June 19th also happens to be the feast day of Matt Talbot, the Irish hard laborer and ex-drunkard who if he ever gets around to interceding miraculously, will get beatified and then canonized, and become a patron saint of alcoholics and addicts.
If you are a reader of this blog, then you probably know of him; how he was a drunk, begging and borrowing money to support his pub crawling, lending money when he had it to support others’ drinking habits, and how on that awful day, when he had no money and worse, no beer, turned out he had no “real” friends either, since no one wanted to spot him any further cash, discovered he had no access to the drink and decided to “take the pledge,” total abstinence from the drink.
It worked, and Matt led a life of humble piety, going to daily Mass, reciting the Rosary every day, and reading many spiritual books, including “Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” by St. Louis De Montfort.
Matt’s basic plan was to transfer his “love for the drink” onto the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He took to heart the admonition to “seek ye first the kingdom,” and made a throne for the Sacred Heart in his own soul. “Where your heart is, there shall your treasure be,” and the treasure of Matt’s heart was Jesus’ Sacred Heart and His Most Immaculate Mother, Mary.
It is said that Matt’s piety, devotion and sacramental life lead him to live out the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous decades before they were ever conceived. In essence, he discovered them independently of Bill Wilson (AA’s Founder.) This should silence all Catholic critics of AA and the Steps who claim it fosters indifferentism. It does, if one’s Faith is weak, but if you simultaneously reach out and explore the spiritual riches of your Catholic Faith while also working the Steps, you should become a stronger Catholic. A good Catholic faith and prayer life, rooted in the Sacraments, the Beatitudes and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy “just happens” to parallel the Twelve Steps.
I’ve written about him before, see Matt Talbot Post Archives and there are also links on him in the sidebar.
EDIT: The one thing I do not know is why his feast day is June 19th rather than June 7th, the day he died. Typically, someone’s feast day is their date of “entry into Heaven,” i.e, if they get beatified or canonized, their death day. If anyone knows…Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)