Tuesday 27 August 2019

Rediscover the Saints - Matthew Kelly - Twenty-Five Questions That Will Change Your Life

Rediscover the Saints:
Twenty-Five Questions That Will Change Your Life
Matthew Kelly
Blue Sparrow Publishing 
Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781929266630
eISBN 9781635821147

I have been waiting two years for this book to come out. This book was mentioned in passing in Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer, and I have been anticipating it since then. It has not let down. This is the 21st book by Kelly that I have read over the last four years. And It is one of the best! There are currently 6 books in the Rediscover series and 5 of the six are still in print. 

Rediscover Catholicism 
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus
Rediscover the Rosary 
Rediscover the Saints

This book was an excellent read that I could hardly put down. In fact, I read it twice back to back. My first time through I read the book over 2 days. And then I went back and reread it slowly over a week. Highlighting and making notes. I highlighted 71 passages on that second read through. The sections in this book are:

Prologue: The First Saint 
Getting Started: Amazing Possibilities 
1. Augustine: You Have A Future 
2. Walter: An Overwhelming Love 
3. Irenaeus: Fully Alive 
4. Benedict: Life-Giving Daily Routines 
5. Teresa Of Ávila: The First Routine 
6. Ignatius: Emotional Intelligence 
7. Francis Of Assisi: Dissatisfied 
8. Thomas More: The Gentle Voice Within 
9. John: Friendship 
10. Martha: Our Longing For Belonging 
11. Vincent De Paul: God Feeds Us To Feed Others 
12. Harry: With Your Whole Heart 
13. John Vianney: Disoriented 
14. Thomas: We All Have Doubts 
15. Bernard: In Search Of Excellence 
16. Thérèse Of Lisieux: It’s The Little Things 
17. Maximillian Kolbe: I Will Take Your Place 
18. Mother Teresa: Truth, Beauty, And Goodness 
19. Mary Mckillop: Troubled Times 
20. Anthony Of The Desert: Be A Rebel 
21. Nicholas: Holding Christmas In Your Heart 
22. Mary: Beautiful Surrender 
23. Ralph: Love Of Learning 
24. James: Do Not Be Afraid 
25. All Saints: Now Is Your Time

The subtitle of the book is ‘Twenty-Five Questions That Will Change Your Life’ but in reality, the book has far more then 25 questions. And many of them are deep and penetrating and will stir your heart, your soul, your spirit. Toward the beginning of the ‘Getting Started’ section We are asked: 

“Are you satisfied with the direction the world is moving in? Are you satisfied with your life?”

And those are some pretty huge questions. This section actually begins with these words:

“We are capable of so much more than we think. You have no idea what you are capable of. None of us do. God is constantly trying to open our eyes to the amazing possibilities that he has enfolded in our being. The saints continue this work, encouraging us to explore all our God-given potential, not with speeches but with the example of their lives.”

This and the end of the prologue, The First Saint’ both hit me immediately, and hit me both times I read the book. That section is:

“They say every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. If I could lean in close to you and whisper something in your ear, it would be this: “If there are pieces of your past that are weighing you down, it’s time to leave them behind. You are not what has happened to you. You are someone unimaginably greater than you have ever considered, and maybe it’s time to consider all the possibilities that are within you.””

Each of the 25 numbered chapters in this book follow a similar format. The name of a saint, a chapter title, and then a question. The chapter then expands upon that saint and the question. And ends with a prayer. The book is wonderfully written. It is one of those book I will likely reread every year for a season. 

This book shows us how God has worked in the lives of the saints. But also, how God is calling us to be saints in the world. The focuses are on becoming the best version of yourself, on recognizing the opportunities to create holy moments, and looking at how God worked through the saints, and can work through us. Not all of the 25 examples are canonized saints. Some are people who were named after saints. But there are lessons we can take from each chapter. And the prayers at the end of the chapters are wonderful. I copied 7 of the 25 to my OneNote prayer collection. And have started praying a few of them daily. The book concluded with these words:

“In every place and time God raises up people to create holy moments. In your place and time, God wants to raise you up. The question is, are you ready to collaborate with him, or are you comfortable letting life continue to pass you by?”

And that is the challenge it will leave withal readers. This is my favorite of the books by Matthew Kelly that I have read. And I know that anyone who reads it prayerfully with an open heart will benefit from the read.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 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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