Saturday, August 30, 2008

Publicizing Matt Talbot

This is one of multiple examples of introducing Matt Talbot to others. It was created by the Knights of the Southern Cross-Australia for their 2006 Formation Program titled "The Saints in our Lives."
After reading the session on Matt Talbot, you may want to view the Formation foreword, segments, and theme links.


Foreword & Segments

session NO 6

topic: “matt talbot”

A layman who turned his life around

opening prayer:


In looking at the life of Matt Talbot, we may easily focus on the later years when he had stopped drinking for some time and was leading a penitential life. Only alcoholic men and women who have stopped drinking can fully appreciate how difficult the earliest years of sobriety were for Matt. He had to take one day at a time. So do the rest of us.

word of god

& The Gospel according to Matthew 5: 1-12

The Word of God is now read aloud slowly and prayerfully

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Allow a few moments reflective silence and then read the following:

Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925)

Feastday – June 19

Matt was born in the poverty of Dublin's inner city, where his father worked on the docks and had a difficult time supporting his family. After a few years of schooling, Matt obtained work as a messenger for some liquor merchants; there he began to drink excessively. For 15 years—until he was 30—Matt was an active alcoholic. This was the drug culture of the 19th century. Matt was an addict.

One day he decided to take "the pledge" for three months, make a general confession and begin to attend daily Mass. A priest helped him, giving him a rehabilitation programme, which providentially incorporated the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. That was fifty years before AA was founded. There is evidence that Matt’s first seven years after taking the pledge were especially difficult. Avoiding his former drinking places was hard. He began to pray as intensely as he used to drink. He also tried to pay back people from whom he had borrowed or stolen money while he was drinking.

Most of his life Matt worked as a builder’s labourer. He joined the Secular Franciscan Order and began a life of strict penance; he abstained from meat nine months a year. Matt spent hours every night avidly reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. With the help of his priest friend, Matt modelled his life on that of the monks, who lived in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries. It was a tough programme of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. To his neighbours and his work mates in the timber yards, he was a cheerful, happy friend. Though his job did not make him rich, Matt gave away most of his wages every week to the poor at home and abroad. "Matt had no time for money", his sister remarked. He was keenly aware of his fellow workers struggle for social justice. A loyal member of Ireland's Transport and General Workers Union, a Union leader, Stephen McGonagle, described him as "a beacon of light to Irish workers".

After a life of heroic perseverance, his health failed and Matt was forced to quit work. He died suddenly on his way to church on Trinity Sunday. Fifty years later Pope Paul VI gave him the title Venerable. Matt can be considered the patron of men and women struggling with alcoholism. He remained sober for forty years until his death. His life story has been an inspiration for alcoholics and addicts throughout the world.

For the next five minutes silently read and reflect on the readings.

Underline what you consider to be key words and/or phrases for you.

Share your insights in discussion of the following:

v What are some of the addictions which can take you away from the Christian life?

v How can we, as Knights of the Southern Cross, assist those struggling with addiction in our communities?


Leader: Matt's programme of recovery was built around devotion to the Eucharist, love of Mary, Mother of God, spiritual reading, self-discipline and manual work. But he never forgot his struggle with his addiction. Some day he may be declared the patron saint for addicts; and so we pray:

All: Lord God,

May Matt Talbot's triumph over addiction, bring hope to our community and strength to our hearts, through Christ Our Lord. Amen


Permission has been granted by LSCA to reproduce this activity.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

For the Healing of an Addiction, One Day at a Time

This day I have within me the resolve of Matt Talbot.
This day I have within me the discipline of Brigid.
This day I have within me the triune faith of Patrick.
This day I have within me the courage of Brendan.

This day a pilgrimage,
One step at a time.
Let me walk with Matt Talbot
And the pioneers of sobriety.

This day is a pilgrimage,
One step at a time.
Let me walk with Brigid,
Her staff a guide and discipline.

This day a pilgrimage,
One step at a time.
Let me walk with Patrick,
His Breastplate, my daily shield.

This day a pilgrimage,
One step at a time.
Let me sail with Brendan,
Safe, sober, and clean at day's end.

Source: Fitzgerald, William John, A Contemporary Celtic Prayer Book, (1998). Chicago, IL: ACTA Publications, p. 117-118.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Freedom from Addiction

by Sarah Jennings, Family Editor

Crosswalk the Devotional - Aug. 18, 2008

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12: 1-2

Have you ever met someone you thought was beyond God's reach? Someone whose life has sunk to such depths all seems hopeless? Most of us can think of people we've encountered like that. It may even be someone we love.

When we start to lose hope for another's soul, it's good to remind ourselves that some of the greatest Christian Saints were some of the most broken people. This week, in my search for Christian heroes, I encountered the story of one such person that did not resemble the perfect stained-glass images I grew up with. His name was Matthew Talbot, and here's a glimpse into his life.

The second of 13 children, Matthew was born in Dublin, Ireland on May 2, 1856. His family was poor and heavy drinking was the norm among his father and brothers. So from the start, Matthew was predisposed to alcoholism -- and sure enough, his drinking began at age 12.

As Matthew entered his teen years, odd jobs led way to a career working with bricklayers. While the local community considered him excellent at his trade, his drinking became central to his life. By the time his twenties arrived, it was common for Matthew to spend all his earned wages obtaining alcohol. When that wasn't enough, he began selling his possessions and eventually resorted to credit. Finally, after racking up too much debt, he sunk to an all-time low: stealing.

Not only was Matthew a heavy drinker-turned-thief, but he had a terrible temper and a vulgar tongue. Gripped by his disease and his poor choices, Matthew's life was going nowhere. His mother, Elizabeth, pleaded with him to change his ways. Finally, Matthew's life sunk so low he had no earthly place to turn.

So, in 1884, Matthew's mother received an answer to her prayers. The 28-year-old went to the only place left to go: Church. There, he confessed his sins and took a pledge to avoid drinking for 3 months. He seemed an unlikely candidate to keep the pledge. Yet Matthew had experienced an interior conversion in that church.

Three months passed, and he was still sober. Inspired by his progress, he pledged to avoid drinking for life and also gave up tobacco.

While Matthew's first several years of sobriety consisted of intense, interior battles, he lived the rest of his life with unwavering devotion to God. The once angry, vulgar Irishman became kind to those he encountered, and he paid back all his debts. He lived simply, prayed daily, and served those in need.

Mathew Talbot died at age 69 while walking to church. He had been sober for 41 years.

Matthew's story is a testament to God's transforming power as well as our participation in that transformation. A tearful mother pleaded, a broken young man made a decision to change, and God poured out His graces. It's also worth noting that Matthew, with the help of his pastor, employed many of the same steps later incorporated into the Alcoholic's Anonymous 12-Step program. While he wasn't healed overnight, Matthew Talbot eventually experienced new life, giving hope to those battling addictions and the people who love them.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Devote your quiet time this week to praying for the "impossible cases," especially those in the throws of addiction.

Further Reading:

Matthew 14:34-36
(Details of Matthew Talbot's life obtained from "The Venerable Matthew Talbot" and the Venerable Matt Talbot Resource Center:


Saturday, August 16, 2008

"It is constancy that God wants"

Although Matt Talbot never wrote more than one short letter in his life, he did write on scraps of paper and in books. The title quote is one by Matt that is often repeated as it is in this homily that includes the retelling of a very special love story.

Homily for August 17, 2008: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Deacon Greg Kandra
The Deacon's Bench
posted August 16, 2008

This week, in the Boston Globe, I read the story of an elderly couple named Sol and Rita Rogers. They’ve been married 61 years. They’ve raised a family and lived a long and happy life together. A few years ago, that began to change. Rita developed Alzheimer’s. And she is slipping deeper and deeper into dementia.

Several weeks ago, she was taken to a health care center, where she now has to live. The first few days, she screamed and talked incoherently. She could barely form words with her mouth. Most tragically, she could no longer recognize her husband. She had no idea who he was. This was agony for him. He would go home from visiting her, trembling with grief, overwhelmed by sadness.

One morning, he went into her room, and saw her lying there and had an idea – an idea, he said, that could only have come from God. Sol climbed into his wife’s tiny twin bed, and put his arms around her. And he just held her. He hugged her. He whispered to her. That’s all. But something happened. As he put it, “I got into bed with her and loved her and it lifted my depression.” And Rita was transformed, too. She responded to his touch. And she began to talk.

He now does it every day. Rita’s doctor says that her “old memory” recalls being in his arms, remembers how he used to hold her, and part of her is able to come back.

Now Sol spends a couple of hours of every day, just holding Rita, telling her he loves her, and she tells him she loves him. Just as they have for 61 years.

I can’t think of a more beautiful example of what married love is all about – for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. The venerable Matt Talbot said that it is constancy that God wants. Persistence. Perseverance. Sol Rogers had that – and more.

And so did the Canaanite woman in today’s gospel.

It comes down to never giving up for someone you love.

Never losing faith.

The Canaanite woman was the mother of a very sick girl, a child tormented by a demon. The girl may have suffered from epilepsy, or schizophrenia. Terrors in the night. Paranoia. Inconsolable fear. We can only imagine what the mother was going through. The helplessness, and the worry.

But this mother had something more powerful. She had faith – faith in someone who was not even a part of her race or religion. Jesus became her last, best hope.

And so the mother went to Jesus and implored his help. Not once. Not twice. But three times. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. Finally, Jesus was so moved by her faith that he couldn’t refuse her. And her daughter was healed.

Hearing this story again, we discover something timeless and true. It is something that St. Paul even mentioned in his famous letter to the Corinthians, the one we hear so often at weddings.

Love never fails. It can spark miracles.

Because love itself is a miracle.

Love that endures across 61 years is a miracle.

Love that pleads for a sick child again and again and again is a miracle.

A miracle of unceasing devotion … and unwavering faith.

Yes: faith. Faith is a subject we’ve been hearing about a lot over the last few weeks in our Sunday readings. Last week, you’ll remember, Peter tried to walk on water, but began to sink when his faith failed him.

We are being taught a valuable lesson in all this. Faith transforms. It can turn water into walkways. And it can drive away demons.

But it requires more than we realize -- more than we often feel able to give.

Faith requires that we keep walking, even when the wind and waves are against us.

Faith demands that we keep pleading, even when God seems to turn away.

Faith asks us to wrap our arms around those we love, even when they don’t remember who we are.

It defies logic, or reason. But that is what is so extraordinary – and so extraordinarily difficult. Faith asks us to believe in the unbelievable…to trust that the impossible will be possible.

Like love, faith asks that we surrender ourselves to something we can never fully understand

And it asks us to persevere.

If we do that, the result may astonish us. We may find ourselves walking where we’ve never walked before. We may see life renewed, and hope restored.

Sol Rogers said he knows that his wife Rita will never fully recover. But he told the Boston Globe, “While she’s with me, I want to enjoy every minute.”

And so he holds her. And she smiles. And the demons are dispelled.

Every day, for as long as he is able, he says he will do this.

Call that love. Call it commitment. But those moments exist because Sol never gave up. He persevered. And he continues to.

Since I read that story, I’ve been thinking of Sol and Rita. I think of them late at night, when I hold my wife’s hand before we go to sleep. I think of what it takes to love, truly love, another. It takes constancy, as Matt Talbot put it. Tenacity. Trust. The belief in something, and Someone, greater than ourselves.

It takes what the Canaanite woman had.

It takes faith.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Saved or Spent"

In this latest collection of (100) homilies, Once Upon a Gospel (2008), Fr. Bill Bausch includes one homily titled "Saved or Spent" (based on Luke 13: 22-30) in which he asks, "How did you spend yourself in service to others. Or was everything saved for one's own self?" For his illustration he introduces the reader to Matt Talbot.

beginning on page 242. (If a problem occurs, just type "Matt Talbot" into the "search in this book" box.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recovering Meditations on the Stations of the Cross

One of the multiple spiritual practices that Matt Talbot engaged in in sobriety was regularly making the Stations of the Cross, which numerous sources posted here have noted, including the eye witness account by the late Sean T. O'Ceallaigh, the second President of Ireland (1945 to 1959), who as a alter boy personally knew Matt between 1890 and 1897 at St. Joseph Church, Dublin.

For those interested in making the Stations of the Cross within a recovery context, click, for a 16 page printable Word Document from the Calix Society.

Reference note:
The quote by Sean T. O'Ceallaigh regarding Matt Talbot can be found on page 239 in the book, Saintly Men of Modern Times - Google Books Result.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Spreading the word about addiction, recovery and Matt Talbot

This message is to alert readers of the Venerable Matt Talbot Resource Center website about the U.S. National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, which is September of each year. Their site at provides a wealth of information and activities for helping people learn about the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction and recovery.

Whereas some might choose to initiate and participate in community events, others might do so through their church, especially if one's church does not have a recovery ministry or services. This might be a good time to spread the word specifically about Matt Talbot and his approach to recovery in whatever format would be acceptable to your priest (and perhaps parish council). Note the two following links:

Recovery Month Guide for Clergy and Faith-Based Groups
... As the founding director of the Matt Talbot Recovery Center, I-along with the center itself-am celebrating 20 years of this work. ... - 90k -

Personal Stories at Recovery Month
... Recovery had taught me to live my life passionately. Gregory K. Alex, MA, CDC Executive Director The Matt Talbot Recovery Center. ... - 46k -

We would greatly appreciate an email from those of you who are involved in such efforts to help others learn about addiction and recovery as well as informing others about Matt Talbot.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Amazing Grace that Saved a Wretch like Matt Talbot and Us!

Homily for the Nineteenth Sunday Year A

by Fr. Tommy Lane

John Newton was an English sea captain. During a storm at sea he promised his life to God if he survived. The ship survived and he later studied for ministry and was ordained and became pastor of a small church near Olney, England. He became famous as a composer of hymns, and one of them you know well, Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.’

We can identify with the second verse of John Newton’s hymn. We have all come through many dangers, toils and snares. We did not do it on our own, it is grace that has brought us safely as far as now and we trust that grace will lead us home. Like the disciples struggling against a heavy sea in the boat who were reassured by Jesus calming the storm we all need the reassurance and help of Jesus to calm the storms in our lives. Like Peter sinking, sometimes we need the Lord to stretch out his hand and save us.

When a trial comes we may be tempted to say, “God doesn’t care about me”, or to think other negative thoughts. But God is always faithful and never abandons us and doesn’t cause our suffering. When you think about it, an amount of suffering is caused by the cruelty and inhumanity of humans to humans. So much of the suffering could be avoided if everybody took the Gospel to heart. We could have heaven on earth. But since we don’t, and we have to face storms like the disciples in the boat, Jesus catching Peter by the hand is, I think, Jesus’ way of telling us that he is there for all people of all time to catch them by the hand and take them to safety. If you are struggling with a problem at this time can you imagine Jesus catching you by the hand and pulling you up to safety? See him before you and hear him saying to you, “Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.”

Many passages in the Bible give us encouragement when we are struggling. Obviously God intended that the writers to include these passages in the Bible to give us courage in our storms. There are so many beautiful passages but I can only give you a sample of a few now.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
stop being anxious and watchful, for I am your God.
I give you strength, I bring you help,
I uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isa 41)

Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you;
or through rivers, they will not swallow you up.
Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched
and the flames will not burn you (Isa 43)

Does a woman forget her baby at the breast,
or fail to cherish the son of her womb?
Yet even if these forget,
I will never forget you. (Isa 49)

With God on our side who can be against us? Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph by the power of him who loved us (Rom 8:31-37)

None of the trials which have come upon you is more than a human being can stand. You can trust that God will not let you be put to the test beyond your strength, but with any trial will also provide a way out by enabling you to put up with it. (1 Cor 10:13)

We could also add Jesus’ words to Peter in today’s Gospel, “Man of little faith, why did you doubt?”

This is just a small selection of most beautiful texts. God certainly wants us to understand that he is with us in our storms. When a storm hits, take the hand of Jesus and let him lift you to safety.

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.’

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Becoming Prayer

Even with only a brief introduction to writings about Matt Talbot,
one can recognize that in sobriety he became not only a man of
prayer but was one who
"prayed without ceasing." In light of the
following reflection we can also recognize that Matt "became prayer."

Are we learning to "become prayer?"

Reflection by Deacon Keith Fournier
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online)

Through prayer, daily life takes on new meaning. It becomes a classroom
of communion. In that classroom we learn the truth about who we are -
and who we are becoming - in Jesus.

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances
give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.”
(1 Thess. 5:16-19)

St. Paul wrote these words to the early Christians in Greece. They did
not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families,
occupations, and real struggles, beyond what many of us could imagine.
They also suffered greatly for their faith in a hostile culture.

He instructed them to “Pray without ceasing”. Did he really mean it? I
believe that he did. The older I get, the simpler life gets. That does not
mean it is “easy”. I speak of spiritual simplicity, the kind of attitude
which gets right to the root of what really matters. I believe that Paul
meant what he said to the Christians at Thessalonica and that his words
are important to those who bear the name Christian today.We need to pray.

Prayer is an ongoing dialogue of intimate communion with God. God
fashioned men and women as the crown of His creation, creating us
in “His Image”, for this loving, relational conversation of life with Him.
At the heart of understanding what it means to be “in His Image” is to
understand the immense gift of human freedom and what has happened
to our capacity to choose. Love is never coerced.

Our relationship with God was broken, separated and wounded through
the first sin, the sin of origins or “original sin”. That sin, like all sin since,
is at root a misuse of freedom infected by pride and self sufficiency. Our
ability to exercise our freedom rightly, to live His Image by directing our
capacity for free choice always toward the good, was impeded through
the fall. Freedom was fractured.

The “Good News” is that through Jesus Christ, the way has been opened
for an even fuller communion with God, one that is restored through His
Incarnation, Saving life, Death and Resurrection. In Jesus Christ we are
being re-created, re-fashioned and redeemed. He comes to live in all who
make a place for Him within the center of their lives. This “making a place”
is the essence of Christian prayer. It is not about doing, but about being.

The Lord wants us to freely choose to respond to His continual invitations
to love. We will only find our fulfillment as human persons by entering into
that kind of relationship. This is the meaning and purpose of life itself. As
we grow in faith through our participation in the life of grace, lived out in
the Church, our capacity to respond to His loving invitation grows as well,
through prayer.

Prayer is about falling in love with God. Isaac of Ninevah was an early
eighth century monk, Bishop and theologian. For centuries he was mostly
revered in the Eastern Christian Church for his writings on prayer. In the
last century the beauty of his insights on prayer are being embraced once
again by both lungs, East and West, of the Church. He wrote these words
in one of his many treatises on Prayer:

“When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person
has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases
to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from
then on departs from his soul. Whether he is eating or drinking or sleeping
or whatever else he is doing, even in deepest sleep, the fragrance of prayer
rises without effort in hid heart. Prayer never again deserts him. At every
moment of his life, even when it appears to stop, it is secretly at work in him continuously, one of the Fathers, the bearers of Christ, says that prayer is
the silence of the pure. For their thoughts are divine motions. The movements
of the heart and the intellect that have been purified are the voices full of
sweetness with which such people never cease to sing in secret to the hidden

The Christian revelation answers the existential questions that plague every
human heart and trouble every generation. Through His Incarnation, Saving
Life, Death, and Resurrection, Jesus opens full communion with God for all
men and women. He leads us out of the emptiness and despair that is the
rotted fruit of narcissism, nihilism and materialism. When we enter into the
dialogue of prayer, we can experience a progressive, dynamic and intimate
relationship with God and He transforms us from within. We, as Isaac said,
can “become prayer” as we empty ourselves in order to be filled with Him.

Through prayer, daily life takes on new meaning. It becomes a classroom
of communion. In that classroom we learn the truth about who we are -
and who we are becoming - in Jesus. Through prayer we receive new
glasses through which we see the true landscape of life. Through prayer
darkness is dispelled and the path of progress is illuminated. Through
prayer we begin to understand why this communion seems so elusive at
times; as we struggle with our own disordered appetites, and live in a
manner at odds with the beauty and order of the creation within which
we dwell only to find a new beginning whenever we confess our sin and
return to our first love. Prayer opens us up to Revelation, expands our
capacity to comprehend truth and equips us to change.

Through prayer we are drawn by Love into a deepening relationship with
Jesus whose loving embrace on the hill of Golgotha bridged heaven with
earth; His relationship with His Father is opened now to us; the same Spirit
that raised Him from the dead begins to give us new life as we are converted, transfigured and made new. Through prayer, heavenly wisdom is planted
in the field of our hearts and we experience a deepening communion with
the Trinitarian God. We become, in the words of the Apostle Peter “partakers
of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) That participation will only be fully complete
when we are with Him in the fullness of His embrace, in Resurrected Bodies in
a New Heaven and a New earth, but it begins now, in the grace of this present

The beloved disciple John became prayer. He writes in the letter he penned
in his later years: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may
be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not
know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what
we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope
based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin
commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness” 1John 3:1-4

As we “become prayer” our daily life becomes the field of choice and we are
capacitated to choose the “more excellent way” of love of which the great
Apostle Paul wrote. (1 Cor. 13) Pondering the implications of the exercise
of our human freedom becomes a regular part of our life, as we learn to
“examine our conscience”, repent of our sin and become joyful penitents.
Prayer provides the environment for such recollection as it exposes the
darkness and helps us surrender it to the light of Love, the Living God
dwelling within us.

“Becoming prayer” is possible for all Christians, no matter their state in
life or vocation, because God holds nothing back from those whom He
loves. This relationship of communion is initiated by Him. Our part is to
respond. That response should flow from a heart that beats in surrendered
love, in the process of being freed from the entanglements that weigh us
down. The God who is Love hungers for the communion of sons and
daughters - and we hunger for communion with Him - because He made
us this way. Nothing else will satisfy. The early Church Father Origen
once wrote: “Every spiritual being is, by nature, a temple of God, created
to receive into itself the glory of God.”

We were made in the “image” of God and are now being recreated into
His likeness in Jesus Christ. As we “become prayer’, that likeness begins
to emerge. We give ourselves fully to the One who gave Himself to us and
cry out with Jesus Christ “Abba Father.” No longer alienated, we participate
in the inner life of God who now dwells within us. We also dwell in Him
through His Spirit. This dwelling is prayer. It is not about doing or getting
but about being, becoming, receiving, giving, and loving.

We will live the way we love and we will love the way we pray.
A wonderful spiritual writer of our own time, Henri Nouwen, understood
the intimacy of prayer and the call to live in God. He wrote these words in
his work entitled Lifesigns:

“Jesus, in whom the fullness of God dwells, has become our home by
making his home in us he allows us to make our home in him. By entering
into the intimacy of our innermost self he offers us the opportunity to
enter into his own intimacy with God. By choosing us as his preferred
dwelling place, he invites us to choose him as our preferred dwelling place.
This is the mystery of the incarnation. Here we come to see what discipline
in the spiritual life means. It means a gradual process of coming home to
where we belong and listening there to the voice which desires our attention.
Home is the place where that first love dwells and speaks gently to us.
Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God.”

Let us learn to “become prayer.”

Deacon Fournier is writing a series of reflections on daily Catholic
Christian living. Catholic Online will soon be offering these reflections,
"Bread on the Trail: Daily Food for Daily Life" to all those who subscribe
to a free newsletter. "Bread on the Trail: Daily Food for Daily Life"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One commentary on the play, "Talbot's Box"

We have previously noted two plays about Matt Talbot. (See our link for "plays.") An analysis included in the book, Contemporary Irish Literature: Transforming Tradition (1998) by Christina Hunt Mahony can be found at
In the search box to the left of your screen, type "Talbot's Box."
Then click each page link (p 149, 150, 151, 152).

Other commentaries on this play by Thomas Kilroy are available through a Google search.