AS OTHERS SAW HIM
He “sought through prayer and meditation to improve his conscious contact with God” (11th step of AA programme). He converted his incessant craving for drink into a drive for closer union with God – a one-day-at-a-time approach which lasted forty years.
“It is consistency that God seeks”, Matt Talbot said. He carried out faithfully each day the spiritual programme given to him and visited a priest friend every Saturday for direction – a help to addicts who are advised to attend regular meetings and have a sponsor.
He gave himself totally to his new way of life. Once a self-centred alcoholic, he showed outstanding kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness to his family, his neighburs and to his fellow workers.
Sense of Justice
He was keenly aware of the unjust treatment of workers in his day. He refused to return to work after a strike in 1900 and sought another job. “He was very strong in the rights of labouring men”, according to Ted Fuller, a workmate “and said they should stand up for themselves.” He shared his small wages with his poor neighbours and even contributed to an orphanage in New York.
The Making of a Saint
Matt Talbot was declared Venerable in 1973 which means that the church has decided that from a human point of view, he has the qualifications of a Saint. However a physical miracle is required to show Gods Approval of this judgement before he will be Beatified and another Miracle after that, before he will be canonised.
The Holy father believes that Matt Talbot has been chosen by God as a model for addicts. He was a recovered Alcoholic. It is now known that the rehabilitation programme given to him in 1884 incorporated the 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous. although these steps were not formulated for another 50 years.
Devotees of Matt Talbot may be interested to learn that the present Pope wrote a paper on Matt when he was a young man.