Musings – Despair is for Chumps

We are the sheep. He is the Good Shepherd.

We are the sheep. He is the Good Shepherd.

By Charlie Johnston

I was grateful that so many of you offered your prayers up on my behalf yesterday and today. It is nice to have such a community sending up prayers. I went to Daily Mass this morning, did a little work, and then took a long nap. All will be well.

I was a bit taken aback at how many urged me to go to the doctor, both in comments and email, even after I explained why I do not. I am not entirely dogmatic about this. Last year I got an infection and my brother-in-law had some antibiotics he hadn’t used. I cheerfully took advantage of them to knock the infection out. If I were laying on the floor convulsing, I probably would not fight with anyone taking me to the doctor. If I were with one of my doctor friends (unlikely – they are all in the Chicago area) and he said, “Hey Charlie, you look funny, let me take a look at that,” I wouldn’t argue with him. I treat it all passively, kind of like sitting by a stream, watching what comes along and taking what seems useful, but not searching for any particular thing.

I want to re-iterate that if you feel something bad and health care is easily available to you, you SHOULD take advantage of it. You should not spurn God’s ordinary means in a petulant demand for His extraordinary ones. My radical dependence on Him for these things during the fullness of the Storm is a matter of discipline for me, not for all. Your mission is not my mission, and my mission is not your mission. In some ways, I have been sent before you, to help you keep heart during the Storm. When I went on my pilgrimage, it was not to encourage everyone to go walking and sleeping in the woods. That was for me. But, if the time comes when you are dislocated and you have to live that way for a while, it will be a sign of hope to you that I did it before you and did just fine. While medicine is easily available to you, you should take advantage of it. But if it should fail, that I had to depend on God’s grace before you will help you to avoid panic and endure should you have to.

What sort of sign of hope would I be if, at a sign of significant inconvenience, I said never mind? In part, what I do in these things when it is not necessary for all is to give you hope and real trust should it become necessary for you to do the same. But you should not adopt these things unless you must. When the Storm is over I will humbly and gratefully take advantage of all the normal means God has offered us. I only defer now because I am a soldier in His service and under His direct care for the duration of a very particular mission. You should not be surprised that I try to live it all consistently. Whether I am crazy or not, I mean it and I try to live it well.

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Like many, I was startled when I saw that Pope Francis is going to write an encyclical on the matter of climate change. A Papal Encyclical directing governments how to handle specific emissions would have all the authority of an American Presidential directive on changing Canon Law: None. It would be an embarrassing over-reach that would make the Church look silly. Catholic doctrine acknowledges that matters of faith and morals are the prudential responsibility of the Church while political and policy decisions are the prudential responsibility of the laity, provided intrinsically illicit means are not used.

I had been amused at the agitation Pope Francis’ first message to the faithful, Evangelii Gaudium, caused. Many thought it revealed a socialist economic mindset. Fortunately, I had read it before I commented on it. The Pope did reveal a certain deficiency in his grasp of economics: some of the things he personally favored would have led economies away from, rather than towards, the ends he seeks. Not a problem. A Pope is not called to be an economist – just to articulate the ends economics should lead to for a just society. We had been a bit spoiled by the economic sophistication of both of Francis’ two predecessors. What was critical was whether Francis acknowledged the proper prudential duty and authority of each calling, clergy and laity. He did. He noted in the encyclical that it was not his duty as Pope to tell how we should get to a just situation, only what the end result should look like – and it was for those charged with that responsibility to devise effective means to accomplish just ends. He did not fall prey to that ancient temptation for Bishops to play at being lay policy-makers, politicians.

Pope Francis, though, is incredibly canny and subtle. When I was working politics, it was the habit of the media, when confronted with a dramatically rising new conservative or traditional voice, to try to play them by finding things in what they said that could be interpreted as progressive – then praise those things extravagantly. The gambit is designed to try to seduce such politicians into actually adopting progressive nostrums and abandoning intellectual rigor. Sadly, it often works. The media has done the same thing with Pope Francis since his election. I do not know, but am beginning to think, he is brilliantly clever. I do not think he just resists the siren call, but in a form of public relations judo, draws the schemers in and turns their efforts against them.

Many were atwitter at the seeming potential apostasy of the first session of the Synod on the Family last year. Francis let them dream…let them cast him as a crusading closet progressive. The media exuded such effulgent praise of his judgment, his compassion, his subtlety on the issue, that they would have looked like the silly ideologues they are had they suddenly condemned him if they did not like the final product. He led them right down the primrose path and then, in his closing remarks, made one of the most profoundly compelling statements of compassionate orthodoxy I have ever heard. It was brilliantly conceived and brilliantly played.

If I were a progressive, I would be a lot more cautious before following Pope Francis down this primrose path. They are again praising him for secretly being one of them, an enthusiast for junk science that empowers the state over the individual. They praise his brilliance, his perception and his judgment in enthusiastic anticipation of him adding the weight of his authority to their errors. He doesn’t correct them now. But what if, when all is said and done, he writes an encyclical on stewardship, firmly noting that man was not made for nature, but nature for man…that man is called to care for it carefully, but that it must not become a tool to use against man and his aspirations or his duty to care for himself and his family? What is the media going to do…suddenly condemn him because he did not come to the same conclusion they did after having fulsomely praised him and anointed him as a true judge? They probably will, but they will look like fools in the process.

I get the feeling that the only safe course in dealing with Pope Francis is to stick with what is true, what there is evidence to support, and to absolutely avoid trying to tailor your sentiments to match what you think his preferences are going to be. So I am going to resist the temptation to comment on his intention. I will not critique what he says on the matter until he actually says something of substance on the matter. There was a marvelous piece on this subject here.

*********

A lot of people have been feeling despair in the last month. World news is bad enough, but people seem to be having great trials within their families and circle of friends, with keeping to what they believe their duty is, and with worry over what is around the corner. The world seems to have very dark plans for any who are serious about their Christian faith.

But no one had plans any darker than those who took Jesus up to be crucified. Astonished at His silence, Pilate asked Him if He did not know that the power to decide His fate lay in Pilate’s hands. Our Lord responded that Pilate had

Our Lady, Star of the Sea, the great Stella Maris, will guide us safely through this Storm back to her son if we let her.

Our Lady, Star of the Sea, the great Stella Maris, will guide us safely through this Storm back to her son if we let her.

absolutely no power that was not given to him from above…and so, in fact had no power over Him at all save that which would advance the Kingdom of God. Heh heh, that response scared the bejabbers out of the cynical Pilate, who, from that point on twisted himself in knots trying to escape responsibility for the persecution of this Man/God.

I have fallen prey to some of the despair at what surrounds us, as well. It is dark and getting darker by the minute. Who wants to mount up and follow the Way of the Cross? Who looks forward to being scourged? There will be some bad days, there will be some worse days…yet within them all there is grace and joy to be found. Some days I will live my duty well. Some days I will fall far short. But the world has no power whatsoever over those who trust in God, save that which advances the cause of His Kingdom. Thus, I have come to conclude that, though it may sometimes envelop me, despair is for chumps.

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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110 Responses to Musings – Despair is for Chumps

  1. johnmcfarm says:

    I haven’t been to my cardiologist for four years now…I just trust the Lord and truly believe that when God calls me…he will do it on His time. Albeit, if I have another heart attack I would like to go to the hospital…

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      I understand that, John. I kind of hope that if I ever have another heart attack, I don’t notice it like I didn’t the first one…stay in bed for a day or two and then carry on.

      Like

      • johnmcfarm says:

        Wow, the same thing happened to me with my first heart attack…although the next day I flew to Phoenix, from Salt Lake for a real estate auction…was absolutely exhausted by the time I got back home…

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          It was several years, later for me, John. When I was getting cardiac clearance for my neurosurgery, the cardiologist casually asked me when I had had my heart attack. I told him in surprise that I had never had one. He chuckled and said, “Oh yes you did” and showed me the dead tissue on the monitor that revealed it. He said it had been a few years and looked to have been caused by stress – and asked if I had had an unusual amount of stress then. It was my turn to chuckle, for there was about a five-year period of unremitting stress there. I asked how I could have had a heart attack and not even noticed. He said my heart was very strong and healthy, almost athletic, though it had some very peculiar rhythms. That being the case, he said I probably just felt really lousy and tired for a few days and things righted themselves.

          Like

          • johnmcfarm says:

            Exactly the same with me, but I knew exactly when it happened…I had had back pain rather than chest but my left arm went numb, etc. Of course, I did not quit smoking, drinking, and high fat diet and incredible stressful lifestyle till years later…after my second heart attack when I died…but that is another story.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Jim M. says:

            Those “peculiar rhythms” are just your heart trying to keep the beat of the choir of angels.

            And don’t let what the doc said go to your head; “almost athletic” is not athletic. 😉

            Like

          • MMBev says:

            Well, Charlie, I avoid the doctor at all possible times. Not for your reasons though. My children want me out of this house and in a situation where I will be looked after and safer. Thank you, no. In the midst of this Storm, which they don’t believe in, where on earth will they find food, warmth, shelter, water and be reasonably safe? Yup, at best right now, in this house. Frankly, I am primarily doing it for them. Why would I give them ammunition by going to a doctor to insist on another place? Not going to happen. The first time I put the back of my head through the drywall, it was so painful, I just crawled back into bed. I figured if I had a bleed, I had a hole in my head already, and it would take care of the swelling. If not, then I was going to see Jesus.

            So I just take take your advice, even before you articulated it for me to read, and do the next right step. If it means climbing up to the top a an eight foot ladder and removing snow to prevent a cave in, ok. Either one trusts God or one doesn’t.

            I am glad I went for xrays re my neck, because for the first 45 minutes, I had decided not to. Then I thought, well, since it was currently the most painful thing I have done, I must have hit a stud and I do have osteoporosis….. So far, He has kind of shoved me doctor direction when I’ve really needed it. Otherwise, why bother.

            Often, when I fall, I hurt so badly, I can’t tell where the actual site if injury is for a couple of days anyway. Personally, I like your preferred method. (Actually, it is used in most of the world. My brother got back to Egypt and asked after one of his friends. They said he had died. He asked what he had died of. They said, who knows, he got sick and he died.)

            Like

      • CrewDog says:

        Chumps … there’s an Old Timey Expression for Ya. My old Dad (b. 1911) used that all the time. I enjoy enjoy watching old 30s/40s movies ’cause they use a bunch of old words/expressions that remind me of my folks/youth 😉 Yes … many, like me and others here are feeling that “Darkness” but I will continue to “Press-On”, enjoy every pleasant moment or nice day that comes my way ……. and if Ya are a Chump .. make sure you are a Chump for God!!!
        Lord, Bless my Family, Friends, Comrades in Faith, Comrades in Arms and All who have passed through my life living and dead. Amen!!

        Liked by 5 people

      • Pat says:

        Ok, here comes the paramedic in me. Stress can cause an elevation in blood pressure. Heart attacks are basically tissue dying due to lack of oxygen. The root cause of oxygen depravation is clogged arteries. Laying down will decrease oxygen demand, but it doesn’t unclog arteries. Chest pain always merits an ER visit. It is foolish not to.

        Like

    • Gary says:

      My wife had quadruple by-pass surgery a year ago it saved her life. This reminds me of that joke. There is a guy stuck on top of his house in a major flood. A motor boat come by and the driver says come on board, but the trapped man says no, I will wait for the Lord to rescue me. Then as the water comes closer to the top of the house a guy with a canoe come by and says to the trapped man, come on jump into the boat with me but the trapped man says no the Lord will rescue me. Then as the water reaches the top of the house a helicopter come by and the pilot says grab the line and I will hoist you up but the trapped man says no the Lord will rescue me. The water then reaches the top of the house and the man drowns. Immediately he confronts the Lord and says Lord why didn’t you rescue me; The Lord says I sent you a motor boat a canoe and a helicopter, what did you expect of me?
      So God has given us minds to discover modern medicine, what do you expect of Him?

      Like

  2. johnmcfarm says:

    When you despair Charlie, think of the thousands in the middle east who are martyrs for Christ…they die…sometimes gruesome deaths standing for Jesus Christ. That lifts my spirit to know that there are so many saints alive today. I also heard tonight that there are now over a million Christians in Iran! And the number of converts are growing at 19% annually!

    I have been reminding myself of these family, and general problems arising. I just remind myself that satan is working to discourage each of us who follow Christ and the more we serve Christ the more danger we are in. But really, these are trivial matters for our egos really. Christ is our breath.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. radiclaudio says:

    Glad your starting to feel better.

    TJtM

    Like

    • radiclaudio says:

      Whoops. Not sure how that personal info leak occurred. Lol.

      Two more comments, well three,

      1-modern medicine is a gift but like pretty much every other gift we have been given we soiled it. Too much worrying about health, meds, doctors, hospitals is not necessary for most of us. We are being mislead that mediocre can eliminate all troubles, pain and even bad choices. If we eat right (avoid low fat, low carb foods and eat natural healthy fats and carbs in moderation) and get at least some exercise daily. Suck it up when it’s just a little ache or pain. It’s ok to not feel great sometime and without reaching for the pain relief, to get rid of the mild headache, etc. Unless we are genuinely sick or have a broken bone or deep cut, Charlie’s approach is probably the healthiest for most of us. I agree, if you’re sick and can get medical help please do so, but most of us aren’t usually really sick.

      2- I love what you have written about our Holy Father. You have verbalized my own thoughts much much better and more eloquently then I could. Thank you again. I have already forwarded it to a few Catholic friends that are being mislead by NYTs, CNN’s, etc. false reporting and beginning to take a dim view of Pope Francis. I think this might be a form of the great apostasy that Mark and you speak of. We must try to gently but firmly correct these errors.

      3- This despair thing. Man it seems to want to grab a hold of me and my wonderful holy wife a lot these days too. I understand through Charlie that this demon is busy trying to distract those focused on God in the hopes of luring them to walk away from our God assigned posts. I have found only very frequent prayer (Rosary and very many Jesus prayer’s), frequent confession, Mass, adoration, and fasting are the only thing that seems to break it’s grip these days. And like someone wrote above, the thought of what our Christian brother and sister martyrs are suffering in the full force of the Storm while I still am enjoying (at least for now) relative calm helps too. But it’s all a daily grind in my home these days too, like with many of you. I don’t want to be a chump so I will keep praying, smiling, trusting, doing, and loving. I will also keep praying for you all and ask that you do the same for me. Thank Charles. May the love of God reign in your, and our entire TNRS family’s hearts forever. Rich

      Liked by 3 people

  4. David says:

    Charlie, all I can say is Hurray!!!!! Upward and onward.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. narnialion54 says:

    Dear Charlie
    My son and I just watched the movie, Life is Beautiful on Netflicks. I had seen it years ago, but had forgotten much of it. We both said it was one of the most awesome movies we have ever seen. You had recommended it a while back as a way to prepare to have hope during the worst of the Storm. I do admit I feel a bit scared about what’s coming, but when I saw the power of love and joy in the movie, I had a thrill of hope in my heart. I don’t want to give the movie away, but it made me think of Jesus giving his life for a little lamb, heartening the little lamb so it could survive and survive with JOY!

    I admitted that I do feel fragile to a good friend and she said, yes, you are like an eggshell.. As long as you are protected, you will do your job fine. So I (we) are all protected by The Good Shepherd who holds us lambs with tender love, no matter what happens. (Sorry for the mixed metaphors!) Eggshells and Lambs!

    “Fear not little flock, for it is the Father’s good pleasure that you should have the Kingdom.” Luke:12:32
    We are the people of the Kingdom!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Beth says:

    From your writings I’ve gathered (correct me if I’m wrong) that just as it looked like evil had won when Jesus was crucified on the cross, we too will have that blood-shed event(s) that will appear to be “the satan’s” victory. But as we know, the Resurrection followed Jesus’ death. This time, can I say that this resurrection event will be through Mary? I’m saying this out loud so that I can remember this when it appears that all has been lost. Blood was shed then. It must be shed again. And I fully trust that God knows what He’s doing!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Diane says:

    Gird your loins and count it all as joy- all is well- be at peace

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeanO says:

      OK. I hear the “loin girding” thing a lot lately. I have no idea what it means, and am piping up in case some other of my born in the 1950’s generation nod and smile when folks say that like we know what they mean. So I looked it up (on the internet,,of course) and came upon this. Apparently folks will be dressing more modestly in the future. http://www.artofmanliness.com/
      Works for me. 🙂

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        Funny, Jean, it is actually a common Biblical phrase that has little to do with modest dress. In ancient times. loose coverings were often used in everyday life, including coverings for a man’s loins. When a battle approached, soldiers were urged to “gird their loins,” which commonly mean to cinch their loin cloths tighter to increase mobility in battle and to add extra protection in the form of some sort of armor to both prevent injury and maintain mobility. In modern times, the phrase has come to mean idiomatically to prepare for intense action or battle.

        Like

  8. dciavarella says:

    As in most things, I often find more stress and worry in the times leading up to the actual event after being revealed. I most always feel like a chump of despair after the fact that it usually wasn’t as bad or difficult as I imagined. Difficult times have to be taken as a victory of overcoming and gaining strength and encouragement but thus, hardly a moment passes and I am anxious about the next thing. Quite the vicious cycle of human weakness and therein is the work of trusting and praying to do the right thing as best as one can. I hate to say it but I almost feel I would like to get the pain and hardship on because the anticipation of all the despairing possibilities is taking its toll. I just pray for us all to have the courage to reply to God with truth and wisdom. God knows that this blog and its community here have been a blessing and an encouragement to most of us that remain open to receive wisdom and occasionally a correction. It has helped me grow and I am ever grateful for having found such an oasis in a troubled world. God bless and keep you all!

    Liked by 3 people

    • dciavarella, the imagination is a trickster and can be a tool of the devil. If we live in the sacrament of the present moment, in God’s eternal NOW, we have a much better chance of maintaining our peace. If we exit God’s NOW to fret about the unchangeable past or worry about the unknowable future, we exit God’s peace. Take the next right step in the present moment and you will be building good habits for whatever comes.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. NancyA says:

    Yep. Like he said ^. Oh, and follow Steve’s advice and get a gram or two of vitamin c each day. While I’m at it, another plug for http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org . Keeps my own cns wreck in check.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. NancyA says:

    Charlie , all good things can become corrupted, and in our era, many are.

    Like

  11. Mick says:

    Ha, Charlie! “Despair is for chumps,” eh? Love the expression. Like CrewDog, I grew up watching old movies in which that word was bandied about, and I love that word. It reminds me of a simpler time in which you could mildly criticize/insult somebody without using a word that had to be bleeped out when kiddies might be listening. And I want you to know that the next time I’m tempted to to serious discouragement, I’m going to tell myself, “Despair is for chumps!” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hey Charlie, heck, I pray for you even when you are well!
    Wish I was closer, I’d bring you some soup. You’d get better just to avoid having to take any more.
    I like your take on Papa Francis. I (still) love my Papa Benedict, but I think that we desperately need Francis at this time. He knows the ugliness of evil (Nazi war criminals, the “dirty war” the disappeared and the stolen babies…) and he will fight it with love until his last breath. I also think it is interesting that he may be the pope to unite the two “lungs” of the church since he has only one…
    PS: I had some similar “problems” that responded well to 2000 Vit D (with K so it goes where it is supposed to) / day. Just a thought, since it’s relatively cheap and cant hurt.
    God’s blessings upon you,
    pcj

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Diane Grose says:

    I try not to get to enraged in what’s going on I the world, but choose to pray, spend time with my loved ones & just be! Your post keep me strong…thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. That encyclical on climate change … oh, brother! As I type this a serious and very ominous night storm advances over Buenos Aires. We never had this hurricane-force storms before. Doggies and cats get under their master’s bed, our little doggie hides in the closet. These things are terrifying but not worth a papal thought. May be we will see a Catholic Doctrine and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance book. Who knows! I accept anything that will keep Francis & Kasper away from editing the Ten Commandments! Ha! I imagine Cardinal K saying “I could have been a contender, I could have been somebody” while resting pensive on his Harley Davidson Vatican Edition.

    Eve was fooled, Adam sinned. Today Eve is the Church, the bride of Christ. The devil is allowed to confuse her for a little while. Our Lady warned us about confusion. We should not despair, on the contrary we should look forward to meeting our Master soon. He will cross the world like lighting from East to West and the world will never be the same. We will see the Sign of the Son of Man and History will be changed. Reading Bl Catherine Emmerich today I felt I was reading the newspaper. Lift up your hearts because the Lord is never far from us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pat says:

      I suppose pope Francis will speak of nature and the cosmic groaning as it awaits renewal. He took his name after holy St. Francis. Nature was important to St. Francis so I am not really surprised by it. I look forward to it honestly.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I really hope you are right. I was just reading Bl. Catherine Emmerich vision of the ruining of the Earth — something we have been very busy doing during the last 60 centuries or so — I think (but I have no evidence whatsoever to think so) that St Francis Solanus was not too far from the future Pope’s thoughts when he chose his name. He is a dear saint to all here in the southern parts, a defender of the poor Indian and the mestizo who once called evil over a mining town (Esteco, half way between Buenos Aires and Lima.) That wicked city was rich beyond anyone’s imagining, rich in commerce, silver and gold extracted from the mines where the poor worked like animals for miserable wages if any.

        St Francis Solanus preached one Sunday on the Epistle of James. He was not allowed to finish Mass. A mob kicked him out of town. From atop a hill our saint called evil upon those wicked avaricious people who would not repent. Later the city sank completely when an earthquake collapsed the mines they had dug under their own houses. Nothing was left.

        Recently the archeologists of the University of Salta discovered the site of the city. For centuries they though it was a myth until a peasant tilling the land dug up a gold peineta a large comb-like device Spanish ladies usually wear under a mantilla, or lace head covering. It is usually made of bone (now plastic mainly for theatrical use) but the ladies of Esteco had them made of gold (silver, for servants.) I think this Pope Francis is going to finish in the Americas the job that started with John Paul II who took the Soviets to the dustbin of history; and Benedict XVI who warned the EU of the futility of trying to create a Christ-less political system (the EU is on the way to the proverbial dustbin now to join the Soviets.) It is Francis’ turn now. I think he will finish the farce of North and South American systems of governance and their brutal exploitation of the poor. Francis is of Assisi but he carries the “holy genes” of St Francis Solanus OFM, a preacher of justice who brought God’s judgement upon the merciless exploiters of God’s people.

        The environment will be much improved once it is fertilized Esteco-style. You know “think globally, act locally.” ;o)

        Liked by 2 people

  15. rbiel2 says:

    The Pope on the Environment and his Environmental encyclical

    :Even the Pope knows the radical anti-humanist state of the 1st world environmental movement.I figure his concerns go with the less developed/3rd world countries who need a rational effort at cleaning up their pollution/chemicals/emissions without giving an inch to the anti-humanists esconced within the environmental movement. I hope he lets the anti-humanist(radical environmentalists) crowd have it in the chops. Else, why get involved.

    But you have to wonder, the UN, World Bank , Europe and the U.S. only help 3rd world countries with food programmes , loans and the such if they play ball with the Population Control Agenda(loose laws on abortion, sterilization, contraception, etc). I’d hate to see the same thing occur with dispensing aid based on anti-humanist environmentalism also.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. kathy kalina says:

    Regarding health issues – I’m thinking that our health care system is a false god that will be destroyed along with all of the others. The “worried well” have propped up the system for years. We’ve been brainwashed to believe that if we just do the right things (eat eggs… no wait, eggs are good… drink a lot of water, no wait, maybe not so much, don’t drink alcohol, no wait, some alcohol is good for you!) and go to the doctor (a lot) nothing bad will ever happen to us. One of the grandkids said of my mother’s muscular dystrophy, “She got that because she didn’t eat right and exercise!” If you get sick, it’s your own dang fault!

    In these times, I think it’s critical to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit regarding our health and every other issue in our lives. I’ve been mulling over going to the dentist (I’d rather eat a bug), so I made an appointment for late December, then cancelled and rescheduled for early January. I hate going to the dentist so much that if I wrote down the appointment, I promptly lost it. I got a call last week from the dentist’s office reminding me of the appointment, which I dutifully attended. When filling out my papers, I remembered that I got a new phone and new number right after the first of the year. I mentioned it to the receptionist, asking how she got my new number, and she read off my old one. I even had her call the old one, to see if my work had somehow programmed it into the new phone, but it didn’t ring. I can only surmise that Jesus REALLY wanted me to go into this storm without any pending dental trouble brewing…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maack says:

      I confess I also had some dental work done recently, with the thought it would be better to take care of it before the Storm! I also think it’s a good idea to take vitamin C for heart health, and other things. Vitamin C keeps the blood vessels strong since it supports collagen. Arteries get clogged when tiny tears happen and the body attempts to repair it with cholesterol. Take C and your arteries won’t need those repairs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did the same thing–had us all into the dentist. It’s going to be tough enough without toothaches! I didn’t know that about the cholesterol being “artery oakum”.
        Maybe I’ll have an orange with breakfast : )

        Like

  17. Barbara Dore says:

    I think Pope Francis may be chosen for this end of times. Last year, He was brave to tell the whole world that we are in World War “Three.” He was the first pope who gave 20,000 rosary beads away to the public and he said it is good for our heart!, very witty…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pawel says:

      Last summer Francis also said he expected to be off to the Lord’s house in 2-3 years… In the meantime the march of the evil forces is carrying on. Just this morning I learned that the earthly homeland of St. John Paul 2, St. Faustina and St. Maximilian Kolbe, as one of the last EU countries to do so, decided that the abortifacient morning-after pill, brand named “EllaOne,” should be made available over-the-counter. Now it is going to be more like drinking a cup of tea to terminate a human life. I am waiting for the storm with a joyful hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. ellenchris says:

    Maybe, Charlie, God just wants you to rest in Him more. So He causes you to have to lie down.

    I am very grateful to the surgeon who saved my life. We caught the situation before cancer had a chance really to get started, but it most definitely would have run rampant if left alone (I’m cancer free and mending). God did not heal me directly, nor did He want me to be sick unto death at this time. The process of the surgery caused me to trust in what God was and is doing with me in circumstances where I had no control at all. I know two other people who were allowed to go through almost identical scenarios. What did God want? To teach me (us) how to rest in Him completely, and to trust Him when He did not *seem* to be acting directly. Those days when I could not do anything at all were a very valuable experience of just being held in His love.

    It takes a lot to get me to sit down, and even more to make me rest without worrying. In that experience, there was nothing else I could do, and His presence and goodness just took over. I think that this is what God wants for us all: to learn how to rest in Him, “like a weaned child on its mother’s lap” — that is, perfectly trusting and content. Our experience in this world has taught us exactly the opposite: Take control! Force you own will on everyone and everything!

    God will do whatever it takes to get us to the place where He wants us to go. My dearest brother came within minutes of dying of pneumonia (actually) because until he was flat on his back in a hospital gasping for air, he was not able to quit smoking. He became a non-smoker and is living out a good life.

    There was an old Bugs Bunny cartoon that is a great spiritual lesson. The little tiny chicken hawk lands on the shoulder of the large rooster, Foghorn Leghorn, and says: “Listen, Buster! I’m a chicken hawk and you’re a chicken. Are ya gonna come quietly, or do I have to muss ya up?! God is the chicken hawk, and we are the chicken. We can come with Him quietly and docilely, or He can muss us up a little. Our choice.

    But if we have put our lives in His hands, He will do good to us, and hold us in His love and bring us where He wants us to be — mussed up or not. Lord, grant us grace to trust in You completely in all things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ellenchris says:

      Oh, but just BTW — God infinitely prefers to bring us gently, and he takes NO joy at all in “mussing us up.” Rather, I would say He does not do the “mussing up” but merely allows it so that, as St. Paul says, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His plan.”

      Liked by 2 people

    • Always loved Bugs Bunny! I should watch it again as an adult. I can probably get a few more guest columns out of the lessons!

      Liked by 1 person

      • True! I suppose even the roadrunner cartoons can teach us something (dont chase after things of this world or you will end up disappointed and in pain?)
        Eh, maybe I’ll leave the column writing to you Janet…: )

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Roadrunner was my FAVORITE cartoon. My Dad and I used to watch it together all the time and howl over it. I also liked Tom & Jerry and the one with the two chipmunks, Chip ‘N Dale.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mary N says:

            Well, maybe this might be admitting a bit too much about myself (lol) but I always wished Wile E Coyote would catch that blasted bird…

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            No! No! I love that bird! :-=

            Like

          • Mary N says:

            Charlie, that bird was born and bred for the pillow factory 🙂

            Roadrunner aside, I loved this post and the title was perfect. I see this despair everywhere today – it’s pretty hard to miss. Unfortunately, despair makes the cross feel very, very heavy. May Christ crush it under his feet.
            I think this is one of the biggest reasons that your timeline gives me hope. The “spiritual atmosphere” that surrounds us is crushing people right now and to get a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel is no small thing.

            Like

        • You’re off to a great start PJ! Go for it!

          Like

  19. Bernie says:

    Another good article, Charlie … but you did make a mistake in one of your references… “Gaudium et Spes” was a 1965 encyclical by Pope Paul VI. I think you meant to reference “Evangelii Gaudium” here

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Yeah, Bernie, you are absolutely right. I did change it to get it right shortly after the article went up. The fog isn’t quite out of my head yet. It was, of course, one of the documents from Vatican II.

      Like

  20. Tarja says:

    What a sight! From France. Freedom, Fraternity, Equality!

    Goddess of Liberty marches in national protest in Paris
    http://rt.com/in-motion/221751-paris-rally-marianne-attacks/

    And what Charlie Hebdo’s layer said?
    “We will not give in. The spirit of ‘I am Charlie’ means the right to blaspheme,” Charlie Hebdo lawyer Richard Malka told France Info radio on Monday.
    http://rt.com/news/222135-charlie-hebdo-cover-muhammad/

    Like

    • Isn’t it rich? The devil has managed to get the whole world to march for blasphemy of any kind and against anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barbara Dore says:

        Carlos, I never heard of Charlie Hebdo until he was killed… My heart! he drew terribly offensive cartoons against Jesus as well…!….Our Lady too, against her virginity ….let us do the First Fridays and First Saturdays for reparation against these blasphemies!!!!

        Liked by 4 people

        • I knew the creep for sometime. Recently I commented that Charlie Hebdo was not even funny or ingeniously irreverent. He was just going for shocking value in the manner of the perennial adolescent intellectuals of Progressivism. His humor was a variant of the bodily secretion jokes of American teenagers of my time. He was the Alfred E. Neuman of the disingenuous European atheists in the same vein with Anatole France.

          If I was French I would not poke fun at beheadings of any kind, considering French history: it was not the Muslims who cut the head of Lavoisier, the brightest physicist in Europe at the time. That head was considerably more valuable than Hebdo’s. What happened at that office was business as usual among barbarians. I smile when I remember that I had to learn French in school from a book entitled Civilisation Française. The irony!

          Let us offer reparation for these and thousands of other sins against God and His saints.

          Like

          • ellenchris says:

            Just for the record: “Charlie Hebdo” is the name of the magazine, not a person. Twelve members of the editorial and cartoonist staff were killed. “Charlie Hebdo,” the magazine, is still publishing. 🙂

            Like

          • donna269 says:

            Charlie Hebdoe is French for Charlie Weekly….I wonder if Charlie is a particular person?

            Like

          • ellenchris: it is how people referred to Charb. Charlie Hebdo is a play with hebdomadaire (If I wrote that correctly) meaning something published every forthnight.

            Like

          • NancyA says:

            and they were people, souls as important to God as the martyrs anywhere. We are all God’s children, all sinners.

            Liked by 1 person

      • ann says:

        The richest kind of irony, Carlos. Their cartoons were pornographic against Christ and the Jewish faith too. 2000 Nigerian Christians were massacred the same week but we hear nothing about it. Hmmm.
        What came to me after the horror of the massacre in Paris was the thought that “he who sups with the devil must use a long spoon” and my mother’s sober reflection once, “God will not be mocked.”

        This doesn’t mean that I’m not horrified by the carnage. I am. I pray for all the souls concerned. But I just can’t get past what these so called cartoonists were so proud to publish and continue to publish defiantly.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mack says:

      The satan pulled off a double whammy with this–first and obviously the terrorism of killing innocent people because they exercised their right to free speech. But while we uphold that right, Charlie Hebdo mostly publishes anti-Christian and anti-Catholic things, and lewdness. It promotes atheism and the very kind of secularism that has gotten France into the mess its in. And now people are sympathizing with that magazine as if it’s a good thing–quite a deception!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Barbara Dore says:

        what is wrong with Europe? Our Lady of Europe , please pray for us!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Barbara Dore says:

          Our Lady of Europe – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Europe
          Jump to The Capture of Gibraltar – [edit]. Gibraltar c. 1704. The Shrine of Our Lady of Europe can be seen in the foreground on the right-hand side.
          Shrine of Our Lady of Europe – Wikipedia, the free …

          en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrine_of_Our_Lady_of_Europe
          The Shrine of Our Lady of Europe is a Roman Catholic parish church and national shrine of Gibraltar located at Europa Point. The church is dedicated to Our …

          Liked by 2 people

  21. Kathleen from NJ says:

    Despair is a tool used by the enemy to temp one to fall into sin, discouragement and depression. Again I refer to the reading I read from today’s Imitation of Mary. Here is it:

    Conformity to God’s Will in Suffering (Book 3, Chapter 2)
    The Believer: In my present sad state I have recourse to you, Consoler of the afflicted. Inspire me with the sentiments that should be mine in the evils I am suffering and those whose still lie ahead of me.
    Mary: My child, try to fill your heart with sentiments of full, entire and perfect conformity to God’s will which rules and disposes of everything for His glory and your salvation. When some affliction is close to you or already upon you, when it stays with you and even intensifies, or when it is followed by others, repeat frequently to God: Yet not my will but Yours be done (Luke 22:42). The thought of this Divine will was strong in me and gave me comfort in the temple at Jerusalem when Simeon told me: Jesus is a sign that will be opposed, . . . and you yourself will be pierced with a sword (Luke 2:34). The thought strengthened and comforted me especially on Calvary when I saw Jesus nailed to the cross and breathing His last breath there in terrible pain. As my love for Him knew no limits, neither did my suffering, but my resignation was as great as my pain and my love. Banish from your soul, then, in time of adversity, every thought that cannot be expressed in these few words: It is God’s will. Any other thought will only increase your anguish and make you feel your unhappiness even more deeply. How, my child, could you dare say you do not want affliction, when you realize that it is the Lord who sends it? If a wise man wants only the good, what are we to think of God who is infinitely wise? God hates the sin of those who contribute to your sufferings, but He intends to glorify Himself through the patience you show in bearing them. He permits your enemies sins, but wills the consequences which will sanctify you. In Shimei David saw, not a subject who insulted him, but a just God Who made use of this lowly instrument to humble him and make him atone for his sins. When Jesus spoke to His apostles of the cup of His sufferings, He said nothing of the ingratitude of the Jews who were preparing that cup for Him, but thought only of the will of His Father Who was permitting this to happen. In the Garden of Olives, Peter had not yet learned that a Christian who is afflicted, oppressed, and persecuted may take up only the weapons of patience and submission. Jesus said to him: “Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given Me? (John 18:11). My child, you are not denied the right to ask God to deliver you from your afflictions, but, if He still wants you to drink the cup of suffering, say to Him: “My Father . . . let Your will, not mine, be done” (Matthew 26:39).
    Prayer: Pay no head, Lord, to my great repugnance for suffering. I want Your glory and the fulfillment of Your plans. And if your sufferings increase instead of lessening, say to Him: Yes, Father, I submit to these new afflictions, because ‘such has been Your gracious will’ (Matthew 11:26). You will it, therefore I will it; You order it, therefore I obey. If I must die, die I shall. May the bitter blows You inflict on me and allow others to inflict on me hasten the moment when I may enjoy the eternal sweetness of Your presence and Your love.

    Like

    • Jim M. says:

      That is beautiful, Kathleen! God doesn’t give us more than we can handle (unlike the satan who overloads us in an attempt to drive us away from God.

      The challenges we think we face are part of our spiritual growth, part of the process in purifying our faith like a precious metal is purified by fire.

      Disappointment arises only from our earthly expectations, which are at times borne of unrealistic assumptions or disregard the perils to us in a much bigger picture we can’t even begin to see. It is God’s will that must be, not ours, for he is our Father trying to raise his children in the faith.

      Pain and affliction have their place in His plans. We are given to learn. To learn patience in adversity. To learn mortification to resist temptation, to learn right from wrong through trial. And to finally learn that in all things there is a reason, which leads to our submission to His will, not out of abject fear, but out of love; finding it intolerable to offend orhurt one we love love so deeply that the thought of betrayal is in itself repulsive. That’s getting to the place where one loves God to their very core, with all their heart, all their mind, all their soul and all their strength. The First Commandment.

      Our dear Mother loves us so! She wants us with her in Heaven. She frets for us. She weeps rivers of tears for us! She encourages us. She exhorts us. She directs us.

      Mary perfect in all virtue!

      Your pist ry reminded me of the instruction of St. Peteron how we too could become partakers of divine nature:

      “3 As all things of his divine power which appertain to life and godliness, are given us, through the knowledge of him who hath called us by his own proper glory and virtue.
      4 By whom he hath given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature: flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world.
      5 And you, employing all care, minister in your faith, virtue; and in virtue, knowledge;
      6 And in knowledge, abstinence; and in abstinence, patience; and in patience, godliness;
      7 And in godliness, love of brotherhood; and in love of brotherhood, charity.
      8 For if these things be with you and abound, they will make you to be neither empty nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      9 For he that hath not these things with him, is blind, and groping, having forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
      10 Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time.
      11 For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter.

      We have a roadmap to salvation, to fly the corruption of concupiscence of this world and into God’s embrace.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Irish7 says:

    Ahhhh…what a beautiful calling. I’m sorry for all of us that it is needed, but heartened by God’s loving provision for us and your yes. I mentioned before that I experienced an infusion of courage from reading your pilgrimage stories. It all makes sense now. Beautiful Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Fred says:

    Charlie-

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comments on both Pope Francis and the topic of despair. Various articles about what the Pope supposedly said or what he is going to do have tied me in knots over the past two years- for me only to learn later that my fears were substantially overblown. Sometimes, the Pope says or does things that strike me as somewhat out of touch with my own experience in our culture, but I have come to the conclusion that God is using him as an instrument for our times. I, too, have reached a point where I will no longer be “spun up” by the latest report on what supposedly came from, or will come from, the mouth or pen of the Pope. Rather, I will wait and see what reality brings. The bottom line is that the Pope has yet to do anything of substance that is radically different than his two predecessors- and I suspect it will stay that way for the duration of his pontificate.

    As for despair, it is all too easy to give into this. Many times over the past two decades, I have let fear over what lies ahead lead me to a place of despair over potential suffering- which usually ends up with me asking God why things have to be this way. However, because despair is often the byproduct of fear, at least for me, I know it is not of God, but rather the evil one. It seems to me we have reached a point where enough is enough. We need his help to set things straight- and whatever that means, it is time to deal with it. I just pray he gives us all the grace we need to see things through to the other side.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Peter Michtics says:

    It’s funny because whenever I go to the GOOGLE search engine and type Charlie the first name that pops up is Charlie Hebdo and I feel despair. A sense of fear and anger overcomes me. I then type in your name go to your site and read your article and feel— HOPE!!!!

    Peter

    Like

  25. Mary Ann says:

    When tempted to despair because of the gathering darkness, it may help to realize this. There are many good people who have never been purified with any sort of dark nights. The gathering darkness can be a blessing, a sort of group boot camp of spirituality, if we remember that it is always dark in the shadow of God’s wings. Even if the darkness is from the blindingness of His light.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. narnialion54 says:

    From Mark Mallett’s latest essay:Do Not Be Shaken

    Thus, brothers and sisters, do not be shaken at the powers of hell, that contorting the divine image in men’s faces, can do no more to your soul than snarl. Do not be shaken by the phantoms of darkness that threaten you with death, which has become the gateway to Life. Do not be shaken by the Cross, which is the symbol of your persecution, for it has taken root and become the Tree of Life. Do not be shaken by the Tomb, once darkened with despair, that has become the incubator of hope. Do not be shaken by the thunder and lightning, the shaking of the earth and the roar of the oceans, which signal the cry of labour and birth of a new creation. Do not be shaken that you feel abandoned, weak, and powerless before the powers of evil, for it is precisely in your obedience to Christ that you will share in the triumph over Satan’s kingdom on earth… and reign with Him.

    http://www.markmallett.com/blog/do-not-be-shaken/

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Jim M. says:

    With Pope Francis, one thing we are missing, kind of like not seeing the forest through the trees, is the education or reeducation of the masses in Church doctrine and tradition. Most of us who grew up in the 1960’s through the turn of the millennium did not get the fill of information flowing out from the Church today. It is driving people back to Mass and getting people to read the bible!

    I can’t help wondering where have all these Cardinals and Bishops been for the last 50 years? They now wield knowledge of doctrine and traditions in the battle to prove themselves right. Seems to me that going on 60 years ago, tbey should have turned those swords into plowshares sowing the seeds of faith rather than keeping their weapons sheathed all this time only to brandish in self defense of what appears to be their egos. Not all clergy, but more than enough that could have made a difference.

    I went to Catholic School through 8th grade and I can tell the religious part of the education I received was more kumbaya than alleluia. Things easily tested and graded like the beatitudes, gifts if the Holy Spirit, etc were taught to be memorized and promptly forgotten. Nothing about where those beatitudes came from and what they meant, nothing about the power of the Holy Spirit and why those gifts were all so critical in our lives, nothing to stoke that fire that is there in all mankind.

    Commanding that premarital sex was bad, without tying it to the Word. Divorce and remarriage? Silence.

    Small changes the Pope has made have had huge impacts. Telling bishops that charging a fee for an annulment came across as buying indulgences, and no fees should be charged. While alas most dioceses have ignored this, the Pope has set the pace.

    People are listening. They are hearing about doctrine and tradition. This is their Church! Our Pope is a light in this darkness. A voice crying in this desert of sin. He is being heard.

    He is a remarkable man.

    Like

  28. Becky-TN says:

    Hey Charlie,

    Hope you’re feeling better.

    Found this…thought you might want to read if you are interested. Figured it was ok to post this here since its a “musings” post.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/01/12/beck-breaks-down-how-russias-coming-red-storm-goes-back-much-further-than-you-probably-thought/

    God Bless,

    Becky

    Like

  29. Kathleen says:

    My sister and brother do not have thyroids and need their medicine or will die. What can I tell them To give them peace if they can’t get their medicine in the future. I pray that God will multiply what they have until the storm passes. You have give me much to ponder May God bless you and keep you strong

    Like

  30. GB says:

    Just my two cents on the “climate change”, but isn’t climate change brining about the Storm we are facing? Isn’t conserving resources and conserving nature and underpinning of a true “conservative”? Pope Francis has spoke of the concern of wasting – wasting human beings – aren’t wasteful attitudes toward the environment also contributory to viewing humans as a consumable resources?

    While I think we can be dubious about the actual scientific support that human beings are causing climate change (in the sense of global temperature change), American Catholics could sure use just a call to their conscious on the link with our own gluttony for using and consuming environmental resources and people (e.g. businesses do not care about people! they really don’t) and Francis, I have no doubt will have a message there for us. But, I can see the headlines now from conservative “Catholic” talking heads pulling out their own reverse Humane Vitae saying “na na we can take or leave this stuff, its all prudential judgment”. . . and they think Sodom was destroyed because of sexual sins only, but,from Ezekial 16:49 “And look at the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were proud, sated with food, complacent in their prosperity, and they gave no help to the poor and needy.” This sure could be said about America couldn’t it? And these sins, non sexual sins, are thus among the “sins of the Sodomites” and are sins that “Cry to Heaven” – CCC 1867: “The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are ‘sins that cry to heaven’: the blood of Abel, the sin of the Sodomites, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner.”

    I think regardless of whether climate change is a real or controllable scientific issue, we should not just see it with a political lens, but rather a call to be shaken out of complacency and spur us away from the ways of Sodom (yeah, we also fit the bill on the sexual morality issue too, no doubt). Besides why wouldn’t shouldn’t we want to do things that foster care for the environment, I think it would have a direct tie to our spirituality, it encourages simplicity, and a care for the least of God’s creation – the sparrows, the lilies of the field.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      When I was young I was an adamant environmentalist, GB. But I also was devoted to evidence and fact. I was horrified as I learned that the professional environmentalists’ mantras were mostly just that – ignorant mantras, impervious to facts and evidence, whose policies usually end up doing far more damage to the environment than if they had just left things alone. I have little patience with the uninformed chatter of professional environmentalists who use fuzzy feel-good rhetoric as a fig leaf for their real agenda, which is to transfer power to a small elite – and to feel good about themselves without sacrifice or study.

      Liked by 1 person

      • GB says:

        Even if that’s all true (there are opportunists everywhere, I personally see these climatechangologists as like the shaman who figured out when the eclipse was going to happen, and then used it to gain power over people by trying to act like it was a power he had, or a consequence of the action of the people), let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Just forgetting the bunk science, But I think the ideas of stewardship that otherwise will tie cannot be lost within the well founded skepticism toward the overall idea of global warming as a man-made phenomenon.

        Like

    • NancyA says:

      Along these lines, I had someone about a year ago, a very faithful, orthodox Catholic, questioning me about the Pope, worrying that he is drawing away from orthodoxy. My answer to her was that I believe this Pope has a knack for saying things that will get the “progressive leftists” listening and talking, and then they might be drawn in to read what he REALLY says, and some might be converted. I have no doubt about his faithfulness and his acumen and that he is a strong and useful instrument of the Lord. Somewhere above, Charlie, you said you would not comment until reading his works. Good advice to all, that. He is surprising in his ways.

      Like

      • SteveBC says:

        NancyA, I think you’ve really got something here. I also think he messes with people’s outlooks directly, just to shake them a bit out of their preconceptions. Then they have a chance to look at something with fresh eyes for a moment before going back to sleep. Who knows what might happen in that brief arousal of interest?

        Like

  31. jeanO says:

    The readings today are exquisitely full of the evidence of God’s utter, abandoned love for us. What a gift, how blessed we are to have one another to talk to here, with you moderating like a good shepherd here for us, keeping the wolves at bay and making this a refuge for us, Charlie. You are willingly cooperating in the economy of salvation here. It is hard to understand the price another willingly pays to carve out a haven for the small. Thank God for willing servants, for the perfection of His plan, for uniting us in this age of great change where hope is inextinguishable. Thank you for the price you are dearly paying, humble friend. What a day, the 13 th day of January in the Year of our Lord 2015, when those of us who love Him see how he sees us, through the sacred words He gave us for NOW.
    Reading 1 HEB 2:5-12

    It was not to angels that God subjected the world to come,
    of which we are speaking.
    Instead, someone has testified somewhere:

    What is man that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man that you care for him?
    You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you crowned him with glory and honor,
    subjecting all things under his feet.

    In “subjecting” all things to him,
    he left nothing not “subject to him.”
    Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,”
    but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor”
    because he suffered death,
    he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,”
    that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

    For it was fitting that he,
    for whom and through whom all things exist,
    in bringing many children to glory,
    should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.
    He who consecrates
    and those who are being consecrated all have one origin.
    Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers” saying:

    I will proclaim your name to my brethren,
    in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.
    Responsorial Psalm PS 8:2AB AND 5, 6-7, 8-9

    R. (see 7) You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
    O LORD, our Lord,
    how glorious is your name over all the earth!
    What is man that you should be mindful of him,
    or the son of man that you should care for him?
    R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
    You have made him little less than the angels,
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
    You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
    putting all things under his feet.
    R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
    All sheep and oxen,
    yes, and the beasts of the field,
    The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
    and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
    R. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
    Alleluia SEE 1 THES 2:13

    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Receive the word of God, not as the word of men,
    but as it truly is, the word of God.
    R. Alleluia, alleluia.
    Gospel MK 1:21-28

    Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
    and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
    The people were astonished at his teaching,
    for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
    In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
    he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
    Have you come to destroy us?
    I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
    Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
    The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
    All were amazed and asked one another,
    “What is this?
    A new teaching with authority.
    He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”

    Like

  32. Cecilia says:

    Charlie, I just want to tell you how much your encouragement to be a sign of hope means to me. I am a very weak person and though I have numerous “inspirations” I rarely act upon them. We have a neighbor who just lost his wife and is dying of cancer himself. I brought the family a meal after the funeral which he could not attend. I was deeply moved by his suffering. Yesterday I called to find out if he would be open to my praying with/for him. His daughter was very enthusiastic about it and said he would love it. I went and took a copy of the Divine Mercy pamphlet. I asked him if he had made his peace with God and he was vey positive about that. I explained to Johnny that these were prayers to help him have a peaceful death. There were about six family members there and I explained the prayer and told them that they could join in and we would say “have mercy on Johnny (instead of us) and on the whole world.” No one is Catholic or attending Church, but they all mostly prayed that part with me. I never, never would have had the courage to make that phone call, let alone actually go and pray with him, but for the repeated messages to “be a sign of hope.” You are touching many lives by your faithfulness to your calling and encouraging us all to be a sign of hope. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Every day now I am asking Jesus to show me how to be a sign of hope. I thank everyone here for their comments and sharing their stories, as you are a sure sign of hope for me. You ALL encourage me. May Jesus grant you all his richest blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Kati says:

    I will be happy to be a member of the “Not For Chumps Club.” I also think that members, aside from being aware of the tactics of the enemy, should understand why we could be more susceptible to such things in the winter (speaking to those in areas of the globe where it IS winter). The effects of less sun and more viruses will take a larger toll if we are unaware. I too began to suffer a bit of depression and then remembered that this is more likely to take place as we are recovering from a virus. It is also exacerbated by the lack of sunlight in many cases. Just knowing that helped me to see the light at the end of the winter tunnel. Onward we go!
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bob says:

      And as those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, roughly where our shadow during the brightest part of the day in winter is longer then our height, we are not able to produce vitamin D from the sun and we should supplement with Vitamin D3.
      http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
      In the 1800s a Dr. did a study which showed that flu rates go up in the winter for those of us in the northern latitudes and flu goes down in the summer. My wife and I take 5000 units a day as I think the research for a larger amount of pretty compelling. he called it the sunshine effect although Vit d was not known at that time.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ann says:

      That’s so true Kati. The lack of light (I live very very north) is an issue these past years for me–age probably. I counteracted my Christmas doldrums by singing carols as loud as I could (in private–sparing others the sound) that sing of joy and triumph and hallelujahs and it worked!

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Gabrielle says:

    Charlie, I have to tell you that since I have started reading your blog two days ago, I have been feeling horrible despair. Perhaps it is because I could be considered a baby Christian/Catholic but how do you keep going on with daily life, hoping for a better tomorrow, if you think all this calamity in on the way and there is nothing to be done about it? I mean, my husband and I are barely surviving now as it is. How could anyone not feel total depression knowing such dark days are ahead?
    I guess I got sucked into Catholic prophetic websites (due to some nightmares I have had since I was a kid) and all of them (including yours) say that horrible things are on the way. I am not really sure how to cope with it all. Can you (anyone) offer some advice? Thanks and God Bless!

    Like

    • David says:

      Gabrielle, horrible things must come so to purify the Earth and all that are in it. But after these things pass, the glory of God will be the main purpose of everyone alive. Jesus had to suffer His Passion so we could take part in His glory. Now we must suffer through what is taking place so His glory may be fulfilled on Earth.
      God bless you, Gabrielle and hold on fast, you are about to face the adventure of your lifetime

      Liked by 1 person

    • audiemarie2014 says:

      Hi Gabrielle! I haven’t seen any replies to your question yet, but since you are new, I’d recommend, as Charlie does, to go back and read more of Charlie’s earlier posts. There is a lot of encouragement there and he explains the three steps of acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to others. I’m sure others will join in and offer suggestions to you. It can be overwhelming to read about the storm, but Charlie and the rest of us here give each other hope. Charlie also has other tools, such as recommended sites (for preparation, etc.), reading (Pelianito and Mark Mallett, etc.) and prayers. I repeat different quotes in my head when I become worried, such as St. Pio’s “Pray, hope, and don’t worry,” among others. Welcome!

      Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Gabrielle, I strongly urge you to read this piece on “The Beginning of the Triumph.” When things seemed okay to most people, I kept these things limited to my priests and just a very few who were close to me. But common observation of events around us today reveals these terrible things…and anyone can see how they grow geometrically in intensity and scope around us. We have created this. My fundamental message is that, despite how dire things look, this is NOT the end. That has been emphasized to me from the start of my visitations over 50 years ago. It is important that people have credible assurance of that now.

      I had an old friend from high school that I re-connected with just before I left on my pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage, I had worried that, after it was over, I was going to have to start speaking publicly about these things – and I didn’t want to. I was camped in some woods in Big Springs when we talked. He owns a medium-sized company with international offices. He was not pleased with my kicking around trying to keep it all hidden and work behind the scenes. “Charlie,” he said, “The better-informed you are, the more you know that this cannot last, that everything is falling away before our eyes. What you say IS the sign of hope we need, for the best informed people know that collapse must come…we have gone way outside what is sustainable. Twenty years ago, yeah, this would have scared me to death…now that it already is largely a reality, what you say on the matter IS my primary source of hope and optimism.”

      If a leader of a group of soldiers headed toward inevitable battle bucked them up by telling them it wasn’t going to happen and no one would be hurt, they would all flee and his credibility would be shot at the first sound of gunfire. It would be a false hope that would make it more likely they would fail to do their duty. But if he could tell them with great credibility that it would be hard, frightening, and there would be causalties, but they would ultimately win the battle and secure peace for those they loved, that would be hope grounded in reality.

      I can’t peddle false hope here that everything is going to be peachy. It is not. But I have been speaking of this and writing it down for some 20 years…and a cornerstone of it, even in the 30 years I spoke to no one on it, is that this is NOT the end. And that peace for your loved ones will be the end result if YOU acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Bob says:

        I was thinking today that Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches” and every vine removed from the Vine will die. We usually think of this in terms of our individual faith but I believe that cultures which get too far from the Vine will die and ours is certainly no exception. But God in His mercy will not let us or our culture die but He will recreate it in a new way but first He must purify it of what is evil. So we can begin by Trusting God and remaining in the Vine which is our only life in the end anyway. And as my mother in law just died last week I am again reminded that the end of this life can come for any of us when God chooses and then if we remain in the faith we will get heaven.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tom says:

        That is some solid loin girding right there, Mr. Charlie!

        Completely seriously though, copy and paste that and link it to the top of the page. That is spot on and a message that all need to hear. Very happy to hear that you’re feeling better, God bless!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Gabrielle says:

          I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and recommendations for further readings. Charlie, I loved your analogy about the soldiers. I appreciate your honesty and frankness. Like I said, I am learning and I guess I need to get a lot more read much more quickly. But, thank you for having a place where we can learn and ask questions. I deeply appreciate it. Thank you and all of your readers for helping! God Bless!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • SteveBC says:

            Gabrielle, I would be willing to bet that pretty much everyone who comes here to this site finds himself/herself right where you were in your initial message above. After thinking about this for a bit, I believe it occurs because of a real sense that Charlie’s posts and comments have *credibility*.

            In my case the process of going down and coming back up took a few weeks. I had to go through the realization of coming loss phase, then the phase of scrambling to prepare so I wouldn’t have to lose, then the phase of starting to relax and having some faith in the process and in God.

            Charlie and everyone else here have helped me get through that, and they’ve also put up with my occasional outbursts of weird humor which spills out of me when I’m relaxed. I am deeply grateful to all of them for this help.

            If you stick around, read a bunch of what’s here, and give yourself some time and patience, you may find yourself a rock of calm for your family and your neighbors when the Storm finally hits in earnest.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Gabrielle says:

            Steve BC, thank you for understanding. I think what Charlie is writing about is something I have known was coming since I was a child. The way he writes about it makes me terrified and less scared at the same time. It is comforting because he describes a way through (like the buffalo standing facing the storm to go through it as quickly as possible and thankfully, unlike the buffalo, we have Jesus). And, the thought of being able to help others during a storm is quite a blessing. BTW-Charlie, I am very sorry for your recent illness. I apologize for not saying anything about it but being very selfish with my own concerns. I will be praying for you!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • SteveBC says:

            “terrified and less scared at the same time.” That’s perfect! Yes, like you I have felt something was coming for decades. Now it seems to be here. I have mentioned in other comments of mine that “we are purpose-built for this time.” Sounds like you will likely agree with that. 🙂

            Like

  35. audiemarie2014 says:

    Charlie, do you know John Horvat or have read his book, “Return to Order”? Just wondering. I have the book, but have only read a bit here and there. Thanks!

    Like

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