An interview with best-selling author Matthew Kelly
Whether it’s the crises we see in the world around us, or those we experience in our personal lives, many of us seek solutions and are hungry for answers. Matthew Kelly says it’s time to "stop looking for something and start looking to someone—Jesus of Nazareth."
“There is a lot of talk about how important a personal relationship/encounter with Jesus is.” Kelly says. “But we find that most Christians don’t know what it is or how to get it. …I think the promise of this book is to facilitate that encounter and kick-start that relationship with Jesus.”
Kelly, who founded The Matthew Kelly Foundation and The Dynamic Catholic Institute, is an internationally acclaimed speaker, business consultant, and best-selling author whose books have been published in 25 languages and have sold in excess of 15 million copies. His latest book, Rediscover Jesus, was just released in hardcover.
Kelly spoke to Zoe Romanowsky about why he wrote the book and the difference he hopes it will make in the lives of others.
Zoe Romanowsky: Why did you write Rediscover Jesus and who is it for?
Matthew Kelly: I wrote it as the result of a personal odyssey to have a renewed relationship with Jesus. I spent more than four years developing DECISION POINT©, the Dynamic Catholic Confirmation program, and as I was working on it, a recurring thought kept washing over me: “I don’t know Jesus anywhere near as well as I should.” So I set out to do something about that.
In the process of rediscovering Jesus myself, I came to the realization that we hear a lot of talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus. But it seems most people don’t have this, they are afraid or ashamed to say they don’t have it, and they don’t know how to get it. I wanted to fix that. So, the book is for anyone who wants to develop that kind of relationship with Jesus… or anyone who wants to see their relationship with Jesus taken to a whole new level.
ZR: You wrote Rediscover Catholicism in 2002; how does this new book relate to it?
MK: Rediscover Catholicism was focused on the genius of Catholicism, and Catholic spirituality in general. Rediscover Jesus is about taking a fresh look at the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, taking an inventory of our lives side by side with the Gospel, and embracing the challenge to grow. I think both these books meet people where they are and lead them to where God is calling them to be.
ZR: Rediscover Jesus is essentially 40 short chapters with points and questions to ponder and pray with at the end of each one. Why did you choose this format?
MK: When I was young I wanted to write books that people would want to read. Now I want to write books that people will live. When I write I’m constantly trying to find ways to personalize the reader’s experience, so that the ideas can come to life in a person’s life. The Church understands that our lives change when our habits change, and forty days is the perfect time to form new habits.
ZR: What are the greatest obstacles in the way of rediscovering the Lord and how do we overcome them?
MK: Honestly, I think people don’t know where to start. We haven’t done a good job of teaching people to develop a daily routine of prayer. People yearn for it. They know something is missing, but they need to be shown step by step how to develop or renew their relationship with Jesus.
Beyond that, the sheer busyness of life in the modern world is a real obstacle.
And finally, the smart phone. The gaps in our day are so important—as important as the rests in music. These gaps manifest as a few minutes in a doctor’s office before an appointment, waiting in line in the grocery store, waiting for someone to arrive for lunch or a meeting. In these gaps, our minds naturally used to turn to reflection and very often to prayer. But when most people, even those who’ve been well trained to develop a life of prayer, encounter one of these gaps in their day, they reflexively reach for their smart phone, which is a daily enemy of reflection and spontaneous prayer.