Matthew Kelly’s 3 ways to transform your faith life in a year

Photo Caption: Catholic author and evangelist Matthew Kelly smiles during a presentation at Epiphany Church in Normal on Oct. 24.

NORMAL — Matthew Kelly challenged Catholics at his Oct. 24 presentation to take one of three “game-changing” pledges which he said would transform their lives.

“Lives change when our habits change,” said Kelly, asking the 1,100 in attendance at Epiphany Church to select one of the following and see it through for the next 12 months.

1. READ THE GOSPELS FOR 15 MINUTES EVERY DAY

Every Christian needs to answer the question Jesus posed to his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?,” said Kelly.

He described Jesus as a “radical,” pointing to teachings such as “love your enemies.” But unless we immerse ourselves in the life of Jesus by regularly and repeatedly reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we may not see “the gap between our lives and the Gospels.”

“We know the Word of God has the power to transform our lives,” said Kelly. “The trouble is, we pray for tweaking, not transformation.” Kelly encouraged Catholics to turn their lives fully over to Christ, praying, “Whatever you want, God.”

“You want to see miracles? Pray that prayer,” said Kelly. “God answers that prayer every single time.

“The truth is Jesus wants to turn our lives upside down, which is right side up,” said Kelly.

2. GO TO CONFESSION ONCE A MONTH

“Nothing will chase mediocrity out of our lives like confession,” said Kelly.

Noting that no one in sports or any other activity achieves excellence without coaching, he asked the crowd, “Who are you getting your spiritual coaching from?” Regular confession and spiritual direction will make us aware where are falling short and challenge us to excellence.

“You’ll have the best relationships you’ve ever had,” promised Kelly.

3. BRING A JOURNAL TO EVERY SUNDAY MASS

Ask God to show in every Mass one way you can be a better version of yourself in the coming week. It won’t be difficult to recognize that one thing, said Kelly, who has done the practice for 17 years and has a shelf of journals to prove it.
Once you recognize the message meant for you, write it down. Then spend the rest of the Mass praying about it, said Kelly, who provided each participant with a Mass journal.

“That one thing will knock you over,” he said. It will also increase your love for Mass. “You’ll actually be in the pew before Father gets to the altar,” said Kelly.

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