Saturday, July 26, 2014

“Our Lady of Good Counsel and Matthew Talbot” Novena

One of a series of ongoing novenas for peace and justice by the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker Community of Oklahoma City is the following Our Lady of Good Counsel and Matthew Talbot” novena. Details about this and other novenas are available at

July 25 - August 2
”Our Lady of Good Counsel and Matthew Talbot”

God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.
  Let us pray together in peace, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

Holy Mary, Mother of God, help the helpless, strengthen the fearful, comfort the sorrowful, bring justice to the poor, peace to all nations, and solidarity among all peoples.  

Give us strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Open our eyes to see the beauty, joy, redemption, and goodness which comes through obedience to your Son our Lord. Teach us to be a refuge of hope for all who are oppressed by injustice and violence.

Most Glorious Virgin Mary, you were chosen by the eternal Counsel to be the Mother of the Eternal Word made flesh. You know that our thoughts on earth are sometimes full of fear and uncertainty. Send us the gift of counsel to teach us how to discern God's will and to guide us in all we do. 

Matthew Talbot, you were born into poverty, among a marginalized people, and you went right to the edge as an alcoholic. In these times, the strong prey upon the weak and violence, despair, alienation and oppression rule the hearts of many. We pray that your example of solidarity with the poor will inspire us to follow your path and open our hearts, minds, and homes to welcome those who are in need. Intercede before the Throne of Grace for all who are bound in addiction to money, power, violence, illicit sex, drugs, or alcohol.

Lord, in your servant, Matt Talbot you have given us a wonderful example of triumph over addiction, of devotion to duty, and of lifelong reverence of the Holy Sacrament. May his life of prayer and penance give us courage to take up our crosses and follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We ask this through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen." 

Thoughts for the journey. See how Our Lady carefully guides the steps of her Son. What advice did she give to the servants at the wedding at Cana? "Do whatever he tells you!" What does Jesus tell us to do? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, challenge unjust structures, speak out against oppression and hypocrisy, love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. 

Matthew Talbot was born in a slum in Dublin, Ireland in 1856, and died in the same town in 1925. His journey led into the dark depths of alcoholism. But by the grace of God, he experienced a true and lasting religious conversion, and spent his life among the poor, practicing evangelical poverty, working at labor jobs and giving most of his money as alms to the poor and for the benefit of missions. 

He helped people find sobriety. His life was an evangelical witness to the power of the Gospel to transform the most alienated & to bring new life to community in the midst of despair. He reminds us of the precarious place of those we push to the edge. Often they fall off, into the abyss. They are all around us, but we don't notice them because they are really good at hiding from us. In their experience, to be noticed is to be abused, hurt, wounded. Their defenders are few, their enemies are many. 

Through the example of Our Lady of Good Counsel and Matthew Talbot, we can learn to open our eyes and hearts to see the poor who are among us, and stop doing harm to them.