Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Washing the dirt


Image result for jesus dines with pharisees
Tuesday, October 16th
Luke 11:37-41

O my friend. You invited me to dine with you and I gladly accepted. Yet, I thought it was out of charity that you invited me and not to be my judge. Is this the way you treat all of your guests? Do you invite them in simply to judge them according to yourself? Where is thy charity? Where is thy love for thy fellow man? Dost thou treat a beggar or an orphan in the same fashion?

O my friend. You are concerned with the the ceremony and the outside but not what is going on within. Suppose I were to wash my hands but as I was doing so, in my heart, I were killing you with my thoughts. Would my washing be a proper thing? What if I were filled with lust as I dried my hands in proper fashion? Would the ceremony still be acceptable to you? Anyone may put on the show. Anyone may go through the motions. However, what is welling up from within is what makes one clean or unclean.

Did not the Creator make the body and the dirt upon it? Art thou not made from the very dust thou dost try to wash from thy skin? You and the dust are brothers, you are kin. Why then the disdain for thy older sibling? And did the Creator not make the inside as well as that which is without? Did He, that creates all, not give thee a heart of flesh and inscribe upon it the laws of His love? How then dost thou seek to cleanse that? How dost thou cleanse the very thing that gives life to the body?

O my friend, concern thyself with the cleansing of that which is within and visible only to Him who created it and then you will be made clean through and through. Thy ancient sibling may make thee appear dirty to thy fellow man but the Lord sees that which no dirt or grime may ever cover. Tend to thy body in reasonable fashion. Tend to thy soul with wild abandon!

FROM THE SAINTS - "The prince of this world is determined to lay hold of me and to undermine my will which is intent on God. Let none of you here help him; instead show yourselves on my side, which is also God's side. Believe instead what I am now writing to you. For though I am alive as I write to you, still my real desire is to die. My love of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in my for any earthly thing. Rather within me is the living water which says deep inside me: "Come to the Father." I no longer take pleasure in perishable food or in the delights of this world I want only God's bread, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, formed from the seed of David, and for drink I crave his blood, which is love that cannot perish." - Saint Ignatius of Antioch - letter to the Romans

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...

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Eternal Shore

Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis have said, in so many words and in their own unique style, that the problem is not that God has not fully revealed himself to man but rather that He has revealed too much and it is too difficult for us to comprehend. It is difficult to understand how the Creator could be held by His creation. It is difficult to reckon how God could take on human suffering even until death, death on the cross. Is this God really all-powerful, all-knowing, all-everything as the catechisms tell us?

The problem is not so much the fact that God isn't all that and more, but rather that He doesn't fit our mold. He refuses to be boxed in. His ways are not our ways. Thank God!

I often think back to times in my faith walk where I asked God for a sign. I asked Him for silly things and serious things. I asked because I was lost and needed direction. Often He answered me clearly and without delay. Other times it seemed as though He didn't hear a word I uttered. As I look back now, it is those times of silence on His part that I cherish. I cherish them because I realize He did not answer my request because He had something far better planned. Yes, the silence was difficult at the time, but it has trained me to be more trusting, more patient, and more faithful.

In today's Gospel the people are pressing Jesus for some sort of a sign. They want proof that He is who they think He is. They want something that will remove all doubt. They want more bread, more healings, levitations, shows of power or something of the like. To this request Jesus says, "no," at least He won't give them the silly signs they desire but the ultimate sign of His divinity, the Resurrection. Like Jonah of old, who was spewed upon the shore after three days in the belly of the whale, Jesus will spend three days in the belly of the earth and be spewed upon the shores of eternity.  We will too and His resurrection is the only sign we need.

TAKE TWO

The crowd presses on,
They seek a sign.
Is this the one who is to come?
Show us a power,
Give us some bread,
And we'll follow when it's done.

There'll be no sign,
Of such simple things,
No magic lies in store.
A far greater sign,
Will be given to you,
Like the one spewed upon the shore.

The Queen of the South,
And the Ninevite men,
Will condemn you on that day.
Far greater than Solomon,
Far greater than Jonah,
Is the one you cast away.


Book Suggestion: This book is not a easy read but well worth the time and effort.  Pope Benedict XVI illustrates and answers that nagging question that even the most staunch atheist has echoing in the back of his mind, "but what if this is true."  I would highly recommend reading this with a friend or group where you can compare notes and share ideas and thoughts.

(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)

 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Jesus, Aslan, and the Last Battle

Friday October 12th, 2018

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...


Real Life Rosary Store Closing


We would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the past 15 years.  It has been great making so many friends and so many rosaries!  However, with work, family, and all that that entails it is no longer possible for us to keep up with orders and operation of this business.

So, on December 31st of this year we will be closing down Real Life Rosary. 

A few notes below.  If you have specific questions, please contact us.

1. You will be able to place orders until December 31st, 2018
2. Rosary Club subscribers will be contacted directly for details.
3. If you are interested in purchasing either the business or supplies, please contact us as soon as possible.
4. If you have rewards points, they must be used by December 31st, 2018.
5. Books will still be available via Amazon.

Thanks again for being so awesome!

Jim and Nicole Hahn & Family

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Teach Me!

Wednesday October 10th, 2018

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 09, 2018

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...

Monday, October 08, 2018

On the Opposite Side

Why did the others pass by on the opposite side?  Did they not have the time?  Was the victim not like themselves?  Was the victim black and judged as lazy?  Was the victim white and judged as privileged?  Did the others pass by on the opposite side because the victim was a police officer and probably deserved the beating?  Did they pass by on the opposite side because the victim was a priest/pastor and was most likely an abuser anyway?  Did they see the victim as dirty and evil because he was gay?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because the victim is just  a worthless, homeless person contributing nothing to society?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because she sells herself in the night and has had abortions?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because the wheelchair and drool are proof that this victim has no real quality of life?  Do we pass by on the opposite side because there's really no helping those drug addicts?  Why did those people pass by on the opposite side? Why do we?  Why do I?

In some way, shape, or form we all tend to pass by on the opposite side.  Maybe it was the way we were raised or the way we look at life.  Perhaps we have a longtime habit of judging others who are different from ourselves.  Maybe we think that since we love Jesus, we're good and that's what really matters, like a person who made it to a lifeboat but won't help others in, for whatever reason.

Today's Gospel shows us that in order to truly be like God, to imitate Jesus, we have to stop passing by on the other side.  We (and I say this most especially to myself) need to get down and dirty.  We, like the Samaritan, have to get down off our high horse and help those who are victims of sin and suffering.

In this Gospel Jesus identifies himself as the Good Samaritan and we the victim.  He picks us up and washes us (Baptism), cleans our wounds (Reconciliation), feeds us (Eucharist), and takes us to a place to be cared for (The Church).  Jesus did not pass by on the opposite side.  You and I must, "Go and do likewise."

The man asked Jesus, "..what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus' answer was and is simple: Love God, Love Neighbor, Show Mercy.

Today, let us strive to avoid passing by on the opposite side.

Lord, give us the courage and grace to stay on the side of the road with our neighbor who is also a victim.  Help us to love him, care for him, and lead him closer to you!

Washing the dirt