The Challenge of the New Year


By Charlie Johnston

I meant everything I wrote in my last post about the Consecration of Russia. I believe it is accomplished and was fully accepted. But it would not surprise me or be at all inconsistent with how God works if the consecration turned out to be ongoing – and that there was to be a final consecration of Russia individually by name before the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. What I know is that God always accomplishes His will, sometimes through our stumbling efforts, sometimes despite them. So I don’t worry much about it.

Truth is, I had an ulterior motive. I have been deeply concerned with the visitation I briefly referenced from the early morning hours of December 20. In part of it I saw a great multitude of demons, spewing up as if from a great fountain and spreading across the whole earth. Their primary target in this year, knowing their time is short, are those who are most overtly pious and faithful. If they can cause despair here, they can destroy many. Their primary method of causing despair is to reveal to the most overtly pious that things are not as they thought they were. Think here of the crucifixion. The apostles were scattered, for even though Jesus had warned them of this, it is not what they expected. They expected the triumphant re-establishment of a temporal kingdom. I frankly think even Judas thought that all his betrayal would do was force Christ to reveal His mighty power and establish the kingdom while putting the Romans to rout. This is why Judas despaired and killed himself: things were not like he thought and so he despaired of God, rather than of his own misinterpretation. Think of the pious friends of Job. They kept defending God’s honor to Job, who kept challenging and complaining of God. In the end, God was so angry with Job’s friends that He would not even hear their prayer – but made them go and ask Job to pray that they be forgiven. I saw that even the greatest are going to be sifted like wheat in the coming year, shown that some things are not as they think. Because of it, some will despair of God.

Within the Church there is great freedom. You are not obliged to believe anything except that which is definitively revealed through Scripture and the Magisterium – and the Church is the authentic teacher of those truths. And on these things, it always irritates me to hear the phrase, “obliged to believe,” for in truth, we are actually privileged to know these things with certainty. On matters that have not been definitively taught, we are allowed room to ponder, study, speculate and propose what we will, so long as it does not lead people away from the safety of the faith. On matters of private revelation, even of approved private revelation, we are permitted to follow or ignore them as we will. The speculations of many saints and theologians have enriched the Church’s depth of understanding of the things of Christ through the ages. Every approved private revelation was once not approved…a few were even briefly condemned. These have enriched our understanding of how to respond to Christ’s invitation to salvation in particular times and places.

Yet, if you are the most brilliant and faithful person in the history of the Church, there are still many things you do not understand or misinterpret. St. Thomas Aquinas despaired of his efforts near the end of his life, when he was granted a vision of heaven – and then thinking all he had written was so much straw. Our ignorance is fine, so long as you understand that and hold tight to God, happy to be corrected when it is meet, and happy to do your humble duty when it is not. But many, perhaps most, are not engaged with God. They are engaged with their expectations of what God is, an image they have erected in their minds. For the apostles, the image of God was of a glorious warrior who would set the Romans to flight and resurrect the temporal kingdom of Israel. When they saw Him die on a cross, confounding their expectations, they were scattered. For a time they despaired of God rather than shedding their erroneous expectations.

Many theologians are dismissive of anything not penetrated in their dusty cells and dustier tomes. They regard any who deal with spiritual things as ignorant fools. They think they have captured Christ in their meanderings. Many who advocate apparitions and private revelations think they have perfectly mastered the mind of God, that they are uniquely privy to His plan of salvation and feel it their duty to denounce any who dispute their interpretation. Many who run ministries are not involved with Christ or His people, but have set up little fiefdoms to give themselves more honor and glory in this life. They are not so engaged with the people of God as they are with their dreams of the statues they think will be erected in their honor. Many who have been called to be Shepherds are more interested in protecting their sinecures than they are in feeding the Lord’s sheep. Among all of these, it is not black and white. Many who have deceived themselves actually do some very good things and preach good homilies as a fig leaf to cover their central animating vanity. They think they have tamed Christ. But like Aslan in the Narnia series (who was an image of Christ) the Lord is a Good Lion, but He is not a Tame Lion. Satan has been given leave to prove us all, to find if our love of the image of God we have erected in our minds, which is a vanity, is greater than our love of God. If it is, we will despair of God when we are shown how much we are wrong about, rather than jettisoning our errors.

Meantime, all the Bishops, even the Pope, if they love playing at the role of politician while neglecting their role of shepherd, will be tried as if by fire this year. All the laymen and politicians who love playing at being Bishops will suffer the same – though most of the politicians have already been exposed as the impotent irrelevancies they are in the last few years.

If you reacted to any suggestion that your interpretation might not be correct with an edge of bitterness, you will be tried in this coming year. If you choose to edit out facts which counter your favored position in order to bolster your beliefs, rather than considering all that you know, you will be severely tried in this coming year.

I ask you to remember that the most Scripturally knowledgeable men when Christ came were overwhelmingly arrayed against Him. Those who knew the words of the prophets the best were the most eager to condemn Christ as a fraud. Confronted with the reality of God, they chose to hold fast to their expectation of God and condemn the Real Thing. It was not merely some who did this; it was the overwhelming majority. Those who knew the most, those who were the most overtly pious were overwhelmingly those who were the most virulently hostile to Him. What makes you think we have changed so much? Or that you are exempt? To know carries with it grave responsibility – and grave danger – for it is always a source of temptation to believe you have penetrated the very mind of God. Those who loved and followed Jesus with enthusiasm were almost entirely those who did not pretend to know much of anything, except the hardness of their lives – and the despair of being oppressed by both their Roman overlords and the religious authorities who collaborated with them. To contemplate this is to begin to understand how dangerous knowledge can be. Seek wisdom.

I write this not to chide anyone. We have much freedom in the faith. I do not know who merely defends their position with vigor

Our sure defense.

Our sure defense.

while ready to accept whatever corrections God sends and who has gotten completely involved with their own expectations of what God must be. I gave a few stiff arms in the debate on that column, too. But if you look at yourself in serious examination, you will know. A bitter edge is perhaps the most obvious sign that you are not where you need to be. Rather, I write this so that you will not be taken unawares – and when your trial comes, you will not despair of God, as Judas did, but will despair of your own frailty as Peter did, and resolve to love more and unto death. Then, the satan will suffer a serious reversal, for all he will have accomplished is to burn away some of the dross that impedes the purity of your soul.

I used this method, because the Lord often used it on me – and still occasionally does. As anyone who knows me well can attest, I can easily go off into a rant. For nearly two decades, I made unwarranted assumptions from bits I was given, turned out to be terribly wrong in my interpretations, and God let me suffer the embarrassment that my brashness reaped. In time, I quit running off to obvious assumptions – or even secondary assumptions – from what I was told. I assumed far less and listened and pondered far more. Through this prolonged and often humiliating gauntlet, I learned to see a little more clearly from the eyes of eternity. Even now, it pleases the Lord to show me on a fairly regular basis where I have misinterpreted what I was told or shown. In the visitation I speak of, I was corrected of one misinterpretation I have long held – and shown what is potentially another. But it doesn’t matter. Even with my priests, I have been careful to note what is my interpretation and what is the raw message I am given. I know how stumbling and foolish I am…and solely because of my training, I am less stumbling and foolish than most. I have told you what I think of the consecration of Russia. But if it pleases the Lord to prove me wrong, it will not slow me a bit…for I know that is not my responsibility, even though I am free to speculate on it. And I know that His will is always accomplished:

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,

and return not thither but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth;

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10,11

If it would shake you to find that your interpretation of the consecration, or any other matter not defined by the Church, was wholly wrong, you have a rough year ahead. It does not matter whether you turn out to be right or wrong, but whether your reliance is in God rather than in your expectations.

Fortunately, there is a sure way to avoid this sort of trial, the way of simplicity, humility and abandonment. Remember, after the resurrection Jesus repeatedly asked St Peter if he loved Him. Peter was getting frustrated at having to repeatedly assure the Master. And each time he did make the assurance, the Lord told him to “feed My lambs.” If you want to be sure of staying in the will of the Lord, abandon all vanity and take the simple way: Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. I hope this helps you to gird your loins. Heaven knows I have told you true on the matter.

I will close with a phrase I did not think much about when I first wrote it, but have come to think was deeply inspired: “As you look at your life, you cannot measure it by the books published, the soup kitchens worked, the refuges built – though if you can do those things, they are good. Rather, you must judge it from the perspective of the hope you inspired, the peace you spread, the joy you engendered, the love you kindled – for these are the sure marks of the Kingdom and of God. All else is detail.”

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.
This entry was posted in Discernment, Obedience, Prophecy, Satan, Spiritual Preparation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

249 Responses to The Challenge of the New Year

  1. Mrs.B says:

    I was reading about Pope Francis’ comments on global warming. Do you have any reason to believe that climate change will have anything what will be happening in the next few years? Is this all part of God’s warning or is it something else? Just seeking your opinion.


  2. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    Brother Charlie–being new to your blog, I find it very illuminating in these days of darkness and deceit.

    Your motivating energy, may I inquire, is formed, in part, by that of God’s lovely “Little Flower,” no? She is a veritable power-house of spiritual truth and energy.

    “CARRY ON”, fellow soldier of the Church Militant!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Donna says:

    Here is a link to another article regarding shattering illusions on the new year:

    There seems to be a kind of synchronicity of awareness/ideas going on.

    Your article is fascinating, although a little hard to understand in regards to whom you’re referring in some of your examples, like when you said, “If you reacted to any suggestion that your interpretation might not be correct with an edge of bitterness, you will be tried in this coming year.”
    For me, yes, I am reacting with anger and frustration at our priest (bitterness? Probably not, but maybe close…), who dismisses my concern that the old crying room at the front/left side of the church, dimly lit and hardly a place of honor, is now where they maintain the tabernacle. Yes, I am totally upset that during the confirmation preparation classes we are attending with our two oldest children, the kids and parents are led through the whole stream of, “now, everyone close their eyes, and begin to focus on your breathing, just let the trials of your day float away – now focus on the feelings of your hands, now that they are resting on your legs… breath deeply…” In fact, I’m frickin’ livid!!! Will my illusions be shattered? I don’t think I’m under any illusion other than the self-doubt I feel because I feel so alone. I’m hoping you’re meaning these practices will be shattered and our good priests will be brought back to the power of Jesus’ body blood soul and divinity in the Eucharist, just like St. Clare, who routed the evil soldiers while carrying the Eucharist in the monstrance. The hoops we and our two oldest kids are required to jump through before they can be considered ready for confirmation (including TWO weekend retreats, totallying $210 for them both) is an absolute disgrace!!!
    So, why did God give me a conversion experience back in 1998, with a stroke of light similar to St. Paul’s, and an immediate understanding and belief in the Eucharist, when our parish priest is apparently so sorely lacking in any depth or orthodoxy in faith???!!
    My husband accepted my wanting to start attending chuch (and finally became Catholic, too) and my desire to go off the pill, and we became open the church’s life teachings and subsequently have 3 kids. Now, everywhere I turn, it’s looking like we’re more devout than the clerics! Why do I have this faith!!??? I share it with my kids for sure, and I am usually very trusting in God, but I tell you, the devil is surely sifting me, and the only thing pulling me through it all are the preaching of Fr. Corapi’s past talks, and Archbishop Fulton Sheen youtube videos.


    • charliej373 says:

      No, that was not what I was talking about, Donna. For something to be a matter of interpretation, it has to be subject to interpretation. Things that are objectively true or that are prescribed pious practices of the Church are not such matters. Jesus acted in righteous anger at the desecration of the Temple. The desecrations of modern times are abundant. The wonderful Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois (one of my old haunts) just ordered that all tabernacles in Churches in his Diocese be returned to the center of the sanctuary immediately. I once angrily told a Bishop that all Priests should begin teaching the Real Presence regularly…and if they didn’t believe it, they should pretend to until they did in reality…and if they couldn’t even pretend they should leave the priesthood and find work they could be honest about.

      What I was primarily referring to on “interpretation” are those matters that we are free to examine and explore. For example, it bothers me not a whit that some folks believe in the authenticity of Medjugorje and some do not. It bother me a lot that some advocates either way seem to think they must sneer and get bitterly angry when anyone disagrees with them. (In fairness, most of the sneering and bitterness comes from critics of Medjugorje, but I have cautioned a few advocates of it for similar attitudes.) I do not understand why some get so bitter that others disagree with them on matters that they are free to disagree on. The malice and vanity that underlies that is going to be a BIG source of problems for many this year.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Donna says:

        Yes, of course, that makes sense, thanks for clarification. And I appreciate hearing that you have spoken out also, to a bishop, even. I knew I had read somewhere on your site that you had done that before, but couldn’t find it. I’ll keep looking since it’s reassuring to hear that I’m not alone, and to hear how you have handled it. One thing I will definitely continue to do, is to go to confession with this priest. God bless you & yours.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sue Reister says:

          Thank-you for asking for that clarification. I too am struggling with the disrespect in our parish in front of the tabernacle. I was asking God if I was being prudish or self-righteous when loud unnecessary talking and laughing occurred in front of the tabernacle before and after Mass, plus so much more. I spoke up to our former pastor about it, but he just kept saying, “baby steps”. Six years later, it hasn’t improved. I now just pray for those individuals and for the whole parish – including myself.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. E. Allison says:

    Donna, my family and I loved Fr Corapi. We were heartbroken when his scandal broke, and he fell away. I hadn’t even given him a thought in quite a while. Thank you for the reminder. I’ll make sure he’s back on my prayer list.


    • CrewDog says:

      Donna & E.’
      I was (am) a big fan of Fr Corapi but satan-n-pals managed “to knock him off”. Where are the replacements for Fulton Sheen, John Corapi, Benedict Groeschel …… and Billy Graham? I don’t see them on my “Parish” EWTN much except for re-runs. I’m sure part of it is 40 years of PC, part that schools simply don’t teach Public Speaking and like Voris sez … Church of Nice ;-( …. Guess that’s why we got The Storm upon US!!


    • Brenda says:

      I too pray for him because on 3 different occasions Our Lady appeared to him and called him “Johnny” and with that I pray he will not be lost


      • jlynnbyrd says:

        Father John was a frequent presenter at the Chicago Marian Conferences and a beloved priest. This news brings joy to my heart. He is a faithful shepherd and servant. Praise the Lord.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Petra says:

          I”m sorry, but I would never listen to Fr. Corapi ever again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

          Back when all this happened, all I had to see was the graphic on his “The Black Sheep Dog” website of a sinister looking wolf wearing a sheep’s pelt with the words “Sheep Beware” under it to make me believe he was showing his true colors. What true priest of God being falsely accused would do that?

          He wrote a book after all this happened titled “Don’t Look Back: The Story of John Corapi” with a photo on the cover of a man (himself?) on a motorcycle traveling away from the camera, the license plate saying “Onward.” I did not read the book. I only can say it appears at that time by the title and the image he was planning on going for good. So I ask myself now, is he missing the limelight and wants to be a rock star again? How can you trust someone who supposedly had such a massive conversion away from evil, who went back to it?

          If he returns to God and his order and the priesthood, good for him, for his soul. But I will never trust him again. If he is a deceiver, he is a master! And me, being just a little sheep, am too weak and vulnerable to be able to survive an attack by a wolf. No thank you.


          • charliej373 says:

            Well, I will take him at his word if his superiors have accepted him back. But he should not be allowed to be in a public ministry in the media again, I don’t think.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            I only had a few acquaintances with Father Corapi decades ago and was not aware of the full scale leading to his downfall. I do remember reading Cardinal Bernardin’s book, The Gift of Peace that is an amazing story of being wrongly accused, more so about him forgiving his accuser before his death in 1996. About the same time, I served on the Chicago Archdiocese when the priest abuse was at the forefront. I got to witness firsthand groups that manipulated and accused charged priests, as well as see priests indicted and convicted of wrongdoing. Currently, we have a beloved priest at our parish who embezzled from the church to feed a gambling addiction. He now also works in a job outside the priesthood to repay the debt part time and served a jail sentence. So I try not to judge and lean toward forgiveness, perhaps to a fault. He gave a heart wrenching homily about his cell mate. When they met, he fell to his and said, father I have been waiting for you, you are just what I need. They formed a life long friendship and when father was released, he shared with the inmate that it was indeed his pleasure to learn from him and that he, the inmate, was in fact just what father needed. It brought tears to my eyes. I am a sucker for a happy ending and love forgiveness and redemption.
            I will take time to research, pray and discern moving forward so as not to be naïve. I will conclude that I had fond memories of father John and he made a good impression on me (at the time.) Thank you for enlightening me Petra.


          • barb129 says:

            I am hopeful that he is back in the priesthood, but I think, for his sake, he should not be back in public ministry. Perhaps someday he could write his story to warn others.

            Liked by 1 person

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  6. bthanntrm says:

    It is so nice to read the comments on this site. Even the ones that have doubts or even disagree do so to with much respect. May I pass along some of your writings to people I know?
    God Bless and keep you.


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  13. SanSan says:

    “As you look at your life, you cannot measure it by the books published, the soup kitchens worked, the refuges built – though if you can do those things, they are good. Rather, you must judge it from the perspective of the hope you inspired, the peace you spread, the joy you engendered, the love you kindled – for these are the sure marks of the Kingdom and of God. All else is detail.”

    I have been pondering this in my heart……the “fruits” of the Holy Spirit are joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, love, peace, and self control.

    I pray the Holy Spirit will increase these gifts in me. Come Holy Spirit Come, I am lacking.


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