Thursday, January 1, 2015


Matt Talbot (1856 – 1925) is mentioned in this 1935 article ( about the upcoming new year.




FOR millions of our fellow-countrymen, 1936, if it comes, will be a New Year only in the sense of One Year More or Another One. Next Wednesday will be a day for starting a new wallcalendar, a new diary, a new page in the pass-book, and perhaps for registering some new resolutions ; but the Year will be new only in the sense of the new handkerchief or collar which, as a matter of course, will quickly be soiled and soon be worn out.

To some extent, every one of us is subject to the New Year's almost intrinsic quality of deterioration. Although rustless and stainless steels have lately been invented, no human soul is chromium-plated. We must beware, however, of that deadly Defeatism which says, in effect : " I will make no New Year resolutions, because I know I shall break them, and I will form no New Year hopes, because they are sure to be mocked by events."

In a vital respect, which may also be a victorious and a triumphal one, we can all, if we will, make 1936 a truly New Year. January, not less than this fading December, will surround us with the old corrosive and soiling and stunting influences ; but we can create for ourselves a radically new situation by resolving, with the firmest resolve we have ever made, that, God helping us, we will use all the divinely-provided counteractives to defilement and failure. It is no mere pious platitude, but is literally the Gospel truth, that Grace is so proportioned to the needs of those who implore it that the famous New Leaf can be not only turned over but kept unblotted, while day by day and month by month, it is inscribed and filled with none but pure thoughts, seemly words and good deeds.

Without going back to dusty pages of medieval hagiography, which may be suspect in modern eyes, we can find many proofs in our very own days that when a poor mortal, despairing of his own feebleness and futility, lays hold of the Divine Help with both hands, he can enter upon a truly " new " life which will not melt into the ugly slush of broken resolutions but will remain perennially pure and bright, like the eternal "snows on high mountains. An instance of this was MATT TALBOT, that woefully poor and obscure Irish workboy who was transformed suddenly and durably from a feckless half-drunkard into a saint of God.

Protestants as well as Catholics are annually exhorted, when a New Year approaches, to appropriate hungrily and thirstily the spiritual meat and the heavenly elixir of life which are theirs for the asking and the taking. But, over and above other inestimable differences, surely Catholics are in the better position for -acting on this advice. They have the Sacraments — tangible, accessible and inexhaustible.