The Refiner’s Fire with Chris Lyford: TNRP Episode 9

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the break! This podcast was met with many technical difficulties, but persistence brought it to you! Enjoy the episode! Chris’ websites are in the show notes and linked below!

-Chaz

chrislyford.wordpress.com

srdiocese.org/signofhope

Posted in Podcast | 16 Comments

Akita – Tears of Heaven

[Last Friday, I shared excerpts from Msgr. Pope’s recent blog piece which included passages from the messages of Our Lady of Akita. (The complete set of messages can be found here.) In the above photo, the statue which has been exquisitely carved from glorious, dark, New Zealand wood, was commissioned by our friend, Joe Crozier, and is a replica of the miraculous statue in Akita. This one has been placed in the Garabandal Pilgrim Centre in the village of Garabandal. As noted previously here, Joe was inspired to commission four more carvings of Our Lady of Akita to ensure her presence on each continent and to make her message known. Charlie received the statue for America last June and transferred guardianship of the beautiful image to my care. It is my task to, eventually, bring her to her permanent home, the Shrine of Thanksgiving. In light of Msgr. Pope’s article, I asked Joe to share with us about his pilgrimage to Akita. He graciously agreed to do so and I’m pleased to publish his sublime, heartfelt and heartwarming reflection. ~Beckita]

Hi Folks,

Our Becks (she who must be obeyed) has asked me to share my reflections on my pilgrimage to Akita. During my stay and after my return, I wrote a long letter to my old mum, 32 pages long, all about my time in Japan, but will try to keep this to the brief.

I had been to Garabandal in May 2013 and I knew then that my pilgrimage was incomplete. I had come to  believe that the appearance of Mary in Akita went one step further and amplified the concerns and directions given by her in Garabandal. I had been given wondrous graces in Garabandal but had not been in such a great state, spiritually or mentally or emotionally and, much to my shame, I failed to grow and tend my graces and they atrophied due to this neglect. Thank God “His Mercy is from age to age on those who fear him.” Neither He nor His Mother abandoned me but gave me the desire and means to go to Akita. I needed to hear the echo of her messages from Garabandal and in this way to be refreshed and restored. Once again, I needed to be rescued.

Although Garabandal has been described to me as a continuation of Fatima, I see it as the start of the lower edge of a Samurai sword and Amsterdam as the start of the upper edge of the same blade that draws east to a sharp point in Akita, a blade that pierced both the side of Jesus and the Heart of Mary in her Seven Sorrows that drew blood from the hand of her miraculous statue and caused her to weep many bitter tears.

It struck me how the wording of the messages given by Mary in Garabandal and in Akita are in parts almost identical. She spoke of the apostasy in the Church and the great fall away of consecrated men and women with Church leaders opposing each other. In both places, Mary spoke of a great Chastisement if mankind did not repent and start to lead better lives. The description of the Chastisement was the same in both Akita and Garabandal. This expression of God’s anger would be dreadful, unbearable, terrifying and severe beyond our imagination. Fire above and below, despair and total powerlessness. So bad that survivors would “envy the dead.” The exact phrase, “envy the dead,” was used in both places. It would be a time when there would be no consolation and forgiveness would no longer be available for those who persisted in sin, even after having experienced the  Divine Mercy of the Warning and the wonder of the Great Miracle. The conditional Chastisement would become certain if man did not change. The punishment would be literally hell on earth. This description given in Akita perfectly reflected the last warnings given in Garabandal. But to me, it seemed to suggest that Chastisement, by the time of Mary’s visitation to Akita, had already become more certain and less conditional. In Akita, the message was more urgent and forceful than ever.

And yet my first and enduring impression of Akita was one of the great personal beauty of Mary and the immense benevolence of her presence and power; perfectly tender and triumphant. So strong. “Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto thee, Oh Virgin of virgins, my Mother.” A veritable tigress but one who poses no threat – only a desire to direct,  protect, shelter, empower and spare – to provide us with all we need in order to survive well the calamities that approach. A leader, a co-redemptrix and one who can plead our cause to her Son and our Father in the Power of their Holy Spirit which fills her with grace. So, no wonder that while Garabandal gave weight and balance from below to the blade, Amsterdam had been chosen to counterbalance the blade from above.

For it was in Amsterdam that our Lady appeared to Ida Peerdeman in 1945 and, through Ida, asked the Church to make her known across the world as The Lady of All Nations/ Mother of All Peoples in keeping with the role and rank bestowed on her by God as the one who alone can save us from the calamities which approach in our times. In Fatima also, Our Lady told us that she alone would be able to save us from what lay ahead. This is her assignment but like any leader she needs loyal soldiers who respect Her command. She was no longer to be thought of simply as Mary, not only addressed as Our Lady, but from then on, under the title of The Lady of All Nations, promoted to the rank of one who has promised and can facilitate salvation for all who place their confidence in her. Sadly, in both Amsterdam and Garabandal her messages have been neglected and her requests denied as they were for some time in Fatima.

No wonder she wept in Akita. Not only did she weep in Akita but The Lady shed blood and sweat in her love and concern for us just like Jesus did in his passion. In Akita, the blood, sweat and tears shed so copiously from her miraculous statue showed her to truly be our co-redemptrix. She appeared through her statue to Sister Agnes Sasagawa who also suffered the stigmata. As if to emphasize the necessity for all mankind to hear and harken to her messages, Sister Agnes was cured of her deafness. In Akita, The Lady’s image wept 101 times, ending on the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in 1973. Sister Agnes was told by her guardian angel that the number 101 had meaning:  the first 1 represented Eve, the 0 represented the eternal love of God (as does a wedding ring) and the second 1 was Mary.

To me, this said that just as Jesus was the second Adam so his mother was the second Eve. For us steppers, this has particular significance in terms of The Rescue – “A second Adam to the fight and to the rescue came.” Just so, a second Eve to the fight and to the rescue came. Charlie tells us the Rescue will come by the end of this year. I do not pretend to sufficiently understand Charlie’s prophesy but I do believe in and sufficiently understand the rescue that will be offered in the Warning and confirmed in the Miracle of conversion that will happen in Garabandal.  By that Miracle, all will be drawn to the Catholic faith in true ecumenism. I do believe in The Lady of Conversion to whom Charlie has so much devotion. Today in the homily, our priest spoke of the three Cs in the life of faith: Commitment, Conversion and Conviction. We should not wait until the prophesied events come to pass before we start to put these into better action. The time for me to change is now.

And so it came to pass in 1963, right in the middle of Mary’s time in Garabandal 1961-65,  when it was already clear that compliance with her messages was being denied, that a skilled Buddhist Japanese carver, named Saboro Wakasa, was commissioned by nuns of the Institute of Handmaids of the Eucharist to carve an image of Our Lady for their convent. He based this carving on a copy of the painting of The Lady of All Nations that hung in Amsterdam. His statue was completed using the ancient skill of one blade carving and using one piece of timber from a Judas Tree. Like Our Lords garment, it had no joints – it was seamless. The carver would not have known of this significance.

It was no coincidence that part of Our Lady’s messages in Garabandal expressed concern at the poor regard given to the Eucharist, that it was being accorded less and less importance. It was no coincidence that Amsterdam was chosen in recognition of the Eucharistic miracle of 1345, exactly 600 years before her appearance in Amsterdam and the Eucharistic processions that followed. Such processions were banned by the Reformation in 1578 but continued in secret and silence until reinstated on the Feast of Corpus Christi in 2004, when once again Amsterdam became “City of the Eucharist.”

Mary told the girls in Garabandal that she liked to be near her Son. The beautifully wood- crafted Japanese styled chapel in Akita accommodates this wish with sliding panels allowing pilgrims to see her statue and the tabernacle at the same time. There is also a carving of St Joseph in the chapel so that she can be near him too.

Our Lady and St Joseph took good care of me. All my times and connections, from the start to the end of my pilgrimage, were just right and easy to make and I arrived at my hotel in Akita before check-in time. I immediately asked for directions to the shrine. The girl at the front desk knew about “the statue that cried.” She directed me to the bus station. All the signs were in Japanese so I went to the information desk. They did not speak English. I have a large Miraculous Medal given to me by my mum in Lourdes and I showed the image of the Immaculate Conception on it to the staff and they immediately said “Ah Maria.” Japan is not a Catholic country but they knew where I wanted to go. They gave me the number of the bus and directed me to the right pick up point. As I entered the bus, I showed the medal to the driver who also exclaimed, “Ah Maria,”and he indicated he knew what stop was mine. When we arrived, he got out and showed me the way that led to the shrine. Then he climbed back in and continued on his route.

I walked up the path through the cool woods passing several Buddhist cemeteries and arrived at the shrine after 10 minutes or so. The nun who greeted me spoke a little English. The nun asked if I was alone and how I came to be there. I briefly told her about Garabandal but she had never heard of it. She was fascinated, however,  by how similar the messages were to those of Akita.

I could not wait to see the miraculous statue but first paid my respects to the Blessed Sacrament. I then spent the next few hours sitting in front of the miraculous statue, in view of the tabernacle “next door.” It felt like a few minutes. There was a sign asking pilgrims to refrain from touching the statue but I was given permission to touch my Garabandal relic to its eyes and hands. In Garabandal, I had touched it to the scapular that St Michael had kissed – the only object he kissed there.

The nun told me there was Mass in Akita at 5.30 and I was able to confess before it even though the Chinese priest could not speak English. He had to be persuaded by one of the local ladies to hear my confession. I really wanted this to be a good pilgrimage and a good confession would make a good start. The fact that the priest could not understand me meant little. I knew my confession was true.

The co-celebrant at Mass was a Philippino priest. In the church in the city, the collection is taken up before Mass and taken down at the offertory. At the sign of peace, everyone bows to each other – no shaking hands or kissing. Most of the ladies wear white mantillas. After Mass,  I ate in a local restaurant where the waitress told me her father and grandfather had been Church of England priests and had baptised her but she could not remember her Christian name. She too knew of “Maria” as they all call Our Lady here.  I slept well that night, full of Mary’s peace, full of Mary’s grace.

Next day as I made my way past the two chained village guard dogs near the start of the path through the woods to the shrine, I met the Philippino priest who had con-celebrated Sunday Mass.  He was in civvies and looked quite shabby and was surprised when I addressed him as Father and told him I had recognized his accent during Mass. His name was Fr Santiago, a priest of the Divine Word, and we stood and chatted for ages. I told him I had once visited Cebu and had a Philippino friend at seminary  who is now a priest (I was at seminary for two years.) where I also befriended a Japanese priest called Francis Hirata whom Fr Santiago knew well. We are never alone or far from home when we are at home with Mary and our Catholic family. Mary is the ultimate home maker and makes us feel at home.

In the grounds of the shrine, there is a “Way of the Cross.” On the entrance arch to the stations, there is a “beware of bears” sign. These bears are a very real danger and are aggressive. It was hard to concentrate on the stations as I kept an eye open for bears. My walk through the woods was never quite as relaxed as before. The Cantabrian Mountains of Garabandal are also home to bears and it did not escape me that the bear is the sign of Russia and how Communism and Russia are prophesied as the forthcoming Tribulation.

In my visit to Garabandal, I came across Griffin vultures. That made me think of the scripture: “Wherever the body is there the vultures/eagles will gather.” In Akita, they have the large black kite which looks like an eagle. The eagle is also the symbol of St John the Evangelist, the first member of our Church under the Motherhood of Mary. As I began the Way of the Cross, a great black kite rose majestically in front of me from behind a row of trees. The nuns explained to me that they regard it as a friendly bird because it kills and eats the poisonous snakes found in the grounds of the convent.

It makes me think that maybe Isaiah also refers to the Lady of Revelation, Clothed with the sun/Son, the only clothing/ wedding garment that entitles us to attend and partake of the heavenly banquet, our protectress and the protected one.  The Lady of Conversion is framed by the sun as she emerges from heaven in Tepeyac. She is borne of The Light,  full of Grace, pregnant with the Christ Child and gives birth to The Light: God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, Jesus through Mary.

“And I will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of my hand.”

Here we have the power of the eagles’ wings and the radiance of Mary, the bright morning star and the hand of God.

“Beyond the clouds that hide his hand, there where thou canst not see, in ways that only He can understand, God works for thee,”

After the child of Revelation had been snatched up to God, the serpent continued to pursue the woman but she was given the wings of an eagle so she could fly to safety. The place of safety is the palm of God and the arms of John, the destroyers of the serpent, at the foot of the cross. The devil is filled with fury because he knows his time is short – never truer than now.

One day, a bus filled with Vietnamese pilgrims arrived, they were all in in traditional dress. I was told Mass would be said at 10am.  Some of them spoke English and I told them about my friend Fr Joseph Lam Cong Luong who I only rediscovered yesterday. He escaped from Communist torture in Vietnam, became one of the boat people, and attended the same seminary as me in London. I have written to him but not yet heard back. A Muslim man was steering their primitive craft by the stars but it was a cloudy night. A lady appeared at the bow of the boat and pointed him in the right direction. They were picked up by a merchant ship and when they arrived at port he recognized the lady in a statue of Mary on the wharf. The whole family became Catholic.

The Vietnamese pilgrims sang hymns in their native tongue but still you could hear the word, “Maria.” And you could recognise the cadence of the Hail Marys when they said the rosary. It all gave the same effect of listening to the Lourdes hymn in Lourdes – a totally different tune but it gave me the same feeling of being at home. In Garabandal, I did not really feel at home until a bus load of French pilgrims sang the Lourdes hymn in the village church. Then the tears of gratitude flowed. The Vietnamese priest did not have much English. At the sign of peace, in contrast to the formal bowing in the church in town,  everyone joined hands and danced. On leaving the church, the Vietnamese priest shook my hand and spoke to me in faltering English. He said “You are home.” Once again the tears flowed.

Each day 0f my pilgrimage, I had taken the 8.10 am bus that carried only me and a few handicapped people who had Downs Syndrome. Although they had smiled and nodded at me before, that was the first day they spoke/signed. They all laughed when they discovered I was 60. Downs people have great laughs. They also reminded me of the Downs Children we took to Lourdes and who sang with great gusto, “Give God the Glory Glory, children of the Lord.” Saints every one of them.

Of the many teachings Our Lady gave at Garabandal to the visionaries and all of us, one of the most important was the importance of charity, especially to the mentally afflicted. There was a man with such problems in the village who was misunderstood and mistreated. They were even going to throw him out of the village. Conchita reported, “The Virgin told us: ‘You despise him, but I love him.'” A response like this put us down, making us see our great lack of charity.”

Every time I sat in front of the miraculous statue in Akita, the hours would fly by. Normally the church was closed for a couple of hours during the day but the nuns gave me special permission to stay there on my own. Just me and Jesus and Mary and St Joseph.

Can you remember being in love and nothing was too much? Maybe I am just a romantic but that is how it felt in Mary’s presence. One day, the nuns beckoned me and took me behind the screen of the main altar to a room where they showed me the cottons that had wiped the blood and tears of the miraculous statue. I felt so special.

One day after I had said 20 decades of the rosary for Mary’s intentions, a group of European looking pilgrims arrived. It was August 14 2014. I picked one out of the group as being a priest and introduced myself to him.  I also introduced myself to a pretty girl called Stephanie (there is not much hope for me) who saw through me immediately. They then began to say the rosary, mostly in Japanese, but as a favour to me said some prayers in English. They invited me to lead a decade. Among the group were two men from Tarbres, near Lourdes, and the French priest was a resident of New York – where Conchita of Garabandal lives. Once again, I felt at home. Stephanie came from Lyon and spoke very good English. I chatted with her for ages. She was very patient. They were all fluent in Japanese and were volunteers helping with survivors of the tsunami. When the girls sang, they sounded like angels and once again made me cry a little. They laughed when I said I was just a big baby. The priest laughed too and said I cried just like the miraculous statue had cried.

He gave the homily in English and it was all about St Maximilian Kolbe. It inspired me to consecrate myself to Mary which I did on my return to New Zealand with the thirty day exercise. During a childhood vision, Mary offered St Maximilian a choice between the crowns of purity or martyrdom. He chose both. He was given both. He founded a monastery on the outskirts of Nagasaki. He also founded a Japanese newspaper and a seminary which is still going strong. The monastery survived the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945, the year that Mary appeared to Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam as The Lady of All Nations and Mother of All Peoples. He became a prisoner in Auschwitz where he kept up the spirits of fellow prisoners with his prayers and hymns to Mary.

In the end, he volunteered his life in place of a stranger who had been sentenced to death. The Nazis finished him off with an injection of carbolic acid to which he meekly raised his arm in acceptance and submission. His body was cremated on the Feast of the Assumption and Pope St John Paul II canonised him on October 10 1982. This got to me too because JPII had knighted my old dad twice in recognition of his services to the life of the Catholic Church.

It turned out that the French pilgrims had taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the eighteen months duration of their voluntary work. This work was a great service in which they suffered at the hands of Japanese officialdom and custom that thwarted their efforts to help those in need. This was faith in action which shamed my paltry efforts. They were tough but humble and gentle – just like Mary. My ancestors came from Normandy in France. I have always felt an affinity for France, the first daughter of Mary. The first house in which I lived was named Loreto – the name of the house in which Mary lived. My first ancestor of whom I am aware was a William Crozier who carried the Cross into battle for Bishop Oddo, the half brother of William the Conqueror. Perhaps this is where my love of France began – in the work of the cross.

One of my favourite authors at school was the Frenchman, Albert Camus who, although atheist, believed in the goodness that can be found in man. One day when I had got lost in the country, I was suffering from wandering in the heat for hours. There was no shelter from the sun. After a while, an old Japanese gentleman crossed the road to me from his humble country dwelling and, by sign language, indicated he knew I was in trouble and was lost. He went back to his house and returned shortly in his car with his daughter who could speak English. They drove me all the way back to my hotel which took them about one hour. It turned out that his daughter had worked in the very hotel in which I was staying. They refused to take any money for the fuel. They even stopped for a few moments at the Shrine of Akita and prayed to Mary. I was very moved by this and saw the full potential for conversion of all those of good will like this elderly man and his daughter. They do not have far to go. As Mary said to the seers of Garabandal of a Protestant visitor to Garabandal: “He too is my son.”

On August 15th, the Feast of The Assumption, I attended Mass in the church in Akita City which was next to a field of water lilies. The Lily of the Valley had been here in person. I was drenched in the typhoon on the way to Mass. The Mass was beautiful and sung and another Philippino priest con-celebrated. After Mass, he told me he had family living in Wellington,  New Zealand. I was being prepared for my sorrowful parting and return to my other home. Whenever I visit my family in Scotland, I find it incredibly painful to say goodbye especially to my old mum. Just so the pain of saying goodbye to my Mother in Akita was mounting.

I had not been able to say goodbye and thank you properly the previous day to my new French friends and had heard they had already left. I returned to the the shrine after Mass on the 15th. The Mass at the shrine had been at 7am – too early for the bus. I sat in silence in the chapel of the miraculous statue, looking at her and she at me. This was my last visit.

A Buddhist woman came into the chapel (seemingly they often do) and asked by the use of her hands if it was ok for her to pray at the statue. I pointed at the globe of All Nations on which the statue is mounted and at the open arms of Mary and she understood that Mary was the Mother of All Peoples. She knelt and prayed.

Suddenly I heard a commotion behind me and there were the French pilgrims packed and ready to go. And  there was the beautiful Stephanie who had made a small gift for me and placed it in a sealed envelope which she had intended to leave with the nuns in the hope that they could forward it to me. She asked that I wait until she had gone before opening it.

Inside was a beautiful note on special paper, handwritten in Japanese characters on one side with a translation on the other. This is what was written on her note:

“ Jesus said  I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28-20

Thanks for your present (I had given her a ring rosary from New Zealand with the image of St Joseph). May you always show to the other the sign of God.

God bless you

Stephanie”

Well that was not only the end of my pilgrimage – it was the end of me. Just like when I say goodbye to mum in Scotland, it took me quite a while to compose myself. Who needs a typhoon while Joe is around.

I did not understand the full significance of this note until I became a member of the family of Faith here on TNRS where we are told to hearten the faithful, defend the faith and defend the faithful by first acknowledging God, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope for others. Or as Stephanie said, “May you always show to the other the sign of God.”

Posted in Encouragement, Guest Columns, Prophecy, The Shrine | 108 Comments

All Things Are Being Revealed

Jonah under the gourd

By Charlie Johnston

What a wonderful celebration of the centennial of the penultimate Fatima apparition! Our Archbishop consecrated the entire Archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Some Parishes held their own special Mass – and 73 Parishes live-streamed the consecration from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. I went to Mass at the Cathedral at 5:30 on Friday, then stayed in Eucharistic Contemplation until the Holy Hour preceding the Consecration began at 7:30. During that time, I prayed for each member of my extended family by name, thinking of our joys and sorrows together. I prayed for all on the TNRS Team by name – and all of the regional coordinators, fondly remembering our times together. I prayed for the Priests who have guided me, both as directors and as friends, and for the Bishops who have done the same. It was a wonderful time of recollection. I prayed for renewal, renewal of my own heart and of our poor battered, bleeding world.

The True Division

I had been unusually depressed the last few weeks as so many things seemed to be coming to a head. After the hideous massacre in Las Vegas, the usual suspects lined up to lecture us that the only moral solution to such tragedies is to disarm more victims. Bizarre…not even a rational approach, much less a moral one. The more a society shows itself to be unable to defend its citizens, the more critical it is that they be prepared to defend themselves. The NFL self-righteously protests a negligible problem while lifting nary a finger to help with a huge one. Whites killing blacks amounts to less than 1 percent of all annual killings. Blacks killing blacks constitute almost 60 percent of such statistics. (Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute has done exhaustive research on this subject). NFL players, particularly black players, could be powerful role models going into the inner cities in the off-season, helping to support black churches and encouraging people to get married, stay married, be there for their kids, and work hard at education. The reality is that, outside of inner cities, Black and Hispanic crime rates mirror that of the larger society. We don’t have a serious racial problem – we have a serious behavioral problem, centered in inner-city ghettoes that are centers of hopeless dependency and disorder. The anti-God left is doing its best to whip it up into a racial divide, perhaps to hide the fact that nearly all the hellish centers of such disorder have been governed for half a century by leftists who dream of bringing their “success” to the whole country. I am not sure whether to be offended by NFL players for their offense or to be sorry for them for being so easily used in what Dennis Prager calls the greatest libel since the blood libel. It doesn’t matter much to me: I ended 31 years as an enthusiastic fan last year when the NFL refused to let the Dallas Cowboys honor slain police officers while enabling Colin Kaepernik’s honoring of cop-killers and contempt for America. I won’t be going back to the NFL whatever happens, for the players have revealed how shallowly vapid they are and what contempt they hold for their fans. Perhaps a new Patriot League will arise, and then I can enjoy professional football once more.

The true divide can only be between people who try to live honorably and criminals. The justice system needs overhauling in a multitude of respects. Violent criminals are repeatedly released to go on to greater violence. Inner city murders of black folks are rarely solved – which leads criminals to think it is not taken seriously and they can get away with murder. They are right. It is unjust that a suburban white kid gets a competent lawyer, while inner city black kids usually get over-burdened and inexperienced public defenders. But if your sole solution is to give inner city kids better lawyers without addressing the toxic fatherlessness and Godless culture they are mired in, getting them better lawyers will only enable more violence. When I was doing radio back in the early 90’s I spoke with a prominent sociologist in the state one day. Citing statistics on recidivism among juvenile offenders, I noted that the only programs which showed some positive results were faith-based programs, so why did the state completely avoid such programs. To my astonishment, she agreed that they were the only effective programs, but because they brought up God, they were oppressive and could not be used. I asked in disbelief if she really would prefer to condemn young offenders to unremitting misery than expose them to God. “It’s only fair,” she said. It was one of those moments where I thought, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.” The reality is that to the secular left, God is not the answer: He’s the competition.

Then the Harvey Weinstein story broke. It proved that none of the Hollywood poseurs actually believe Donald Trump is a tyrant. Faced with an actual tyrant who had real power over their lives and careers, they cowered before him and covered for him. Like in their movies, they are not actually courageous, but can pretend to be courageous when playing to an applauding crowd. It struck me that hearts are being revealed. That process is nearly complete. Things are coming to a head. I haven’t even mentioned North Korea or the decertification of the Iran deal (though I am grimly amused to hear seemingly sober people solemnly say that if we don’t use the same plan that made North Korea a rogue nuclear state, we risk war. Do these people even listen to themselves?) The truth is that, while secular leftists claim the idea of sin is oppressive, they are actually expanding the definition of sin: they just want to be the enforcers. George Neumayr wrote a marvelous piece explaining how the left simply wants to replace the real God, who is steady, just and compassionate, with a statist god, which is shriekingly arbitrary and capricious. The left has succeeded in melding a libertinism that would make Caligula blush with a harsh puritanism that would shame John Calvin.

A quarter of a century ago I told my Priests that the Storm would be like a “global civil war fought on cultural lines,” and that “the Storm would break through North Korea but not be centered in North Korea.” Seventeen years ago I wrote that we had begun the process that would lead to the collapse of the rule of law – that law would become perverted to be just another partisan tool in the grasping clutch for power. Just three years ago I wrote a mournful piece on this site, stating that Republican control of Congress would not stop the trajectory of our disorder as there was no longer a political solution possible to what ails us. Over the summer, I thought longingly of setting up camp in the mountains near a stream and sitting out the Storm. I waited for the shrieking madness that followed Trump’s Inauguration to abate. Yet the Storm only gathers force, and the shrieking madness continues to rise. Things are gathering to a head.

Though we have gotten here in ways that I often did not expect, we are in the “world gone mad” I was shown way back in the early 60’s and that seemed so utterly unbelievable to me. Heaven knows, if a modern-day Rumplestiltskin went to sleep in 1962 and woke up today, he would think he had been transported to a Bizarro universe where the elites all think good is evil and evil, good. So many have completely lost the capacity to ever find happiness, only perpetual grievance and rage. They rage against God, they rage against family…which are the real keys to finding happiness. I have to concede the devil has done his work effectively. I promised long ago that if these times came I would defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. I know that however unfaithful we are, God is ever true to His promises. A century ago, Our Lady promised that, “in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” I haven’t made my last mistake. But God willing, so long as I draw breath, I will do my best to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful, for I know His promises are altogether true.

*******

Travels With Charlie

I will spend all of November in the Southwest and on the West Coast. I currently have events scheduled in Houston, Santa Fe, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. While I am willing to do formal presentations, it is not necessary. I just finished a swing of home visits in Kansas City; Springfield, Missouri; Lake Charles, Louisiana; San Antonio and Dallas. I am more interested in encouraging people to be watchful, to not despair, and to be prepared to hearten their neighbors and help each other in extreme circumstances. This simple way, always focused on the next right step while acknowledging God, is the way we act as heralds of Rescue and hope. If you would like to arrange a visit, whether formal or informal, contact Mary at lovedbyhim1026@gmail.com.

I had an amazing encounter during my presentation in Lake Charles a few weeks back. There was a young moderately autistic woman there. (She could have been 14, she could have been 24: it can be hard to tell with autistic people). She was a pretty girl. As I began speaking, she mirrored my every move and facial expression. She did not do it with a half-second delay; she did it simultaneously with me. It was amazing. After a few minutes, her mother moved to stop her. I told her Mom that if there were private reasons she had for discouraging this, that was fine, but if she was just worried about offending me, I found it charming. She asked if I was sure. So the girl, April, mirrored me throughout my talk. Afterwards, I told her how very good she was at it and she gave me a big hug. It was interesting how soothing it seemed to be for all of us.

Many of you know that Nancy Davidson, a long-time commenter here and one of my coordinators in South Dakota, recently passed on after a brief bout with pancreatic cancer. I spoke to her by phone after she received the diagnosis and sent her a note. I was only able to speak to her once before it got too bad. Her dear friend, Kris Rehfeld kept me apprised of her condition. When I got home there was a letter in the box for me from Nancy, penned just before she died. It was the only time I have ever gotten that particular sort of letter from beyond. It was filled with complete trust in God – and the next right step for each of us. I pray that Nancy is already in heaven and, if she is, I know she is interceding right now for every one of us in the TNRS family.

I had another surprise in the mailbox. A Christian artist from Montgomery, Alabama, sent me the gorgeous abstract painting of Our Lady of Fatima that appears to the side here. She is Joanie Conoly. She said that my work had inspired her to do paintings of Our OL of Fatima, joanie conolyLady and, knowing my devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, she sent this to me. Sadly, pictures do not do her work justice. In photos, the paintings appear a bit flat and mundane. In real life, they are absolutely gorgeous with rich texture and delicately precise detail. I was flabbergasted by how beautiful it is. It now hangs in a place of honor above the fireplace.

*******

The Video Short Planned Parenthood Does Not Want You to See

Imagine an undercover journalist got film of a criminal gang planning a hit – and speaking about it all in an open, public place. When the journalist turned the film over to authorities, what do you think would happen? They would arrest the criminals, right? Well, not if you are in the bizarre world of California. When David Daleiden got film of abortion activists talking with each other like murderous Dr. Mengele’s at a National Abortion Federation (NAF) Conference in California a few years back, San Francisco Federal Judge William Orrick slapped a gag order on the videos. His reasoning was that what the abortionists said was so toxic that, if it became public, it would endanger the safety of the abortion activists. By that reasoning, any nefarious scheme caught on tape could be censored. In America, we have traditionally sided with the whistleblowers who expose nefarious schemes rather than with the nefarious schemers. But Judge Orrick and his wife are radically pro-abortion and have ties to the abortion industry. Orrick seems to have chosen to use his position to act as muscle for the abortion industry. Welcome to the collapse of the rule of law.

When the California Atty. Gen. chose to indict Daleiden and his partner, Sandra Merrick, for taping these exchanges (charges that have NEVER been filed against anyone else taping in a public place in California before: in fact, Planned Parenthood worked with the California Legislature to change the laws to make these charges possible), the San Francisco Superior Court made the videos part of the public record. So Daleiden’s attorneys provided links to them. Orrick was outraged. No stinking little state court was going to defy his mighty power. They began threatening Youtube and every outlet that had the videos embedded with contempt sanctions if they did not pull them down. In fact, I got a threatening letter as I had published a link to a Youtube video of the short preview. It worked. Every public site pulled the video. What Planned Parenthood and its allies most dread is you seeing what they say and do when they think no one is listening.

Enter Congressman Mark Walker of North Carolina, Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. He put the video preview up on an official public government site right here. Now I am not embedding the video on my site, simply linking to a public government site. So if that parody of a judge, William Orrick, wants to cite anyone for contempt, he will have to cite the U.S. House of Representatives, which has a little more heft than a stinking little state court (even if it doesn’t always act like it) You can go to the government site to see what Planned Parenthood wants to hide from you. And keep in mind…this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Orrick has hidden on the abortionists’ behalf.

Posted in Christian Persecution, Conversion, Culture, Uncategorized | 152 Comments

In the End, My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph

[Many beautiful articles have been written for this centenary year of celebrating the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima. Motivational, inspirational and edifying contributions are everywhere.  It was Msgr. Charles Pope’s piece, based on last Sunday’s parable of the vineyard owner, which captured my attention, for it pierces the heart of so many matters at this juncture of the Storm. You can find the complete article here. In honor of this 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, let’s consider some excerpts. (Highlights with color are my own.) Beckita]

(The parable of the vineyard owner) is not merely a story told to illustrate a moral point. It had an actual historical fulfillment and remains a “real-world scenario” even today. The vineyard set forth with love and great care was Israel. God was the landowner, who gave them the land, protected them with His law, and sustained them with His love and providence. The servants who called for the fruits represented the prophets. Jesus Himself is the son whom they kill. Even in spite of this crime, God allowed Israel 40 biblical years to repent and come to believe in Him, sending forth apostles, evangelists, and teachers to convince them. Still, there was a collective and obstinate refusal to believe in Jesus, the Messiah sent to save. So, in A.D. 70, God permitted the unrepentant people to wage a foolish war against the Romans. The result was that the Romans conquered Jerusalem, utterly destroying it and the Temple. According to Josephus, 1.2 million Jewish people lost their lives in that terrible war.

The parable was a true warning of the destruction that was sure to come unless repentance and faith replaced the obstinate refusal to obey and believe. It is tragic that things were so bad that God had to act drastically in order to reset the moral and spiritual order, to save even a few.

I would argue, based on prophecy, that we are nearing such a time now and that we must urgently pray for both mercy and repentance. The warnings and prophecies of Our Lady in the past one hundred years have become more urgent and even dire.

We all know what the Virgin Mary said at Fatima in 1917  Our Lady said that only prayer (specifically, the Rosary) and obedience to her Son could stave off the impending doom…

In spite of this history, we have collectively refused to repent, just like the tenant farmers in the Lord’s parable. Despite the sea of blood due to our sin and our refusal to pray, not only have we failed to repent, but we seem to have gotten worse. Today we have abortion on demand, no-fault divorce, fornication, pornography, human trafficking, single motherhood, the celebration and outright “pride” in homosexual acts, transgenderism, unbridled greed, euthanasia, and much more.

In 1981, Our Lady of Fatima warned through Sr. Lucia that the final battle will be against marriage and the family and that anyone who tries to defend them will experience persecution and tribulation. And here we are. Even at the highest levels of the Church, certain priests and bishops mislead God’s people. Meanwhile, clergy and faithful who seek to uphold marriage are dismissed as pharisaical, rigid and unpastoral. This was also confirmed by Our Lady of Akita in Japan:

The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres … churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord (Message of Oct. 13, 1973).

Yet in our obstinately disobedient culture, no matter how high the body count, how virulent the diseases, how broken our families, how deep the sexual confusion and addiction, how onerous our debts due to greed and entitlement, we seem to have no intention of making any change. Like the tenants in the parable, many ridicule every prophet sent to us, calling them hateful, intolerant, bigoted, homophobic and misogynistic. They seek to marginalize them, to punish them legally, and to ruin them financially. Soon enough, many will be willing to jail and kill God’s prophets, who are only saying what God and the Church have always said. What we have today is a collective, obstinate refusal to obey God and produce the fruits of righteousness.

The sins of our time are not merely ones of weakness. Those who fall through weakness admit that they have done wrong and seek mercy. The greatest sin today is the obdurate refusal to repent. With a figurative clenched fist, many today say, “I will not be told what to do. I will decide what I want to do and I will determine whether it is right or wrong.”

In this sort of climate, what is God to do? In many cases, it does not seem that reasoning with people can or will bear fruit. The hardness of heart and the self-righteous attitudes of increasing numbers, who arrogantly reject even the most obvious moral guidance, brings the dire conclusion that the only viable solution is a punishment so severe that all arrogant self-reliance will be impossible.

Warnings of this sort of dire punishment were given by Our Lady of Akita in Japan:

… If men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. …

The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them (Message of Oct. 13, 1973).

I would caution every single soul reading this column not to hope for this chastisement. It will be awful—so awful that we will be jealous of the dead. No, our stance should be to beg the Lord for mercy, for more time. For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Our Lady would surely rather that we pray and repent in order to stave off the coming calamity. Pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of sinners. Beg the Lord for poor sinners to repent.

Come what may, though, we must remember that justice is with God, not us

There comes a time when a good doctor must consider severe options such as amputation or high-risk surgery in order to save a patient. It’s better to go through life maimed than to die. So also it is with God. There is nothing worse than going to Hell. No earthly destruction or loss could ever compare to horror of eternal damnation.

For now, pray that lesser remedies and more time will be our lot! But know this: as the historical fulfillment of the Parable of the Tenants teaches, God will not hesitate to do what is finally necessary to save as many souls as possible.

Listen to Our Lady’s warnings. Heed her solution. Pray the Rosary daily for the conversion of souls. The times are urgent and many well-attested prophecies suggest that time is short—very short. The year 2017, the 100th anniversary of Fatima, may be a year that brings blessings or curses. Through Mary, the Lord sets before us life and death, blessings and curses.

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live! (see Deuteronomy 30:19)

Our Lady of Akita

 

Several years ago, one of our own TNRS regulars was inspired to commission four more carvings of Our Lady of Akita to ensure her presence on each continent and make her message known. In this small way, our humble forum can be seen to have followed the command of Christ: “Go out to the whole world.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Conversion, Culture, Family, Guest Columns, Mary Immaculate, Prayer, Prophecy, The Storm | 107 Comments

God Can Make a Way out of No Way

(We know how timely is the writing of Msgr. Charles Pope. His piece from last week, on October 3rd, struck a chord – fff, fortississimo style – for all around us we see that people are carrying heavy burdens. In our trials, HOPE most often is a choice made while in the midst of suffering. Choosing HOPE is an act of FAITH and leads to deeper TRUST in God.

Two weeks ago, I had ample opportunities to live it. There were moments in my family crisis where I had barely a lick of saliva to facilitate swallowing. My gut was in knots. A friend noted that I looked pale. Oh how apropos is Mother Angelica’s adage: “I DO trust God; my stomach just doesn’t know it yet.” I just kept praying the Divine Praises, often singing them. 

We all have a share in the Passion of Christ, don’t we? And we know Christ is ever beside us, that He works in ways often hidden from our perception, acting from Pure Love with an Infinite Imagination that is always, always, always drawing good from pain, evil and every sort of human misery. He IS trustworthy. He DOES make a way when there seems to be no way.

Let us listen to Msgr. Pope,  taking his teaching and wisdom to heart as we continue making our way through this time of the Storm. His blog is found here. He generously allows this reprint of his article when I acknowledge it is I who sought his permission and he does so without supporting the prophetic elements here. Let us continue to pray for Msgr Pope and all our faithful clergy.) 

 

God Can Make a Way out of No Way: A Meditation on the Role of Adversity

Adversity comes to every one of us. The word’s Latin roots speak to the way in which things can turn against us; the winds, instead of moving us along, turn toward and against us and our progress seems stalled or even reversed.

But has it? Or does adversity have a hidden, benign, or even good purpose?

Consider the following teaching from St. Paul, which arose from his own adversity. He is in prison, yet writes this:

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. … Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death (Phil 1:12-14, 19-20).

One can hardly imagine a set of circumstances more adverse for a missionary on the move than to be confined to a prison cell, unable to preach freely. Nevertheless, with the Holy Spirit to teach him, St. Paul can say that what seems adverse has actually served to advance the Gospel. His willingness to suffer for the truth of the faith both gives him credibility and bestows boldness upon others.

By God’s grace, the most adverse and paradoxical of situations can bear fruit. The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians. Find a place where the Church is being persecuted and you will find a place where she is growing. At the cross, Satan thought he could kill Christ and be done with Him, but instead, he released Christ’s full power. This is a lesson that seems to continually escape Satan and the world: God can make a way out of no way! When Satan does his worst, God releases the best.

What in our life has at the time seemed adverse but has actually turned out to be a blessing? It is important to reflect on this often because adversity takes an initial emotional toll. Discouragement, anger, fear, or depression can result if we do not quickly recall the paradox of the cross and God’s ability to write straight with the crooked lines of this word and to advance through even the strongest of headwinds. Adversity can help to clarify and strengthen. Persecution can purify us. Those who scoff at and challenge our beliefs can help us to clarify the truth even more. The lamp of truth is most precious and shines most gloriously in the deepest darkness.

While irksome, what seems adverse can still advance the cause of the Gospel. We need not desire adversity, but when it comes we should trust that God has permitted it, for a season and for a reason. If the greatest paradox of all, the cross, could release glory and open a way out of no way, so can our sufferings and adversities if we unite them to that cross.

God can make a way out of no way.

Posted in Encouragement, The Storm, Trust | 67 Comments

Wildly Simple with Sister Bear: TNRP Episode 8

Hey everyone,

This week we are joined by Sister Bear! She is the founder of the Sisters of the Metolius. She has wonderful perspective on trusting God and living simply. I especially liked her example of stewardship.

Enjoy the show!

Chaz

Posted in Podcast | 43 Comments

A Family Affair: TNRP Episode 7

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the podcasting break! The only damage that Irma brought through was surging my old computer. I have it back up and running now! This week Dad and I are joined by Christy. My sister and Pops’ daughter. There is hope!

Enjoy the show,

Chaz

Posted in Podcast | 94 Comments

The People of the Kingdom and of Heaven…

 

 

One of our own has made her Final Journey Home. Let us pray for the repose of the soul of Nancy, who was known as nanannda2 or NancyD on site. Nancy passed away last evening, on the Feast of St. Padre Pio. Let us also pray for Nancy’s family and friends who continue their mourning process. May all who know and love Nancy be strengthened and comforted. May Nancy become an intercessor for us at TNRS as we continue striving to build God’s Kingdom on earth in these days of the Storm.

Special condolences to Kris who is also a member of this community and a dear friend of Nancy. Together, they hosted Charlie in Aberdeen, SD. Nancy and Kris have shared a longtime friendship, watching each other’s families grow while working and praying together for over thirty years.

 

 

Posted in Announcement, Prayer | 297 Comments

We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

 

Please remember the announcement posted today: Charlie will be in Lake Charles, Louisiana Sunday for an informal visit. Lake CharlesThere will be a home gathering at 5009 E. St. Charles Ave, Lake Charles at 2 p.m. on Sunday that is open to any who would like to attend. For information or to reserve a spot, contact Mary at lovedbyhim1026@gmail.com.

 

 

[We press on in the Storm amidst all manner of personal trials. In his piece published on September 18th, Msgr. Charles Pope hits it out of the ballpark as he speaks to us and our times. (As ever, he allows this reprint of his work without endorsing the prophetic elements here.) I find Msgr.’s words both heartening and enlightening. I hope you do too. May we ever walk by faith even when we cannot see. BH] 

A Meditation on the Delay and Silence of God

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but God doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry about most things. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn.

We live in a loud, fast-paced world, one of constantly “breaking news,” in which crisis and urgency are the predominant mode. Instant communication and quick responses are expected, even demanded.

At the national level, there is hardly any reporting at all by the media before there is a rush to analyze, comment, and demand a reaction and plan of action from public officials.

At the personal level, someone will often express irritation at not hearing back from me within the day, or even within minutes. “I sent you a text! Did you get it?” If I do not answer a text quickly enough I may get another one that simply says “Father …?” An email may begin with a subject like this: “** Second Attempt **” if the previous email went unanswered for even a day.

In many companies, voice mail has been discontinued because it’s “too slow.” Many younger people seldom answer their phones let alone initiate phone calls. Communication is more commonly accomplished through instant messages, texts, and tweets. This results in a clipped quality to conversations that limits thoughtful discussion.

Yes, we are in a big hurry. But back to my question: Have you noticed that God doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry? God could easily solve everything instantly with a mere snap of His fingers; one word and it would be fixed. He does not do this, however, and He has His reasons. Perhaps it is important for us to live some of our questions in order to appreciate their depths. Perhaps the problems we want solved are themselves part of a deeper solution that God is working to make us humbler, wiser, and /or stronger.

Beyond puzzling, God’s slow pace can also be dismaying. Why does God allow the wicked to inflict so much damage for so long? Why does He allow error and heresy to go unchecked? Why does He permit sinners to remain unpunished and uncorrected?

The Church too is often rather slow to respond or act. We will go on for decades, even centuries, pondering and reflecting while the world rushes forward at light speed into error, darkness, and confusion. We often want the Church to have quick answers and effective responses to all of this; we want the Church to turn on a dime but that’s like trying to turn an aircraft carrier around.

Though at times imponderable, God’s delay is sinless. The Church’s delay, however, may be admixed with sin, sloth, and resistance. This does not mean that all the delay of the Church is sinful. Especially in today’s world of quick, often rash reaction, there is still the need for careful, thoughtful, prayerful deliberation. Our faith doesn’t reduce easily to sound bites. The Gospel does not fit on a bumper sticker. The Church should not be reduced to a fire department, but she should keep her identity as a careful medical practice. The urgent should not eclipse the important.

Yes, all of this has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I am impatient by nature; I tap my foot incessantly in meetings, thinking, let’s get to work already! I am a bit like the impatient field hand in the Gospel (Mat 13:24), who wanted to tear out the weeds from amongst the wheat. The Lord cautioned against doing so because it might harm the wheat. He said that they should be allowed to grow together until the harvest; the day of judgement will come, but not yet.

Indeed, rash actions can cause harm, even if unintentionally. Quick or draconian measures to eliminate error and sin may harm the saints and ration the Spirit. Conflicts have their place. They can call the question and sharpen the distinction between the good and the wicked; darkness can allow the light to shine even more gloriously.

But Father, but Father! What about the many souls who are lost and confused in the silence while the Church delays, reflecting and pondering? I know, I know; I have no simple answer, except to point back to God. While the Church’s delay may be prudent or imprudent, in these hurried times of instant communication and demanded answers, God’s sinless delay and lengthy silences still shine before us and challenge our often-rash instincts.

God takes His time. The Jewish people were 400 years in slavery and 40 years in the desert. From then it was 1800 years to the Christ, who spent thirty of His thirty-three years in seclusion and silence.

Yes, for reasons of His own, God is not in a big hurry. For my part, I must learn this hard lesson and be careful to enter into the silence of God through prayer. Having prayed in that silence I must emerge to patiently, teaching and preaching the faith that God has revealed. I can do no more, but I can do no less.

Cardinal Robert Sarah’s words are a fitting conclusion to this hard lesson for us modern compulsives:

Silence is of capital importance because it enables the Church to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, imitating his thirty silent years of Nazareth….and his intimate dialogue with the Father in the solitude and silence of the desert….

Light makes no noise. If we want to approach this luminous source, we must assume an attitude of contemplation and silence….The true nature of the Church is not found in what she does but in what she testifies. Christ asked us to be light. He ordered us not to conquer the world, but to show men the way, the truth and the life.

I know well that God’s silence constantly runs into man’s impatience…[but] nowadays man fosters a kind of compulsive relationship with time. One day we will understand everything. Until then it is necessary to seek without making noise.  

Who can understand God?…As with all questions connected with God, there is a stage when the search can go no farther. The only thing to do is to raise our eyes, to stretch out our hands toward God, and to pray in silence while awaiting the dawn…. [Robert Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence, pp. 219-221]

Posted in Announcement, Encouragement, Guest Columns, The Storm, Trust | 109 Comments

Lake Charles, Louisiana Visit

Charlie will be in Lake Charles, Louisiana Sunday for an informal visit. Lake CharlesThere will be a home gathering at 5009 E. St. Charles Ave, Lake Charles at 2 p.m. on Sunday that is open to any who would like to attend. For information or to reserve a spot, contact Mary at lovedbyhim1026@gmail.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments
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