Sunday, October 18, 2015

Catholic Resources: Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Catholicism

I probably had Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living With Passion & Purpose on my Amazon wish list for over a year (maybe even multiple years). The book topic was calling out to me. I knew as an adult Catholic swept up in the go-go-go of my career as an educator desperately trying to juggle family and my professional life that I had not been able to invest as much in my faith as I would have liked to. I knew that the book would help me to grow in my faith and to learn more about what it means to be Catholic. Yet, it sat on my wish list without being purchased.

Then, one Sunday I saw a well-used copy of the book in the pew. I was so excited I could hardly wait to ask if people knew whose book it was when Mass was over in order to see if I could borrow it. The response was even better than I could have expected. The person I asked didn't know whose book it was but said it had been a book handed out previously for a holiday (part of the Dynamic Catholic book program) and that the office probably still had extra copies.

That's how the book finally, finally moved off my wishlist and into my hands. I read it slowly and jumped around to the topics I wanted to know most before eventually reading the whole book through beginning to end at a more rapid pace. There are certain chapters that I have read again and again.

This book was an introduction to Matthew Kelly's work for me. I appreciated his voice and his dedication to his faith. The book is organized into four parts: We Become What We Celebrate, The Authentic Life, The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality, and Now Is Our Time. The book opens with a powerful prologue that drew me right in, making me realize that I never really got how great the sacrifice of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus was. The initial pages sparked a deeper appreciation that continued to grow as I nurtured my faith formation. Furthermore, the prologue deepened my sense of gratitude for the Church, a greater sense of pride for being a Catholic.

My favorite part of the book was the third one that walked through seven aspects of Catholic spirituality. Through this section, I was able to self-reflect on which aspects were a part of my life already and areas in which I could grow as a Catholic. There were aspects where I wanted to re-engage, some that felt new, and others where I was just oblivious to the richness. For example, the chapter on Confession gave me the courage to view the Sacrament as something other than an anxiety producing experience and to consider for the first time in my life to start a routine of regularly going to Confession. Though I had prayed decades of the rosary in youth activities growing up, I never learned how to fully pray the rosary - an understanding of the initial prayers and the mysteries. When I think about the shifts in my faith life, especially over the last year, much of the changes connect back in one way or another to this section of the book.

Another powerful aspect of the book is Matthew's call to action tone, inspiring us to continually reflect on how we can be holier in our day to day lives, or as he often refers to it - the best version of ourselves. This resource and the action tone helped to shift my perspective toward the realization of evangelization as part of my role in life, manageable ideas on how to begin the process, and the courage to take steps toward action.

My experience with this book made me realize, sometimes we are just not ready yet. We might recognize a gap in our lives but not yet know how to set healthy limits on aspects such as careers, feeling like there just is not possibly time to focus on our faith development. Nonetheless, the resources are there and available, waiting for us to be ready to nurture our souls. Now on our shelves, there is also a Spanish edition copy for my husband.

I have much more that I could say about this book and the impact it has had on my life. It will be sprinkled throughout blog posts here and there.

If you are interested in nurturing your faith and are not familiar with Rediscover Catholicism, I recommend that you visit Dynamic Catholic for your free copy (5.95 shipping) or better yet 6 copies for $18 (free shipping) in order to read and discuss alongside family or friends. Other Matthew Kelly books available on the site pair well with the book.

*Disclaimer: I am part of the Dynamic Catholic Ambassador's Club, which has helped me to be more familiar with the work and resources available through Dynamic Catholic. However, all thoughts contained in this post are my authentic thoughts and I am posting of my own volition. 

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