"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Today is Matt Talbot's Birthday

May 2, 1856

"Somewhere along the path of life of every human being there comes a dread moment when he suddenly sees himself for what he is." - Fr. Ralph Pfau

I had hoped to finish my new painting of Matt Talbot by today - but I have more to do.

I started it last year - then set it aside until last month.  I was working on some other images.

This is the way of the Prodigal Son, who dropped on his knees in the swine pen and cried: "Father, I have sinned" or with it's echo "I am powerless... my life is unmanageable"- and perhaps for the first time in his life that man REALLY prays and begins to MEDITATE, THIS IS THE HUMBLE MAN. And day by day he prays and he MEDITATES on TRUTH lest again he fall back into his former life-long HABIT OF EXCUSES. For the LIFE OF ALL IS LOADED WITH EXCUSES-AND SYSTEMATIC, PERSISTENT AND CONSISTENT MEDITATION ALONE WILL DISSIPATE THEM. "With desolation is the land made desolate because there are none who thinketh in their hearts." - Fr. Pfau

Matt Talbot gave up drink for the rest of his life when he was 28 years old.  He did without it.  Human beings can change, they can give up legitimate goods when their affection for them gets to be disordered and turns out to be an obstacle to union with God.

Sacred Heart of Jesus,
I place all my trust in you!


  1. From one of The Golden Books ? sounds like it: I had a few of those, most notably The Golden Book Of Resentments. All such good stuff. Such common sense has long since escaped our world, I fear. Was Father John Doe this Father Pfau ? I wonder, Terry, if you ever had any exposure to Chalk Talk ? Was the narrator this same Father....I was very fond of those. At a young age ( 10 when she stopped drinking) I was soaking up the materials my Mom brought home from AA. Once while at a big AA shindig in Toronto, she met the wife of Bill - very heady stuff back in the day. ..these days...how few find any reason to put the breaks on their proclivities. 'the disease of special-ness' was also, I Think, a phrase of this well-loved priest - what would he think of our times....? Originally alcoholism was perceived as a weakness of character. No re-hab places, they would find themselves in the drunk-tank of the local jail.
    now it is a multi-billion dollar business. rather than members going to someone's home and bringing them in to a meeting, and involving the family, one goes into a re-hab place which strikes me as something like a stepford-wife thing. just my own rebellion. I recall the days when members would call their 'newbe' a pigeon, and as a sponsor would really take a huge role in helping: when AA was truely a self-contained organization. 'never mind'.
    My mother not only went to AA but to Al-Anon - as well. As my father was an alcoholic, too, but one who never was able to escape the cloud of narcissism that swirled about his head. How often I used to wonder which came first, the dis-ease of addiction causing the narcissism or was one drinking to assuage
    this affliction ? whatever - isn't there also a 12-step program for sexual addicts - I have not heard much about this for quite a while: um...maybe nobody finds compulsive sexuality a problem anymore ?
    Myself: I Am hooked on the internet: I am 'off' of it: but obviously on, for tonight: I kept wanting to forward a link to you, Terry, for a cat toy I got from Amazon some time ago: my sweet feline is so enamoured of it I must lock it away so she does not potentially hurt herself: when I get home from work, she almost immediately gets in front of the case and, looking up, cries for me to take it out and play. oh ! I just realized - she is hooked !
    I am sorry, but I Must go on a bit more re: AA: my mother was frequently suicidal - & she told her sponsor she drank because she thought she was going crazy: to which her sponsor explained that it was drinking that was making her crazy. At that Mom's thinking began to clear.
    I too love Matt Talbot. and St Joseph Labre, yet another Saint who thought with his heart.
    ah ! deep meditation and prayer to dissipate our blindness and open our eyes and hearts to the constant Presence and Love of Our Savior ! Who alone allows us to Fall so that we have the lovely recourse to Him alone for all safely. What grace !
    Consolata, who must resist this machine so that she will pray more.

    1. Thanks for your great comment - I never heard of Chalk Talk - I'll look into it. Good to hear from you Consolata.

  2. Terry, it is for stuff like this, "Human beings can change, they can give up legitimate goods when their affection for them gets to be disordered and turn out to be an obstacle to union with God." that I cannot give up walking the abbey-roads of the net. There's the hope of the Gospel, of a life that really is in-Christ and aren't we all disordered in our own special way(s) __ [No question mark because that was not really a question, what it?]

    1. I just saw an interview on Tavis Smiley with Robin Roberts - she quoted her mother saying, "Everybody's got something." Her mom told her that when she felt picked on for this and that, and then again when she got cancer. Not to diminish her suffering, but to help her understand that everyone has their own 'cross' - that we aren't special in our 'condition' - it's what we do with it. I think I got that right.

      But like you say - we are all disordered in some way - the result of the Fall-original sin,- but "the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

      As His minister, you know that better than I do.

      I'm so glad you are my friend.

    2. I''ve been back reading the Jerusalem Bible. I like the plain spoken and sometimes lyrical flow. Here's that same passage, JB--style: 2:11 You see, God's grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good. Now this is what you are to say, whether you are giving instruction or correcting errors; you can do so with full authority, and no one is to question it."

      Don't know I know this any better than you. I do know I need to do a more consistent job of moving it from what I know to what I do.

      Thanks for the kind word.

      P.S. I've returned < http://owenswain.com/3/ > and in part, it's your "fault" ;-)

  3. Terry, you always spotlight interesting people of whom I hadn't heard of before. An Irishman who stopped drinking!!! Who woulda thought of that. Though I did have to laugh that he lived by himself most of his adult life when he wasnt living with his....mother. A true Irish bachelor.

    1. I never thought of that before. Although living with his mother, I think he may have been her support as well - not sure. Italian boys do the same thing.

      He was a pretty tough guy though. I keep thinking I'm finished with the painting and then I see some details I have to work on.

      Matt was pretty good about other drinkers - he always recommended patience with them, since it is so difficult for alcoholics to quit.

    2. I wasn't implying anything about him sexually. I just meant it as an Irish kind of thing...drinking, never married, living with Mom. A kid I grew up with is STILL living with his Mom to this day, and never married or dating, but I don't think he is gay...just Irish and odd, (they do go hand in hand..Im Irish I can say it.)

    3. No, no. I didn't think you did at all - nor did I. LOL! People can't even discuss stuff anymore without 'that' creeping in.

      He just lived at home - like Italian guys still do.

      It's all good.

  4. Oh yeah. the Irish. My antecedents are Irish Alcoholics. I lived with my parents for a few decades, caring for them unto their death. A Very Irish thing to do. and, odd, too. As I was frequently told, then reminded of, just in case I forgot. This can create a Big Chip Upon The Shoulder. Another thing The Irish are pretty darn good at.
    consolata, whose temporary foray back into the joys of the internet ends in a day, and she will plunge back into silence.

  5. Irish music is one of my favorites. It's "nostalgic" and "happy" mixed-together, difficult to explain, mostly the Irish-folk I do like quite a bit. I read Ven. Matt Talbot's biography by Mary Purcell, "Matt Talbot and His Times" and learned a lot about the time he lived in, too. He had said he had "broken his mother's heart" (because of his drinking) and I know what he means since I "broke my Dad's heart", in a sense, (not for my drinking but for others sins and mistakes). Once when he was working at a certain house there was a young woman who noticed he was "different" than the other men, as he didn't swear, was a bit more serious, but just as friendly and polite as anyone. And so she actually proposed Marriage to him and Matt Talbot responded he would give her an answer in a few days. So he made a novena to the Blessed Mother and at the end of it he approached the girl and said he had prayed about it and the Blessed Virgin had said it was the best for him to remain single!! The girl was really disappointed as she seemed to like Matt Talbot quite a bit. So he remained single. I read his life-story when in my twenties and it truly impressed me and was one of the most wonderful books I've ever read!!..

  6. And reading about the "Pledge" he made to stop drinking started me thinking (and hoping) there were other similar "pledges" to help stop other types of addictions, like being on the internet too much as Consolata was saying. Maybe some "lay-religious" groups like the lay-Carmelites or others might not be the same as Matt Talbot used to help stop drinking but they might help very much too.

  7. ,,,its hard. I am really hooked. after this foray I will be 'reduced' to the one-hour-a-day allowed at the local library, courtesy Of The Bill And Malinda Gates Fondation. :)
    there was a book written, several years ago, about one's brain changing from this, for me, over exposure. I think it was called..The Shallows..?
    when I am "Off" my concentration eventually gets more focused: prayer is Much better - but the lure of this is so great ! just collecting more & more Catholic Information...and it seems so essential at the time ! and Important !
    what Is important: no matter what will come...(and I agree, Terry, it is coming, I am convinced:) we have the Rosary: we have The Eucharist. I am not alone in confusion about what is happening with all these disparate voices and cries of this and that.
    I am enjoying a book by Ralph Martin about the 'urgency of the new evangelization. and a few others.
    *sigh*. off to work.


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