Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Take each day as it comes

18th Jun 1st Reading - Take each day as it comes
2 Corinthians 6:1-10

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,
‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything

The person we remember today is Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925) who is also can be considered the patron of men and women struggling with alcoholism. Today is the first time I am actually reading about him from the Veritas Website. Below is an entry that is taken from there and which appeared on the print edition of Day by Day With Followers of Francis and Clare.

Matt can be considered the patron of men and women struggling with alcoholism.
Matt was born in Dublin, where his father worked on the docks and had a difficult time supporting his family. After a few years of schooling, Matt obtained work as a messenger for some liquor merchants; there he began to drink excessively. For 15 years—until he was 30—Matt was an active alcoholic.

One day he decided to take "the pledge" for three months, make a general confession and begin to attend daily Mass. There is evidence that Matt’s first seven years after taking the pledge were especially difficult. Avoiding his former drinking places was hard. He began to pray as intensely as he used to drink. He also tried to pay back people from whom he had borrowed or stolen money while he was drinking.

Most of his life Matt worked as a builder’s laborer. He joined the Secular Franciscan Order and began a life of strict penance; he abstained from meat nine months a year. Matt spent hours every night avidly reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. He prayed the rosary conscientiously. Though his job did not make him rich, Matt contributed generously to the missions.

After 1923 his health failed and Matt was forced to quit work. He died on his way to church on Trinity Sunday. Fifty years later Pope Paul VI gave him the title venerable.

In looking at the life of Matt Talbot, we may easily focus on the later years when he had stopped drinking for some time and was leading a penitential life. Only alcoholic men and women who have stopped drinking can fully appreciate how difficult the earliest years of sobriety were for Matt.

He had to take one day at a time. So do the rest of us.

What struck me in today's reading was the spirit of acceptance that came forth in Paul's letter to the Corinthians. He speaks of the torture and suffering he faced in a very matter of fact way, with no desire to seek any sympathy or glory. He just tells it as it is.

In the above comment, "He had to take one day at a time. So do the rest of us", there is also the spirit of acceptence.

I didn’t used to know any alcoholic until abt two years or so ago, when I first chanced upon a blog of an alcoholic, someone living far away from me and someone I dun even know. Yet in her writing and many others that I have started reading through links, I have gotten to peep into their lives, their struggles and their victories. One thing that has always struck me is how honest they can be about their struggles and how sweet it can be to just celebrate the little victories they got in their lives, marking the days as they count to increasing days of sobriety. In the same way as Paul does, they write of their story just as it is (though often they might wonder to themselves if they have been pity-pots, I say no!) It has indeed been my honour and grace to share in their journey.

Today I am reminded to walk the journey, to take each day as they come.. To go with the flow. :)

Right now, as I embark on something new, I am not sure how long I will last in there... Yet I know I need to do this, I need to try. Or else it will bother me for a long time to come, as it has already bothered me for a long time since. So I too am not sure how long I will last or how the journey will go but I will take one day at a time, just as Matt did.