Mattie’s Spirituality & Message
Baptized in the Catholic church as an infant, Mattie studied for and received the sacrament of Confirmation at 8 years of age. At the age of 9, he began serving as a Minister of the Word (Lector), reading from the Bible during weekday and Sunday Masses. A year later, he began teaching CCD (Sunday School) to 2nd graders. At age 11, he began teaching the 6th grade CCD class.
Many of Mattie’s poems and essays reflect his friendship with God. Mattie embraced Catholicism and said that his life and spirit were strengthened by the Saints and Holy Eucharist. He also respected and studied the diverse faiths of people around the world, believing that God creates and loves all people, and that a message of hope and peace is a gift to be offered to everyone.
Mattie believed that we are each born with a “Heartsong” — or a reason for being and a purpose in life. He shared and celebrated that “Hope is real, peace is possible, and life is worthy!” — if we each choose to embrace such truths in attitude and action, for ourselves and for our world.
Mattie envisioned a world at peace, and saw humanity as a “mosaic of gifts, to nurture, to offer, to accept.” He said “peace is possible” and that while ending war matters, “peace begins within each person when we have our basic needs met.” He said that when we have access to what we need to survive — food, water, shelter, healthcare… — and also access to what we need to thrive — education, trust in others, hope for some next moment… — then we are able to choose to be “okay with who and how we are as a person.” When we are able to be okay with who and how we are, we can then choose gratitude, and turn our thoughts and attention and resources outward, and tend to the needs of others – “our neighbors around the block and around the world” — so that despite differences, they, too, can be okay with who and how they are as people.
In 2002, he shared what he called the “Three Choices for Peace” — a blueprint for how to move forthward in life, with personal peace that grows into world peace.
Mattie’s philosophy for life was“Remember to play after every storm!” and his motto was “Think gently, speak gently, live gently.”
Mattie wanted to be remembered as “a poet, a peacemaker, and a philosopher who played.”