Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Learning From Venerable Matt Talbot About Attachment and Detachment of Addictions*


Homily For Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (C) 
by Fr. Billy Swan
July 30, 2019

"Dear friends. I would like to share a few thoughts this week on addiction. I do so not only because it is topical and relevant to our society today but because it is found in the Gospel story this weekend of the man who wasn’t contented with his rich harvest but wanted an even greater return the following year – a year he would never see because of his premature death. Like many addictions, his was to ‘having more’. What he had was never enough.

Now when we talk about addictions, we might be tempted to think only of the big ones we hear about – addictions to alcohol, to smoking, drugs, gambling or pornography. If we do then we might be tempted to cod ourselves in thinking that addictions effect other people but not me. That I’m ok. The truth is that all of us are prone to any number of addictions at any time. Most of us are probably struggling with some addiction right now. It’s not a question of if we are, but more a question of ‘to what am I addicted?’ This is because the human spirit always seeks to attach itself to something greater than itself. And it is this attachment that will either destroy us or fill us with joy in this life and the next.

One man who came full circle on this journey of attachment and detachment was Matt Talbot. It is said that he was a hopeless alcoholic by the time he was 14. He was so addicted to drink that he would do anything and lose everything just to have another drink. He pawned his clothes and boots to get money for alcohol. On one occasion, he stole a fiddle from a street entertainer in Dublin and sold it to buy drink. His addiction to alcohol turned him into someone he hated to be. When he hit rock bottom, he turned to God in desperate prayer and pledged with his grace to detach himself from drink and to attach himself ever more faithfully to God. In his efforts to turn his life around, Matt Talbot was successful but credited everything to God and his mercy.

We can learn so much from his story. The most important thing to learn is how his addiction, like our addictions and every addiction, is a spiritual problem that needs a spiritual cure. Before his conversion, Matt Talbot tried to satisfy his need for God with alcohol before he realised that there is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem. We are prone to addictions when God is not in first place and what comes first instead in our lives are things that can never replace him. Matt Talbot’s detachment from drink corresponded to his attachment to God. To help him make this painful transition, we know he read the writings of St Frances de Sales who urges us not just to give up our addictions but to give up our love for them. So for Matt Talbot, it wasn’t just a question of giving up the drink. It was just as much about giving up his love for it. Since his death on 7th June 1925, Matt Talbot has been an inspiration and sign of hope to people like us who struggle with addictions. He was declared Venerable by Pope Paul VI in 1975 and how wonderful it would be if one day he is declared a saint. He once wrote: ‘Never be too hard on the person who can’t give up drink. It’s as hard to give up the drink as it is to raise the dead to life again. But both are possible and even easy for Our Lord. We have only to depend on him.’

Today we pray for ourselves, that we may know our addictions and admit them. We pray that we become detached and free from whatever holds us back and kills our joy that comes from God. We pray that every day, we may attach our spirits in humble prayer to the God who made them and the God for whom they were made. We pray for all those whose lives are being destroyed by addiction here and beyond. May this be the time when new hope is born and many souls turn back again to God. Matt Talbot, pray for us."

*Note:  We are responsible for this title.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Gregory Jakielski: Advocate of Venerable Matt Talbot


We celebrate the seventh anniversary of Gregory “meeting” Matt Talbot in an article and his subsequent promotion of Matt throughout the world through websites and Facebook in Polish and English and especially in providing free Matt Talbot prayer cards.
 
Since Gregory has been personally paying for the prayer cards, we strongly encourage your financial support for his action at PayPal: mateusztalbot@wp.pl
 
 
The following is his public announcement at https://www.facebook.com/VenerableMattTalbot/
August 26 2019
“7 YEARS WITH VENERABLE MATT
Today is a special day for me!
 
7 years ago in the bookshop in Niepokalanów (Poland) I have received the August issue of the monthly "Word Among Us". There was an article devoted to the Venerable Matt Talbot and so my adventure began. These seven years have passed like one day.
I am asking for prayer for strength and resources for the next years of work for spreading information about Venerable Matt Talbot.”

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Poem Honouring Matt Talbot

Martin Jim McFadden wrote Matt and I "in honour of Matt Talbot
who was a great inspiration to me in my battle with the bottle."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DH69eLI8uSY

More about his sobriety journey is available at


 



Sunday, August 11, 2019

Can Spirituality Help Heal the Wounds of Addiction?

Addiction understanding and recovery options were far more limited in Venerable Matt Talbot’s day. Yet, there are key aspects of Matt's recovery that remain the same.
 
The Opioid Crisis: Can spirituality help heal the wounds of addiction?
by John Burger
Apr 26, 2019

 

Addicts find help in the Twelve Steps, hard work and intense prayer, or a deeper commitment to the sacraments.


Kevin Lowry says the past five years have been some of the toughest in his family’s life. But they have also been years of rich spiritual growth.

The Lowry family saga began when 16-year-old Danikeyel stumbled into his parent's bedroom in the middle of the night and slumped over the bed.

“I’m dying,” he gasped as he begged for prayers. “I can’t breathe.”
 
The Lowrys’ third son was overdosing on drugs. Kevin Lowry called 911, and an EMT crew and hospital staff saved Daniel from death. After that, as Lowry tells it, Daniel went through lots of different approaches to cure his addiction—counseling, physicians, treatment programs.

“But nothing really worked,” he said. “Or it was temporary.”

Through a trusted friend, the Lowrys discovered a program in Florida called Comunita Cenacolo. Founded in 1983 by an Italian nun named Elvira Petrozzi, the “Community of the Cenacle,” to use its English name, provides a structured life of work and prayer for young people who have addiction problem.

The Lowrys found something that worked. Daniel spent four years in the community, “graduated” and returned home. He is doing well, working and looking to go back to school.

About 218,000 people in the United States have not been as fortunate. That’s the number, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who have died from overdoses related to prescription opioids since 1999. And while more than 2 million Americans are thought to be addicted to opioids, there are only 4,000 U.S. physicians who are addiction specialists, says the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Treating addicts takes a variety of forms. In recent years, there’s been an increased interest in cognitive behavioral therapy, general counseling and medication-assisted treatment, said Dr. Marc Galanter, Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine.

Some treatment options, like Cenacolo, also try to address addiction-related issues in a spiritual way or through a spiritual lens.

The “12 steps,” which are the basis of Alcoholics Anonymous and many similar programs, are perhaps the best known spiritual-based treatment option.

“They provide a spiritual outlet in which one can find a relationship with a higher power to quell the cravings and surrender to a new way of life, to do God’s will,” said Scott Weeman, founder of Catholic in Recovery. The ministry draws from both the 12 steps and the sacramental life of the Church to help alcoholics and drug addicts recover. The 12 steps can help one make an inventory of oneself in seeking to know how one’s own behavior and attitude have caused misconduct, said Weeman, a recovering alcoholic.

Dr. Galanter said that until about five or 10 years ago, most treatment programs were 12 step-oriented and discussed the role of spirituality in 12-step programs. “In recent years there’s been a tendency to give it less prominence in their discussion of their programs. But still I would say that the majority of residential programs and a good half of ambulatory programs do include a significant 12-step component,” he said in an interview.

When people come to AA or Narcotics Anonymous, they tend to rely more on the mutual support the programs offer, said Galanter, author of Spirituality and the Healthy Mind. “But if they get involved for the longer term, the spiritual aspects are very prominent. So the long term members are very much oriented toward spirituality and the sense of ‘God as we understood him’ [a phrase from one of the 12 steps]. God as we understood him tends to be pretty universally thought of in a spiritual way but different people define for themselves what God as we understood him means. For some traditional people it may be Jesus Christ; for others it may just be the AA program itself. For some people it’s like a nature or aesthetically oriented spirituality.”

Not all drug addiction programs have a spiritual component, of course, but for the majority, there’s “definitely a recognition and respect of spiritual issues,” said Galanter.

For Nancy Vericker, not only did the 12 steps help with her recovery from alcoholism, it helped her recover her cradle Catholic faith.

“I found a deeper level of meaning when I entered a 12 step program,” said Vericker, author of Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess is Our Message. The book, co-written with J.P. Vericker, her son, tells the story of his opioid addiction and recovery. “It’s not like it’s ‘Oh you get sober and you have spirituality.’ It’s the spirituality that leads you. You rely on your higher power to reshape your mind and thinking. … It really helped me to see the face of a loving and benevolent God. It kind of stripped me of a sense of the institutional Church and focused me to rely on a spiritual journey.”

Weeman, of Catholic in Recovery, sees parallels between the 12 steps and the Catholic sacramental life. The surrender to a higher power, he says, is like a “plunge into the waters of Baptism.” The sacrament of confession is similar to the “thorough process of reconciliation that happens within ourselves, with God and with others, starting with that fearless and searching moral inventory, … asking God to remove whatever defect of character or stain that gets in the way of us knowing and serving him, and making amends to those we have hurt.”

“From there, the process involves maintaining that spiritual awakening by continuing to take personal inventory and promptly admitting when we’re wrong,” Weeman continued. Prayer and meditation help improve “our conscious contact with God as we understand him. From a Catholic standpoint that’s most prevalent through the sacrament of the Eucharist, where we receive the body and blood of Jesus on a regular basis so that we may be filled and may know him in a way that surpasses any human understanding and that that continues to seek God as the source of healing, strength, and goodness.”

Albino Aragno, who runs the Cenacolo Community outside of St. Augustine, Florida, where Daniel Lowry lived, calls the ministry’s approach “very structural and disciplined living, I would say almost monastic.”

“People need order in their life, especially addicts,” Aragno said in an interview. “They never have any structure; they’re always going up and down, on the floor, in the situation and the emotion of the moment.”

The strict daily schedule begins with a 6:15 wake-up, followed by religious services, breakfast, a morning full of work, group prayer, and more work. After supper, there’s group conversation about the Gospel of the day, and opening up about feelings, emotions, and current situations.

“We need something more to grasp, to sustain us in life, because with our own strength we cannot do it,” said Aragno, who himself was an early member of Cenacolo in Italy. Prayer, which includes daily Mass, sacramental Confession, group recitations of the Rosary, and private meditation, “opens the conscience … and then also helps us to really develop a relationship with God,” Aragno said. “He’s the one who’s going to help us sustain ourselves outside of the community.”

In the midst of it all, said Lowry, author of How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church, “there’s a sense in which there’s a character development aspect and a focus on the virtues that goes hand in hand with the spiritual development.

Lowry said that he was shocked to hear another parent whose son was in the Cenacle Community tell him that he would one day see his son’s addiction as a blessing. But his words were prophetic.

“It probably turned into one of the best things that ever happened to me spiritually and my family as well,” Lowry said. “When you have a son or daughter in community you go to monthly support meetings, because we’re really walking alongside them on the path.” Daniel’s addiction, he said, “became probably the single greatest impetus for spiritual growth for my wife and me and probably for some of our kids.”

As for Daniel, he said, “As a result of all the struggles, he’s got a really solid spiritual life and a prayer life that I would love to see in the [family’s seven] other kids.”

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Saintly Secrets: Venerable Matt Talbot

As part of the "Catholic Leaders Webcast Series," Our Sunday Visitor Publishers has available a fifty-nine minute webcast about Venerable Matt Talbot by researcher and author Woodeene Koenig-Bricker is available on demand at

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Venerable Matt Talbot’s “Feast Day”

Matt Talbot was an ordinary poor, Dublin working man, an unskilled laborer with very limited education who struggled with alcoholism. But through the grace of God, Matt was able to overcome his addiction and live a life of heroic holiness, virtue and charity.

He is a great witness that even in addiction, there is hope. May we ask Matt to help those we know in our families and community who are struggling with addictions.

May we also ask God to raise this humble working man to the list of Saints in the Church for he is surely already in heaven.

Matt’s “Feast Day” is commemorated on June 19.

 Venerable Matt Talbot, pray for us

Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Homily that Highlights the Life of Venerable Matt Talbot

In an Easter homily on resurrection by Fr. Dan Fickes at St. Joseph Parish in Avon Lake, Ohio, he discusses the Venerable Matt Talbot, OFS as a former alcoholic who became known as an Irish ascetic revered by many Catholics for his piety, charity and mortification of the flesh. 
This video was posted on Apr 25, 2019 at

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Expanded Venerable Matt Talbot Coverage

Our friend, Gregory Jakielski, is expanding his efforts in providing information about Venerable Matt Talbot.

In addition to providing free Matt Talbot prayer cards in multiple countries, he has had (and continues to have) a Facebook Page and blog in Polish and a Facebook Page in English for some years.

Last week Gregory created an English blog about Matt Talbot primarily for those who do not use Facebook. This new blog (http://venerablematttalbot.blogspot.com) will essentially duplicate information formally found only on his Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/VenerableMattTalbot/photos/?ref=page_internal)

Note: 
While we periodically post the same content, http://venerablematttalbot.blogspot.com and
https://venerablematttalbotresourcecenter.blogspot.com are separate entities created and maintained by different
individuals in different countries.

Friday, June 7, 2019

94th Anniversary of the Death of Matt Talbot

Today is the 94th Anniversary of the death of Matt Talbot. He died as he was walking to another church for Sunday Mass on Granby Lane, Dublin. 

A narrated video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/LUiPjWFs-iE

Related image

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Enhancing Recovery with The Calix Society


Twenty two years after the death of Matt Talbot, the Calix Society (https://www.calixsociety.org/) was founded in the United States to help recovering Catholic alcoholics. Pope (now St.) Paul VI, who declared Matt Talbot “Venerable,” recognized the value of this society in 1974.

Recovering Alcoholics Find Higher Power in the Chalice”
“AA restores your health and keeps you from an early grave. Calix saves your soul and puts you on the road to heaven.” —William J. Montroy, Calix Society co-forre VIunder.”

Alcoholics Anonymous offers incalculable support and guidance for thousands of people each year. Often the life-changing impact leads participants to seek a stronger relationship with God outside of AA. A Catholic organization for recovering alcoholics is helping them do just that.

The Calix Society is a Christ-centered recovery support group. Calix means “chalice” in Latin.

A group of recovering alcoholics in Minneapolis founded the Calix Society in 1947, after meeting weekly at the 5:30 a.m. Mass to pray for an alcoholic priest friend. Realizing their Catholic faith was the surest path to serenity without alcohol, they founded the organization and soon affiliated units sprang up in 70 cities, even without a central office, website or literature. Today there are 33 “units,” or chapters, across the U.S., one in Ireland and one in England. Each chapter is established with the permission of the local diocesan bishop.

Calix complements and extends the recovery efforts of AA and Al-Anon through prayer and the sacraments. In addition to the support of meetings and recovering friends, frequent reception of Holy Communion, confession, personal prayer, Holy Hours, Days of Recollection and retreats foster sanctification of the whole person.

Only when the recovering person achieves some measure of sobriety is he or she ready for Calix. The “credo” of the society tells the story: “Calix is an association of Catholic alcoholics who are maintaining their sobriety through affiliation with and participation in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.” Co-patrons of the Calix Society are Our Lady of Recovery and Venerable Matt Talbot.

The group’s primary concern is motivating a virtue of total abstinence in Catholics with an alcoholic problem. The second stated purpose is promoting spiritual development. Association and conversation together are meant to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to each other, geared toward growth in spiritual maturity.


On Long Island, a group of five Chaminade Catholic High School alumni had already been meeting to support each other in their sobriety. “It’s fairly common for an AA member to have fallen away from or even completely abandoned his faith,” one member shared. “AA has a 'higher power' or 'God as you believe God to be. It’s non-denominational and everyone understands that. Well we believe God to be Jesus Christ, and we find it’s impossible without Him to stay sober. We wanted to be able to talk about God.” The five friends approached their former school in Mineola, New York, for space for a monthly retreat, and have been meeting weekly there ever since.

The monthly meetings included reading the Gospel and praying the Rosary. At some point one of the men heard about the Calix Society, and wondered if becoming part of it could reinforce what they were already doing. They contacted the central office to inquire about becoming a local unit, and then contacted the bishop for his permission to begin in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

One member had been in AA for 14 years “but he was really angry at God,” a member said. “He'd been through some tough stuff. He hadn’t been to confession in 27 years. Over two years with Calix, he changed completely.”

Substituting the Cup That Sanctifies for the Cup That Stupefies
“I had a hard enough time recovering with God,” said Tom, who helped form the new Calix unit. “I can’t possibly imagine doing this without him, and without the Eucharist.”  

Tom has been sober for 16 years and found AA helpful in correcting the character flaws that fueled his addiction, and guiding him toward a more fulfilling life.

“While AA does reference God throughout the literature and step work, direct reference to religion is not encouraged,” he said. “The ‘Higher Power’ is left to be viewed by each member individually.”

“As years passed though, I began to increasingly feel that there was something missing in my life. I knew in my heart that it was my connection to God but did nothing to confront those feelings. I believe now that it was my guilt that had never really been addressed with Him that was blocking that connection.”

Then a good friend introduced him to Calix, simply saying it was a group of Catholic AA members focused on improving their conscious contact with God. “This seemed to be worth exploring and so I attended my first meeting. I had no idea at the time that my life would change from that day forward.”

“I was a bit apprehensive that my absence from the church and formal religion would be frowned upon but that was not at all the case. I was welcomed and encouraged to share openly about that fear from the start... I became hungry to learn more and more and found what had been missing in my life — my connection with God.

“Through the encouragement of the group, I also found the strength to go to confession for the first time in over 30 years. The feeling of peace was overwhelming. Before long, I found myself wanting more and began to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist every Sunday. I also learned the Rosary and recite it regularly with some of the men in the group every Tuesday before our meeting.

“I am a work in progress and don’t claim to be a model Catholic, but my family and friends have noticed the changes in me and my interaction with them. Calix has filled a void in my life and I look forward to continued participation!”

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Relationship Between St. Paul VI and Venerable Matt Talbot

 POPE PAUL VI


Today is a first feast day of St. Paul VI. He was canonized in 2018.
 
On 3 October 1975, Pope Paul VI proclaimed the treatise on the heroic virtues of Matt Talbot, giving the Dublin worker and recovered alcoholic the title of "Venerable."

 

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Statue and Photograph of Venerable Matt Talbot

Statue of Ven. Matt Talbot in Dublin near Matt Talbot Bridge, with a photo of Talbot (inset) in the early 1920s


James Power's statue of Venerable Matt Talbot in Dublin near Talbot Memorial Bridge, with the only known photograph of Matt inserted.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

May 2019 Images of Venerable Matt Talbot by Terry Nelson

 
Last month we posted Terry Nelson’s latest image of Matt Talbot at
 
Yesterday (May 11, 2019), Terry posted two different lighting of this Matt Talbot image, which he titled "One more attempt: Matt Talbot" at
 
Matt Talbot
T. Nelson
acrylic on 5x7 panel.


Brighter-light shot:


Matt Talbot
T. Nelson
acrylic on 5"x7" panel.

The top image is a bit colder but closer to the original as it looks in natural light.  The 2nd image is shot using artificial lighting.  I am not a photographer, to be sure.  I wanted make an attempt to do a painting more closely resembling the only known photograph of Venerable Matt Talbot.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Painting of Venerable Matt Talbot


This painting by Diane Rtemi was received and posted 4/25/19 by Gregory at https://www.facebook.com/VenerableMattTalbot/photos/a.305602539561773/2109824655806210/?type=3&theater
It will go to the Parish of Saint Hedwig of Silesia in Stara Biala in Poland.


Image may contain: 1 person

Monday, April 29, 2019

“One is never too young to learn about Venerable Matt Talbot”


Image result for venerable matt talbot resource centre 
Photograph taken at the Shrine (and mortal remains) of Venerable Matt Talbot located at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sean McDermott Street, Dublin.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Urgent Appeal to Support the Matt Talbot Website Domain

Gregory posted the (slightly edited) following urgent message at https://www.facebook.com/VenerableMattTalbot/
“Last year I registered the matttalbot.ie domain and restored a copy of the official site created by Matt Talbot Dublin Diocesan Committee and Vice-Postulator of Matt Talbot`s Cause. Because the domain has been available for some time I saved it from domain buyers.

I corresponded with Vice Postulator Fr. Brian Lawless about this matter. The domain was to be redirected to the official site which was supposed to be created. Unfortunately until the present moment, I don`t know anything
about the new official website and I don`t have contact with Fr. Lawless. He has not responded to my messages.

Soon I will have to pay the domain for another year; otherwise the domain will be lost. It would be a big loss because this domain is known and provides important information about Venerable Matt.


Therefore, I am asking everyone what to do? I do not have the funds (about $130) to pay for the domain for next year.
The best option would be to transfer the domain to a Vice- Postulator. As I mentioned I do not have contact with him. So I think the only option is to request your financial help to pay for the domain for a another year. I will be grateful for your opinions.”


Image may contain: one or more people and text

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Prayer to Implore the Intercession of the Saints

Paul S. in the Matt Talbot Prayer Group 
April 22, 2019
https://hozana.org/en/publication/50769-prayer-to-implore-the-intercession-of-the-saints?utm_source=user&utm_medium=email_Hozana&utm_campaign=digest

  
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body; that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and the Venerable Matt Talbot, and all the saints, mercifully grant us safety and peace; that all adversities and defects being overcome, that we may serve Thee faithfully in mind and body. We ask you this through our Lord Jesus Christ...

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Terry Nelson’s Painting of a Young Matt Talbot

Artist Terry Nelson has created very popular paintings of an aging Venerable Matt Talbot at https://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/search?q=matt+talbot (and http://venerablematttalbotresourcecenter.blogspot.com/search/label/Terry%20Nelson

Earlier this week (April 1, 2019) Terry released his latest painting of Matt as a young man with the background of the street (Granby Lane) where Matt eventually died at 69 years of age of heart failure while on his way to Mass  https://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/2019/04/my-last-attempt.html 



Thank you, Terry, for spreading greater awareness of Venerable Matt Talbot around the world through your paintings.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Significant Venerable Matt Talbot Activist

We highly recommend following Gregory on Facebook about Venerable Matt Talbot.

Grzegorz Jakielski
"When I prepared 100 praying cards 7 years ago with the prayer for the beatification of Venerable Matt Talbot, I planned that it would be the first and last 100 cards that I will prepare.

But God's plan was different. I would not believe if someone told me then that after seven year I will distribute materials about Matt in such a large amount not only in Poland but also to the furthest corners of the Earth. Not only in Polish, but also foreign languages.

Because the spontaneous action "from the need of the heart" has grown to incredible proportions I officially asked my Bishop for Imprimatur for the prayer for beatification of Venerable Matt Talbot.

Translation:

Romuald Kamiński, Bishop of Warsaw-Prague

In response to a request dated 22 February 2019 after consulting the censor pursuant to the canon 827§3 and 830 of the Code of Canon Law I grant IMPRIMATUR for printing: Prayer for the beatification of Venerable Matt Talbot (for private recitation).
The following must be included in the print: With the consent of the Curia of Warsaw-Prague from 20.03.2019 with number 374(K)2019.
 No photo description available.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Matt Talbot: A Model of Fasting

The following is an excerpt from an article at:


 

“During Lent, Catholics are asked to go beyond the fasting proscribed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and “fast” in some way meaningful to our unique faith journey. In a culture besotted with self-care and self-indulgence, we often question whether ascetic practices like fasting are really helpful.
Venerable Matt Talbot provides an example of someone who used asceticism to help him on his journey from addiction to wholeness. Born into a large family, Talbot lived in poverty-stricken, post-famine Ireland. He began work at age 12, and that’s when a soul-consuming alcoholism took root.

At the age of 28, Talbot, with the help of a confessor, began his journey of sobriety. His abstinence was accompanied by a radical conversion. A laborer and a union man, he joined the Secular Franciscan Order, gave up another addiction — smoking — and began to lead his ordinary life with extraordinary penance and self-sacrifice.

Talbot is at the second rung of a four-step ladder to canonization. A miracle attributed to his intercession could lead to him being declared “Blessed.” But in the meantime, thousands believe he has helped them in their struggle with addiction.

All of us are attached to something that impedes spiritual growth. During Lent, fasting from a behavior — drinking, gossiping, addictive screen time — that interferes with our relationship with Jesus can lead to conversion. An attribute of Talbot was that people described him, despite his self-denial, as a very happy man.

May the discipline of fasting, the discernment of prayer and the justice of almsgiving bring us joy this Lent.”

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Lenten Journey with Venerable Matt Talbot


 
In addition to any planned Lenten reading, we encourage reading  Matt Talbot - A Lenten Journey (2014), a resource compiled by Fr. Brian Lawless, Vice-Postulator for the cause of  Venerable Matt Talbot, and Caroline Eaton. 

It can be read in its entirety at
or 
 https://issuu.com/aidtothechurchinneed/docs/matt_talbot_a_lenten_journey



Monday, March 4, 2019

"Cardinal John Henry Newman to be proclaimed a Saint"

Matt Talbot was basically illiterate when he signed a pledge not to drink, confessed his sins to a priest, and turned his life over to the care of God at the age of 28. He laboriously began to read over the years and would frequently ask his spiritual advisor about certain words and what certain passages meant.

Over the years he read his Bible, the lives of saints, and books by saints. One day, in the timber yard, at lunch break a fellow worker saw him reading a book by John Henry Newman and said, “Isn’t that difficult?” Matt simply answered that the Lord helped him.

Pope Francis to Canonize Blessed John Henry Newman

Pope Francis announced on 2 Feb 2019 a major advance in the cause of the famous 19th century English theologian and convert from Anglicanism. Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) is to be canonized following a Vatican announcement on Wednesday that the Pope had formally approved a miracle attributed to his intercession.

Oratorian Father Ignatius Harrison, postulator for Blessed John Henry’s cause, told the Register Feb. 13 that he heard the news with “enormous elation.”

Everyone at the Birmingham Oratory, which Cardinal Newman founded, is “absolutely delighted that the heroic sanctity has been recognized,” Father Harrison said, “and we look forward to many more graces with his help.”  

The papal decree comes after the Vatican last year judged the healing of a woman to be miraculous. The case relates to a law graduate in the archdiocese of Chicago who had been inexplicably healed in 2013 after praying for Blessed John Henry’s intercession while suffering from a “life-threatening pregnancy.”  The woman, whose name has yet to be made public, was inspired to pray for the intercession of the cardinal after reportedly watching a film about him on EWTN.

The mother had “unstoppable internal bleeding which threatened the life of her child in the womb,” said Father Harrison. “She had long been a devotee of Blessed John Henry, and in prayer she directly and explicitly invoked Newman's intercession to stop the bleeding.”

“The miraculous healing was immediate, complete and permanent,” Father Harrison said, adding that the “child was born normally."

The date of the canonization of Blessed John Henry has not yet been announced, but is expected to take place later this year. “We are now hoping that it will be sooner rather than later,” Father Harrison said.

The founder of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in England, Cardinal Newman was one of the most prominent converts to the Catholic Church from Anglicanism in the 19th century and was a renowned preacher and theologian. 

The author of 40 books and 21,000 letters, his most famous are his book-length Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, Apologia Pro Vita Sua — his spiritual autobiography up to 1864 — and Essay on the Grammar of Assent.

According to Monsignor Roderick Strange, a Newman scholar and author of a book entitled “John Henry Newman, A Mind Alive,”  “He’s not just some figure from the distant past but somebody who really does have something that is significant for us, still today”.

NOTE:  Two informative resources are  
http://www.newmanreader.org/
http://www.cardinaljohnhenrynewman.com/

Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Book Cover Image of Venerable Matt Talbot


A new book about Venerable Matt Talbot appeared in Poland with a new image of Venerable Matt on the cover.

 Image may contain: text


 (Thanks for the 6 February 2019 reference, Gregory, at

Friday, February 1, 2019

Meeting Venerable Matt Talbot: Patron of Alcoholics

For readers who are interested in beginning to learn about Matt Talbot (1856-1925), we recommend the website created by Fr. Brian Lawless, Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Matt Talbot, and the Dublin Diocesan Matt Talbot Committee, which is now available at http://mateusztalbot.pl/talbot/index.html or www.matttalbot.ie/

This site includes the following sections:

Story:
Matt’s Early Life
The Dark Years
Matt the Worker
The Road to Recovery
Matt on Strike
Prayer and Spiritual Guidance
Matt’s Ultimate Victory
The Account of Matt’s Holiness Spreads

Videos:
Matt’s Early Life
The Dark Years
Matt’s Conversion
Matt the Worker
Death and Legacy

Prayers:
Prayer for the Canonisation of Matt Talbot
Asking Matt’s Help in the Presence of the Lord

Contact:
Private Message: https://www.facebook.com/VenerableMattTalbot/
E-Mail Message about Matt Talbot mateusztalbot@wp.pl

Links:

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Venerable Matt Talbot Readership by Countries

Some writers maintain that the name of Matt Talbot is not well
known outside of Ireland. That may remain true for certain countries but less so for others.

Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland in August 2018 and kissing a Matt Talbot relic surely increased awareness of Matt worldwide, especially for Catholics.

To see what the top ten countries are that have read about Matt Talbot posted on our Venerable Matt Talbot Resource Center blog over the past eight years indicates the following ranking: United States (53%), Russia, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Ukraine, Canada, Poland, and China.

Viewing just this past month's readership about Matt Talbot, the United States and Russia far exceeded Singapore, Poland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Canada, Germany, and Unknown Region.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Beginning Each Day Anew

Paul S. posted  the following in the community Matt Talbot Prayer Group on January 14, 2019.
Today the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite celebrated the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. When we are baptized, whether as infants or as adult converts, we are "born again," born into the life of grace and we become the adopted sons and daughters of the Father. 

We can take this to heart as people suffering from addictions; when we recover, we are "born anew," ready to recover a life we are meant to lead. If you are a member of this Group because someone else in your life is an addict or alcoholic, then you may be a witness to their rebirth.

Everyone of us begins each day anew; each day is another chance to start afresh. Each day we can contemplate our baptism and what it means for us to be children of God. Rather than regard our baptism as something that happened at some point in the past, or was just a nice ceremony welcoming us into the Church, we can look to it for inspiration to resist sin, start anew and grow closer to God. We are His children. That is a profound declaration. Many can spend years meditating on that fact.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Announcing the “Matt Talbot Prayer Group”

Paul S. at http://www.sobercatholic.com/2018/12/31/announcing-the-matt-talbot-prayer-group/ has announced a new online prayer and fellowship group “to encourage one another in our sobriety and recovery from addictions.” Consider joining and/or pass the link to others.
 
In addition, note other relevant information available at Paul's blog.