Thursday 27 May 2021

Kingdom of Happiness - Father Jeffrey Kirby - Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life

Kingdom of Happiness: 
Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life
ISBN 9781505105902
eISBN 9781505110555

I picked this book up after reading and reviewing several by Father Paul O’Sullivan O.P., it was recommended by someone who enjoyed those reviews and they recommended several titles by Father Kirby. When I looked into the titles available from the pen of Father Kirby, there were several from TAN books that caught my attention. In fact 7 of his books made it onto my wish list almost immediately. This was the first I have read but it will not be the last! My understanding is that there is a study series that can go along with this book, with a guide and DVD’s. As much as I enjoyed reading this book, it would have been even better with a group. The end of the description of this volume states:

“Kingdom of Happiness shows that the Beatitudes are not a self-help guide or a boring list of eight more things to do, but are a series of grace-filled, life-giving promises that excite our souls and point us along a way of life that assures us of true, lasting happiness.”

The chapters in this volume are:

A Note to the Reader
Introduction: The Choice Between Two Kingdoms
Poor in Spirit
Those Who Mourn
The Meek
Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
The Merciful
Pure in Heart
The Peacemakers
The Persecuted

In the first section, A Note to the Reader Kirby highlights several points:

“First Step
Thank you for picking up this book! As you open it, you’ve already taken the hardest step along a path that could lead you to true happiness. Here’s some more good news:”

So of the sections that follow are: 

     •You’re not alone.
     •There’s a way out of misery.
     •Happiness is a decision.
     •Someone else does the heavy lifting.
     •Happiness is a kingdom.
     •The kingdom of happiness can be seen.
And it concludes with:

“A Second Step
As you started reading this book, I mentioned that you’ve already taken the hardest step along a path that could lead you to true happiness. Therefore, I’d like to ask you to take a second step and continue reading this book so that you might encounter the kingdom of happiness described through the Beatitudes. As you begin to see this kingdom sitting on the horizon, remember that citizenship within its walls is available right now. You are welcome at all times.
The choice is yours. Will you choose happiness?”

From there we have a wonderfully written volume. A book any Catholic, nay any Christian could benefit from reading. Looking at the beatitudes and their opposites Father Kirby navigates us through Christian spirituality. A path that has been handed down. And one that we desperately need these days. 

This is a book that can be read again and again, and each time we will be blessed and benefit from it in a new or deeper way. The writing of Father Kirby is easily accessible. Anyone with a high school education could read this book and engage fully with the text. In fact it would be a great book for a high school group or collage age students to worth through together. It is a book that can have a strong and lasting impact on readers. 

Christ promised in John 10:10 “For the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I am come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” This book is a volume that will help you learn to live that abundant life. By learning to live the beatitudes. It is an excellent volume that I cannot recommend enough. But the book does not offer quick fixes or easy answers. We will need to read, and apply and put in the work. There will be time and effort involved in learning to live the beatitudes out in our daily lives. But it will be worth it here and in the life to come.

It might have been my first book by Father Kirby but it will not be my last!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby STD:
101 Surprising Facts About St. Peter's and the Vatican
A Pastoral Guide to Opening Your Parish
Be Not Troubled
Doors of Mercy: A Journey Through Salvation History
God's Search for Us
Living in Peace
Lord Teach Us to Pray
Luke: The Gospel of Mercy
Thy Kingdom Come

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