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by Matthew Kelly
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
by Father Bob Sherry
by Danielle Michell, Pass Christian, MS
It's one month since my surgery, which could not have gone better... and I want to thank everyone for their prayers, cards, emails, call, gifts, chocolates, and support. You are all so good to me it is overwhelming. Thank you.
When we face something like this it gives real perspective on what matters in life—and what doesn't. So as my strength is returning and I'm getting back into the routines of my daily life it is clear that faith and family are at the top of my list of priorities.
What has also become abundantly clear is that the work we are doing at Dynamic Catholic is badly needed in the Church and the world... so I am excited to throw myself back into it.
How is God calling you to change your priorities at this time in your life?
Until we are won, we don’t have the passion, that fire in our belly, to attract anyone else – and Christianity only genuinely grows through attraction.
— From “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” by Matthew Kelly
Win. Build. Send. This is the process of Evangelization. Too often when we talk about Evangelization in the Catholic Church we are asking people who have not been sufficiently won and built to go out into the world on a mission, and they are simply not ready. Most Catholics don't evangelize because they don't actually believe that Catholicism is a superior way of life. So why would they want to share it? They have not been won. Until we are won, we don't have the passion, that fire in our belly, to attract anyone else - and Christianity only genuinely grows through attraction.
Of late we have been talking about the New Evangelization. It is a theme that was first proposed by John Paul II and one that has been further emphasized by Benedict XVI. The Church in the United States has always grown, but not because we were committed to sharing the genius of Catholicism with others - and not because we are particularly good at it.
If we are ever going to get really good at Evangelization, it is critical to recognize that we have never been particularly good at it.
The Win, Build, Send model works. And perhaps what it points out best is that we have been trying to accomplish this great mission of our Church - Evangelization - without a model. We need a model that is scalable and sustainable. There is no point trying to send people if they have not been sufficiently won and built.
People don't fail because they want to fail. They fail because they don't know how to succeed. In terms of Evangelization, we have never really trained people how to do it, and if you just "see what happens," usually nothing does. We need a process for training Catholics to become really good at sharing the genius of Catholicism with others.
Everyone evangelizes about something, but most of us evangelize about the wrong things. Have you seen how passionate some people are when they talk about their iPhone? Other people evangelize about their car, their company, or their favorite vacation destination. It's amazing how animated we can become about things that are trivial. It is in our nature to evangelize. Sadly, many people have nothing better than their iPhone to evangelize about.
We are all evangelists. What are you evangelizing about?
When Ghandi was asked why he was not a Christian, he responded that he would be had he ever met a true Christian.
Often people think the Church says that you have to do this or you cannot do that. In fact, the Church does no such thing. The Church simply stands in every place and time pointing out the best way to live. Each of us gets to decide if we are going to walk that path or not.
Do you believe the teachings of Jesus offer the best way to live? If you don't believe Jesus offers the best way to live, who or what does? And, if you do believe Jesus leads us to the best way to live, then isn’t it only natural to share that best way with others?
Helping others discover the love of God and the wisdom of His ways; helping people live their best life, is what we are called to—and it starts with living an authentic Christian life.
St. Josemaria Escriva said, “True virtue is not sad or disagreeable, but pleasantly cheerful" (The Way, 657). Christianity that is not joyful is not attractive or hopeful. People are drawn to the Lord when they realize how His ways lead to lasting joy and peace.
JOY is the unmistakable sign of an authentic Christian life, and everyone is attracted to joy.
When you attract someone to Jesus this month because of your joy, please tell me your story: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Danielle Michell. My husband Bodie and I are cradle Catholics, born in New Orleans, LA. In 1999 we retired to Pass Christian, MS, a small town on the Gulf Coast. We joined the local Catholic Church in town and thought of settling down and living a quiet, comfortable life.
We all know that just when you make plans, God pops in to tell you “His plans.” On our annual retreat, one of my dearest friends told me about a book she was reading and said, “You should read this book. It is incredible.” So I put the title Rediscover Catholicism in my Kindle and nothing has been quite the same. I told my husband about it, and he ordered several books and CD’s of the audible version. I wanted an actual book so I could underline sentences and write notes in the margin.
It seemed to me that finally someone, namely, Matthew Kelly, had put the Catholic faith in the most readable and simple way to live out God’s plan. Here we were in our mid-seventies, looking at a rediscovery of what Jesus wanted us to do in the first place. Maybe it is our age, but I don’t think so. Somewhere along the way our religion had become very complicated and confused. Younger people were not engaged in church and were dropping out because it all seemed so vague and complicated.
We all have lived through some trying times in just the past fifty years, not to mention the whole history of the Catholic Church. Matthew Kelly has written a book that puts into simple terms a road map for life.
In 2005 we had real life changes happen when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. Most of the people evacuated because we had a three day warning. My town of Pass Christian was gone as were the other ten towns on the Mississippi coast. We have all worked to put back the towns better than they were, with thousands of volunteers and community effort. It was not easy on people to live through this but faith and hope and lots of charity have gotten us very far.
Now, after eight years, we are building our church back and it should be ready by 2014. It feels like a new day, a fresh start, a great opportunity is about to happen. So the question is: How did Matthew Kelly get his book into my dear friend’s hands when we were on retreat this year? She told me to read it and I did, and told our pastor, Father Mike. Our new church will open soon and we will all get a copy of Rediscover Catholicism. I see God at work here. And by the way, retirement is great.
Want to share your story? Write us at email@example.com
Making time for each other isn’t that difficult if you think about how to anchor the time around already established routines at home.
Life is short, and the holidays fly by. Don’t waste this time texting your friends about how crazy your family is making you (even if it’s true). Do your best to be present to them, seek to understand and to love.
Waking up early is a war. It is a battle against the self. You are your enemy. And there is only one way to win the war: Discipline.
When you choose to be the-best-version-of-yourself, when you exercise virtue and strength of character, you impact the world more than you will ever know.