Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Call to Joy

I had been hearing great things about Matthew Kelly from friends who had read his books or listened to his CDs, and now that I’ve finally gotten around to reading A Call to Joy: Living in the Presence of God, I’d have to say they’re right about him being an inspiration.
I’d describe this book as a collection of Kelly’s personal God incidents, the best of self-help books advice, Scripture to live by, and the wisdom of the saints, along with some anecdotes that serve as amusing, straightforward parables. Nothing in this book will strike an avid reader of religious and/or self-help books as being earth-shattering, brand new, or cutting-edge, however the work is a wonderful easy-to-read and digest anthology of sorts when it comes to spiritual, religious, and practical wisdom for how to make God first in your life and keep Him center-stage.   
The reminders of the keys to living a life in God’s love are ones I really appreciated. Many of the books I’ve read recently about the lives of the saints and the Catholic faith have had a strong focus on one or two specific aspects of living a life centered on God. This veritable overview of Biblical, popular self-improvement wisdom from the doctors of the church, infused with ah-ha God moments Matthew Kelly embraced and has allowed to change his heart, mind, and the direction of his life make for a good mix and an excellent jumping off point.
Some of the stories included as illustrations of main points are ones I’ve previously read in e-mails forwarded from friends, but they were the e-mails that I enjoyed and passed along to others as well.
The English major and copy editor in me was a bit disappointed with the typos and such, but there weren’t enough glaring errors to make even someone as anal about grammar as I can be at times toss the book aside.
The truths contained therein are often very simple, easy to remember ones we need to be reminded of numerous times throughout our lives. They are basic moral teachings, just like Jesus preached, that are easy enough to memorize but significantly more difficult to live out with every person and situation we meet. Kelly gives a number of practical Christ, saint, doctor, and mother-approved suggestions for fundamental ways to order our lives to achieve the happiness, joy, and fulfillment for which we yearn. He helps the reader identify the pitfalls to accepting God’s grace by pointing out what happens when we look in the wrong places and/or haven’t gotten the right balance of prayer, work, relaxation…that will nurture our growth and ability to glorify God in mind, body, and spirit.
This book is one I highly recommend since it hits the highlights of spiritual and religious fundamentals with practical suggestions on how to listen to, discern, and live out the Lord’s will for each of our lives.
You can purchase this book here. I wrote this review of A Call to Joy: Living in the Presence of God for the Tiber River Blogger Review program.  Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases.  I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.
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