Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I Sold My Shoes
Our situation here is not good, so I'm only up for a few soft balls, when indeed we have some corkscrews and spitballs waiting in the wings. This person is looking for a patron saint for a chronic and worsening burden. When I'm ancient and babbling, I'll be babbling about who is the patron saint for what.
I'm not asking for the burden to go away, but I'd just like to know if there was a particular patron Saint for people who just need to borrow a little strength so they can carry on - like a New Testament version of Samson or something?
You could try asking for the burden to go away. I'd pick a person who is awaiting a miracle for their canonization and ask for their intercession. What's the downside? I'm partial to the Blessed Brother Andre, late of Montreal, a believer in miracles himself, and to Venerable Matt Talbot, the fantastically amazing drunk who turned his own life around on a dime (although he did have trouble giving up smoking, as he lived before the day of the nicotene patch, acupunture and hypnosis).
I can't remember if I've told you about Matt Talbot before, so bear with me if I repeat myself. I've been hanging around with even more amazingly old people than usual and I'm picking up their habits. I'm beginning to like mushy food, for example. I'm also driving very slowly for no reason.
Matt Talbot was an Irishman with a bunch of brothers and a saintly mother. He started drinking at age 12. He became a roaring drunk. He drank away his paycheck every week. He sold his shoes for booze.
(My old friend Sister Mary Arthen, nee Flossie, used to sing a little ditty that went "I sold my shoes....for a bottle of booze" whenever she played the Adagio from
Beethoven's Pathetique. There's a part of that where those words fit perfectly.)
Finally, after a pathetic afternoon of standing outside the bar begging for someone to buy him a beer (and being ignored because everyone was so sick of buying him beer) he slumped home to his saintly mother and told her he was going to give up the sauce. She warned him that it would be very difficult. HIs struggle was horrendous. He always said that losing the cigarettes was much worse.
Mr. Talbot lived a long life and helped many other people get on the wagon. He died one day walking to Mass, dropped dead in the street.
I thought I read somewhere that his guidelines formed the basis of what we now know as AA, but I always thought AA was someone else's idea. I'll have to look that up. I do know that there are places called "Matt Talbot House" all around the world. I'll bet the people at the Matt Talbot Houses smoke like stacks and drink coffee like it's going out of style, if you know what I mean.
And I also know that he is patiently waiting for his miracles. Clearly the man had strength to deal with a chronic problem. This is where you come in!
If that doesn't float your boat, you can go for the Archangel Gabriel. The name Gabriel means "Strength of God". Works for me!