Archdiocese Local

Millennial invites others on Holy Moment journey

Donation jar with money on table against color background. Space for text

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.

About the author

Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson attended Xavier Catholic School, Immaculata High School and the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth. She majored in English and minored in music. Katie joined The Leaven as a freelance writer and photographer in May 2017. Her favorite assignment, though she’s enjoyed them all, was interviewing her dad, David, in 2017, after he completed his 100th shadowbox rosary, which he has been making as gifts since 1983. Katie’s full-time position is as reporter for the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper.

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  • Just two days ago I helped to lead a 1/2 day retreat on Holy Moments for our parish staff. Like you this all started with Matthew Kelly’s book. Our Parish Mission its “Be. Grow. Make Disciples.” So over the last couple years we have done several of this mini retreats around the topic of discipleship. We been attempting to change the hearts and minds of our parishioners. Most of what we did was talk about the various aspects of discipleship and what it means to be a disciple.
    For our resources for the retreat we used Kelly’s book and the transcripts for “2019 Best Let Ever.” What we learned through this retreat is how I can be a disciple one moment at a time and how easy it was to do this and to teach others to do perform Holy Moments. Some people are performing Holy Moments on a regular basis because that is who they are. But since their acts never had a name they did not recognize them. Others, of which I am one, have to consciously think about Holy Moments until we get more accustom to hearing God’s whisper. We feel that naming them and claiming them will help us and others to (as you put it) begin or continue the journey to more Holy Moments.