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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

Holy Moments LEAD to Human Flourishing

Jack Beers:

So there is some sense that we're trying to make progress, and yet it would seem to me that we're headed in the wrong direction. So when you talk about progress, what do you think the culture means by progress? And what do you think actual progress is?

Matthew Kelly:

I think change and progress have become synonymous. And I think we've all seen change. It was anything but progress. I think progress is sold to people as this will be a great change. But very often on the other side of whatever the change is, people think, well, this actually isn't better. I've spoken a bit about cell phones lately. I don't know a parent who would say, oh, my relationship with my child is better because I gave my cell phone, where they gave it to him a month ago, a year ago or a decade ago. I don't know a single parent who would say, yeah, my relationship is just indisputably better because my child has a cell phone. And so I think we're confused about what progress is. I think we're confused about what changes progress should lead to human flourishing. The goal of society is to create an environment and opportunities for human beings to flourish. We're not seeing much of that.

And so we're not making much progress. We can call it whatever we want to call it, but human beings are not flourishing. They're not flourishing more today than they were 10 years ago. They might have more stuff that is in progress. Having more stuff isn't progress, having more money isn't progress. Not that those things are bad, but what gives them their positive or negative charge is do they help human beings flourish? If I give you more money and it causes you to become a worse human being, well, how is that good? Or if I give you more stuff and it causes you to destroy significant relationships in your life, it's obviously not progress.

And so we need leaders who understand the role of society, that understand the role of government, that understand the role of leadership, that understand the role of teaching. And that is to facilitate this human flourishing and to not interfere with this human flourishing and to build environments and opportunities where this human flourishing can take place. And unfortunately, there are few and fewer environments that encourage human flourishing, and there are few and fewer opportunities that people naturally bump into that create human flourishing. We're quickly approaching a scenario where if you want to flourish as a human being, you have to go looking for environments and opportunities to the extent that you actually have to avoid most environments and opportunities because they will not cause you to flourish. They will destroy you.

Jack Beers:

When I think about what you're saying, that most environments that are out there are actually going to destroy you and you have to avoid them. As a person who tries to be a person of possibility, I can't help, but say I'm drawn to what a great opportunity for the Catholic church in America. If the Catholic church was the best, there's plenty of opportunity now, but if the Catholic church was the best place in the world at helping human beings to flourish, that would be a great opportunity, that would be a great way to turn the tide on Catholicism's influence in America.

And so one thing I've been thinking about is Holy Moments is the Christmas book this year that we are making available at a dollar a copy to be distributed at parishes this Christmas. And when I think about the books that you've written, and then also the books that we've distributed through the book program, and it's been millions and millions, there's upward of 30 million books that we've distributed through the book program. I think this is the most important book since Rediscover Catholicism. Not necessarily say like, oh, is it the book that has most deeply impacted me? Maybe, maybe not, but I think it's the most important one for the church since Rediscover Catholicism, because I think it's an actual formula that everyone on a quick hit can actually start to flourish as a human being or at least get better as a human being.

And the church because they got the book there, can actually be seen as the place to which help their lives improve. So I wanted to know what you thought about that. We haven't talked about that. But I wanted to know what you thought about that, and if there is a problem that the church is facing right now that cannot be significantly improved, if people just started having significantly more holy moments. I guess that was two things in there through that last one on the end.

Matthew Kelly:

Yeah. When I wrote The Dream Manager, obviously it's a business book, but the idea that your dreams are your dreams for a reason, and you can follow them or ignore them, it seemed too simple to me. I put off writing the book for a long time. I almost didn't publish the book because I just thought, uh, it's just too simple. But the phenomenal success of that is really around this concept, your dreams are your dreams for a reason, and you can ignore them or pursue them. Once you know that you can't really forget that. If you ask someone, what are your dreams? They're like, I don't know, because they haven't thought about it or no one's ever asked them or they're not willing to say or that thing, but that question will not leave them alone. They will lie awake at night wondering what are my dreams? When did I stop dreaming?

And in a small way that concept is unforgettable, you can't set aside, it won't leave you alone once you are aware of it's in your life forever. In a much, much, much larger way, the concept of holy moments is everywhere. It's like once you hear about it, once you know about it, you're going to see it everywhere, you're going to see situations through that lens. And you're going to be able to bring to life holy moments yourself very quickly and many of them. And there's a great joy that comes from that. I've written a lot of books, 30 something. If you said to me, you have to pick one of your books and nobody will ever read any of your other books ever again, that will only read the one book you pick, this is that book. This is that book.

Jack Beers:

When you think about all the challenges that are facing the culture and that are facing the Catholic church in America, is there one that you think holiness can't solve?

Matthew Kelly:

No, I don't think there is. And I also think it far transcends us, it far transcends the church. It's not only what the church needs, it is what the world needs, it is what society needs. And it is a 100% issue, which I've talked about before. It's like, if you're against creating holy moments, there's something wrong with that. And it can be everywhere, it can be in our marriage, it can be in every environment, it can be a way of elevating everything we do.

Matthew Kelly

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