The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything



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Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

In the 1400’s Julian of Norwich said: “The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything.” The truth of those words remains true today. God desires that each of us experience his love, grace, and mercy continually so we will know true joy.

The season of Lent presents each of us a wonderful opportunity to simplify our lives and discover those things which prevent us from experiencing joy in our lives. Through fasting, almsgiving, and prayer we have an opportunity to let go of those things that interfere with our experience of God’s joy.

A Call to Joy by Matthew Kelly helps point us to those things which, when chosen and experienced by each of us, will help us to experience true joy. This book is a Lenten gift to you and your family from Our Lady of the Fields. It is our prayer and sincere desire that each individual and family will use this book well. Read it with your spouse, share it with your children and allow it to accompany you and guide you during Lent 2015.

We have included a study guide to accompany your reading. Read just a few pages a week and reflect on the questions provided. Make a response that will help you put what you have read into action.

Like what you are reading? Have questions about the content? Want to share with others what God is teaching you through this book? On the reverse side of this page you will find a list of opportunities to gather with others during Lent for discussion and reflection on Matthew Kelly’s wisdom and the experiences he shares in this book. We hope that you will be able to take advantage of at least one of these opportunities this Lent.

May God’s Peace be yours,



Rev. Msgr. Jay O’Connor Dr. Thomas Little

Pastor Pastoral Associate

Our Lady of the Fields Church Evangelization and Faith Formation



Please join us for any of these reflection opportunities:

Weekly 1-hour discussion with the study guide 4:30 pm:
Tuesdays, Feb 24, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Contact Dr. Little tlittle@olfparish.com 410-923-7025


General book discussion:
March 8, Sunday 9-10am with the Holy Name Society

Contact Jim Kuh jkuh@usccb.org 410-721-5347


March 11, Wednesday 9-11am with Women in Faith

Contact Nancy Zander nzwoman@cablespeed.com 410-987-2142


March 11, Wednesday 7-9pm with the Spiritual Book Club

Contact Dr. Little tlittle@olfparish.com 410-923-7025


March 15, Sunday 9:30am and 11:00am while children are in Faith Formation classes

Contact Deacon Brent Heathcott 410-695-1722


March 18, Wednesday 8-9:30pm with the Men’s Group

Contact Matthew Kilmurry mpkilmurry@gmail.com 443-510-2984


March 27, Friday 7-8:30pm with the Christian Family Movement

Contact Dr. Lauri Przybysz drsprzy@verizon.net 410-544-6238



A Call to Joy- A Lenten Journey

Personal Study Questions

Week 1- Ash Wednesday to Saturday, February 21

READ: Chapter 1, pages 1-25

REFLECT:


  1. When have you heard the voice of God in your own life? What did He say to you? What do you wish he would say to you now, if he were to audibly speak to you?



  1. Where do you find your daily inspiration? On a scale of 1-10, how inspiring do you think your faith life is to others?



  1. How patient are you with yourself when you try to make changes to your life?



  1. What are the smaller passions of your life? Of these, how many distract you from being passionate about Godly things?

RESPOND: This week I will…

make a 10 minute time to pray each day so I can begin to learn to hear God’s voice,

or, identify something in my life that needs to change and make a plan to change it,

or, examine my passions to see if they are leading me closer to or further away from God.

For parents:

I will think about how I inspire my children to know God above all other things.

I will think about how my children inspire me to know God above all other things.

If we are not inspiring each other to know God in our family, we will come up with a plan to know and love God more.



Week 2- Sunday, February 22 to Saturday, February 28

READ: Chapter 1, page 25 to Chapter 2, page 58

REFLECT:


  1. Most of us learned to pray as a child, but many of us don’t know how to pray as adults. What are your thoughts about praying for what God wants for you instead of praying of what you want for you?



  1. What three aspects of your life do you need to surrender to God? What’s preventing you from surrender (i.e. fear of what God will do or a need to be in control, or…)?



  1. What is your view of the Catholic Church- an organization with rules and regulations or a place of personal growth, fulfillment, love and joy? How did you come to have that view?



  1. The message from God throughout all of history is “change.” In what ways is God calling you to change?

RESPOND: This week I will…

say each morning, “God I want what you want for me today” as my morning prayer,

or, say each morning, “God I give you (name area) to take care of for me today” as my morning prayer,

or, identify one place in our church where I/my family might become more involved to experience the personal growth, fulfillment, love and joy that God wants for me and my family,

or, identify one place where I need to change so that it will impact my family and other relationships positively.

Week 3- Sunday, March 1 to Saturday, March 7

READ: Chapter 2, page 58- Chapter 3, page 88

REFLECT:


  1. What are you using in this life to bring you happiness? How earnestly are you trying to discover the Kingdom of God?



  1. What thoughts come to your mind when you consider the word “holiness”? On a scale of 1-10 how seriously are you pursuing holiness for yourself?



  1. How firmly do you believe that Jesus Christ is who he said he is? What difference does that belief make in your life?



  1. What are some of the gifts in your life? How often do you acknowledge that they come from God and not from you?



  1. How well do you think you are able to love as Jesus loved others? What can you do to increase this ability in your life?

RESPOND: This week I will…

identify one material thing I use to make me happy and daily thank God for giving it to me,

or, at the end of each day, I will ask myself who I treated the worst and recognize that that’s how I treated God,

or, identify one person who causes me to become impatient, then daily I will ask God to give me patience with that person.



Week 4- Sunday, March 8 to Saturday, March 14

READ: Chapter 3, page 88- Chapter 4, page 123

REFLECT:


  1. If you are to be honest with yourself, which do you pursue more in your life- joy/truth or misery/lies? What do you see as the eternal consequences of that pursuit?



  1. What are your thoughts of imitating Jesus as a form of worship? In what ways do you attempt to imitate Jesus in your life? How can you increase your ability to imitate him?



  1. How interested are you in having your life transformed through prayer? On scale of 1-10 how interested are you in experiencing peace in your life? What needs to change in your life to be able to spend more time in prayer so that you might experience more peace?



  1. How well are you able to give your full attention to the people with you in each present moment? What is keeping you from allowing God to love through you in those moments?

RESPOND: This week I will…

read the Sunday readings before I go to Mass,

or, reflect actively on the blessing of community prayer while at Mass (for parents: I will help my children understand that their participation in prayer at Mass is important, too),

or, examine the time I spend each day on various activities so that I might make room for daily prayer,

or, I will go to confession this week (and take my family) so that I can make room for God’s presence in my life so that I may reflect it to others.

Week 5- Sunday, March 15 to Saturday, March 21

READ: Chapter 5, pages 123- 157

REFLECT:


  1. What are the things or who are the people I fail to appreciate when I am feeling down? How might I appreciate them more so as to experience joy?



  1. When have I experienced suffering in my life? Did I take that opportunity to allow God to teach me more about Him? How can I be more prepared for the next time I experience suffering in my life?



  1. How comfortable are you with silence? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you need to give up in order to gain periods of silence in your life?



  1. How do you discern between the voices of truth (God) and lies (the enemy of God) in your life? What helps you with discernment? What else might you do when discerning God’s will from your own?

RESPOND: This week I will…

express appreciation to one person in my life for who he/she is to me,

or, evaluate my friendships to see if they are leading me to become closer to God,

or, create some short-term and long-term goals for my spiritual life this week and write them down,

or, take stock of what I allow to influence my thoughts making a plan to rid myself of those things that do not point my mind to God (for parents: help my children do the same thing with their media/books),

or, commit to pursue truth in all things- my words, my actions and my thoughts



Week 6- Sunday, March 22 to Saturday, March 28

READ: Chapter 8, pages 159- 188

REFLECT:


  1. In what order of priority do you find these things in your life right now- God and His ways, family, friends, work, leisure? What do you think would happen if you put God and His ways as your first priority?



  1. Which areas of your life do you think are inefficient because of disorder? What can you do to bring order to those areas?



  1. How often have you thought of your work as an opportunity to grow in holiness, make friendships and spread the faith? What prevents you from doing any of these three things in your work? How can you turn every hour of work into an hour of prayer?



  1. Which teachings of the Church do you find difficult to follow or understand? How seriously have you sought to learn why the Church teaches those things? What prevents from truly wanting to understand those teachings?



  1. In what ways are you able to see the same virtues and vices reflected in yourself and others in your family (even if you no longer live with them)? How can you better encourage those family members to pursue holiness and virtue?

RESPOND: This week I will…

make a schedule for my days so that I have time for those things that should be highest in priority (for parents: help my children find time for daily prayer and make their attendance at Sunday Mass a weekend priority for our family),

or, get enough sleep, exercise and good nutrition each day,

or, make a plan for regular study of the Catholic faith.



Holy Week- Sunday March 29 to Wednesday, April 1

READ: Chapter 9, pages 189-204

REFLECT:


  1. What do you think is involved in living a saintly life? How willing are you to live any aspect of your definition?



  1. How important do you think it is to have a personal friendship with Jesus in order to truly be able to love others? How willing are you to develop or improve a friendship with Jesus?



  1. What human concerns are getting in the way of you pursuing God’s will for you to become a saint?



  1. How do you feel about being called to be an individual in today’s world who is to have clear thinking, gentle obedience and clean living? What do you need from God in order to be that individual?

RESPOND: This week I will…

attend one Triduum service (parents: attend with your children) or attend a different service than I usually attend,

or, develop a daily, weekly and monthly plan for my “spiritual exercises,”

or, respond to the invitation to experience God’s joy for me by making one change to my spiritual life this Easter season,

or, plan to attend one of the group meetings (again) which sponsored a group discussion of this book and consider joining that group more regularly

For parents:

I will be a model of pursuing holiness by allowing my children to see me pray, study the Bible and the faith and worship at Sunday Mass- then I will invite them to do the same.

A Call to Joy- A Lenten Journey

Group Discussion Questions

Opening Prayer:

Loving Father,

Open our hearts and minds

and allow us to see the beauty of our faith.

Show us what is possible and fill us with the grace, strength,

and wisdom to live all the good things

we explore here together.

Send your Spirit upon us so that we can discover your dream

for us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves,

and have the courage to defend and celebrate this true self

in every moment of our days.

We ask you to bless in a special way the hungry, the lonely,

the sick, and the discouraged.

Remind us of our duty toward them and inspire us to be filled with a profound gratitude.

We ask all this through your Son, Jesus.

Amen.


  1. What part of this book have you found inspiring so far?



  1. What part of the book has challenged you?



  1. Who are you sharing this book with? How are you implementing it in your family?



  1. How effective would you say your prayer life is? What do you need to change?



  1. To what extent do you experience true joy in your life? What gets in the way of experiencing joy all the time?



  1. What do you hope will be different in your life after reading this book?



  1. What kinds of changes do you think God is asking of you at this time in your life?

Closing prayer:

The Dynamic Catholic Prayer

Loving Father,

I invite you into my life today

and make myself available to you.

Help me to become the-best-version-of-myself

by seeking your will and becoming a living example

of your love in the world.

Open my heart to the areas of my life that need to change

in order for me to carry out the mission

and experience the joy you have imagined for my life.

Inspire me to live the Catholic faith in ways that are

dynamic and engaging.

Show me how to best get involved in the life of my parish.

Make our community hungry for best practices

and continuous learning.

Give me courage when I am afraid,

hope when I am discouraged,

and clarity in times of decision.

Teach me to enjoy uncertainty and lead your Church

to become all you imagined it would be

for the people of our times.
Amen.

Living every day with
Passion & Purpose

Are you thriving or just surviving? Are you ready for more energy? A deeper sense of purpose? More joy? A clearer understanding of God’s plan for your life?



Join us for one of our Passion & Purpose Live events. It’s not your typical church event! It has been a life-changing event for tens of thousands of people. Living Every Day with Passion & Purpose Live is presented by internationally acclaimed speaker and author Matthew Kelly and the incredibly talented musician Eliot Morris.

WHEN: April 18, 2015, 9am-2pm

WHERE: St. John the Evangelist, Severna Park

WHY: Because you deserve a spiritual treat!

HOW: Go to www.dynamiccatholic.com/events to get your tickets.

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