“God NEEDS behind-the-scenes guys.”
US-based, Australia-born Catholic author and motivational speaker Matthew Kelly told participants in the 33-day Consecration to St Joseph challenge on Thursday evening, that St Joseph was a role model and was God’s behind-the-scenes guy. He said St Joseph was one of the most famous men in history for his involvement in the story of salvation, yet “there is not a single word” recorded from St Joseph in the Bible. “He was a behind-the-scenes guy, doing what needs to be done without fanfare.”
Speaking after the evening prayer organised by the National Catholic Men’s Ministry, The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic author called on his mostly male audience to be the behind-the-scenes guy for their spouses, children, friends, and the wider community. To do so, they must learn “the lesson of humility” epitomised by St Joseph.
Kelly described humility as “an uncommon disposition in society today”, a society that seems to be filled with pride and arrogance.
He said fatherhood is “a position of greatness and a position that requires humility, incredible humility”.
In his hour-long reflection he said he would speak on personal development, and then focus on family relations. He urged men to have a plan as, “Those who fail to plan, can plan to fail.”
God wants everyone to become the best versions of themselves. The world does not need another Mother Teresa or St Francis of Assisi, “it needs you”, Kelly said.
Sharing a bit of his younger years, he said his mother often complimented him on the shirt he wore saying it looked good on him. In the same way, “holiness looks good on you…generosity, compassion, patience, kindness, social justice…looks good on you.”
He said everyone was struggling in some way and people need to mindful of others as they don’t wear “signs of the burdens” they are carrying.,
Referencing team sports like cricket, baseball and football, he said it was the team mastering the basics that wins. “The basics of living a spiritual life is exercising good choices and making the right decisions”, and even in the case of “unpredictable things happening, we still get to choose how we respond,” he added.
Full dialogue with Matthew Kelly available via NCMM’s YouTube Channel
It’s all about choices
There are good choices and bad choices. Learning to make good choices is critical, Kelly said. “Who will teach us to make great choices? God wants you to become a phenomenal decision-maker.”
He urged all to change their lives by changing their choices, and not let the past rob them of their future. “Being the best version of yourself looks good on you but you have to choose.”
Kelly encouraged spending a minimum of ten minutes daily, if possible, in a quiet church or a quiet place talking to God. It was a practice he developed as a teen as he passed a church on his way to school. “It will change your life.” In those quiet times, ask the big question, ‘God, what to do?’ with everything in life.
The author of Rediscovering the Saints said humans have a physical and spiritual aspect and cannot live a great life or flourish unless they fed their soul. “We need silence, solitude, to sit with God, each day…. We need God’s guidance, counsel, and wisdom to make wise choices.”
Finally, at the individual level, he warned about the content diet reminding, “We become the books we read.” He explained that 30 years ago there were different books and newspapers but today, the content being consumed has changed and some were “unhealthy” .
Speaking on family life, Kelly said God has a dream for every family and menhave to help each family member become the best version of themselves. He called on parents to have a vision for their children, to be countercultural, to be uniquely themselves, “not slaves to the culture”.
He admitted that the modern culture is powerful, and parents must ask themselves the uncomfortable questions, “What in your life is countercultural, what ways are you countercultural? Is the culture having a positive effect on us as men, on our families, on our marriages?”
Kelly said a cultural war was being waged and the easiest way to lose a war is to believe you are not in a war. “We need to recognise we’re in a war, recognise who is the enemy. The culture is not your friend to you, your marriage, your family, or your children.” He challenged viewers to develop strategies to defeat that enemy.
He called on men to create a single holy moment each day as holy moments will change the world. “We need to stop looking for worldly solutions to spiritual problems.”
Returning to St Joseph, he said the one quality God found in St Joseph was his availability.
He asked, “How available are you to God at this time in your life? Why are you holding back from God? Where is the wisdom in holding back from God? What’s the risk on seeing what happens?”
Kelly ended challenging men to make themselves 100 per cent available to God and to be ready as incredible things will happen. “That’s what consecration is about.”
By Raymond Syms