Monday, December 31, 2012

The Gift of Passion and Purpose

When most Roman Catholics of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis went to church last week-end and Christmas, they left with more than the usual spiritual inspirations of the season; each family was offered a gift from their Archbishop, a special-edition hard copy of Matthew Kelly's 319-page book, Rediscover Catholicism. Nicely wrapped in Christmas paper, the books struck the right note for folks unused to leaving church with such surprises, but the real surprise is likely to occur later, as the books are actually read and discussed.

Subtitled "A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion and Purpose," the book hits the "Me" generations in their central concern: themselves. Doesn't everybody want to live with passion and purpose? The book demonstrates how to use the traditional Christian disciplines to become the best me, or, specifically "the best version of myself," as opposed to the current version of myself. The sacrament of reconciliation heads the list of tools for this personal actualization. "Your weaknesses are the key to the unimaginable bigger future that God has envisioned for you," Kelly writes. Could there possibly be any tack likely to be more successful than this with Boomers (post WWII babies), Generation X (1960s babies) and Generation Y (1980s babies)?

Although Kelly is writing about the "Big C" (Roman Catholic) Church he obviously loves, his wisdom and advice is wholly applicable to "little c" catholics, as well, namely those Protestants who consider themselves part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. If Christians of all stripes can rediscover the treasures of their faith, Generation Z babies won't need to read a book like Kelly's; they will be even luckier, catching their faith through the osmosis of living among their newly-energized predecessors.

Let us wish the good Archbishop Nienstedt well in this ambitious undertaking. May every Roman Catholic in the archdiocese read Kelly's excellent book and thereby rekindle a passion and purpose that is sure to be contagious and history-making.

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