I was fully, completely prepared to hate this book. Last year, our parish was graced with hundreds of copies of Rediscover Catholicism. I only made it to page 40. The author, Matthew Kelly, repeatedly used the phrase “best-version-of-yourself” (or something similar). Around page 40, I said, “If he uses that phrase one more time, I’m putting this book down.” He did and I did.
So when the priest announced at a parish council meeting that, presumably, the same parishioner that shared Rediscover Catholicism with us last year had donated hundreds of copies of Rediscover Jesus this year, I cringed. Matthew Kelly is a motivational speaker who considers himself to be a revert. Rediscover Catholicism was soaked in motivational hogwash, so clearly written by a speaker who decided to make a buck on his new-found faith, I had the lowest of the low expectations for Rediscover Jesus.
But, there are two things you need to know about me. 1) I’m a cheapskate. 2) I’m a bookworm. So, if someone gives me a free book, heck yeah, I’ll take it and I’ll at least try to read it.
And I was pleasantly surprised. If you read it all the way through, it’s an exceptionally quick read. I don’t recommend reading it that way, though. It is definitely meant to read like a 40-day devotional. Each day features reflections of varying lengths with a summary and a question to ponder. It’s easy to read, but full of depth to plunge.
It wouldn’t be Matthew Kelly if he didn’t use that dreaded phrase (“best-version-of-yourself”) a few times, but I counted. It was only 6 times in 187 pages. He was using it 6 times a page in Rediscover Catholicism, so I think I can forgive him that.
The title made me think that Matthew Kelly was trying to tackle the Historical Jesus or something like that. In this book, he’s definitely not. He doesn’t really go into history at all. He looks at Jesus from a devotional perspective using only the Jesus we know directly from Scripture. I would even venture to say that this book could easily be read and enjoyed by a Protestant, because although the author is Catholic, there is nothing particularly “Catholic” about his thoughts on Jesus.
As much as it pains me to say this, I may even pick this book up a second time to mine it for quotes for memes. I rarely read a book twice and I’m not planning on really reading this book again, but I might borrow a few one-liners from it for work.
On a scale of 1-5, I would likely give it….drum-roll please…a 4! I would particularly recommend it for your average Joe in the pews that just want a little something to learn from and deepen his faith. Which I guess is the audience Kelly was aiming for, anyway.
I’ll try not to cringe next year if this particular parishioner decides to be generous again.