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Special Needs Prayers
Talbot (1856 - 1925) was born in the poverty of
Dublin's inner city. He began drinking at twelve years of age and became
a chronic alcoholic. It was the drug culture of the 19th century. Matt
was an addict. After sixteen years he decided to 'kick the habit'. A priest
helped him, giving him a rehabilitation programme, which providentially
incorporated the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. With the help of
this Priest friend Matt modelled his life on that of the monks, who lived
in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries.
It was a tough programme of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.That was fifty years before AA was founded. After a horrendous struggle, he found sobriety through prayer and self-sacrifice. His Higher Power was the Christian God. He remained sober for forty years until his death. His life story has been an inspiration for alcoholics and addicts throughout the world. He is a candidate for canonisation in the Catholic Church
To his neighbours and his work mates in the timber yards, he was a cheerful, happy friend. He gave away most of his wages every week to the poor at home and abroad. "Matt had no time for money", his sister remarked. He was keenly aware of his fellow workers struggle for social justice. A loyal member of Ireland's Transport and General Workers Union, a Union leader, Stephen McGonagle, described him as "a beacon of light to Irish workers". After a life of heroic perseverance, he died suddenly on the way to Mass on 7th June 1925.
Matt's programme of recovery was built around devotion to the Eucharist, love of Mary, Mother of God, spiritual reading, self-discipline and manual work. But he never forgot his struggle with his addiction. "Never look down on a man, who cannot give up the drink", he told his sister, "it is easier to get out of hell!".
Most of the favours attributed to his intercession world-wide are for addicts and their families. Hundreds have been reported. Some day he may be declared the patron saint for addicts.
Short version of the prayer for his help:
"May Matt Talbot's triumph over addiction, brings hope to our community and strength to our hearts, may he intercede for ...name... who struggles with his/her addiction, through Christ Our Lord. Amen."
PRAYER FOR THE ADDICTED
God of mercy, we bless You in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who come to Him. Give Your strength to N., Your servant, bound by the chains of addiction. Enfold himlher in Your love and restore himlher to the freedom of God's children. Lord, look with compassion on all those who have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of Your unfailing mercy, and strengthen them in the work of recovery. To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Making of a Saint
Matt Talbot was declared Venerable in 1975 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.
Official Prayer for the Canonisation of Blessed Matt Talbot
"Lord, in your servant, Matt Talbot you have given us a wonderful example of triumph over addiction, of devotion to duty, and of lifelong reverence of the Holy Sacrament. May his life of prayer and penance give us courage to take up our crosses and follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Father, if it be your will that your beloved servant should be glorified by your Church, make known by your heavenly favours the power he enjoys in your sight. We ask this through the same Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen."
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