Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Reference to Matt Talbot Was Once Banned in Yugoslavia

Very active Venerable Matt Talbot promoter Gregory Jakielski posted the following item yesterday at:
‘In 1960 the Yugoslav police accused of subversive action a person who spoke about Matt Talbot and the Procurator-General forbad the distribution of his biography because he considered it dangerous to the social and political foundations of the State.

Fortunately we do not face such penalties.
Therefore, i invite you to spread information about Matt Talbot.
Invite your friends to like the site and share posts on your site.”

Note: Two references about the above incident can be found at

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Holy Man of Dublin

Holy Man of Dublin
By James J. Murphy
ALEMBIC, pages 27-36
May 1941

Some men build on sand and fail miserably; others patiently seek out sturdy rocks on which to establish lasting monu­ments. Matt Talbot, the model Irish layman, was of the latter type. He had tasted of the food of the world, nay had gorged himself with it, only to find it wanting. Then, in despair and utter humility, he turned to God for sustenance.

There was nothing extraordinary in Matt’s birth. He was born in 1856 and enjoyed all the advantages that typical God­ fearing Irish parents bring. He lived  in Dublin and, with the eleven other children in the family, was educated, worked, and died there. Love of the rosary was daily fostered as the family
group gathered for evening prayer. There are no legends or novel tales about his boyhood. When only twelve, he left the Christian Brothers’ school and secured a position as a messenger for a wine company. Here we trace his fall.

Still only a lad, Matt began to drink. With the same thoroughness that later marked his conversion he attempted to satisfy his insatiable and destructive craving. He received ad­vances on his salary to purchase more and more of the new center of his existence. He pawned his clothes. He borrowed money. Finally he came to depend on the charity of friends who were moved by his pitiful state. When unbridled, man’s desires wreak havoc. Matt Talbot proved no exception. Bitter, scorned, and dejected, he was a veritable slave by his twenty-eighth birth­day. An outcast of society, his future was an infinite sea of blackness. But the ways of grace are strange.

Whether an unconquerable conscience moved him, or the beseechings of his pious mother, or simply disgust with himself can only be speculated. At any rate, in this period of his life he began the great transformation. Seemingly on the spur of the moment he declared that he would take the pledge. A spark
of determination was ignited in him and, with the fervent en­couragement of his prayerful mother, he abstained from drink for three months, then for a year, and finally for the rest of his days.

Let us not imagine that this was a simple procedure. Old and enticing habits are not as easily discarded or changed as a suit or a tie. A definite, slow, painful process must be followed. Victory and peace of soul are found many times in retreat, in withdrawing from the forces that would destroy and 

The humble man of Dublin sought this avenue of escape.
He resolved to avoid his old sinful haunts. He secured another
position whereby he could more easily carry out his difficult
task. He mapped out certain routes which took him away from
the taverns and saloons. Most important, he turned to prayer,
and thus we see him more and more devoting himself to the
things of God as the old passions viciously made final bids for
his scarred and battle-worn soul. Through it all Matt remained

Daily Mass, countless acts of charity, repeated visits to church, sympathy and good cheer for his fellow workers were all in the order of the day. The time outside of his working hours was spent in deep meditation and spiritual reading. He read chiefly the Bible, Cardinal Newman’s works and the Medi­tations of Saint Francis de Sales. Over and above these edifying acts the returning prodigal sought stricter means of chastisement. Matt felt that just as he had gone to the extreme in his vice he should now use all means that would draw him closer to his Master. The strict fasts and bodily disciplines, emblematic of the lives of saints, were zealously carried out by him. The few hours that he did sleep he slept on a board with chains wrapped around his legs and arms. In almsgiving he was most conscien­tious, sometimes keeping a mere fraction of his pay for himself. And with all of his austere practices he logically retained his true Irish cheerfulness for he was at peace with God and himself.

The years slipped by and Matt grew spiritually stronger and stronger. So it is that we find him ready and willing for death. The culmination of his unflinching struggle occurred on June 7, 1925, outside of Saint Saviour’s Church which is
conducted by the Dominicans. As he was waiting for the church to be opened he was suddenly overtaken by a heart attack and passed away, piously gazing upon a crucifix held by a Dominican father. In his passing he was calm and unafraid, for in his life he felt and knew the mercy of God.

No greater summation or praise of Matt Talbot could be given than that expressed by Mr. F. J. Sheed: “There is no looking at Matt Talbot without feeling that he is a perfect example of the Irish people at prayer: not one sort of Irishman but the Irishman as such— the Irishman stripped down to his
Catholicism.” To the Irish especially he is a lovable character for, as one of their countrymen, he typifies their distinctive faith and perseverance. To the world in general he offers a stirring example of a solid character sanely balancing the material and the spiritual. His great contribution to mankind was a good life simply lived and calmly ended. In the midst of chaos,
over-indulgence, and greed, we could well use more Matt Talbots.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Recovery Poem

One speaker at the 2018 Matt Talbot Novena in The Way of the Cross Church, Togher, Cork was Hanna Costello. “Her talk related to how she came to recovery herself when dealing with alcoholism in her family. The man mentioned in the poem which follows has now gone to his eternal reward.”

by Hanna Costello
I still thank God, that no-one drank at home, when I was small
We always kept some bottles in a press out in the hall
They were for the visitors, who came just once a year
And also for the postman, at Christmas for good cheer.
My family never took a drop and so I didn't know
That it wasn't always merry, but a great depressing low
That changed the personality, and radiated fear
And often isolated those addicted to the Beer.

Well, I grew up and fell in love with a man so true and kind
And I thought I'd change his habits. It’s true that "love is blind"
No matter what was going on, the drink was always first
And even after ten of them, it did not quench his thirst.

The love was fading fast but the children-had arrived
My concern for them was such, I feared they'd be deprived
He was a loving Dad in between the bouts
But I couldn't always shield them from the quarrels and the shouts.

"Relationship" I knew not, it was loneliness and fear
Not knowing what was wrong, while obsessed with him and beer
If it weren't for my little six, there’s no way I’d have stayed
There was no one there to help me, not even when I prayed.

Then I reached ‘Rock Bottom’; it was either up or out
When help came to our home, an Angel I've no doubt
"Didn't cause, can't control, Definitely cannot cure"
Lifted such a burden, I listened that's for sure.
Now I'm in recovery and there I'll always stay
Getting rid of my obsessions; getting better day by day
Because alcohol addiction had far more power than I
It was only when the Angel came that I ate humble pie.

The man I love is sober' now, one day at a time
And our borne is filled with happiness, Serenity is mine
I consider it a miracle, that I'm back from the brink
Of depression and obsession; of insanity and drink.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Matt Talbot Let Go and Let God

" What strikes me about Matt Talbot and the reason the church is considering his cause for sainthood is this: he is a model of Christian life and holiness not because things came easy for him, but precisely because in poverty, addiction, desperation and utter helplessness he gave himself entirely to God; not because he achieved something great, but because he allowed God to achieve something great in him. He could have given up, but instead he gave himself to God. In other words, he is a striking example that God wants what is best for us and asks that we cooperate with his grace, with what he is lovingly doing for us and in us. The struggle to do so —to let go and let God— can be mighty indeed. "

          ( By Archbishop J. Peter Sartain , 2007)