Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Daily Resource about Venerable Matt Talbot

Daily posts about Matt Talbot began 13th July 2014 by Colin in the United Kingdom which are currently available at

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quotes About Eucharist Adoration

Matt Talbot’s voice is one of many on the importance of Eucharist Adoration. Have you added yours?

Venerable Matt Talbot (1856 to 1925)
Third Order Franciscan known for doing great penances
"How can anyone be lonely, with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament?"

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recovery and Venerable Matt Talbot

Fr. Louis Scurti, a New Jersey priest and certified marriage & family therapist, discusses the life of Venerable Matt Talbot and recovering from addictions today in this June 19, 2014 seven minute video at

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wooden sculpture of Venerable Matt Talbot

Grzegorz Jakielski, at, has posted this photograph of a 2 ft. wooden sculpture of Matt Talbot. It was carved by the grandmother of a recovering alcoholic as a parish gift for a priest in Poland who is very interested in Matt Talbot.
Grzegorz has also posted 12 photographs taken at the tomb of Matt Talbot, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Seán McDermott Street, Dublin, at

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Venerable Matt Talbot - A Prodigal Son

The following two posts are found at, where Fr. Brian Lawless, Vice-Postulator of the Cause for Canonisation of Venerable Matt Talbot, leads the Parish Team.

July 20, 2014 post

At the age of 28 Matt Talbot had his conversion experience which changed not only his life but the lives of so many others. Matt’s conversion was also his home-coming.

A conversion experience is always a home-coming:
- turning away from an
- being reconciled with our family,
- forgiving an old hurt,
- going to confession after a long absence.

Once we are there we look back and wonder at our resistance.
Here was something that we needed in order to live, and yet we did not recognise it;
the truth of ourselves demanded it, and yet we did not accept to do it.

Now, Lord, by your grace, we know that your Word has been made flesh
and found a home in us.

Lord, be with all those who are homeless and alone tonight.

July 12, 2014 post

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, that like the Prodigal Son, that our 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, the discipline of living addiction free lives.

Send each of those who suffer from addictive 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 recovery. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A New Birth

The message In this recent homily by Fr. Phil Bloom, pastor at St. Mary of the Valley Catholic Church, Monroe, Washington, is that "God allows the flesh to have power so that we will realize our weakness and come to him. The suffering involved in humility is labor pain" and uses the life of Venerable Matt Talbot as an

Life in the Spirit Week 2
(July 13, 2014) 

We are now in the second week of our series on "Life in the Spirit."* Spirit is the aspect of our being that enables us to have a relationship with God and with each other. The Spirit (with a capital "s") refers to the Holy Spirit. As we shall see, even though you and I have a capacity for God (capax Dei), we can realize that potential only in the Holy Spirit.

We saw last week that St. Paul makes a distinction between spirit and flesh. "You are not in the flesh," he says, "you are in the spirit." The flesh refers not just to sensual pleasure, but the whole downward pull of our human nature. For example, one of the ugliest sins of the flesh is envy. Envy doesn't seek sensual pleasure. Envy wants to cut other people down. I will address envy later in this series. For now, please fix in your mind that the flesh is not about partying, but about pulling down other people and one's own self.

Paul makes clear that God did not create us with this downward pull. It resulted from our own free choices. God allows the power of the flesh to continue because he respects our freedom, but also so we can learn humility. Humility is the great virtue. An arrogant man stands apart from God - and from others. A humble person acknowledges his need for God and others. To teach humility God allows us to fall. St. Therese of Lisieux said: "We would like never to fall. What an illusion! What does it matter, my Jesus, if I fall at every moment? I come to recognize by it how weak I am and that is gain for me."

We fall, yes, but God does not want us to stay in the mud. He desires to lift us up. As St. Paul writes today, God wants us to have "the glorious freedom of the children of God." That glorious freedom begins with humility and depends on constant humility - acknowledging my need for God and my need for you.

Humility has a price: suffering. I wish we could buy humility at Home Depot or get it by just thinking about it, but it doesn't work that way. Humility costs pain. St. Paul compares it to a woman in labor. A man once told me about the birth of his first child. He and his wife had taken all the childbirth classes and they felt ready. His wife is a brave woman who seldom complains. But he said that he had no idea women suffer so much. But then what joy when they held their newborn child!

So it is with us. We daily experience the labor pain of a new creation - a new birth.

Jesus describes that new birth with the example of a seed. If a seed could speak, it might say, "Please, leave me alone. I am happy in my little shell." A seed can live in its shell indefinitely. Archaeologists discovered a date palm seed when they excavated Herod's Palace in Judea. The seed goes back to Jesus' time and it theoretically could last until doomsday. A human can likewise stay wrapped up in himself for his entire life - and into eternity. That's the "hell" Jesus warns us against.

But you know what happened to that two-thousand-year-old date palm seed? Scientists planted and watered it - and it germinated. God wants to do something similar for you and me. He wants to rescue us from the isolation and sterility of hell. When the seed is immersed in soil and water, it breaks open, receives nourishment and as Jesus say, "produces fruit a hundred, sixty and thirty fold."

The life of Venerable Matt Talbot shows how humility leads to productivity. I spoke about Matt Talbot on Corpus Christi Sunday. When was twelve he got a job helping a wine merchant. He started "sampling the wares" and within a year became addicted. He lost that job, but got another one at a whiskey store. He spent most or all of his wages in pubs. Running up debts, he pawned his possessions including shirts and boots. One evening in 1884 (when he in his early thirties) he was penniless and out of credit. He waited outside a pub hoping his "friends" would invite him to a drink. None did. Matt went home in disgust and announced to his mother that he was "taking the pledge." He went to a priest to make a three month pledge, then six months, which finally extended to forty years. The first days and weeks were the most difficult. He found strength in Mass (daily if possible), prayer and a program of aiding others. He got a job as a hod carrier and worked so diligently that the foreman put him first in line to set the pace for others. With his earnings, he repaid his debt and made restitution for things he had stolen, then quietly began quietly helping the needy. The greatest help was to show them how to recover from addiction - for example to alcohol or gambling. He helped hundreds to find sobriety and a deep relationship with Jesus.

Venerable Matt Talbot shows what God wants of us - to break out of our isolation, our self-enclosure. That requires humility. It means recognizing our need for Him and for each other - the Church, the Body of Christ. If I knew some easy path, I would tell you - and I would take it myself. But humility involves pain. God allows the flesh to have power so that we will realize our weakness and come to him. The suffering involved in humility is labor pain. As St. Paul says, God wants us to "be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God." Amen.

Satisfying our hunger and thirst

The message of this homily by Fr. Phil Bloom, pastor at St. Mary of the Valley Catholic Church, Monroe, Washington, is: “Like Matt Talbot all of us experience a thirst, a hunger nothing in this world can satisfy.”

Like Someone Dying of Hunger
Homily for Corpus Christi, Year A
June 22, 2014
Today we celebrate Corpus Christi - the Body and Blood of Jesus. In the first reading Moses says that the Lord allowed us "to be afflicted with hunger" so that we could appreciate the manna - the one bread that would satisfy. The famous theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905 –1988) says it this way: 

"When receiving the Eucharist each person must remember that he is falling into the arms of God like someone dying of hunger in the wilderness of this life." 

Let's be honest. It's sometimes difficult recognize that we are dying of hunger. We have been blessed with more abundance, more opportunities and more gadgets than any generation in human history. At the same time we experience a very real hunger: a sadness that people want to cover over. But, you know, maybe a person should feel sad if he trying to live by bread alone, not by every word that comes the mouth of God. 

We need something more than this world's bread. Jesus says, "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." Jesus' words should startle us as they did his original hearers. "I am the living bread come down from heaven," he says, "whoever eats this bread will live forever and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." 

That's what I want to offer you - Jesus the bread of life, the only one who will satisfy your hunger. Here at St. Mary of the Valley we are trying to become a more welcoming parish, to meet the needs of young families, to strengthen our music and to have homilies with a helpful message. All of these things are vital, but we have to keep in mind the teaching of Vatican II: that the Eucharist is the source and summit, the fount and goal of the Christian life. The Eucharist is an end in itself. I am the living bread come down heaven, Jesus says. 

In his book, "Journey to the Heart of Jesus," Archbishop Sartain writes about the importance of consistency in attending Mass. He uses the example Matt Talbot who by age 13 became addicted to alcohol. He sunk deeper and deeper until he hit bottom fifteen years later. Desperate, he made a pledge of sobriety on his knees. With the help of a priest, he established a disciplined program of recovery and he remained sober for forty years. His program foreshadowed Alcoholics Anonymous and he helped hundreds discover that they thirsted not for alcohol but for something else - or to put it more accurately for someone else. 

Matt Talbot's recovery involved quietly participating in Mass. Mass, private prayer and tending to the needs of others were the pillars of his program. "It is consistency God wants," he is often quoted as saying. Matt Talbot died on June 7, 1925 on his way to Mass. Fifty years later Pope Paul VI declared him Venerable and I believe someday we will say: St. Matt Talbot, pray for us. 

Like Matt Talbot all of us experience a thirst, a hunger nothing in this world can satisfy. As we celebrate Corpus Christi, I would like to conclude by again quoting Hans Urs Von Balthasar:
"When receiving the Eucharist each person must remember that he is falling into the arms of God like someone dying of hunger in the wilderness of this life." Amen.