Matthew Kelly is a good man with a great heart for God. I once wrote to him and asked for his help in making a dream come true for a friend of mine. I was surprised to receive a telephone call from him, and a great conversation ensued with numerous ideas for helping my friend. He was most kind and generous with his time and thoughts, showing great regard for two complete strangers. This personal quality of his has everything to do with what it means to be a Catholic Christian.
I was excited to have the opportunity to review one of his new books for the Catholic Company, and read it in just a few minutes. It is a small book, The One Thing – Passing Faith Onto Children, and at only 64 pages with lots of pictures, it was easy to read in under a half hour.
Matthew is known for making complex issues simple, and truly, that is what he did in this little book. Mostly he spent his time writing about his own experience of love in relation to his first born and only child, a son named Walter. Would that all parents in today’s world look at their child in the way that Matthew looks at his! Drawing from his recognition of the love he has found in his own heart for this child, he began to understand more deeply the love that God, our Father, has for each of us. As a soon-to-be contemplative nun, I have to tell you that this is exactly what I hope to spend the rest of my own days contemplating.
What it all boils down to in answering the question of which ‘one thing’ it takes to pass the faith on to children is this: Matthew believes, as do I, that it begins by showing them your own authentic love for God by the way you treat them and their mother and all of God’s children…..by the way you go out of your way to do things for them, to help them, and to serve others. This shows them Jesus. This shows them how God loves us and wants to be with us. When you do this, you are teaching them about Eucharist, because you are teaching them, by your example, of what it means to be Jesus to each other. And there is no better way to receive Jesus, than when we receive Him, sacramentally present in the Eucharist, another great thing this book reminds the reader.
I love putting these kinds of books in my office waiting room. I have one of Matthew's other books in my waiting room as well. They are small tidbits of important wisdom, put simply and accessible even to non-readers who do not have the patience to read a long novel. Sometimes, a person only needs one well-reasoned thought to bring them back to love. I hope this little book will do just that.
(This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The One Thing. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.)