirit has revealed to be available to me.

I remember once having a sponsee say to me that she was worried that if she really did the third step, really gave her life over to a Power Greater than herself, that it would mean she would turn into one of those people who walk around talking to themselves.

I look at my lifestyle today and realize I have become one of those people. I take my walks (when it is not storming) and pray the those who do not understand prayer they would think, "Look, a crazy woman muttering to herself". I go to three meetings a week, and try to preceed those meetings with the celebration of the Eucharist - to a person in AA who does not understand they might think, "Uh oh, that's what happens at 13 years sober. You become a religious fanatic".

Yet what has happened to me (and for me) is I have finally begun to move closer to the Power needed to stay sober, the whole purpose of the Big Book, the reason for doing the Steps - Jesus Christ, in the Blessed Sacrament, the Power of the Eucharist. Being able to be there, in HIS PRESENCE and feel the overwhelming comfort of that power is something I never wish to lose.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton, the Mother of the Catholic School System in the United States. The woman who, though born to wealth and comfort, did not find herself until she found the True Presence in the Eucharist.

Mother Seaton, pray with me and for me today, that I may walk like you and become the woman I am supposed to be rather than the woman I think I want to be - in HIS name, amen.

Understanding is the booby-prize of life. One may understand that his
car is out of gas, why it ran out, why more wasn't put in, how far it
would go until it ran out, every aspect, facet and tangent of the entire
running-out-of-gas experiene. But until you put some fuel in, it will
just sit there, with or without understanding
. Peter Stavrianoudakis

We have taken the liberty of changing the title of this reflection for posting purposes.