It’s impossible to attend the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and not be inspired.
You come away wanting to be a better person, a better Christian and a better Catholic.
On Friday afternoon, Matthew Kelly’s talk, “Finding Catholic Game Changers,” sent me away fired up and energized. I hope that sharing some of his points makes you feel the same way!
Kelly’s key points
- “The tide on Catholicism in the U.S. is going out.” One issue resulting from that is our tendency to look for big solutions to big problems. As Kelly says, big solutions are complex solutions, and complex solutions almost never work. The best answer is usually blindingly obvious.
- “Part of our mission as Catholics is to transform the world.” But as a people today in the U.S., we’re in “maintenance mode.” We’re focused on surviving, not thriving, and maintenance isn’t inspiring–not to other Catholics, other Christians or even ourselves. “Mission is inspiring.”
- “We’ve lost our story, or our ability to tell it in an inspiring way.” Kelly noted that 52 percent of Americans attending nondenominational Christian churches are former Catholics. As he says, Catholics have to be able to intrigue people, and if we lived our faith fully, we’d be doing just that. But in reailty, Catholics are just blending in; we’re not living, loving or working differently from other Christians. “What about your life is countercultural?”
- Game-changing actions have to be simple, implementable, sustainable and collaborative. And ultimately, “holiness is always the answer.” So we should be asking ourselves how we can help people lead more virtuous lives.
Start with yourself
Kelly then offered three action points each Catholic can perform to change the game for himself or herself–and thus, start to inspire others.
- Spend more time with the Bible, particularly in the Gospels. Kelly recommends spending 10 minutes a day for a year reading the Gospels. When you finish them, start over again! The goal is to get to know Jesus, apart from the notions of him in today’s modern world. As Kelly says, Jesus was a radical. And if we committed to living out even one Sunday Gospel reading, our lives would be radically changed. “People want boldness. People follow mission, and mission is bold.”
- Go to confession, once a month for a whole year. As Kelly says, we all need spiritual coaches, and the priest we talk to for Reconciliation can be just that. A spiritual coach can help us be better Catholics just as, say, a golf coach can help us with our swing. “We don’t see things as they really are,” Kelly notes, and confession can help us to do that.
- At Sunday Mass, “Ask God, ‘Show me one way in this Mass I can become a better version of myself.’ “ Kelly recommends keeping a Mass journal, as he does himself.
Which of Kelly’s suggestions speaks to you? Are you ready to be a Catholic game changer?