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Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Franciscan Saints: Matt Talbot

Jun 18, 2021
The Franciscan Saints: Matt Talbot

Venerable Matt Talbot, Third Order Franciscan
(1856–1925)


Matt Talbot was one of twelve children born to a poor family in Dublin. His addiction to alcohol began at twelve, when he got his first job with a wine merchant. Before long, drink had become the primary focus of his life. All the wages he earned carrying bricks went to support his addiction. What funds he lacked, he begged, borrowed, or stole.

This lasted until the age of twenty-eight, when he was overcome with disgust for his life. Entering a church, he made his confession and took the pledge of abstinence for three months. His mother had cautioned him: “Go, in God’s name, but don’t take it unless you are going to keep it.” Those first three months were agonizing. At one point he collapsed on the steps of a church, in despair at the thought of breaking his oath.

But he kept at it, renewed it for another three months, and thus, by constant vigilance, remained sober for the next forty-one years. From the point that he took the pledge, the focus of his life shifted dramatically. He became a Franciscan tertiary, attended daily Mass, ate sparingly, prayed half the night, and gave generously to charity. (He never carried money with him—always fearful of the temptation to step into a pub.)

On June 7, 1925, Talbot collapsed in the street and died. It was discovered that his body was wrapped in penitential chains, which were buried with him. His cause for canonization was soon opened, and in 1975 he was declared venerable. He is the patron of alcoholics.


Three things I cannot escape: the eye of God, the voice
of conscience, the stroke of death. In company, guard
your tongue. In your family, guard your temper. When
alone, guard your thoughts.
Venerable Matt Talbot


Franciscan Saints

Comments

Fri, 06/18/2021 - 09:24 AM
Awesome info
Fri, 06/18/2021 - 10:53 AM
I am looking for a biography of Matt Talbot. I have been unable to find anything other than a few small pamphlets. Does anyone know of a good book about Matt?
Fri, 06/18/2021 - 02:19 PM
I have a book on Matt talbot….email me with the title Matt Talbot and I will try to forward some info. I have done several Matt talbot weekend retreats, and am looking for more in my area. My email is [email protected] keller.net
Fri, 06/18/2021 - 06:23 PM
Whilst undoubtedly a holy and inspiring man, Matt Talbot has been incorrectly described in your 'Blessings' Newsletter. It was not Matt Talbot who has done more to help alcoholics than anyone else, and he did not devise a programme which has helped millions. That was Bill Wilson, the founder of AA.
Sat, 06/19/2021 - 06:28 PM
AA has helped many people. But it does not work for everyone. 75% of attendees go back to drinking after a certain length of sobriety. The Matt Talbot way to sobriety is very simple, when God is the main focus. Alcohol is no longer the main attraction. When God is the center of one’s life, the compulsion for liquor becomes obsolete. A relationship with Jesus Christ overpowers the craving for alcohol. The AA way of sobriety, through a higher power, doesn’t work for many unless God is the higher power. In AA, God doesn’t have to be the higher power. Your higher power in AA can be anything you want it to be. If God is not present, many find their sobriety is hanging by a thread. The key to sobriety is to give up your pleasure of alcohol for God, and for God alone. When you do this, as Matt Talbot did, alcohol no longer has power over you. You have power over alcohol. When you drink, yes, you are powerless. But God takes the powerless aspect away, and gives you the power to abstain, therefore rendering to you a power over alcohol. AA tells you that you are powerless the rest of your life. The Matt Talbot way is the opposite. One day at a time, the AA way, doesn’t mesh with the Matt Talbot way. Matt quit drinking for good. There was no one day at a time method. With that teaching, you have a constant daily battle with alcohol. You make a pact that you are not drinking today. But tomorrow will worry about itself when it gets here, and the battle starts all over again. Tomorrow you have to tell yourself that you are not drinking that day. But Matt’s way, you don’t have to do that, because you quit drinking for good. Forever! And that only happens through Jesus! Prayer is an integral part of the Matt Talbot way to sobriety. There is no other way. Mat proved it through his method. The Seven Steps of the Matt Talbot Way: 1) Morning prayer offering, which brings you closer to God. 2) Pray to Jesus. 3) The Rosary, and guidance from the Holy Spirit. 4) Scriptural reading. 5) Additional prayers during the day. These can be any prayers of your choice. 6) Nightly prayers. You live your daily life in accordance with the teachings of Jesus.
Sat, 06/19/2021 - 11:50 AM
I have not read blessings as yet but I just sent a message to a”friend of Bill”(code for a member of AA)who happens to also be “Clergy”.Bill Wilson describes us in chapter 5 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous (co-authored with the help of the “ first one hundred”and inspired greatly by a”Higher Power”)… “we are not saints”..Bill writes.
Sat, 06/19/2021 - 11:58 AM
Dear Editors………Oh oh ….I accidentally hit the save before finishing . what I was trying to say needed to be summed up somehow . I never commented before. Find it very hard to express myself properly on paper so to speak.please ignore my comments.

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