Wednesday 3 May 2023

Our Father - Matthew Kelly

Our Father
Matthew Kelly
Words from God
ISBN 0646229133
ISBN 9780646229133

This volume has been on my wish list for many years. A used copy never came up in line with my budget. I was eventually able to lay my hands on a copy because of the generosity of Mr. Kelly himself. I have had it on a wish list for over a decade and from time to time would check various book sites for a reasonably priced copy. I became desperate to read it after Father Mark Goring held up his well-worn copy and mentioned that he had read it dozens of times in one of his videos. It has been out of print for a long time, but I am almost certain Father Mark would use it as one of his Saint Mark’s School or Reading books based on how highly he spoke of it. The book far exceeded my expectations. 

The description on the back cover states:

“Come My children, gather around the tabernacle where My Son Jesus lives and remember that those who have seen the Son have seen the Father, so those who are near the Son are near the Father and where the Father is, so is the Son.

Children you don't understand what a privilege it is to have so many churches, in your area, in your country, in the world, that have My Son's precious body and blood present in them. Yet so many of you pass by churches indifferent to His presence.

Today My children, I invite you to an intimate relationship with My Son Jesus. A friendship that holds nothing back but shares everything in truth and honesty. The friend, the companion that all of you have sought in your lives is in the tabernacle. The friend who is so dedicated to His friendship, yet so unappreciated.

Start to spend time daily in front of the tabernacle and talk to Jesus as you would the best of friends. Tell Him of your worries and joy. Ask Him how you can help your friends. Ask Him to ask Me, your Heavenly Father, to send the Holy Spirit upon you,
and I will.

Open your eyes and you will see the greatest friend of your lifetime before you in the tabernacle.

Now you know, you need to foster a friendship, and remember, friendships can be hard sometimes, especially at first.”

The volume begins with a forward, this is followed by 433 points, and concludes with 33 pages of teaching. At one point Matthew mentions that he is 21 when this volume was written. There is an incredible amount of wisdom and depth in this volume. These excerpts are from hundreds of pages of messages Matthew received when he was growing in the lord and devoted to prayer and adoration. I belie that this volume could easily become a spiritual classic along the lines of Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God or Saint Josemaria Escriva’s volumes The Way, Furrow, The Forge. I highlighted two passages in the forward:

“I have not selected these excerpts from the hundreds of pages of messages I have received over the past eighteen months because they are entertaining or controversial, nor because they provide something to add to the collection of Heavenly material that these times are providing. No, "Happy the man who is instructed by Truth itself, not by signs and passing words." Rather, I have chosen them because they have helped me to come to know the gentle, warm and deep love of Our Heavenly Father. They have led me to His Son Jesus Christ and my belief is that they will help others do the same.”


“Find the truth in each message and then invite that truth to come and live in you. Reflect slowly on each message and ponder your life in conversation with your loving Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Allow your heart and mind to open and your life to change gracefully bringing forth the joy, that is the Christian life, and making you free.”

I also highlighted many of the 433 points, omitting the numbers some of them are:

“Strength of character comes from prayer.”

“Don't worry about what lies far in front of you. Deal with the task I have given you for this moment.”

“Peace My son. Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of soul. My Peace.”

“Smile, say less and listen more, pray and trust in Me, your Heavenly Father.”

“The people who come into your life are all important and all need your encouragement and help, either by prayer or a few gentle words.”

“You are called to live as the first Christians did. Looking out for each other, loving and caring selflessly for the community.”

“Don't be alarmed by change.”

“On special feast days celebrate in your homes.”

“At work have a small crucifix on your desk.”

“If you are to sustain the truths of the Catholic Church through these times, you must know them. You must read and study.”

“Don't over eat or over drink. Gluttony is a forerunner for impurity.”

“Get out of bed at a fixed time. Set a fixed time for your prayer. Set a fixed time to retire in the evenings.”

“You must carry the cross in the area of friendship; many will not understand. They will say you are not the person you once were. Fear not, follow firmly along your way; the way that you know is right. The reason they don't recognise you is because it is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you.”

“Order is the virtue of the humble.”

“In my study of the faith, do I seek knowledge so as only to repeat it like a parrot, or in my knowledge seeking, do I make a sincere attempt to place those words in my heart and then live them?”

“Meditate on the most perfect sacrifice of My Son Jesus. Spend time reflecting on His passion and death, and the whole meaning of pain will change in your life.”

“Your lives as Catholics must be lives of Christian community. You are brothers and sisters. You are children of light.”

“Of you I ask one thing, that you be a saint. Let this now intoxicate your heart, mind and soul. To be a saint!”

“Silence is the great teacher; make it a good friend of yours.”

“I have called you. Your life must change and some things must be left behind.”

In the concluding teaching section I highlighted:

“My name is Matthew Kelly. I am twenty-one years old and I come from Sydney, Australia. I was brought up there in Sydney and come from a large family. I have seven brothers and I am the fourth of eight boys. Up until part way through last year I was studying at university and more than anything else, I like to consider myself a fairly normal young person.”

“I have had the pleasure of spending much of the last eighteen months of my life speaking with Bishops and priests, doctors and theologians, explaining how it happens, when it happens, where it happens and how often it happens. At the end of the day the most common conclusions drawn are two. Firstly, if this is happening, if God does speak to me and I don't assume that any or all of you believe that He does, then it is beyond science.”

“For this alignment to take place we need recollection. If we are to experience the benefits of prayer, it is of paramount importance that we take a few moments, even several minutes, before the practice of any spiritual activity and focus our attention on God and begin to direct our energies towards God and the things of the spirit. It is the process of recollection that leads us to slow down interiorly and exteriorly, allowing us to live the line from scripture, "Be still and know I am God." This recollection however requires a serious effort and the main effort required of us is to avoid and dismiss distractions from our mind. It has been my experience that this recollection is most effectively achieved in silence with my eyes closed.”

“We need to set time aside to pray and it is preferable if that time can be the same time every day because by anchoring our days to this time of prayer, we will begin to deal with the challenges of our days more creatively and cheerfully with a peacefulness that is not affected by the fluctuating emotions or circumstances in our life.”

“If we want to be wise, silence must become one of our great friends. God bestows His Wisdom upon men and women in the classroom of silence. If you want to be wise, get to know yourself in the classroom of silence with God in prayer. After knowledge of God there is no greater practical wisdom then knowledge of self. It is at this point that we have stumbled across the reason why so many abandon prayer, because when they come to pray they grow in their knowledge of God, they grow in their knowledge of self, but are unable to respond to Christ's challenge to change. So, may God grant us wisdom enough to pray and strength enough to live what we discover in prayer.”

“Now as we finish tonight and at each moment on our journey towards God, let us keep one thought forever on our hearts and in our minds, and that is, for those that love God there is only victory, and victory for eternity.”

This book is amazing. I can see now why Father Goring speaks so highly of it. I dearly hope it will be back in print so that this little gem, this spiritual classic. I have read many books by Matthew Kelly and listened to several of his audio talks. Some of the stories at the end of this volume are variations I have heard before. This volume I believe is the first book Mr. Kelly published. He has another volume Words from God that published 2 years after this. It looks like it might be a reprint of this or a continuation. But it looks very hard to track down. 

This is an excellent little volume. If it were in print I am certain it would be a best seller. It would be immensely popular and have lasting power. I already have plans to read it again. If you can track down a copy I strongly encourage you to give it a read. It will be life changing! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 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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