Sunday, April 22, 2018

An Example of Matt Talbot’s Virtue


In our search for references to Matt Talbot, the following excerpt is one of the more unusual.

Keynote Speech by Sr Catherine Joseph Droste OP (Vice-Dean of Theology, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas) at Diocesan Forum on Marriage in Helsinki on October 28, 2017 (https://www.studium.fi/uploads/4/2/7/2/42724907/sr_catherine_joseph_droste_op_keynote_the_beauty_of_marriage_helsinki_2017.pdf

“Virtue, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is a good quality of mind, by which a person lives righteously, and of which he / she cannot make bad use...”
 
“...A concrete example of Thomas’s definition of virtue arises in the life of Matt Talbot, an Irish drunk of the early 20th century. Talbot spent his evenings and weekends getting drunk in local pubs. One Friday evening, he found himself in sorry situation, not only had he spent his week’s wages, but none of his friends were willing to buy him a pint.
In a moment of grace, Matt realized just how low he had sunk. He didn’t get drunk that night but went home to bed. Talbot knew that one night of sobriety did not mean he possessed any virtue, and that the slightest temptation would send him headlong into a drunken stupor. But firmly determined to change his life, and to avoid temptation, he not only changed his normal path of walking to work (to avoid the pubs) but kept no money in his pockets. Eventually his perseverance paid off and he acquired the virtue – ‘a permanent disposition’ not only to avoid getting drunk, but to do it with facility, promptly, and with joy. That’s virtue.”