Peace and Patience

peace

As we walk through our personal trials and survey our country and world, we need to steady ourselves in Christ’s Peace. Perhaps easy to say at times. Nevertheless, it is truth. Isn’t it often a matter of choosing? In the ubiquitous chaos, confusion and division of these times, it is good to remember that many have discovered new depths of Christ’s Peace by praying the Surrender Novena. (A link to this novena is found on the right side of this page.)  In my most overwhelming times, I have simply prayed the aspiration: O Jesus, I  surrender myself to You, take care of everything. If you are someone prone to worry and/or anxiety, it’s a perfect ruminating thought for it brings solace in any personal storm. May Christ’s Peace reign in each of our hearts.   

In just twelve days, we enter another Lenten Season. Perhaps it’s time to consider and then decide the aspects of spiritual growth upon which we each will focus during Lent. For some, it may be a continuance of Nineveh90. There are now 17,000+ people signed up for this prep to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima. On Wednesday the site had 60,000 visits! It’s never to late to join and if only one unites by praying the 54 day Rosary Novena that is a great act of solidarity.

Wherever the Lord may lead each one, Msgr. Charles Pope who blogs here draws us to consider embracing patience as we journey. May patience reign at TNRS site.

patience

(Edit: After originally choosing to reprint Msgr. Charles Pope’s article here, I removed it yesterday in concern that it might somehow suggest he gives support to Charlie’s prophecies which Msgr. Pope does not. As a general rule, Msgr. Pope allows people to reprint his material. Thus, I will reprint the full article with the clear understanding that Msgr. Pope did not submit anything to me. I  choose to reprint it for its value to us and I consider Msgr. Charles Pope as a voice crying in the wilderness of our times. Please pray for him and all the clergy of our Church.)

Two Pictures of Patience

Msgr. Charles Pope – February 15, 2017

The readings from Mass yesterday (Wednesday of the 6th Week of the Year) give two helpful images that call us to patience. Patience is a virtue through which we are willing to endure as we look for something better that will come to pass. The word comes from the Latin patior, which means “to suffer.” Thus the virtue of patience is the capacity or willingness to suffer some difficulty for a greater good rather than for immediate satisfaction. For example, we might be annoyed at someone’s behavior and want to vent our anger immediately, but patience (and prudence) might counsel that we should wait for a better moment to discuss the matter. We are willing to suffer now for a potentially better outcome later.

We also need to learn patience in the areas of moral and spiritual growth, both for ourselves and others. Growth usually comes slowly and in stages. The term “stages” suggests that certain things need to be firmly in place before other things can happen. Jesus once said, I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (Jn 16:12-13). In this we see the patience of God as He accustoms us to His wisdom and truth. We read elsewhere, God’s patience is directed to our salvation (2 Peter 3:15). His patience for us is no mere coddling; it is meant to be ongoing, steady work as we grow in maturity and greater conformity to the truth.

This leads to the two images of patience in Wednesday’s readings. One occurs in the Gospel; in it, Jesus heals a blind man.

[Jesus] laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly (Mk 8:23-25).

It’s hard not to laugh a bit at this. Even Jesus had to lay hands on some folks more than once! We are more accustomed to seeing His miracles as instant fixes, and this is dangerous. What the miracles mean to teach is that the event described in the passage is what happens to us (if we are faithful), but extended over a longer period of time. Most of us see more clearly over time, rather than all at once. The Lord removes our blindness in stages and through ongoing healing. The miracle described here illustrates that well. Jesus works patiently with the blind man, and he works even more patiently with us.

We, too, must learn to work with others over time to restore lost vision. Sometimes in order to grasp higher truths, other supporting truths and first principles must first be understood. When a person has been in a dark room, it is usually inadvisable to turn on all the lights at once; rather, it is better to accustom him to the light gradually. Thus, patience and prudence counsel persistently working, with ourselves and others, so that progress can be made.

A second picture of patience is seen in the first reading from the Book of Genesis. Noah is “working” with a dove to assess the stages of the flood:

[Noah] sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back
(Gen 8:8-13).

Allow the dove to symbolize our growth and maturity, for we live in a world that is often flooded with trouble.

  • In the first stage, the dove flutters about and is so terrified by what it sees that Noah must reach out and rescue it by pulling it back into the ark.
  • In the second stage, the dove finds a sign of hope, serenity, and peace. It is able to return showing this sign of progress and peace.
  • In the final stage, the dove flies free!

This is a picture of growth and maturity for us, who in stages become free of our fears and from excessive dependence on others; eventually we fly free. As Noah patiently worked with the dove, so God patiently works with us. This is also how we should work with our own self and others.

When I was in my mid-thirties, I was afflicted with grave anxiety and was being treated for it. In a difficult and discouraging moment, I angrily said to God, “If you wanted to, you could just fix this for me in an instant!” God replied, “I will not do violence to you.” I quickly responded, “I didn’t ask you to do violence to me.” God retorted, “Yes, you did.”

Indeed, healing takes time. For example, heart surgery is a delicate work and not to be rushed. Many people want relief, not healing. Healing involves hard work; it means making important changes in our life. It usually means looking honestly at our wounds and then doing the spiritual and psychological equivalent of “physical therapy.”

This leads us back to where we began: We need to learn greater patience. But patience is not passive; it is not resignation to sin or other harmful drives. Patience involves suffering; it is a resolve to stay in an often-difficult relationship with what (or who) troubles us so as to lay hold of the greater goal of holiness and healing. Patience is not looking for a quick fix or mere relief; it is looking for healing. Healing is hard, but it is better—far better—than mere relief.

Patience!

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An Apology with Clarification

The Archdiocese of Denver issued the press release quoted below in response to a column I published on February 7. I regret that I was not fully clear on what I meant. The Rescue which I referenced, the “Process of Rescue,” as having been “fully approved by the Church” was not Charlie Johnston’s prophecy. I was referencing Our Lady’s promise at Fatima that, “in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” I thought that was clear because I mentioned that this process of rescue connected to Our Lady’s promise had begun before Johnston was born. Looking back, I can see how a reader might see some ambiguity and think it was referencing Johnston. I apologize for the ambiguity.

Below is the text of the news release, which can also be read at the website of the Archdiocese of Denver here.

Statement on false claim regarding Charlie Johnston’s messages
PRESS RELEASE:
Feb. 15, 2017

Contact: Karna Swanson
Executive Director of Communications
303-945-9136
Karna.Swanson@ArchDen.org

Mrs. Beckie Hesse, using the online profile “Beckita,” stated in a Feb. 7, 2017 blog post titled “The RESCUE Has Begun” that the messages of the alleged visionary Mr. Charlie Johnston, who resides in the Archdiocese of Denver, “have been fully approved by the Church.” In order to ensure that the faithful are correctly informed, it is necessary to publicly state that Mrs. Hesse’s claim is false.

In fact, Mr. Johnston’s alleged messages were reviewed by an archdiocesan theological commission and Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila determined that the faithful should be warned to be prudent and cautious about Mr. Johnston’s predictions. In addition, Mr. Johnston is not permitted to speak in Church-owned venues in the Archdiocese of Denver. Read Archbishop Aquila’s message, here.

The events of 2016/17 have shown that Mr. Johnston’s alleged visions were not accurate and the Archdiocese urges the faithful not to condone or support further attempts to reinterpret them as valid.

Read: Statement on the alleged visionary Charlie Johnston

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Trust.Do.Love.

joseph-coat

Invitations can be rich with possibilities to consider and explore. First, I invite us all to place the prophetic elements of Charlie’s work in a personal place where we let them rest from analysis and parsing. One might discern to cast them completely aside. Another may still believe they will come to pass in God’s ways and time. Either way, let us set them to rest for now. From the inception of this blog, the focus has been on our core message which I repeat for any new readers: Acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. In this, we shall continue as we see before us the ongoing chaos, confusion and division in our country. It is fierce. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read Dennis Prager’s piece, I think you won’t want to miss it: America’s Second Civil War

Secondly, I invite you to consider that we have entered the 100th year since Our Lady appeared in Fatima. Fr. Richard Heilman writes of the first apparition: “The anniversary is May 13, 2017. Many people are wondering if God may do (or allow) something soon to “shake us up.” (I wrote about it HERE – this is the most “shared” article I have ever written). 

As we watch terrorism rising up everywhere around the world, relations between nations in steep decline, a false economy ready to collapse, morality at an all-time low, pre-born babies murdered by the millions, marriage redefined for the first time in all of civilization, adult men allowed to share a bathroom with little girls, religious freedom under assault, corruption and collusion rampant within our government, and confusion in our Church … people are asking, especially as we enter this centennial year of Fatima, “WHAT DO WE DO NOW?!?!”

our-lady-fatima-1

Fr. Heilman has proceeded to initiate Nineveh90 as a response to the problems of our time and this 90 day period of prayer and mortification begins on Monday, February 13th. There is power in unity and, already, thousands have committed to the cause. From the website: “For our Nineveh 90 journey, which includes both men and women, we are embracing the great values of mortification, a support system, and the research in the behavioral sciences that says 90 days is about the time needed to change bad habits. We will also be using some of the tried and true supernatural elements. Namely, the Brown Scapular, 54 Day Rosary Novena, and the 33 Day Preparation for Marian Consecration.” While there are additional resources at the website, where you may sign up to join in this effort, encouragement is given to shape your spiritual program to fit your personal needs: Nineveh90

Lastly, I invite you to join in contemplation with one of the Josephs from the Old Testament, our Joseph connected to a coat of many colors. As we look upon this hurting world, as we have been through a major shift here in this community and as we continue to pray for one another in all our many needs and trials, Joseph’s ways and attitudes reveal wisdom which we, too, may choose to embrace. They provide a path to peace while building ironclad trust in the Lord. You may wish to pick up the Bible to read Joseph’s story in its entirety. Here is a synposis, written for catechesis, by a friend who is a priest :

“Abraham’s son, Isaac, married Rebecca and they had the twin sons, Jacob and Esau. In time, Jacob married Rachel who gave birth to Joseph. Jacob had four wives and 12 sons, but he loved Joseph the best because Joseph was a son of his old age. He made him a colorful tunic. Joseph’s brothers were envious and hated Joseph. Joseph had two dreams about his future greatness and this made his brothers even more angry. (Gen. Genesis 37)

One day, Joseph’s brothers were tending sheep in Dothan and Jacob sent Joseph to find out how they were doing. Joseph’s brothers seized him, stripped him of his tunic, first threw him into a dry cistern and then sold him to some Mediate traders for 20 pieces of silver. The Mediates, Ishmaelites, brought Joseph to Egypt and, in turn, sold him to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief steward. Joseph was 17 years old at the time. Joseph’s brothers dipped his tunic in the blood of a goat to make their father, Jacob, believe that Joseph was devoured by a wild beast.

Joseph in Egypt:  In Egypt, Joseph’s master, Potiphar, trusted him and put Joseph in charge of his household and the Lord blessed this Egyptian house. But Joseph was very handsome and Potiphar’s wife fell in love with him and tried to seduce him. Joseph refused and was falsely accused. He was put in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph. He was also trusted and well treated by the chief jailer. While Joseph was imprisoned, sometime later, Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker were also imprisoned. They both had a dream and Joseph successfully interpreted for them. The chief cupbearer was reinstated in his position and the chief baker was executed.

Joseph Is Promoted to Be the Vizier:  Two years later, Pharaoh also had a dream that nobody could interpret. The chief cupbearer remembered Joseph and recommended him to Pharaoh. Joseph correctly unveiled the meaning of the king’s dreams: The seven fat cows and the seven healthy ears of grain are seven years of plenty; and the seven gaunt and ugly cows and the seven shriveled and thin ears are years of famine. Pharaoh should collect and store the extra grain of the abundant years for use for the years of scarcity and a wise man should do this job. Subsequently, Joseph was appointed vizier and put in charge of all Egypt. He was given a gold chain on his neck, a chariot and a wife and he became second in command in Egypt.

Joseph traveled through the country during the seven good years and stored mountains of grain. Just as Joseph predicted, the fruitful years were followed by unproductive years. Meanwhile, Joseph’s wife, Asenath, the daughter of Priest Potiphera, gave birth to two sons whom Joseph named Manasseh and Ephraim.

Jacob Moved to Egypt:  Meanwhile, famine spread everywhere, including the land of Canaan where Jacob and his family lived. Jacob sent his ten sons to Egypt to buy grain. He kept the youngest, Benjamin, at home. The ten brothers presented themselves to Joseph. Joseph recognized them and spoke to them sternly, accusing them of being spies. He put them in custody for three days and let them go back home with a supply of grain but he demanded that they bring to him their youngest brother. He also kept Simeon as pledge. The brothers did not recognize Joseph and Joseph spoke to them through an interpreter.

When they ran out of food, Jacob had to send his sons back to Egypt. Jacob very reluctantly let them take Benjamin with them for Joseph had demanded this. Joseph put his brothers to the final test. After he wined and dined with them in his own home, he sent them away, placing his silver goblet in Benjamin’s bag and, then, accused them of stealing. He wanted to keep Benjamin with him. The brothers suffered much anguish. Finally, Joseph, with great emotion, revealed his identity. He dismissed the Egyptians and alone with his bothers said: “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt…do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you… So it was not really you but God who had me come here. Hurry back, then, to my father and tell him: ‘Thus says your son Joseph: God has made me lord of all Egypt; come to me without delay…’” (Gen. 45, 4-9)

Joseph provided his brothers with wagons, provisions, jackasses and clothing and sent them back to Canaan. Upon hearing the news Jacob was dumbfounded and overjoyed. The whole clan migrated to Egypt and settled down in the region of Goshen. Jacob was 130 years old.

From this astounding story, we see how the Lord our God works! His design is incomprehensible to men. He always draws good out of evil. So when we find ourselves in impossible situations and not knowing the whys and hows in our lives, we should never lose trust in Divine Providence. GOD ORDERS ALL THINGS FOR GOOD.”

One summation of Joseph’s ways which I favor: No matter the problem, don’t nurse it, don’t curse it, don’t rehearse it, but to God disperse it and trust Him to reverse it.

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The RESCUE Has Begun

lourdes1

In recent comments, the topic of all of Charlie’s prophecies continues to be raised. For some, in discernment, there is a belief that the error in the inaugural prophetic piece puts belief in all of his prophecies at risk. Not so fast, please, Fellow Discerners. There is a distinct difference between a failed prophetic element as we experienced at the inauguration and a false prophet which, I firmly believe, Charlie is not. I emphasize that great care must be taken to gather indispensible information and facts into your discernment as you ponder where we are in this Storm.

A primary, stand alone fact is this: but for all our contemplating and conjecturing about why the inaugural prophecy failed, not one of us definitively knows exactly why God allowed this. Not one of us knows. I repeat: “Was it a Jonah moment? Was it a Joan moment? Was it further deception of the satan? Only the Lord knows! “

ONLY God knows, Dear Friends. Only GOD knows. Only God KNOWS. In His Perfection, the Source of Wisdom, has not revealed this to us for His Own Perfect Purpose(s). We  are left, in our contemplation, to draw ever closer to Him in prayers and deeds, to wait upon Him and to completely surrender to His Plan.

I invite you to reflect on these facts:

*Charlie did not enter the public realm to proclaim the Storm. That had already been predicted 21 years ago and this evidence remains in his archives. Charlie conveyed we are IN a Storm and it would get much worse. This, we constantly acknowledge in comments here. Charlie went public to proclaim a RESCUE.

*He has written that RESCUE has two major dimensions. It is both a process and an unique event in time, I’ll call the FINAL RESCUE, in which Our Lady the Immaculate Conception will intervene in a miraculous way, visible to all. This prophecy is also unique because it was given directly to Charlie by Archangel Gabriel and when Charlie resisted naming a time frame for this prophecy, he was dramatically corrected by St. Gabriel to tell us and tell us true.

*The PROCESS of RESCUE had already begun, before Charlie was born, as, mainly, Our Lady and, sometimes, Our Lord had been appearing on earth, giving guidance and exhortation concerning ways, for those who would listen and take up the cause, to repair spiritual damage, resist the onslaught of our Mother’s adversary and reclaim souls due to rising forces of evil. The messages which have been fully approved by the Church, deserve consideration in order to cull the spiritual treasures which enable us to more fully participate in the process of rescue, for every soul that returns to God impacts both the individual soul, so precious to God, and mitigation. (UPDATE NOTE 2/16/17: An important clarification of this paragraph was published February 16, 2017, here, to remove an ambiguity that was never intended.)

*The majority of Charlie’s mystical input, if you will, has been given for him, personally, to guide his work. Since the inception of this blog and with the many presentations Charlie has made throughout the country, he has called people forth in faith, focusing on the prayer of doing which we know is encapsulated in this: acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. In embracing this commission, we participate in the process of rescue, right now, in our ordinary lives.

I, for one, continue to firmly believe in the FINAL RESCUE by Our Lady. In posts to come, I wish to lay out the case without hyper-focusing on the prophetic details of the Storm in relation to the difficulties and suffering yet to come, which many writers in the Church have named, “purification.” We NEED the Storm with its inherent purification. God in His Justice MUST purify us to bring us back and to prepare us for the great outpouring of graces needed to rebuild this world once He has allowed us to experience what we, as a human race, have collectively brought upon ourselves. At the same time, never lose sight of the anticipated joy which will also be inherent in the suffering of purification. Such suffering can cause people to fall on their knees in repentance and conversion. The classic, “There are no atheists in foxholes,” may well gain new emphasis as this world has the potential to become one major foxhole. Be not afraid! This is in God’s Providence and, if needed, it shall emerge from His Pure Love for His Justice is the very fiber of His Mercy. He only and always acts from Pure Love.

Should we continue to pray for mitigation? Absolutely. Every prayer is heard and taken into account. Charlie, himself, conveyed the prayers of the faithful have shortened the duration of the  Storm. Since we know God’s Justice is exerted to reclaim souls, I have long prayed for mitigation in so much as people respond to the effusion of God’s purifying grace. May it be. Blessed be God! Ave Maria!

For your ongoing consideration as you ponder how best to live your role of sherpa and to prepare for what is to come, even as you surrender all details to God’s Plan, I repost the following piece.

Go Forth

go forth workers

By Charlie Johnston

I have often told you that my messages are primarily for me, not for the world – to help me do what I am sent for. I will speak a little more plainly today. I am sent to proclaim the Rescue even as the Storm darkens around us, to give people heart to raise the siege of the culture, to endure the Storm and participate in the Rescue now, that they may be united in one flock under one shepherd, honoring Our Lady as Our Lord, Himself, honors her when it is accomplished.

Before two and a quarter years have passed, all of this will have been accomplished. I pray that I am steadfast and true. But it will be accomplished because the people of God and who God has called begin to rise now. I call on you to begin to go forth in faith now with steadfast resolve.

Many restlessly wait for the “invasion of Poland” moment when all will know the form of the struggle we face. Of those, many restlessly seek to know precisely how and when it shall come. I tell you, France and England did the same as the Nazi menace rose, restlessly parsing Hitler’s words instead of preparing for whatever came. Such dithering cost France her liberty for a time and nearly did the same for England. People think if they could only see, then they would surely do. I tell you it is exactly the opposite: do and you will see.

You already know what to do: acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. Live this steadily and you cannot fail.

I know I am often impatient when talking about predictions – others or my own. I have far fewer specific ones than many credit me with – but that is not the reason why I don’t like to dwell on such things. It is because it is the wrong question. Most believe the prophecy some have made of three days of darkness is quite literal – that there will be three days of absolute darkness for the whole world all at the same time. I take a little more figurative approach…that it probably means each person will be rocked and, for three days, bewildered as they try to get their bearings and live real conversion. My irritability at lengthy discussions of such is not because I want to prove I am right in my interpretation – but because I want to get the discussion back to productive matters. If others are precisely right on the three days, what do they gain if they do not occupy themselves acknowledging God, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope? Bragging rights? I gain no more if I am right and do the same. It is not that I don’t like being contradicted – it is that I don’t care about details of the question and spending inordinate time on it. Sometimes I feel like Dad has left us to split a cord of wood and we occupy ourselves arguing incessantly whether it is oak or maple or pine. If Dad comes back and we haven’t split the wood, it is not going to impress him at all who is right. If we do split the wood, even if we don’t know what kind it is, we have occupied ourselves doing his will – and he will be pleased when he comes. How I wish we would occupy ourselves splitting wood instead of splitting hairs!

Many still say I predict a Storm. I do not. I did 21 years ago, going into no little detail about its contours. Now I say we are IN a Storm – and predict it will get much worse before it gets better. Now temporal commentators, public intellectuals and former governmental officials in both America and Europe, in fields of economics, military and intelligence, routinely describe the Storm that is already well underway. Oddly, the less people know about fundamentals and history, the more sanguine they are that current troubles are just business as usual. They say we have been in debt before. They are right, even as their ignorance is appalling. We currently have about 100 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. I often use the passing of time to illustrate stark orders of magnitude. It takes 11 days for a million seconds to pass, 32 years for a billion seconds to pass, and 31,974 years for a trillion seconds to pass. In seconds, it would take 3,197,000 years to retire that debt. We have amassed debt that makes a geologic era seem a trivial thing and we think because we have overcome the equivalent of several hundred years of debt before that it is no big deal? We think because we have occasionally caught lizards that fighting an army of Godzillas is a trifling thing? We have gotten very stupid at the highest levels – and revel in our own stupidity, calling it enlightenment, even as we summon the darkness. The world is more volatile and unstable than it has ever been. The only close recent approximations I can find are the prelude to World War I, when every nation in Europe was itching for war – and the French Revolution, when every nation in greater Europe was threatened with upheaval. Those were only regional. Now every continent in the world, save Antarctica and perhaps South America are seriously threatened with war or revolt. And those are just the places where it has not already openly broken out. Throughout the world, Christians and Jews are under serious assault, with their livelihood, property and freedom threatened in the best of circumstances – and butchered, beheaded and burned in the worst. It takes no prophet to see this Storm now, nor to see its trajectory. It only takes a quick look around.

So what do we do with all this? The functionally atheist, progressive statists that currently hold sway simply double down on the very things that have brought us to this point. I don’t expect more than this from all those delusional pigeons who think themselves peacocks. (And yes, I know, many clerics have functionally abandoned the faith to curry favor with the pigeons who think themselves peacocks.) But what do many of the pious do? They act like denizens of a betting parlor, choosing their favorite locutionist or visionary or apparition, restlessly parsing the betting forms to discern which will prove most precisely literally accurate. It is going to get brutally cold this night – and your knowledge of the variety of wood you were supposed to split but did not is not going to keep you warm to survive the night. I have said repeatedly that we are not called to be spectators of destruction, but participants in the Rescue.

I only have eight public prophecies that I insist on. Only the visible, miraculous Rescue by Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception in late 2017, is time sensitive. Five things must happen between now and the Rescue, but can happen at any time during that period. They are:

– The continued toppling of governments throughout the world, including that of the U.S. The toppling of a government does not mean the nation shall fall.

– The confrontation with and fall of political Islam.

– The mass conversion of most Muslims

– The confrontation between the Judeo-Christian world and the current government of China.

– The alliance between Russia and the U.S. to lead the Judeo-Christian world to endure the confrontation with China.

To get caught up in the times and the means of each of these is to miss the point. Most will come at a time and in a way you do not expect. Busy yourself splitting the wood right in front of you and it will not matter, for you will be prepared. Do not assess these things by your estimation of how much time it should take. The rules have changed for this period. Just as St. Joan of Arc rescued France within a few months after over 90 years of decline and despair, rest assured that when the Lord acts, it is done.

Then there are two prophecies that happen shortly after the Rescue. They are the unification of the faithful into one flock under one shepherd and the building and location of the Shrine of thanksgiving for the Rescue.

My fundamental duties are three: to defend the faith, hearten the faithful and defend the faithful. These are actually tools to facilitate the proclamation of the Rescue and to hearten people to begin to participate in it now that we may knit the culture back together, build each other up and endure the balance of the Storm until Our Lady is sent.

So when an argument breaks out over which locutionist, apparition, or interpretation is most precise, my exasperation has little or nothing to do with who is right; it is frustration that we are still not occupying ourselves with serious things just because those things are plain and homely. We KNOW the basics of what we need to do by the perfectly normal means of the Church and Scripture. We want to spend time speculating and parsing. But we have entered very serious times and must confront it with sober humility and steadfast resolve if we are to endure and build each other up.

I have said repeatedly that I am sent to do, not primarily to say, and to encourage you to do the same. Going forward, I will occupy most of my time talking to you about how to do the same…to acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That is what will revive the culture even as the darkness seems to mount. That is what will build people up and fill them with courage to endure. That is what will keep people to the safety of the ship until we are safely in the port which is Christ. No matter how violently the wind and waves rise and howl, know that Christ is Master of the Storm. Man your post. Eschew vain speculation. Quit using your desire to see as a substitute for living your obligation to do. Do and you will see.

I apologize now for the fact that I will rarely indulge curiosity on speculative matters any more. We already know enough from what already surrounds us. We have a lot of wood to split – and it is time to get to it with passionate resolve and focus.

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Ask and You Shall Receive

st-catherine-laboure

How surprised I was to read Anne’s comment last night. She found a book of fiction entitled, Storm and Grace. The very topic I’ve been pondering, from several perspectives, for this post! For more than twenty-five years, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of studying Marian apparitions with some learned, wise ones. In my own reading, I have noticed this era of prolific Marian activity is often referenced as an “Age of Mary” which, many say, began with Blessed Mother’s apparitions to St. Catherine Labouré on the Rue du Bac, Paris, France. It’s a story of faith to be remembered as the Storm rages on.

This story begins with the first apparition on the night of July 18-19, 1830. A child (perhaps her guardian angel) awakened Sister Catherine Labouré, a novice in the community of the Daughters of Charity, and summoned her to the chapel. There, she met with the Virgin Mary and spoke with her for several hours and Our Lady informed St. Catherine she would entrust this novice with a mission.

Mary revealed the mission to St. Catherine in a vision during evening meditation on November 27, 1830. St. Catherine saw Mary standing on what seemed to be half a globe and holding a golden globe in her hands as if offering it to heaven. On the globe was the word, “France,” and our Lady explained that the globe represented the whole world, but especially France. The times were difficult in France, especially for the poor who were unemployed and often refugees from the many wars of the time. France was first to experience many of those troubles which ultimately reached other parts of the world and are present today. Streaming from rings on Mary’s fingers as she held the globe were many rays of light. Mary explained that the rays symbolize the graces she obtains for those who ask for them. Now here’s where the story connects, personally, to each of us for all our days and, especially, these days of the Storm. Some of the gems on the rings were dark, and Mary explained that the rays and graces were available but did not come because no one had asked for them.

No one had asked for the graces! You may already know this story or perhaps you are newly discovering this lesson from our Mother. As we walk through the Storm and live st-catherine-globe-1the core message fostered here, let us remember to ask for the graces we need each day. The golden globe which Mary holds in this image now carries new meaning for me based on a comment SteveBC made yesterday when he said:

“…I suggest that you let go of your desire to fix the current world and leave that to God. When I see a mass of people so heavily invested in and attached to the Old System of the World as the Left is showing itself to be, I want to plead with everyone else not to get sucked into that same attachment. Of all of history, it seems to me that this time is a time to be ‘in the world but not of it.’ If you or I or anyone else gets so wrapped up in the ups and downs and triumphs and disappointments, we will perhaps miss how God is moving in the world on everyone’s behalf, for everyone’s good. If we are submerged in disappointment and anger and fear, we will not reflect the new world to come but instead reflect and become cogs in the old world that is dying.

“I think it is time for each of us to choose to be of the coming world, to live as if we are already in that world. If we never live faith and generosity and kindness, that new world cannot arrive, for it is our conduct and thoughts and faith which proclaim our Choice. God is asking us to choose which world we want. The Left is choosing the old. Let’s not choose the old with them and get caught in the same net of delusions. Let’s choose the new world and let the old world go. And then it becomes our duty to take as many other people with us as we possibly can, through kindness, a firm grasp of what’s going on, a willingness to defend those in need of our protection, and prayer. That’s what sherpas do. 🙂”

A true blessing it is to have a Mother waiting for us to ask for the graces as we continue this transition from the old ways of this world to the New Ways God has prepared for us. We  do so in the responsibility we each bear to choose God, acknowledge Him, take our next right steps and allow Him to make of us a sign of His hope.

st-catherine-10This story ends with the third apparition of Our Lady to St. Catherine. In it, the vision changed to show Our Lady standing on a globe with her arms outstretched and with the dazzling rays of light still streaming from her fingers. Framing the figure was an inscription: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. 

Throughout the centuries since these apparitions occurred, countless people have experienced fruitful intercession from Our Lady via devotion to Her Immaculate Conception. While saying the Prayer of Miraculous Trust, the PMT, we invoke Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception. In Charlie’s own words: “Right around the turn of the millennium, the archangel, Gabriel, gave me a prayer and told me the time would come when we would need miracles – and many miracles would be wrought through the faithful use of the prayer. Right now, many things are collapsing before our very eyes.” The full explanation: PMT. Holy cards with this prayer can be ordered through Full of Grace Supply House which can be accessed via the link on the side of this page.

May we ever remember to ask for the graces!

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Posted in Uncategorized | 307 Comments

All Hands on Deck

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Welcome back, Everyone, with prayers for God’s blessings through the intercession of St. John Bosco whose feast we celebrate this day. While thanking God for all the good He has done at this site through Charlie, let us continue making our way through the Storm. Reflecting on the Dream of the Two Pillars, let us faithfully pray the Rosary with confidence that Our Lady Help of Christians unfailingly answers her children as she ever shines the spotlight on her Son in His Eucharistic Presence. For those who cannot go out to adore Eucharistic Jesus present in a tabernacle or monstrance, there are online sites which livestream a view of Him exposed upon the altar, such as this:Eucharistic Exposition

I trust the Grand Silence was good for all. I surely emerge from it more determined than ever to keep our focus on the reality that through this Storm which continues to surge with chaos, confusion and division, God has a Plan. As so many sherpas formed over the months via Charlie’s guidance, our commission, rooted in the Gospel, is clear: Acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around us. Trust. Do. Love. All hands on deck, Friends, for there is much work to be done in every locale all over the world, ordinary work, often inherent with suffering and always presented to God as the prayer of doing.

Surely, each of us who have been contemplating in the Silence have insights which have surfaced. I am compelled to continue striving while asking for grace – both are essential for spiritual growth – that I may be more totally surrendered to God with complete reliance on Him, fully trusting Him and His Plan which continues to unfold. Without this orientation, which is synonymous with deferring to God’s Will – not one’s own – how can anyone be of real use to Him?  How about you? What has come to you in the Silence of the last week?

I close with these highlights for your information and consideration :

*TNRS Team is equally determined to support this community that we may continue to facilitate conversations here, discussing with good will, defending our faith from without and within, and heartening one another as we follow in the footsteps of our original sherpa. I’m very grateful to collaborate with our own SteveBC as we share the daily work of clearing comments.

*In regards to commenting, a request I make is for all to carefully vet newslinks before including them with comments. Further, I think it wise to allow the reporting of each news story to develop before posting a link in hopes that facts can be verified and clarified. The choppy waters of current events (Phew!) reflects the high level of chaos, confusion and division permeating our country and world.

*TNRS Team encourages you to access the “Visit Videos” link in the black nav bar at the top of this page. The introductory paragraphs convey that the people at St. Clare Heirloom Seeds have set up two pages on their website to make available audio files and CDs and DVDs of many of Charlie’s presentations listed on that page. (We want you to know that this is a volunteer service on their part to help Charlie get his message out, and we are deeply grateful.) As we thank John and Sarah for all they have done for TNRS, please join in praying for them and their business in these days of needed intercession. Sending St. Joseph to you, John and Sarah, and praying a PMT for you and your business.

*All Glory to God that President Trump reinstated the ban on US funding for abortion overseas.

Posted in Uncategorized | 562 Comments

An Invitation

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We have entered a new phase of this journey through the Storm as Charlie, in the epitome of humility and integrity, has stepped from the public view under the terms he had set. A friend succinctly said it best for me: “Was it a Jonah moment? Was it a Joan moment? Was it further deception of the satan? Only the Lord knows!  Stay tuned as we see the Storm develop. God has a plan; God always has a better plan,… for those who are willing.”

As we can see, signs of hope and joy were revelaled in most of the comments posted throughout the weekend. It was very moving to see Charlie convey he was heartened that so many have internalized the heart of the message he has fostered. He said so well last night:  “I do think an army of sherpas, committed to the next right step in obedience to God is out there now.”

Today, a member of TNRS Team referenced this post My Purpose in an email.  I had reread this piece on Friday evening as I could see it was time to honor my agreement to step into this role of managing editor. In rereading, I was flooded with memories of how faithfully, honestly, and fervently Charlie has served in fulfilling his purpose. I invite you to also reread this piece and I join you in ongoing prayers of petition for him as well as in thanking God for all He has done for us through Charlie.

While we, as a community, have processed what Friday’s events could mean in regards to Charlie, it seems fitting at this juncture to take a big pause and enter into silence at TNRS site that we may encounter God in a time of contemplation to consider, more deeply, what He is doing in each of our hearts and souls in these events as they are. I plan to be back next week, manning my post here, on the Feast of St. John Bosco, January 31st. We will continue as a community of encouragement and support as we journey together through the Storm.

I ask, too, that you pray for TNRS Team as we continue to discuss and discern best ways to serve this community. Under the leadership extraordinaire of our own SteveBC, it has been a privilege to work with him and all the dedicated, talented and loving  people on our team, so willing to serve.

Finally, I leave you with this link to the interview Charlie had promised to do with FOCUS TV this afternoon: Recorded Interview with Charlie Johnston

(Please be patient with my mistakes, and I know there will be errors, as I make my baby steps forward. I’ll clear comments later this evening. Then we’ll enter “The Grand Silence.”)

Addendum 1-24-17: I discovered more comments awaiting approval this morning and will clear them since this post went up later in the evening yesterday. Any additional comments must wait for clearance until January 31st when “The Grand Silence” concludes.

To reiterate: When we resume, it will be for the purpose of heartening one another, interceding for petitions presented here and focusing on  the heart of the message to which Charlie clearly redirected us, again and again and again: Acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. Trust-Do-Love.

Happy Feast Day of St. Francis de Sales, another heavenly friend of the ordinary way. Here’s but one of his many quotes which harmonize with the message fostered here: “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 240 Comments

Ave Maria, Stella Maris!

Mt. Meeker in snow

Mt. Meeker in snow

By Charlie Johnston

By my own standard, I was wrong about the peaceful transfer of power in the U.S. yesterday.  My favorite note came from a friend who said, “You got close on it, but this isn’t horseshoes.” That encapsulated my own thoughts quite nicely. I rarely speak of specific events. Having done so, it was my duty to get it right.

Some have demanded an explanation from me. I was wrong. I could be a crackpot, but that seems unlikely, given that I so accurately described the sudden cultural and spiritual degeneration of our society. I was deceived on this – and God allowed the deception to persist without correction. I have been deceived before – and counted on my angel to correct me on those occasions. This time the deception was allowed to persist,  either to chasten me or for other reasons yet unknown.

I ask my friends to avoid trying to find scenarios in which I was somehow right on this. I have never been a fan of the sort of verbal and logical gymnastics that would transmogrify a horse chestnut into a chestnut horse. I have never been shy about rebuking those who twist my words to suit their own partisan agenda. God forbid I should now twist my own plain words for an equally partisan purpose! This was a horse chestnut.

That I was wrong on this does not mean that my work has had no value.The ordinary way that I constantly emphasize has brought peace to a lot of people who were paralyzed by fear or anger. It has brought many people together to support each other in a time when Christian faith has been under siege. That is what is good and I pray you will hold onto it.

Some have worried that by withdrawing from the public scene, I am abandoning them. I could not, in honor, have done other than I have done here these last few years. I promised God that, if the things I had been shown all my life became visible on the horizon, I would speak in His name to give comfort to His people – and so I did. But I also promised that I would take full responsibility for the things I said and did. That promise obligates me, in honor, to withdraw from the public scene. I had said that the failure of a peaceful transition would be a sign to you that I had told you true about the Rescue. Now you have to rely less on my word and more on the fidelity of God throughout the ages, the God who has rescued His people countless times and who has always been near at hand to those who call on Him in humility and trust. For whatever sting there is for me, that is not a bad result.

Donald Trump was sworn in peacefully as President of the United States yesterday. If that is the beginning of our climb out of the abyss back to a Godly culture that respects life and liberty, that is a very good thing, indeed. Pray that it is, for if the storm can be stilled by more ordinary means, that would be a great blessing. If it is just a pause before the next great assault on life and liberty by anti-God progressives, that will be clear soon enough. I have not been released from service, just from public service. I will be watchful as I retire into prayer and direction. I would not return to the public square because of ordinary convulsions, even were they intense. I would not return except for something as compelling as a coup.

I will clear comments through this weekend. Then on Monday, Beckita will take over as managing editor of this site, putting up what she will and clearing the comments. I promised Focus TV that I would do an interview with them after the inauguration, whatever the outcome. I will fulfill that obligation on Monday and that will be my last public appearance. I will no longer make decisions concerning this site.

I was heartened in the comments yesterday to see just how many people have internalized the fundamental message here – to take the ordinary way of trusting God with each step in the present moment. I once described my job as a sort of Sherpa guiding people through perilous territory. Now there is an army of sherpas committed to solidarity with their fellows without anger or fear, whatever may come. That, too, is a pretty good result.

I have endeavored to be God’s good servant. I will continue to do so in obedient submission to Holy Mother Church. But now, chastened, like Job, I put my hand over my mouth.

I have long signed letters and notes with the salutation, “Ave Maria, Stella Maris!” (Hail Mary, Star of the Sea). That salutation spoke to me long ago, for in troubled waters, Mary is our sure guide to the safe harbor which is Her Holy Son. Hence the title for this final column.

Mark Twain told the story of a man who, having been run out of town on a rail, was asked how he felt about it. “Well,” he replied, “if it weren’t for the honor of the thing, I would have preferred to walk.” I feel a certain kinship with that fellow today.

Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That is the sure and ordinary path to kinship with God, to peace and to joy, whatever happens.

Ave Maria, Stella Maris!

 

Posted in Discernment | 957 Comments

Time to Choose

(By this time tomorrow, we will know whether or not there has been a peaceful transfer of power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. If there is not, it will be apparent to all but the most obtuse that we have a brutal year ahead and much to confront. If there is, no one can argue that this has not been the most tense, chaotic transition of our lifetimes. Unless the anti-God progressives stand down on their serial assaults on the lawful order, we have a brutal year ahead and much to confront.

I have thought a lot about what to put up as we enter these moments. Whatever happens tomorrow, the world is in serious trouble. Each of us will have to choose whether to follow God in simplicity and humility, whether to live solidarity with each other or tear each other apart in chaotic times. Then we must take responsibility for the things we say and we do. The process I described in the piece, “All In,” is one that everyone of us will have to live to endure this year.

I will have a post up on Saturday. Whether it is my last or not is in God’s hands. I have spoken candidly, boldly without giving counsel to fear – and take full responsibility for it. As this year unfolds each of us will have to do the same. This will help.-CJ)

All In

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By Charlie Johnston

We have reached a striking pass. Many of my old critics, while not letting up on the criticism, are visibly nervous that I am right because of the sweep of events this last year. I dropped by a site that comments on me regularly a few weeks back – and was amused to see some of my critics essentially arguing that, “…just because Charlie is right doesn’t mean he is…right.” On the other hand, many of those who have found hope and inspiration here are, occasionally, showing visible signs of worry that, ultimately, I may turn out to be wrong. I have kind of been waiting for this. It makes sense because I have been stunningly accurate on the sweep of the social breakdown – and the acceleration of it over the last three years. But what I say beyond this is, plainly, unbelievable from any temporal standpoint.

One of my favorite phrases is that ‘faith is an act of the will.’ We choose faith, not simply fall into it. If we just fall into it, the roots don’t go deep. We must actively choose it at some point – or lose it. I actually have a lot of sympathy for the doubts on both sides, for I had my own moment of choosing – and it came about five years after my final commitment.

In early 2002 I was still struggling with my own belief in the phenomenon I had experienced my whole life. Though the evidence had piled up, both in large and small ways, that this was authentic, a significant part of me could not let go of the fear that this was just the way my peculiar mind processed a powerful intuition. These fears caused me to worry that if I had to go public, I would likely face humiliation, disgrace, and burn all bridges to any way of making a living – and might yet be wrong at a critical moment. Such fears were not conducive to speaking with confidence. Yet if I did not speak with confidence, how could I give heart to people when they really needed it? If I did speak with confidence, how could I be sure that I would not yet be wrong on something critical? The disclaimer from a financial commercial, “Past performance is not a guarantee of future results,” kept going through my mind. Since about 80% of what I did required interpretation of often cryptic information, what if I got a significant interpretation wrong? Despite the protocols I had put in place to prevent the devil from deceiving me, I well knew he had deceived many saints for a time and had no illusions that I was invulnerable to such assaults. What if I were deceived on a point and, for whatever reason, my angel did not correct me? The lament of Jeremiah was always on my mind: “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped…” (Jeremiah 20:7).  If I did not speak with confidence, I might well defy God and fail the mission He had entrusted to me. What a terrible accounting I would face for that! If I did speak with confidence, I might mislead people – and the despair would be all the greater for it. Yet I had structured my whole life around the possibility this might be true and I might be called to act…so what was the purpose of my life at all if I was going to chicken out at the moment public service began? I had wrestled with this conundrum for over a decade. I needed a way where I could go all in.

I finally realized that I had been wrestling with the wrong question. The question was not whether I would ultimately be right or wrong, but whether I would be true to the promise I had made to God that I would speak in His name to give people comfort and hope if the Storm, the global civil war fought on cultural lines, fully developed as I had been told it would. When I started thinking in terms of being true and of promise, a way forward opened up to me. I could never eliminate all doubt in my head and, heaven knew, the devil would spring up to inflame those doubts if I thought of it in that fashion. Nor could I deny what was likely an authentic call from God and live with myself if I shirked it. So I decided to behave “as if” it were all true in order to keep faith with my promise. Working from this premise, it made perfect sense to adopt some rules and safeguards that would make my work a bit harder, but would protect others from any unnecessary fallout while staying absolutely true to my promise. Here are some principles I adopted to facilitate this work:

1)      Obey legitimate authority. People who are crazy think they are authentic and right. If it is from God, submitting fully to the authority He commissioned His Church on earth with is the perfect safeguard. If it is from God, He can clear the way when it seems impossible. If it is blocked, it is for my good or that of others.

2)      Never abrogate my responsibility. This is the flip side of obedience. I am given a peculiar mix of spiritual and temporal responsibility. While living full obedience to the Church I must take full responsibility both for my spiritual discernment and my temporal actions. I must always take counsel on both, but take care not to allow anyone to share in that responsibility. It can be very tempting to try to spread the responsibility around, so that blame can be shifted for any errors. That would offend God. This is why I do not seek – or accept – any ‘endorsements’ of the prophetic elements of my message. That is my responsibility alone before God. I also am careful with my Priests and close counselors to warn them away if they suggest something that would inadvertently cause them to share in my responsibility. For example, a counselor once suggested I ask a specific question of my angel for discernment. I quickly warned him not to suggest that, as it would cause him a share in the responsibility for my discernment. Rather, he could ask me specifically how I discern and make suggestions to refine my discernment – but to propose an active test of an angel would give him responsibility that he should not take on. Any errors are my own, both before God and before men.

3)      Make whatever I do or say good in itself. Past performance, though suggestive, is no guarantee of future results. I can’t know with absolute certainty that the prophetic elements of my message will come to pass precisely as I have seen them. God is trustworthy and strong, while I am small and frail. Thus, keep people’s trust focused on the God who is trustworthy and strong, reminding them of His goodness in ages past and His abiding tenderness to those who put their trust in Him. Handle everything so that if I failed miserably on everything else, I would have written material that would be useful to help people reconcile themselves to God and His Holy Church, despite my own failures.

4)      Be rigorously honest. Much of what I have been shown over my lifetime is starkly unbelievable. That the world could so flip in its values in one short lifetime that it would bluntly treat good as evil and evil as good was unbelievable to me when I was yet a boy. But it has happened, as have almost all the unbelievable things I was shown. I do not have to tell all that I am shown. It is usually best that I only tell a little. But calculations over believability must play no role in my decisions about what to tell and what to retain. Whatever is told must be true to what I am shown. Whatever calculation is involved must be over what is useful in building people up, assuring them of the hope that is in God, preparing them for trials, and exhorting them act so as to build those around them up and so participate in the Rescue. Many people – some friends, some foes – have given me advice on what I should do to make my work “more believable.” At best, I listen politely and move on. If I were worried about believability I would never have gotten up the nerve to speak in the first place. If, in my contemplations, I find a refinement in the interpretation of what I am shown or told, I must make the refinement, regardless of how people react to it. If a core piece meets with heavy resistance, I must stick with it resolutely. I must tell people true and let the chips fall where they may. The moment I start trimming my sails to enhance believability is the moment I cease to be useful at all.

5)      Use my anger, but don’t let it use me. Anger is an incredibly useful, and often necessary, tool. It can bring focus and passion to bear, used to steady those in panic, repel  assaults, and fire up the timorous. But it is like fire: properly contained in and focused by a solid furnace, it brings warmth, light and life in the coldest times. Uncontained and unfocused, it consumes everything in its path. I am grateful here for my political training, for knowing when to respond to attacks and when to ignore them is an art form. Amateurs think that either you always respond or you never respond – a simple formula,  and one that, followed rigorously, always brings them to grief. You cannot ignore attacks that bring into question your integrity or the integrity of your message. To do so is to fail to defend the charge God has given you. But once you have responded effectively, move on. The cranks will keep raging, the malicious will mount new schemes, but you must not deeply engage with cranks and the malicious, which can only fuel the fires of anger. Once you have responded effectively, they will move on or their malicious rage will consume them. Do not notice at all the petty carping of small men of no stature or credibility, for to do so diminishes you and elevates them. Use your anger, but never let it use you.

6)      Know that your only effective audience is God. When an actor auditions for a role, there may be dozens of people watching in the studio, but the actor’s only effective audience is the casting director. If all the dozens of people think the actor is great but the casting director does not, the role will go to someone else. If all the dozens of people think the actor is horrible, but the casting director sees a compelling quality, he will get the role. I am auditioning for heaven and God is the casting director. I obey the Church in all its lawful authority, for that is what God calls me to do. I minister to, comfort, challenge, and exhort His people, for that is what God calls me to do. If I keep my promise to God, 10,000 theologians swearing I didn’t will change nothing in God’s sight. If I betray that promise, 10,000 theologians swearing I kept it will change nothing in God’s sight. I seek to please the Master, hoping not to offend the spectators, but never failing to do so if it is the only way forward that is consonant with the Master’s will for me.

7)      Don’t look back. Once you have set your course, don’t waste any time mewling with the Hamlet “to be or not to be” routine. Choose well and seriously, then go steadily and resolutely forward, regardless of the obstacles you encounter. Never calculate the odds. If it is right, go forward despite insurmountable odds. Never be seduced by mere temporal advantages into doing something unworthy. If your weakness betrays you and you do something unworthy, renounce it, get up, and continue on your way. If I am with God, I can be delayed, restrained or diverted, but I cannot be stopped. If God is not with me, I should be stopped. Know that no one on earth has any power over you that God has  not allowed. Therefore, any setbacks or resistance are for your or their good – for your purification or for their inspiration and recovery. As inspirational as it can be to others for you to live prosperity well, know that it is even more inspirational when you bear adversity well. Never squander the grace of adversity by pining away for what was safe and comfortable when you were not fully mature.

With the adoption of these guidelines, I could safely be “all in,” for I was keeping my promise to God, not restlessly trying to be right.

If I was mocked, scorned and humiliated, I was all in with my promise.

If I was honored and celebrated, I was all in with my promise.

If I was wounded and suffered, I was all in with my promise.

This is the key. I occasionally get people who tell me scornfully that if God spoke directly to them, they would act without hesitation or doubt. Besides speaking ignorantly of that which they know nothing, they badly deceive themselves. They have little faith. Everything I need for my salvation, I have from the Scriptures, the Magisterium and the Sacraments. God speaks to us all there. The extraordinary ways in which God speaks to me have to do with a particular mission I am given – to go forth and comfort His people, to help them endure until Rescue and to participate now in that Rescue. Because of people’s little faith, they actually want more convincing that God exists. I don’t need these extraordinary visits to do God’s will – and neither do they. If they really meant that they would do God’s will rigorously if He spoke to them directly, they would do it rigorously from the direction He gives them in the Scriptures, Magisterium and the comfort He offers with the Sacraments. They think to chide me for my lack of docility to an extraordinary grace but instead reveal the frailty of their faith in what we all are given freely. If you can’t even live the ordinary well and resolutely, what could possibly make you think you could easily bear the additional burden of the extraordinary? It is as absurd as a man who struggles to carry 50 pounds on his back boasting that all would be well if he were just loaded down with a thousand pounds.

Faith is not just a matter of emotional belief, of being convinced. No matter how convincing the arguments, you will encounter terrible trials and setbacks; times when you will ask, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Times when you will wonder whether there is God at all, times when you will doubt that He has any concern for you at all. If your faith is dependent on an emotional belief, on being convinced beyond all doubt, it is a feeble thing, likely to collapse with the rise of wind and waves.

A faith that is strong and sturdy is a faith that, properly formed, is fully and consciously chosen. You cannot just sit back and wait for God or His ministers to convince you – acting like a judge at a gymnastics event, holding up a scorecard for how well someone else has performed. You are called to be a participant. Authentic faith is your response to God’s grace. You choose to act in faith, whatever trials, whatever setbacks, whatever sorrows may come. It is a conscious act of your will. You choose it knowing that there will be times when you doubt, times when you faint from weariness or fear…and when those moments come, you act with faith anyway. “O Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Authentic faith, fully chosen, makes you a participant in God’s grace, rather than merely a spectator.

Choose faith. Believe in God, not in me. Let us choose to believe in Him together. To get through this Storm, to be active participants in the Rescue we must each be “all in.” That way, if I should ever fall, you will stand – and if you should fall, I will stand. If each of us do that resolutely, our jaws set like flint, then the people of the kingdom and the people of heaven shall rise together, shall rise forever, and God shall rule.

 

 

Posted in Conversion, Discernment, Spiritual Preparation | 770 Comments

Out of the Ashes

A hat tip to reader Ken from Ohio, who sent me this compilation concerning Anthony Esolen’s book, “Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture.” It is comprised first of a book review by Brad Miner from The Catholic Thing, then followed by an excerpt from the book, itself. Here then, what Ken sent me:

“It’s not your imagination: civilized human society is collapsing. Communities no longer work towards a common good; children are no longer our first priority; businesses no longer value “hard work”; arts and skills have been lost; and gender is decided by the individual, not biology.

We cannot reverse national and global trends, says professor Anthony Esolen; but we can build communities that live up to humanity’s promise and responsibility. In Out of the Ashes, Esolen identifies the gaping problems in our society and lays out a blueprint for reconstruction that puts our future in the hands of individuals focused on the good of the local community.
A new book about recovery. Not, of course, about that fashionable process by which men and women overcome one or another kind of addiction, but about the more radical reclamation of what’s most important: our souls and our civics. Both are worth saving.
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Anthony Esolen’s Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture is a jeremiad in the best possible sense of the term. It is “a lamenting and denunciatory complaint” about the secular Left’s assault on reality, but a protest imbued with the spirit of the great “Weeping Prophet” himself.
Tears need to be shed, and not just for the manifest sins into which official America has fallen,but for the sin underlying it all: false witness. Pride is, in order, the first among the sins, but, according Scripture (Proverbs 6), it is followed by “a lying tongue.” Satan is the Father of Lies, and to read Out of the Ashes is to see clearly the devil’s influence in modern life.
I know of no other writer who can make his arguments with such fire and ice. Esolen burns with passion for the truth, even as he coolly presents his case against falsehood. (I fear that, had I been subjected to the things Tony has recently had to endure at Providence College, I’d be locked up in jail or the loony bin.)
As Professor Esolen writes: “The lie rushes in to fill up the void left by truth in retreat.” And the filler is an unholy trinity, a “three-poisoned god”: self, sex, and the state. There will be some people – well, there will likely be many – who’ll accuse Esolen of nostalgia in the first degree, of longing for a lost world of simplicity and goodness, that never will be again and probably never was.
Ah, but he knows this and anticipates it and refutes it, as in his recitation of questions many young men in the 19th century could, as a matter of course, answer:
What is that bright red star in the night sky that does not keep the same place among the constellations? If you wanted to find Jupiter in the sky, where would you generally look? . . .What makes the days so short in winter? If you want to make bricks, where would you be likely to find a good clay pit?
I interviewed historian David McCullough once, and after he spoke about the abilities of the Founders, men able to build a nation and a house with their own hands, he asked me: “Have you any of those skills?” I told him that when I asked my professor father to teach me about tools, he led me to the telephone and handed me the Yellow Pages.
That’s funny, no? No. We’re neither smart nor experienced simply because we know how to consult online references. We dabble; we sip. Esolen quotes Alexander Pope’s paradoxical couplet about a little learning being a dangerous thing: “For one short draught intoxicates the brain,/But drinking largely sobers us again.”
It takes a sober man to appreciate the importance of beauty, truly liberal education, manliness, chastity, play, and the hearth. The beguilements of a culture of lying are both cultural and personal, making it essential to recover a sense that we are a pilgrim people, and to never forget the great prophet’s warning: “But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.” (JER 7:8)
An Excerpt:
Introduction:
Let’s get straight to the point. We no longer live in a culturally Christian state. We do not live in a robust pagan state, such as Rome was during the Pax Romana. We live in a sickly sub-pagan state, or metastate, a monstrous thing, all-meddlesome, all-ambitious. The natural virtues are scorned. Temperance is for prigs, prudence for sticks in the mud who worry about people who don’t yet exist. A man who fathers six children upon three women and now wants to turn himself into a “woman” attracted to other women—he is praised for his courage. Justice means that a handful of narrowly educated and egotistical judges get to overturn human culture and biology, at their caprice.

We are not in partibus infidelibus. We are in partibus insanibus.

What shall we do now? The answer is both daunting and liberating. We do everything. That doesn’t mean that I do everything, or that you do everything. Suppose you find yourself in a bombed out city. There are all kinds of things to do, and all of them have to be done. Some needs are more pressing than others, and some things can be done only after other things are in order. But everywhere you turn, there’s work to do. You have to find clean water. You have to find food. You have to tend to the wounded and bury the dead. You have to erect shelters. You have to see which of the few buildings left standing are actually safe. You have to demolish those that are ruined beyond repair. You have to organize work teams. Someone has to prepare the meals. Someone has to keep the children out of trouble. In such a situation, it’s almost absurd to ask whether it’s more important to build a latrine than to gather together some undamaged books. All of it has to be done. So you do what you can do—the work that is ready to your hand.

In no order, then, as I survey the ruins:

Build new schools, reform old schools, and abandon irreformable ones.
Are your children attending the sub-pagan schools? Get them the hell out of there. What are you waiting for? It’s not as if the sub-pagan schools actually teach children English grammar and give them facility with numbers and make them familiar with the lands and rivers and seas of our world, let alone introduce them to the great works of western civilization. If your children are in the sub-pagan schools, it will require almost a miracle of God to keep them from becoming sub-pagan themselves. They too will learn to worship the three-poisoned god of our times, self, sex, State. Take for granted that everything in their classes will be sexuality and politics; even in science classes. Shakespeare? Sexuality and politics and nothing else. Get them out. Begin, if necessary, with one room and one teacher and ten children. Begin.

Restore your parish church and bring reverence back to the liturgy.
Was your church denuded during the Decade that Taste Forgot? Bring art back in. Is there an ugly sculpture of Jesus the Helicopter, or a pseudo-primitive stained glass window of the Baptist dropping a rock on Jesus’ head? Replace them. Are you using hymnals filled with bad poetry expressing hippy-dippy theology to treacly or unsingable tunes? Why? If you know a little about sacred music, learn more. It’s never been easier to do that. Become more familiar with O Salutaris Hostia than with Table of Plenty. You don’t have to be allergic to the great Christian hymns arranged by Bach or written by the Wesleys. Accustom yourself to real poetry, to melodies that can be sung by a congregation, and to thoughtful meditation upon Scripture. Learn Gregorian chant. Will it take a while? It will take longer if you complain about how long it takes. Begin.

Acquaint yourself with the proper use of the zipper.
No pretending here. We’ve all been scorched by the sexual revolution. The ancient Christians knew they were living among hedonists, but plenty of the pagans, especially those who lived outside of the cities (Latin paganus = hayseed), were old-fashioned in their mores. The Christians could say that they honored the virtue of chastity, which the pagans recognized but often violated. We cannot say that now. We have to tell ourselves and our children the truth. There is no way to make it sound nice. “We are Christians, they are not. How God judges them is not ours to know. Our first task is to follow God’s law ourselves, before we can witness to them. We do not fornicate. We do not divorce. We do not engage in sodomy. We do not use porn. We do not flood women’s bodies with synthetic and carcinogenic hormones. We do not care for obscenities in film. We do believe in marriage according to the evident design of God, imprinted upon our bodies male and female. We encourage boys to be boys and girls to be girls.” And then—where are the chaperoned dances? Where are the concerts? Where are the matchmakers? Where are the healthy customs whereby the older generation made sure that the younger generation would, ahem, get on with the great and innocent business of new life? Establish them. Begin.

Be social.
Be human. I’ve heard all my life long that the Church, before Vatican II, had nothing at all for the laity. Really? What then were all those ecclesial fraternities and sororities? So laymen did not potter about the altar during Mass. They certainly pottered about everything else before and after Mass. They played basketball, they put on shows, they sang, they maintained the church grounds, they gathered for communal prayer, they fed the hungry, they taught the ignorant, they celebrated, they paraded down the main street. The official organs of public opinion hate us, and would like nothing better than to have us hang about empty churches like bats in a cave. Let them have more obvious opportunities for their hatred—or their embarrassment, perhaps their conversion. Saint Ignatius had for a long time only two or three followers. He persisted, and the Jesuits became the greatest force for education and human culture and the propagation of the faith that the world had ever known. Begin.

Read good books.
Our Lord has granted us one of the most precious blessings in war. Our enemies are ignorant. They are clever—they have brains, as all human beings do. But imagine a rickety fence against a cannon: that’s our contemporary journalist against Chesterton. Imagine a squirt gun against a battering ram: that’s our contemporary educator against Pope Benedict. Imagine a flea against an elephant: that’s our contemporary advertiser against the Catechism. Imagine a dented bugle against a cordon of trumpeters: that’s our contemporary artist against Dante. When Saint Paul said that he must be all things to all men, he did not mean that he would be stupid for the stupid. Put on the full panoply of God. Those arms may well include the weapons of natural law and natural wisdom that our sub-pagan neighbors have never mastered: Cicero, Aristotle, Plato, Confucius. Don’t know where to begin? It hardly matters where. Begin.

Recover the human things.
You remember them? The things that human beings used to do. They are not to be underestimated. Let’s not pretend here. We’ve all lost a great deal of what once made up whatever sweetness that human life had to offer. People used to dress becomingly, play cards, talk to others, take long walks, sing songs, play ball, grow peas and beans, strum on the guitar, drop in on friends, and have friends to drop in on. Boys used to ask girls to do innocent things with them, like go bowling, or attend a concert, or dance. There’s an idea—learn how to dance again. The world, besides being quite mad, is now an unspeakably drab, tawdry, and lonely place. Build outposts of normality. It will take time. Begin.

Pray like the pilgrim you are.
That goes without saying. If you pray for ten minutes a day, pray for fifteen. But pray with a clearer aim. Remember that you are going somewhere. Its name, in one sense, is the grave. The whole world is in mad denial of that plain fact. It turns to the garish and obscene, lest it have to consider the quiet grassy mound and the stone with a few words on it. Be different. You are on the way. Take heart, and don the hat of the pilgrim. Do not be like those who have no hope. Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place. Will you have to repent of having sometimes gotten on the carousel of the world? Repent of it then. Begin.

Whatever you do, do it as if everything depends on just that.
It does, after all. Let no one say to you, “What difference does it make if you sing beautiful hymns at Mass?” That’s the way the world thinks. For the world, despite all its pretense of love for every individual, considers men to be mere stuff, an accumulation or amalgamation. Do not believe it. The next person you greet may be on the verge of sainthood or damnation. Every moral choice we make repeats the drama of Eden. No one can do everything. Everyone can do something. Begin.”
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