In the Catholic world, Matthew Kelly is a giant.
He’s written several best-selling books, encouraging people to become the “best-version-of-themselves,” and travels all over the world encouraging people in their faith. His latest book, Resisting Happiness, touches on the human tendency to resist, and how that is actually an obstacle to the true happiness and joy God intends for our lives.
On August 26, Kelly will bring his “Passion and Purpose Tour” to a sold-out crowd at the Bello Theatre in Denver. We had a chance to chat with Kelly about breaking through resistance, his own struggles and vices and the impact of his Dynamic Catholic organization.
Denver Catholic: Your latest book, Resisting Happiness, touches on how we all tend to be our own obstacles to finding true happiness. How do we break through that resistance, and how can we find true joy in Christ?
Matthew Kelly: The first thing is to name the resistance, to realize that we have to break through it to accomplish anything worthwhile. This alone is incredibly powerful and is often half the battle. You cannot win a battle you don’t know you are in. And we are all in a battle with resistance every day. the other piece is to realize that resistance loves indecision and inaction. God wants us to become great decision makers, and to live boldly under his direction. We find that joy you mention by really trying to listen for his direction. When we are listening to God’s voice in our lives, we tend to be focused, energized, invigorated and joyful. It’s actually a pretty good litmus test. Am I focused, energized, invigorated, and joyful? If not, we probably are not listening too closely to God’s voice.
DC: You’ve been doing the Passion and Purpose tour for several years now. What has the response been? How have you seen it change people’s lives?
MK: Incredible. The event team at Dynamic Catholic has done a phenomenal job of raising the bar for Catholic events. I get to show up and have all the fun. One of the ways I have seen it change lives is when people bring disengaged Catholics. The event turns out to be very different than anything they have ever experienced in a church context and they are pleasantly surprised.
DC: Your organization, Dynamic Catholic, is one of the biggest and most popular Catholic organizations in the world. How has your mission affected the faith community, both in the U.S. and around the world?
MK: Our main focus is in the U.S. My travels to more than fifty countries to speak in the 1990s clearly demonstrated the impact America is having on the world. If things don’t change here, things won’t change. So, we have been very disciplined about focusing here at home.
I think the main impact our work has done has been helping people feel good about being Catholic again in the post-abuse environment. People will not engage or evangelize if they don’t feel good about being Catholic. After that, our Catholic Moments programs have had a huge impact on Catholics and their parishes.
DC: What are some struggles and obstacles you face in becoming the best-version-of-yourself?
MK: Discouragement. Opposition and criticism often comes from surprising places, and I think many Catholics have forgotten who the real enemies are. Other than that, as I share in depth in my Resisting Happiness book, everyone has something, and my something is food. I have to be constantly vigilant about what I am eating.
DC: How can we live out our Catholic faith practically in today’s culture and become the best-version-of-ourselves?
MK: The first Christians lived differently, loved differently, and worked differently. With this simple strategy, they captured the imagination of the people of their times. Modern Catholics, we blend in. We need to start living differently, loving differently, and working differently than our non-Catholic counterparts in society.