Musings – Lord of the Fleas

Lucifer's Fall by Jonathan Foerster

Lucifer’s Fall by Jonathan Foerster

Okay, with Christmas and the press of business and social galavanting, let me revise…I will get on schedule after the first of the year. Oh, the pieces on Bishop Finn, Pelianito, The End of Prophecy are all still coming. I have a little story to tell today that, I think, is relevant to these times. Mainly, I am excited because my son is coming out next week with my granddaughter and we will spend a few days in a cabin in the mountains. I am eager to introduce him to all my friends here in Colorado. It also gives me a great excuse to publish the accompanying photo of him.

Charlie Johnston III

Charlie Johnston III

It was done by his police department as part of some public service thing they are doing. Alas, Chaz always tells people he is a younger, handsomer, more studly version of me. While I argue about it sometimes, this picture definitely doesn’t help my case. Actually, I concede all the former to him, but argued for a time that I was more charming…but that has gotten to be pretty much of a wash, too. It’s heck to be coming on the downward slope of your capabilities while trying to stay competitive with one who is easily traversing the upward slope of his. On the bright side, there is no one I would rather see surpass me in all competitive areas than this son of mine.

*********

I have been disheartened at the reaction of almost every Catholic commentator to the release of the “Senate” report on torture. I somehow missed the rule that if you are going to be a Catholic commentator you are required to be a naieve, credulous dupe. For crying out loud, even the Democrats and the establishment media know that this is not an actual Senate report, but a partisan smear job mounted exclusively by Democrats in the Senate as a parting shot at the old Bush administration. No Republicans participated in its preparation after it was made clear they would interview no one nor examine anything that contradicted their preferred narrative. This is a report that is related to torture in the same way Rolling Stone Magazine’s UVA story hoax is related to rape. It is a fraud designed to advance an agenda.

It brought home to me, though, how complete is the degeneration of public Christian commentators into reflexive, relentless pacifism. Christianity has always had a pacifist streak – it is why Islam had already taken all of Spain and Portugal and huge chunks of Christian Europe in their first effort to wipe Christianity from the face of the earth before Christians got around to mounting the Crusades to defend the faith – and the faithful. But the retreat into reflexive pacifism under all circumstances is not serious – either philosophically or theologically. It is merely smug moral posturing.

One can disagree on how the martial Christian spirit should be calibrated, but I tell you bluntly, there are two poles in this debate which will face a harsh accounting before God. Those whose patriotism expresses itself as, “kill them all and let God sort ’em out,” will not fare well. But those who think they can evade responsibility for refusing to physically defend those under assault when they could have by piously telling the Lord that they have no blood on their hands will find they are equally rejected. I will have a piece on this soon, but I encourage you to start thinking on this matter seriously and with gravity – and pray on it. The decisions involved in it are not going to be theoretical for anyone much longer. You better have a better answer in store than just to strike out in revenge or to sit watching your neighbor butchered while you refuse to get your hands dirty. Neither of those options is the next right step.

*********

Now my little story. Back in 2000, or maybe 2001, all of a sudden our apartment was suddenly infested with fleas. It was nightmarish. They were everywhere, jumping and dancing and carrying on. I figured they had come from the cat.

Most of my son’s friends liked to come to our apartment to play video games and hang around. I would play Tiger Woods Golf and Madden Football with them fairly frequently. We often had tournaments – and the boys would regularly borrow books from my extensive stocks, often asking for recommendations. But it was so bad, no one could bear to be there. One of my son’s buddies, Doug, (who once came on vacation with us), said, “Dude, you gotta do something!”

Problem was, I was doing everything I could. I thought I was going to go bankrupt with all the flea powder and baths I was getting. I used the baths on the cat while getting enough powder for both the cat and to blanket the carpet. I don’t know, I must have got a lot of defective batches – for it acted like it was some sort of OrthoGro for fleas. The problem just got worse. I got three flea collars to put on the cat – all together. The fleas congregated there, dancing and carrying on. It was like a flea night club. I was convinced if I looked at it through a microscope it would resemble the original Star Wars bar scene. It had gotten to the point that, wherever we walked, a cloud of fleas would be jumping before us from the carpet. I was at my wits’ end.

We were right on the verge of the beginning of my annual Novena to the Immaculate Conception. I have been a bit bemused to discover that, for many visionaries, heavenly visitors come to them on a regular schedule. I am not sure whether to be flattered or insulted, but mine just drop by whenever the mood strikes them. I would ask, but I have not indulged any mere idle curiosity with them since I was in my teens. They will tell me what I need to know. But there are two days of the year when they fairly regularly visit – during the Immaculate Conception (more often on the Eve than the Feast Day) and on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes. There were five consecutive Easters they visited me, but otherwise, it is more like the cousin two doors down who comes when the spirit moves him. I figured this was so inexplicable that maybe the Lord intended something for me in it.

I get annoyed, sometimes even angry, when people spurn God’s ordinary means of healing, insisting they will only accept His supernatural means. I know they think it an act of faith. I think it an act of arrogant presumption. God made all things, natural and supernatural, thus all healing comes from Him. But I think we are called to take full advantage of the natural means He provided us – while praying – and without spurning either one or the other of His means. So what I did was to get rid of all flea powders, baths, and collars from the house. I told my son what I was going to do and then I prayed, “Lord, you know I accept whatever you send me. For the course of this Novena, I am going to get rid of all ordinary means of dealing with this problem. If you have something you intend for me in this, please show me. If not, I will resume the normal means after the Novena, trusting that you will help me and show me in Your time.”

By the third day of the Novena, the fleas were gone. I don’t just mean dead; I mean gone. I vacuumed the carpet. Previously, during this period, when vacuuming, I would get more than a cupful of dead fleas. This time, there were none. Gone completely. Young Charlie’s friend, Doug, was over a few days later and asked in astonishment what we had done. He figured we would have to evacuate for a month to fumigate that infestation away. Charlie gave a sly grin and said, “Dad has a special treatment he used.” Still amazed, Doug said I should bottle and sell it – I’d make a fortune. Charlie grinned and said it was a one-time treatment.

On the Feast Day, sure enough, the Lord, Himself, appeared to me. That always bears extra significance. Solemnly, He said, “He is not lord of the flies; he is merely lord of the fleas – and he flees before me.” I should have been completely awestruck, but it was a REALLY bad pun, so I cracked a smile. Normally, when He says something that tickles me, He gives me a sly smile in recognition of it. Not this time. His face reflected His utter contempt for the satan. And then He was gone.

We never had fleas again. And that cat never had a flea collar or any such treatment again. He was impervious to them. We were in a field once – and my son and I marveled to see fleas jumping on him and falling right back off. I have had one other cat since then. Fleas would not go near it, either. It seems strange, kind of ridiculous even. But I found, over time, on three occasions it had profound significance for me – revealed something I would not have otherwise understood. I better understood the solemnity of the pronouncement.

Now, as the world looks each day more and more like a brick house that has been saturated with some substance that eats the mortar holding it together, I think of that in yet another light. People fear what must come. We count on the things we have made to rescue us. It’s over…the things that once were useful have lost their potency. The only thing that will do is complete surrender. And then all will be well. There is no cause to fear satan. He is not lord of the flies, only lord of the fleas – and he flees before the Lord.

I hope it won’t increase my time in purgatory, but I still think it was an atrocious pun.

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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145 Responses to Musings – Lord of the Fleas

  1. Noreen says:

    Hmmm………..I don’t know about atrocious………….I love it and I’ll never forget it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Actually, Noreen, when they use language, they often use the most sublimely clever and subtle puns. I think they like playing with language like a toy. I thought this one was ridiculously corny for what was being conveyed but you are right, it is unforgettable. And in any case the Lord’s jusgement on the matter carries a bit more weight than mine does.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patricia says:

        Great photo of Charlie. Funny thing about your post. I was just thinking that my husband and I are doing nothing too special at the moment, listening to Christmas carols, he doing a word puzzle and I am reading my emails. My thought was how unbusy we are right now compared to years past when we would have been Christmas shopping and baking cookies with the kids. Then I was thinking that our main job of parenting was done. We raised them, got them out the door and help them to do the next right thing – or at least tell them what the next right thing should be and hope that they do it. Then I thought, well we are “kinda” done in the helicopter parenting role and, hopefully, they will go on to wonderful productive lives now that we are on the back nine. And, out of the blue, your post pops up and you say almost the same thing about Charlie.
        Of course, you then ruin the nice thought with reality but that is what you are here to do. I watched C-span2 last night with Ted Cruz and Liz Warren both arguing against the funding bill for different reasons mostly. I thought this is historic. The dems breaking from the President. This has to be the beginning of the end of what the political class calls normal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • N. Wright says:

        I love how the Lord showed his humour. I’m sure he made his disciples laugh too. He lightened a profound truth with a humorous pun: “He is not lord of the flies; he is merely lord of the fleas – and he flees before me.” I love it!
        Your son is handsome and humble like his dad? 😛

        Liked by 1 person

    • Judy says:

      I think that it is a great pun. He made a point and gave us a little chuckle, too. Unforgettable. I think that it is just about perfect. Thank you, Lord!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lynnfiat says:

    You trusted completely in the Divine Will and were rewarded. May we all have such great faith!

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      I trusted, but more candidly, I was just baffled at the whole thing. More trust was required just about every day of my pilgrimage. But yeah, once I had done everything I reasonably could, I did just say, okay, Lord, it feels like you are wanting to tell me something. Your servant is listening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ann says:

        First of all, I love this story of the fleas. It fits right in to my experience with Our Lord. I think the most amazing prayer level I ever reached after an incredibly painful and frustrating situation, much prayer, much proclaiming God’s victory etc etc but with things getting worse and worse the harder I prayed,was just finally simply saying to Him, OK, I accept this. You are my God. I don’t know why you are doing this, but OK. to whom should I go but You? (I said it with a little bit of attitude, to my shame but it was a surrender) It immediately, I mean immediately, cleared up and better stuff happened than we ever hoped would happen and I heard (I think) as I thanked Him, his voice inside me very sweetly but firmly, say “Remember this.”

        I gotta say too that “Lord of the Fleas” is great! Great pun, wonderful contemptible title for the enemy. Did you ever read The Hiding Place and how the fleas in the camp helped Corrie and Betsy meet for Bible study because the guards wouldn’t come near them?

        Liked by 3 people

        • charliej373 says:

          Never read it, Ann.

          Like

          • ann says:

            It’s the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy when they were in a Nazi concentration camp for helping hide Jewish neighbors. It’s a very powerful story of God’s providence and humble faith. I highly recommend it. (Corrie died some years ago and Betsy died in the camp)

            Liked by 1 person

          • Fran says:

            I’ve mentioned that book here before too Ann. It is one of my favorites. There are so many inspiring lessons in it, but I forgot about the flea incident. Thanks for reminding me!

            Like

        • Joseph says:

          Charlie,
          Thank you so very much for your post which, if I have understood correctly, has answered two of my obsessive questions: (1), to arm oneself with weapons in defense of family, home and neighbors and (2),give up all my anxiety, doubts and worries about some of our Catholic shepherd’s abandonment of their flocks to the rapacious wolves in political clothing: Let go, Let God Who is Master of the lord of the fleas. With regard to the first, Pope Francis and you have confirmed it, has said arms against unjust aggressors’ persecution is justified.As to the second, as human beings we are finite, impotent in the tsunami of evil which is entering the doors of the Church. But God is infinite and omnipotent and has the whole world, including His Church in the palm of His hand. God can handle the fleas. I must give up and let the Lord do it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Yes, Joseph, do what little you can, trusting God to bring growth from it. Though I am not armed, almost all of my family and friends are – with my encouragement and blessing. And I would be if it were not that I believe myself to be under a particular discipline…which I am glad to live, though I tell the good Lord I am sure He won’t mind me keeping my armed friends and family close to me. Defend the faithful!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. SteveBC says:

    Charlie, I really have to wonder if the satan is actually the lord of anything. If the Lord had called him lord of the flies, He would have had to say, “and he flies before me.” That actually is somewhat ambiguous in terms of the satan’s character or lack thereof.

    “Flees” on the other hand is unambiguous in its meaning of cowardice and abject fear before a superior. Naming the satan as lord of the fleas, even if he actually is lord of nothing at all allows the pun that is an unambiguous observation of the satan’s lack of character.

    Several months ago, I was thinking about pain and had a kind of realization that the satan cannot stand certain forms of pain in his targets. If you are in pain and dedicate the pain to God, or if you take on the pain of another as a sacrifice on their behalf, the satan will flee from you. He cannot handle that type of pain in you and cannot be in or around you. He’s a coward and a wuss.

    This realization made me rethink my own attitude toward pain. I find myself pretty much unable to take on other people’s pain, but I can treat with my own pains more trustingly, with more of an attitude of acceptance and a desire to learn any lesson that may be in or behind the pain.

    However, this really applies to sacrifice in general, such as fasting, or sacrificing time to pray for someone else when you would rather watch the TV, and so on. An attitude and a practice of sacrifice, of ego control or discipline, of humility, it all involves giving up something. The satan can’t stand that kind of pain. Like any psychopath he wants what he wants right now and cannot understand the impulse in people to give away or to sacrifice or to absorb pain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Very nice short meditation, Steve. Satan is the Lord of this world. We made him so with original sin. It is the only kingdom he gets – and when it ends, his kingdom ends. And yet, Christ did give us the inalienable right to secede. All of satan’s wiles are designed to keep us from doing so, that we will perish with him when this world ends.

      Liked by 2 people

      • SteveBC says:

        I don’t know, Charlie, maybe he just wants you to think he is. How can the satan be lord of the world without being lord of everything in it, including all the flies? Yet the Lord clearly said to you that the satan was not lord of everything, he was *merely* lord of the fleas. That sounds like a pretty limited lordship.

        For the very first time in my life, I’m feeling compassion for fleas. Nobody and no animal, plant or mineral should have to have the satan as lord. Free choice is one thing, “have to” is quite another.

        Like

        • TC says:

          Dear Charlie,

          Steve and others who might be inclined to subscribe to what he is suggesting should be reminded that Christ himself dubbed Satan “the ruler of this world” (cf. John 12;31 and John 14:30). Yes, Satan is the lord of this world. He is also lord of the fallen angels (cf. Rev. 12:4). He is the lord of lies (cf. John 8:44). He is the lord of murderers and adulterers and blasphemers. The Scriptures tell us that Satan is the lord of many things, but he is not the Lord of lords or the King of kings or the Prince of peace or the father of the orphan and the widow. He is only the lord of all that is evil. He is the lord of original sin. Please also refer Steve to the temptations of Christ (Mt. 4:8-10). Satan shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and promises to give them all to him if Jesus bows down and worships him. Satan could not offer what he did not have. This is another Scriptural affirmation that Satan is lord of the world. See also Mt. 12:29 when Jesus affirms in parable that Satan is the lord of this world -he asks: “How can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strongman?” And in Mt. 12:26 Jesus says “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how then shall his kingdom stand?” One who has a kingdom is a lord. And another Scripture verse for Steve: John 20:24.

          I’d like to add that it is unfair to other readers to espouse thinking that does not correspond to the Scriptures or the mind of the Church. Nothing wrong with having differing opinions, but please make sure they are well grounded before potentially leading others astray. Satan is lord of the world, but he is not Lord of everything in it. Jesus wishes us to be in the world, but not of the world (cf. Jn 17:14-15). Why would he not want Christians to be “of the world’? Because Satan is lord of it, but Satan is not lord of us or anything good.

          Peace, Charlie,

          TC

          Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Thanks, TC. A reader hade sent a question in about a week ago asking if I had any advice for him on an article about satan being lord of this world he could use for his confirmation class that would be easily understandable for kids. I told him I would do one, myself – which I have planned for this weekend. Then this arose and I thought of jumping in. I figured, eh, I’ll just wait and clear it up in the article. It touches into some stuff that I think is pretty important, as people tend to think satan gets some rival kingdom to God at the end of time – and some glamorously think they can be part of his high command as a noble rebel, blah, blah, blah. That is one of satan’s most important deceptions. He gets no kingdom except that that of this world, in time. When this world ends, satan will be banished to hell, alone, agonized – just like all others consigned to hell. He gets no troops, no companions…just hell. He gets no gain from destroying souls. He is pure malice. The only thing he gets from destroying souls is the bitter pleasure of consigning those created by God to the same fate in store for him.

            But I appreciate you hitting the key points now…give people a little something to ponder.

            Like

          • SteveBC says:

            TC, I’m sorry if my wording led you to think I was espousing something knowingly against Church doctrine. That was not my intent at all. I find the subject of the satan being lord of the world confusing. Even the cites you quote from seem to vary in their words and meaning. Certainly, what Jesus said to Charlie added to my confusion, since it seems not in tune with your scriptural cites.

            I am not up on Church doctrine. As an example, if I were enough up on this particular issue we are discussing, I wouldn’t need to comment here, looking for guidance and explanations or exploring the implications of something stated elsewhere on the site. I must disappoint you if you are to insist that I always comment according to Church doctrine. I’m commenting because I don’t know Church doctrine but would like to when the opportunity arises to explore it.

            Even Charlie, in his recent post on the end of prophecy, states that people on this site help him in areas he doesn’t understand fully. That’s why I come here, for help in understanding.

            I am looking forward to Charlie’s article on this topic, which he says is coming soon. Perhaps you and I can continue our discussion in the comments to that post. If I still have questions, I will bring them up there.

            TC, thank you for your thoughtful comment and cites. That I don’t currently agree with you on all points does not mean I think you are wrong at all. You may be totally right and are certainly more up on the subject than I, but I am not informed enough yet to see that.

            Like

    • Mick says:

      Steve, great point about how the satan can’t stand it when we offer up our suffering. Your comment made me think about times when I wake up in the middle of the night with my stomach growling. What I usually try to remember to do when this happens is to offer up the hunger for a particular person or intention. What I’ve noticed is that whenever I do this, my hunger pangs go away almost immediately; but when I forget to offer them up, my stomach might growl for 15 or 20 minutes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • SteveBC says:

        What a riot, Mick! I must admit that I was not thinking of a pain so mundane, but if it works for the tough stuff, it oughta work for this, too. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • NancyA says:

        Ahh, Mick, yet again, we have some parallels. I wanted to comment regarding a similar thing, and found you already have. There are times of very fierce, incredible pain. As soon as I consciously offer it up, it stops and I find myself ‘arguing’ with God for taking away my offering.. ” no, I really wanted to offer that…!” But the intention was apparently enough. How easy He makes it for us sometimes!

        Like

  4. diane says:

    Theresa of Avila was to have said something like Satan being nothing but a pesty flea that could be brushed away easily – when we sit tall in our faith that is the easiest thing to do, but when we have bad posture and slump a bit it is a bit more difficult to brush away his pestiness.
    Yes it is done, all these things must happen in order for good to rise up and be bold in the face of evil and in order for joy to overtake sadness – we are blessed to be in these times, let us never forgot that God chose us to be here in this now and not another. So Love. I love.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jacqueline Marie says:

    I love your sense of humor. And you are right, the pun is atrocious…..but I will remember it too.
    I picture Jesus with a dry wit, kind of like a holy Jimmy Stewart.
    Thank you for your faithful heart and humble obedience. You don’t know how this blog encourages me to see our Heavenly Father as a good father. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Blessings EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jacquie says:

    I don’t know about Jesus intentions but I thought it hilarious! Kind of corny but very silly. Can a pun be sublime? It heartens me that he is the God of Heaven and earth and Pun…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Oh sure, Jacquie. The very name, Menses, when I looked it up, is a clever pun in three different languages. As time has passed, I have been thinking lately about how all my heroic efforts to stem the tide not only did not help, but seemed to make matters worse. It was only when I humbly surrendered completely – with the humility of also promising to renew my efforts if I was not getting it right – that it effortlessly – and almost immediately – was resolved. It has been more striking, over time, to me that the fleas were completely gone. I think in many ways, it was a foreshadowing of these last frantic moments before the fullness of the Storm. It is actually why I spoke of it today…I think it may give some heart as they see seemingly insoluble problems engulfing us. (I had avoided telling this story publicly because I figured anyone reading it and hearing that Jesus made such a corny pun would surely conclude I am just nuts. But, I’ll risk it, as I think now it is a subtle, kind of funny, but powerful sign of hope when it is needed. And the power of it has become more obvious to me with each year. Even the continuing flea-proofing of the cats…in one of my little visions I was once told, “What God has done – IS done.” And so it is.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful flea story, Charlie; I loved it, and will certainly remember it!

    Regarding the earlier part of your musings today, I wonder if you could expand on these two remarks that seem to me to sort of oppose each other:

    1. “We count on the things we have made to rescue us. It’s over…the things that once were useful have lost their potency. The only thing that will do is complete surrender.”

    2. “You better have a better answer in store than just to… sit watching your neighbor butchered…”

    You have used a similar “butchering” warning before, so I am taking it seriously, while I quake at the image. But I’m not sure what I should be trying to do: should I plan on trying to get a gun (“things we have made”) — which I really can not afford, and is unfamiliar to me — or should I just pray for merciful invisibility if such a moment arrives? Or, better I should pray that the cowardly yellow stripe down my back disappears in time? I’m sooooo not good at these kinds of things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Excellent question, Linda…and it gets to the heart of discernment, which is never simple. In the Gospel of today’s Mass, His disciples ask Jesus why the scribes say that Elijah must come before the Messiah. Expecting Jesus to explain the mistake of the scribes, He tells them they are right – but that Elijah has already come and we did not recognize him (speaking of John the Baptist). How many of the pious today would say, “Nah, that’s not going to work. John might be like Elijah, but he was not Elijah.” How many theologians would carefully explain why we do not believe in reincarnation (when that is clearly NOT what Jesus was talking about) and that we have to take the prophecy precisely as our ears heard it, so Jesus must obviously be a fraud. You and I both know people who would vigorously reject that.

      Jesus said in one spot that, “whoever is not with us is against us.” Then He later said, “Whoever is not against us is with us.” He did not contradict Himself. Discernment is more than cherry-picking a phrase and making it into everything.

      So much of it comes down to intention (in the theological rather than the pop sense). For every attribute that we have, there is a properly ordered and a disordered use of it. Some devote themselves to social work as a form of self-actualization. They want to show how noble and pure they are. It is always about them. Others, like Blessed Mother Teresa, love the poor and oppressed – and are willing to suffer any indignity to serve them. Both claim to do the same thing, but we can feel the difference in them almost immediately.

      So, God expects you to act – but to rely on and acknowledge Him at all times – while taking full responsibility for what you do. Think of Our Lady. At the Annunciation, she was told that she was to be pregnant with the Lord – a grace that would make her an apparent adulteress, which was punishable by death by stoning. Yet she did not even ask how God would cover her back; just trusted that God would take care of it. Yet when hearing that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant late in life, Mary went to help. She could have been excused for thinking that God would take care of the details. But she was full of grace. She knew when to trust the details to God – and when to understand that we are normally the instruments through which God works His will.

      At bottom, that is what the phrase, “the next right step” is about. We cannot save the world – our efforts are fumbling and incompetent. We should abandon those delusions of grandeur. But we are not to sit on our rears and wait for God to act as our waiter or steward. We should do the little we can that is right in front of us, knowing how little it is. And then God, who is the God of abundance, will bless our little obedient efforts with staggering abundance.

      Contemplate what I have said in this light and you will see there is NO contradiction in what I wrote.

      Liked by 4 people

      • SteveBC says:

        On the story about Mary, it seems that she left the future to God, but she handled the present-moment task because the present moment is always where the next right step appears for us. If it appears in front of us, it’s ours to take on or run away from. If in the future Mary were to have found it necessary to defend her honor, the circumstance for that would somehow someday arrive before her as her next right step, and she would have taken up the challenge then just as she went to Elizabeth’s when that task actually came before her. If that moment to defend herself never arrived for her, then she would never need to take up that task, so she leaves it to God to bring it to her or not. Is that sorta right, Charlie?

        In lindasummerfield’s future, she may never be challenged to defend herself or her neighbor from a bloody butcher, but she may be challenged in other ways, and those ways may be equally extreme and desperate. If her intent is to take on these challenges as a way to impress the neighbors or manipulate others into taking care of her in return as an obligation, then her intent is lacking in goodness and is solely her own effort to save herself. If on the other hand she always intends to take up challenges under God’s eyes as gifts freely given to others, then somehow God will help her make those efforts count.

        Since none of us know what challenges we will be faced with in the next several years, we really have no idea if what we do to prepare now will add to our responses later or not. And if we rely solely on such preps, they will fail us. However, learning to trust that God will watch over us as we respond to a challenge and aid us if we also look to him, then whatever we have done beforehand will add to what we are doing at that moment in ways we cannot now foresee, and somehow, the challenge will get handled, even if our well-meant best efforts are actually wholly inadequate to answering to that challenge.

        Several weeks ago a commenter said that we are not given only challenges that we have the tools to handle, that in fact, God can and does give us challenges we *cannot* handle. Since the purpose of the Storm is to get us to trust God and lean on Him, I think your butcher comments are really alerting us that God will be giving every one of us at least one and probably numerous challenges that we can *only* successfully handle by leaning on God.

        When you say that any preparations we make beforehand will be worthless, it isn’t necessarily the case that those preps will never help or in certain circumstances be useful. They may actually help. However, because the challenges will be so extreme and overwhelming, no amount of preparation will be enough to handle them. If we rely on them, we won’t make it, not because they won’t work but because they won’t be *enough* even if they do work.

        Thus, we cannot get through without learning to trust God and lean on him. It seems that having high intent is better preparation than any “thing” or skill.

        Does that make sense?

        I still don’t get the Elijah thing.

        Liked by 3 people

        • the phoenix says:

          Thank you for this very deep and edifying post, SteveBC.
          What it makes me think of is that God can give us challenges now that we cannot overcome without Him, perhaps not to help us personally better survive later on … but to help us personally better give more later on.

          Liked by 2 people

          • SteveBC says:

            Phoenix, you have set forth a very fine thought. I’m going to give that some consideration.

            Let me add something. Today I had a very peculiar thing happen to me. The thing itself isn’t important. My take on the lesson I received is that it is actually possible to do too much for people.

            Let’s say you prepare a lot. Then the Storm comes and leaves your neighbors destitute. If you share your preps with them, that may be wonderful. However, it might interfere with them feeling enough pressure to turn to God in trust. If that is correct, you are actually doing them a disservice.

            Charlie has said that we will all face insoluble problems, and this is one of them. Today’s “thing” that I experienced is – I think – letting me know that I am working too hard, preparing too much, and trying to play right field when I am actually a third baseman and should concentrate on my own position. This echoes many lessons I have received in my past, not to do too much but often to wait for God to prompt someone else to ask me for help.

            It seems that people let me know what they need for their lessons. If they don’t ask me for help, I may refrain from helping them. Most of the time, believe it or not, this actually turns out to be correct in my experience. If they do ask for my help and have a specific request, I have learned to respond in a way that answers that request but does not go significantly beyond what was asked for. Biting my tongue in either case, oftentimes! But when I break these guidelines, things usually go badly for me or them.

            This has taught me to ask for specific help when I know what I need. If I can, though, I always try to phrase my request in as open-ended a way as I can bear to. Then something I would not have known how to ask for has a chance to appear in my life, a true gift.

            It seems in my life that learning to give more is a good trait, but learning to give more *at*the*right*time* is a great trait.

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Thank you, Steve. I love that people here seem to be very much thinking along the right lines now. The answers are tough, often impossible to ferret out. But the mind that is prepared, flexible and adaptable is best equipped to be a sign of hope in time of crisis.

            Liked by 1 person

          • SteveBC says:

            I’m glad to hear that about the site and its commenters. Without you here to give us little whacks-upside-the-head when we get off track, I’m sure we’d be spinning off into fantastical realms. That’s part of your job, I know, and it looks to me that you’re doing it well. 🙂

            As for me, the “thing” that happened yesterday has knocked me out of kilter in ways that show me how little capacity I have for absorbing stress and taking action. Which in turn leads me to increase my stress with worries that if I can’t handle the stress of the early Storm, how will I make it through the much more extreme stresses still to come?

            At the moment the answer *appears* to be to do what I can and leave the rest up to other people and to God. I really am so often surprised by how I am quite limited in what I can do. If I’m a third baseman, the shortstop is going have to play well over toward me to cover everything I will have to let by.

            Your TLD advice definitely helps, but I must still make it real to me and be willing to let go of many more actions and much more work than I had up to now realized. You’ve said that there is no real answer to this winnowing process or in what we actually will choose to do, and you are right.

            I’m hoping and presuming that yesterday’s lesson (like so many I have had in the past) will limit me in all the right ways, as you say you are limited by your pain.

            The one trait that truly works for me and others is when I give the right advice at the right time, as determined by the advisee, not me. That plus yesterday’s “thing” leaves me assuming that I can (will be allowed to?) care for myself and that I will be called on to advise others at *their* option but otherwise will be an observer and non-participant while everyone else sorts the world out.

            That just seems like so little when the problems will be so immense, but when I “imagine” that future, what I feel is relief/relaxation and a sense that I’m on the right track. Yet so many preparations and so many projects lie all around me, begging me to accomplish them either because I can or because nobody else is doing them or because they are ways to assuage my many worries about the future.

            I’m sure a lot of other commenters feel similarly and are also getting turned inside out in the process. I for one am not “honed” down yet to proper weight and trim. I’m still having problems with the concept that I need to do *less* in the Storm, rather than more.

            It appears I’ve still got a lot to drop or cut away, and I am grateful for your help in doing that.

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            My sister is usually a basket case in normal circumstances – but a champion when a storm sets in. My mother was very similar. For many people, it is the restless anticipation that makes them crazy…and they settle in quite nicely when real crisis hits, able to focus themselves intently rather than speculating on everything. I have said before that panic will be the biggest killer in the few months of total chaos that surrounds the final crash that heralds the fullness of the Storm. Stay steady and you will be surprised at how good you can do.

            Liked by 2 people

          • SteveBC says:

            Pre-game is always tough on me, and it’s harder on me when the start time is unknown or in our case, extending over a considerable period of time. I don’t tend to panic and run around talking crazy (too much of a wonk to do that!). However, constant stress wears me down quickly. Somehow, I need to learn to stay relaxed and trust that my most basic needs will be taken care of somehow while I provide my contribution. If I can school myself to that, then all will be possible, and I can be an aid to my family and friends and not a burden. I certainly intend to acquit myself well. We will see.

            Thank you for your bracing words and vote of confidence! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        • NancyA says:

          I always argue with that silly quote that God won’t give us more than we can handle… yes, He will, but He will also expect us to turn to Him for the grace needed to handle it.

          Like

  8. Jacqueline Marie says:

    Ooooooo……perish the thought! Maybe I should head to confession this afternoon?
    Thank you, again.

    Like

  9. We had a miracle regarding bugs once. Our apartment got bed-bugs a couple of years ago, and we couldn’t get rid of them. We sprayed and they came back. We had it sprayed again and when I was over at my aunt’s (because we had to clear the apartment due to the spraying) I was channel surfing on the TV and “by chance” came across an infomercial about natural remedies for various types of bugs. That cued me: “perhaps there is a natural remedy for bedbugs,” and I did some research on the Internet and discovered “diatomaceous earth.” They are microscopic shards made from diatoms (one celled creatures) that cuts the shell of the bugs, dehydrating them, and thus killing them. I went to the hardware store and found some of that mixed with a substance that attracts the bugs. That solved the problem completely. The thing is, the cue from that infomercial came at precisely the right time. I had never seen such a thing before or after, and I would have never thought of a natural remedy on my own. God certainly worked a miracle of timing there.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Katherine Bailey says:

      Hi Jim; If you stop into a Tractor Supply or Agway for example, you would find a supply of diatomaceous earth on the shelves. I use it mixed into regular soil as a “dirt bath” for chickens. This keeps the critters bug free. Only problem is that the chickens are the ones that decide just exactly where this “bath” is located in the coop area, so I have to become a chicken mind reader sometimes. Just a thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Connie says:

        that reminds me of when we had some chickens. I used to run around the pen trying to douse ’em all with a little DE – I am sure I looked as ridiculous as I felt! Not sure how much good I did in that case either- me running after them dodging me and flying and skwawking all over the place….

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          But if you had a video of it, it might have gone viral!

          Like

          • Connie says:

            Ahh, that was the most fun we ever had, that little farm. My favorite thing to do was put a little lamb across my shoulders and think of how Jesus felt as the Good Shepherd. My husband even delivered a little lamb once from his mother and gave it mouth to mouth- it was at Christmas time and we called him Emmanuel!

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Mary-Louise says:

    Charlie,
    I assume from your post you were blessed with a visit this past Monday, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Can you tell us anything about that day this year?

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      With respect, Mary-Louise, I don’t mind you asking, but most of my visitations are not for public consumption. There is the specific work that I give some elaboration on in the section of “My Purpose” at the top bar, and for which I have given some detail on in other posts. All such things are to show me how to carry out that purpose. When there is something it is appropriate for me to speak about publicly and can help, I do so. Restraint is how I proceed. Even with what little I do discuss publicly, I see much misinterpretation – some of it because I find it difficult to speak with the clarity I would like to, but a good chunk of it just because people add it to preconceived notions they already have. I do not wish to add to that…and it is not my purpose to repeat most of these things. So with respect to your contributions here, I will only speak of those things that are needful to help people acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope – and only when it is needful. You got a take of one visitation today. Yeah, it is 13 or 14 years old, but this is the first time I spoke of it publicly. I do keep my priests entertained, sometimes, though.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Matthew says:

    Charlie:
    Addressing the first part of your post. I certainly believe in the just war doctrine and am no pacifist but prescinding from considerations of whether the Senate report is accurate or not it is clear that the Church condemns torture of any kind. I think this must be clearly said.
    Matthew

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Donette says:

    Hello Charlie. I just returned from Italy. I was in the little town of Corato, among other places. I was visiting the Association for Luisa Piccarretal, a location where Luisa Piccarreta lived near athe last days of her life. I had book marked your site before I left. I usually am very careful when I learn of people who claim they are receiving visions, hearing locutions or giving messages, but when I returned, it took reading just one of your posts for me to determine that you are for real. You really are talking to the Lord and seeing Him. Let me tell you how I came to that conclusion.

    Your most recent post, Musings; Lord of the Fleas, reminded me instantly of Him Whom I Love. You see, when I was in Italy, I stood in a garden where Luisa Piccarreta was rolled on sunny days in her wheelchair, (truly a very small patch of green,) she asked while enjoying the sun, the flowers the grass and the few trees, “Lord, why did you make so many insects?”

    Heaven only knows, Charlie, we women can hate bugs. I smash one that comes within a nano second of my sight. And the Beloved told Luisa that in creating for His loved ones all of the tiny creatures of the earth that He got carried away.

    Charlie, I never see the Lord. Don’t ever hear his voice in a locution, but there is something in me that permits me to recognize Him. I think its His Adorableness. You really do see and talk to Him.
    Fiat!
    Donette

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Welcome, Donette. I am glad to have you with us. I think you will enjoy the people who comment here a lot. I think many of them are hearing more of the thousand little whispers from God each day than they used to. I know I am hearing many little whispers through them.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. ellenchris says:

    This is also for diane’s comment on St. Teresa: St. Teresa of Jesus got the fabric for her nuns’ habits from horse blankets. Not long after she moved into the first priory of her reform, they got a batch of habits that were infested with fleas. They tried to endure it patiently, but it was so bad that they could not focus on their prayer or meditation. St. Teresa took the statue of Our Lady and said, “This house belongs to you,” and then held a procession with Our Lady’s statue through every room of the priory. The fleas were gone completely. No puns occurred, however. The lord of the fleas loves stupid distractions. God just squishes those like bugs if we entrust it all to Him.

    Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Heh heh, Ellen…I am sure I would have appreciated it every bit as much without the pun…but the pun did make it more fun – and memorable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • kathy kalina says:

      And this reminds me of one of the most striking interactions I’ve ever had with the Lord. I was working the night shift in a hospice house, and everyone went buck wild at the same time. I gave them drugs, drugs, and more drugs, tried all my tricks, and nothing worked.(Almost nothing: one guy was screaming to be taken to his room. Of course, telling him he was already there was a complete waste of oxygen. So finally I put him in a wheelchair, spun him around in the hall 3 times, then took him back in his room. He said, “That’s more like it!” and stopped yelling. But that was my only success.)

      At around 3 a.m., I couldn’t take it anymore. I marched down to the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in a tabernacle. I slammed my clipboard down on one of the pews and cried out, “These are your people! Can’t you see how they are suffering? It’s your job to bless them!” (I cringe at the arrogance of my younger self.)

      In my heart, I clearly heard, “You are my blessing to them.”

      Immediately, I burst into tears, and cried out, “Is that the best you can do? I’m a sorry blessing!!!” Quietly, in my heart, He said, “Then be a better blessing.”

      I think this storm is going to absolutely require that we bring our very best self to the service of the Lord. And I think this time of calm is an opportunity to enter the Will of God so He can bring that out in us, and quickly!

      Liked by 5 people

    • donna269 says:

      awesome!!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Penny says:

    Your story reminds me of one out of my favorite book, “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom:

    Betsie and Corrie ten Boom spent time in notorious Ravensbrück Concentration Camp north of Berlin for hiding Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. The ten Boom family of Haarlem, Holland were watchmakers by trade. They also lived as devout Christians. Corrie was raised to understand that honoring God included respecting the Jewish people. Here is Corrie Ten Boom’s famous story of Betsie and the fleas from The Hiding Place:

    We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw.
    Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.
    “‘Fleas!’ I cried. ’Betsie, the place is swarming with them!’
    “‘Here! And here another one!’ I wailed. ‘Betsie, how can we live in such a place!’
    “‘Show us. Show us how.’ It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.

    “‘Corrie!’ she said excitedly. ’He’s given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!’
    “I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ‘It was in First Thessalonians,’ I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving The Hague, Scheveningen Prison.

    “In the feeble light I turned the pages. ‘Here it is: “Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all…’” It seemed written expressly to Ravensbruck.

    “‘Go on,’ said Betsie. ‘That wasn’t all.’

    “‘Oh yes:’…“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.’”
    “‘That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about these new barracks!’ I stared at her; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
    “‘Such as?’ I said.
    “‘Such as being assigned here together.’
    “I bit my lip. ‘Oh yes, Lord Jesus!’
    “‘Such as what you’re holding in your hands.’ I looked down at the Bible.

    “‘Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all these women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.’
    “‘Yes,’ said Betsie, ‘Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!’
    She looked at me expectantly. ‘Corrie!’ she prodded.
    “‘Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed suffocating crowds.’
    “‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for–’

    “The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’
    “‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.
    “And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.”

    “Back at the barracks we formed yet another line–would there never be an end to columns and waits?–to receive our ladle of turnip soup in the center room. Then, as quickly as we could for the press of people, Betsie and I made our way to the rear of the dormitory room where we held our worship “service.” Around our own platform area there was not enough light to read the Bible, but back here a small light bulb cast a wan yellow circle on the wall, and here an ever larger group of women gathered.
    “They were services like no others, these times in Barracks 28.
    “At first Betsie and I called these meetings with great timidity. But as night after night went by and no guard ever came near us, we grew bolder. So many now wanted to join us that we held a second service after evening roll call.

    There on the Lagerstrasse we were under rigid surveillance, guards in their warm wool capes marching constantly up and down. It was the same in the center room of the barracks: half a dozen guards or camp police always present. Yet in the large dormitory room there was almost no supervision at all. We did not understand it.
    “One evening I got back to the barracks late from a wood-gathering foray outside the walls. A light snow lay on the ground and it was hard to find the sticks and twigs with which a small stove was kept going in each room. Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling.
    “‘You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,’ I told her.
    “‘You know, we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well–I’ve found out.’
    “That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.
    “But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”
    “Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, “That place is crawling with fleas!’”
    “My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.”

    The conclusion of Romans chapter eight became one of the scriptures that sustained them: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” ~Romans 8: 35, 37

    So PRAISE GOD for ALL things – including fleas!! Charlie, I cannot explain how thankful I am for your “YES” to the mission that God has ordained for you. I don’t expect you to print the above, as I am sure it is too long…but I would love it if you would share more words about how you “drown your sins in love”, that you spoke about last June. After reading the book, “They Fired the First Shot” which is based on the messages of Medjugorje, we have formed a small Christian community and are living a more simple, agrarian life (I cannot believe that I now hand milk a cow!). So we are preparing for our physical needs – but want to do more to prepare spiritually for myself and my two teenage children. God bless you, dear Charlie!

    Liked by 5 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Ah Penny, but it was a good story, well worth reading and contemplating. I go for quality here – and don’t get too worked up if it comes with a little quantity behind it.

      Like

    • Patricia says:

      Penny,
      Great story. It shows how God can surprise us. I read “They Fired the First Shot” also. May I ask what area of the country you are in and how you formed the community?

      Like

    • Bev says:

      Penny, “The Hiding Place” is a book that should be read over and over. I just love it, and am delighted to read the part you quoted. One of my favorites is when her father explains to her that God gives us the grace for what is immediately “the next right step” when we need it, not before.

      Her father tells her, “You get the ticket when you get on the train.”

      Thank you so very much for your entry. Give thanks to God in all circumstances. It also answers Steven’s comment as well. I, too, have no weapon, and if I did, wouldn’t know how to use it. Therefore, if the occasion arises God wants me to do whatever He puts into my mind at that time. I don’t have to worry about it.

      I will add one comment I have learned early and continuously in my life. Trust God, and sleep when you can. Things will happen to cause each of us to fear, and if not us, our children. We have the ability from God to comfort them and ourselves, and cause an increase of trust in Him. So we can sleep together, a bundle of loving faithfulness. But it is vital to sleep. You soon learn that you can sleep wherever. Exhaustion makes it hard to focus and act. Even a rock makes a good pillow when necessary. So remember that it is vital to get sleep. We are designed that way by Him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Penny says:

        Bev, I know that story well. I first heard it the day after my beloved husband died on 9/15/01, at the age of 36. I was in shock and did not know how I would get through it…especially the extreme horror of having to see his lifeless body. A lady from my parish came to help me plan the funeral and told me this story. She said, “Penny, God will give you the ticket you need the second you need it”. Two days later at the wake as I was standing next to his coffin greeting people she came up behind me and said, “I see you got the ticket!”. When we all think about the suffering that is to come upon us, it is easy to believe that we will be so gripped in fear that it will be difficult to function. Let us trust that He will hand us the ticket we need to continue on, knowing what the next right step is.

        Patricia, we attended one of the “How to Form New Communities” conference that the author of the book puts on. Basically, God led us (I have since remarried) and another family to a beautiful acreage in northeast Iowa (that wasn’t even on the market yet – another long story:) which we purchased together. The property has the 3 things we desired – a water source, pasture and lots of timber. We threw out our TV’s and went to work. In one year this city girl has become a gardener, beekeeper, chicken wrangler, wheat grinder, milkmaid (love our cows and raw milk), and canning & food preserving crazy person…and loving every second of it all. We converted the large house into a duplex until we build a second home. The property also has a cabin that we are winterizing for whoever the Lord brings to us during the storm. I really believe that God has a plan for this property with how fast He has put everything together. Six months after moving in, the house next to us came up for sale and some very like-minded friends moved in. We have since came to realize that all our neighbors that we have met are like-minded. God is so good. BTW, there is another house down the road that just came up for sale. Charlie? Are you interested?? Please?!?! 😉 If anyone is interested, or would like more info on our little community, feel free to give them my email.

        Liked by 2 people

        • charliej373 says:

          I will do that, Penny. AS for me, nah, I am living poverty and God has certain places He wants me to be. So I just muddle on. But yes, the grief cuts like a knife. During the last week of my mother’s life, I fell to crying by myself repeatedly. Speaking on the phone to one of my dearest friends, I lost it once. He told me that, given what I know, he was surprised I was taking it so hard. I rather intensely reminded him that Jesus was Lord of life and death while He walked this earth even and is God – and did he remember what Jesus did when His friend, Lazarus, died? He remembered but remained silent, so I said it. Jesus wept.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Patricia says:

          Thank you Penny. Not in that area of the country. Sounds lovely. I am going to get the book out and reread.

          Like

    • NancyA says:

      Penny, I received that book as a gift, a much recommended read, and yet I procrastinated my own reading of it for years. It is truly a beautiful book. Such holiness. Very inspiring. I’m glad you’ve shared that bit here. Hopefully it will entice some to read it.

      Like

  15. donna269 says:

    Charlie, your son is so handsome and you must be very proud of him…..God bless him as a police officer in the worst times since the 60’s for police officers in this country. May St. Michael protect him in his work.

    Next, in Eastern languages, the flea represents something very insignificant. So our Lord is saying, satan is the lord of the insignificant and he runs when he sees Jesus…..alas! what we all knew :)….on a another note, I am being called to become a secular Carmelite. I have truly discerned this and God put some distinct things in place for me at a retreat yesterday. Pray for me as I begin this journey…..I will pray for all of you, I promise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Okay, Donna, maybe the pun was more subtle than I thought. The fleas had come to dominate the place so badly that I thought we would have to leave – or at least be gone for a week’s fumigation. Then swept away with no trace. Perhaps what seems to dominate right now throughout the west…the people, the ideologies, will also be swept away with no trace, utterly insignificant – when we decisively turn our hearts to God. The Immaculate Conception visitations are always focused on mission, my work, in a very intense way. As striking as that was, it seemed out of place because I did not see any strong correlation to the work laid out for me. I may be seeing yet another layer of meaning to it.

      Liked by 3 people

    • D Shea says:

      My son, former Marine, is a Detective Sargent in a large Metro PD and he will tell you that all this Ferguson/NYC “business”, 40 Years of PC and those that take political/$$ advantage have made the Cops job near impossible …. and you can bet that many, if not most, cops will now think twice before they “stick there necks out” to Serve & Protect! I fear it’s all part of The Storm and emphasizes the sad fact that YOU might well become the “bulwark” that defends home, family or neighbors!

      Liked by 2 people

      • charliej373 says:

        I know, D. I have family members who are cops. At best, many will NOT go into rough neighborhoods for a call any more unless the backup is right with them. All these Al Sharpton jerks in the media have accomplished is put more black folks in the poorest neighborhoods at greater risk from the predators who stalk them – because the police have to take more precautions to make sure that Sharpton and the others racist hustlers don’t mount a lynch mob to thank them. Ironic that the spiritual heirs to the white racists Bull Connor and Lester Maddox are the black racists Al Sharpton and crew.

        Liked by 3 people

        • donna269 says:

          Al Sharpton is pure evil….pure evil…..he gives me the shivers (Holy Spirit rejection shivers) when I see him on tv……with his bypass surgery for weight loss and his fancy suits….he screams American self centeredness….and the fact Obama treats him like some sort of cabinet member scares me to death….

          Liked by 2 people

        • Mick says:

          Charlie, perhaps that’s exactly what Sharpton and his ilk intend: to put more poor black folk at risk. After all, the higher the body count, the more the race hustlers can cry, “Racism!” and “Burn that b***** down!”

          Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            You may be right, Mick. Hideously, while virtue comes in many varieties, vice is ever mundane – focused on the self and what will aggrandize it. Sharpton treats the poor blacks who are in his audiences with contempt. Some of them are starting to figure out what a self-absorbed fraud he is. I just don’t know how people like that can live with themselves.

            Liked by 1 person

  16. SwampYankee says:

    Charlie: Thank you very much for your thoughts decrying pacifism. It was truly refreshing to hear a Catholic ( other than myself) voice those opinions. I’ll tell you, I’m tired of having the ” turn the other cheek” doctrine pushed at us so often. It is even to the point where I have heard priests , Catholic commentators and authors wagging their fingers at martial artist, boxers and mma practitioners, bemoaning the senseless violence and brutish behavior. Sigh. St. Michael, St. George,St. Joan, pray for us.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Hey Swamp, I am putting together a full piece on the subject, for it is VITALLY important to us in the coming days – and it wearies me that Catholics generally have gotten so far afield. For now, though, I have just Re-blogged this piece. You may be presently surprised to find that “turn the other cheek” does NOT mean what modern, shallow interpreters think it does. One really does need to know a little about the culture and the times to understand what a radical, subversive statement this was.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Patricia says:

      SY,
      Often I was called out on my death penalty stance since it seemed to not be in line with the Church. My gut told me that something was wrong when some of the same people who are vehemently against the death penalty are the very same who support abortion until the day a baby is born.
      I am not sure where I stand on the death penalty in it’s entirety but I do think it is allowable in certain instances. Also, in one of JP ll ‘s encyclicals, he wrote “it should be rare”. He did not say never. Furthermore, Fulton Sheen once said that some of the great saints of the day were soldiers. Good enough for me.

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        Almost all authorities of the Church oppose the death penalty, but opposition to it is NOT defined doctrine, as disapproval of abortion is. It infuriates me when slicksters try to confound defined doctrine with what his merely strongly recommended against. As for those who oppose the death penalty but support abortion, they constantly try to suggest that any who do otherwise are morally incoherent. When I was doing radio, I had one such caller. I responded, “I see nothing morally inconsistent with someone believing you should spare the innocent and punish the guilty. Your position that we must spare the guilty and execute the innocent is morally incoherent and noxious.” I did not get many other such callers. I did get one who asked the tired question of why we kill people to show that killing people is wrong. He was surprised when I told him he was obviously against incarcerating kidnappers. Surprised, he asked how I could get that out of his statement. I remarked that, by his own logic, I must ask, “Why do we hold people against their will to show that holding people against their will is wrong.” I didn’t get that remark again from anyone. Hee hee…people did get rather shy about slinging mindless bumper sticker slogans at me.

        Liked by 4 people

        • NancyA says:

          Extra likes!!!!

          Like

          • NancyA says:

            I should not have so enthusiastically hit the post button so fast. I just love it when one can use some simple logic and trip up the…uhh… foolish. I, myself am against the death penalty, believing that every human being should be given all the time available to them, for possible conversion. It’s an ideal I espouse, “from birth to natural death.” But it IS an ideal. I also don’t condone hotel` or club` type prison, either!

            Like

  17. patrick says:

    With respect to trust please refer to St. Faustina. I went through a period of significant trials. In the end when there was nothing else I could do but “let go” The Lord was there in His tender Mercies. He was there in the people around me who showed up with significant generosity.As American’s we have bought into this rugged individualism. The Lord did not intend for us to be self enclosed and self reliant. We can not even trust ourselves. We are a communion of people and will have to be there for each come what may.
    Please everyone don’t be anxious and feel like you have to watch every news cast and take every news cast as some sort of sign. With all do respect the Protestants scour the headlines and Prophesy ad nauseam. Prophecy comes from the Holy Spirit and not any of so called news agencies. It’s good to be aware of what’s happening of course. All I am saying is try to maintain your peace. “Be still and know that I Am God”

    Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      God bless you, Patrick. I am an historian. It depresses me sometimes to read through deep source material and see people of EVERY age applying Scriptural prophecies to little events of their time – and the thousands of candidates for antichrist propped up depending on who was unpleasant in
      EVERY age. I sometimes want to shake people and tell them to get a little broader perspective and a grip on the sweep of salvation history.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Maryj says:

    Charlie, I never leave comments,but today seems like the day to do so. I began my very first Marian Consecration,33 days to Morning Glory, on November 5 of this year. This would put my consecration on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Within those 33 days I have been given many trials. During the first week,three days before our wedding anniversary, my husband had a biopsy done. During the second week, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. During the third week, we were Blessed by the news that a Dr. at the Mayo would see my husband, but that he would need extensive surgery. During the fourth week, three days before my consecration day, our little pampered pooch brought home to us….you guessed it…FLEAS. I’ve had many a conversation with our Lord in the past month..I have impatiently awaited answers. As I was vacuuming on friday..for the umteenth time…I said to the Lord..You are Lord of all the seen and unseen..please help me to see. He sent me the ordinary, a post on a blog site. Thank you Charlie, for being His messenger to me. And by the way…no sign of Fleas!! I ask you all to pray for my husband, we are trusting in Him. May God bless you, and may Jesus Christ be Praised!

    Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      The Lord is full of surprises, Maryj. I have always avoided telling that story publicly – as it seemed so silly in many ways to me. Yet it seems it has been a striking sign of hope to many already. I guess He pushed me to ponder it for so many years and then tell it at just the right time – His time. I have said the Prayer of Miraculous Trust for your husband’s healing, asking that the Lord would send His servant, St. Nicholas, to comfort and guide you both through this time of trial and stay with you into the joy that is Christmas. God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Tarja says:

    FIGHT AGAINST EVIL IN RUSSIA:THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH WORKING FOR TRUTH…
    Moscow Will Not Build an Eye of Sauron Downtown After All

    http://rt.com/news/212891-sauron-moscow-orthodox-church/

    http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/12/moscow-will-not-build-an-eye-of-sauron-downtown-after-all/383605/
    .

    Like

  20. Irish7 says:

    Lovely, Charlie. Thank you.

    Dick Cheney was fantastic on the “torture report” this morning on Meet the Press. It is worth watching if you can find it on line. It was refreshing to listen to someone willing to state obvious truths unapologetically. When did we start to accept moral equivalency bt CIA agents and terrorists? It is just so obvious how fast it is all crumbling. There is such a vacuum of reason and logic. Anyway Dick’s incredulity at the insanity is heartening for heart sick and dumbfounded.

    Also, have you seen the articles popping up about the animosity between the Bilderbergs and Putin? They have been on Drudge and Spirit Daily, but I can’t find a link at the present moment. The gist as I understand is that they (bilderbergs) are smearing him because he is obstructing their plans. Interesting in light of Charlie’s geopolitical insights.

    Have a blessed time with your fam Charlie and may we all have a blessed and joyful Advent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      I was at four or five events that highlighted Dick Cheney, including one I was the main organizer of late in the game. He is warm, funny, down to earth and blunt. He was one of my favorite people in politics. You didn’t get a lot of mumbo-jumbo posturing from him. You might not like what he said, but when he said it, you didn’t have to guess what he really meant. Straightforward and transparent.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Irish7 says:

        Ah yes, straight forward and transparent…we are fans of him for the same reason. Much like you, Charlie. ;).

        Like

      • Patricia says:

        Charlie,
        I do not know if you want to get into this but it has often appeared in the media that there was a shadowy dark side to Cheney. He seemed to be attached to the defense contractors, etc, and therefore, a war hawk. I try to be discerning about what I read and believe but frankly I am completely mystified on this one. Any clarification on him?

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          Same old media slander against folks they don’t like. Cheney had stock in Haliburton when he took office, which he put in a blind trust. Haliburton made a ridiculously small return on its defense contract operations – small enough that it seriously considered dropping them altogether. The same media which is utterly uninterested in how Harry Reid became a multi-millionaire while never having anything other than a gov’t job in his life while constantly trading in the energy and the health stocks he legislated on and made killings relentlessly attacked Cheney for a small part of his holdings that he did not control and from which he made little profit. If Sen. Reid had merely held Haliburton, he would not have become a millionaire – though Haliburton would probably have benefitted from the media treating it as a great patriotic vendor. I am worn out with the constant ignorance, lies, and juvenile ideological uniformity of the media.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Patricia says:

            Thank you for the clarification. May I push you on two more? Due to Bush, the father, being in Dallas the day Kennedy was killed, using the term “new world order” , being head of the CIA and more, the thought is that he is not “with us”. What about George, the son? I would love to think they are both great guys who did their best for us and not part of the NWO. Love the Reid stuff. Thank you.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            I believe both are patriots, Patricia. Most of the stuff on the Kennedy assassination is overheated nonsense. Two of the best books on it, both doing massive detailed study of the forensics and acoustical data completely debunk almost all of the poppycock coming from conspiracists. The first is “Case Closed” by Gerald Posner. It so destroyed most of the most cherished nostrums of conspiracy theorists that the biggest of them were left making truly absurd claims. Cavitation evidence showed conclusively that the second shot came from the rear, not the front – and indisputably – so conspiracists were left arguing that a bullet from the grassy knoll was fired simultaneously from the kill shot which came from the rear, thus not leaving any trace it had been there. Nonsense on stilts.

            The second book is “Reclaiming History” by Vincent Bugliosi.

            The original conspiracy theorist, Mark Lane, was discovered after his initial book on the subject, by the KGB – Soviet Intelligence – which helped finance and influence him forever after. It was one of the larger KGB disinformation operations – for the Soviets were desperate to shift attention away from themselves after the communist connections and ideology of Oswald was revealed. This became a matter of fact with the disclosure of the Mitrokhin Archives, raw data from old KGB and other Soviet intelligence files after the fall of the Soviet Union. You can download the raw data off the internet – but it is massive. The definitive book which summarizes it is “The Sword and the Shield,” by Christopher Andrew.

            Even the narrative of the conspiracy theorists is cockeyed and only suited for the unknowing. The so-called Magic Bullet did not behave unusually at all. They have to prop that up. It behaved almost precisely as ammunition for a Mannlicher-Carcano should. It is a heavily sheathed bullet that is of medium velocity used for its penetrating power. Given the actual angle of entry, it behaved within the normal parameters of such a bullet. There was actually a Magic Bullet, though, the one that is always ignored. The bullet which made the kill shot completely disintegrated. That is entirely contrary to how that particular bullet should have behaved. That is a mystery that has never been addressed – probably because conspiracists are so busy manufacturing evidence from a grassy knoll that they had neither the knowledge nor the wit to even recognize a real and serious anomaly even when it was staring them in the face.

            The only credible conspiracy theory I have ever read – one which did not do substantial violence to the facts in order to fit them to the theory – was by a fiction author. It is fairly recent, “The Third Bullet,” by Stephen Hunter. If you read these three books, you will have more actual knowledge of the actual science, logistics, ballistics and logistics involved than about 99.99 percent of the population.

            Like

  21. Maryj says:

    I have said the prayer too Charlie. He has filled us with an abundance of Hope. He is close! Praise the Lord!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Chris says:

    Patricia and Penny, so glad to know that you are on board here.I have also read “Ther Fired the First Shot”, attended the “new communities” conferences and have formed prayer groups/new community with like minded new friends working toward the agrarian lifestyle.Here I am hoping to meet you all one day and now it just might be that we have already met.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Patricia says:

    Charlie,
    Glad to hear you think they are patriots. You are way over my head with regard to the conspiracy theories. I listed Dallas since it is often mentioned that Bush was there when one speaks ill of him. But so wasn’t Nixon. Odd to think that when one of the most important historical events in our country happened, three future presidents were present in what, was then, a not particularly important town in the South.
    So dare I ask since you brought it up: Are you coming down on the side of the Warren Commission?

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      No, Patricia, I am a fan of actual facts and evidence. The Warren Commission had plenty of holes, though it is much better than the caricature the conspiracists have tried to make of it. The thing is, when you break the stuff down and apply actual discipline to the matter….the conspiracy stuff blows away like so much smoke. It requires a larger suspension of disbelief than a Star Wars episode. There is a serious unanswered question concerning the kill shot. Hunter mounts a genuinely plausible fictional conspiracy theory that plays by the constraints the actual facts, forensics, logistics play – including the short window that such a conspiracy would have to occupy///it would have had to be opportunistic.

      The holes in the Warren Commission did not persuade me I needed to believe any piece of overheated nonsense that came along. That is not a desire for truth, but a hunger for adventure. Despite my visitations, I am not a fantasist. Truth will stand the test of examination. All the conspiracy theories require a very large dose of “let’s pretend” the facts are a certain way that they are not. Let me note here, in passing, that one of the great virtues of the Catholic Church was that, once I was drawn to it, it DID stand the test of examination.

      But for those who would like to delve deeply into it, here is a list of books that cover the gamut – conspiracy theories, actual evidence, the whole nine yards.

      Like

  24. Bob says:

    He is not lord of the flies; he is merely lord of the fleas – and he flees before me”. I will remember that Charlie. I work with addicts and have certain addictions myself and last night some of the obsessive temptations returned. After a few minutes I surrendered them to Jesus, admitted I most likely couldn’t overcome them myself without falling and they were gone. So God can make fleas of many types go away if we will ask Him to.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Kati says:

    Since this is a Musings thread, I have a question. I have had a request by a young Catholic mother (recent convert) who wants a book that will guide her in her motherhood by demonstrating the motherhood of Mary. I intend to encourage her in her devotion to Mary so that our dear Blessed Mother can personally guide her…but also wondered if there might be a really GOOD book that would help her as well. Here is what she wrote to me: “Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary and how strong her faith must have been to live the life she did, but I realize that my vocation is exactly like hers-to raise my children trusting 100% in God’s plan for them. I would love to do a study on Mary’s life as it relates to motherhood, but I am having trouble finding a self-study book that I really feel is what I need. Have you heard or anything like this that you could recommend? I have found some great studies on Mary, I am just looking towards something to strengthen my faith as a mother. For me, It’s very easy to let God have total control over my life, but I struggle with giving up control and listening to His plan entirely when it comes to my daughter.” Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions! 😉

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I am sorry, Kati, I don’t have, from personal knowledge, a book I can recommend on this specific aspect of things. Perhaps one of our readers here will have some advice.

      Like

    • I looooved “The Worlds First Love” by Fulton Sheen when I was just getting my feet wet as a teenager. I’m now 35 and can’t tell you a thing about it except that I fell in love with Mary while reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kati says:

        Ohhh wow, mommymentor…I was just looking at that very book the other day. I WILL go back and get it now. I have loved Bishop Fulton Sheen for many years. Our family used to sit down together to watch his show (guess I’m dating myself by sharing that…ha…ha…ha.). He was brilliant and funny and he definitely had the gift of teaching!
        Thank you for your posting of this.

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Kati, I became a single Dad when my little ones were just two and three. My priest used to wish me Happy Mother’s Day as well as Happy Father’s Day – and they always insisted at my Parish that I take one of the carnations they gave out to all the Moms on Mother’s Day. In something many Mother’s can probably relate to, when the kids has just been squabbling for several days straight, I lost it and told them to call me “Mommy.” Puzzled, they asked why. I angrily said I was sick of hearing “Daddy, Daddy” constantly. Oh, what a joyful period of my life! I argued, wrestled, disciplined, laughed and played with them – and sometimes cried with them. But no matter what else I ever do, that was my true life’s work – and the most satisfying (and often frustrating).

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kati says:

            You know, Charlie, I wish I had understood when all of my children were small just how sacred a trust God has given us with our children. I did understand that to a degree and we have lots of terrific memories as well as the relived stories we tell at gatherings now, but hindsight is always 20/20, right? God is so understanding and they are STILL my children even as adults so I have plenty of opportunity left. …and now it includes grandchildren and one great grandchild. 🙂 The reason I share this is that I have come to discover some very sharp families who are doing the most amazing things…and they are giving me ideas of what I can also do…even if I have to modify some things a little. One example of this would be a website that is dedicated to St. Therese of the Little Flower as its patroness. It is called Shower of Roses. This is a family that is JOYFUL and celebrates! And they are so darn creative and have FUN, I will post a link to the site because others who are parents or grandparents might like to take a look too and be inspired: http://showerofroses.blogspot.com

            I found this through another site that is called Catholic Cuisine…and has helped me bake a Lamb cake for Easter (children & grandchildren loved it) and given me good ideas for celebrating my granddaughter’s Saint’s Day with her every November for the last three years. Here is that site: http://catholiccuisine.blogspot.com

            Warning: Wandering around those websites can make one very hungry. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • Mick says:

      Kati, I thought about your friend’s request; and the two books that come to my mind are True Devotion to Mary, by St. Louis de Montfort; and Holiness for Housewives, by Dom Hubert van Zeller. Neither is a self-study book per se; but, boy oh boy, did both books help me alot when I was a young mother. True Devotion is, I think, the book which most helped me try to be like Mary in the way I approach life and motherhood; and Holiness for Housewives helped me realize that everything I do in my ordinary mommy life is in fact a beautiful and efficacious prayer to God–and not the mere pointless drudgery that the world says it is. Hope this helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      • charliej373 says:

        You know, Mick, I always put a premium on interaction with those around me. My family and friends are kind, careful to give me time to get my work done. But first and foremost is being there for those who need you. How can you be a sign of hope if you are not there at all? Knowing how differently things are viewed in heaven than they are here, the thing I have always worried about is not that I won’t write or speak in a particularly refined manner when necessary, but that I might get so absorbed in my work that I will miss the encounter God intends for me to live witness to someone – or a child – that will give them real hope and resolve because I am too busy. That is what changes the world. And a good Mom lives it better than anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

        • anne ovari says:

          Thank you Charlie for that encouragement for us Mums. We certainly need all the encouragement we can get. You are right Mick, the world certainly looks down its nose at motherhood which should be seen as one of the most important vocations in the world. I certainly couldn’t have done it without the help of dear Mama Mary. I was also going to suggest to Kati, True Devotion to Mary and maybe making her Consecration to our Heavenly Mother. Blessings and love to everyone

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kati says:

            Thanks Anne….I am ON this. 🙂 I plan to share what the Consecration has done in my life and then gift her with the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory. 😉 I also plan to consecrate HER to the Immaculate Conception using this prayer (which I can testify is VERY powerful):
            Efficacious Consecration of Persons
            to the Pierced and Immaculate Heart of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary
            In the name of the Father, + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Most holy Virgin Mary.
            — you whom the FATHER, from the first instant of your conception, preserved
            from all evil and from the least shadow of sin,
            — you whom the Precious Blood of JESUS rendered immaculate and all-beautiful, even before that same Blood was formed in your virginal womb and poured out upon the altar of the Cross,
            — you whom the HOLY SPIRIT filled full with every grace in view of the glorious motherhood of the Son of God for which you were created,
            — you crush the head of the ancient serpent,
            and you alone overcome the evil that is in us and around us.
            To you, O Mary,
            your Son has entrusted the liberation of souls enchained by sin,
            the healing of wounded souls,
            and the sanctification of souls who have suffered evil’s worst ravages.
            You have only to open your immaculate hands over them,
            and they are shot through with the rays of your purity.
            Through you, enters the light to shine in the darkest places.
            Through you, souls are washed in a downpour of graces.
            Through you, the Holy Spirit gives succour to the weakest souls,
            and to the sterile a wonderful fecundity.
            You, O Mary, are the only hope of your children scarred by sin
            and poisoned by its venom.
            To those whom the enemy has led astray in bitterness and in fear,
            you open the path of life and of beatitude.
            This is why, impelled today by the boldness that comes from the Holy Spirit,
            and by a confidence that is altogether that of a son/daughter,
            [and when the consecration is made by a priest:
            and in virtue of my priesthood,]
            I entrust to you N. and N.,
            and consecrate them to your pierced and immaculate Heart.
            Show yourself the Mother of mercy.
            Show yourself our all-powerful Queen,
            for there is nothing that resists your supplication
            in the presence of Jesus, the King of Love.
            Mediatrix of all graces,
            save these souls from the tentacles of evil.
            Heal them, even in those secret and painful wounds,
            that only your most gentle motherly hand can touch
            without adding to their pain.
            From this moment on,
            these souls are consecrated entirely to you.
            Do for them whatsoever your maternal Heart will suggest.
            Purify them in the Precious Blood of your Jesus, the Lamb without stain,
            so that now, and even unto the ages of ages,
            they may live for the praise of the glory
            of the Father + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

            (I hope this isn’t too long to post here, Charlie.)

            Liked by 2 people

      • Kati says:

        Thank you for this Mick. I am familiar with True Devotion but not the Holiness for Housewives. Both seem excellent and I will add them. You are right about motherhood not being a “pointless drudgery.” Anything we do with God is an adventure…at least that is how I have come to see it. 😉

        Bless you for sharing…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anything by Dom Hubert van Zeller is sure to inspire! He wrote one on penance and one on holiness that I have in my little library. Here are a couple of quotes from the book on holiness:

        “Hope here is to be thought of not only as looking forward to Heaven, which will be granted us if we do our part in this life, but more especially as having confidence in the power of God to straighten out our muddled lives even now while we are still living…It is this second sort of hope that sanctity develops and brings to perfection.”

        “The Good Shepherd has an endless number of sheep to look after: each one is different, and they bump into one another, and their bleating must infuriate right and left, but all are going in the same direction. The Good Shepherd is drawing them in His way, and the millions of separate sheep are trotting after Him in theirs. To be tolerant, and to have sympathy for other people’s approach to God, which may be very unlike ours, is a mark of true perfection. This is what St. Catherine of Siena says about it: ‘Such a one does not make himself a judge of God’s servants nor of any other; he congratulates every example and every state of life. He rejoices more in the different kinds of men that he sees than he would in seeing them all walk by the same way, for so he sees the greatness of God made manifest.'”

        There are gems on every page of his books. http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ADom%20Hubert%20Van%20Zeller

        Liked by 1 person

  26. BJ says:

    Junior looks like a gentle giant …honest,open, handsome, yet humble, easy to be with, goodness.
    What’s in a face? Quite a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Just a thought:

    I would like to ask all members of Congress, past and present, how come the dismembering of an innocent, defenseless American in the womb is considered a legal act, while the water-boarding of a terrorist bent on killing more Americans is considered a violation of human rights.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tom says:

      It’s because up is down, Carlos. Left has become right. Right has become wrong. Wrong has become right.

      Things are truly so far off the rails that only God can sort it out and get us back on track. I for one am ready, at least as ready as I can be thanks to many of you including Charlie.

      Musings? This will not end well, Russia is being cornered with the attacks on oil prices and now on their currency: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-15/russia-increases-key-interest-rate-to-17-to-stem-ruble-decline.html

      Liked by 2 people

      • The sins of Europe and America will have to be purged through some kind of suffering. NOT that I desire that, as an American I want the country to repent and return to be a Nation Under God but I understand that doing a 180 at this point without the grace of God is something nearly impossible.
        Putin is a tough guy. The kind of guy that wipes out the loan-shark’s whole family and writes “paid” in his ledger (actually Ludovico Sforza did that once) so this for me starts to look like Russian tanks rolling across pontoons over the River Elbe one more time.

        Russia remains a considerable conventional threat. And when we consider the brilliance of our Commander-in-Chief, emperor Hessitatious Erroneus Mediocrates the Organizer, picking on Putin right now can ricochet in ways no one can predict. Read Daniel 11 & 12 It seems to me we are living the pages of that prophecy.

        Let us pray for poor Francis for his reign is already marked by the blood of saints just as it was with Pope Pius XII of revered memory.

        Lord have mercy on us and on the whole world.

        Liked by 3 people

      • NancyA says:

        I have been using those sayings for years… the world is upside down. What is good is seen as bad, etc., etc. We need a “righting!”

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Kris says:

    YOu Know Charlie, I may be thinking wrong, but I find myself making preparations by having extra insulin for my son, buying and cooking meat and canning it because my son with diabetes will need that to keep his blood sugars in order. i just found out I have gallstones and because I have no insurance I must just change my eating and try to keep it all under control. I am staying very basic. I know that all my preparations may come to nothing. I may have to flee my house. I may have no electricity and I live in a cold place. I have stopped arguing with people, who I believe are like the pharisees and just want to set me up for a fall. I believe I am meant to be simpler,more quiet. I took up trying to learn the daily office of the Blessed Virgin. I am able to do the hours maybe once a day, LOL. I have tried to ponder alot what it means to stand at my parapet and just wait, not knowing really what I am supposed to be looking for. I have stopped reading all the blogs and news sites and am spending more time playing silly games with my family. I am not taking too many things seriously right now just enjoying my time with friends and family and trying not to get too caught up in things. I figure when whatever happens happens, I will depend on God to let me know what to do. In fact, my most serious prayer now is please give my the grace to be a child of trust, to give to others hope . That is all. I really dont have money to protect. My real debt is only a house and student loans and I figure if there is no money at all then we will all just keep living in homes that no one can pay for or take away. Where would we all be put? I have for years read and worried about all the stuff and now I am at a place where I just want to keep my eyes on the eyes of Christ as I see him in my mind. Knowing somehow he will let me know what to do. Am I being too passive or just following your advise to just stand at my place on the wall? I feel to do anything else is just to get caught up in a whirlwind. What are our thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Kris, I think you have arrived at some real wisdom. Let each prepare themselves with trust. I do not take any special medications for my condition. My sister thought for a time about abandoning it, too, fearful that she did not trust enough. I encouraged her to stay on…stopping would worry her husband and children enormously. Be a sign of hope, not of worry. Just trust that when it is needful, you will be okay – and do not lay any burdens on others.

      I particularly love that you are enjoying the silly games with your family. I love that, too. I think you have started to penetrate why I so love the ordinary. Sorrows must come – and thanks be to God, He has suited me to deal with them. But oh, how sweet the ordinary times are – and I am so glad I have wasted very little of it in worry over the years. Worry would have gained me nothing and cost me much. I suspect you have already come to see the beauty of that central point. Dad – Our Father – will help when we need it. Meantime, let us enjoy and rejoice in His lovely creation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kati says:

      Kris, You said, “… my most serious prayer now is please give me the grace to be a child of trust, to give to others hope.” I think this is absolutely beautiful….and right on target. My sister and I have noticed that we are interacting with God with a much more child like dependence on him than we were before. This includes being delighted in what we see Him do as well. We tend to get all excited and happy as if we were little kids when He does something very meaningful for us. I think it’s His great love for us that engenders that…and helps us to trust Him. I don’t see you as passive at all. I see you as growing in profound faith! 🙂

      By the way, I just bought a game for the family that looks like it will be a ton of fun.It’s called Tummple. It’s a building game…a bit more complex than *Pick up Sticks* …if anyone here can remember THAT game…ha ha ha…! Your post has encouraged me to get another game that I’ve had on my wish list for awhile too. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • SteveBC says:

      Kris, this is wonderful. I just got whacked upside the head about this same set of issues.

      In the long run I’m wondering if our opportunity to get our heads and our hearts right through this site and our current lives may turn out to be the hardest work we do in the entire storm. Get those right, and the storm should be easier to handle (although not easy!). So even as I struggle now, I appreciate having the opportunity.

      I’m having a lot of trouble with this right now but thanks to posts and comments here (this one of yours definitely included), as well as the occasional headside whack in my life, I appear to be making some progress. Simplicity seems to be part of what I am to learn, but it’s not a simple lesson for me to learn quickly.

      Thank you for your post, Kris. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      When Alice protests about the absurdity of something in the book, “Alice in Wonderland,” the Red Queen tells her that she believes in six impossible things before breakfast each day…and that words mean what she says they mean and nothing else. It is a descent into absurdity and madness. Now that our government does five or six absurd things before I get up each morning and 50 more before the day is done, I don’t pay much attention to it any more. It is all coming down, so I don’t focus much on the details, knowing that with certainty, but rather on gathering the ambulances and preparing to help people after the fall. It can be bizarre watching the gyrations of a government that has gone completely, barking mad, though.

      I told some close to me before the election that what I really expected this election to demonstrate was the hopelessness of looking to the political realm for solutions. When Democrats win, they attack fundamental rights. When Republicans win, they surrender fundamental rights. Our problem is spiritual and cultural. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are competent to confront what ails us any more.

      Liked by 4 people

  29. Bob says:

    Todays daily office reading has something about fleeing. I keep thinking about “they flee from Me”. I like Psalm 67 and we used to read it for deliverance prayers.

    God arises and his enemies are scattered:
    those who hate him flee from his sight.
    You blow them away like wisps of smoke;
    as wax melts in front of a fire,
    so the wicked melt away before God.
    The righteous are glad and exult in God’s sight;
    they rejoice in their gladness….

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Kris says:

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I am strengthened for the day. What a battle to fret if we are in fact doing the next right thing. I am looking forward to the games my husband and I bought the kids for Christmas. Over the last many years I have been wondering if the greatest loss that Catholics have been going through is the loss of a sense of comedy. The real comedy of laughing at our human weaknesses and foibles knowing we must depend on grace to move us along. Comedy keeps us humble I believe. I do hope my spouse can keep this grace during the storm. I will depend on it. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Kris says:

    Sorry, the most important sentence in my last post was lost. My husband is the one in our family that has the sense of humor and keeps us all laughing. He is the master of puns you see. Eyes that can zero in on the comic situation. I have also wondered why the Divine Comedy was called a comedy when it was a very serious work of how evil creeps in. This is the great Catholic vision of the world, We must all depend on God to help us through our weaknesses and finding the humorous in our weakness is truly a gift of grace. So that is my spouse and again, I truly hope he will keep that grace for us in the storm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Hi Kris. In medieval times, “comedy” did not mean funny – though it could be. It was any drama that ended happily, rather than tragically.

      Like

    • Thanks dear friends for your thoughts on humor and silliness! It woke something up in me that had kind of gone to sleep. 🙂 I used to write a humor column for goodness sake! I felt the Lord tell me once that my sense of humor was one of my greatest gifts. I almost didn’t believe him because he’s given me some pretty amazing gifts. But it just took some time for me to understand and to get it right. Humor can be biting and sarcastic at times, so it takes discipline not to let the satan use it to cause others pain. Silliness on the other hand can be, at worst, mildly annoying to some folks, but at best can produce a holy healthy fit of giggles and some dear sweet memories! Thanks Charlie and all for this timely reminder! I’m buying myself a silly board game for Christmas!

      I also want to share with you a story that one of our parishioners told me this week, about God’s sense of playfulness. He was at his wife’s office Christmas party. There was a lengthy washer-tossing tournament as the entertainment, kind of like a curling draw (Canadian reference) where two-person teams were playing and advancing on the board according to whether they won or lost their latest match. Well, Roy told me he is quite competitive and so he said to the Lord, “‘Winning is more fun than losing, Lord, so why don’t we just win?” Now wouldn’t you know it, Roy and his teammate won every match all the way to the final. That final match was a nail-biter and went down to the last toss–but Roy’s team came out victorious. Roy said to me, “I don’t know why the Lord cared if I won or lost.” I said, “You were probably the only one at the party that asked him to play!”

      You know, we really need to consciously include him more often! It’s a shame to make him sit on the sidelines when everyone else is having fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Nancy says:

    Charlie, I love this post. Not only the description as the Lord of the Fleas but his being described as “the satan”–as an object, not a person/spirit by a proper name–and fleas don’t have names.
    We were made in the image and likeness of God so I can only imagine that our sense of humor came from Him. Only humans and angels (as far as I can guess) would understand the finesse of a pun but God would. The satan would only turn it into a caricature which would be anything but humorous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      I have wondered sometimes, Nancy, why my friends seem to so love puns (and they usually come up with very elegant, subtle ones). The last few days, it has struck me…my angel is always delighted when we get something close to right. He really dotes on our more charming aspects. Language is OUR creation. I am beginning to think it pleases them to play with our creation as a small tribute to how clever we can be when we really work at it. I may be wrong on this…they haven’t told me anything, but it is consistent with their warmly affectionate attitude to us.

      Liked by 1 person

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