Wednesday 20 December 2017

Beautiful Hope Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World - Matthew Kelly, Pope Francis et al.

Beautiful Hope:
Finding Hope Every Day in a Broken World
Matthew Kelly
Pope Francis et al.
Wellspring Publishing
Beacon Publishing for
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266531

eISBN 9781929266951

Almost two years ago I read and reviewed Beautiful Mercy, a different anthology edited by Matthew Kelly. It was a transformative read, and has sparked a renewal in my reading of Catholic books, and taking my faith to a next level. It was a book that stayed with me for weeks. And now two years later the book is still having an impact on my thoughts, my actions and my striving to become the best version of myself. So, when I found out that there was a new volume out I grabbed it the day I became aware of it being available and have devoured it. The sections in this book are:

Prelude By Matthew Kelly
Introduction: Never Lose Hope By Pope Francis
Part One: Choosing Hope
A Powerful Force 
The Triumph Of Hope 
Expect The Impossible 
A Father's Hope 
The Path Of Hope 
Part Two: Hope In The Church
This Little Light Of Mine 
Live Differently Cardinal 
If It All Depends On Me 
Answering The Call 
Part Three: Hope In Action
A God Of Miracles 
Soul Searching 
An Anniversary To Remember 
Ordinary Grace 
Part Four: Becoming Hope
School Of Hope Archbishop 
Instruments Of Giallo 
The Abc's Of Hope 
Hands Of Hope 

There are some absolutely incredible pieces in this book. A few of them immediately hit the mark for me, and a few require more thought. I have already added this book to my Lent reading list for next year so that I circle back and revisit it. There are 5 cross-over authors from the previous volume including Matthew Kelly writing the forward and Pope Francis the introduction. I have read a number of books by one of the other contributors. But there are 14 authors that I had not read yet. And the contributors in order of appearance are:

Matthew Kelly
Pope Francis
Fr. Mike Schmitz
Sr. Miriam James Heidland, Solt
Fr. Jacques Philippe
Tom Pagano
Fr. J. Michael Sparough, SJ
Jessica Lusher Gravagna
Cardinal Donald Wuerl
Pat Mckeown
Fr. Jonathan Meyer
Linda Maliani
Derek Gazal
Rebecca Recznik
Marguerite Brambani
Talia Westerby
Archbishop José H. Gomez
Msgr. Geno Sylva, Std
Dr. Allen R. Hunt
Grandpa Hess

In the first price Fr. Mick Schmitz states: "We live in a hopeless age. Don't get me wrong-there is an awful lot of optimism, but very little hope. The source of this hopelessness is a profound lack of meaning in most people's lives. Many of us live our lives looking forward to "the next thing." We say things like, "It might be rough now, but once I get that promotion, then I'll be fine." Or, "I know that I'm lonely now, but once I find someone, then I'll be fine." Or, "I know that my spouse and I are discontented now, but once we have kids, then we will be fine." Or the thousand other things we look forward to that will help us to be "fine." There is nothing wrong with looking forward to something, but sooner or later we discover that it just doesn't deliver. We go on to the next thing and are no better off. We miss the meaning of the moments of our lives because we have forgotten that all of life is meaningful." he then concludes his piece with these words: "How does a person grow in hope? By reconnecting with God's story. By being reminded that we believe that there is more to this life than just this life. By being committed to the truth that God is in all things and all moments and that our decisions matter. And then … then simply beginning to make choices. Decide. Act on those decisions. You cannot do everything, but you can do something. Do what you can, and you will find that hope has become a powerful force in your life." Choosing to read this book will be an act of Hope, it will move you from the realm of wishing to growing in a knowledge and more than likely experience of true hope. 

Each chapter concludes with a Focus and Reflection Section just a line or two to help bring home the chapter. A sample from the chapter called Nadia is:
"FOCUS: One life can change so much. With each YES, we give Christ a chance to enter the world and let the light of God shine amidst the darkness.
REFLECT: What is God giving you the chance to say YES to today?" 
And after these two sections is a brief biography of the contributor 2 or three lines at most. 

Dr. Allen R. Hunt's chapter The ABC's of Hope is literally that. He has a short paragraph for each letter of the alphabet with between 2 and 5 sentences in that paragraph. It is a unique piece of work, compared to the rest of this collection.

The final chapter by Grandpa Hess Ends with these words: "In my life, hope has been found in people. It is through people that God has shown me how he loves to do the extraordinary through the ordinary. My wife is my hope. My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are my hope. Padre Pio is my hope. Jesus is my hope. You are my hope.
Yes, you reading this, you are my hope. You are a gift from God to the world. You hold within you the hope of a greater and more beautiful Church. You hold within you the hope that this can become a nation of holy families and saintly priests and religious. You hold within you the hope that love can prevail over hate. You hold within you the hope that God will bring the wonderful message of salvation to every corner of the earth.
You are the hands of God in the world. Go now and make him something beautiful." And by opening ourselves up to hope, through this book, the people in our lives, and the people God brings into our lives.

This book was an amazing read. I have been praying for a couple of years now to learn to live more joy. After reading this book I will start praying to live more joy and more hope. I am not sure which of the two come first, but based on my first reading of this book there is definitely a relationship between them. I honestly believe that if you read this book with an open heart, you will be transformed, you will learn to live more hope, and you will become an agent of hope to those God places in your path. I believe that any Christian who read this book will be challenged and be changed. So give it a try for we could all use a little more real hope in our lives.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Matthew Kelly:
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
The One Thing
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity
Why I Love Being Catholic
Good Night, Jesus
In a world where you can be anything ...

Beautiful ... Series:

Rediscover Books by Matthew Kelly:
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer
Rediscover the Saints

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy
The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality

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