Nel Bretney

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Retired UWI Lecturer 

Serves at St. Patrick’s  

Signs of a Dynamic Catholic Reflection

Signs of a Dynamic Catholic Reflection

Many of you would have read  Matthew Kelly’s ‘Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic ’  -- a  must-read for those who haven’t.    In it, the author sets out to share his ideas on how individual Catholics can be on fire for the Lord, rekindle their faith, and by so doing help to change the world.    Kelly himself experienced this transformation, and so speaks from personal knowledge as well as from empirical evidence.    As a result, he has heeded God’s call to “go and teach all nations.”

Let’s look at the four signs.  The first  is  Prayer.    Prayer must become a priority.   There must be a daily commitment to prayer, for the “things we do repeatedly determine our character and destiny.”  You cannot love someone and do not want to be in their presence.    Set aside a time each day as your prayer time to be with God.    Remember a Christian is not one who knows about God; it is one who has a relationship with Him.   What you will find is that by dedicating your day to the Lord, God permeates every aspect of your life.     Prayer is also a time to listen to God.  Don’t spend all your time talking.  It is also a time to be before God in silence, just acknowledging His majesty, and His presence.

The second sign of a dynamic Catholic is Study.  “Highly engaged Catholics are continuous learners,” Kelly observes.    Paul advised Timothy to “Study to show thyself approved unto God.”  (2 Tim. 2:15).   Catholics are noted for not knowing their faith.    The wealth of information that is available may seem overwhelming, but if every parishioner undertook to add five pages of spiritual reading a day to their routine, the transformation would be significant.  Taking small incremental steps to let the teachings of Jesus and His Church permeate our thinking would be a game changer, Kelly predicts.   There is a lot to read and learn, but, as the author wittingly suggests:  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

Here is a very revealing statement.  “The happiest people I know are also the most generous people I know.”  Kelly lists  Generosity as the third sign of dynamic Catholics.   They realize that they have been blessed by God to be a blessing to others; hence gratitude is a strong motivating force in their lives.  They are generous with their praise, appreciation, and encouragement, and generous with their time, talent and treasure.  “God  loves a cheerful giver.”  (2 Cor. 9: 7).  God looks at the heart, and the generous Catholic knows that giving back is an expression of thanksgiving and love. 

Evangelization is a current topic in the Church today, and it is the fourth dynamic sign.   “Dynamic Catholics invite others to grow spiritually by sharing the love of God with them.”   But this love of God must be a dominating force in the sharer’s life.   Evangelization must first of all be an inside job, starting in the hearts of all of us.   Our lives are a great evangelizing tool.   Distributing literature, inviting people to Catholic events, articulating the views of the  Church when necessary,  offering “faithful and generous friendship” are some of the ways we are called to evangelize.  

J. F. Kennedy once said “one person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”   Want to make a difference?  Do you want to be a better-version-of yourself in 2016?    Put into practice  the  three CCCs -  Catholic, Committed, Called to service.

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