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.”