|Photo Credit: dantada from morgueFile.com|
From the outside, it seemed to be a pretty typical January night in
. There was a chill in the moist
evening air and the sun was callin’ it a day just beyond the city’s
skyline. However, on the inside of Houston, Texas ’s Catholic
Church last Saturday night, I knew that it was going to be anything but
typical. St. Paul
The day before, Stephen and Diane contacted me to say that they had extra tickets to attend Matthew Kelly’s sold out event, “Living Everyday with Passion and Purpose.” I immediately knew I was supposed to go. Diane didn’t have my cell phone number, so she sent an e-mail instead. If she had my cell number, she said she would have sent a text. Everyone who knows me and my flip-phone realizes that I would have never gotten that text. So, with no text response from me, Diane would have probably kept going down her list to see who wanted the extra tickets. Call it what you want. I call it a God-incidence. God wanted me there.
It’s a few days after the event now and I’m still full of it! (The Holy Spirit that is…) The evening was more than amazing; it was a life-changing experience. My husband and I were inspired to be the best-version-of-ourselves and we feel more prepared for whatever mission God has planned for us.
In this blog post, I hope to share bits and pieces of Kelly’s wisdom with you from that night. I encourage you to attend one of his four-hour seminars (yes…FOUR hours) if you ever have the opportunity. Trust me, the time flies by and you’ll be sad to see the evening end (even at 11:00 pm). With God’s strength, Kelly was able to present not only one, but THREE 4-hour events over the weekend in
. Being the last event, I was thoroughly
impressed with his ability to engage us all with passion and purpose. Surely, he was exhausted. However, true to his own words, “If you are
what you should be, you’d set the world on fire!” Amen, Matthew Kelly, Amen. Houston
Many of you who have been following my blog may recognize the name, Matthew Kelly. I’ve quoted his gems of insight and enlightenment numerous times. It always amazes and encourages me when someone devotes their entire adult life to bringing others to Christ.
Mr. Kelly began the evening stating that people who live with passion and purpose have a great sense of personal clarity. They can answer these four questions:
- What matters most?
- What matters least?
- Who am I?
- What am I here for?
He said that people who have personal clarity are able to say yes and no with confidence. We miss out on the stuff God created just for us when we say yes to the things we shouldn’t. Let’s practice real quick…No…NNNooooo…No…N-O. See, you CAN do it!
How can we obtain personal clarity? Kelly says that clarity emerges from the classroom of silence. We can hear God’s voice most clearly in the silence. In this loud and busy world, do we even make the time for silence? If we don’t, clarity will be much more difficult. Kelly says that our culture is increasingly and deliberately noisy. This noise prevents us from hearing the voice of God in our lives, and without that, we are lost.
Matthew discussed wants vs. needs and I just LOVE this quote, “You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.” I’ll let you sit with that for a second. Good stuff right there. Contentment simply evades us when getting enough isn’t possible. We can have homes full of stuff and never be content. Hmmm…
Another point that Mr. Kelly made was about a certain universal talent that everyone has. I was so curious about this. What talent could EVERYONE on God’s green earth possibly have in common? Here it is…the ability to make a difference in another person’s life. Yep. It’s true. We all have it and many of us don’t tap into that talent at all. We are made for meaning. We were created to make a difference. We cannot possibly thrive on the shallow and superficial aspect of this world. I know that making a difference in someone else’s life can help provide some of that meaning that we’re made for. Let’s try out that talent this week.
Matthew Kelly has always said that we become the books we read. “Books really do change our lives because what we read today walks and talks with us tomorrow.” What books are we choosing? Are we choosing ones that help us become a better version of ourselves? We should because everyone in our life benefits as we become a better and better version. The Bible is a great start. It has the power to transform lives. God is certainly in the business of transformation. But, as Matthew Kelly suggests, sometimes we don’t want our lives to transform, so we don’t read it. We say we’re okay. We’re comfortable with how we are. Mr. Kelly reminded us that God has never turned down a prayer request for transformation. Let’s try that too.
Mr. Kelly shared many thought-provoking things that night, but there was one that really struck me in a profound way. He said, “There is NOTHING more attractive than holiness.” Kelly explained that one of the biggest lies in the history of Christianity is a lie we tell ourselves…that holiness is not possible.
He said that the saints didn’t live holy LIVES…they lived holy MOMENTS. Now, that breaks it down into something achievable…something attainable. I like that. He said that we can strive for one holy moment each day. Just one. A holy moment is being who God created you to be, doing what God created you to do. If we can have one holy moment, then another, then another…we’d be capable of incredible things! Can you just imagine? Jesus said that everything is possible for the one who believes.
My heart and soul were so full when I walked out of that event. Unexplainable. Don’t even get me started on the absolutely beautiful songs and music by Eliot Morris. Wow. I was so eager to get home to share this inspiration with you as well as read a new book I bought for the kiddos called, “Why Am I Here?”
As soon as we got home, my youngest daughter curled up on my lap in the rocking chair and wanted me to read the book with her. After I read it, she responded, "Oh, I just love it, LOVE it, Mommy!" Then, my oldest daughter begged to take the book to school to share. Jesus is always right…let the children lead them. I’m certain that it will be the little ones of our parishes and communities that will bring people to church.
One final thought is about the upcoming Lenten season. Matthew Kelly said this, “Whatever you do this Lent, do NOT give up chocolate.” What?! He asked us, “Do you want to have the best Lent ever?” We all said, “Uh-huh” pretty loudly since the chocolate thing immediately grabbed our taste buds' attention. Kelly challenged us to pick just one of these three things to have the best Lent of our lives:
- Get to know Jesus and be able to answer Jesus’ question, “Who do YOU say that I am?” We can start by reading the Gospels for just 15 minutes a day.
- Make a commitment to go to confession once a month for a year.
- Take a journal to Mass. Ask God to show you one way in the Mass that you can become a better version of yourself during the week. Ask Him to speak to your heart through the gospel, homily, songs, readings, and other prayers. Every relationship improves when we listen. Do we really listen during Mass? Then, Kelly asked us to write down that one thing that speaks to us and date our entry.
I’m up for the challenge. Will you join me? Many people can recall something in their lives that they will never forget. One of mine is, without a doubt…
Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!