Help Your Ministers

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Today I have just kind of crashed. I felt out of sorts yesterday – and just exhausted today. So I have read and watched TV and done little else today. Better to just fully recharge rather than limping along. I will be back at it fully tomorrow.

Meantime, I find that I am getting a whole lot of private email from Catholic Priests, Deacons and Protestant Ministers and Pastors. It is very heartening in many ways – because I am able to see in a very intimate way how very many there are who are deeply trying to live both their faith and their call – and genuinely bring people to the safety and joy that is in Christ.

Many are scared…and lonely. It tugs at my heart what noble courage so many are trying to live, to find what is the next right step for those they minister to, to give comfort and hope to their little flocks even as they see fearful things rising – and of course have to deal directly with the pain and isolation so many of those in their care are dealing with today.

So I ask you to do three things for your shepherds on a regular basis:

1) Pray for them every day. They have stepped out in courage in difficult times. And even if you have one that is not quite aware of how bad things are getting, they will find themselves on the firing line soon enough – and will need courage. Beat the rush and help them with your prayers now.

2) Help uphold them. Many of the decisions they must make are scary. Give them steady counsel – and do NOT just criticize them when you disagree with them on something. Thank them when they confirm something you need. If they know you genuinely care about them, their ministry and the faith, they will invite your counsel when it is critical as a means of proving the faith rather than just avoid you.

3) Do little kindnesses that have nothing to do with overt prayer or worship. Invite them to dinner…to a movie…to an amusement park. Satan tries to isolate those he would destroy – and he really wants to destroy ministers. Respect their calling, but reach out to them as fellow men, as true brothers and sisters in relaxed, homey settings.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
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53 Responses to Help Your Ministers

  1. rjsauro says:

    Dear Charlie

    If it will help I would be glad (and maybe others as well — if you offer them the opportunity) to send an encouraging word to you that you could forward to those in need; leave the details of who gets what to the Holy Spirit as your see fit.

    For example, you could send a need to individuals (you trust) without revealing to whom it belongs, and that person could pray and provide a response that you would forward on as an encouraging word.

    As for me I will continue with my general prayers or priests.

    Rick

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    • charliej373 says:

      Well, RJ, it touches me that many are finding comfort and solace from this site – and every bit as much from the comments as the articles. Many see people deeply reaching and it touches them – and inspires them to want to keep faith. So keep those cards and letters coming, folks!

      At a more basic level, though, God is always intimate and personal – so you reach out to those who are right in your path. That is where you can do the most direct good.

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  2. johnmcfarm says:

    Regroup Charlie, you push yourself very hard and need to remember to take breaks both physically and emotionally. Why don’t you come over for dinner and a movie?!? God bless you Charlie and keep you hale and hearty!

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    • charliej373 says:

      Ha, John…thanks…wish I could have a lively dinner with you and your Mom. When I wear out, I usually remember – and if I don’t, God just sends me one of those little neurological episodes that wipes me out for a day, anyway. It is so much more pleasant, though, if I regroup before I am forced to do so.

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  3. Fran says:

    Well, Charlie. I think its a good thing you just rested today. Many of us here, pray for you, and care about how you are doing too. And if I could, I would invite you for dinner with my family also! I’m a pretty good Italian cook. 😉

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    • charliej373 says:

      Ooo…I like Italian. My children’s Godfather is Sicilian, wonderful Italian family. He had an uncle that used to own a Sicilian bakery in downtown Chicago. Oh, man, when I was at their home for festivals or holidays, the peppers, the sausages…but most of all, the Cannoli Cake from his uncle’s bakery. I would eat it until I was sick. It ruined me for cannoli – because his uncle made such a divine food of the gods that all else tastes like a cheap knockoff.

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  4. ellenchris says:

    Thank you, Charlie, from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness on behalf of us all is deeply appreciated. I hope you do get a good rest and some great food and all. But in the midst of all this, I hope that the good folks at this blog also heed your plea. Pray for, support and encourage your shepherds — these things are very much needed if we are all going to be able to get through to the other side together. God’s best blessings to everyone, with love.

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  5. Pinecone Jill says:

    My prayers are for a healing rest to you Charlie, and thank you for the reminder about our shepherds.
    We moved about a month ago and miss our Father Ponessa dearly. I was a “Church Lady” and my husband was “Mr. Fixit”; we spent many weekends at the Church and Rectory. My favorite memory was last Lent. Our penance was for me to cook something vegetarian and then share it with Father so he could do penance too (I am NOT a good cook). It was hilarious. Ah I’m teary now.
    Anyway, there are a couple online sites devoted to priests that I like and support: http://www.opusbono.org/ assists priests who are in need. I didn’t know this, but there are priests living in poverty right here in the US. Its true! Opus Bono also supports the “accused” which may turn some of you off, but please remember that not all who are accused are guilty and Jesus loves even the guilty, so, I hope you at least check them out.
    Also, an unrelated site with a similar name allows you to spiritually adopt a priest (no money needed, just prayers): http://www.opusangelorum.org/crusade/crusade_frontpage_dw.htm
    Happy week of Angels everyone,
    Pinecone Jill

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  6. Serendipity says:

    oh Charlie, do take care of yourself! I once knew a wise and holy nun who was also (of course) quite pragmatic. She would say you can’t give out what you don’t have. You have to fill up on God’s love (daily) in order to give it out and you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others otherwise you aren’t helping anyone. Now I know that you know this but sometimes when you are a person for others, self gets forgotten to the detriment of all. And sometimes we all need to hear things we know from somebody else to reremember them! So here you are all excited about this blog, and the prayer group, and spiritual direction, and the shrine and need I go on? Nope, you got it. I think also the good God allows us to feel our humanity and keeps us home for a recharge (or to reremember.)
    Anyway, on a lighter note while I’m here 🙂
    Yesterday reading about you joking around with Gabriel brought tears to my eyes. For somebody to have that relationship with an angel here on earth really brings heaven a little closer to all who hear it! So thank you from like everybody! I told St. Michael anytime he wants to poke me in the ribs and tell me a joke I’m ready! Really no foolin’ ANY TIME! I will let you know how that turns out- it’s still pretty quiet on the home front…
    Thank you for all the love you send out on your blog.
    Take care (no really- take care 🙂 ) and God love you!

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  7. ann says:

    I do hope you are feeling better and that you are recharging your batteries. None of us do well when we’re exhausted or sick–as a wise MD told me once, “you get there fastest by going slow.” And thank you for the word on supporting our priests and ministers. I felt that I got a leading from Our Lord a few years back to put all other intercessions on a back burner and offer all prayers and sufferings for priests. It’s hard for me to discern sometimes when I think I “hear” the Lord so I just ramped up the prayers and offerings for priests but didn’t go full throttle since I have many dear family members who need serious intercession and I felt I was leaving them alone. Now I wonder if perhaps I should go back to that original “word” and recalibrate. This is where good spiritual direction would help, huh?

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  8. aj says:

    Hey Charlie, how are you today buddy? I’m coming down with the flu or something, in addition to a strained thigh muscle from football (soccer for you…and yes I forget I’m long gone the teen years :-)) and my beloved wife seems to have some kidney stone issue and a rash today…but it’s all good. I have an extended family here and also at Peli’s blog that help me carry my crosses.

    Just wishing you a truly “good” day my friend…rest helps. You could always take another trek but to the Caribbean this time, the beaches a therapeutic! 🙂 On this trek you would have to have Moses come along too, for the rossing of the ocean! Hahaha.

    I continue to pray for everyone on this blog, I hope you all do tne same.

    Shalom!

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  9. Barbara Dore says:

    Pray for Deaf priests who look after Deaf sheep, very difficult job!

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  10. Barbara Dore says:

    I was told that there may be 16 Deaf priests around the globe, I can imagine that they must have to face isolation and loneliness among hearing priests, very few hearing priests are able to ASL . Deaf priests are focusing on Deaf sheep of Jesus.

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  11. Barbara Dore says:

    Cyril Axelrod Legacy Foundation | celebrating our common …

    cyrilaxelrod.wordpress.com/
    Jun 29, 2013 – Communication and deafblindness are NO barriers to success, only our perceptions and … He is the only recorded Deafblind Priest in history.

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  12. Observer says:

    Yes, with all of the many articles about the transfer of Bishop Cupich to Chicago I was reminded of a statement that Cardinal George had made a while back which I had forgotten. We never know just what will be asked of our shepherds that we never expected them perhaps to be capable of undergoing. Why we must pray for all and not be selective. That statement:

    Cupich’s predecessor, Cardinal Francis E. George, had written not long ago in a column for the diocesan newspaper:

    “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”

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    • BB says:

      I remember him saying this, and he admitted later he was not the recipient of a vision or visitation, but simply remarking on the signs of the times in light of history and how persecution generally goes. But many people, including me, hear the prophetic word behind it, because it speaks to the truth of our times. God bless him. God heal him.

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  13. vparisi says:

    Recharge your batteries Charlie! And Happy Feast Day to your patron saint and to you! Therese is one of my favorites as well! And yes let’s pray for all who work in God’s vineyard today!

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  14. Andy H says:

    Get your rest Charlie!

    In your request to pray for priests I wanted to share with the group how I found a good way to do this in every Rosary. I always offer up the entire rosary for God’s will being done not only in my own life but for every soul in the world. This includes especially for the conversion of souls and the release of souls in Purgatory. I will offer up other requests for individual prayers within the Rosary outside of the decades where I focus on the mystery there. Any way I typically say the Creed then my personal offering of the rosary followed by the first Our Father in honor of Our Father and His will.

    For the three Hail Mary’s I offer the following:
    1. For the two Popes, their health, their missions and their intentions
    2. For all religious: Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Brothers, Sisters and Deacons that they maintain good and holy and on the path to the Lord leading the flock behind them and for all being called to take up this life that they do indeed answer the call.
    3. For the world: that those whose hearts are on fire for the Lord continues to burn bright and true. For the lukewarm that the fire in their heart once again burns bright. For the cold that the spark will be lit and their conversion or reversion to the faith will begin.

    After the 5 decades and before the end I offer up the following:
    That triumph of the Immaculate Heart will come. That the Flame of Love will be spread around the world touching every heart and blinding Satan and his demons. That there will be an end of suffering caused by evil and that Our Mother will crush Satan’s head.

    I know we all pray differently so I would love to hear some of the ways you all do as well for it helps me in my own prayer!

    God Bless!
    Andy

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  15. kathy kalina says:

    Yesterday at Mass as I sat on the back row in line for confession, a young man came in acting in an erratic manner, sporting a hospital arm band, and sat a few rows ahead of the confession line. He had a water bottle he was swinging around, and turned suddenly from time to time and gave a leering grin to those in line. (We’re used to some pretty odd ducks showing up from time to time, since the church is downtown and a convenient respite for the homeless.)

    I didn’t notice him during Mass, but he got in the back of the line for communion. I didn’t see if the priest gave him communion, but he went to the minister of the cup, he tilted his head back and tried to get her to pour the precious blood down his throat. She covered the cup with her hand and stepped back. He started to sit down, then circled around and charged the altar! The priest and altar servers grabbed the sacred vessels. He raised his arm dramatically and slammed down a thick sealed envelope on the altar. At the same time, two men, one around 70 and one around 40, stood up from different sides of the first rows of the Church, trotted up to the altar and each took him by the arm. They turned him around and escorted him out of the Church. It was in the cathedral, so it’s a long aisle – he went like a docile lamb.

    Pretty dramatic stuff! But what brought tears to my eyes was the response of those two men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, independent of each other, doing the next right thing with peaceful courage. It seemed to me a demonstration of how it’s going to work for us when things get worse. We faithfully take the next right step, trusting the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and God will do the rest. He is so good to us!

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    • Andy H says:

      Wow Kathy….quite dramatic. I had an interesting day as well yesterday. I went to mass first thing in the morning (which is tough for me to make morning mass during the week due to work but I do try). When I got back to the office my most recent prayer book came in the mail which turned out really well but I did find some errors on my part. Oh well I am human. At lunch I took a walk in the woods and this is always a wonderful time of deep prayer and meditation with the Lord. I had a very powerful moment with Mary that resulted in quite a few tears on my part. At 4pm I ducked out of work early to go to a perpetual adoration chapel close by to leave some prayer books and visit with the Lord. I noticed quite a few people came into the chapel and took the books so that made me happy to see that they picked up the book but not as happy to see them come in to spend time with the Lord too. I said a little prayer before the Lord hoping that the books would help them come even closer to Him though I did not have too great a concern since they were there before the Lord when so few really do this. I had a wonderful night at home with the kids and then it was off to bed. During the night I had a very disturbing dream. I don’t remember the details but it was a work setting and I was with someone else, possibly an angel but I am losing the details now. What I can remember is that the person pointed to this cabinet or rather door that was bulging out trying to open. Something was trying to get out and I felt a very great evil was behind the door and such dread associated with it. I felt some fear about this evil trying to get out and instantly turned to prayer. As I awoke I found myself in prayer still (the Our Father) and grasping the Miraculous Medal tightly.

      As I interpret this dream today I feel that the obvious interpretation is that evil has broken out but at least for me in this instance, it could not break through the door and it stopped the moment I turned to prayer for protection.

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      • Janet says:

        Andy I always interpret dreams as calls to prayer. Please invoke the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary over whatever was trying to break through. Holy Mary, Mother of God, spread the effect of grace of Thy Flame of Love over all of humanity and over the whole world. Amen.

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  16. Mary Ann says:

    Once I said to a priest after a service that it must be a joy and affirming to his priesthood to have so many people respond to Adoration on Holy Thursday. He said, as he strode away angrily, “My priesthood doesn’t need affirmation from anyone.” I have found that most priests pick and choose, accepting hospitality and conversation only with those who share their views. Others will be attentive only to the monied, others only those who are newcomers or borderline Catholics. Others are guarded by a phalanx of churchladies who control everything. After a few years, many Catholics give up trying to make contact.

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    • charliej373 says:

      I don’t know, Mary Ann…priests are like anyone else, a variety of personalities. I have had good relations with a lot of priests, including several who disagreed with me on many things. One priest was moderately progressive was involved in some RCIA classes I helped instruct. He rather cheerily would ask me on points of doctrine that came up that a class member would bring up if he wasn’t positive – and it wasn’t sarcastic or trying to trip me up…it really was friendly. He had a lively sense of humor. Once a presenter was stuck on a question someone asked and said, “I’m not sure. I better turn that one over to Fr. B.” Fr. B thought for a moment, rubbed his chin, and then said, “I’m not sure, either, We better turn that one over to Charlie.” Everyone got a big guffaw.

      I have only had really bad relations with one priest – the one who was ultimately defrocked. There have been a few I didn’t like. But I think most are pretty much okay. My son always hits it off with people. A year and a half ago, we were at a social event his Bishop was at. Charlie had never met the Bishop. During a lull at the hors d’oeuvres table, Chaz told the Bishop with a big grin, “I love the fashion statement you make with that pink beanie. Where could I get one like it?” The Bishop was taken aback for a moment, then grinned and said, “Well actually it’s magenta – and you can only get it from a rather exclusive club.” Chaz responded, “Even better. All I’m saying is if you mass produced them you COULD be a trendsetter!” The Bishop said that was a trend he’d like to start. Then they sat and chatted, laughing and carrying on for 10 or 15 minutes – and before he left, the Bishop came over to kid and joke a little more with Chaz. My son has the idea that many officials grow weary because few people ever talk to them like ordinary people…and so he makes a point of always joshing a little with officials – Church or otherwise – to give them a break. I think he is right. Think about when you talk to a priest. Do you ever just chat with the man or do you always address him in terms of the office he holds? That might help ease things back a little.

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      • kathy kalina says:

        I really feel for doctors because people always scurrying up seeking free medical advice. Nothing jazzes up a cocktail party like: “Could you look at this place on my back?” I heard about a woman who took her Dad to the doctor and wanted to strip down to get a quick opinion about her skin condition. And he was an eye surgeon!

        I wonder if priests get this a lot on the way to their car or other appointments. “Father, Father, I think I should quit my job but I might never find another one and I’m pretty deep in debt – what should I do?”

        I think we need to pray for the sheep to learn the proper time and place to approach our shepherds for spiritual direction (and it’s not in the check-out line at Luby’s!!!)..

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        • KW says:

          Kathy
          We had a priest once who was so intent on making sure everyone knew he was available for confession (no excuses on our part), he was even willing to meet someone at a grocery store and hear confession while walking in the store with them (seriously!). He is unique- and has an amazing amount of energy and joy. He’s also the priest who really directed my attention to the chaplet of Divine Mercy.

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      • KW says:

        I keep trying to be more relaxed around priests, but it can be difficult. One of the strange things you don’t really consider when starting life as a military family is everyone moves and deploys at different times. Showing up to an assignment, you will have priest A at the chapel. You start to get to know him and then he gets moved. Eventually, we get priest B. There’s usually a window of time where local-ish priests are kind enough to fill in, but can’t really stick around and hang out because of their normal duties to their parish…which is sometimes an hour or more away. Right around when everyone is getting used to priest B,he gets deployed. That’s when Reservist priest C comes to help for a couple months. Hopefully, we get to see priest B again before it’s time for us to move again and start everything over. I’m so happy to even have priests, but if anyone has any ideas for speeding up the “getting to know you” phase, I’d be grateful. We just got a new priest (yay!- apparently this chapel has been priest-less for a while). He seems more formal than most we’ve experienced so far (but still seems like a great guy…I think the first weeks are far more difficult for him than for us in the pews). So far I’ve just smiled and welcomed him (and then had to excuse myself because the preschooler decided it was time for a restroom break).

        Just like everyone, I think priests do hit it off with certain groups better at first. I have the easiest time getting to know priests who are comfortable with children. That makes sense because I practically always have a baby/toddler with me. A priest can love families but still not really be comfortable around a gaggle of children- I even saw that in a couple of seminarians we met a few months ago. One was obviously very comfortable around children and even instigated yard games while the other was more comfortable sitting back with the adults and chatting but still enjoying watching the general chaos- everyone has different gifts to bring.

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  17. mary ann says:

    priests are just like other people. And most people can’t do close friendly relationships with 5000 people, as priests in huge parishes are expected to do. But once a Parish system sets in in a large parish, it is hard for a diffident person 2 make contact with the priest. I certainly am friendly, and willing to support, and I pray for priests. as I travel to different places, I noticed that there are different cultures for the priests of that area, and different manners, and often a local area will have a better sense of community and a healthier community of priestson.

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  18. Mary Ann says:

    I have to say that military chaplain priests are wonderful and many are serving far beyond their retirement. Perhaps the military camaraderie helps them have something that can be missing in dioceses when so many the priests live alone

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  19. SteveBC says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling under the weather, Charlie. I will dedicate my next nap to you to help you get better. Well, maybe a prayer, too! 😀

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  20. Irish7 says:

    Feel better friend of our souls! Take your time and rest. I wouldn’t put it past God to save a little corner in heaven for us to hang out in “Charlie’s Pub”. We can make up for any lost time then…and we ‘ll (please God?) have beer…these conversations could use some. 😉

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    • charliej373 says:

      If all of real estate is location, location, location – then if you are right, Irish, I will have it knocked! What a thought – the new trendy spot in heaven: Charlie’s Pub.

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  21. Mary says:

    I hate it where I read something great and then can’t find it again, where you said beware of thinking we are the main actors (Christian Militant basically) in this near end drama playing out before our eyes and Jesus is relegated to helper and no he IS THE ONE that is in control, not us. In a nutshell. Do you remember?

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  22. Mary says:

    YES, THAT’S IT, thank you! I’ve been searching for hours, happily though, well you know, considering these dark days and writings but happily learning to have some way to try to navigate my soul.

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  23. Mary says:

    And not to be flippant but one thing if I could ask your angel, did Jesus ever have fun, was he ever happy? I never see that addressed in the Gospel aside from yes, he loved, in that sense. Jesus wept, but did he laugh? Just curious after reading a few human like qualities of your angel which you found surprising.

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    • Andy H says:

      How could he not have been happy. I often picture your him as a child running and laughing and playing and then being held so close and lovingly in the greatest Mother’s arms. This scene is one of my favorites to picture Jesus with Mary also showing the great happiness of a time in the past turned paralleled great sorrow with a time now during His Passion:

      and of course, this wonderful scene:

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      • charliej373 says:

        Hee hee, Andy, I even imagine Our Lady scolding Him on occasion and telling Him to ease up on the chocolates (or the honey-covered flatbread…whatever served as candy at the time) so as not to spoil His appetite for dinner.

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    • charliej373 says:

      I don’t have to ask my angel, Mary. I know Jesus has a sense of humor. Not the rollicking kind that Gabriel has, but a very wry, playful humor. I will give you just one striking examples for now.

      Eleven years ago I was in one of those, “I’m so rotten” times while I was at prayer. The Lord has given me a lot to do and I screw up so much in little things – and at that time was like a dog who meant well, but just could not help himself if his master left a tasty steak out and unattended. At one point. I asked Jesus why He bothers with me at all when I routinely make such a hash of things. He appeared…with that wry smile He has sometimes. Immediately He showed me a vision of a fat little puppy. It went chasing after a stick that had been thrown. It was so comical. The puppy was very clumsy: it tripped several times over its own feet, bounced off a tree trunk once, went tumbling over itself in a somersault when it tripped over one big object it wasn’t watching. But it kept going relentlessly to that stick. Finally got it and was coming back with a pleased, triumphant air, when Jesus broke in again, to tell me with His grin, “You’re a game little fella.” That was all, then He was gone. But it completely soothed me…had me chuckling. He often uses humor to illustrate a point.

      As far as textual evidence, it is more implicit than explicit in the Bible. Two quick examples. You remember at one point the disciples tried to get people to stop with the children gathering around Jesus, as it seemed a distraction. But the children loved Jesus – and Jesus corrected His disciples on the matter…that whatever the disruption, the children should not be forbidden from coming to Him. Now, we know from the Bible that Jesus was quite popular with kids. Have you ever known anyone who was popular with kids who did not have a vibrant sense of humor and loves to laugh? Then the business of walking on the sea…pretending like He was just a pedestrian who just happened to be going in the other direction of the disciples on a stormy night. This is the Jesus I know – who amuses Himself with a little sly humor even as He teaches you. He has a reason for it – the sly humor relieves the tension in what can be very intense encounters. If Jesus were here today and came walking on the sea on a stormy night to show people, I almost bet he would be carrying an umbrella and probably humming “Singin’ in the Rain” as He came traipsing by.

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      • Mary Ann says:

        Chesterton said something, in his Orthodoxy, to the effect that we see Jesus angry and weeping and calm and strong, but one thing He is saving for heaven because it is so personal, his mirth.

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  24. Mary says:

    I know it’s late but in explanation, I read the prayer of St. Bridget. It is Jesus, mirror of truth, link of charity, joy of the mind, strong lion, etc. All those are true of course but it occurred to me between that and reading your blog, your descriptions of your angel which I found kind of shocking, thought provoking and the dozens upon dozens of adjectives one could use to describe Jesus why did we never see Jesus the lighthearted or Jesus the jovial or along those lines, never to my knowledge. I’ve read saints who said you could fly in heaven, which would be great or Mary who said we walk in delight but never Jesus. So I just thought why is that. See you tomorrow.

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    • charliej373 says:

      I’m glad that some of what I have written has shocked you, Mary. People often confuse being somber with being pious – and they are not the same. In fact, being too somber is usually an impediment to piety. I can tell you that the heavenly host wants us to see them as they are…it is us who, just as Job’s friends, insist on imputing things to them that are contrary to their nature. I know even as a kid I did not like any of the movies about Jesus. They always portrayed Him as speaking in a breathy monotone…the sort of soporific soliloquies guaranteed to put you to sleep quickly. Whatever Jesus was while He walked here, He was NOT a bore – but our idea of piety insists on making Him into one. The first movie I ever saw about Christ that I actually liked was “The Passion of the Christ.”

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  25. MM Bev says:

    Ever since listened to the video whose address was in the comments (actually all the websites were very, very good in that session, which I have “starred” and will re listen to when I am able to again), I have been unable to really communicate. The horror coming to Texas has been so present to me that it is an internal agony. I have had a respite from the darkness for over a year, and I am most grateful, but I am back again where Jesus seems to want me to be. (Not that I don’t screamingly complain. It gives me hope Charlies, that you, too, while not as bad as me, also fight like Jacob.) Last night I was screaming at Him ashing Him what he wanted from me, how much more could He do to me, (not that I am unaware–He’s making me increase my trust in Him), and how could I do the things He’s planted in my heart when I can’t even drive. For days, I have been literally beside myself. The only consolation I have had, is to come here and read Charlie, and then all of your comments and know that I “belong” to you, and with you.

    Today is October 1st. No one has mentioned that it is my best friend in heaven’s wonderful Feast Day…Therese. And she gave me the wonderful gift. For four years, when I first read about it on a blog in the States, I have been longing and longing to get a Katadyn water filter and water purification pills. I refuse to use a credit card on the Internet (having been hit there and on my debit used in town). That means that I cannot purchase items I desperately want from the States. Well, just after I broke the vertebrae and can no long drive until this ……..brace is removed, I feel completely and utterly, frustratingly helpless. It is a feeling that drives me wild, absolutely frenzied, because my whole life was completely controlled by others. When I was finally free, it was like being delivered from a prison. ..a prison I am now back in.

    I am sure that most of you know what it is like to be screaming and screaming in your head.
    By pure chance, I found where I could buy one in this city! I desperately wanted my youngest son (the errand boy) to take me there and buy one. Since he and his brother (the brace fixer every day) both think I am completely mad, and am crazily wasting money preparing for an event that will not happen, I had a fight on my hand to get him to take me to get it. Finally I just gave up and started crying, something my sons have very rarely seen. He took me and I got the filter, the micro filter and water pills and there are things I saw that I have to get after I can drives again. These have been placed so immovably on my heart that I have been frantic to get them.

    Can you think of a more delightful gift for my friend . There is such a weight off my back, that this evening I was actually able to relax, without the steel corset binding me and I was able to feel that I could breathe freely again. There are actually worse symptoms of anxiety than those, which I didn’t have thank God. But anyone who has experience severe anxiety knows exactly the intense pain this is.
    To be relieved of this, and t have what I truly feel God wanted me to get is the most wonderful heavenly gift from a heavenly friend. And I love her as much as she loves me. Happy, Wonderful,, Joyful Glorious Feast Day, my dear and special friend.
    And, oh my dear, dear friends, here each day, you support me just by being, commenting, and doing what Charlie has taught us to do. I receive such joy and enlightenment, not just from Charlie, but from each one of you. Have you noticed that Charlie has given us each a special “snowflake” for those of us who have no picture? Snowflakes have a very personal and incredible, indelible mark on my soul.

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  26. Chris J says:

    As someone who has worked closely with priests, I’d also like to suggest another very practical way of supporting them: by making homemade meals for them to have in their rectory. If these meals could be portioned out and frozen for convenient use, all the better. In general, I would suggest that people not give them a bunch of sweets, especially at Christmas & Easter – they get overloaded with that stuff. What they need is balanced home cooked meals that spell love and concern.

    Invitations to eat at someone’s home are good, depending on the temperament of the priest and etc. But in general, the most relaxing place is home, and to supply them with these meals is an act of charity par excellence. Add to that a prayer, and a monthly home invite and it simply can’t be beat!! Trust me, I speak of what I know.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Chris, magnificent! One can tell, immediately upon looking at the comment, that you know exactly what you are talking about! And you do exactly what is central to the matter – try to do little things that will soothe THEM, not little things that will soothe you. Pay attention and get to know their temperament – then fit your little offerings to THEIR needs.

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  27. Mary says:

    Thank you Charlie, I so needed that. It is often hard for me to relate to God as a Dad. It is more like shock and awe for me, the glory, the profound, the waaaaaay up there while I am such a mess and woefully inadequate here. You brought tears to my eyes. I pray to be with him, to know him, that is my only desire, that he never let’s me go. Thank you.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Ah, Mary, He really does love you tenderly, and He really wants to know the loving tenderness of His care for you. And He really does get annoyed that so many of His followers are so determined to make Him out to be forbidding and distant when He is really tender and close at hand.

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  28. Mary says:

    Then we have something in common, I have a very wry sense of humor too. Thanks again!

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  29. MM Bev says:

    Our monthly newspaper for the diocese prints the birth dates and ordination dates of every priest in the diocese. It’s easy to get the parishes and their address from the Chancery office. If anyone has something like this, it’s easy to send cards to each priest on both of those days. As the years pass, people don’t think to send a card, especially for ordination dates which are so special to each priest. And if, by any wild chance, that date no longer touches the heart, a few cards each year might just make the difference when a priest discovers how much his “yes” means to even those he doesn’t know.

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  30. As a pastor, I really appreciate these words. I know that right now it is probably one of the worst times in history to be a pastor or a priest when there is so much apostasy and lukewarmness among so many. However, after the Storm, we will be living during some of the best times in the history of mankind to be a pastor. The harvest will be so great that we will need to build new churches! We’re going to be very busy after the Triumph!

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