Friday, December 28, 2007

Matt Talbot medal

Matt Talbot medals are available through various profit and non-profit outlets. Some sell only the medal for less than one US dollar while others may also include a printed card, prayer, or message, such as the advertised example below, which is posted only for illustrative purposes. Some people purchase a quantity of metals, print their own message, and pass them on to others free-of-charge. (JB)

"This is a Catholic medal depicting Matt Talbot. It is cast in silver tone metal. On the reverse are the words "Pray for Us." There is a jump ring so the medal is ready to put on a chain or on your scapular.

If it hadn’t been for the chains he wore as a symbol of his "slavery" to the Virgin Mary, the Irish ascetic who may attain the honors of the Church, would have remained as anonymous in death as he had been in life. These chains, found embedded in the flesh of his body when he dropped dead on a Dublin street in 1925, attracted the interest of an astonished 20th century world and led to an investigation of his life.

Holiness did not come easily to Matt Talbot. The crisis in his life was universal in aspect – the struggle of the spirit for mastery over the flesh; but for Matt, the cruelty of the struggle was intensified by his addiction to alcohol. A confirmed drinker as a child of 12, he continued to live from one hang-over to the next throughout adolescence and young manhood.

The day that Matt, painfully and pennilessly sober for the first time in 16 years, suddenly faced the reality of his rotted past marked the beginning of his transformation. Matt’s strategy during the years of conflict and throughout his later life was difficult but effective – prayer, daily Mass and Communion, meditation, spiritual reading, charity and penances of extraordinary severity. Thus, the onetime "proper bowsie" of the alehouses and pubs became a faithful servant of God.

Though Matt’s life is an encouraging success story particularly for alcoholics, his meaning in the modern world extends far beyond being the patron of ex-drunkards. There is something in his story of everyone – worker, sinner, Christian, skeptic, apostle – some glimmer of greatness, humility and charity that cannot fail to inspire and amaze. "