Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Calling of St. Matthew

Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle

Matthew 9:9-13

Many scholars today try to dismiss Saint Matthew's seemingly instant conversion. They reason, not based on scripture, that Saint Matthew probably knew Jesus for a while beforehand and this was just his way of telling his readers when he left everything to follow Jesus.

It sounds good but I'll stick with what I read. Matthew got up and followed him. I know of many people who had instant conversions of this sort ( Fr. Donald Calloway, Zachary King). This doesn't mean that they were instantly saints but rather that they made the choice for Christ and did not look back. This doesn't mean everything from then on was easy but that they now had the strength of Christ and through Him they could do all things. Matthew heard the call of God and responded. His heart was open and Christ was able to walk in.

Something else to note is that Matthew didn't care what anyone thought of his conversion or his association with Jesus. In reality there were probably just as many skeptical "sinners and tax collectors" as there were Pharisees. Matthew's friends probably wondered why he would invite Jesus to a party in the same way that the Pharisees wondered how Jesus could dine with "these" people. Matthew isn't concerned about anyone's opinion. He is only concerned with his relationship with Christ. If that relationship results in his friends conversion all the better, but he will not shy away from his master out of human respect.

In the 1st reading, Paul gives us a similar story.  He tells the Ephesians and us that all are called to follow the Lord.  All are called and God gives all the graces needed.  All are called to different aspects of service depending on their gifts.  All are called to holiness, the only difference is the answer we give.

Lord Jesus, You never cease to call me to follow You. Help me this day to leave all that keeps me from You. Help me to leave my cares for vanity and my concern with worldly opinion behind, take up my cross and follow You. Lord, come to my house and dine. Come into my life for I am sick with sin and in need of Your Divine Medicine.

FROM THE SAINTS
"What amazes you seems natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession! That is how he sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And - wonder of wonders - Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seeds of Christianity!" - Saint Josemaria Escriva The Way 799


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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.


* 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, September 20, 2019

The Importance of Grout in our Lives.

Friday September 20th

Luke 8:1-3

My wife and I met in 1998 and we were married in August of 2000. In June of 2001 we had our first child. Our second child was born in September 2002. The third child came along during the big election of 2004. In August of 2005, after being married five years, we moved into our new home on five acres. In 2008 we had a daughter with special needs and then 3 more children.  The youngest will be a three year-old in November.

The paragraph above gives you an extremely brief outline of our life for the past 19 years. It highlights the big events that have taken place but it leaves out so much. I could write volumes on the little things. I could tell the story of how Nicole and I met online in a Catholic chat room, met face to face six months later at Franciscan University in Steubenville, or how we agreed not to kiss until our wedding day. I could fill pages with dreams, ideas, struggles, sufferings, and joys that passed through our lives while raising kids in a one bedroom apartment in a small town. I might even mention the insane neighbors and the lead problem in the apartment that prompted us to move. Or I could explain the struggles we went through in deciding how and when to build our home ourselves. I could write about Catherine's problems, multiple surgeries, and how we've stayed in 3 different Ronald McDonald House's in Columbus, Philadelphia, and Seattle.  I could talk about our hobby farm, kids projects, and more.  There is so much that is missing from the first paragraph that those events fall to pieces in my mind with out all of the other stuff, the grout, the very things that hold it all together.

In today's Gospel I catch a rare glimpse of the "grout" of Jesus' life. Too often I think of Jesus in this dream like state going from town to town without a care except the goal of upsetting the authorities and bringing about the Kingdom. I never give much thought to the basic things like what He ate. I never think of His favorite food. When and where did He sleep? Did He snore? Did Jesus buy His sandals or did someone give them to Him? When did He have time to bathe?  Did he tell knock-knock jokes?  Did He and the apostles play sports or games together?  How often did he spend time with Mary?

The Gospels tell me a great deal and all that I need to grow in my love for Him. Yet, I still like to ponder upon the simple everyday things of Jesus' life. Today in the readings I see that a group of women went with Him to provide for His needs. Yes, Jesus had quite an entourage. But what the Gospel says is very interesting. Out of His love for these women, He healed them and set them free from their sins and demons. Out of their love for Him they dedicated themselves to providing for His basic needs. Love is the motive in His actions and theirs. They are not trying to impress Him. They are not trying to "earn" a place in the Kingdom. They are simply doing what comes natural to one who is in love.

Lord Jesus, help me to recall the grout in my life and see Your hand there as well as in the big events.  Help me to take the time to appreciate the small, seemingly insignificant moments that are the onese that hold everything together and make life beautiful.  Give me, I beg, the grace to remember Your great love for me and inspire me to love You more in return by loving those who journey with me.

FROM THE SAINTS
-"The Gospel makes special reference to the generosity of these women. It is nice to know that our Lord availed himself to their charity, and that they responded to him with such refined and generous detachment that Christian women feel filled with a holy and fruitful envy." Saint Josemaria Escriva The Way 981

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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.


* 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, September 19, 2019

He will forgive our debt

Luke 7:36-50



A darkened soul beneath her skin,
Called by name, by the Voice.
Deep in her heart confessing sin,
Grace building on her choice.

The storm of sins flowed from her eyes,
Washing her beautiful face.
Repentance washed away the lies,
Holy fragrance takes their place.

Her debt has been forgiven,
But Simon's debt remains,
If him or her we follow,
Our debt will find the same.





Have you entered the Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  
Registration is open now!


Make money by sharing Real Life Rosary!  
It's easy and free, learn how here!

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.


* 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...

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Labeling Others

Luke 7:31-35

Too often when I read this passage I automatically write it off as dealing only with those of that time period. When Jesus says “men of this generation” I unconsciously think, “yeah, let them have it Lord.” Yet I realize that He is speaking to me as well.

Today He would probably say, “I can’t win with you guys or damned if I do and damned if I don’t.” However, Jesus refuses to be boxed in, categorized, and labeled. Basically, the liberals of that day were labeling John as “ultra-conservative” and the conservatives were labeling Jesus as a “flaming liberal.” John was too strict for those who wanted to have more license in their way of life. Jesus was too loose in His behavior for those who were teetotalers.

Yet, as Jesus states, the wisdom of both styles of behavior is acceptable and necessary. It is necessary not only for groups of people but individuals as well. There is a time when one should fast and a time when one should feast. Partaking in either to the exclusion of the other is dangerous and clinging to only one set of ideas can blind a person.

This is a perfect example of how I know that the Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. I can see this because generation after generation has treated the Church in much the same way. One side says the Church is too puritanical in the area of sexual relations while the other states that the Church has sexualized theology. One group shouts at the Church in anger because it will not “allow” women’s ordination while another group claims that none of the men currently ordained as priests are validly ordained. Yet the Church never wavers and never falters. It stands firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ. All the while, she continues to call all, liberal and conservative, moral and immoral, pagan and traditionalist, back to Her bosom. Wisdom is vindicated by her children and the Church her's, the saints!

FROM THE SAINTS
“One great piece of mischief has been done by the modern restriction of the word Temperance to the question of drink. It helps people to forget that you can be just as intemperate about lots of other things…Of course, it does not show on the outside so easily: bridge-mania or golf-mania do not make you fall down in the middle of the road. But God is not deceived by externals.”C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

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Make money by sharing Real Life Rosary!  
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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.


* 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, September 17, 2019

The Widow of Nain: A Poem

Luke 7:11-17

An only son, a grieving mother,
A reflection and foreshadowing,
Jesus moved to tears,
Your grieving will stop here.

The sleep of death,
Cannot hold the son, or the Son,
Young man, arise,
Open up your eyes.

The mother's heart soars,
From depths of pain untold,
Behold your mother,
My beloved, my brother.

The crowd seized with fear,
How can this be?
Countless hearts are stirred,
Restoring life with just a word.

This teacher is a prophet,
With powers heard of old,
Is He Elijah or Elisha,
Or could He be the Messiah!?

An only Son, a grieving mother,
The scene will play again,
This prophet is the Lord,
Destroying death and sin.


Have you entered the Rosary-A-Day Giveaway?  
Registration is open now!


Make money by sharing Real Life Rosary!  
It's easy and free, learn how here!

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.


* 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...

Saturday, September 14, 2019

2019 Rosary-A-Day Giveaway


That's right!  For the month of October we will be giving away one of our handcrafted cord knot rosaries each day during the month of October, the month of the Rosary.

For your chance to win, simply visit our Rosary-A-Day page and complete the entry form. Each day we'll randomly pick a name to win a free rosary.  You'll be notified via email if you are a winner. 

In addition, we've placed four coupon codes in four random boxes.  Each code allows the winner to take $20 off of any purchase!!  

One winner per household. You may enter once per day, you may earn additional entrees by sharing via email, social media, etc.  Daily winners will be listed on this blog post(First Name, First Initial of Last Name).  Daily winners will also be notified via email.

When you enter you will be added to our mailing list but we don't send out many emails.  You will also be invited to create a free account on our site.  You don't have to do so but it gives you an instant $5 off code and the opportunity to accumulate points for huge discounts.


Winners must be US residents unless the winner is willing to pay $15 International Shipping.  No purchase necessary.  Please contact us if you have any questions.
Make sure to not be selfish, share the love, and let others know!  Good luck!
The number of entries and the winners will be listed below...
Entries as of 9/14/2019 (updated daily not instantly) = 0

WINNERS:  
Early Bird Winners 
September 28th - Rosary Meditations for Real Life & Rosary 
September 29th - 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations
September 30th - Rosary Meditations for the Family

Oct 1:
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Oct 1, 2020 COULD BE YOU!!!!!!!

Lift High the Cross

Saturday, September 14th – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

The cross is not pretty. It is not jewelry nor is it decoration. It is a symbol of a form of brutal, merciless capital punishment. Yet I venerate it with my very being. In fact, today I kissed the reliquary holding a piece of the True Cross at a local parish. I may kneel before a cross or crucifix lost in prayer for hours. It seems absurd. It seems ridiculous, like a man saying prayers, lifting heart, mind, and soul to the Almighty, and moved to do so at the sight of say, an electric chair or hypodermic needles.

I suppose this is why Saint Paul says “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” For those who have not yet come to understand the power of the cross it is all foolishness. They may ask, “how can two pieces of wood have power?” or “how can a torture device reveal the power of God? Does it not destroy power, destroy life, rather than give power?

Life itself hung upon that cross yet it was death that died. Truth incarnate hung upon that cross yet it was falsehood that died. The true Way hung upon that cross and for those who wish to live and live forever, the cross is our “way”.  It is the eternal paradox of Christianity – He has lifted up the lowly and cast down the rich, blessed are you who hunger for you will have your fill, unless you die to yourself you shall not live, and so on.

Today in the Gospel I read the words of Our Lord, “And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life”. The people with Moses were cured of poisonous snake bites by looking at an image of the very thing that may have killed them, a snake. We to, when we look upon the Holy Cross, we may find ourselves cured by an image of the very thing that may have killed us, eternally, sin. “…God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and of sin, hath condemned sin in the flesh…” Now that is power!

Christ is on the cross, His throne, not to judge but to draw all men to Himself. The cross is power. It is Christ’s throne. It is the true center of the earth, a true pole. It is the battering ram with which the gates of Heaven were opened and the gates of Hell will be destroyed. Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim til all the world adore His sacred name!

FROM THE SAINTS
There is perhaps no word in the English language that is more often used and more often misunderstood than the word that rang out from the Pulpit of the Cross on that day: The simple word, love. Love as the world understands it means to have, to own, to possess: To have that object, to own that thing, to possess that person, for the particular pleasure which it will give. That is not love; that is selfishness; that is sin. Love is not the desire to have, to own, to possess. Love is the desire to be had, to be owned, to be possessed. Love is the giving of oneself for the sake of another. Love as the world understands it, is symbolized by a circle, which is always circumscribed by self. Love as our Lord understands it, is symbolized by the Cross with its arms outstretched even unto infinity to embrace all humanity within its grasp. As long as we have a body, then love can never mean anything else but sacrifice. - Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Saturday September 14th, 2019 the Church celebrates the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  Enjoy this free book, Meditations on the Crucifix, for your meditation and contemplation.  Automatic code added when placed in cart.


Make money by sharing Real Life Rosary!  
It's easy and free, learn how here!

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.


* 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...

The Calling of St. Matthew