Preparing for the Day of Battle

Confinement-in-a-forest-lightweight-tents-camouflaged-by-branches

My neurological pain flared intensely yesterday. I had trouble moving about. It does that sometimes without the fuzzy-headedness, which is how it was yesterday, but it can make me a bit crabby so I am leery about writing until it eases. Today it just feels like the day after an injury rather than fresh injury, so I will give it a go.

I usually go to Daily Mass at Mother Cabrini Shrine in the foothill mountains of Golden, Colorado. The day before yesterday we had our first real snow of the season, the temperature plummeted, and the boiler was out at Cabrini Shrine, so it was a chilly Mass. People adjusted, kept their coats on and a few wore their gloves. Once the boiler was reset, it would take three hours for it to cycle up properly and for heat to start coming back on. It made me wonder why more buildings in snow zones don’t have fireplaces as backup heating systems. What few do have them usually have them for show. It made me ponder a little just how easily modern technological conveniences become crutches of a sort, enfeebling our ability to confidently confront the elements when they become harsh. If there had been usable fireplaces, the loss of central heat would have been a little bump. People adapted to the short-term inconvenience, but what if the boiler could not have been put back online?

When I was little, I had a great aunt and uncle who heated their house entirely through a few fireplaces. It was kind of cool visiting them in winter. I slept in a bed with seven quilts on it. The quilts were heavy. I had to work at it to get out of bed in the morning – and it was right brisk when I got up. For a few years after my Mom and Dad moved back to Alabama, they got an old farmhouse that relied on fireplaces for heat. Dad made a major improvement when he put in a Franklin Stove. He spent some time trying to figure out how to make the hole in the roof for the chimney stack plumb. Inspiration finally dawned. He abandoned his calculations, got his .22 rifle, stood right below where he wanted the chimney to go and fired. It was plumb. I was amazed at how efficiently my mother cooked on her wood-burning stove. You would think it would make baking cakes and biscuits a lot dicier. I suppose it did. But Mom adapted and her cakes, cookies and pies were as scrumptious as ever when I visited.

I interrupted my pilgrimage for a month beginning in mid-October of 2011 to help a dear friend who was up for election to the legislature in Illinois and had a problem arise. (He won). During that month, old friends had all heard of what I had been doing and figured it must be quite a culture shock, coming back abruptly from living in the woods and walking all the time to doing the events, dinners and meetings of a campaign and negotiations. I thought it would be, too, but it wasn’t. The day after I arrived, it just felt like normal. I had done it for so long, I just melted seamlessly back into it.

When I first went out onto the road, it took me about a month and a half before I fully adjusted to life on pilgrimage. All the skills were new then, finding suitable cover each day, making and breaking camp, eating different, walking steadily and resting properly. When I went back out on the road, there was no new period of adjustment. The day after I began again, I was fully immersed and it felt completely normal to me. Once again, I melted seamlessly back into it. It was no more of a culture shock than going out to play baseball on the weekends instead of going into the office was when I was a young man. Different, but a normal part of my normal.

What is both big and not yet part of our normal sparks a lot of anxiety and speculation on our parts. If you have done something big sometime in your life that was well outside of your previous experience, your definition of normal, I would like you to think about how you adapted to it, how soon it became part of your normal, and how very different the reality of it was from what you imagined it would be. You adapted. The quicker you can jettison your imaginings of how it is going to be and simply deal with what is in the moment, the quicker you make it part of your normal.

A few days ago, I worried in comments here that people were getting a bit too worked up on preparations, to the point of perhaps losing sight of the main preparation, which is relying completely on and trusting God. I was amused when some of the ladies, led by MM Bev, dismissed my concerns and said that’s what they do, so I should just pipe down and mind my business. Most of my family treats me with respect and even a certain deference in most things…though they are all quick to gleefully tell me to pipe down when I step clumsily into what is their bailiwick and responsibility. This website never felt so much like home as at that moment.

I have been thinking a lot about expectations and anxiety. I have been telling you that a great Storm of battle lies before you. Most, having lived in conditions of relative peace through all their lives, are deeply anxious and prepare for it is best they can. The best know that the reality will be different than many of their expectations, but it is best to prepare anyway and adapt as they need to. I think back to politicians I have worked with and preparing them for the vicissitudes of large-scale races when their previous experience had all been small-scale. Some put way too much stock in their small-scale experiences and inevitably blundered into some major error when all the press was watching. Actually, that was always a defining moment, for that was when a candidate would understand, with Dorothy and Toto, that we weren’t in Kansas anymore. Often, that was when preparation ended and real work could begin. I often waited restlessly for that moment. Other times, candidates would obsess restlessly over a word or the placement of a comma in a brochure or release, as if just the right phrasing would solve everything and eliminate the necessity of battle. I could get very crabby about that. No matter how brilliantly conceived, a press release is just a press release and a brochure just a brochure…a mere piece of ammunition in the arsenal. It is senseless to spend three days of worry over what, at best, can give you a half hour of use. But in a tough environment, aspirants sometimes search for the magic bullet with the same restless zeal as Ponce de Leon after the fountain of youth. A futile waste of time. In the best situations, a candidate adopts some obsessive, but not quite irrational behavior that, like comfort food, soothes them. Staff would often be flustered, but I was always indulgent. The comforting fortified the candidate for the real challenges they faced – most staff does not understand the stark pressure a candidate really faces. One candidate always arose at four a.m. to scan online for the early editions of newspapers and blogs and anything they said about him. I was happy as long as he didn’t call me about it before 6 a.m. Another candidate scanned the smallest papers and shoppers papers from around a 20-county district for every podunk yard sale and craft show to pass on to the scheduler. I always thanked her and told the scheduler not to add anything without my written authorization.

I have been thinking about how a good captain prepares a bunch of new troops for a pitched battle. It would be a poor captain, indeed, who soothed his fresh soldiers by telling them that none would be wounded, there would be no real hardship or suffering, and that all would survive. Such soldiers, if they believed it, might be soothed, but would panic and flee at the first sound of hot lead – and the battle would be lost before it was well begun. Battle is a mysterious, random thing. Some, who are best prepared, will be felled as the first shots are fired. Others who are completely reckless and constantly exposing themselves, will endure to the end with bullets and shrapnel whizzing all around them, occasionally even wounding them, but never quite hitting home. This was the history of Andrew Jackson’s entire military career and Winston Churchill throughout the Boer War. One hides in the very spot a stray bullet will find while another marches into a hail of lead where bullets find everything but them.

There will be suffering, hunger, cold, misery and death. Some heroes will die on the field while some villains survive to the end. You will know the Cross in this life. Many given to satan will not know it until the next, when eternity will be their Cross. You must pass through your passion in this life to find life in the next. Some ask me how to oil their guns just right so they will be impervious to shrapnel. There is no way. Others try to erect a small shack of sure safety, little shacks that will be swept away with the first wave of battle. If you press forward relentlessly, even as enemy fire seeks you out, if you bind up the wounded, care for the survivors, leave no one behind and commit yourself to follow Christ even on the way of the Cross out of love for your fellows, we will be friends in the next life regardless of what happens in this. Many of those we love will survive to build a world where such battles are not necessary. We have made a world where millions of children must die so others might not be inconvenienced – and called it a right. We have made a world where the young and helpless, the old and infirm, the handicapped and suffering, are considered intolerable burdens rather than treasures and resources. Our prosperity has dimmed our love and so, once again, we must tread the way of the Cross. Temporally, I do not know, even among those I love, who will perish and who will survive this Storm. What I do know is that all who abandon themselves to Christ through love for their children and their neighbor, resolving to care for those around them, to fight for a world that values all, to press on with fortitude and endure will live in my neighborhood in heaven if I live with faith to my end. Already, loved ones who have gone before me participate with Christ in preparing a place for me there – and for you, too.

While on my pilgrimage, sometimes ravenously hungry or miserably cold and wet, I thought of St. Paul, who spoke of having learned to live well with abundance and to live well in need. If you can live abundance as if it were need, for it is, and live need as if it were abundance, for it is, you will have learned how to live well. In abundance we have more need of Christ than ever; in need, we are more conscious of the abundance of Christ than ever. I doubt I shall ever have anything as delightfully refreshing and satisfying as a fountain soda after a full day’s walking in 100+ temperatures. I have nothing to offer those who are about to enter battle except the sure hope that is in Christ.

When you abandon all assumptions and resolve that, under God, you will take the next right step and be a sign of hope to all around you or die trying…that that really is the sum of all there is, then you are fully prepared for the battle ahead.

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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125 Responses to Preparing for the Day of Battle

  1. Anne Archer says:

    When I was fifteen years old I read a book by Culligan (the one who invented the water softener) and he talked of the end times. He is Catholic but probably dead by now as I am now 75. About the same time I had a couple of dreams about end times that have stayed with me these many years so I have always felt that, like it or not, I would be around for the end of these times but understanding that it wasn’t the end of the world.

    Through years I have talked to my children about the end times (10 children although one died many years ago) but they have not really ever considered it valid. Of the nine only one is a practicing Catholic. It is frustrating to observe the signs of the times and be confident that these things all mean something but not have them understand or even relate. Recently I bought a large box of black garbage sacks and some duct tape to cover my windows when the three days occurs and I have blest candles for light. I have not been inclined to gather a lot of food stuffs although I have 3 or so large water bottles and a variety of protein foods but nothing excessive.

    To me the thought of the Warning or Chastisement is such a merciful thought that although I know I will find it horrendous to see my own sin the thought that my children will have the opportunity to view things as God sees them will hopefully bring them back into the fold. I pray for the strength to see my fellow man’s need and to be helpful. Dying is not something that concerns me – even if there is torture or pain I know that by God’s grace it will be endurable.

    Your column is so reassuring because you and Mark Mallett and Pelianto all reflect the things that I read and think so I feel I am not a total crazy. I wish I had a friend or cohort in this thinking but so far do not. I am to start with a spiritual director at the and of the month and hope that he can help me grow and hear God better. This is the pastor of my parish who has started the process of learning to be a spiritual director – it is a three year endeavor and I offered to be a guinia (sp.) pig.

    God bless and may God continue to illuminate you to help us walk this path.

    Anne Archer

    Liked by 1 person

    • Trojan00 says:

      Anne, you are a beacon of hope and a great witness to the faith. As a father of 11 and 20 years younger then yourself, I can still empathize with you on fallen away children. Altough only 2 of my 11 have, for the time being, left the faith it hurts nonetheless when you know that they have received the truth and left it. The world, the flesh and the devil are so active in the present day world, but we know their moment in time is about to come to fruition. Yep, the day of the Lord, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the 2nd coming of Christ is but a short time away. I stopped trying to control the outcome of my children and put it all in our Lord’s hand, assisted by my prayers and penance. Jesus I Trust in You, is more than just a slogan to me. I have tried it my way and it didn’t work. God Bless you Anne.

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    • MM Bev says:

      Anne, dear Anne. “I wish I had a friend or cohort in this thinking but so far do not.” Wrong! I hope you go back over this blog and re read the comments. That is my situation exactly. God answers our desire even when we don’t ask Him, and always out of left field. This whole bunch of people, including Charlie, form the “cohort” that loves you and takes you to themselves. It is a bit of an unusual way, granted, because the only communication that we have. And maybe that isn’t a bad thing. This way, we have to contemplate how the others think and feel – I have found in life often close friends mirror each other. That doesn’t lead to enlarging our perspective and pushes our boundaries, but encloses us in on our own ideas and thoughts. Not that having a close friend is bad, especially one that encourages us in our faith and points out our faults without pretending they don’t exist or they aren’t really all that bad. The time may come in the future that God may lead Charlie to make it possible for us to be able to communicate directly with each other, as well as on the blog. But better that comes from his leading because then it will be God’s endeavour, not our own, and will be for our good, One think that Charlie insists on is that things are for “our good”, thank heavens. Meantime, I and I know many others specifically chose you as a dear and wonderful friend. (And guess how we think!)

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      • Anne Archer says:

        What you have said about the relationship with friends and their mirroring our own thoughts is so true. One of the many aspects of Charlie’s post is that it has challenged my thinking and caused me to reconsider. The situation with Pope Francis is definitely one of those issues that I was sure I was “right” but when reflecting on it with Charlie’s view I believe I am wrong – I am probably a Pharisee and definitely need someone to challenge me. When you spend your time alone with your thoughts it is easy to have a higher opinion of those thoughts than one ought.

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        • charliej373 says:

          One of the purposes of this site, Anne, is to provide a place where we can challenge each other and yet be assured of how deeply we value each other. That kind of a place gives room for each of us to grow – in our knowledge and depth of faith. It is so much easier to grow and learn when you don’t have to worry about someone standing over your shoulder waiting to say, “I told you so.” I think we are finding that with each other here. People fairly regularly challenge me here, too, and in the process, we all refine our thoughts and grow together. I like it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Fran says:

            I like it too, and it makes me think of the Flame of Love prayer of unity. I am thinking Our Lord, and Our Lady are pleased also.

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        • Anne I think we all fall into the trap of self-righteousness at times. It is a form of pride especially reserved for good people. It is still pride and we need to learn to recognize and rebuke it when it comes to us. It is always wise to approach things from a position of humility and trust. We always need to step back, pray, and pray especially: Jesus I trust in you, especially when I don’t understand everything.

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      • I may have posted this before, but with new readers perhaps Charlie will indulge me if I do so again. It is an excerpt from an article I wrote for the newsletter of the Brothers & Sisters of Penance on feeling isolated in our faith life.
        >>>
        There are two things I often hear from people. The first is that they feel isolated in their faith walk, that in their family, workplace, peer group, or sometimes even their parish there are few people with whom they can openly share their faith. The second thing I hear a lot is that so many people are worried about family members who are far from God. They try everything to bring them to faith, but their words fall on deaf ears. They fear for the souls of these loved ones if they do not repent.

        In fact, these two issues are closely related and the good news is that God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, has got it all under control. If we feel isolated in our faith life it is because God has strategically placed his agents (us) behind enemy lines. Why do we feel isolated? Because we should! God has strategically placed us in the territory assigned to us. Think of a map with pins in it. The pins are spread out so that the most area may be covered with the resources available. Is it any wonder we feel like we are in the desert? Not everyone can live near the well. Someone has to go out into the desert to show people how to get to the streams of living water.

        God has not given up on our loved ones! God has given our loved ones the gift of OUR faith. And if he has called us to increased prayer and penance, he has given us invincible weapons with which to defeat the enemy. If we have also consecrated ourselves to his Mother, we are behind the velvet-lined shield that no enemy can penetrate. In addition, we are strengthened with the Bread of Life–Jesus himself! Our only weakness then is our sin, and the more we go to confession the more we will plug the holes in our armor caused by sin. This mission–the salvation of souls–is fraught with danger. But we must never be discouraged in our mission, for in Christ, we are assured that we have the victory.
        <<<
        We are where we need to be, dear friends! Heavenly Father, use me as you wish to accomplish your designs upon the world! Amen.

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        • charliej373 says:

          Thank you, Janet. It is well worth repeating.

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        • the phoenix says:

          What a timely comment, Janet!

          I’ve seen this before on your pelianito website, but it’s good to see it again, thank you for posting it.

          Last night, I attended a healing Mass and when the priest asked what to pray about, I told him and asked for a friend. And immediately after the healing Mass, driving home, I heard a song on the radio that seemed like another answer of “No” to this prayer that I’ve prayed more than once … (though I did have an incredibly good best friend once until I lost her to heart disease). But it seemed I was given strength instead, with Jesus reminding me of His friendship. Maybe I should stop asking for human friends in prayer.

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        • malachi99 says:

          Hi Janet,
          stumbled upon this comment today. Fantastic…

          God bless,
          JPW

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          • Further to that Malachi, I happened upon some notes I made from a talk by Marino Restrepo. He says that one person in each family will be given all the graces meant for that family. “Save yourself and you will save all of yours!” God makes it easy–he uses the weak to shame the strong. Alleluia!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. joanp62 says:

    Still reading your post, Charlie, but I want to say that I had to adapt to a new “normal” in 2008 when my husband of 23 years asked for a divorce. I had to go from living in a decent single family home to an apartment, having to get new utilities in my name, my own bank account, and just having to learn to do some things myself that I didn’t have to do before. And being alone, living alone. The feeling of loss, rejection and disorientation, not to mention fear of the future brought me more closer to God, I think, relying on Him alone. Then I moved to a new state and that was another adaption, but not as major as going from married wife and mother, to single, divorced woman with one adult son. Through God and the people He sent my way, I have gotten through my own small “storm”. Will be relying on Him with this next one. The difference is, this time, we will be all going through it together.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joe says:

    Charlie,
    “If you press forward relentlessly, even as enemy fire seeks you out, if you bind up the wounded, care for the survivors, leave no one behind and commit yourself to follow Christ even on the way of the Cross out of love for your fellows, we will be friends in the next life regardless of what happens in this.”

    Love it!!!!

    This reminds me of a great friend of mine who is a priest and “a real man’s man.” He used to always close every conversation we had by giving me his blessing, shaking hands and saying “Persevere!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Barb says:

    I need to get our printer fixed so that I can print this out and fold it up so I can shove it in my pocket and take it with me wherever the dear Lord leads us. I must admit that I wake up in the middle of the night and for a few seconds I feel afraid thinking about it all but then I keep thinking about the Lord’s promises and things you and Mark Mallett have written and peace comes back. This morning it’s in the 20’s here and I was outside getting our garbage can in and thinking about how spoiled we are with our heat and imagined having to live out in the cold. I’m grateful we have a fireplace but realize we may not even be here to use it.
    I have to laugh at myself because in the last two years I had lost 30 lbs. After I started reading your blog in July, I gained back eight pounds because I was stress eating. Now I’m maintaining but tell myself that maybe I will need those extra eight pounds to live off in the near future.
    When I turned the calendar to October this year, the words “Buy more food” popped into my head. So buy more food we did…lots of unperishables…things that we would normally eat for the most part. But it would only last a few months as it is and I know we would need to share. I also realize that maybe we will have to leave or we will die and it will be here for someone else to use.
    That quote from St. Paul was used in a daily Mass reading recently and I thought of you and everyone here and told myself to remember when those days of need are here. I am also doing a reconsecration to our dear Blessed Mother and every time I’ve done it over the years, I’ve learned something new about myself and have grown. What a blessing to be able to put everything into her hands! I’m am thankful indeed for this time of spiritual preparation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      My first night out on pilgrimage, I thought my sleeping bag was defective because it had gotten uncomfortably chilly. When I reached for my water bottle, I was baffled because it was like a stone. I couldn’t even open it. Finally the fog in my head lifted enough that I realized it had frozen solid. Nothing was wrong with my bag – it had just gotten mighty cold. I found later that it had gotten down to 17 that night. After that, if it seemed there was any danger of a freeze, I kept one of my water bottles in my bag with me. I woke to frost in my hair and eyebrows at least a dozen times, but after that first night, I always had water to drink in the morning.

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    • Mick says:

      Hee hee, Barb–I love the comment about your weight because I’m right there with you! I still am 15 pounds above my “ideal weight” from the birth of our last baby 15 months ago. But I don’t even care, because I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to need those extra pounds! It’s especially funny because when all our other kids were born, I returned to my ideal weight within 9 months. God is blessing me with this extra weight, I guess. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ann says:

    Have any of you ever read Alexander Solzhnitsyn”s book The Soul and Barbed Wire. It is an account of his time in the gulag where he became converted to Christ. Something he said in that book reminds me of Charlie’s talk of enduring the battle, helping each other, taking the next right step. He said that in the camps everything was reduced to the very simplest terms of good and evil. And as each prisoner entered the camp they made a decision (whether they realized it or not) and that choice was “I will survive at all costs no matter what” or “I will survive the best I can but not at the expense of my neighbor” and those who chose the second (consideration for neighbor) became as “clear as spring water” and he said that they could read it in each other’s eyes. Those who chose to survive at any cost, even hurting others in the process, got a muddy look in their eyes and could always be recognized. Sometimes they’d try to spy on other inmates by pretending to be Christian but they were always recognized by that muddiness in the eyes. Anyway, I thought it an interesting connecton.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      I read both “The Gulag Archipelago” and “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” but never “The Soul and Barbed Wire.” But even in the stark novels of life in the gulag I read of Solzhenitsyn’s, the centrality of fundamental morality, of the absence of humanity in some, the spectre of the Christ was ever palpable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sue says:

      Ann, that is a fascinating meditation. I have found it to be true that the eyes are indeed the window to the soul. I have encountered people whose lives were given over to drugs, crime, and violence, or were otherwise consumed with bitterness, and the intensity of their hatred and viciousness showed in their eyes, their expression. You can literally see it on their face. It makes you think, how have I been, how will I be? God save me from having that look on my face…

      Liked by 1 person

    • ellenchris says:

      Many years ago I met and got to know a woman who had survived a Nazi death camp. She told me something that I will never forget: “In the camps, the bad people got worse, but the good became better. God grant us all His grace.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pinecone Jill says:

      A couple years back a new show came on about survivalists. We watched a couple episodes thinking it might be interesting and that we might pick up a few good ideas. We stopped watching because most of the people in the show were “muddy eyed” as you describe; planning to kill anyone who might threaten their “stash”.
      We plan to share what we have with our neighbors until it is gone.
      Once it’s gone, God will either provide, or take us.
      That might sound defeatist or depressing, but to me it is freeing since I know I can never truly prepare “enough”. There will come a point when my last two mites have been given and then I will wait for Him to decide what to do with me. It might take longer if I buy more beans, but eventually it will come. My job is to trust, not hoard beans. : )

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Mack says:

    Charlie, this is one of your best writings yet! It sounds like you’re giving a pep talk to the troops to get us ready for the storm–and indeed you are. I have been a little worried lately but would like to share something I read in St Thomas. He says that solicitude about temporal things can be wrong on three counts: 1) if we make them our main purpose in life 2) if we busy ourselves too much over them in a way that “draws us from spiritual things, which ought to be our foremost interest,” and 3) if we have needless fears about them. Then he says “Our Lord rules out such fear on three grounds… God has given us greater blessings, namely a body and a soul, beyond what human solicitude could provide. Next, God provides without human help for animals and plants… Finally, because of Divine Providence” which provides for us. “Our first care should be for spiritual goods, while yet hoping that temporal goods will be forthcoming provided we do what we ought” (Summa, II-II, q. 55, a. 7)

    Liked by 3 people

  7. ellenchris says:

    There is so much that I want to ask and say that I just most often stop myself from writing anything at all lest a posting turn into the Great American Novel. The reason that I gravitated to this website is that you are clarifying and confirming things that have been running around in the back of my head for a lot of years. There are things I would like to share. I will admit honestly that there has been a large amount of rejection in my life that causes me to fear being too open. I rely on intellect and learning (my “safe” spaces) instead of sharing my heart. But I guess I am beginning to feel a little safer.

    My mom’s family had a history of a lot of darkness — mental illness and involvement in the occult. My father’s family were devout Catholics, and my paternal grandmother had a prayer of dedication prayed over me at my baptism which, I believe, saved me from the worst of the darkness. When I was 22 years old, the Lord, in His mercy, showed up and asked me a question: “Will you let Me love you?” It has taken the last 40 years to live into the answering of that question.

    People do not want to hear much about the demonic aspect of the battle, and I agree whole-heartedly that very little time and energy should be devoted to this topic. It is much better to just rely on Jesus as Savior and Lord. However, when we talk of battle, we need to have some awareness of what we are battling against. It’s name is malice against those who know and live and trust in the goodness of God. I have seen and felt a lot of that malice, and it is being directed against God’s people in a lot of ways right now. The trick is to become neither paranoid nor complacent about this. At the end of the day, we are in God’s hands and need to trust Him. This isn’t easy especially when St. Therese’s “hissing snakes” are working overtime.

    So, Charlie, when you describe how we need to learn how to let go of things we rely on or to get out of our comfort zones, I feel like I actually have the opposite problem. It is an ongoing struggle for me to believe and trust that there really are reliable comfort zones in the first place. I was re-reading some of your archives this morning concerning the 5 year long intense crucible experience you went through, and it scares me. I have come through spates of years in which it seemed like hell was all around me, and I could not see God’s presence or help at all. And there have also been gifts of words and images as well as silent understandings that have assured me of God’s love which I can hardly convey. There has always been Grace provided. Yet, through it all, it has been pretty lonely.

    Sometime over the past week I woke up early to hear: “Now the time of the Cross is come.” I’m scared. The little church I have been serving for the past two years is located in an area surrounded by a LOT of darkness, and it is going to pieces because some folks are choosing to follow the worldly wisdom that they trust instead of turning to God. Previous clergy spent many years assuring this congregation that they are nice, and God is nice and churches are just nice social gatherings. At this point in time that attitude is just falling apart. Preaching the actual gospel in the face of this history has been an uphill climb. I believe that the Lord is telling me that I have done the job He sent me there to do — to present the Gospel clearly — and that He will soon be moving me elsewhere. I am a little surprised because I had thought I was there for the duration; we shall see what happens. Meanwhile I am a few weeks out from an operation that I have been told has about a 40% chance of finding cancer. So my own little cross stands in the shadow of this bigger, more planetary cross.

    Certainly we can see that in the world we are in a “Time of the Cross.” I do not have a lot of confidence in my own willingness to go the distance. The greatest need is for trust. May God grant each of us here a great outpouring of His Grace for trust. I have greatly appreciated reading the input of everyone, in addition to Charlie, describing their journeys. So this is just a tiny bit of mine. If anyone has any good thoughts or words about receiving God’s peace in the midst of all this, I would be very grateful to hear them. Many blessings all around.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Ellen, as I contemplate that, I may (probably) have more to say, but the thing that comes to mind immediately and I want to say now is you don’t have to go the distance – just the next right step.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carol says:

      Ellenchris thoughts and prayers are with you for a successful operation and results. Many blessing to you as well.
      Carol

      Liked by 2 people

    • audiemarie2014 says:

      Hello Ellenchris,
      I understand what you are saying. What I’ve found that has helped me most is the Rosary. It gives me almost immediate peace, even when my mind drifts. Other than that, I just started listening to music that I remember from my childhood, like Louie Armstrong, Elle Fitzgerald, the rat pack, Dixieland music, stuff that puts me back in the time where I felt safe. I picture my Dad playing his trumpet along with Louie on the stereo. I do this as I go about unusual things like ironing (yes, that’s unusual for me, but I’m finding pleasure in it now). The simple things of being kind to others when out shopping for groceries, waiting in line at the post office, praying as impatience creeps in. Being grateful for hot or cold clean water as I shower or wash dishes. In doing these simple things, I am in awe of God, praising him, thanking Him, and also trusting Him. Not always easy, but am trying, because I’ve also felt the darkness, which has been popping up recently more and within my own family. It comes and goes. I keep getting the message to keep my mouth shut and just pray, cuz I can be a hothead and spew. Oh, and I also love Gregorian chant. There is an alternative to yoga that I’ve started doing by a couple Catholic women. It’s not “Catholic yoga”. It has prayers and the Gregorian chant during it. Very peaceful and inspiring. It’s called Pietra Fitness and you can order it online if interested. I hope this helps in some way. I will pray for good health for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jackie berg says:

      Ellen, one time, years ago- for Lent-we were advised (by a locutionist) that the Lord was calling us to deep prayer. He advised a program (standard Catholic devotions-but beautiful) and He said He wanted it to begin with the song YOU ARE MINE.
      Do not be afraid, I am with you
      I have called you each by name
      Come and follow Me
      I will bring you home
      I love you and you are mine
      I share that because now every time I hear it- (and the last time I heard it was at Mass THIS MORNING!) I feel that Jesus is saying it directly to me! And to YOU! I pictured Him taking my hand today. He is saying that we are HIS- and satan can’t have us. Not without a fight! Do you think He will let us go so easily? No- He loves you and you are His. Just put your hand in His and surrender. Surrendar-surrendar. When that is all you have to do- surrender to his Will- what is there to fear? That is trust. And we can trust because He is fiercely battling for us! Because WE ARE HIS! You also say that you have been on the journey for 40 years. That is like putting gas in the tank. Or should I say “grace in the tank”. If your oil lamps are full- when you need them to light- they will! Where evil abounds- grace abounds EVEN MORE! I had an experience lately where the Lord showed me through a scary encounter at a Planned Parenthood- that my trust had come a long way from where it was a few years ago- and I hadn’t even realized that until I was faced with an unexpected situation. It will be the same for you- you are stronger than you know! Blessings of Peace to you!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Connie says:

      My Grace is Sufficient For Thee. That is what came to mind reading what you shared, EllenChris.

      Once I had a dream that the Lord told me He had something prepared for me but that I would be responsible for a lot of people and He asked me if I would accept that responsiblility. In my dream, I leaned back against a wall, with one foot raised up propped against the wall as if to say to myself – I am contemplating, just then a thought occurred to me- If the Lord is giving me this task, I know He will also give me everything I need for that task. And so I told the Lord, Yes. In my mind, it was like okay, nothing to worry about the Lord has it covered. I had no worries, and no burdens- I can do this! And then a little group in Heaven began celebrating, singing Halleluya, Halleluya!!. I not only felt peace, I also began feeling joyful because their joy was so infectious!

      I return back to that dream often, and remind myself that whatever the Lord asks me to do, He will give me all I need to get the job done. Kinda simplified, but it always brings me peace when I began to pile burdens on myself. (My biggest challenge these days is to live in the present moment because I am a planner and a worrier, thinking too far ahead about what if’s:{ ) So I , like Charlie says, I have to take the next right step- just that step- not the ten steps ahead of that one!:O THen I don’t have to bite off such a big bite of Trust- just a little one! Reminds me of what my son reminded his wife one time when she was complaining of feeling overwhelmed. You know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. HeHe! I know it’s corny….
      May God give you His Grace in Abundance. Peace and Joy to You, Friend

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fran says:

      This is for you ellenchris, one of my favorite songs by Audrey Assad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn_eIjZy3dw
      “lift up your head
      because love is on its way
      and it wont pass you by”
      I am praying for you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

    • MM Bev says:

      My past causes feelings I don’t want to live with any more. Even the happy ones are linked as I think them to pain as the memory continues. I try to avoid “triggers” that lead to anxiety or depression.(If you can and it helps, try not thinking of the past, but the now, and whatever gives you gratitude now.) What I lived is very different from your past.
      Love, trust. saying yes, hope, faith-all these things are an act of the “will”, and they have NOTHING to do with feelings. I have a crummy amount of all of the above and more. Now since Jesus can clearly see my heart, I don’t mince words. I always call it like it is because He knows anyhow. So I just tell Him that I trust Him but it’s so scrawny and limited, that I won’t make it unless He provides for the huge amount I don’t have. I know that He gives it to me, but I sure don’t feel it. But I don’t need to.
      Years ago, I read Corrie Tenboom’s book, “The Hiding Place”. (Worth reading.) Their family hid Jews during WWII and she and her sister ended up together in a concentration camp. She survived and spent the rest of her life proclaiming Jesus as Lord. Something her father said to her affected me profoundly. They were going somewhere, and had to go by train. On the way, Corrie was talking worriedly to her father, about something that concerned her. She knew how small her own courage etc was, and what on earth would she do if she was faced in life with being a martyr. At that point, her father was purchasing their tickets for the train trip. He turned to her, gave her her ticket and told her that God gives us the ticket when we get on the train.
      And that’s how it is. If God gave us the graces we need for the rest of the Storm now, you can bet that I, for one, would lose everything within two days. I stick it somewhere safe, and never find it again. God gives us what we need, when we need it. He knows we are ditzes and that we can’t manage very well with the stuff we use here, never mind the good stuff He gives us that we’re gonna need.
      Now it’s so many years since I read the book, I may have a few points incorrect. But not the major part of the story. Her concern, and her father’s way of explaining. We get the ticket when we get on the train. You wanna be His? You are. You want His grace? You got it. You plan to follow His commands for you? He’ll help you Will you mess up? Yes, but He’ll still help you is you ask.
      And He will be with you during your journey with cancer. It’s a journey you have no choice about, just like many of the things in your past. He was with you then, and He’s sure with you now. You many not “feel” it, but it’s true. One thing I did in the hospital after my surgery, because I discovered that I couldn’t pray was-I kept my rosary under my pillow so I could feel it even if I couldn’t pray or feel Him. I have continued that practice ever since and in the night it comforts me now just as it did then.
      And from reading here, you know that A LOT of friends will be praying for you. I’ll have to tell God that I’m not all that good at it, so that I can ask Him to make up the extra.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mick says:

        Beautiful, MMBev!

        Like

      • Fran says:

        “The Hiding Place” is one of my favorite books also, MMBev. There are many lessons in that book, but that is a very important one. You said all of this so well, and you are very right about separating our feelings from our will. I’ve kept a rosary under my pillow or in my hand while I was sleeping before too. It is very comforting.

        Like

    • Mick says:

      Ellen, when I read your post, I immediately thought that I should send you a passage from The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis. Several years ago, when I was going through a particularly trying period, I was reading that book. And on one particular day, I was crying out to the Lord for help. Later that day, I read the following passage, which screamed out to me, “This is the answer to your prayer.” It is from Book 3, Chapter 30:

      Is anything difficult to Me? Or shall I be like one that promises and does not perform? (Jer. 32:37; Numb. 23:19). Where is thy faith? Stand firmly and with perseverance. Have patience and be of good courage, comfort will come to thee in its proper season. Wait for Me, wait, I will come and cure thee. It is a temptation that troubles thee, and a vain fear that frightens thee. What does that solicitude about future accidents bring thee but only sorrow upon sorrow? “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.” (Matt. 6:34). It is a vain and unprofitable thing to conceive either grief or joy for future things, which perhaps will never happen. But it is human to be deluded with such imaginations; and a sign of a soul that is yet weak [personal note: this describes me to the T] to be so easily drawn away by the suggestions of the enemy. For he cares not whether it be with things true or false that he abuses and deceives thee, whether he overthrow thee with the love of things present or the fear of things to come. “Let not, therefore, thy heart be troubled and let it not be afraid.” (John 14:27). Believe in Me and trust in My mercy. When thou thinkest I am far from thee, I am often nearest to thee. When thou judgest that almost all is lost, then oftentimes it is that thou art in the way of gaining the greatest merit.

      Sorry that the quote is so long; but it really helped me a lot, and I hope it helps you. In fact, I have read this passage several times in the past few years, whenever I needed a gentle kick-in-the-pants in order to trust God and calm down about whatever. As MMBev and Corrie Ten Boom’s father said, God will give us our train tickets when we need them and not before. Trust-Do-Love, and all will be well with you. You will be in my prayers. Hang in there.

      Like

      • Fran says:

        The one book (besides the Bible) that has probably helped me more in my spiritual life than any other is “He and I” by Gabrielle Bossis. It is similar to “The Imitation of Christ”, but maybe because it is so personal and tender, it changed me, and profoundly deepened my relationship with Jesus. My copy has been read and reread many times. If I am not mistaken, I believe Janet (Pelianito) has said something similar about this book.

        Like

        • Fran “He and I” is the book that opened my “ear” to hear the still small voice of the Lord speaking to my heart. It was the first in a series of events that led to my profound experience of the presence of the Lord in the tabernacle. I have given away more than a dozen copies! It is a book of love from cover to cover. If you doubt the love of God for you personally or have difficulty accepting it, read “He and I”. You will feel embraced.

          Like

  8. M&M says:

    Hello Charlie,
    I have a friend who pointed me in your direction last month and I’ve enjoyed your readings and have learned so much already.
    Through growing up as a military dependent and moving often, to being married and moving often, I feel that I can adapt very well. I’ve even taught on a reservation (big culture shock, but another one after moving off) and a prison (no, I was not a resident 😉 My husband doesn’t believe any of it, so I try to prepare as best I can for the family.
    Currently, we are trying to sell our house and get at least an acre of land so I can grow my own food and try to prepare that way. I’m trying to wait patiently for God, but the more I read and see what’s going on in the world makes me feel like I’m running out of time.
    I’ve known since I was 5 that I would live to the 3 Days of Darkness (though I didn’t know what it was called then). I have candles and holy water. I think the idea of the garbage bags and duct tape above is an awesome idea for the windows. I’ll have to try that.
    I am also trying to trust more in God and grow closer to him. However, my days just seem to get busier and busier, so it’s sometimes hard to remember to pray. I’ve been going to daily mass for 4.5 years, unless I have to work. This makes me take the time out.
    Thank you for all that you do.
    God bless you and your ministry always!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fran says:

    You are a good Captain/Sherpa to prepare us for real battle. I am glad that the little kerfuffle about the preparations ended with you really feeling like a part of the family here. I have to say, as soon as I read MMBev’s comment to you, I was chuckling to myself, because it reminded me so much of what the lady-folk in my own family might say to one of the men, shooing him off….”Now, leave me alone, and get out of my kitchen!” ….hehehe.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. aj says:

    Hey you know at Charlie? The Lord has blest me over the years with a growing Trust in Him. It’s definitely not a feeling, it’s just knowing that everything will be ok…one way or the other. Of course there will be times of grief, fear and distress, but it is very solid in my mind that I am on His side and I trust Him to purify me sufficiently to go straight to Heaven and of course Mummy MARY will have to double or triple up on those abundant Graces for me to embrace the purification :-).

    One of my biggest struggles in giving it all over to the Lord (and this is a daily process until I’m emptied of me) was the thought of me dying now and my family struggling, especially my children as the are relatively young 7 and 12, and desperately need a father figure in their life now. I took it to the Lord and eventually He rebuked me…wasn’t the angle I was looking at…a rebuke? Lol. Basically, what He “told” me (inspirations of the intellect – no audible voice) was that I was being arrogant in thinking that my will was better than His. He basically explained it very logically to me; If His “WILL” was for me to die and leave my family at this time or in a few years, wouldn’t that be the best thing? Or is it that I think my plan may be better than His…I couldn’t argue with the logic 🙂 so it has become “somewhat” an easier journey just Trusting in His perfect will.

    St. Therese, the little flower used to say that even good Christian people do not Trust the Lord sufficiently and that’s why so many have to go through purgatory…if we would Trust the Lord to purify us and make us Saints we would just not need purgatory. Little St. Dominic Savio would say “If I do not become a saint, I am doing nothing.” And “I am not capable of doing big things, but I want to do everything, even the smallest things, for the greater glory of God.”

    May Our kindest Lady and Mother abundantly shower us with the grace of blind Trust in Her Son JESUS.

    PS: On your trek did you ever miss Mass on a weekend? And if yes, how did you reconcile it with God’s will for you on your trek?

    Blessings my friends.

    aj

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Your final question startled me, AJ. I missed it more than I made it. If I had had to go without ever missing Mass on a weekend, I reckon I could not have gone at all – and that would have defied God’s will for me. I knew well before I started, as did my priests, that Mass would be catch as catch can. If I was near a town that had ANY Christian Church on a weekend, I tried to stick around long enough to attend a service. In ordinary circumstances, to miss Mass when you could have gone is a sin. Even so, you are dispensed if you are ill – or if there is a fundamental act of charity that could not have been done otherwise. Charity always supercedes everything else. God only demands what we can do.

      Where I was, everyone will eventually be. When that time comes that you don’t have the comfortable routine and you CAN go to a Mass, you will be profoundly grateful for it. I pray that you don’t ever lose sight of your duty to your fellows out of dismay that there will be times when no Mass is available to you. When you honestly cannot get to physical communion, the Lord is always available to give you spiritual communion.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ellenchris says:

        The other condition in which rules are bent is for a person on a pilgrimage — pilgrims have always been given leeway by church law and custom, so that is okay. Also, Jesus told us, “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” There is a difference between a sinful disregard for the requirements of the law and the necessities that cannot be avoided. Missionaries, like Franciscan friars, who were out where no priests were available ran into this a lot. People under persecution have to make do with what they are able to connect with. Check out the beautiful painting that Mark Mallett’s daughter did of a priest celebrating Mass out in the rubble of a wilderness. We are going to have to trust God even when things don’t make a lot of sense in the usual ways.

        Thank you, Charlie, for your answer to me above. It is very hard for me to stay in the moment, but I’m trying.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Connie says:

          well, thank ou both for that clarification on attending Mass. I never know if I am being scrupulous or not, so I usually just confess not attending Mass to cover all bases. I know I should ask a priest about that one day but I feel a little silly and tell myself the Lord knows if this is something to confess or not. I mean I know that if I willfully miss Mass that is sinful, but sometimes when company pops in and the mass times out in the country are sparse- and 25 to 55 miles away. Now that I am writing all this I am thinking I really should talk to our priest and completely clear this up in my mind and conscience. Thank You both anyway.

          Like

          • ellenchris says:

            The important thing is not to excuse ourselves from Sunday worship for lesser reasons or only for convenience, but also to recognize a real emergency when one occurs, find time for prayer anyway and not panic over an exaggerated legalism.

            Like

        • That painting is amazing. I have a copy. I can’t believe it was painted by a teenager. http://store.markmallett.com/he-will-reign-8×10/

          Liked by 2 people

  11. KW says:

    Good post Charlie! This post reminded me of some times in the past that were tough- and that reminded me of God getting me through them in ways I hadn’t imagined. Strangely enough, for a few of them, I had to make a conscious decision to go through it first, knowing it would be tough. Saying yes seemed like the “next right step” for those (although for one, I did drag my feet for a while- that’s also the one with the biggest set of God-incidences at the most stressful points). I’m a song person when it comes to memories. These are some of the songs this post brought to mind.

    We Will Rise Again: It sounds funny, but this is a good basic training song (“we will run and not grow weary…” get it?). It’s also often sung at funerals, and the most amazing time we ever sang it in choir was during a memorial service for a friend. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4f4l5IWbRA

    We Are One Body: Written as the theme song for World Youth Day 93 in Denver. Our choir’s version was faster tempo than the normal version, more like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDUKehJqb5Q

    Servant Song: It was the right song at the right time…and still sometimes brings tears to my eyes https://nicedeb.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/your-sunday-hymn-the-servant-song-2/

    You Are Mine: another right song at the right time…only this one makes me smile every time. “Do not be afraid I am with you” 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14pPevY5sd8

    Anyone else have favorites?

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      I love all these songs, KW. Add “on Eagle’s Wings” and “Here I Am, Lord” and you have covered most of the ground. As far as foot-dragging, I have done plenty of it. A few times, to my surprise, some of the foot-dragging actually helped keep me from acting prematurely.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pawel says:

      I do. This one, Agnus Dei, which is about first eight minutes of the whole thing, almost made me fell of a ladder while I was painting. Buckle up and close your eyes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRwhkBAeheM

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bob says:

      For ellenchris, this one might be good
      the battle belongs to the Lord

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am in many Catholic groups online where people were raving about my sister’s rendition of “in the breaking of the bread.” Her name is Kitty Cleveland. The video is on YouTube here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xKiM4BshSds. I’m biased but it is really moving.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Fran says:

      Well, one of my favorite songs right now is a little different than everyone’s here, but it suits me, and begins with a touch of humor… the first line is “Cheer up you are worse off than you figure.” 😀

      Cheer Up by Ten Shekel Shirt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jxhGstf8xI

      Cheer up, you are worse off than you figure
      But you are loved anyway and I always see who you could be

      All the stars are waiting for you to shine
      And your heart is beating to find it’s home in mine

      Stand up, you are stronger than you figure
      You just need to be surrounded by those who believe in you

      All the stars are waiting for you to shine
      And your heart is beating to find it’s home in mine
      All the starts are waiting for you to shine
      And your heart is waiting to find it’s home in mine

      You’ve got to know that I won’t throw stones your way

      All creation waits…
      Oh, for you to take your place, take your place

      All the stars are waiting for you to shine
      And your heart is beating to find it’s home in mine

      Wake up it’s time to dream bigger
      Wake up it’s time.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ann S. says:

    Thank you for this rallying cry, Charlie.
    It brought to mind Aragorn, in Lord of the Rings: “Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of Men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand! Men of the West!”

    ellenchris:
    Thank you for sharing.
    I have a crazy background in my family. a mix of really good charismatic prayer meeting experiences, then great darkness of New Age….then rescue from the fire. Family members still into shamanism, atheism, new age, occult etc. One brother suffered terrible abuse, with untreated mental illness got his food from garbage dumps was greatly loved by his neighbors for his kindness, grew incredible roses, fruit trees and holly hocks and was found dead after 3 days in his apt. (of a heart condition) on Christmas day almost 3 years ago. I miss him so much.
    I now just turn to the Blessed Mother and let her hold me.
    As you shared, ellenchris, I also am learning to say to God :
    Let me, let You, love me.”
    On this feast day of St. Frances Cabrini Xavier, Charlie, your encouragement to “take the next right step” reminds me of Jesus command to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give a drink to one who is thirsty. So far I have not done this very well. As I have been reading your essays, Charlie, and reading comments, I find my focus is changing from how will I survive?! better buy another box of oatmeal!!!
    to how can help the one right in front of me hurting today.
    I was reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer this morning, ” The wondrous theme of the Bible that frightens so many people is that the only visible sign of God in the world is the cross…and precisely where the cross stands, the resurrection is near: even there, where everyone begins to doubt God, where everyone despairs of God’s power, there God is whole, there Christ is active and near.” (The Story of Dietrich Bonhoffer by Michael Van Dyke).

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ann S. says:

    And my favorite song right now is: Abide With Me (the group Libera)

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Ann S. says:

    The lyrics are:
    Abide With Me, fast falls the eventide
    The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee
    Help of the helpless, O abide with me

    Swift to it’s close ebbs out life’s little day
    Earth’s joys grow dim, it’s glories pass away
    Change and decay in all around I see
    O Thou who changes not, abide with me

    I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness
    Where is death’s sting? Where grave thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me

    Help of the helpless, O abide with me

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Mary A. says:

    My son had a dog, a very loving and gentle giant of a dog. He had to give it up, so he gave it to a dog trainer. The dog trainer trained it as a security dog and rented it out. I went to visit the dog trainer for some reason, and saw the dog in its pen. It lunged and growled ferociously. The closer I got the more loudly and viciously it barked. Its eyes were black and bestial and hard. I spoke the dog’s name over and over in a friendly voice – I loved that dog – and soon it became confused, and stopped attacking and began to whimper. I could see the dog I knew come back into the eyes of the guard dog. He began to wag and jump and lick and whimper and bark with joy. And then I was sorry I had called the dog forth out of its training persona, because now he had to suffer again the pain of abandonment. Still, it was a lesson: when I see people with eyes as someone described above, eyes that are black and hard and vicious, I try to see the person that was and might be again, and offer a prayer for that person (even if I may have to be cautious about that person in the present circumstance). Just a look, sometimes, can open a person up a bit. Many people expect rejection, and preemptively meet it with attitude.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fran says:

      I love that story, Mary, and I know what you are talking about. Anger and hate is often a cover for pain and hurt I think, and can be diffused and crumble with just the right words, look, or touch of charity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Connie says:

        What a poingnant little story, Mary. I agree with you, Fran about how to fight hatred/anger. I believe that it why Our Lady is stressing her Flame of Love covering evil and blinding the evil one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • donna269 says:

        I am a HS Nurse, when students come in crying because someone did something awful to them for no known reason, I tell them quite simply…..Hurt people, hurt people. The sooner you understand that, the easier your life will go. Don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Don’t let them take up rent in your head….move on.

        Like

    • ellenchris says:

      Wow — that is a heart breaker. We were created for love, and all creatures were created to be loved by us. Think what it must do to God’s heart to see the lack of love.

      Like

  16. Bob says:

    And why will we most likely need to endure a storm of purification soon? if the goal of God and ours as well is that the greatest number of people possible may be saved for eternity, do we really believe that the world as it is acting now is the best environment for most to come to Christ?
    So let us pray for the grace to be strong and of good courage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • m&m says:

      I believe that this is why we are seeing a big increase in vocations, especially the more traditional orders. FSSP in NEseveral years ago had to add a $6Million addition because they had to turn away so many men who wanted to be priests and girls are going to the orders with habits and several of the mode t n orders are going back to habits to get the girls. My daughter won’t even consider an order without one.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. donna269 says:

    Hi Charlie:
    I am sorry for your bad days….I know you suffer and rarely complain. Thank you for toughing through and writing another great piece. I can’t watch the news anymore because it is sensationalized and always bad news. It saddens me to see the world in the state it is in. I get a bit frightened thinking about garbage bags and duct tape. I think, why wouldn’t my loving God protect me without those things? Why do I need a formula? Well, we won’t know until we are there….but as others have said, I plan on helping those around me. It’s my nature, and why I have been a nurse working actively for 35 years. I love caring for others. I love helping them feel better and get better….Charity? perhaps but I collect a paycheck 🙂 I can tell you I have always loved going to work….every day of my life. Not many people can say that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Ahhh…I feel, Donna, that I whine too much – but I do recognize that when I am hurting a bit, I can get cranky and sometimes read things as almost through a dark veil. I really do enjoy visiting with my sister, who has her MS ups and downs (she had some bad ones right after I cleared her for here, but is on the mend). We can be cranky and ignore each other all day and know we have each done the other a favor – then laugh and carry on the next. It is a bit of a trial sometimes to have a near-invisible disorder: you feel self-conscious that people think you are just dogging it sometimes and you feel self-conscious when people notice you are struggling…and you feel self-conscious because you are so dadgummed self-conscious so much of the time. Ha, sometimes I growl just to assure myself I still can!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Bonnie C says:

        Oh Charlie. I know! I know and my husband and I have said those exact words! He was injured “non-fatal electrocution” the day after Election Day 2000. He suffers so much, but still looks completely whole from the outside. The worst part was knowing something was really wrong, but also that it was not believed by doctors, like he was just trying to keep from having to work. If it wasn’t for his work ethic and strong heart, he would have died at the time of the injury. It took a year, and he could have died in that year, actually had near-death experiences, before his cardiac problems were recognized and treated (pacemaker for the slows and meds for the fasts). My eyes well up with tears, because it is a frustration to be treated that way, a crushing interior pain of other people’s judgment on us, including doctors and relatives and “friends”. Awful.

        I truly, although I can’t say that I am not afraid, but I am truly looking forward to a great change in people. I still am not used to my mom being old, and feeble and slow. I stopped in front of the doors at the store to drop her off, and she just dallied and talked and tried to collect herself and I was trying to urge her, gently, to get moving because other cars were approaching behind us. This awful man behind me laid on the horn. Short burst first, then a longer one, then what seemed like infinity as my mom spilled out. Oh, it was so awful. He drove around me recklessly, and he was yelling at me and waving his arms. I went and found a spot to park and shook and wept. I managed a prayer for him, although it was a choked one. Where could he have been going to prompt such a vicious and contemptuous display? What is WRONG with people? Yes, it is TIME. Jesus, have mercy on us, and Blessed Mother, Woman Clothed With The Sun, come and do not delay!

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          And yet, Bonnie, it can give you lessons in humility – and what God wants. I used to go to ridiculous pains to hide my pain at all times…but one morning at a Daily Mass at Santa Maria del Popolo in Mundelein, Illinois, it was so agonizing I could not hide it as I kneeled or stood (Kneeling is killer for me). I was embarrassed, but afterwards, a woman approached me misty-eyed and thanked me for my courage and love. Clearly, it had been an inspiration for her. Since then, I still try to hide it, but if it overwhelms me, I don’t get too upset. I figure God must have His reasons.

          Liked by 1 person

      • donna269 says:

        sadly, there are many diseases that often go unsupported (or should I say unnoticed). Neurological diseases, Mental Illness and Addiction are three at the top of my list that society just doesn’t understand. It’s as if, as a society we wrap our heads around things that like Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease….these garner sympathy from society. But the previously mentioned diseases are often met with misunderstanding and desire to not talk about it because of societal norms. This needs to change, because an equal amount of people suffer from Neurological, Mental Illness and Addiction and get little or no support and often judgement as if it’s not real…. Buck up soldier, move on….sad….but true.

        Like

  18. Mary-Louise says:

    Charlie,
    When I say the title of your post I was reminded of the St. Michael Prayer: “St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle…” We should ask him to be our companion in these days and to intercede for us that our eyes may be open to the evil around us that we not be ambushed.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Peter says:

    Hi Charlie,

    What we will need is authentic leadership! No more games and silliness from behind the scenes. A great account of this is in the movie, We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson. People will need to see their shepherds truly sacrificing themselves for their flock. Authentic and Resilient people who are actively participating in their own redemption will be the ‘true’ leaders.
    Pray for peace, especially in the Ukraine since the battle is close at hand.
    God Bless!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      God acts in striking and original ways when we need it. Think St. Joan of Arc. She is, perhaps, the most striking of a phenomenon that has recurred throughout history when times have been most desperate – the sudden rise of someone unexpected who was almost a total nonentity the year before he or she was called to duty.

      Even in America, I have often been fascinated by the rise of Abraham Lincoln at the crucial moment – an amalgam of the singular most complicated and conflicting virtues that were precisely needed to hold the union together. It has been eclipsed because of his recognized greatness since his presidency, but at the time he ran, while he was well-known because of his debates in his losing effort for the U.S. Senate against Stephen douglas, Lincoln was a minor figure, not taken seriously by any until it was too late. Lincoln was a former one-term Congressman who had not held any office for a decade. He somehow beat William Seward, the most prominent Republican in the country and most respected for the nomination – and then beat Democrat Stephen Douglas – and Douglas was already revered as an elder statesman. Lincoln was a rough-hewned rube – and that is how both the country and his opponents regarded him. But just the rough-hewned rube we needed for that moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bob says:

        And Winston Churchhill rose to power just when the English were hopelessly overpowered and needed to be rallied to courage!.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Well, Churchill rose again in an act of resurrection. He had been prominent from World War I, when he had been the First Sea Lord in the British equivalent of the American cabinet – but had long been relegated to the back benches precisely because of his warning of the dangers of Hitler. In an utterly amazing sequence of affairs, Churchill had been the most loathed man in Europe – including by his won party – because of his “war-mongering, primitive, ignorant and cowboy” ways because of his insistence that Hitler could not be bargained with, only fought and defeated. The day after Poland was invaded, it was as if the blinders fell from British eyes – and all around England handmade signs started spontaneously popping up all over the realm saying some version of “Churchill Now!” and “We need Churchill.” Two days earlier, his bullish candor had left him shunned and suddenly, that same candor, maintained when it had cost him dearly, made him the indispensable man of England, then of Europe. William Manchester marvelous unfinished biography got the title just right: “The Last Lion.”

          Like

      • Becky-TN says:

        You mention St. Joan of Arc a lot, Charlie. Funny, my 8 year old is in a creative writing class at homeschool co-op. They’ve had to read several books and complete several writing assignments. His teacher, in prepping for the writing assignment on biographies, has chosen of all people – Joan of Arc. This is not a Catholic Co-op – but majority Christian. Just interesting….

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          St. Joan is one of my key patrons, Becky. Her story is amazing…a miracle on its face – and yet she was condemned by the local Bishop.

          Like

        • Mick says:

          Becky, is it Mark Twain’s version, by chance? My son had to read it when he was in high school (we use Seton).

          Like

          • Becky-TN says:

            Hi Mick,

            Nope, not Twain version. Actually, it’s just a short biography they have read in class.

            Well, maybe she will be a major patron for him in his life and in the coming Storm. He’s all boy (I look at him and my little 3 year old and think of you, Charlie as you said you like rough and tumble kids. They’d keep you busy – trust me! His current patron, Pope Saint JP II (for whom he is named) has been pretty awesome to/for him.

            God Bless,

            Becky-TN

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            I do, Becky. A lively child knows the love of God.

            Like

          • Bonnie C says:

            I loved Mark Twain’s version. After reading that book it gives one great hope in what can happen when we allow God to work in us. Marvelous amazing things happen. I am sickened though, by her martyrdom, although she would not have it any other way. The horror of it lingers. Thinking also of St. Lawrence, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side”

            Like

          • Bonnie C says:

            Charlie, I never read any other version than Mark Twain’s. Not sure I could bring myself to, if this is the “light” version.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Not a problem, Bonnie. You get a version that is fully historically accurate, even if the protagonists probably did NOT sing “Hi-Ho” on the way to battle 🙂

            Like

  20. Jim M. says:

    Prepare your hearts and souls. Matthew 6:24 is your rock.

    There is no way to prepare for what us coming. When the power grid goes down, we are 48 hours away from major riot and catastrophe. No power? No water, no lights, no refrigeration, no toilets, no cooking, no heat nor air conditioning.

    People who have been wards of the government will be among the first to break away. A starving mass in panic will sweep across the close proximity like locusts. Few of those will be rooted in the Word. Panic, desperation, faithlessness and self interest will create mobs frothing with hatred and murder. Satan’s own mixture from his cauldron.

    Those with large stockpiles will be targeted.

    Just remember, we have an obligation to not only defend the faith, but to defend the faithful. That does not sanction murder, but it does justify self defense.

    I was a soldier before I was anything else. I have seen evil incarnate, and the effects of those believing they had nothing to lose.

    As a soldier, this will sound strange; your best weapon for the times ahead is the rosary. There are many like me who are sworn to defend the faithful, many more than you know. But prepare yourselves. Pray. Be ready to protect yourself and your families. And pray some more. We will overcome. God is with us. And our Queen is now preparing her army.

    Let us not lose our Faith. No, let us cling tighter to it, and maintain and increase heavenly virtue and love in the midst of the chaos of evil. As St Paul said, we are alive in the Kingdom, because we have no life in the temporal world. Yet we have a duty to bring others into the flock, even, or especially, during times of torment. As well as a duty to battle evil,

    All glory and honor to God, our Father Almighty.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Pinecone Jill says:

      Amen to the rosary! I prayed fervently once for help in regards to spiritual warfare because I felt I was under attack and in answer, an image of a rosary formed in my mind. So powerful and yet so beautifully simple, it is the strongest weapon we have.

      Like

    • donna269 says:

      you know Jim, I think about this a great deal. My son lives in lower Manhattan. I need to figure out a game plan on how to get him OUT of the city safely when this occurs. Any suggestions????

      Like

      • ellenchris says:

        I was living in Manhattan in ’91 when the World Trade Center had a bomb go off in the basement parking lot, so I thought about this. If you have to move fairly quickly, the very best way is on a bicycle. Use side streets to get up to the northern end of Manhattan on the east side. There are about half a dozen very small bridges that go over the Harlem River into the Bronx. If need be, you can walk across any one of them. Doing this puts you onto the mainland in the Bronx, and from there you can work your way upstate. Trying to drive or using any one of the big bridges is way more difficult. The tunnels are a very bad idea. The other possibility to have your own boat, even a rubber blow-up dinghy, and get across the Hudson into New Jersey. The currents are a little less dangerous if you go uptown.

        Liked by 1 person

      • malachi99 says:

        Hi donna et al,

        Now this is pure speculation but we are making the assumption that what may be coming is going to follow a fairly logical order. Firstly some kind of economic collapse followed by social upheaval and turmoil spilling over to global civil strife that will be the catalyst for some enemy (china) to take advantage of.

        I realise that this is a poor sketch of Charlie’s forecast but we need remember that Charlie has only given certain details insofar as we need to know them so that we not lose our way in the ensuing mayhem. My own intuition in light of Charlie’s posts and revelation itself is that a cosmic event of some significance is on the cards that will precipitate the other events noted above.

        JPW

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mayhem is mayhem. I’m pretty sure once it starts and grows that we will care little about the order of events. 🙂 Jesus we trust in you!

          Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Ha, Janet…I thought of that insurance commercial guy when you said, “mayhem is mayhem.” Maybe he could be the official mascot of the Storm.

            You are right, though, once it digs in, anybody sitting around trying to divine the precise progression is going to get their heads knocked off. There is real work ahead.

            Liked by 1 person

        • donna269 says:

          Funny thing….my son RARELY comes home for the weekend as he is 28 and lives in Manhattan…and loves living there. However, this weekend he came home to paintball with his HS friends and is safely sleeping in his childhood home. I have to admit…the thought came….if it’s gonna happen, let is happen this weekend so he is already home with us….or perhaps in the future the good Lord will take care of the details just like that 😉

          Like

    • Mick says:

      Great advice, Jim; and thanks for the pep talk. I needed it; and I suspect that many others among us did, too. My husband has his CCW and has shot various varmints (coons, possums, groundhogs, etc.). But the thought of his (or my) having to defend our family with potentially deadly force chills me to the bone. So I pray the Rosary with the Flame of Love addendum, begging that Satan and his minions be blind to our wearabouts. But God’s will be done.

      Like

    • Jim M., You seem to speak with authority here. Are you getting “messages” too? Or is this your deduction of what’s going to happen based on others revelation?

      Caroline Sholl http://www.mymommymentor.com Practical Advice on Marriage and Parenting

      Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 02:27:24 +0000 To: ccsholl@hotmail.com

      Like

    • the phoenix says:

      Since the Rosary is about all I have to defend myself with, it’s comforting to hear a soldier advocating it as the best weapon … Thanks, Jim M.!

      Like

  21. Thanks for the music postings everyone! They reminded me that I heard on the radio on a lengthy car trip Tuesday. I usually listen to talk radio while driving as it keeps me alert, but switched to the Christian music station for a bit, when suddenly I heard a song that might just be the quintessential theme song of Charlie’s blog. I have a bad habit of forgetting things as soon as I change venue and despite knowing I HAD to remember to tell you guys about this song, just a few miles down the road I forgot all about it. But God must have wanted me to remember it because as soon as I saw your posted songs it came back! The song is called, “I Am” by Crowder. Here is the refrain:

    I am,
    Holding on to You.
    I am,
    Holding on to You.
    In the middle of the storm,
    I am Holding on,
    I am

    Here is Crowder playing their song, or shall I say, YOUR song, Charlie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEJ8C77yy70

    Liked by 4 people

  22. Bob says:

    With what Jim says my temptation in the past has been to move to areas with the most active Catholics or other serious Christians with the thought that they will have some moral control left and their families will be more stable with perhaps a bit more of basic morality than those of mostly fatherless homes and there may be some safety in that for those unable to move totally away from urban areas.
    Thoughts.

    Like

  23. Connie says:

    This is one of my alltime favorites- listening makes my heart melt and tears fall for Jesus- every time. Actually I fall to my knees and bow my head. This song I listen to when it is just me and God. I feel His love and I feel my love for Him.
    Fernando Ortega, ‘O Thou in Whose Presence’

    (Hope I did this right)

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Patricia says:

    JIm,
    Thank you for that comment. I have been thinking about this all day. I was explaining to a faithful friend how difficult this is going to be and it caused me to realize that I do not really KNOW what is going to happen either.
    Charlie,
    Do you have any idea how people in cities and suburbs are going to eat and/or function in the days after the collapse once it is clear the dollar is no longer?
    Thank you.

    Like

  25. marti says:

    I was thinking about this winter and how cold it is right this minute in Billings, Montana. Its almost -30 with the windchill factor! Never have I been in cold like this!! I came across this tonight on FB and laughed out loud–someone read my thoughts!! God help those who cannot keep warm!

    “Its Winter in Montana and the gentle breezes blow,
    Seventy miles an hour at thirty-five below.

    Oh how I love Montana, when the snow is up to your butt;
    You take a breath of winter air, and your nose gets frozen shut!

    Yes, the weather here is wonderful,so I guess I’ll hang around;
    I could never leave Montana, cause I’m frozen to the ground!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Julee says:

    Thanks for the encouragement in treading the way of the cross. I agree, it’s much easier to adapt when you simply accept your circumstances and deal with what’s right in front of you. When my son was born with disabilities, I was given an essay entitled “The Trip to Holland.” It talks about preparing for an exciting trip to Italy (packing the right clothes, planning your itinerary, learning some of the language, etc.), but lo and behold something goes wrong in flight and you have to land in Holland and suddenly all your preparations are meaningless. You’re thrust into an unexpected situation and suddenly have to scramble to learn the lay-of-the-land and the quicker you let go of the trip you were supposed to have, the quicker you appreciate the beauty of Holland and adjust to the turn of events. I was fortunate in that I recognized the beauty almost immediately and I was amazed by how quickly my husband and I adapted to our new normal. In those early days, we lived moment to moment, but the love we had for our son quieted our fears as we concentrated on tending to his needs. Over the years, we’ve had to adapt to several “new normals” as he’s grown, but I’m not so sure that’s prepared me for the battle you’ve described. Taking the next right step thus far hasn’t involved dodging any real bullets or persecution (just some incredibly hurtful attitudes)!

    So even though there’s only so much I can do, I admit to imagining how it will be and trying to prudently plan, but then I remind myself that it’s impossible and spiritual preparation and trust in God is the most important thing. It’s hard to not be scared, though, no matter how much I tell myself that worrying won’t change a thing and that it’s a distraction from prayer which will hopefully lead me to complete trust. Oh, and now I’m also regretting taking out our fireplace when we remodeled. The only heat we have at our cabin is the wood stove, but at home we never used the fireplace and it was really ugly!

    Like

    • Mick says:

      Julee, when our daughter was born, somebody also gave us a copy of “The Trip to Holland.” It was helpful especially to my husband. I know what you mean about feeling scared, though. I try to trust and not worry, but it’s a struggle sometimes. I will pray for you, your husband, and your dear boy. God bless you all.

      Like

      • Julee says:

        Thank you, Mick, I’ll be praying for you and your family, too. I keep telling myself that we’ve only had a few months to digest all of this and initial fear is normal and not necessarily a lack of trust. Who wouldn’t be fearful? I know excessive fear can be paralyzing, but a little fear is a strong motivator to pray, pray, pray!

        Like

  27. Meredith says:

    Hi Charlie and All,
    I am right in line with all that is being said. Praise God for all He has given us and for my rosary!
    With your opening statement Charlie, I really want to know if you have gone off of the inflammatory foods that drive that kind of pain and fuzzy brain. I had to do so. But it worked. Although I still have some pain and ataxia, the fuzzy brain is not there.
    Blessings and Peace to all
    Meredith

    Like

  28. ellenchris says:

    Thank you to everybody who posted such loving and helpful replies. I would like to always be the strong one, and it is hard to ask for encouragement from others. But that is why Jesus created a community and sent them to create more communities. We really are all in this together. Also, the sharing of music has been great. Forgive my sense of humor: I really love, “Abide with Me” but every time I hear it I remember that the band on the Titanic played it as the ship was sinking. 😉 I will try to see if I can post one that also speaks to us. love and blessings to all.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. ellenchris says:

    Here is one of my top favorite hymns. I hope that folks will take a few minutes to listen, especially if you have never heard it before, because it has an amazing back-story. “It is Well” was written by Horatio Stafford in the 1860s after he received news that his four children were lost at sea. His wife, Anna, survived and they later moved to Jerusalem. He wrote this song in response to the loss of his children — what could be more awful, yet it called up such faith. (please ignore the very annoying commercial at the beginning)

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Connie says:

    Those old hyms very often have the most beautiful prose…

    Like

    • Connie says:

      Also, Charlie, I just want to make Sure I understand what you are sayin- When you say “there is real work ahead”- Do you mean while things are disintegrating to the point people are having to face new stark realities?

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        I mean that, as things get tough, people won’t have time to gaze too much at their navels and wonder how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. They will be occupied with keeping their family safe, putting food on the table, and getting shelter. It tends to focus the mind and suspend, if not end, speculative discussion. So yeah, what you said, Connie.

        Like

  31. Patricia says:

    My kids are on their own and every now and then on a new adventure or move, they will get nervous. In the past several months, I have learned to say “Dad and I have your back”. It is, I have learned, a very comforting thought to them. It is direct and personal. They can understand that.
    I mention this since I have a really tough time “trusting” God in what is to come. Today it occurred to me that I do not have to trust in my hopelessly inadequate way. All I have to know is that Jesus has my back. He has always had my back. And it makes it so much easier for me to go to bed tonight and sleep soundly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      I absolutely love it, Patricia! That’s the attitude exactly. I often go to bed wondering if I screwed up today – and trusting in prayer that, if I did, Jesus will not only fix it and help me to do better tomorrow, but actually bring fruit from it. And then I sleep well, indeed.

      Like

      • Connie says:

        It seems to me as if the Holy Spirit is moving beautifully here, so mho is that you are doing wonder full job Charlie.

        Like

      • Sounds like a prayer I have been known to pray…Lord please fix my mistake better than if I had done it right the first time. No challenge for the Lord. He is happy to oblige. 🙂

        Like

      • the phoenix says:

        I don’t have to wonder, many times I know when I’ve messed something up … sometimes just a few minutes after I’ve unfortunately opened my mouth, often even in a well-meaning way because I was trying to make things better, but it’s too late to take back the words at that point. So the thought of Jesus being able to bring good out of that is comforting. Thanks to Patricia and Charlie for the edifying comments on this concept.

        Like

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