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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

What Is a Holy Moment?

Jack Beers:

We've talked a little bit about how holy moments has impacted you personally, and sort of set the stage that holy moments is the answer to the mess of life. So what is a holy moment and how do I have one?

Matthew Kelly:

Yeah. One of the things I did in the book was I really spent time on defining the holy moment. Then I broke it down, word by word, phrase by phrase, step by step, so that there would be no confusion. A holy moment is a single moment in which you open yourself to God. You make yourself available to him. You set aside personal preference and self interest. And for one moment, you do what you prayerfully believe God is calling you to do. That's a holy moment.

Jack Beers:

That's how you have one too, is that you have this moment, and this awareness there, and you invite God into that moment, and you set aside self-interest. So I would love it if we broke it down a little bit. I just want to ask you, why do you focus on a single moment? Why just one single moment? Why do you get that specific and that narrow with it?

Matthew Kelly:

Many reasons. I think one reason is because that is where life happens. Life happens in the present moment and it is the only place to meet God. God is constantly existing in the present moment. If we want to commune with God, if we want to connect with God, if we want to spend time with God, it will happen only in the present moment. That's one reason. Another reason is because it's very, very difficult, possibly impossible, to be overwhelmed by a single moment. Even a single moment of horrific suffering, a single moment, not five minutes, but even a single moment of horrific suffering can be absorbed, can be integrated, can be experienced. It's the addition of these moments that make life unbearable and overwhelming, whether that's someone being tortured in a military situation or just the stress of daily life. It's never the single moment that overwhelms. It's the addition of moment upon moment upon moment.

The single moment is really important because, especially when someone is setting off on a spiritual journey, when someone has the sense, okay, there must be more to live. I must be missing something. I feel like I'm called to more. I feel like I'm capable of more, or all those sorts of things. They're in a very tender place. What religion tends to do to people in that moment is overwhelm them. Jesus talks about the idea that, I will not crush the bruised [inaudible 00:19:20], and very often we do. People come, they're in these early stages. They're very vulnerable. They're very fragile. It's just a little, a little sprout growing out of the earth. A strong wind can destroy it. So it's very important when people want to grow spiritually that we don't overwhelm them. A single moment doesn't overwhelm them.

If you say to them, "Hey, you need to be saint. You need to be a saint like, or Mother Teresa, or what happens? They get overwhelmed. They start to think about all the impossibility of why they can't do that or why they can't be that. What the single moment does is it reveals possibilities. It puts us in a place mentally, psychologically, spiritually, in a place of possibility. So the single moment is really important.

Jack Beers:

It feels like when you distill it down to a single moment, that where I am in my life, it actually, it doesn't matter at all. There's no prerequisite for it. I read that and I think I don't need any background or any training, or literally anything in order to have a holy moment. I just, I need to do what you just shared. I need to be able to place... I need to give God the opportunity to speak into my life in a single moment. That's all that needs to happen. It feels so simple. Is it too simple, or I don't know, what do you think about that?

Matthew Kelly:

In a lot of my writings I talk about the idea that like, if you get to an end of a chapter, or if you get to end of a book and you feel overwhelmed, you have misunderstood what I'm trying to say. At the end of each point, at the end of each chapter, at the end of each book, I want my reader to be able to say, "Wow, I can do that. That's possible. That's not overwhelming. It's not too much. I don't need a doctorate in this or a masters in that to begin. I can begin today, and I really can do that."

So if you ask, is it too simple, I would argue there's no such thing. Our capacity to complicate things is astounding and devastating. Even the simplest things, we have a tendency to complicate them.

Then the other thing I think that's important to recognize is that given the state of the world and the state of our lives, whenever there is big problems, complex problems, lots of dysfunction and bureaucracy, only the very simplest solution can cut through all of that, gain broad acceptance. So be used by millions and millions and millions of people in a way needs to be used, and have an impact and be effective. I would argue that holy moments is not too simple. It's just simple enough. It is very, very, very simple. I mean, I've broken it down to what I believe is its simplest form, and I labored over it. I mean, we look at that definition, I labored over it, and I've been laboring over it for years. It's showing up now in a book form, but it's been labored over for a long time.

Matthew Kelly

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