by Katie Peterson
Special to The Leaven
When I attended Christmas Eve Mass at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lansing with my parents and older brother this past year, I was taken aback when Father Bill McEvoy mentioned the free book available in the back of the church titled, “The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity: How Modern Culture is Robbing Billions of People of Happiness,” by Matthew Kelly.
It was a classic case of judging a book by its cover. Why was this book being offered in the Catholic Church?
I assumed it was going to be something that contradicted the core beliefs of our faith, like Jesus rising from the dead or the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
But, since the book was free and I am a huge bookworm, I grabbed a copy. But at that busy time of year, the book went straight to my bookshelf and I forgot all about it. I was intrigued, though, several weeks later when my mom told me how wonderful she thought the book was.
So, settling into the recliner at my parents’ house, I turned to the first page and began to read.
I quickly realized my initial thoughts were wrong. Kelly didn’t talk about things that discredited anything I had learned over the last 24 years of life; he helped me see what I have known and how I have lived my Christian faith in a whole new way.
Since birth, I have attended Mass every Sunday; I attended Catholic school from pre-kindergarten through college; and I always made a point to keep my faith strong in any way that I could.
But never once did I think about the biggest lie Kelly posed: “Holiness is not possible.”
I never necessarily thought it was impossible to live a holy life because of the examples we have from Mary and the saints.
But I never really thought about it from that perspective in my own life.
I try my hardest to tend to my relationship with God on a daily basis, whether it is talking to him in prayer, reading chapters from the Bible or taking 15 minutes for my morning devotions. I learned from Kelly that these are the Holy Moments in my life.
“A Holy Moment is a moment when you yourself open yourself to God. You make yourself available to him,” Kelly said. “You set aside what you feel like doing in that moment, and you set aside self-interest, and for one moment you simply do what you prayerfully believe God is calling you to do in that moment.”
I read the book cover to cover that night and found myself tearing up on multiple occasions. I knew I already had a start on creating Holy Moments in my life, but I wanted to take it a step further.
The very next day, I was picking up dinner at Wendy’s for myself and my brother. At the cash register there was jar for spare change that was to be donated to help foster children, and I immediately started to think.
Last May, my brother and I moved out of our parents’ house for the first time, and we quickly learned how to scrimp and save our pennies. One way was by collecting our change, and since we were now using the apartment laundromat, quarters had become even more essential.
But that night, as soon as I saw the donation jar, I remembered Kelly’s words, and, without hesitation, I opened up my wallet and emptied my change into the jar.
I can’t tell you how that simple act made me feel.
And I couldn’t help but smile as I took my order from the fast-food worker and walked out the door.
The journey to more Holy Moments in my life had begun.