Friday, November 21, 2008

The Twelve Step Prayer Book

Whether or not one is familiar with the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or even alcoholism, the prayers and readings compiled in this prayer book may be of interest. To view some of its content, click the link below.

The Twelve Step Prayer Book: A Collection of Favorite Twelve Step Prayers and Inspirational Readings
By Bill P., Lisa D.
Published by Hazelden, 2004
ISBN 1592850952, 9781592850952
150 pages

A second edition (with 44 new prayers) of the best-selling book of prayers and inspirations for those seeking just the right words for conversing with their Higher Power or for expressing their innermost thoughts and feelings.Words of wisdom and inspiration, gleaned from Twelve Step meetings and adapted from common prayers and devotional readings, fill the second edition of this popular prayer book. Featuring 44 new prayers, the updated and enhanced second edition offers a total of 183 inspirational passages to assist members of all Twelve Step fellowships in their prayer life and spiritual progress. Anyone who has had difficulty finding "the right words" to speak with his or her Higher Power will find abundant resources in this stirring collection.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Matt Talbot and "The Irish Way"

One of the earliest, if not the earliest, book chapters on Matt Talbot was published seven years after his death by Frank (F. J.) Sheed in his book, The Irish Way, published by Sheed & Ward publishing house in London in 1932.
In this collection of eighteen portraits of Irish saints and other exemplary Catholics from the Irish past who devoted their lives to faith and religion, Sheed describes Matt Talbot as the authentic Irish Catholic layman, and the first "Irish layman who had even been thought of for canonization."
The actual details of Matt's life that Sheed used for this portrait are from the bibliography of Matt by Sir Joseph Glynn, which can be found at

The full text of The Irish Way can be found at :
The 16 page chapter on Matt Talbot is located at the end of the book, pp 327-343.

One article about Frank Sheed can be found at

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Venerable Matt Talbot Devotional

Today, we pray with one voice, asking that each of those suffering from the spiritual death of addiction will be liberated from the bonds of compulsion and craving; that the hold of these harmful behaviors will be released forever.

We call to you, Lord Jesus, and to the Power upon whom you called, that like the Prodigal Son, these brothers and sisters, held in the grip of death by addiction, will be able to return to a life free from harmful dependence.

Matt Talbot was led out of the despair of dependence, by living and working in prayerful devotion. He was dedicated to helping others. Through abstinence, prayer, the Sacraments, and reading of the Word, he was saved. Today, we ask that each of the addicted be led out of the shadows and into the light of hope.

With the example of this humble servant, and all the Saints who have struggled and prevailed, we ask that our plea for sobriety be heard, and that the energy needed for recovery will be available to all who seek Your help.

Show us the way out of addiction. Lead us to a new life of Faith.
Teach us, through the example of Matt Talbot, to discipline of living addiction free lives.

Send each of those who suffer from addiction behavior the strength and courage needed to overcome dependence. Inspire us to seek abstinence and sobriety in our day to day lives, to live as Matt Talbot lived, by the light of Your Holy Spirit, and the guidance of Your redeeming grace, as we seek the miracle of recovery. We ask this in the name of God, the Most High, Amen.

Say this prayer daily and spend time in meditation each week seeking the intervention and intercession of Venerable Matt Talbot.

Note: This prayer was sent by Kevin O'Hara who helped develop a parish ministry for those addicted and affected by addiction, called "Friends of Matt Talbot."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pondering Our Own Death

Whereas the readings for All Souls Day and homilies focus on the passing of others, they may also lead us to reflect on our own death, which we may do so ranging from hope and confidence in God's mercy to anxiety and fear.

The following are excerpts from the reflection for All Souls Day, pages 292-293, from A 12-Step Approach to the Sunday Readings (2002) by Fr. Jim Harbaugh S.J. Perhaps
these words can offer some comfort for those who work the twelve steps but are uncomfortable in thinking about their our death.

"In countries like Mexico, All Souls is the Day of the Dead, a festive occasion...; dead loved ones are still very much part of the family. Here in the United States, death is a lonelier affair. We may resist memories of those we have loved who have died, because they naturally lead us to think about our own deaths. What lies on the other side of death is, of course, an 'outside issue' for 12 Steppers--it's a case of death as we understand death. There is no such thing as 12-Step orthodoxy on this point (or any other, in fact). Still, I think that those of us who have been 'reborn' through practice of the Steps (see Big Book, 63) possess an important clue about what death might mean.

This makes sense to me: a Power that can bring us back from a deathly illness is worthy of trust in the matter of our deaths as well. We can prudently turn our will and our lives---and the end of our lives---over to the care of such a Power.

Or you might want to ponder these words of Bill W.: when we feel 'new power flow[ing] in,' early in recovery and later, and as we improve our 'consciousness of [God's] presence, we beg[i]n to lose our fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter' (Big Book, 63)."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

They Didn't Start Out As Saints!

Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Catholic Exchange

November 1, 2008

Feast of All Saints

Rev 7:2-4, 9-14 / 1 Jn 3:1-3 / Mt 5:1-12

As we mark this Feast of All Saints, it’s fascinating to remember where some of the better known saints started out and how their lives proceeded. St. Matthew was a tax collector. St. Mary Magdelene practiced the oldest profession in the world. St. Peter was impetuous and something of a blowhard, and he had to be pressed hard before he’d let gentiles become Christians unless they first became Jews! The whole lot of the Apostles ran for the hills when Jesus was taken captive in the Garden of Gethsemane, and that was just a short while after their robust promise that they’d follow Him anywhere and die with Him if need be.

The list could go on and on, but the point is a simple one: none of these great saints started out as saints. Quite the contrary was true. They slowly and painstakingly evolved into holy men and women, with many starts and stops and numerous temporary reversals. And very often, as many of them have testified in their diaries, they suffered from deep discouragement at their lack of progress and their frequent mistakes. St. Paul spoke for them and for us all when said in anguish, “The good that I would do, I do not.” Isn’t it the truth.

There’s a lesson in all this for us who are still struggling along our own roads: Growing up into God’s image and likeness takes a long time. It’s a lifetime work, and God understands that. After all, He’s the one who put us together.

So take heart. Rejoice in the little triumphs as they happen. Each one brings you a step closer to home. Each one brings you a step closer to the embrace of our Father.


Note: Venerable Matt Talbot would in all probability be absolutely shocked that we would remember his life today as one proposed for sainthood, but God had other plans.

The last paragraph of this homily reminds us of a recovering friend who is known for saying at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, "Hi, I'm Barb. Thanks to God and this program, I am alive and sober today and one day closer to home."