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Posted September 19, 2006

Book: Rediscovering Catholicism
Author: Matthew Kelly
Beacon Publishing, Cincinnati, OH. 2006. Pp. 213

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Over the past ten years, Matthew Kelly has seen more of the world than most presidents and more of the Church than most bishops. Now, in this unique and timely book, he proposes that Catholicism is not a lifeless set of rules and regulations, but a way of life designed by God to help each person reach his or her full potential. With remarkable insight, Kelly dispels dozens of the myths that surround the practice and rejection of Catholicism today, and provides a profound and practical vision of what will lead the Catholic Church to thrive again in the future.

“Holiness is to become the-best-version-of-yourself. Francis of Assisi spent his whole life trying to become the best-vision-of-himself. Mother Teresa spent her whole life trying to become the-best-version-of-herself. God calls us all to holiness, because God wants each of us to be all we can be.”

“The goal of the Christian life is holiness,” Kelly explains, “but somewhere along the way this term disappeared from most Catholic’s vocabulary. Either because we thought it was an unattainable ideal or because we felt it lacked relevance in the modern context. Maybe we thought the idea of holiness made people feel guilty. Perhaps we just wanted to make it easier for people. Whatever the reason, the disappearance of this goal hasn’t made it easier for modern Catholics; it made it harder for them.”

“Have you ever tried to find your way to a place you have never been before with no directions, no map, and no clear description of the destination?”

“The great confusion taht is torturing the Church and weakening our faith surrounds one question. What is holiness? The falling attendance at church, the marginalization of the Church by our secular culture, and our failure to reach the youth are all caused by our inability to communicate clearly the answer to this question. What is holiness?”

“Modern men and women have simply become disoriented. We have lost our way. By putting aside the goal of the Christian life — this call to holiness — we have lost sight of the great Spiritual North Star. The North Star is the only star in the sky that never moves; it remains constant, unwavering, and therefore is truly a guide. If we are to find our way, we must rediscover the great Spiritual North Star.”

An Excerpt from the Book:

As w look at where we are and where we are going, both as a Church and as human family, we should ask ourselves, Who and what will be the greatest influence in determining the future? To whom does the future belong? What will the future be like?

The most powerful and influential position in any society or civilization is as a storyteller. These story-tellers are not just the mythical cultural icons who dress up on Thursday afternoons and read stories to your children in local libraries and bookstores. Musicians are storytellers, and politicians are storytellers. Screenplay writers are storytellers, and business leaders are storytellers. Teachers, preachers, nurses, lawyers, pastors, priests, scientists, salespeople, artists, mothers, fathers, poets, philosophers, brothers, sisters, baby-sitters, grandparents. . .we are all storytellers.

The future belongs to the storytellers. The future belongs to us. What will the future be like? Well, that depends very much on the stories we tell, the stories we listen to, and the stories we live.

Stories have a remarkable ability to cut through the clutter and confusion and bring clarity to our hearts and minds. Stories remind us of our values, aims, and goals. Stories sneak beyond the boundaries of our prejudices to soften our hearts to a new truth. Great periods in history emerge when great stories are told and live. Stories are history that form the future. Stories are prohecies set in the past.

Stories are important.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: We become what we celebrate
1. Our universal hunger
2. The prevailing philosophy
3. Is Jesus still relevant?
4. Searching for identity
5. What are we celebrating?

Part 2: The authentic life
6. What is the authentic life?
7. The path is well trodden
8. Even a blind man knows
9. What sets them apart?
10. Their attraction and influence
11. Who will be next?

Part 3: The seven pillars of Catholic spirituality
12. Reconciliation
13. Contemplation
14. The Mass
15. The bible
16. Fasting
17. Spiritual reading
18. The rosary

Part 4: Now is our time
19. Time for a change
20. Leadership
21. Return to virtue