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Showing posts from November, 2016

St. Nicholas Day Gift Ideas

If you are like me, St. Nicolas Day, Advent, and Christmas all sneak up on me way too fast and I'm never prepared.  It often feels like it goes so fast that I don't get to enjoy it!

This year I'm working on doing little things that will help me keep my focus on Christ this year.  One thing that I'm doing and I'll invite you to do also is the Advent Scripture Challenge.  Over 200 of us in our Facebook group are reading the daily readings and sharing our thoughts and meditations.  We are using the book 4 Simple Steps for Better Meditations, which is free as a PDF download at this time.  You don't have to use the book but many find it very helpful with learning to focus.

Our family celebrates St. Nicolas Day, December 6th, each year by putting out our shoes in hope that St. Nicholas will fill them with goodies.  If your family does this as well, here's some things from Real Life Rosary that would be good shoe or stocking fillers...

Candy Rosary or Candy Rosary …

Only Say the Word

Monday of the First Week of Advent - Matthew 8:5-11

"The prayer of the righteous man has great power in its effects." - James 5:16

This story, in the eighth chapter of Matthew's Gospel, is meant to show us both the authority of Jesus and the necessity of faith. Since Jesus' address in the synagogue in chapter 3 all the way through chapter 7, Jesus has been teaching. Chapter 7 ends with this verse, "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes." This leads us to understand that the scribes were teaching in the name of Moses whereas Jesus is teaching of His own authority. In fact, He often says, "you have heard it said...but I say."

Matthew then moves on to show us that Jesus' authority is not contained merely in His teaching alone. He shows us that His words have the power to change hearts but also the power to heal. Sometimes His words a…

Christmas Gift Guide for Dad

Christmas is right around the corner and if you are like me, you are probably reading this on Christmas Eve wondering why Amazon hasn't got that whole delivery within an hour or drone thing going on.  If it is the day before Christmas, I may be able to help you out but I'd suggest bookmarking this article for next year.

Below you will find a list of ideas for dad on Christmas.  These ideas are based on the things that I've received, bought, or coveted over the years.  They may not be right for your dad or baby daddy, or grandpa or baby grandpa (is that even a thing), but then again, they might.  If they are right for you and yours, you are welcome.  A blog post of ideas for mom and a post of ideas for children will follow in the coming days.  We'll start with dad because he's the toughest to buy for, in my opinion.

#10* - A Rugged Rosary from Real Life Rosary - Yes, am starting with a shameless plug for my own rosaries.  I'm not only the owner, I'm a custome…

The End is Near! Again!

Luke 21:5-11

I have a melancholic temperament so this time of the liturgical year is my favorite. The readings are all about the end. They speak to us of the final act and the return of Our Lord. Not only do I like the readings because they are filled with a WCSS's dreams but it helps me get my focus back to living every moment as if it were my last.

At the beginning of today's Gospel folks are admiring the Temple. From all historic accounts it really was something to be admired. Jesus here shows us His melancholic side and says, "All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down." This must have been a shock to His hearers. It would be like me saying the same thing about a major city. In fact, it must have been such a shock that it was one of the things that stuck with them, because they all high-tailed it out of town when Rome destroyed the city as He had predicted.

However, I think the Gosp…

Giving God our Leftovers

Luke 21:1-4
Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary

"And what I have leftover, I give unto you O Lord!" Of course I would never pray that privately or out loud. Yet, that is often the way I live. I often give the Lord leftovers. I give money that I can part with. I give my time in prayer when I can fit it in. I seek to help others when I am not busy with my own cares. Leftovers.

What if I did that with my other personal relationships? What would my life be like if I gave my family the money I have leftover after spending all that I wanted to spend? How would my children behave if I gave them the time I had leftover after doing all that I want to do first? What would my marriage look like if I helped my wife with household chores only after I completed my pet projects?

In today's Gospel Jesus shows me two ways of living my life. I can be like the "wealthy" and give from my abundance, what I have extra, leftovers. Or, I can be like the "poor widow"…

Taken or Left Behind?

Luke 17:26-37

In recent years there has been a deluge of Apocalyptic literature produced in the Christian world. The Left Behind series comes to mind. In these books we are shown what happens to those who are "left behind" after the "rapture" (a recent theory that reared its head in the 19th century) which proposes that Jesus will return, take the good and leave the bad to be ruled by the anti-Christ for a period of time before the end of the world.

Often, those who believe in the Rapture will point to today's Gospel as a proof-text to support their idea - "I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together;one will be taken, the other left."

The question is, however, is it better to be taken or to be "left behind?" Jesus points us back to the days of Noah and Lot. In the days of Noah who was taken? That evil generation that "the Lord was so…

Living like a Healed Leper

What if you spent your entire life believing a lie about yourself?  What if, at every turn, there was someone there whispering to you things like, "you aren't good enough", "you stink", "you'll always be this way", "you are a loser you know", "shut up, no one wants to hear your stupid ideas", "you can't change, it's just who you are?"  What would that habit, over time, do to anyone?  It's brainwashing but far worse because it is we who utter, or at least repeat, those words day after day.

We all have that voice, to some extent or another, whispering in our mind and poisoning our hearts.  Too often that voice is our own even if the words are not ours.  We know that if we were to step outside ourselves for just a moment and take a listen, we'd be shocked.  We would see ourselves as robots, cadets in a sadistic school of self-hate, repeating self-hate mantras over and over..."I'll always be this…

Being Unprofitable Servants

Today's Gospel may sound like fingernails on a chalkboard to our modern ears. This message is directly opposed to the culture in which we have been reared. The world tells us to seek recognition for our efforts, even if it was something we were supposed to do anyway.

Our society, with it's twisted sense of fairness, reads this Gospel passage with arrogance and places it aside. We might hear our society say, "This must have been what it was like back then, cruel, heartless, and demanding but no so in our day. This servant should have rights too. The fair thing is for the master to serve the servant after his hard day of labor in the field." And thus the message is lost.

The Lord is telling us that we must seek to serve and not count the cost or look for a reward. He is not placing an unrealistic deman...[He] rose from supper, laid aside his garments and girded himself with a towel." He took the form of a servant saying, "I have come not to be served…

Shutting down the Millstone factory.

Luke 17:1-6

Wow! There goes the "hug-me-Jesus" idea right out the window again! But I guess when it comes to sin Jesus gets pretty serious. Sin is a terrible thing. It has the power to destroy a soul for eternity. Here Jesus says that it is better that one should suffer that fate than two. It is better that the one who leads others into sin should die than for them to live and bring others down with them. The "millstone" of sin will drag to the bottom anyone who hangs onto it!

I think we have been conditioned to think of this passage as speaking of leading children into sin because Jesus uses the term "little ones." However, it is a serious offense at any age. I am just as capable of leading my family and friends into sin as I am of leading my children. In fact, I am probably more likely to lead the adults in my life to sin than I am to lead my children. I am around adults more than my children and I may say or do things in the presence of adults that I m…

Welcome Becket James!!

The Hahn family welcomed the newest little rosary maker early Friday morning.  Becket James was born at 3:18 AM and everyone is doing great.

To celebrate we're having a little giveaway.  To enter, simply comment below.  We'll choose one winner from the comments to win a Newborn Rosary and a signed copy of Rosary Meditations for Real Life.

Thank you for your prayers and support of our family and little ministry.  God bless you, Jim & Nicole, Anthony, Christopher, William, Samuel, Catherine, Daniel, Isabella, and Becket!

Trying to become Dishonest Stewards

Not long ago Nicole and I started working on our Total Money Makeover*, a program from Mr. Dave Ramsey*. This program helps teach its "disciples" how to get completely out of debt and grow wealth. It is by no means a get-rich-quick program but rather a get-rich-slowly and permanently program.

Part of this program is realizing how damaging debt can be. After reading the book we realized that what we owed was really keeping us in bondage and would do so if we didn't act radically. We sat down and wrote a budget. We looked for ways to cut costs. We began searching the basement for items to sell that would help us pay down our debts quickly. We have a plan and it is slowly working and we are very excited about it.

Today's Gospel illustrates a hard lesson and it relates directly to what we are currently doing. We, like that dishonest steward, are wise enough to see what is happening to our finances and family to make drastic changes that will enable us to survive a…

Search and Rescue

Luke 15:1-10

Today's Gospel parable has always given me trouble. This parable about the lost sheep makes no sense to me, humanly speaking. Jesus asks this question to the Pharisees and scribes who were complaining about Him eating and hanging out with sinners - "What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?"

I want to scream out the answer, as if from the back row of the crowd of people. "Not me, not anyone here. That makes no sense to leave the rest of your sheep defenseless out in the desert while searching for one that had not the sense to stick with the group. It makes no sense to chase after that one sheep while risking the loss of more to wild animals in the desert! Furthermore, having a party, if in fact you do find that one silly lamb, seems a bit much."

This answer, I realize, is the answer of a fallen man who places value more upon things than…

What will Purgatory be like?

What will Purgatory be like?  I've often wondered about this very question and I think it's one worth pondering today, the Feast of All Souls.

From the Daily Roman Missal - "The Church, after celebrating the feast of All Saints, today prays for all who, in the purifying suffering of purgatory, await the day when they will join in their company.  The celebration of the Mass, which re-enacts the sacrifice of Calvary, has always been the principal means by which the Church fulfills the great commandment of charity toward the dead.  We can also relieve their sufferings through our prayers, suffrages, and penances.  Even after death, links with our fellow travelers are not broken."

For this reflection on purgatory, we may do well to meditate on Heaven and Hell first.

In Heaven, we are told, we will spend eternity with God.  In my own mind it is a never-ending Sunday.  It is an eternal day of warmth and beauty.  It is a time of great rejoicing and fellowship with those we …

The Be-Attitudes of the Saints

Matthew 5:1-12a, Solemnity of All Saints

Every week I challenge my children to listen or watch for a particular thing at Mass.  If they pay attention, and can answer my related question, I give out a prize.  Usually I ask them to fill in the blank from the Gospel, tell me what book a reading is from, or otherwise tell me something about the Gospel or Mass readings.

Today they were challenged to count how many times they heard the word "blessed" since the Gospel was focused on the Beatitudes or Blessings of Jesus.  Much to my surprise, the answers were all over the board.  I heard everything from 9 to 25.  One son answered 22.  "How did you get 22," I asked in disbelief after counting only 13 myself including the Responsorial Psalm.  He told me that not only had he counted the ones in the Psalm and the Gospel, he counted any in the homily and any in the songs.  I have to learn to be more specific with children.  I gave out a lot of prizes today!

In the Gospel we hear…