Kingdom of Happiness

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Learning more about the Beatitudes sounded interesting to me. I knew they were important but I’ve always felt a little disconnected from them. I didn’t think of myself as meek or in poverty. I wasn’t sure what to make of them so when I saw Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, I definitely wanted to read it! This book seemed like an answer to prayer to help me dive deeper into these important verses from the Bible.

When the book arrived at my house, I read the quote at the top which said, “Fr. Kirby is flat-out one of the best spiritual writers in the Catholic Church today.” What an endorsement! Of course great quotes get put on the covers of books but I held back my own opinion until I read more.

The layout of the book is quite simple. Fr. Kirby breaks down each one of the beatitudes. He first gives a story of how someone exemplifies the beatitude. He then explains the true meaning of the Beatitude, which I found to be extremely helpful. 

Fr. Kirby says, “With each of the Beatitudes, we have to try to understand how we can live them out in our daily lives.” I think he does an excellent job of explaining how we do that for each one. Not only does he weave everyday examples throughout the whole chapter, but at the end, he provides a nice examination of conscience related to the Beatitude. For the poor in spirit he asks, “Do I acknowledge that my happiness comes from God and his blessings Do I engage in flattery or gossip? Do I overspend, live beyond my means, cheat others, or live in a needlessly frugal way with myself or others?”

My favorite part of each chapter, though, is the School of Discipleship. I think these section proves that Fr. Kirby is really one of the best spiritual writers of today. He does a masterful job of bringing it all together so you can easily walk away with the wisdom he intends you to have. He makes a chart linking each Beatitude with a gift of the spirit, a virtue, a petition of the Lord’s prayer and a capital sin or an anti-beatitude.

Here’s what it looks like:

Beatitude: Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy.

Gift of the Spirit: Counsel

Corresponding Virtue: Prudence

Petition of the Lord’s Prayer: And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Capital Sin: Greed

Not only does he make each of the Beatitudes extremely clear, I walked away from this book feeling excited that I could work on living these out more in my own life! My seven-year-old just memorized the Beatitudes at her school and after reading this book, I think we should all join her in that memorization as a family.

I want to incorporate more conversations with the children about, not only what living out the Beatitudes looks like, but also what the opposite looks like so they can begin to gauge their own behavior.

Here are some fabulous quotes although I underlined dozens of passages so it would be hard for me to include them all here!

“If we neglect our spiritual hunger and suppress our thirst for holiness, then sloth wins and self-indulgence sets in. Try as we might, with all that we can muster, we will not be content with ourselves, other people, or our world. We will be stuck in a  cycle of nervousness, denial, agitation, momentary euphoria, melancholy, and rampant anxiety.”

But meekness can also inspire other virtues such as justice, righteous anger, obedience, and temperance. Meekness isn’t about “warm fuzzies,” about making ourselves and others feel good, or about being a pushover or a weakness. Meekness helps us pursue happiness by faithfully fulfilling our vocations and the duties of our state of life, and by always seeking God’s glory and the common good of our neighbors.”

“We can also be comforted when we mourn the fallen state of the world, knowing that we were not created for this broken place, but rather a kingdom that awaits us where sin and pain cannot be found.”

This book is a delight to read! It’s not too long or too academic to understand. It was a joy to sit and learn more about the Beatitudes and I concur that Fr. Kirby is indeed one of the greatest spiritual writers of today! I think this would be a safe gift for anyone who likes reading Catholic books. It’s sure to cross all ages from young-adult and up and would also be good no matter where someone is at on their Catholic faith journey!

Could you use some more more Beatitudes in your life? Read Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life.

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Copyright 2018 Sterling Jaquith
Your purchase of the resources mentioned here through Amazon affiliate links benefits the author of this article.

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About Author

Sterling Jaquith is a wife and mama to four little kiddos, lives in Boise, Idaho and is the host of the Coffee & Pearls show. As an adult convert, she had to discover Catholicism on her own. She is so in love with the truth and tradition of the Church that she dedicates her life to helping lukewarm Catholics discover the passion and joy of our great faith! Her books Catholic Mom Challenge and Be Merry are available on Amazon HERE!

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