Book Review: Rediscovering Catholicism

Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly

I got this book for free at my church.  The ushers were passing them out after Mass one day; they had made an announcement saying they were free for every family and that it would be a good reading for Lent.  So I have been reading it during this season of faith renewal.  We actually got a copy last year from our old church and I tried to read it but wasn’t able to get very far for some reason.  This year, it has been a completely different experience and I’m so grateful.  This book is full of spiritual gems and ideas to grow in the faith.

I want to share with you some of these gems.  I’ll try to give you context as well.  It really is a great book, and I highly recommend you read it.  The Catholic Church and her teachings are so misunderstood.  I hope this book can shed some light for many people.  🙂

First, let me share with you the Table of Contents so you can see what it’s actually about:

Part 1: We Become What We Celebrate

Our Universal Hunger, The Prevailing Philosophy, Is Jesus Still Relevant, Searching for Identity, What are we Celebrating?

Part 2: The Authentic Life

What is the Authentic Life?, The Path is Well Trodden, Even aBlind Man Knows, What Sets Them Apart?, Their Attraction and Influence, Who Will Be Next?

Part 3: The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality

Confession, Daily Prayer, The Mass, The Bible, Fasting, Spiritual Reading, The Rosary

Part 4: Now is Our Time

Time for a Change, Leadership, Return to Virtue

Matthew Kelly’s Spiritual Gems

[or the gems I’ve found in his book – some of them are quotes by other people]

* “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” – G. K. Chesterton  This is SO true!

* “The Church, and indeed the whole world, desperately awaits a few brave souls who will stand up and remind us of our great spiritual heritage by redirecting us toward the goal of Christian life: living holy lives.” – Matthew Kelly

* “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -Michelangelo

I think a lot of us use the excuse, ‘I’m only human’ in way-too-exaggerated manner.  How can we be perfect?  We can’t.  But we still need to strive for perfection; we need to try our best to imitate Christ.  If we truly try, our spiritual lives will greatly benefit.  We are all called to be holy, we are called to be saints.  Everyone in heaven is a saint.

* Talking about Mother Teresa who followed Saint Therese of Lisieux’s Little Way, “Every time we choose to love God and neighbor we change the course of human history, because our holiness echoes in the lives of people in other places and other times.”  Truly, we should be mindful of the impact we have on others!

Source: flickr.com via Jamie on Pinterest

 

* “We are called to be saints… Familiarize yourself with the lives of the saints.  They were not born saints.  They did not become saints overnight.  In most cases, they didn’t set out to do anything extraordinary, and they didn’t set out to change the world.  These extraordinary souls were very much focused on the ordinary.  They allowed the everyday activities of their lives to transform them.  They saw every event as an opportunity to grow in virtue.  And as a result, they lived extraordinary lives that inspired the people of their time and the people of centuries to come.  They may seem larger than life, but most of them found their greatness by performing simple daily tasks with love.” – Matthew Kelly

* “First do what is necessary.  Then do what is possible.  And before you know it, you will be doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

* “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?  Actually, Who are you not to be?  You are a child of God…” – Marianne Williamson

* About Confession: “There is still nothing quite as wonderful as a clear conscience.  Nothing fills us with joy in the same way.  Ah, a clear conscience – it is the ultimate simple pleasure.” – Matthew Kelly

* “Our lives change when our habits change.  The only way for the Church to become more spiritual is for the people who make up the Church to become more spiritual.” – Matthew Kelly

* Matthew Kelly’s favorite prayer during Mass: “Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our days.  In your mercy keep us free from sin, and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”  What a good one!

* About fasting: “The message delivered with unrelenting enthusiasm by our culture is, ‘You can be happy without discipline.  Do whatever you feel like doing and you will be happy!’ While the Church says, ‘You cannot be happy without discipline In fact, discipline is the path to happiness!'”  – Matthew Kelly

* Citing the early Christians using fasting to amplify prayers, Kelly says, “in each of these cases, fasting was used to humbly seek out God’s will.  Over and over again, the Old Testament makes it abundantly clear that genuine fasting involves turning away from evil and turning back to God.”

* “… most former Catholics, non-practicing Catholics, and many disengaged Catholics are separated from the Church over one issue… For some the issue is contraception, for others it is abortion, and for many modern Catholics it is divorce… we have a duty to study and know those issues so we can build the necessary bridges of truth and knowledge that will allow them to return to the fullness of our ancient and beautiful faith… If you want to grow in faith, identify the teaching fo the Catholic Church that you find most difficult to understand and accept, then read about it.  Study the issue. Get yourself a catechism and read what it says, but then look up the source texts, find other books that explain why the Church teaches what it teaches about that issue [YES!], and get to the heart of the matter.  Don’t read books by bitter authors who seek to tear the Church down.  Read books by men and women of prayer who seek by their writing to reveal the truth and depth of the Church’s teachings.” – Matthew Kelly

Some Excellent Advice from the Author

* Commit to Daily Prayer.  Spend 10 minutes a day in a church in the “classroom of silence.”

* Start a Mass Journal.  Bring a notepad, say a prayer before Mass opening up your heart to truly listen.  Then write down a phrase or sentence that really resonates with you.  Listen for one way that you can improve yourself throughout the week.

* Matthew Kelly offers to tell us “10 Books that changed his life” if we e-mail him.  I think I found the list on the website though (he probably got a lot of e-mails) so click here to see it: DynamicCatholic.com – Reading List.

Have any of YOU red this book?  What did you think??  Did you find any ‘gems’ in there?

If you haven’t read this particular book, have you found any similar or different suggestions for strengthening your spiritual life?

Leave a comment!!!  🙂

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  1. My parish passed out this book also. I haven’t started it yet but it’s on the top of my to be read pile.

  2. Jane, very well spoken. If we love doing something, we do it out of love. Not guilt.Seems like the problem lies in everyone comparing themselves to everyone else. Well, she finished another book, and he got some poetry published. Of course, that’s most likely always been the problem, but maybe more so with writers.Having the elaborate technology now, which allows eve;#one&y8217rs business in our business, certainly keeps us on our toes, unless we choose to relax them for a bit. In resting, we sometimes discover our stories.

Trackbacks

  1. I believe… says:

    […] I believe in the power of prayer.  To change us not to change God.  What would the world be like if everyone on earth asked God, “How can I be a better person”??  (Book Review on Matthew Kelly’s book, Rediscovering Catholicism.) […]