Saturday, October 14, 2017

Find Your Life Within the Mysteries of the Rosary

Saturday October 14th, 2017

Nearly 15 years ago St. John Paul II changed my life with the writing of his Apostolic Letter on the Rosary.  I read the entire letter in one sitting, during an extended stay, at our adoration chapel.  His words enlightened, strengthened, and encouraged me in my love for the rosary.  After reading it, I learned to pray the rosary in a totally new and beautiful way.  I shared this way of praying the rosary with family and friends.  They encouraged me to help others learn this way of meditating on the rosary and so I set about writing Rosary Meditations for Real Life.

In Rosary Meditations for Real Life I took 7 topics that most of us have faced during our life and found each of these 7 topics in all of the mysteries of the rosary.  For example, I know that many of us have had to deal with death in one way or another during the course of our life.  My goal in the book was to show that we can find hope, comfort, healing, love, joy, and peace - even in this dark time of dealing with death - within every mysteries of the rosary.  No matter what we are experiencing, if we take the time to truly pray and talk with God, we can see our life and experiences within the mysteries of the rosary.

 What I want to do with this blog post is list each topic but present it only in light of the Joyful Mystery of the Annunciation.  I want to attempt to help you see that Work, Addiction, Marriage, Children, Death and more can each, in their turn, be found within this one mystery.

My hope is that you will see the depth and the richness of Scripture. I hope that you will be able to see that even though each meditation focuses on the exact same Scripture passage, so much can be drawn out of it depending on the topic or theme. I pray that you will try this on your own and fall deeply in love with the scriptures and each day find your life in the mysteries of the Rosary. A simple prayer, right?

Following the sample meditations are resources to help you get started going deeper, mining the riches of scripture and the rosary!  Plus, today and tomorrow (10/14/2017-10/15/2017) Rosary Meditations for Real Life is available on Amazon Kindle absolutely free so there's no excuse to not begin praying the rosary or begin praying the rosary again!

Here is the Scripture most commonly used in association with the Annunciation. I will then list each topic and then the meditation.

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. - Luke 1:26-38

TOPIC: WORK
Mary was not sitting idle when the angel appeared. Traditional artwork shows Mary reading scripture, meditating on the word of God. The fact is Mary was serving God by working through the scriptures. Whether I work in an office, on a construction site or at home, my work can bring me closer to God. Mary wasn’t sitting idle waiting for a sign from God that she was to be the Mother of the Messiah. She was fulfilling her daily duties when God’s message came. What will my state of mind be and what will I be doing when God’s messenger comes? What if it is not a messenger but God Himself? Will I be humbly attending to the work set before me or will I be complaining against the task? “Be it done unto me.”

TOPIC: CHILDREN
Children are a gift from God. A completely mysterious gift, but a gift nonetheless. The mystery of the Annunciation shows me how much God loves human life. My salvation did not begin with a celestial light show or trumpeted announcement throughout the heavens. It began with a pregnancy. The Word truly became flesh and entered the world the way I did. My God chose to become a helpless child in the arms of His Mother. For a while the Creator was nurtured at the breast of one of His creatures. Unless I become like a little child I cannot enter the kingdom. To be child-like is to be full of awe and wonder at everything God does. Small children are amazed at simple things like music, balloons, and bugs. I too need to look at life with that kind of awe. Children are a gift from God because they can teach me how God wants me to live, depending solely on Him and looking with wonder at all He does for me. Like the angel Gabriel children can be messengers from God.

TOPIC: DEATH
It seems strange to meditate on death as associated with the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary. Yet to meditate on death is a spiritually healthy thing to do. I, like Jesus did, from the moment of conception am moving towards death. Death is as natural as life, yet I fear it because it is a realm unknown to me. As the Catechism states, my purpose is to "know, love, and serve God in this life so I can be happy with Him in the next." This very statement has the shadow of death behind it. In reality, death is a prerequisite for eternal life. If I remember death daily, I will be strong enough to say with Mary, "Be it done unto me according to thy word." "Every man dies, but not every man really lives," the actor said. By constantly remembering death is only a breath away, I can "really live" for God.

TOPIC: ADDICTION
I am afflicted by addiction, an addiction to sin. My addiction to sin is a negative mirror image of the Annunciation. I oftentimes say “yes” to things sinful and “no” to God, where Mary said “no” to everything sinful and “yes” to God. Mary is often called the refuge of sinners. Might she also be called the refuge of the addicted? It does not matter what my addiction is, Mary can help. If I am addicted to drugs or alcohol, Mary can ask her Son to give me the wine that is His blood. If I am addicted to sexual sins, Mary can wrap me in her mantle of purity. If I am addicted to anger or power, Mary can obtain for me peace of heart and humility. Mary is my Mother who will never forsake me no matter how addicted I become. She will pull me out of the gutter when I am out of my mind with drugs. She will gently pull me away from the pornography and filth. She can talk me down from the precipice of anger and pride. In my darkest hour of addiction I must call on the Mother of God that she might obtain for me light from Light and release from the prison cell of addiction.

TOPIC: MARRIAGE
"Be it done unto me according to thy word." With these words heaven was married to earth. Mary said, "I do", and conceived a Son by her spouse, the Holy Spirit, and the world has never been the same. Love manifests itself within marriage in the bringing forth of offspring. For those who cannot conceive children physically they are to manifest their love through spiritual offspring. When a couple is married the Church asks them to promise to accept children lovingly from God and raise them according to the teachings of the Church. To which they agree without much thought yet a large majority of professed Catholic married couples employ the use of artificial contraception. Has that promise made on our wedding day turned into a lie and denial of God's will? Every human life brought forth changes the course of human history. If we keep our promise to God and His Church it changes history for the good and furthers the Kingdom of God. If we do not keep our promise we are living a lie and helping bring about the destruction of the Kingdom. Contraception has no place in our marriage. We promise to accept children willingly from God. Be it done unto us according to thy word.

TOPIC: THE MASS
When the angel visited Mary the miraculous happened. At Jesus' conception in Mary's womb “the word” as St. John says “was made flesh and dwelt among us”. During the Mass the miraculous happens again. At the words of consecration the Word once again becomes flesh and dwells not only among us but in us. The bread, which earth has given and human hands have made, becomes the Bread of Life. The fruit of the vine becomes the Blood of the Lamb.

During the Mass I experience my own personal annunciation. As the angel said to Mary, “behold you shall conceive a son”, the priest says to me, “behold, the Lamb of God”. Mary said, “fiat”, “be it done unto me according to thy word”. I say, “I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed”. At this moment I also cry out, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. But maybe I should cry out, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven here at Mass”.

TOPIC: THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES THROUGH THE EYES OF ST. JOSEPH
When Mary told me she was with child I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. I felt betrayed and angry yet I did not want her to receive the punishment called for by the Law. Later that evening I decided to divorce her quietly when an angel appeared and spoke to me. I was amazed and thought I was dreaming. The next day I told Mary about the dream. Only then did she tell me her side of the story. She told me how an angel had appeared to her also and told her things that were similar to what the angel had told me in my dream. I asked her why she didn’t tell me this before. She said that she knew the Lord would provide my answer in His own way and she didn’t want to interfere. That is just like her, always leaving everything to the Lord.

Resources

If you like these rosary meditations, consider downloading our FREE tri-fold PDF pamphlets for personal or community use.  The Joyful Mysteries of Work and the Joyful Mysteries as Seen by St. Joseph are available in full.  There are currently 13 available pamphlets including 2 Spanish Translations.

Don't have hours to devote to prayer and meditation? Have you really tried to pray and give time to God only to be distracted and discouraged? Do you want a step-by-step plan that's realistic and fits your state in life? In this short book, 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations, you'll find a proven way to meditate better and have more fruitful prayer times.  This is how I learned to find my life in the mysteries of the rosary.  The newly revised edition includes the book, workbook pages, and 31 journaling pages to help you get into the habit of daily scripture meditation.

Rosary Meditations for Real Life is a unique approach to praying the mysteries of the rosary.  It combines the traditional mysteries of the rosary and scripture readings with meditations on everyday life events.  Available in Paperback for only $7.95 or as low as $5 per copy when you buy in bulk, also available for Amazon Kindle for only $4.99. (Free 10/14-10/15 of 2017)


Rosary Meditations for the Family is a series of meditations inspired by the World Meeting of Families that took place in 2015.  Each of the mysteries brings to light the joys and struggles of family life.  We know that your family will benefit greatly from these meditations.  Additional meditations are included that focus on Marriage and some designed for use with small children.  Available in Paperback or for Amazon Kindle.




Have you entered our October Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  
Register and get the details here!


* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...



Friday, October 13, 2017

Jesus, Aslan, and the Last Battle

Friday October 13th, 2017

Luke 11:15-26

When our children were much younger I would read the Chronicles of Narnia to the boys each night before bed. Although they were too young to appreciate the fullness of the stories, they enjoyed them tremendously. They loved the battles, kings, princes, talking beasts, and of course Aslan (the Christ figure of the stories).  It's hard to chose a favorite out of those 7 books but if I were made to chose it would be the last book - The Last Battle.  Like the title suggests, it's the last epic battle between good and evil.  It's a final battle, last judgement, and the opening of the gates of Heaven all in one little book.  In fact, Lewis' description of the children and good animals entering into "Aslan's country" is by far my favorite description of Heaven, or at least what I hope it's like!

In The Last Battle, an ape named Shift (the Satan figure in this story) tricks the inhabitants of Narnia into believing that he is Aslan's spokesman. He does this by dressing up a donkey named Puzzle in an old lion skin they found floating in the river. When the true king of Narnia learns of this he works to make things right.  He works tirelessly to try to convince the inhabitants that this is a trick.  During his struggle he sets a group of dwarfs free from the clutches of the enemies who were taking the dwarfs to be slaves. Yet, a strange thing happens. The dwarfs refuse to serve the King and Narnia. In fact, they refuse to believe in the false Aslan (Puzzle) as well as the real Aslan himself. The dwarfs refuse to believe in anything but the dwarfs.  How many of us have felt that way after being hurt by someone we trusted?  The land of Narnia becomes divided against itself as a result of the evil tricks of the ape.  Soon follows the last great battle of Narnia.

Satan is clever. His name is also Diablo - the divider. God is the God of unity. Satan seeks disunity. He does this only by twisting that which is good and holy into something evil. Like Shift, Satan often dresses up others to appear as Christ in order to lead souls astray.  How many cults, false prophets, leaders, and even apparitions have lead good souls astray?  Like Shift, he seeks to set a house or kingdom against itself. Satan wants us to follow the Ass dressed as the Lion, or at least follow the lead of the dwarfs and believe only in ourselves.  He wants us to to follow false leaders, become atheists, or at the very least, humanists.  He wants division, destruction, and annihilation of all that is good.

In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us "Every Kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste." He is showing His contemporaries that their accusation that He casts out devils by the name of the devil is illogical. In other words, if Satan and his minions didn't have one common goal, their kingdom would be destroyed or at least falling apart. In my mind, this is what makes Satan so dangerous and powerful.  There is no division in his ranks.  They are "hellbent" on one goal, eternal destruction of all that holds the image of God.  In my mind this is also why Christians are having such difficulty bringing peace to the world.  We aren't "heavenbent" on one goal!!  We are divided on everything from liturgy to doctrine and music to scripture.  The more we argue, the more we are divided, the easier it is for "Shift" to point to so many other false Christs.  We look less like an army and more like a bunch of scattering, scrapping chickens!

Regardless, like the good Narnians in The Last Battle, you and I are called to follow the King. We are called to fight the enemy who mocks God. We are called to side with Aslan (Jesus) even though we cannot see Him and in fact have never "seen" Him but only heard tale of Him or only heard His voice. We are to press on in His name until it is time for us to enter Aslan's Country (Heaven).  If we cling to the Church, the pope, the Bible, the sacraments, and the Catechism we will continue to hear Jesus' voice and will not be lead astray by an Ass pretending to be a Lion.


C.S. Lewis had a reason for the two lions....
Jesus - Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5) 
Satan -  Roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8)

"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight." - C.S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters


Have you entered our October Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  
Register and get the details here!

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...




Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Prayer God Always Says "YES" To

Sunrise Mass on our property during a campout.
Thursday October 12th, 2017

Luke 11:5-13

In today's Gospel Jesus says, "...what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?" What man indeed? We know, or at least we think we know, how to give good gifts to our children. When it comes to the basic needs, we know what good gifts to give. However, our children do not always want those good things we have to offer. They often want the stone instead of bread or the serpent instead of a fish. You and I are no different when it comes to our Heavenly Father.

I cannot count the number of times I have prayed for something that really wasn't what was good for me. I can't count the number of times that I was handed something good by the hand of God but called it evil since it wasn't what I prayed for. Only through grace and spiritual growth am I able to look back and see that God's response was a loving one.

So, what then should I be asking God to give me?  What is a safe prayer?  How can I pray each day and never have to wonder if I am asking for a stone, scorpion, or serpent?

As I've mentioned before, many times we do not see something in Scripture until it's time, until we are ready.  Often we read and reread the same passage, maybe hundreds of times, before something really jumps out.  Today was one of those days.  I even said aloud, "wow, I never noticed that before."

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

Did you see it?  Did it register?  I can almost see Jesus saying this to me with an elbow nudge and a wink.  It's like a secret code between old friends.  It's like an inside joke but it's no joke.  He pulls me and you aside and says, "pssst, want to know what to ask my Father for?  Want to know what He'll never say "no" to?  Move in closer."  Jesus looks around to make sure no one else is overhearing and then says, "ask for the Holy Spirit."

Duh! or in the words of Homer (Simpson) Doooh!  Yes, this is what Who I should be asking the Father for each and every day, each and every moment!  I can pray for material needs in this world.  I can pray for the physical needs of my family.  I can pray for the spiritual needs of those around me.  There's nothing wrong with any of these prayers.  However, if I want to change the world for the good, if I want to make a powerful and eternal difference, I need to be asking the Father to give me, and others, the Holy Spirit.

"If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask [for] him?"  Jesus is telling me and you what Who to ask for!  Troubles with work?  Come, Holy Spirit!  Troubles with family? Come, Holy Spirit!  Election year? Come, Holy Spirit! Sickness? Come, Holy Spirit.  Financial troubles?  Come, Holy Spirit!

Let us start today to make "Come, Holy Spirit" a prayer we pray often because, "...how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"


Here are some awesome books to assist you with the prayer, Come, Holy Spirit!

When the Spirit Comes in Power by Peter Herbeck.  This short but powerful book will open your heart and mind to the true power of having allowing the Holy Spirit into your life.

Sober Intoxication of the Spirit: Filled with the Fullness of God.  Preacher to the Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., examines the events of Pentecost and how the people around the Apostles thought them to be drunk.  He goes on to teach us how those first followers experienced Christ and what Pentecost means for us today.

(This is an affiliate link.  By clicking on this link I may earn money by your purchase.  I do not recommend anything I haven't read or used personally and believe is of value to you the reader.  Thank you)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Teach Me!

Wednesday October 11th, 2017

St. John XXIII

Luke 11:1-4

I pride myself on being a "self-made man". I have taught myself many things. When I was about 12 years-old I taught myself how to ride a unicycle. After a lot of practice and a lot of failures I was able to leave the balancing poles behind and set out to ride all over the neighborhood.

I received a great foundation in the Catholic faith under the careful eyes of Sister Dorothy and Sister Bernadette. Yet, when I came back to the faith after an extended leave of 10 years I taught myself by using the Catechism and the Bible and by studying various books etc.

I don't care much for formal classes unless it is something that I am really interested in. I like to do things myself and teach myself. I call it independence but it is really thinly veiled pride. Many would say that it is a great ability to be able to teach oneself but I see it as my greatest fault. I am too proud to say, "teach me." To say those words, in my mind, is the same as saying, "I don't know something, I am weak, I need help.  I don't have what it takes." Pride, pride, pride.

In today's Gospel I am encouraged to put aside my pride. The apostles give me the courage to say, "teach me." Here are men who have been following Jesus for a while. They have witnessed His miracles, heard His teachings, and watched Him pray. A pride filled person would assume to know and be able to imitate all that the master has done by now. In fact, just a few days ago we read that apostles healed and cast out demons. Yet, now they are asking simply to know how to pray.  For me, this is humility and I hope to imitate it by asking the Master to teach me everything.  Lord, teach us to pray!

How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
Have you entered our October Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  
Register and get the details here!

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Living like Martha AND Mary

Tuesday October 10th

Luke 10:38-42

There are days when I completely forget to pray. Well, really, to be honest, I don't forget but I neglect. I look into the day before me and see so many things that need done and reason to myself that I don't have time for prayer. I lie to God and myself by resolving to pray later when I have a free moment or tomorrow when things slow down. That tomorrow never comes.

Today's Gospel reminds me of the need for balance in my life. It reminds me that all work and no prayer makes Jim a dead boy, spiritually dead. On the other hand, all prayer and no work makes Jim a dead boy as well, dead to charity. The reason that Our Lord holds up Mary as an example of a disciple is not because she was lazy and only wanted to pray and listen. She is honored for her choice because He was her first choice. She put off the work for a little while to converse and listen to God. This could only result in her work being done out of love for Him and not to just "git-r-done."

My goal is to find the balance between work and prayer. What would be even better would be for me to work at finding time for contemplative prayer so that my prayer would flow over into my work and sanctify it. God does not want me to imitate Martha to the exclusion of Mary nor to imitate Mary to the exclusion of Martha. Mary chose the better part first and then moved on to what needed to be done. Martha worked at fixing the meal while Mary feasted on the words of Our Lord and this feast would not be taken from her.

Lord Jesus, I have been raised in a culture that sees productivity as the highest form of accomplishment. Yet, You ask me, "What does it profit a man [me] to gain the world and lose his soul?" Lord, help me to see what is truly important in my work. Give me the grace to distinguish between necessary work and busy work. Give me the strength to stop making new work for myself and spend that time with You. Pour out Your grace upon me so that I may choose You first. In doing so, I know that my work will be blessed.

FROM THE SAINTS - "You should maintain throughout the day a constant conversation with Our Lord, a conversation fed even by the things that happen in you professional work. Go in spirit to the tabernacle...and offer to God the work that is in your hands." -Saint Josemaria Escriva The Forge 745

How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
Have you entered our October Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  
Register and get the details here!

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

Friday, October 06, 2017

Funny Friday - Grandma Marketing

Our home phone rarely rings these days.

When it does ring it is either:
a) my parents or my wife's parents
b) a credit card company
c) a non-profit organization, or
d) during election season, some idiot on a recorded message or some idiot asking me to please hold for a recorded message.

Looking at the list above, which folks would I most likely hang-up on?  Yes, like you, I would hang-up on those folks that only think I'm the greatest person to ever walk the earth from late September until the 1st Tuesday after November 1st.  Yes, like some of you, I would hang up on the non-profit organization.  I do this especially if I've given to them before and then they turn around and mail me a nickel telling me how much a nickel can provide.  Does that make any sense?  They are mailing out thousands of nickels hoping people will give them more money?  Really?  I've started a small retirement fund with the nickles I've collected!

Oh yes, like all of you, I too find a little joy in hanging up on those folks who call from the credit card companies.  They usually call offering to tack on some awesome service that I most likely would never use.  My wife is really good at hanging up on them.  If a human voice doesn't answer back in that split second of time directly after she says, "hello", it's over.  She says, "hello", there is .034 milliseconds of silence, a slight click, a hint of human breath being taken in, and then the receiver is dropped.  She has it down to an art form.

I, on the other hand, give them a chance to give their spiel and then hang up.  Somehow, I feel like I'm letting them do their job.  They still get paid, right?  Most often, though, I do hang up if they pronounce my name incorrectly.  It's really not that difficult - Hahn - Jessica Hahn, Goldie Hawn, Hon Furniture.  It rhymes with fawn, dawn, ron, pawn, and on and on.

So yes, I am a "hanger-upper".  Or, at least I was until today.  I think it's a new trick by the credit card companies.  Remember the list up top?  There was only one group that I would not hang-up on, my parents or her parents.  I'd even go so far as to say any of my relatives, including my brother-in-law!  But, alas, I think that the credit card companies have a new angle.

I answered the phone this morning and on the other end was the voice of what sounded like the sweetest little old lady to ever don blue hair.  She told me of how the company wanted to offer me some peace of mind in these "tough economic times."  I wanted to reply, "and you know about tough times cause you lived through the Great Depression and two World Wars."  Her soft, grandmotherly voice told me of how the company would take care of my payments if I were to lose my job or get injured.  And I heard myself thinking, "and how did you make the mortgage payments when grandpa was off to war."  She went on and on and I imagined her to be my grandmother telling me about the tough times she went through and how this company would help me stay afloat.

And there I was, on the phone with my grandmother.  She was telling me about how for only 89 cents a month I could be protected, saved, and confident that all would be okay.  What was I supposed to do?  I was stuck.  I certainly couldn't hang up on her.  The thought did cross my mind but then I imagined her calling me back wondering why we got disconnected.  Or worse, she'd call my dad and tell him what I'd done.  No, I couldn't just hang up.  I thought of telling her I just wasn't interested.  But then I thought of all the times she bought junk from me when I was kid, like she actually needed a subscription to Golf Digest.  No, I couldn't turn her down.

So there I was on the phone with my grandmother and she was growing impatient.  She needed an answer.  She wasn't getting any younger you know!  My mind raced.  What to do?  What to do?  I did the only thing I knew to do, I signed up.  I figured, with any luck, I could go online and cancel the service and Nana would never know.  Thankfully, she was never really into computers.


From the Saints - “Humor can get in under the door while seriousness is still fumbling at the handle.” - G.K. Chesterton 


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* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Sheep Among Wolves - Poem

October 5th, 2017

Luke 10:1-12




From the dark the wolves do watch,
As naked lambs travel to and fro,
No bag, no cloak, no sandals,
As to every town they go.

Messengers of the One to come,
To each house they bleat out peace,
Announcing to all the Kingdom of God,
And His eternal feast.

To make such a feast the field must yield,
Its bounty in due time,
Laborers are few so pray the Lord,
Send those to tend, to prune and vine.

The bleating peace does go out,
And often times returns,
And those who accept that potent peace,
Give the laborer what he deserves.

Relying on the Shepherd,
The sheep heal by word and by hand,
No mind to wolf with fiery eyes,
God's Kingdom is at hand!




Author's Note:  I realize that not everyone appreciates poetry.  In speaking with friends and family, this disdain for poetry often arises from confusion or the inability to understand exactly what the poem is getting at.  I completely understand this situation.  I too struggle and find myself reading a poem or even a stanza over and over trying to catch the meaning.  I believe it's taboo for a poet to explain his or her work.  That, so the thought carries, should be done by scholars and students in the years to come.

I think that's a load of you know what.  I developed a love for poetry when I understood what the poet was saying.  I fell in love with Gerald Manley Hopkins after taking a class in college where I learned how to read his work and many others.  I was trained to see the words used, meter, style, and pace.  G.K. Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse was a pleasure to read once I got into the story behind the lines.  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by J.R.R. Tolkien is still one of my all time favorites.  There is a simple beauty in poetry than cannot be found in traditional styles of writing.

Below you will find my explanation of what I have written and why.  I want you to enjoy my poems.  I want you to understand the poetry and fall in love with the art.  In November, God willing, I'll be publishing a book of poetry that follows this style.  The front of the book with be filled with my poetry.  Some of it with be about personal events I have experienced and some of it will be stories and lessons about life, love, and family.  Much of it is my interpretation of certain Scripture passages in a poetic form like what you just read.  In the back of the book, each poem will have some commentary that explains the words used, the context, and why it was written the way it was written.  My hope is that you, the reader, will be lifted up to another level of seeing, of understanding.  It is my hope that you too will fall in love with the poetic form and it's power.  Thanks for reading!  If you'd like to be the first to know when the book is available, send me an email and you'll be the first to know!


1st Stanza - I believe this poem is easier to understand after reading the Scripture passage.  In this passage Jesus instructs the 72 disciples to go out and proclaim the Kingdom of God.  He tells them to take nothing with them and that He is sending them out as sheep among wolves.  They will have to trust in the providence of God.

2nd Stanza - Here we continue with the disciples as lambs giving them the attributes of a lamb "bleating out peace".  They are wishing peace on each and every person and home along their travels. 

3rd Stanza - Jesus tells us and the disciples that the harvest is plentiful.  There's no shortage of souls to be brought into the great feast, the heavenly banquet.  However, there is a shortage of workers to help reap this harvest.  So we must ask the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers.  Those laborers are men and women, religious and laity, people of every kind.  They - we each have a role to play.

4th Stanza - Jesus tells the disciples and us to wish peace on everyone, to bless everyone.  Those who accept that peace and joy we spread are moved to conversion.  That in itself can be a great reward for the laborer as well as other earthly comforts.

5th Stanza - We are instructed to teach and heal, bring blessings, joy, happiness, and love to the world.  It's the command of God and as such we have no cause to pay any attention to the wolves.  If we worry about the wolves, we take our eyes off of our mission.  God will provide and protect.

More poetry by James M. Hahn available in The Last Dragon and other Poems, available November 2017.

Have you entered our October Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  
Register and get the details here!

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...