The Dynamic Catholic of this book is one who is prayerful, studious, generous and evangelistic. They are the 7% who do most of the work and form the basis of almost any parish. Author Matthew Kelly examines each of the signs in detail.
The prayerful Catholic is one who makes his prayer life a part of his routine, a part of the day as dependable as eating and breathing, something without which no day is complete. Within the routine of prayer there is a routine of when, where and how; the quiet place, the beginning when we talk to God and the quiet when he talks to us.
The studious Catholic is one who makes the effort to learn about the Faith. She is the one who reads the Bible or a Catholic book. Through study she learns the genius of Catholicism, its doctrines and contributions to the world that enable her to defend it from attack and explain its truth to the curious.
The generous Catholic is one who shares his time, talent and treasure with those in need. Even when busy he makes the time to work on the project, he recognizes the skills he bring in service to others and appreciates the opportunity to live simply so that others may live.
The evangelistic Catholic is proud to be Catholic, is one willing to share the faith she has and is unafraid to speak with others about Catholicism. It is she who will take the message to others in her world and enable the faith to spread.
Kelly presents both a warning and a vision. He warns us that Catholics are fleeing the pews in droves and that the Church needs a game changer to reverse that trend. He provides the vision that given what the 7% accomplish, think of what 8, 10 or 15% could do. He points out that becoming a Dynamic Catholic is a one step at a time process. He exhorts us not to try to do everything at once but to start with a little then add to it as we become more and more dynamic in our faith.
I found “The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic” to have be both energizing and hokey. I found the statistics that 7% of Catholics form the core of most parishes to be disappointing, but realistic. The steps he proposes encourage reflection. They help the reader understand the importance of drawing closer to God through prayer. They help us see the role that study plays in enabling us to understand our Faith so as to be able to explain it to others. They help us to understand the necessity to share what we have. They give helpful points in how to spread the faith. I think that it gets beyond its “I can do that” theme when it encourages the Church to pick a goal such as eliminating poverty in America and assures us that “We can do that” and thereby make millions want to join the Church. Kelly adopts the mantle of the inspirational speaker who sounds good but whose message does not stand up to the vicissitudes of life. In my view when he gets into that realm he risks turning off those who might be Dynamic Catholics in an appeal to those who might get busy in a social project but not accept the Faith behind it.
I found this to be affirming, challenging and a bit overly idealistic. It was designed to be given away at Christmas, as it was in our archdiocese. I think that it will attract different people in different ways, and many not at all, but the initial goal is not to win over everyone, but just to grow that 7% to 8%. We can do that. Read ”The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” and start on that road to becoming a better version of yourself.