Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Catholic Company Review: The One Thing

The One Thing: Passing Faith Onto Children
by Matthew Kelly

This is a short book, beautifully printed, full of photographs from the author's own family, most featuring his son who was only ten months old when the book was written. Mr. Kelly asked himself, what is the one thing most important to teach my son to help him remain committed to his faith and his Lord throughout his life?

Set in the middle of the night as Mr. Kelly comforts and snuggles his sleeping son, the book follows his thoughts in an orderly way without losing the feeling of a conversation with himself, such as many of us have had as we walk the floors with our little ones in the wee hours.

Mr Kelly's thoughts on why people leave the church are generalized, not quite taking into account all the possibilities, but there's enough to begin thinking about it.
[The] scandals that stain our history do not exist because we lived our Catholicism, but rather, because we failed to live it.
Eventually, Mr. Kelly realizes the one thing he believes is most important to impress upon his son is the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Mass.
...I don't think I could ever leave the church. The reason is because I believe that Jesus Christ is alive in the Eucharist. And no protestant, evangelical, or nondenominational church can give me that.
Facing the reality of a few brief but all-important years before him to share the Catholic faith with his son and to lead him to a relationship that will remain strong long after his son is grown, Mr. Kelly begins to feel overwhelmed - as do we all!
[Then] I was reminded of a friend who had told me that the first lessons of faith come through relationships. In the care and concern I show my son, by touching him tenderly and speaking sincere words of love, I have already begun to teach him about God as a loving Father. When I go out of my way to do things for him, to help his mother, or to serve others, I am teaching him about the Eucharist, which is a powerful reminder that Jesus laid down his life for us...and that he calls us to lay down our lives for others.
I was reminded of a previous review for The Catholic Company, Parenting with Grace. I think the idea of self-donative love fits well with Mr. Kelly's thoughts.

My favorite quote came near the end of the book:
God loves us. We hear this all the time in Christian circles, and for some reason I have always believed it. But now I feel it. It has become real to me in fatherhood. You see, I love my son so much. I love him more than I ever thought I was capable of loving. And if I can love him this much--with all my weakness, brokenness, and limitations--how much God must love his children.
I've often thought we learn much about the faith by having children, by living this life of caring for others and suffering with them or because of them. Surely it is a little like how God cares for all of us.

I think this book would be a wonderful gift for new parents or a nice little baptismal gift. I received it on Saturday afternoon and read it in a short time, sitting on the porch while I watched my younger two putter about the front yard. (Second Son is at the perfect puttering age; he's still sublimely happy walking up and down the path over and over again.) While it's brief, the book was full of insight even for this mother of four. I sometimes found myself agreeing and thinking how much more he'd feel the same way in a few years!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I received a free copy of the book. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The One Thing. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

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