Ven. Matt Talbot, OFS was born in Dublin in 1856 and died of a heart attack there in 1925 while walking to mass. No one knew how deep his love and devotion to Christ and His Church were until his death. When they went to prepare his body, they found chains wrapped around his body in reparation for his sins.
He was a hard worker, even when he was a drunk, and was known for his quiet strength. His example made him stand out to both his co-workers and friends. He even switched jobs when the morning mass was moved back. Rather than give up his time at mass, he switched his job. Clearly, his priorities were in order.
Matt went from being a devoted alcoholic to a devoted Catholic. Instead of spending his time drinking, he spent his time with his divine Friend in the Blessed Sacrament and at mass wherever and whenever he could. His devotion to the Eucharist is nothing short of extraordinary. Each night he would spend time in prayer in his small room. He would then read some spiritual reading, where he would write the following sayings as the Spirit inspired him, and go to bed at 10 p.m. until he awoke for prayer at 2 a.m. He prayed until 4:30 a.m. when he readied for the daily early mass. After mass, he would eat a small breakfast and go to work. In the evenings, he would attend meetings at church and end up back at his small flat where his routine did not change for nearly 40 years.
Matt joined the Franciscans in 1891 as a Third Order layman. He rarely missed the weekly meetings over the next 34 years. We should take Matt Talbot as an example for his extraordinary ordinariness and holiness that we can all strive towards in our own lives. Matt allowed God to do with him what He willed.
For a man with little education, take a look at the profundity of the following. God was his teacher and his all.
Ven. Matt Talbot, ora pro nobis!
“God will not ask us how eloquently we have spoken, but how well we have lived.”
“God is the wisdom of a purified soul.”
“My God, my great God, my Life, my Love, my Glory.”
“Who can understand sins? From my secret ones, cleanse me, O Lord: And from those of others spare thy servant.”
“But that man would make use of God for his own glory is beyond what we can think of.”
“To know God and to understand His ways and to watch in His presence in all sanctity is the great end of life.”
“Man can fly from everything in nature, but he cannot fly from himself.”
“As to nobility of blood, true nobility is to be derived only from the blood of the Son of God.”
“God, says Saint Augustine, can only be honoured by love.”
“The obedience of Jesus Christ to the will of God was the recognition of the Sovereignty of God over the will of men.”
“I ask you O God to blot out all my sins in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Draw me after Thee, oh Heart of Jesus, and I shall run in to the odor of the ointments.”
“Jesus Christ is at once the beginning, the way and the immortal end which we must strive to gain, but above all in Holy Communion. He is the Life of our souls.”
“The Son of God by becoming man sanctified all the states and conditions of men. Jesus was not always preaching nor healing but he always prayed and suffered.”
“O Most Sweet Jesus mortify within me all that is bad—make it die. Put to death in me all that is vicious and unruly. Kill whatever displeases Thee, mortify within me all that is my own. Give me true humility, true patience and true charity.”
“The Heart of Jesus is with me.”
“The spiritual life consists in two things—mortification and the love of God.”
“The human soul is a barren soil in in which useless and noxious herbs constantly spring up. We must practice being holy and do penance always.”
“Poverty is the foundation of Christian perfection—make this den of thieves a house of prayer.”
“The exterior acts of religion are three—Adoration, Sacrifice, and Vows.”
“Three substances were united in Christ—His Divinity, His Soul and Body.”
“Man enjoys by Union of God to his nature an advantage which the angels never possessed.”
‘What do I want to speak to you when I have Jesus to speak to me.”