Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Poem

The following poem was recited by James Finley, Ph.D., during his presentation at the 2010 conference, “Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate.” It appears on page 8 in the March 7, 2010 post by Dr. Bill Kerley titled, “It’s Not Right! It’s Not Fair! It’s the Kingdom of God!” or View as HTML

Matt Talbot was a drunkard
Dismas was a thief
Magdalene was a playgirl
and Thomas without belief

But there they are in heaven
Looking down upon us now
Each holding a tilted halo
To a badly battered brow

And so the sins of all you sinners
Don’t definitely damn
For your was-ness doesn’t matter
If your is-ness really am.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Erasing a bad habit with a good habit

The following is an excerpt from a homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 13, 2011, by Fr. Gabriel Burke.

“...In the fight against sin we need to employ the virtues. We are aware of the 7 deadly sins, pride, covetousness, lust, anger,gluttony, envy and sloth but we must also make ourselves aware of the opposite virtues, humility, liberality,chastity,patience,abstinence,love and diligence. We take our most habitual vice and implement its opposing virtue. A bad habit will only be erased by a good habit. We must struggle everyday and have a battle plan in implementing a new regime.Take the life of the Venerable Matt Talbot, a chronic alcoholic by 21 yet he gave up drink one day and never looked back. It was a struggle in the beginning. In order to overcome drink he substituted the time he spent at the pub with long walks. This led him to going to churches. He spent less time walking and more time praying. When one day he entered a pub, he was not served and on leaving the pub went to a church and made the resolution not to carry money with him. In this way if he did have a craving for drink he would have no money to pay for it. This is exactly the type of thing Christ wants us to do. He does not mean that we are to literally pluck out our eye or chop off our hand. He wants us to really fight against vice and turn to virtue. We are to radically turn around our lives...”

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Dr. Heather Barnett Veague has recently published the book, Cutting and Self-Harm (2008), for teens and young adults. While she includes present day age-appropriate case studies in this text of important psychological disorders, it may be arguably inappropriate to have included a side-bar story about Matt Talbot, considering the time and place in which he lived, historical influences, and the guidance of a spiritual director. Most Christian ascetics choose a life of penance and mortification of the soul not out of masochist leanings, but for the imitation of Christ in real-life.

The first link includes the brief story about Matt, pages 14-15, but most of the book is not available for preview. (You may need to insert “Matt Talbot” in the “search in this book” box.) The second link provides most of the text of the book, but the Matt Talbot pages are not readable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Drawing of Matt Talbot

This drawing of Matt Talbot appears in Talbotania: The Journal of the Talbot Research Organisation, Spring, 1982, Vol. 3, No.1.

One article about Matt can be found on pages 2-6 at

Talbotania is no longer published, but Volume 1 (1977) through Volume 11 (1996) can be found at

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Matt Talbot's Tomb

Venerable Matt Talbot's tomb is located in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sean MacDermott St., Dublin, Ireland. Information about this church is available at
A street sign to the tomb of Matt Talbot can be seen at .

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What makes a 'fast-track' saint?

We are occasionally asked about the seemingly “slow” pace toward official sainthood of Venerable Matt Talbot. While we do not have any “inside” information about his cause proceedings (nor any other information about Matt) beyond what is available on the web and in books, we must realize that the process has taken one or more centuries of many who become officially recognized as saints.

There are a few, however, who are on a “fast-track” toward sainthood. John Allen, a veteran Vatican correspondent for NCR, suggests in this article that most fast-tract sainthood cases share five traits.