Friday, June 7, 2013

Reflection on Venerable Matt Talbot's Death and Legacy

Each of us will have a different way of reflecting on Matt Talbot’s death and legacy today, the 88th anniversary of his death.

One approach is to read and the following two Dublin Diocesan Matt Talbot Website pages and/or play the "5. Death & Legacy" video at and then record your reflection in a “Matt Talbot Journal.”

We have pasted the third page of the recommended reading below:

Matt sets before us a radical example which demonstrates that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. His life is a witness to the fact that people can by God's grace and their own self acceptance say no to that which leads to addiction or addictive behaviours and that in the meantime our communities must never lose hope and must continue to care for them.

Maybe it is because of this that so many have come to love and admire Matt Talbot. Matt's friend Paddy Laird always found it extraordinary that there were only seven people at Matt's funeral, but upon making public his life story hundreds of thousands have come to see him as a hero and a beacon of hope.

People need heroes, not in the sense of comic book or movie superheroes with superhuman powers, not pop stars or celebrities all art and pizzazz but with little or no moral substance. No what we need are ordinary people who against extraordinary odds do the right thing, like saying no to addiction or compulsion. Matt Talbot understood this and he would say to others, "If I can do it so can you with the grace of God".

Matt example has inspired many institutions, movements and individuals around the world giving hope of recovery to those who are willing to accept their weakness and need. Such people stand as beacons in our world to the truth that we can overcome addiction rise above our weakness and achieve great things even sainthood.

Jesus said, "Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest shoulder my yoke and learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls" Matt 11:28-30.

Matt Talbot's life as a labourer who was overburdened by addiction and guilt gradually grew in awareness through the gift of grace and the Holy Spirit that a life of meekness and humility of heart will lead to rest for our souls, and towards a better world where all self destructive drive will come to an end, where people will live in harmony of body, mind and spirit, in harmony too with each other, with creation and with God.

By following the example of Matt Talbot you tell the world that there is more to life than "sex, and drugs and rock n roll," that there is hope for every broken heart and that by God's love his kingdom comes into our hearts, our homes and our world.

At this time when so many of our communities are affected by the scourge of alcohol and substance misuse, God has chosen Matt to be set before us as a model of temperance and a source of strength and support to all who suffer from addiction or additive behaviors.

Matt Talbot ascetic and urban spiritual mystic, who overcame addiction by the Grace of God, his higher power, whose faith was nourished by his extraordinary love of the Eucharist and his sublime devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Christ told his followers, "You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect," Matt 5:48. When Matt found sobriety through prayer, his desire for drink was replaced by a desire for Christian perfection.