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Matthew Kelly: On Faith and Fatherhood View Comments
By Christopher Heffron

If you’ve ever seen Matthew Kelly give a talk, the first thing you notice about him is, of course, the accent: Whether this impassioned Catholic is speaking to a filled-to-capacity church about the importance of the Mass or to a room full of suits about ethics in management, his message is swathed in a thunderous Australian drawl.

And the man is never still. As he prowls the stage like a well-tailored panther with a mike, his arms are usually akimbo—his eyes widened with excitement about the message he conveys. It’s a message Matthew Kelly, The New York Times best-selling author of Rediscover Catholicism and founder of DynamicCatholic.com, has been spreading to millions of people in over 50 countries since 1993.

The purpose of the site is to provide “resources that inspire people to rediscover Catholicism, live with passion and purpose, and bring spiritual vitality to the Church.”

But what inspires Matthew Kelly? Engaging and rousing Catholics, to be sure, but this 38-year-old has found his role as father to one-year-old Walter to be singularly defining.

Recently, St. Anthony Messenger spoke with Matthew Kelly about matters of faith,self-improvement, his struggles to reach an evergrowing number of disengaged Catholics and balancing life as a new father.

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Christopher Heffron is the assistant editor of this publication.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog Trust always and a great deal in divine providence; never, never must you let yourselves be discouraged, despite contrary winds. I say it again: trust in God and Mary Immaculate; be faithful and forge ahead! <br />-Paulina do Coração Agonizante de Jesus

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