Getting Our Sea Legs

(Hoisting the Upper T'Gallant - by John Michael Groves)

(Hoisting the Upper T’Gallant – by John Michael Groves)

I know many are waiting for my promised article on the nature and tactics of the satan. That is the next big article coming. But I hate to write about him…and I am trying to get my bearings. A family member died Thursday night. Almost everyone I know among family and friends are facing crises of some sorts right now. That is not exactly unexpected, but it still takes a little time to get adjusted to.

I know there are several big things I need to write bluntly about – primarily the nature of the satan and about Islam, among some other heavy, unpleasant topics. I need to approach them with care and precision. But I am discombobulated by the disorder that is coming in waves from all directions now. It is like a video battle game: in Level 1, you face attackers that are few in number, slow and easy to bat away. By Level 8, they are coming fast and furious from all directions and no matter how many you defeat there are a dozen more to take their place. We are in Level 8.

First, there is the personal, which I have already mentioned. Then there is the world. I am astonished that this week, the American president unilaterally released five terrorists from Guantanamo Bay literally less than a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris. The 2,000 Christians brutally slaughtered last week by Boko Haram in Nigeria barely got noticed because of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter. When I was young, I loved reading the “Year in Review” editions of various magazines. Right now, more disasters and mass slaughters happen in three days than happened during entire years back then. Level 8.

On the economic scene, the cracks are getting visible and investors are quietly beginning to panic. In Greece, they are gearing up for a major run on their banks. Switzerland has detached itself from the Euro. I read articles explaining why it really is not as big a deal as it seems…and they read like the historical raw source material I used to read by European papers constantly explaining in painful detail why Hitler was not as big a problem as some thought – at least before he invaded Poland. In America, our national debt is not only bigger than the annual income of all Americans combined; it is not only bigger than the annual income of every person in the world combined; it is bigger than all the money and assets that exist in the entire world. Level 8.

I read articles constantly referring to how North Korea is helping this nation or that in the Middle East to develop and refine nuclear capabilities…and no one seems to notice. I used to be asked to posit what political opponents’s overall strategy was by their day-to-day actions. I got asked because I was pretty good at it. I watch this administration and this president and I can see no coherent “endgame” in mind at all. Frankly, the consistently anti-American actions it takes resemble nothing so much as tyrants of collapsing regimes throughout history who, bitter at their failures and overreach, often punish their own people in the conviction that it was the people who were not worthy of them. Never happened in America before. Then I read comment sections from supposedly mainstream publications like the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times…well, you get the idea…and it is like I am in a Bizarro Universe. The majority of the commenters maintain the president is brilliant and a savior and that all criticism of him is just because he’s black. Really?! The dead job market, collapse in health care, frantic increase in Islamic terror, global insecurity, racial division egged on in the streets by the administration, efforts to impose things like transgender bathrooms and ban Christian expression…all of these things have NOTHING to do with such criticism? I am honestly baffled. I don’t know whether there really are that many really stupid people out there or whether they are just so desperate to believe in their own superiority that they are completely impervious to all reality. And to what end? Doom, when it comes, comes to all…not just those with whom you disagree. If you’re driving a culture towards doom, at some point, it would seem it has to dawn on you that you need to suspend the smug self-satisfaction at holding the wheel long enough to try to actually survive. One could argue that these are all trolls paid by George Soros…but the overwhelming majority of establishment reporters are equally invincibly ignorant and smug about it, so I think it is probably an organic division of the lines of battle ahead.

I know many are nervous about various comments Pope Francis makes off the cuff. While there is nothing yet that cannot be explained by taking the most innocent construction possible and recognizing that the media likes to promote the most anti-Catholic and anti-freedom construction possible in his words, I recognize there is a lot to actually be nervous about. I chuckled in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, when he nicely stated what ends an economy should serve, than recommended means that, whenever they have been tried, have impoverished everyone but a small elite that ends up running the society. That was ameliorated when he noted, with humility, that it was not for the Pope to determine the means; that it was up to secular workers to devise means that would most safely take a society to the ends which he spoke of.

I never quite bought into the “I am Charlie” line following the Paris attacks (even though I am, literally, Charlie). The magazine is repugnant, juvenile and offensive. We don’t have to like speech to defend one’s right to engage in it. In fact, a “freedom” of speech that does not protect politically or culturally offensive speech is not freedom at all. I hope the Pope meant that decency means people should not engage in such ugly offensiveness when he said there are limits to freedom of speech. But if he meant that governments should coercively ban such insults, well…that has been tried. When Henry VIII formed Anglicans. He executed a whole bunch of people for simply remaining Catholic – including St. Thomas More, one of his chief aides. When there was a Catholic revival, the new rulers oppressed and killed more than a few who remained stubbornly Protestant. When the Protestants re-emerged victorious under Cromwell, the anti-Catholic pogroms began anew and with more viciousness than ever. Officially forbidding offensive speech has led to extensive strife, murder and repression in the name of religion.

The Pope plans an encyclical on Climate Change – and has hinted that man is primarily responsible for the phenomenon. Notwithstanding that there has been no warming for over a decade and a half now, notwithstanding that actual events have consistently acted differently than the prediction of the rent-seeking “scientists” producing results that confirm what the people who provide the grants want them to confirm, even though their predictions keep failing, if the Pope comes up with anything that purports to be a scientific directive, it is going to be a divisive embarrassment. When I was in high school and college, the loud “scientists” agreed that we were headed to an unstoppable new ice age. Then they agreed that the ozone layer was unstoppably being destroyed. Then the agreed that global warming was an unstoppable disaster, Then they agreed that climate change is the issue when global warming stopped. In every case, their solution was the same: Put millions out of work, destroy the capacity of middle and lower class people to provide for their families or hope for a better future, and give unprecedented coercive power to a tiny elite ruling class that would have absolute authority over everyone’s lives.

I marvel at the inspiring sincerity and effectiveness of Pope Francis pastoral ministry. But it is becoming a pattern, almost a default setting, that when confronted with a secular problem, he instinctively seems to prefer vesting coercive power in secular governmental entities. That has ever worked out badly for both freedom and for people of faith. In at least two cases where it has actually been tried, it has consistently led to exactly the opposite results he favors. That troubles me. Of course, these are areas outside his prudential responsibility, anyway, though that does not mean his words don’t have effect – and there’s probably not one in a hundred Catholics who understands what a division of prudential responsibility is – and so don’t know when a Pope’s pronouncements have no authority and when they have absolute authority. I completely admire his fidelity to sound theology when dealing with matters of faith and morals – and even his shrewdness in drawing out dissent to see what value there may be in it. But I worry he is playing with dangerous fire at a dangerous time.

I worry that Pope Francis is liable to make a major official blunder in an area he has no authority over. My fear may be somewhat different than that of most. On the visitation of Dec. 20th last year, I was warned that satan’s minions have gone out to exploit the flaw in all this year, “even the best of men.” I do not fear that the Pope’s soul would be damaged if such a blunder came: rather, I believe it would be refined, leading him to redouble his efforts in those areas in which he is called to lead – and in which he has done so well and inspirationally, while eschewing portentious pronouncements on matters that do not fall under his prudential responsibility if he is not thoroughly studied in them – and then firmly noting that his pronouncements have to do with ends, not means. What I fear is that such a fall could cause a great division, inflaming the passions of those who are already trying to undermine the Pope’s legitimate authority in those areas in which he is and must be, supreme, while discrediting much of his moral authority with people who are listening with ever more interest in what the Church has to say these days. Right now, his words can be explained with the common legal doctrine of innocent construction. But they reveal an unnerving pattern that could lead to an immensely damaging unforced error. What will come will come. God has a plan.

The world is more volatile right now than it has been in my lifetime…maybe more volatile than ever. The Storm is already blowing at gale force – and is only going to get more violent before it gets better. In personal things, world affairs and Church matters we are in very choppy waters. Next week I will retreat to a cabin in the mountains for a few days – to write the semi-final draft on prayer groups and to try to get my sea legs adjusted to the violent waters we find ourselves surrounded by.

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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202 Responses to Getting Our Sea Legs

  1. Gabrielle says:

    Thank you for this post. I hope you find some peace at the cabin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barbara Dore says:

      Charlie, I believe the weather had changed since Adam and Eve sinned. Our sins can affect the weather. Nature is shouting because of our sins. Our Lady, the Queen of the Nature , pray for us. May we respect Sundays for ever and give Nature a rest on Sundays.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mack says:

    I have been a bit apprehensive about some of the things Pope Francis has said, while of course fully accepting his authority as Pope. Catholic teaching never claimed that everything a pope says is infallible, only certain types of teaching. Yet what worries me is that the Church seems to be getting more polarized. Some persons I know who are very good Catholics are highly critical of the Pope, and while they accept his authority it seems to be causing confusion and division. It’s odd, to say the least.
    A thought came to me that is just my own speculation. In a previous post you once said, Charlie, that Obama was the one chosen by God to lead us into the storm. As we can all see, he’s doing that by pretty well wrecking the country and American institutions. But it comes under God’s providential plan, and he will bring good out of the evil. You also said once as I recall that Pope Francis is the pope of the Storm. Could it be that this confusion surrounding his words and actions could also, under God’s providence, play a part in ushering in the Storm as well, I mean in the Church? Some people are already tempted to leave the Church because of it (which I think is ridiculous, but they are doing it). Perhaps Pope Francis is serving as some kind of foil so that God can test our hearts. Are we going to be faithful Catholics even if we don’t feel we can fully trust the Pope’s words in certain matters, even if they are not directly about the faith? I’m pondering that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      It is well-worth pondering, Mack. I am pondering it myself. I have NO doubt that Pope Francis IS the Pope of the Storm and a truly heroic figure…but it has been a cause for reflection that one who is so theologically and pastorally brilliant and insightful should sometimes seem so temporally tone-deaf. On the other hand, I often see that some who are devoted to a particular saint treat every word that dropped from the saint’s mouth as impeccable and authoritative. That’s what Christ is – not what saints are. The greatest saints have said some very dumb things at times, have at times written bad theology and have, for a time even followed false doctrines. God uses ordinary people to advance His plans…and those ordinary people make ordinary blunders along the way. We are all on such a hair trigger today, looking to seize on any error as a means of assrting our own self-will. The Lord did not say to obey his shepherds in all lawful things only if they agree with us or are honorable people. More than a few in history have not been. So I think you have reason here…I think I see the makings of a saint in Pope Francis…I think it may please the Lord to allow him to err in some things outside of his responsibility. I think that will purify him and make even holier as he more carefully minds his post – but will reveal the hearts of many – and the hidden malice in many of them – while also underscoring that we are a stumbling bunch – and that God does not choose His messengers because they do not stumble, but because they resolutely get back up after they do and keep heading towards Him. What is truly rare among saints is to hear them, after making a pratfall, proclaim smugly “I MEANT to do that.”

      Liked by 10 people

      • Anne Archer says:

        I think we are called to draw closer to the faith – know more about what we truly believe. There is no one, including a pope, who we are to cling to – just Jesus. If we know the fundamentals and stick with those – God will judge us on what we do with what we know not on a pope’s missteps. The pope can answer to God for his stuff – I just have to answer for mine.

        Liked by 4 people

        • charliej373 says:

          But one of the things you will have to answer for, Anne, is how well you obeyed Jesus command that “he who hears My apostles hears Me and he who rejects them rejects Me.” Jesus did NOT make us each infallible interpreters of His word, but put authority over us. When Luther broke away from the Church nearly 500 years ago, many earnest people, believing themselves to be infallible judges of the matter, led to over 10,000 Christian denominations instead of the one that had existed before that. A profound failure of obedience that has had dire consequences.

          Liked by 4 people

      • Matthew says:

        Charlie, you wrote “that God does not choose His messengers because they do not stumble, but because they resolutely get back up after they do and keep heading towards Him.” Thank you so much for that. I really needed to hear it. I stumbled a bit a yesterday and do sometimes struggle with confidently moving forward in what I believe God is calling me to do. I think I sometimes struggle with having humility but not walking around all the time beating my breast.
        Thanks.
        Matthew

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Hang in there, Matthew. And keep getting back up!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mick says:

          Matthew, I’m right there with you, brother. And when I screw up, it sometimes helps me to remember–and I hope it helps you, too– that “two steps forward and one step back” still means you’re moving forward. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • radiclaudio says:

            Me too brothers. Me too.

            CONFESSION, Adoration and the receiving the Holy Eucharist is a very very good way to get back up and turn toward him again. I realized you men know that, but if you’re like me, it’s helps to keep hearing it. 🙂

            Like

      • Mick says:

        Great points, Mack and Charlie. It might help if we recall that Saint Pope John Paul II (whom I hope someday will be officially known at Saint Pope JPII the Great) did and said several things that had many “conservative” Catholics up in arms: kissing the Koran; that red-dot thingie on his forehead when he went to India or someplace; authorizing Communion in the hand; allowing altar girls; some of his pronouncements on capitalism, just war, and capital punishment; his apology (at the Western Wall, I think it was) for the sins committed by Catholics against Jews before and during WWII. Like you said, Charlie, one doesn’t have to be perfect to become a saint; and we would all do well to not expect Pope Francis to be perfect.

        That said, I totally appreciate your concern that some of the Pope’s statements could be used in order to cause great division or even apostasy. So here’s an idea: what if all of us here in your little family were to pray the Prayer of Miraculous Trust for Pope Francis, for the intention that he not commit an “immensely damaging unforced error” (I love the sports metaphor, by the way) through his pronouncements on matters outside of this prudential responsibility? I’m going to go pray the PoMT right now…

        Liked by 2 people

        • charliej373 says:

          That is wise counsel, Mick. But one thing I have to add…the business about kissing the Koran…I don’t know if it is true. Yes, I have seen the pictures and I don’t read Arabic. However, I looked at the Arabic symbols on a bunch of different Korans…all of which were the same or nearly so…and compared them to the Arabic symbols on that book JPII kissed and they are entirely different.

          Anyway, God has a plan. If it involves preventing the Pope from some blunder outside of his area of expertise, thanks be to God. If it involves allowing the Pope to do so both to purify him and expose the malice that lies hidden in the breasts of those who think they, themselves are the final authority on faith and morals, so be it. I know the plan of the Lord is far better than any I can devise…and usually more subtle and mysterious. What I know is that the Lord will not leave us without recourse and He has commanded me to submit on matters of faith and morals to His holy Church. However things look at any given time, that is what I will do with resolve and fidelity – and I know that He will order all things to renew the faith of the world and bring all who can back to Him.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Mick says:

            Charlie, thanks for the heads-up about the non-kissing of the Koran. I was going from memory of something I had read in the Catholic Family News many, many years back (now there’s a publication I would not recommend to anyone; but I was a new Catholic, so I didn’t know any better). JPII is one of my favorite people ever. When he died, it was like my grandpa had died. I still choke up when I see pictures of him when he was younger, or pictures from his funeral.

            Like

      • Joseph says:

        Charlie,
        When I balance what Pope Francis has actually done and said, with what his responsibility is as Shepherd and the Vicar of Christ’s Church, the scale is bottomed out with the former. In my 88 years on earth, I have lived through five popes, and never, never have I experienced the negative effect of ambiguity, consternation, and anxiety, as the sixth, Pope Francis, has inflicted on the Catholic/Christian faithful. From the very first of his unexplained off-hand remark concerning a homosexual priest “Who am I to judge”, to tacit approval of the Synod’s preliminary statement, homosexuals having gifts, to his election of Cards. O’Mally and Wuerl to be his advisors and archbishop-elect to Chicago, Cupich, all who give the eucharist to pro-abortion politicians, and Card. Dolan, who helped elect the constitutional fraud, Obama, by inviting him to the Al Smith Dinner and embraced the radical Andrew Cuomo after Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Need I say more? I do not wear rose-tinted glasses which I hope you, Charlie do not.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Joseph says:

          PS: With the grace of God, I will continue to remain in the Barque of Peter and place my trust in God. all others have to pay cash on the line. I thank God for you Charlie. All blessings, peace and joy.

          Like

        • charliej373 says:

          You may not wear rose-colored glasses, Joseph, but you seem all too eager to believe the worst of someone without getting your facts straight. That is somewhat ameliorated by the media’s malicious efforts to make the worst possible construction, I suppose, but still unacceptable. On Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge?” statement, read the transcript and you will find the Holy Father did NOT – I repeat NOT – say that about the priest’s homosexuality, but concerning the sincerity and quality of his contrition. If you utterly ignore Pope Francis profoundly charitable and completely orthodox direction to Bishops at the close of the Synod, you might have a point. But he made the remarks, so you only offer a smear. You utterly missed the point of Cardinal Dolan inviting Obama to the Al Smith dinner, which is one of the more deft moves he has made. Obama was trying to cut Catholics’ completely out of speaking before Democrats at their convention. Dolan invited him to the dinner which, effectively destroyed Obama’s plan to marginalize Catholic witness at the convention. If you want to believe the absolute worse, there is enough to latch onto without twisting decent things or just spreading gossip without ascertaining facts.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Joseph says:

            Charlie,
            Thank you for your swift (and stinging) response which I think is way over the top.No, Charlie, God forbid, I don’t want to believe the worst of Pope Francis who is God’s choice to Shepherd His Church. As a matter of fact, I am worried as you are about his “prudential judgement” the negative effect that his actual words and actions have had on the faithful. Your clarification (damage control?) of Pope Francis’ words and actions is after the facts and similar to the many necessary clarifications by the Vatican. Did the New York Times vote Pope Francis Man of the Year? Did the LBGT magazine also vote him Man of the Year? Many comments by homo/lesbians believe Francis has changed the Church’s doctrine against homosexuality.. Card. Dolan whose political actions you defend, now accepts homosexuals flying their flag in St. Patrick’s parade! I judge actions not so much words.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Well, again, Joseph, if Cardinal Dolan or the Catholic Church were in charge of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, you would have a point. But he, like the gays in it, is a guest of the Parade Assn. and the City of New York, which run it. He had no say over whether gays were in the parade – only whether he would participate himself or not.

            Liked by 1 person

          • radiclaudio says:

            Joesph, in addition to Charlie’s wise counsel, you may want to consider following Jimmy Akin’s blog on the National Catholic Register in this regard. He does not post often, but when he does he routinely addresses the “controversy” created by statements attributed to the Holy Father through a main stream media looking to stir, or even create disharmony, including several you list above. Jimmy does a very thorough job of digging into what was said, what was not said, sources, context, etc. Each time he does so you will see that what is reported about his remarks are most often error, if not outright falsehood (as in the recent case when the NYTs claimed our Pope said, while supposedly consoling a young boy in the crowd at St Peter who was upset about the death of a beloved pet. They said he told the boy that he will see the pet in heaven. This was a page 1 story. Turns out Pope Francis never said this, never even spoke to a young boy that day. Several days later the NYTs quietly recanted it’s story as being untrue, buried in a corner on page 6. My point is, as Charlie more eloquently wrote, Pope Francis is human, he will get somethings, unrelated to doctrine, wrong, but mostly we have to really dig into what was actually said as the mainstream media will typically not report it in a truthful way. They will often twist, misstate, amplify out of context, and even outright lie to try to comform what he said to their ideology. And of course the spiritual warfare angle is an additional dimension that can further seek to distort and lead the faithful away from Christ’s Holy Vicar. The next verse after today’s Mass Gospel (John 6 – Bread of life discourse) is Peter saying to Christ, “my Lord where shall we go? You have the worlds of ever lasting life.” Peter sure had his share of screw ups, many locked into history through scripture for all to read. Yet Christ hand picked him. He was His vicar on earth. So is Pope Francis. If you turn on him, I think you are turning on Christ himself. Be calm, be careful, be at peace, trust Christ. As our Charlie says, trust, do, love…

            Liked by 1 person

        • Pat says:

          You have to read the entire context of the “who am I to Judge,” it is a false interpretation of what he really said. We can’t be lazy and read everything second hand. With respect to “The Great”, and his kissing of the Koran. He was so far spiritually advanced we can’t judge his action properly. Like children judging the actions of parents. Please don’t pour over Pope Francis’s words like critics. It is part of the devils plan to polarize us all. In my opinion, Pope Francis has such trust in The Lord and His promise to the Church that he is not afraid to brooch on topics that WE fear.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Mick says:

            Pat, regarding JPII and his kissing of the what-turned-out-not-to-be-a-Koran, I was not trying to judge the Pope’s actions. I was simply trying to make the point that even saints sometimes do things that make us scratch our heads. Thank the good Lord that my daily verbal meanderings aren’t plastered all over every newspaper and website on the planet; everybody would then know what a complete goofball I am! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

        • barb129 says:

          I don’t mean to be picky, but if you’re 88 years old Joseph, then Pope Francis is the 8th pope of your lifetime….I’m only 57 and Pope Francis is the 7th pope in my lifetime. =)

          Like

      • Dan Lynch says:

        Dear Mack,Charlie and others,

        So far, so good, no heresy yet from Pope Francis. Stay calm, let’s wait-and-see and not be too quick to jump on one bandwagon or another regarding the meaning of what he is saying.
        Sometimes, I just want to scream about his press conferences, “Will somebody please muzzle this man?” But, I’ll give him a long leash on matters outside of faith and morals and I will keep my mouth shut!
        Let’s stay in the only supernatural home that God has provided us, His one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church!

        Liked by 2 people

        • charliej373 says:

          Oh, and I am sure there will be no heresy, Dan. I am not sure there will be no equivalent of a secular speeding ticket, though – and there are some lurkers who are dead set on undermining this pope…so I note now that the equivalent of a speeding ticket will NOT undermine his authority – and that encompasses emphasizing a bit what his responsibility and authority are – and what is irrelevant to it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mary Ann says:

            Well, technically, a pope is not protected from private heretical views, or even from expressing them. It has happened. He is protected from officially proposing them. In this day and age, when private musings and speculations and off the cuff remarks are transmitted worldwide instantly, things are publicised which were never publicised in the past with previous Popes (who, besides, were very careful and measured in what they said….because they had to be historically – JPII grew up in hostile regimes and Ratzinger was a theologian and curial official who knew what would be made of the odd word).

            Like

        • donna269 says:

          you will not muzzle this Latin man who loves to talk with deep connection….it is who he is….:) I wonder if he kissed the Blarney Stone, Dan!

          Like

    • Mack in 1999 our small town parish church was closed as part of an Archdiocesan “restructuring” and we had to travel for Mass to the next church 20 miles away. While it was painful, I could see the Lord’s hand in it as if he were saying to each of us, “Are you with me or against me? Will you follow me to the next parish?” Some didn’t.

      Yes we are all being sifted. Cling to Jesus with all your might.

      Fear not! The Lord is in the boat with us. He is the Lord of the wind and the waves. Do not be afraid, but believe!

      Liked by 5 people

  3. E. Allison says:

    With regard to Pope Francis speaking on glo-bull-warming. Unless he declares his statements to be ‘ex cathedra’ (invoking infallibility), he’s just a nice old man with an opinion. I have a brother who left the Church decades ago. I don’t remember what year, but apparently some statement came out of the Vatican 5-10 years ago which was misconstrued by the press to say that it’s okay for Catholics to believe in aliens. My brother jumped on this and threw it in my face as proof that the Catholic Church was false. I laughed at him, and said that 1) the Pope didn’t say that, but even if he did…… 2) since ‘ex cathedra’ wasn’t invoked, he would just be a nice old guy with an opinion and would have no bearing on the legitimacy of the Church. If Pope Francis says that man is responsible for the warming of the late 20th century, it will be regrettable not only because it will cause confusion among those who do not understand the mantle of infallibility, but because he would be wrong. As Charlie said, there has been no increase in average global temps since 1998. But it’s just a distraction from the real problems and from where our focus needs to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Anna Stenken says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss. Be blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul says:

    Thanks Charlie…sorry for your loss and glad to see you seem to be physically feeling better…I figured out a while ago that people who leave the church never really understood what it is…once you get it, and if you continue to practice the faith, and do what’s necessary to remain in a state of grace, it seems to me one would NEVER leave. It is truly “the Pearl of great price”

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Boy, you’re right about that. I try to remember what my life was like before I came into the Church. I am deeply glad the Lord left me outside for a time, for it has helped immeasurably in showing me the value and authenticity of so many of those who seek Christ from that point. But shortly after my conversion, someone asked me what the difference really was for me. I referred him back to the classic “Wizard of Oz” movie – that all my life until that point was directed to Christ, but in black and white…and now it was in glorious color!

      Liked by 4 people

      • MMBev says:

        Soooooo, in this I am not alone! After reading St. Therese’s “Autobiography of a Soul” in May of 1976, my world went from black and white to technicolor just WHAM as the Holy Spirit opened my eyes in a new way. And I have been wearing ruby slippers every since. (Took me quite a while before I realized that buying and giving people the book was not the answer to transforming the Church. Ok, but it didn’t hurt anyone to read it, and it was a good try!)

        Like

  6. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    As always, “Thanks, Brother Charlie!” for all your insights.

    On your sojourn to the cabin, let me share with you a marvelous saying by the author of “The Hiding Place,” Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom, which will help you get your “sea-legs” right here on land:

    “If God sends us on stony paths, He provides us with strong shoes.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • donna269 says:

      just finished the book….beautiful….get ready

      Like

      • Tarja says:

        In recent months I have experienced an inspiration: Read a book or watch a movie/documentary of these three: Diary of Anne Frank, Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago and a description of the Siege of Leningrad.
        They describe very well what it is A. to be persecuted and hiding B. to end up in the middle of turmoil and escape to the countryside and hide there during the worst time growing one’s own food and so on. C. to live in a city without adequate nutrition and heating in winter time. Especially last one is surely a stunning experience… but when I watched the documentary I just knew it was the right thing to do – as horrible it was.

        The mention of Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place made me think of these three and tell about them to you.

        “It has happened before” was my reaction… perhaps on a smaller scale but still very brutally.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          One of the first books I read on my pilgrimage was on the siege of Leningrad. Surely one of the most horrible episodes in history – and few in the west even know of it. I loved Dr. Zhivago – both the book and the movie (the magnificent 1965 Omar Sharif version – not the newer one. Did you know that Geraldine Chaplin, who played his wife, Tonya, was Charlie Chaplin’s daughter?).

          Liked by 1 person

  7. dciavarella says:

    http://floscarmeli.stblogs.org/archives/2003/06/on-the-pope-pru.html

    Here I found an interesting and informative article on the Pope concerning prudential judgment and responsibility which tends to flow more in the way of humility and simple obedience instead of self opinionated views based upon lack of context or wisdom on my part. I will attempt to trust more in authority regardless of what divisions and misguided passions many will succomb to and realize if these are the threads that some hold so narrowly to their Catholic faith, then an illumination of conscience by our God should surely be the only true shaking that will awaken us from our slumber.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. SteveBC says:

    A few observations:

    On disorder, wow, yes, that’s a big one. I’ve been discombobulated since early November. If it helps, I do feel in the last few days that I am getting back on track.

    A little humor: Do you think that part of Jesus’s plan from when you were on your walkabout consists of pointing the whole world at you with “Je suis Charlie” and “we are all Charlie now”?

    On Bizarro World and “I think it is probably an organic division of the lines of battle ahead”: This comment of yours *really* caught my eye, and I think it a hugely important and very accurate observation. I hope you will explore it more thoroughly sometime. Illusion has many in its thrall, while many others are waking up. Civil disagreement could easily become uncivil war. Further, as you have said, Charlie, sometimes people need to suffer the consequences of their thoughts and actions, especially when those are filled with illusion and are used to justify enslavement and murder for the convenience of the elites.

    Over the past several years I have had people bemoaning how everyone seemed to be polarizing. Can’t we just get along? My reply was to point out that, no, we can’t, that we are finally delineating the proper topics and principles to dispute over. The polarization has been necessary because there is real meaning to the positions held by some people and an increasing degree of exposure (in potentia anyway) of illusion in other people. Clarity can throw a harsh light. Sunlight off a polished sword.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      WE have fomented much disorder in darkness. The first shafts of light reveal how horrifyingly disordered we have become.

      Liked by 2 people

    • CrewDog says:

      “Can’t we just get along?” … Ya got that right Steve!! 50 Years of “Compromise”, Political Correctness, GOD dismissed from the Public Square, Schools-n-Ball Games, Values Free Education, Spewing Pornography Worldwide, 55 Million Abortions (USA), Perversion “Glorified”, ……………. and the Silent Majority staying that way ………….. satan-n-pals busy-busy ;-(
      GOD FORGIVE US!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sue says:

        Crew Dog,
        Have you ever heard the song “Simple Man” by the Charlie Daniels Band? If not, I highly recommend it, right up your alley! It is on a playlist I recently made, and it makes me think of your comments every time! Look it up on You Tube and tell me what you think if you can find it someplace. 🙂 Sue

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Bonnie C says:

    Mark Mallett, If you read these entries, thank you so, so much for introducing us to Charlie Johnston! God BLESS you both! From the depths of my heart.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kati says:

      Hi Bonnie!
      Mark’s new posting regarding our FAITHFULNESS is another great antidote for the increasing disorder that we all see. http://www.markmallett.com/blog/be-faithful

      Dear Lord, help us to be amazingly faithful to you as the disorder increases even more. Thank you. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • SteveBC says:

      Amen, Bonnie C! I started with Mark 3 years ago and got so much out of reading his material. Then I came here on his recommendation and have gotten so much out of reading Charlie’s material and the wit and wisdom of the various commenters I have been privileged to read.

      I feel blessed.

      Like

  10. These two quotes spoke volumes to me today: St. Francis de Sales – “We shall steer safely through every storm, as long as our heart is right, our intention fervent, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed in God.” And from G.K. Chesterton – “It is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength at all. Like all the Christian virtues, it is as unreasonable as it is indispensable.” Jesus, I trust in you. I fervently intend to remain steadfast and immovable in faith, hope and love, with the help of your grace. Without you, I can do NOTHING.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Irish7 says:

    Ah Charlie you have put words to my ache this week. I too am just dumbstruck by the blindness. Many friends still defend their hideous ideologies despite the obvious evil consequences with more vehemence (and malice cloaked in “compassion” and “righteous outrage”) than before! They are as you say doubling down. Astonishing. Truly impenetrable ignorance and the scales of St Paul. I’m flailing in my own response…fluctuating wildly between engaging too rashly and deeply and disengaging entirely. Attempts to stick up for truth feel futile and quite honestly more and more dangerous. Ah I need a mountain retreat too charlie! ;). The thing that haunts me is that I have lived in darkness and don’t want to leave any behind. I am intimidated and rattled by these people and their venomous defenses and beliefs. But truly some of them are sheep in wolves clothes just as I was. I did not hear the gospel message (even once) until I was 20 years old. It is easy to forget that culture is just this secular now. I was considered to be reasonably bright and well educated, yet did not know what Christians believed Jesus died for our sins. The literature they feed young souls deals death and emptiness. I remember vividly the dark mark Catcher in the Rye left on my young soul…all the while being told it is beauty…art. Many young ppl I have worked with tell me that it’s their favorite book. I know why. At least the character is being honest and real. The authenticity (even though it is authentically demonic) touches them. Finally someone who is talking about more than the weather or TV. Finally someone discussing the meaning of life (only to discover there is no meaning, but at least the book allows the conversation). I became ardently pro choice via the mentorship of a professor at a particular Catholic university that i think makes us all sick now. Why? He was real and engaging and passionate about his beliefs. He was less dead than the other zombies. Sooo lots of lost and earnest kids got really excited about liberating the world from babies and incandescent light bulbs be wise that was better than caring about nothing.I think it’s important to discern which spirits are truly hardened and which are parroting the nonsense because they have not encountered a soul aflame with Christ. They will respond to truth in a heartbeat. For me the counterfeit was quickly revealed and repulsive when presented with the real thing. So I guess we keep taking the hits for those souls who need to encounter us by going into the enemy camp with authenticity and the flame of love. That, I think (pray) is the Pope’s plan and my own very small very frail faltering one.

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Fish says:

    It has always amused me when we the faithful get so rattled by the flaws in the Popes. Over and over, with each generation, we seem to expect him to be a perfect man and god, and forget to remember that he is merely the Vicar of The Only Perfect Man and God. It makes me want to ask if we have ever actually READ the bible? I mean have we not seen Peter?!? Have we not read how bumbling he could be and how he, the first pope, as a disciple got things EXACTLY WRONG time after time. Jesus even called him a satan at one point. And yet he was chosen by Christ. Christ knew what He was doing with choosing Peter; He had a plan. Peter’s greatness was in his humility to get up after he screwed up, it was in his humility to keep striving forward after Christ in spite of his woeful humanity. And in spite of Peter continually having to be corrected and re-directed once he was Pope, (See pretty much all of Acts chapter 10), the Apostles and Church followed him faithfully none-the-less. Because they knew Christ chose him not for Peter’s perfection and sanctity, but for his humility in his over-helping of humanity, which by the very nature and fragility of it’s clay pointed the Church back it’s Divine Source, back to Christ, all the more. May we pray that Pope Francis take his papal example from that same humbled humanity of Peter; may he take whatever lumps he receives from any of his missteps with the same eagerness to “get it right in the end” that Peter did. If so, we will be sure to keep our eyes on Christ during the Storm by and through the comforting precedent of a stumbling, Petrine leadership.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Ha, Fish, you touch on something I long ago wondered about with my priests. Why, I pondered, did Jesus choose the often brash, sometimes erratic, and always emotionally driven Peter as the first Pope when the clear-headed, ever prudent and insightful John would seem to have been a much steadier choice? At one point after months of pondering, an idea popped into my head that had my priests laughing. If John had been the first Pope, the phenomenal spread of Christianity might have been attributed to his sober judgment. With Peter, Christ’s supernatural power was the only reasonable explanation. 🙂 Of course, at the heart of it is the truth that perfect judgment would not be enough to sustain this institution, only perfect love supplanted by Christ’s power. And perfect love does, indeed, rise again at each stumble. Perfect love was something Peter had in abundance…his occasionally deeply flawed judgment was just a bonus.

      Liked by 5 people

      • If a coach wins the Superbowl with the best players money can buy, no one will remember him. But if he wins with the lamest team the world has ever seen … the glory goes to him. Once a Rabbi told me that he was convinced that God chose His people not because of any particular virtue but reasoning that (I quote with all due respect) “If I can make something out of these schmucks I will convince the rest that I am the real God.” The same goes for our time. We are going into the most important battle in history and all we have is “the F troop.” So when the Triumph comes let us not think too much of ourselves.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Bonnie C says:

        I think this was from a Homily by my favorite priest, “Jesus chose Peter BECAUSE he was the weakest link in the chain.” I love St. Peter. I have a copy of a drawing of him by an alleged seer and I ask him to pray for/help me. I think about how he was ready with the sword in the Garden, but then got weak in the knees. He gives me hope.

        Same priest said something to ponder at Mass yesterday, “Hope is synonymous with work.”

        Liked by 3 people

        • Watching Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ I noticed that Kepha sounds very similar to Caiaphas. I looked up the meanings in dictionary of biblical names to discover that they are “reflections.” Peter’s name means “a rocky promontory” and Caiaphas name means “a dell, or small valley.” Notice that Jesus took the disciples to Cesarea to reveal His messianic identity. I think that he wanted to counterpoint the very offending fact that the Romans (at the time occupying the citadel of David) forced a false High Priest in lieu of Annas, the real High Priest (John 11, 51.) Simon Peter is also the son of a Jonah and that connects us to the resurrection as one of the foundations of the Church. This resurrection is one of the signs promised by Jesus who compared his returning from death to the return of the prophet Jonah from the belly of a big fish. Adding to that, Simon Peter is also a fisherman (Matthew 16,4; Jonah 2,1-11) Jonah means “dove” and it could be an allusion to the Holy Spirit. There is so much imagery here one can get dizzy trying to see it all. But Simon Peter is always ate the center: even his original name “Simon” suggests something. Simon was the brother of Levy whose tribe was the original priesthood of Israel. This new Simon is also the first in the Christian priesthood, superior to the early priesthood of Levy like a promontory surpasses a dell in height (see Isaiah 22:22 and related verses also.) Jesus affirms that His Father in Heaven revealed to Peter Jesus’ mission and identity as a Messiah — then Jesus names Peter our first “Papa” our Pope — indicating that Peter’s spiritual fatherhood proceeds directly from God the Father. Humble Peter must have been the most surprised by Christ’s selection but all signs seem to indicate that Peter was destined from all eternity to be the rock upon which the Pilgrim Church was founded on earth, a reflection of Christ the Rock upon which the Heavenly Church is founded.

          When I hear all that nonsense about Francis not being the Pope, etc. I tremble at how lightly some will take God’s fatherhood of the Church. If we question the authority or the Pope we are doing that to God. The Father has to pick one man for the supreme sacrifice of leading the Church. The Pope may be a bad Pope, even a wicked Pope but that does not matter, God is still in control and that Pope whoever he is, will serve God’s purpose even if he looks as weak as Peter.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Irish7 says:

        Love this Charlie!

        Like

  13. Well…..like I said before …..my heart and mind have been healed by God from the fear that was gripping me a few months back when it came to Pope Francis and his statements. I am seeing him as someone that is creating a bridge of love in a world full of hate. He is showing the world that we MUST reach out in love to everyone. The love that Pope Francis is witnessing to others is really touching my heart. The hearts of men have grown cold. I think when the world is so full of hate everywhere…..God sent us a Pope that would show us what it means to love. How to witness to others with a heart truly full of love. I am seeing him as a Pope with a Mother Teresa heart. He is reaching out to anyone and everyone. Mother Teresa did that. She didn’t care who you were or where you came from or what religion…….her mission was to care for and give love to the poorest of the poor. The ones no one loved or noticed……she went the extra mile for. Her mission was to serve all with great humility and love and Pope Francis is the same. As the world grows more and more in hate …..we must increase in love for each other and for our enemies or we are doomed. Hard to do…..but not impossible with GOD.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. My heartfelt prayers & condolences go out to you & your family for your loss. As for the article, valid statement & observation to the reality. Nonetheless I still look at this as the prelude to the Great Dark War. The skirmishes have clearly already begun as the enemy prepares to act decisively in a more direct confrontation against both Church & civilization. Satan nor his Accomplice can not hide themselves much longer. Evil lacks the humility & grace to be anything but disturbed & disturbing with seemingly endless pomp & grandiosity to show hatred & disdain for all creation.

    Like

  15. Barbara Dore says:

    yes, we are on level 8 now.

    Like

    • Mary Ann says:

      How many levels are there in most video games?

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        I don’t know, Mary Ann…I’d have to ask my son. But I know that level 8 is always a LOT harder than level 1 (and I think when I would play those with my son and his friends, level 8 was about the best I ever did on any of them.) I always stuck pretty much to the sports games: baseball, football, golf…I could relate to that. So the kids would usually indulge me by sticking to sports games when I would play with them.

        Like

        • Mary Ann says:

          🙂

          Like

        • malachi99 says:

          Charlie you have just entered legend status with your video game analogy. I love video games. Was a big fan of Mario back in the day and that was the quintessential level 1 to 8 game. You’ve done well the best my father got to was world 6. 3 and he thought he was great. I am also pretty handy at tiger woods golf maybe someday we will get to shoot some pool and have a few blasts on the PlayStation. I’m odds on favourite though just sayin 😁😃😎

          Like

          • charliej373 says:

            I was killer on Madden Football in the day. My son and I were the greatest team ever on NBA Jams…even his friends marveled at how well we played together. I enjoyed Tiger Woods Golf, but one of my son’s buddies owned me on that.

            Liked by 1 person

  16. TC says:

    Dear Charlie,

    The second half of your post caused a strong reaction in me. It seems to be off mission and to add to the volatility you describe. I am afraid you are making the same mistake that so many made leading up to the synod last fall. Creating anxiety and almost presuming that Pope Francis is going to make “a major official blunder”.

    Pope Francis is our rock during this Storm. He is the Pope of the Storm to whom we must look for assurance and guidance. He is the captain to whom the Lord has entrusted the ship of the Church during these raging times. Is he above a fall? No. During the Passion, all but the Beloved Disciple abandoned Jesus. But Peter immediately went out and wept bitterly after he denied his Lord and savior. We must cling to the rock. We must look to our captain and stay loyal to the Church. We must at all costs remain in the ark which is the Church. Might our Holy Father say something confusing? Yes. But for every one spoken opinion Pope Francis may have incorrect, he has a thousand that lead us closer to the truth of the Gospel. For a Pope to err on an opinion or a prudential judgment is not a betrayal of the Truth. You clearly understand that, but I fear many don’t. I am not anxious if it happens a thousand times with Pope Francis. He is still our captain – given to us by heaven. He will not err in matters of faith and morals.

    I would like to suggest that you follow the advice that you offer to Pope Francis: stay away from matters about which you are not expert. Why? Because it compromises your mission – just as you note, it compromises the Pope’s mission when he does the same.

    Apologies if this is too strong, Charile. We cannot and must not undermine the authority of Pope Francis – even unintentionally. Too many souls are at stake. Several of the comments here suggest that the second half of this post was not a sign of hope, but a source of fear. I don’t think we can be too careful in safeguarding and protecting the reputation, integrity and authority of the Pope.

    Acknowledge God, take the next right step, be a sign of hope for those around you. Everything shhould be about the mission.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    TC

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I have come to highly value your occasional comments here, TC, but this piece does not, I think, undermine the Pope’s authority at all. I acknowledge that the Pope can err when he ventures into secular things. I don’t think the danger before us is that those who already hate the Pope are going to get worse or that those who adore him are going to fall away. The danger is that there are already many who play at piety while claiming Francis is an antipope. If he did make a big secular error – which is theologically possible and has many precedents in Church history, it could give his enemies from within leverage to attack his spiritual authority among those who are uncertain – and so pull many away from the safety of the Church. In making the distinction between the authority he has and that he doesn’t, I am prepared to make a credible full-throated defense of his spiritual authority even if he should make a temporal blunder. Those who blur the lines and implicitly cede to him a temporal infallibility no Pope has will not be able to credibly defend him if such should come. I will.

      It was easy to stay completely solid as the division and rhetoric was rising during the Synod. I am a true believer – and I knew the Pope could NOT finally err on a matter of defined doctrine. It enhanced the credibility of my assurances on the matter among those on the fence when it happened as it did in the end. Now it positions me to credibly defend his spiritual authority to those who are nervous even if he makes a temporal blunder by acknowledging the disquiet some of his words on such things have reasonably caused people.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Judy says:

        I think Charlie’s writing was right on. It helps to clarify where Pope Francis is considered infallible and where he is not. As far as the movements and attacks of Islam that some may have missed, I would recommend signing up for Jihad Watch newsletters. They are hard to read, but you will know what is going on everywhere, including the US. and Europe. Christians are under extreme duress in many, many parts of the world and, yes, are being slaughtered on a regular basis, and in horrific ways. If anyone here thinks that Islam is a peaceful religion at its core, then you will soon realize the truth: Islam is intolerant, demands conversion and complete submission. In fact, that is what the word “Islam” means, “submission, or so I have read. …..In addition, Islam teaches that its followers may seek to achieve its goals in any way possible….deception, humiliation, torture, and very nasty murders / the genocide of mass groups. I know some Muslims who seem tolerant and are very nice people, but the terrorists can find justification for all their actions the their ‘holy book’. And it looks like the terrorists are clearly in control and they are seeking more and more control, even in the USA.

        Like

    • Mary Ann says:

      I worry for others, who may be led to believe the Church teaches things other than what she teaches (or that she teaches things not within her purview)….whether they are falsely drawn to the Church and use her, or whether they are falsely dismayed at the Church. I worry for good Catholics and clergy who are seriously oppressed in their dioceses. I worry for Catholics who are misled away from the way of life and truth. It happened in the 60’s, through delay, letting false teaching flourish, and it happened in the 70’s even after Humanae Vitae, because the Pope was silent. Many died, many did wrong, many souls and lives and families terrible damaged. It happened when the US bishops took part of a phrase from Pacem in Terris (with a word which lacked its proper definition in the encylical and then was taken further out of context) when the US bishops stated in 1987 that all people have a fundamental human right to health care. It is not just crossing a division between faith/morals and secular matters. It can also be failing to act, or acting falsely in a non-magisterial way, in faith and morals that can mislead many, strengthening our enemies and weakening the faith of the faithful. If we get the governors we deserve, we also get the shepherds we deserve. We should pray for both, obey just laws, obey hierarchs in those matters in which they have a right to command. But Teresa in the article mentioned was talking about obeying religious superiors, who have rights over all of a member’s life, except conscience. No parallel there.

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        There has been much confusion, built on generations of mushy feel-good nonsense. In these times, we are beginning to see clarity. But before things can be fully set to right, the light must expose how terribly disordered they have become. The light shining on them is the beginning of the clean-up…not the continuance of the mess, I think.

        Like

  17. Barbara Dore says:

    I wonder if the Miraculous Medal is Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces? I see the graces coming out of her hands.. It looks like she is the Mediatrix of All Graces? Is it a medal of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces which is called the Miraculous Medal?

    Like

    • Sr Lorraine says:

      Barbara, that’s a good connection. The Miraculous Medal is about Our lady as the Immaculate Conception. She asked that the prayer “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” This was in 1830, 24 years before the definition of the dogma. Mary said to St Catherine Laboure that the rays coming out of the jewels on her hands represent the graces she obtains for people. But some jewels had no rays, and Mary said that they represent the graces that people don’t ask for! We should ask for lots and lots of graces. Today’s reading from Hebrews says to do it boldy: “So let us come with boldness to the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace in time of need.”

      Like

      • Barbara Dore says:

        Sr Lorraine, thanks. I understand now.

        Like

      • I posted this prayer on my site not that long ago and I think it applies here. I usually pray this prayer after communion: “O my Jesus I accept every gift and grace it pleases you to give me at this time, and all the graces being rejected by others, but more than that I ask that all souls will accept the graces you offer at every communion, for your glory and for your kingdom to come. Amen.” Jesus told St. Faustina that when one soul rejects a grace it goes to someone else immediately. Be open! Ephphatha!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Bob says:

          Janet, I was thinking last night that your prayers may be able to obtain more grace from God if you were to add a small penance a few times a week. Drink a small shot of the “best” or the cheapest Scotch you can find, swish it around in your mouth for about 30 seconds while you pray for the conversion of poor sinners!! Perhaps the intensity of the storm can thus be slightly mitigated.

          Like

  18. Donette says:

    Charlie, Many of us have been discombobulated by what is happening “out there” and by the words of the Pope. Some have defended him as having not spoken Ex Cathedra. (The Pope never begins a written work nor a statement made public that begins “I am speaking Ex Cathedra.” We older Catholics steeped in Church dogma and doctrine and familiar with private revelation watch this Pope carefully. Why many will ask? If only the messages of Our Lady of La Salette had not said “Rome will loose the Faith and become the seat of the Anti-Christ.” we might not look so hard at everything this Pope states and this Pope has had us on our heads several times. This does not mean we reject him. We are simply looking for the footsteps of God in this Pope’s reign. We are watchers on the wall.

    The Most Holy Trinity is an ever ending source of fascination, wisdom, and beauty to me. He is Wonderful. Sometimes a close relationship with Him is like riding on a roller coaster. You can grumble, squawk, mumble and worry to Him all the way to the top of a hill, then whizz down the hill so fast that your breath is taken away and you scream all the way down, but He lands you safely at the bottom which is a location I think of as His Arms. God, no matter what He does, what He permits, what He Wills, God is Wonderful. He is my Abba and no matter where He wants to take me, even if it is back on another higher roller coaster, I am there reaching out for His Finger like a child, ready to go with Him.

    Sorry if this sounds like I get carried away on the subject, but that is what happens to me when I focus on this mesmerizing Beloved Who is Our God.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Well, Donette, a Pope doesn’t have to speak ex cathedra for his words to be authoritative. He only needs to speak magisterially – as part of magisterial teaching. If you read Pope Emeritus Benedict’s marvelous book, “Jesus of Nazareth” he notes in the preface that it is certainly important theological reflection on his part, but he is not speaking magisterially. I appreciated that distinction made early on. Even when a pope is neither speaking ex cathedra or magisterially, his words on matters of faith and morals should be given great weight and profound consideration, even though they are not binding. When he is not speaking on matters of faith and morals, given the confusion of the day, it is helpful when he notes that he is outside the area of his authority and voicing an opinion. It may be very weighty…St. John Paul, in particular, was very knowledgable on matters of economics and secular philosophy – and was a brilliantly talented statesman…so added much to the public discourse that was not binding, but only to be ignored at some peril.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Donette, you quoted LaSalette prophecy that says, “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist”. As Charlie has often stated interpretation of prophecy is a tricky business. This may mean that forces outside of the Church will overrun “Rome” and install their own leader, the antichrist. Just another take on that prophecy.

      Like

  19. Donette says:

    I can’t imagine any reason that is logical for a person to want to leave the Catholic Church no matter what a Pope may state. I ask, “To Whom Would We go?” The Church has the Words of Everlasting Life given to It by Christ. He resides there. He doesn’t just reserve a spot there. I pray that all may find their true safety and refuge in the Ship that He sails.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      That is a wise course. Alas, there is a movement growing in Europe with acolytes in America saying that the holiest thing to do is to abandon the Church and come into a “true church,” that is more Catholic even then the Catholic Church. This is a deception of satan that has already ensnared many and looks poised to snare many more. Stay to the safety of the Barque of Peter as the Storm rises.

      Liked by 2 people

      • ann says:

        500 years ago devout “true church” Catholics walked out the door with Luther. And the dominoes began to fall and are still falling. I know I said this before but this temptation to leave and come into the “true church” is the most fiendish temptation used against devout Catholics. It takes supernatural grace and humility (and we must ask for it!!!) to stand at the foot of the Cross and watch the Mystical Body of Christ writhe in pain. But that’s where I want to be–at the foot of the Cross with Our Blessed Mother. And I pray that’s where we all are no matter how the storm winds howl around us. Truly I believe the holiest thing to do is keep Jesus company in this agony as His Church is buffeted from all sides and stick with Peter, pray for Peter, and trust God that the gates of hell will not prevail.

        Liked by 2 people

  20. Tim says:

    One thing that disturbs me as we all go forward is the fairly large number of people in the Catholic Church (at least their number seems large to me in my personal experience) who love Jesus and the Church but express a “social justice” belief system. They say they oppose a solidly Christian and conservative governor here locally because he doesn’t give enough benefits to the disabled or whatever, but they defend homosexual marriage and in general support the destructive policies of President Obama and the world order he is fashioning. In fact, my perception is that such persons may be in the majority when it comes to Catholics in my city. It is challenging to be both loving and respectful while still knowing how to be cheerfully intransigent when it comes to defending Catholic doctrine. Thank you for your insights, Charley, and may your time apart be helpful to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      That has been a great and common evil of the last few generations. On that point, Pope Francis is bringing great clarity out of the mush that has been taught. We are called to be open and welcoming to the person who is in error without opening ourselves to their error. It is also a serious error to teach that in choosing between imperfect people as leaders, the same weight should be given to mere preferences of policy as on matters of defined teachings on social justice. Support for the right to life is not just one of many “nice” options on a menu of discernment. It is fundamental. A serious Catholic cannot honorably support any official who opposes the right to life….before he begins to choose he must rule out all who are opposed to the right to life.

      Liked by 3 people

      • ann says:

        Absolutely, Charlie. That is the litmus test in voting–where are they on the Life Issue. We must vote for life–first last and always, every other issue is secondary to this seminal issue. But so many Catholics and other Christians seem to get lost in the weeds of social justice. A woman I knew who has since died of cancer(God save her) argued at great length with me that she was being a devout Catholic by wanting to provide poor women an out with abortion because so many children were abused and neglected. She could not see that abortion is the supreme child abuse. It’s as if Catholics of this ilk have a kind of delusion over them and truth cannot penetrate. I don’t get it. But then God knows I have persistent blindness and sins in other areas where I am just as obtuse. (mindful of the plank in my eye….)

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          Yes Ann, it is about as logical to argue that abortion is the compassionate way to defend “unwanted” children as it is to argue that AK-47s offer the most compassionate way to end poverty.

          Liked by 2 people

        • MMBev says:

          Now let me see….wasn’t that called “the seamless garment”, conning as many Catholics as possible and carrying a reference to the woven garment of Jesus? Well, they tossed dice for it, and a lot of people in the last fifty years wanted a piece.

          Like

  21. Spikenard says:

    How many levels are there Charlie? Will it get much worse demon-wise?

    I also always wondered about the Bible verse stating we should pray that our flight not be in the Winter (so I do) but then if it’s summer for me, isn’t it winter for some other poor souls? Or maybe God will make it all moderate weather if we all pray hard enough?

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      I honestly would not worry too much about such details, Spikenard. Rather, pray that you keep faith whatever comes. What I know is that the Lord will not leave us without recourse to Him…and often that recourse comes in the form of discovering that when holding fast to Him, we can deal with much more than we think we can, not that He suddenly reduces trials to what our imagination limits us to being able to handle.

      Liked by 3 people

      • jobrower says:

        Amen!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Spikenard says:

        I do also pray that I persevere in the Faith. My curiosity is in how Jesus instructed us to pray our flight not be in the winter, but does that mean that those who pray more in one hemisphere are at a tug-of-war with those in the other hemisphere at who gets to flee during warmer months? As you’ve been in touch with Heavenly beings, I thought you might know the logic. As to knowing how many levels there are, I can appreciate that spiritually we are in a rather high level of a storm with the devil, but that it’s not necessarily perceived as a storm by earthly, secular beings. Are there physical aspects of this Storm also? I do not doubt your words, but as to fallen away relatives, etc. how are they to know the signs? Thank you.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          What if it is coming in waves, Spikenard? Do you not know that Christians in the Middle East and some of Africa are in deep flight right now? In any case, your call is to care for those around you that you can. Let God take care of what you can’t. That may sound cold, but more damage has been caused by people refusing to do anything because they can’t do everything than any other single reason. Do not be one of those people who pines to save the world but does not notice your neighbor needs help. That is a vanity, not compassion.

          As for your family, just enjoy time with them. Remember God’s patience with you on your journey – and try to imitate a little of the same. Do not make your every conversation with them about the faith or you will become a drudge they avoid. Make their time with you a joy…enjoy the things they do (provided they are licit things). Show interest in them. If you just live your life in integrity and make yourself a joy to be around, when the time comes they need something deeper, they will ask. If you use every opportunity to speak of such things to tell them what they should do, then they will never ask you. Trust God. Part of that trust is trusting that, if you make your household a joyful one, He will draw your loved ones to Him in a seasonable time – but it will be His time, not yours and if you try to force it early, it is as fruitless as pulling up tomato plants before their time is full thinking that you can force the tomatoes to appear when you want rather than in the proper season. Do not worry overmuch about disorders there. In many, God allows such disorders to prepare people for the work He intends. Some of the best sobriety counselors are those who suffered badly themselves. You don’t know what God intends in all situations, but you do know He intends good for each of us. So make your home a joyful, welcoming one, offer up your sorrows and sufferings for your loved ones, and trust God.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Spikenard says:

            Ok, the wave theory could make sense. I do worry about mankind in general, but the premise behind my asking was to discern the logic there. I do appreciate God’s logic is far superior to mine….and it was sort of a riddle to me.
            Two of my children live far away from me, and they have stepped away from the Faith. I gropple with the idea that communication may be wiped out due to “the Storm” so I just looked to know if I could pass along your mission’s message, but with the sign of hope you also speak about. I figured I may not be able to be in touch with them say the N. Korean’s nuke us or what have you. So I was just looking for more specifics from you….sorry, I’m just a planner & I try to be prepared for the sake of my loved ones. But so you’re aware, like you say, I do make sure our family get-togethers are joyful and well spent, and do not always dwell on religion. They, in turn, will all come to Christmas Mass, say Grace, etc. out of respect for my husband and my wishes. I realize it may be in God’s time, or when a crisis in their life happens, that they turn back to their roots, and I just pray like St. Monica in the meantime that they do. Thank you for your prompt replies. You’re tucked in my daily prayers. May you always be fruitful in His efforts.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Thanks, Spikenard.

            Like

        • Not to jump in on Charlie’s answer, but what about praying that it happen in spring or fall? That gives us time to come up with a game plan before winter hits in either hemisphere.

          Liked by 1 person

  22. jobrower says:

    Charlie, I offer my sincere condolences and prayers for your loss. You will be in my heart next week as you listen to what our Lord is asking you to tell us. May our Lady keep you safely under her mantle. Thank you and all who prayed for my daughter (diagnosed with arachnoid cyst). Neurologist assured her “she was born with it, she need not worry about it and no follow-up appointment is needed!” All praise be to Jesus Christ for the test of faith He allowed her and us to experience so as to become examples of peace.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. vkmir3 says:

    Charlie: I am very sorry for your loss and I will keep you in prayer while you spend some time in retreat. I have a sense that this retreat is very necessary in preparation for things to come. As I may have mentioned the first time I posted here, I found your writings by way of reading Mark Mallett’s posts, Your posts and Mark’s posts have been instrumental in giving me direction and helping me to prepare for things to come. I am surrounded by family members whose faith has been weakened by the World, who are far away from their Catholic faith, who are leery of Pope Francis and who are not open to discussion about faith issues or the storm. Reading your posts, the posts of Mark Mallett and the comments here are so very helpful in going forward to acknowledge God, take the next right step and to share faith and hope with everyone that will listen. And, for those that do not want to discuss, lift them up in prayer. I read Mark’s post yesterday, “Be Faithful” and then read your post and the comments here and from both, the words “Be Faithful” resonated with my heart, Thank you both for sharing what the Lord has placed on your hearts and that we really need to hear!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Observer says:

    I suppose I’m one in the minority who thinks this Pope is a simple and mysterious gift (today simple IS mysterious) still given to what should be by all accounts now in our history a forsaken world. I see where most commentary about him and his “remarks” come from the usual “this side of heaven” outlook. IOW, one cannot look at his teachings/talks/interviews or in fact those similar that came from saints of history and say, once again, they haven’t, don’t and won’t work….again. Those who have previously abused such approaches had the same expectations for them that come out of this world’s “common” sense and limitations of human nature’s original sin…..NOT what the WORD means from one who is following and living in the Spirit. I say that those similar “failed” characters of history who also are seen from 20/20 hindsight that is formed by external worldly, survival type vision only, HAD to play their part for our very hope and mitigation of evil’s complete control…so far. The WORD doesn’t fail….it goes out, as scripture says, to the world and falls where it will. Today like no other it seems there is nothing but rotten soil for it to land on. Francis still sows the same seed…..and it DOES include the exploiting and abominatingly? abusive powers of today; those in control now of just about everything and everyone if one looks only at survival mode. He still sees where everyone plays a part for the condition of the least powerful….those, as he says, we will be judged on as to how we participated. People just have to take a look at the trouble he got into…his very life threatened when he opposed immoral authority in his native country. He also witnessed the exploitation of nature and its effect upon the least’s every day existence….one in which they could not escape….in his native continent. When he speaks to “climate change” and what/who is responsible I believe that he looks to what can be controlled as yet by humans for the sake of the poor while not leaving out what a Jesuit mind will also understand as the danger of the reaction of the Cosmos Itself to its own limits…..”the rocks themselves will speak out” when the truth is silenced.

    I remember years ago while visiting a mission group in Peru, when I came out of my hotel room (before heading to a poor mainly fishing and “guano” economy area on the ocean), everyone who came out of all of the surrounding rooms to wait at the elevator were Japanese executive looking types. I thought to myself….why must all the riches of the area in minerals be developed by those from the outside with the obvious means to do so? But these were allowed to maneuver freely around the layered caste system of old that the citizens themselves were doomed to by their own dyed in the wool “elite” rulers as well as own adapted to prejudices themselves….still the “Indians” separated from the “mixed” separated from the Colonials. And upon which in each group would the “seed” of the Word be given the best soil while not outwardly appreciated for its little benefits for the world as a whole??

    “The more things change….the more they stay the same”. But there is also a time for everything….in God’s Will. Francis isn’t here to usurp our own God given discernment of the times and “explain it all” for us. In such times he’s here as a gift, again, from a “must be disappointed and angry, loving and just” God. He’s here at a time that the mystics have mentioned as that which caused the most existential suffering of Christ during His Passion….when He saw that such a saving Love from the Father would look like it never took place by those who don’t even care that it did. And most, humanly speaking, would have despaired with such an understanding. The Word must still be given in its essence even if it will receive the same response, in order to remind, with even a slight breeze against the cyclonic winds that overcome it, that there is another world we’re intended for….this is only a testing ground.

    And after Francis speaks the “alarming” words that just can’t be true if one knows what the REAL science is, the connection to the next day’s headlines to himself is left out of the headlines that nonetheless speak to it anyway:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCI_HOTTEST_YEAR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-01-16-16-55-24

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/17/science/earth/2014-was-hottest-year-on-record-surpassing-2010.html?_r=0

    http://www.myfoxny.com/story/27870318/earthquake-preparation

    I think, in the end, it’s a mixture of man and nature. Change within our own poles….the slightest of which can make traditionally warmer areas witness colder temps and vice versa for the trad. colder areas. Choose your weapon for rebut. And that with the other effect that NASA appears now to have scabbed all evidence of that was decades ago reported by no less than 6 major news agencies re: the outer “mysterious” planetary pull upon our own earth’s core causing the plate shifting until the real surprise one day of a complete shifting of things.

    Fascinating indeed the similarities of outcome by such different teachers…..wise men of old of various “primitive” cultures; our own mystics; the various departments of science; and the teachers of Faith. Who should be considered as the best and the wisest when they have said the same thing? Some might even conclude that science itself has arrived the latest to the scene!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mick says:

      Fantastic post, Observer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • the phoenix says:

      Observer — You remind me of a quote from another Pope: “”There is the desert of God’s darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity or the goal of human life. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast” – Pope Benedict XVI

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pat says:

      You should start your own blog my friend. “The whole universe groans……why because of mans fallen nature….. We are intimately tied to creation and have been given rule over it….that is a significant grace afforded us by The Lord. And why shouldn’t Dear Pope Francis write about it. We are all called to share of its beauty and wealth and not become hoarders of it. As far as the breadth and depth of our current age…why shouldn’t the universe groan all the more be it quake, or even shall I say ….”storm” all the more?

      Liked by 1 person

    • m&m says:

      I have to agree with you that all the environmental problems are caused by human greed and selfishness. Companies go to 3rd world nations and mine their resources and exploit the population.
      However, I think it is ego to think that humans can control the weather. CO2 is vital for plant life which they in turn change to oxygen for us. The world is colder now, just look at the past winters, ad the ice caps are larger than they’ve been many decades. The reason for this is not man, but the sun’s activity, which is lack of sunspots. From other scientists, we are entering another mini ice age. Climate change is still considered global warming to be used for manipulation.
      http://drsircus.com/world-news/climate-change-2
      http://drsircus.com/world-news/climate/the-sun
      In addition, the incidents of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have been increasing all over the world.

      Like

    • CrewDog says:

      The Pope is “stirring the pot” among the Left too! Just the fact that so many people are talking about and analyzing Francis may be a good thing for the Church and reclamation of souls ….. I PRAY that is the case!
      “Dogs and gays: Pope Francis and Catholic Democrats”–Robert Klein Engler
      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/01/dogs_and_gays_pope_francis_and_catholic_democrats.html
      GOD BLESS ALL HERE! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  25. John says:

    I have been working my way thru “The Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross, ever since I saw it mentioned by someone (thanks). The way I understand it, there are two phases of the dark night, the first being the purification of the senses and the second being the purification of the soul. We must first pass thru the purification of the senses before our soul is selected by God to move into the purification of the soul. It seemed to me that perhaps the tribulations Charlie is preparing us for, those we are facing now and those that are soon to come, may be tied to the Lord forcing us thru the purification of the senses. So that he can draw us closer and allow us to enter the purification of the soul. Not sure if this makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. marie says:

    Dear Charlie, I send my condolences on the death of your family member. I will pray for the repose of his or her soul and for the loved ones affected.

    Your reluctance to write about the satan reminds me of C S Lewis. He was often asked to add to the ‘Screwtape Letters’, but said, “… for many years I felt not the least inclination to do it. Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment … The world into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness and geniality had to be excluded. It almost smothered me before I was done.” It was many years later before he could bring himself to write ‘Screwtape proposes a toast’.

    I wish you a restful, peaceful retreat in the mountain cabin next week, dear Sherpa. God bless you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you, Marie. I will probably have to retreat several times in the coming year.

      Liked by 2 people

    • the phoenix says:

      “Screwtape Letters” was hard for me to read, too. I read it all at once, maybe that was too much at a time, and ended up getting rid of the book. I preferred St. Faustina’s Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marie, sometime in the ’80s I read the Screwtape Letters. I had picked up the book to begin reading it and felt interiorly this hideous rage directed at me, unlike anything I had ever felt before. I prayed one Our Father and it left. I finished the book and learned a lot from it. I can see why Lewis felt the way he did–and why Charlie does now. I cover you with the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Charlie. May Our Lady heap upon you grace upon grace for the task and for all you are enduring in fidelity to your mission.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Kati says:

        Amen….and AMEN!

        Liked by 1 person

      • marie says:

        Phoenix and Janet, I also found ‘Screwtape’ hard-going. CS Lewis actually said, ” it almost smothered me before I was done. It would have smothered my readers if I had prolonged it.”
        Charlie, I cannot imagine how difficult it is for you to write about these things, but I thank you for being faithful to your mission. I can only repeat Janet’s beautiful prayer: I cover you with the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. May Our Lady heap upon you grace upon grace for the task and for all you are enduring in fidelity to your mission.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ann says:

        Powerful, Janet. I’m sure the evil one doesn’t like being unmasked and that book unmasks him.
        Charlie I will pray for a fruitful retreat for you and for your protection spiritually and physically. Placing you under the mantle of Mary and the protective shield of St. Michael.

        Like

    • Bob says:

      I was thinking today that I would like to spend my time praising God and not worry about the tricks of the evil one but, as God has permitted the satan a certain power, although compared to God it is nothing, we, unfortunately need to learn to know his tricks so we are not deceived by them.

      Like

    • Patricia says:

      In the past several months I have tried to explain to two or three people, when asked, how we will know what the next right step is or isn’t. I have had a difficult time explaining how I have felt it to be in the past. CS Lewis’ quote seems apt: “not the least inclination to do it”.

      Like

      • Sue says:

        Patricia,
        Your post made me laugh at myself. I too have found that God’s will is most often the thing I don’t want to do, that Cross I am attempting to flee. This morning I was reading a book by Fulton Sheen, and was struck by this paragraph: “Every disillusionment, every blasted earthly hope, every frustrated carnal desire, points to God. You can come to God not only by being good, but if you only knew it, by a succession of disgusts.” I came by way of a “succession of disgusts” for sure!

        Like

      • Mary Ann says:

        Well, the tradition of Catholic spirituality says that the next right step is the next duty of our state in life as seen through our present circumstances (with our sight formed by prayer and guidance when necessary). Of course, urgent needs of charity trump everything….if you see someone injured by the side of the road, you stop even on your way to the temple.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Donette says:

    How true! How true! Janet your comment on prophecy is right on. I have always told members of our prayer group that reading private revelation is like stepping on quick sand. Not everyone has the background (not even if they do have the background) to preach, present or argue using private revelation as a base for teaching others. It is a reminder to them as we defer to our priest spiritual director’s guidance. Groups meet for the rosary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy and other prayers, but once private revelation enters that picture, I have always turned to our priest. By the way, Janet, I have your site on my list of favorites too. I’ve never joined. I do love the quotes from Holy Scripture. God is good. Fiat! Fiat! Fiat!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Donette says:

    If there are any 3rd Order Carmelites, secular Carmelites out there, we have received good news. The parents of St. Therese have been approved for canonization! For documentation go to:
    http://www.ocds.info/Definitory Letter 23 EN.pdf

    Also Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified (The Little Arab) Carmelite is approved for canonization. How is that for a blessing and sign from God during a period when the family is being attacked and a hopeful reminder that even the Muslims will be converted in God’s own time?
    Praise Be To You Lord Jesus Christ!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Kati says:

      Allow me to add another question to the first. Is there an age limitation to becoming a secular Carmelite?

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        Boy, you should get a lot of answers to that, Kati. I get a lot of secular Carmelites either commenting or sending me emails. I rather like it. I got my brown scapular while digging a hole for a rose bush in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux during a Novena. It was just there, about a foot beneath the ground – and now I hear more from Carmelites than probably from all other orders combined. The Little Flower keeps watch over me, I think.

        Liked by 3 people

      • donna269 says:

        no, but it requires a great deal of prayer and focus….reading the Liturgy of the Hours, studying the Carmel saints, praying the rosary, attending mass and adoration. I couldn’t do it when my children were young, but now I have the time to commit so I am in the one year discerning period with my group.

        Like

    • jobrower says:

      Now and forever!

      Like

    • Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified is a powerful Saint. During this last years terrible conflict between Gaza and Israel, I asked her to pray for the end of the fighting. It stopped the NEXT DAY! I now have a devotion to her. She is the patron for peace in the Holy Land. She also had a huge devotion to the Holy Spirit and composed beautiful poems and prayers to the Holy Spirit.

      Like

  29. Mrs.B says:

    Charlie, I went to a retreat today and the subject of the talk was ‘powerlessness’. We are constantly wanting to defend our life and keep it. I thought you would love this article written by Thomas Keating, which inspired the talk today. Maybe it will inspire a your next blog. http://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/sites/default/files/newsletter-pdf/2014-june-newsletterb.pdf
    A few quotes from it:
    “Powerlessness is our greatest treasure. Don’t try to get rid of it…To be in too big a hurry to get over our difficulties is a mistake because you don’t know how valuable they are from God’s perspective, for without them you might never be transformed as deeply and as thoroughly.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bob says:

      As for Thomas Keating, while he can present some good material, and his intent was certainly good, I must express caution as he had developed a technique to try to shorten the road to contemplative prayer and to open the door to infused contemplation, which he and Basil Pennington called “Centering Prayer”. When I was lost and stupid I had practices something called Transcendental Meditation, which the Beatles popularized for awhile and which was a form of Yoga and self hypnosis, I learned. Anyway, this Centering Prayer, was an attempt to Christianize a similar technique and while it removed the overt idolatry of using mantras to false gods, it maintained the same meditation technique while changing the mantra to :”prayer word” done in the same hypnotic way. True prayer must involve the whole person mind, will, emotions, affect, etc. and when I tried to do their suggested technique I later learned it was not good. Note this:
      http://www.courageouspriest.com/discernment-warnings-dangers-centering-prayer

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kati says:

        There’s a good explanation of the dangers of “Centering Prayer” to be found at Spiritual direction as well. Here is the specific link: http://spiritualdirection.com/?s=centering+prayer

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          I am absolutely opposed to centering and all “emptying” prayers by whatever name. Christian contemplative prayer always centers on Christ, and never on merely emptying. Read Matthew 12:43-45 to see what happens when you merely empty yourself. I strongly urge any who seek deep, contemplative prayer to go to Connie Rossini’s website, Contemplative Homeschool. Her stuff can look very simple – because it is. But it is very deep and utterly solid and entirely Catholic. She is a profound resource in these times. I link to it at the right in one of the permanent links, as well.

          Liked by 2 people

          • MMBev says:

            Sadonna, A Way to God”, was a similarly popular centering prayer book, by an East Indian Jesuit a number of years ago. He was here in our Diocese for a few brief and not well attended workshops. In the book, it at least had the guts to say that repeating numbers, or breathe focusing produced the same results. (He didn’t say, “Trouble”, but should have.) For those who wanted to be more “Christ centered”, one could always think about Jesus. Gaining “contemplation” (not) seemed to be a biggie for a few years back then. We lost a few between centering prayer and peace and justice. I believe that his two books are still around and available, unfortunately.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            For someone who claims to be so confused, you sure do seem to have a knack for recognizing dangerous frauds, Bev. God has given you a gift of discernment, I think.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Fr. Dubay uncategorically denies that contemplation has anything to do with technique. It cannot be forced but is a special gift from God. Still, our hearts must be disposed to it, and we have to give him the gift of time. “Be still and know that I am God.” Not the same as emptying your mind and repeating a mantra.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            One of my favorite passages, Janet. It is, in fact, what Poustinia cabins are all about.

            Liked by 1 person

          • MMBev says:

            It’s the “shark suit” Charlie. I put it on for Hallow’een when I was four and I can’t get the back zipper undone. Good thing it is rubber and expands. I look kind of distorted now though, because some parts stretched more than others.

            Like

  30. Kati says:

    How does one become a secular Carmelite?

    Like

    • Elizabeth G. says:

      Kati, this website http://www.ocdswashprov.org/index.htm will lead you to further information about the third order secular Carmelites in your area. We are practicing members of the Catholic Church, under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and inspired by St. Theresa and St. John of the Cross, who make a commitment to the Carmel Order to seek the face of God for the sake of the Church and the World. Daily contempletive prayer is our focus. We seek to know God better so that he made be know. You will find of the First, Second and Third Order Carmelites all over the Catholic world. May God bless you in your search and discernment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kati says:

        Elizabeth,

        Thank you SOOO much for responding. I have to say that I feel very drawn to Carmelite spirituality. I looked through several pages of material at the link you gave me. Unfortunately, I found nothing for my state of Tennessee. Is there a way around this?

        As far as the age issue, it would seem that I qualify in that I am over 18 years…several times. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        • Elizabeth G. says:

          Kati, i checked on TN and your state falls in the Oklahoma Province. Here is their website. http://www.thereseocds.org/about.html
          Although there may not appear to be a community nearby on the official list you see, the Province office can tell you about any newly forming communities. To quote our beloved Saint Theresa of Avila, “We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can – namely, surrender our will and fulfill God’s will in us.”
          Praying for you and all those who are inspired to come to Carmel!

          Like

          • Kati says:

            Elizabeth,

            Thank you again for your generous help. I LOVE the quote you have shared with me and am requesting that the Holy Spirit assist me in understanding and surrendering to the Divine Will in all of this. By the way, I read a number of offerings from that website…some very good materials there! Another thing, even the Diocese of Nashville is still considered a mission. The Catholic presence in this part of the Bible belt is growing…but can still be considered something *relatively* unfamiliar here in many ways here. 😉

            Like

          • Kati says:

            Elizabeth,

            I thought I’d share this with you. I opened my email this morning and found this sent to me by my
            sister who lives on the East coast. She had NO idea that I was praying about this attraction to the Secular Carmelites and simply sent me this focusing on asking for the Holy Prayer of Daring:

            Reflection from the ‘Soul Institute’ first reading for Jan 17 The Holy Daring of St Therese of Lisieux
            Posted on January 17, 2015 by Father Stefan

            “The word of God is living and effective,
            sharper than any two-edged sword,
            penetrating even between soul and spirit,
            joints and marrow,
            and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
            No creature is concealed from him,
            but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
            to whom we must render an account.

            Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
            Jesus, the Son of God,
            let us hold fast to our confession.
            For we do not have a high priest
            who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
            but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
            yet without sin.
            So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
            to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

            We read, “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

            John Udris in his book, ‘The Fearless Trust of St. Therese of Lisieux’, writes, “Pope John Paul II referred to the Catechism as a ‘symphony.’ Taking up this musical metaphor, it might be argued that parrhesia comes through powerfully as a recurring melody, the principal theme of the final movement of this great symphony of faith. In the Catechism, there are over thirty explicit references to boldness and trust in various combinations, whether ‘trust with reservation,’ ‘trust and confidence,’ ‘bold confidence,’ or ‘joyful trust.’…Fundamentally, parrhesia referes to the kind of trust or confidence that is unimpeded or fearlessness.

            Here is one of the stories from St Therese that reflect her Holy Daring. We read in John Udris book, “The story of her entrance into Carmel is itself revealing, shedding radiant light on our subject. Among all of Saint Therese’s writing, the first explicit use of the term ‘confidence’- which we usually translate as ‘confidence’ or ‘trust’- occur in connection with this particular event. It is well know that she desired permission to enter the Carmel at Lisieux at the age of fifteen. Having received a firm ‘no’ from the ecclesiastical superior of the Carmel, she had recourse ti the bishop of Bayeux, who would not give a definite answer. Three days after this, Therese, together with her father and her sister Celine, left for a pilgrimage to Rome. It is in a letter written from Rome to her aunt that we learn of her daring intention:

            ‘I don’t know how I’ll go about speaking to the Pope. Really, if God were not to take charge of all, I don’t know how I would do it. But I have such a confidence in Him that He will not be able to abandon me; I’m placing all in His Hands.’

            Her account of the papal audience is compelling. In her autobiography, Therese recalls first the Mass celebrated with the Pope. Though she us writing some eight years after the event, she can still remember the Gospel of the day. It was from Saint Luke, and included the words, ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’ (12:32). These words struck Therese like shafts of bright light. It was as if the Lord had spoken directly to her. She recalls how the surge of trust she experienced on that occasion was accompanied by an ebbing away if her fear”

            ‘I was filled with confidence….No, I did not fear, I hoped the kingdom of Carmel would soon belong to me.’

            At the audience itself, despite being expressly forbidden to speak, and breaking all the rules of decorum and etiquette, the fourteen year-old threw herself at the feet of Pope Leo XIII. She placed her hands on his knees and, eye to eye, ‘in such a way that my face almost touched his’ she made her bold request to enter Carmel….’If I had not had this audacity, perhaps I would be still in the world.’”

            Thoughts for the day: Pope Francis says when we pray we have to pray already assured of victory. If we pray without this assurance of victory we are already defeated.

            Question of the day: Do you pray with Holy Daring? Do to pray with the confidence that Saint Therese had in God the Father?

            Prayer for the day

            St Therese we invoke your intercession today for the gift of holy daring in prayer
            Holy Spirit give me a great confidence in God the Father
            Holy Spirit help me to know that I am a royal son/daughter of the King in Heaven
            Holy Spirit give me a holy daring in prayer
            Holy Spirit fill my prayer with confidence, boldness and trust.

            So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace for timely help.
            🙂

            Like

          • Elizabeth G. says:

            Kati, thank you for the beautiful thoughts of Sainte Terese you shared with me below. I will share them with my Carmel community. God bless you.

            Like

  31. Henrieta Champagne says:

    Donette, I do not understand that are you trying to say by this: “Groups meet for the rosary, the chaplet of Divine Mercy and other prayers, but once private revelation enters that picture, I have always turned to our priest.” Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet are the prayers which originated from the private revelations as well.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Well, I do understand her point, Henrieta. Yes, these originated from private revelation – but their approval was in full submission to the authority of the Church. I know far too many people who treat their favorite private revelations as of superior authority to the Church. There are people I call “stormchasers,” who think they have faith but really are just looking for the next sensation. I say a little prayer for anyone I meet who counters some authoritative pronouncement of the Church with a statement (usually unapproved or misinterpreted) from private revelation. The latter NEVER trumps the authority of the Church – and there is much abuse of it these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Henrieta says:

        Thank Charlie for your response. Makes perfect sense! Thank you for all you do here! It helps more than I can express in words. God bless you dear brother!

        Like

  32. NancyA says:

    I am reading this book http://store.spiritdaily.com/product-p/gi-550.htm on the private revelation of Maria Esperanza, whose cause for canonization is pending. Much to ponder, much encouragement therein.

    Like

  33. Diane Grose says:

    This is exactly why we should all pray for our Pope…that every word, every thought, every action. every decision the Pope says/does will be from the Holy Spirit free of all human ego & weakness! God bless you!

    Like

  34. Peter says:

    Hi Charlie,

    I personally believe Pope Francis knows that ALL religions are going to be targeted soon. Perhaps he is trying to be like Cardinal Dolan with the Al Smith dinner fiasco. Needless to say, society is getting ‘tired of religion’ and it is only a matter of time before it persecutes the adherents. This is the cyclical nature of humanity – blame every religion for all our ills. Isn’t this what St. John Paul II told us what was going to happen. He also said time after time, ‘BE NOT AFRAID ‘.
    Peter

    Liked by 1 person

  35. dd says:

    One thing I keep reminding myself of as far as hearing the pope through the secular media filter is what happened early in Benedict’s pontificate. It was being reported that Benedict said use of condoms is ok. Then, if you were perplexed and looked for the specifics, you might find he said condoms are ok to protect against HIV. Still confusing for a faithful Catholic, but if you persisted in finding the exact words and context, which you had to really work to do initially, you found he was presented with a scenario in which a man who knew he was HIV positive was having sex with many partners and used a condom because he did not want to pass on the virus; then Benedict was asked, was that person doing the right thing? Benedict said that this person would be closer to doing right than if he persisted in having relations with one woman after another knowing he was passing on HIV and not caring at all. He never said it was ok and he never gave the ok for condom use. However, that is what the media was saying when they gave short, phrase-long paraphrasing of what he said. Since that is how most people get their news, it was disturbing to some at first. Now we know Benedict’s whole record and no one would question his faithfulness to the dogmas and doctrines of the Church and was even traditional, especially in liturgical reform. This same thing could be happening to Francis.

    Like

  36. Nancy says:

    I came home from a really bad night at work making plans to take every Friday off for the next 2 years–I have enough vacation accrued. Then I discover that this is only level 8. 🙂 …And it is getting worse. Patients seem more sick or more seriously injured, etc., than ever before. (and I am old enough to remember.) Seriously, someone mentioned remaining at the foot of the cross of the body of Christ. This feels like the way of the cross.
    http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2005/documents/ns_lit_doc_20050325_via-crucis_en.html

    Like

  37. Ann says:

    Love that painting..so very appropriate.

    Like

  38. Donette says:

    Thank you Charlie for responding to Henrietta for me. That is precisely what I meant. Sorry if I do not express some of my sentences as clearly as I should.

    It began when I joined a Father Gobbi Prayer Group. I prayed with a group of about 40 people at the time. There were two older women who had started the prayer group. After I period of time and when they read one of Fr. Gobbi’s messages, (think 1981) they would then ask individuals to comment on the message or ask for “enlightment” anyone had received from the message. Not for one minute would I criticize any of these women in the group because if more women were praying like these women did and not being forced into the work force just to make a living our country might not be in quite as bad a shape as it is today. Finally, one day when I thought I had recognition as a committed member for prayer, I piped up and asked who the priest spiritual advisor for the group was. They had none. From that moment, I prayed in private this prayer to my Eternal Father. “Eternal God, please send us holy priests, all for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and All for the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with St. Joseph.”

    Not surprisingly, the Beloved answered the prayer. It was at a one day retreat at one of the smaller parishes in our area when I met the priest giving the retreat. He was speaking on Divine Mercy. A really great talk. But all during it, my brow would wrinkle as I listened to him. Something inside me recognized him. During a break, I rushed to his side when no one was speaking to him and I asked, “Do you know Fr. Gobbi?” He said, I do. I asked, What do you know about the MMP? He said “I am a member of the MMP. It went as smoothly as icing a cake from that point on. He became our spiritual director. All these years later, I still meet with him and he is my personal spiritual director. Fiat!

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      God bless you Donette, both for your fidelity in obedience and for your persistence in spiritual charity. How many more souls were brought into closer union with Him because you chose the route you did rather than just arguing that they were doing it wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

  39. GB says:

    I get why Conservative Catholics get anxious about Peter speaking on climate change and global warming. These are pet liberal issues. In fact, the response from such Conservative Catholics has been downright Pavlovian (say the word ‘climate change’ and ‘pope’ in the same sentence and watch the fantods set it). Of course, there’s an element of Conservatives thinking they escaped the sort of faux-catholic squishy liberal church after the last twenty or so years of solid Orthodoxy from the leadership of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI. And then, in a sort of Godfather III sort of way, just when Conservatives thought they were OUT of the “spirit” of Vatican II FOG — Pope Francis PULLS THEM BACK IN. But the problem is Satan has succeeded in dividing the Church (and really society) into two camps, there’s liberal and conservative camps (although there are those who cling to the narrow way between the two), but the liberals ignore Church teaching on Faith and Morals (under the guise of non-judgement); and Conservatives ignore social justice-type issues as mere prudential judgments and that capitalism will fix social ills and imbalance (the invisible hand is the hand of God?) …. actually, in its own right sounds sort of marxian … and tough “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” love is better than what the pope has to offer.

    However, the problems with what comes out of the Pope’s mouth, or off the tip of his pen, is not the Pope. The problem is us. If there is wailing and anxiety and apostasy over this encyclical. it’s us. Unfortunately, I do understand from what Charlie is saying, is that THIS is what will happen — the climate change Encyclical will send “conservative” Catholics over the edge and even more division will ensue (and with that questions of whether the papacy has been stolen?). And the Pope will likely IN PART wade into waters that are dodgy political means to the (likely) laudable and important ends of: sharing the earth’s resources, dropping the gluttonous ways that are creating a progressively deeper divide between rich and poor, and the use of people as mere chattel by large corporations (which itself is mirror of a lack of concern for the environment — that is “lex orandi lex credendi” except, “as you will do to the environment, you will do TO PEOPLE”).

    The remedy for this, is to embrace the Pope’s encyclical to the fullest extent possible (again, noting that suggested means may just not be tenable) and laud the spiritual and human goals that his encyclical speaks to, and to eschew the trappings of greed that are a hinderance to a better relationship between man and creation (original sin trapped creation too). These really are core things, it’s the Garden all over – except man is now defining those core things to suit his ends (marriage redefinition, exploitation of earth’s resources and of our neighbor), and God will sure up the middle path — the left and right will fall into the pit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Well, G, I appreciate what you say…and there is much truth in it. But I get nervous about the promiscuous use of the adjective “greedy” to describe just about everyone and everything that so many use. I think it edges up to a lazy way of bearing false witness. There is, no doubt, an explosion of crony capitalism in both the U.S. and the world. Crony capitalism, philosophically, is a variant of economic fascism. Somehow, because the phrase “capitalism” has been included, it has been used to smear actual free market economics. Free market economics posits that the producer is entitled to the fruits of his production…and that all may compete fairly with each other…that governments must not tip the scales, and then the power of individual’s creativity and productivity will be unleashed and will overflow to the benefit of the whole society. That is not mere greed – and in fact, when actually adhered to, is the system that has done more to relieve poverty and feed the world than anything in the history of humankind. All the “compassionate” systems have both robbed people of the right to the fruit of their productivity, the right to exercise their creative capacity and have generally impoverished the societies which have adopted them. We need to adopt means that actually work well for all, rather than sound good and empower a few at the expense of the multitudes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • GB says:

        I am a little jaded by what I’ve seen connected with my line of work, and over idealization of corporations, and the pure capitalistic model. For example, consider the pay-day loan and buy-her-pay here auto sellers. These individuals make extreme amounts of money from poor people… granted, they’ve found a market need (which is what they cite to as support for what they do), but I am troubled with considering that against our Catholic tradition in which Dante places Userers in the lowest levels of hell. Trickle down economics and where we are in our Capitalistic model has out moded itself, especially now that Corporations are the only “people” that have the resources to influence elections and government. So while I’m not throwing out capitalism with the bathwater, the cronyism and such is basically so part of the system, that its broken to me. We have a Supreme Court that is slowly eroding consumer protections and making it hard to enforce (or place a fair check and balance) against corporate corner cutting that is encouraged by capitalism (e.g. “this product is flawed and may kill people, but it’ll cost less than fixing it”; “if we can skip paying overtime for X years, it’ll save us X dollars in the long run, even if we eventually get caught”).

        No economic system will be perfect of course, but perhaps the ideas of “Distributism” could provide a respite …. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/distributism-isnt-outdated/

        Liked by 2 people

        • charliej373 says:

          Marvelous article, GB. Frankly, I think if you take Adam Smith (the original), work in the reforms of Pope Leo’s Rerum Novarum, refine it with St. John Paul’s Centesimus Annus, season it with a dash of Friedman and live the principle of subsidiarity rigorously, applied both to governments and private agencies, and you have the making of a fully free, fully Christian, fully compassionate economics.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Mary Ann says:

            Amen. So simple, so clear, so good. And, for that reason, rejected by nearly all.
            It needs to either be complex, “deep”, or machiavellian to be accepted by the world.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Yeah, Mary Ann, modern “Potemkin intellectuals” have confused chaos with complexity. What is truly deep and complex is almost invariably elegantly simple.

            Like

      • SteveBC says:

        Charlie, I have not ever seen such a simple and succinct definition of a free economy. “Free market economics posits that the producer is entitled to the fruits of his production…and that all may compete fairly with each other…that governments must not tip the scales, and then the power of individual’s creativity and productivity will be unleashed and will overflow to the benefit of the whole society.”

        I might add that using this system, every person in it must learn to serve their customers. Lessons in service are among the most valuable. And every customer who receives good service learns gratitude and appreciation for another, either unconsciously or consciously.

        Liked by 2 people

        • jaykay says:

          SteveBC, I would solidly agree with what you and Charlie say. We should never forget, those of us who still – ostensibly – live in democracies, that “Government” is our servant. However, all too frequently the whip system flagrantly abuses the will of our elected representatives who are coerced against their consciences into support of positions they don’t really agree with and were not elected to follow. Cowardice in many cases, flavoured with a dose of pragmatism and, too often, ignorance and its sister, arrogance. Here in Ireland we’re to have a national referendum on gay “marriage” in May. It never featured on the election programme, needless to remark. But the disconnection between the sheeple and the Executive is so entrenched that they feel they can just go ahead and ram it through, with of course the media Amen corner abandoning any pretence of objectivity. Same with economics. When we feel powerless they run over us
          Yet we still have some element of choice left, albeit diminishing rapidly because we’ve just surrendered to what seems to be inevitable. It didn’t have to be like this, but we’ve made it so, and maybe now it’s too late. But I pray we can regain some element of sense before the gate finally closes.

          I feel like we’re the UK in about 1939, desperately re-arming but knowing it’s too little, too late after all the head- in- the-sand locust years. The Church is our Churchill, but in 1939 he was still in the wilderness. It took them until May 1940 to realise how bad things really were. We’re still in our phoney war, but at least some of us are re-arming. May we be a beacon as Britain was (with allies in the US) in the dark days to come.

          And at least we know that we win in the end. Although a good many of us may not survive the Blitz.

          Liked by 1 person

          • CrewDog says:

            Sadly JayKay this is the Human Condition 🙂 Who wants to think about The Worst!? Religious/Secular Prophets have all been given the “Bronx Cheer” throughout history… so .. it’s about a few that prepare for themselves …. with as much as you can spare for others and FAITH!!
            GOD BE WITH US ………….. EVERYONE!!

            Like

  40. Donette says:

    Katie, If you are searching for a Carmelite Group….My daughter has been the Formation Director in a Discalced Carmelite group. She advises you to call your diocese. They should be able to tell you if there is a group in your area.

    Like

  41. Michael Goodreau says:

    Very sorry for your loss,Charlie… Have a good and prayerful few days of your retreat!

    Like

  42. Anne says:

    I see pope Francis as another. Peter the Fisherman ……Peter, heart of gold and so human…… Lots of bumbles and fumbles……. Keeps one humble and we see that God is in charge.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. joe guerra says:

    JB writes: Thank you Charlie. Once again your description of all that is happening is spot on. I have a question. And someone may have already posted this since I first read comments to this particular post. If it’s been asked, please disregard. My question to you is this: In light of the importance placed on Our Lady’s Fatima messages, why isn’t the recitation of the rosary being promoted and emphasized in the Church today? The storm we are faced with is grave. History points to instances where Our Blessed Mother answered the prayers of the rosary petitioners by providing victory. The Battle of Lepanto stands out. More recently, the Soviets pulled out of Austria in the mid 1950’s without any reason given and without a shot being fired. A parish priest named Petrus Pavlicek had organized groups of Austrians to pray the rosary and fast for relief from the oppressive presence of the Soviets. Thanks again for all you do. Just sign me JB.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Well, Joe, I think it probably is important for each of us to emphasize getting groups to organize to pray the Rosary. I doubt many priests are blocking it, but it may be something that has to be done from the ground up. I know the Churches I frequent have frequent Rosaries said – but we also have groups to whom it is important who make it a public priority, too.

      Like

    • pineconejill says:

      Hi Joe,
      My previous parish used to pray the rosary a half hour before Mass. There might be only two or three when we would begin, but people would drift in as we went along and we’d have quite a group praying by the end. It reminded me a little like a song that begins with just a few instruments and by the end has a full orchestra. I miss it.
      I haven’t gotten brave enough to ask if I could do the same at my new parish but I’m getting there (I find it’s better to let people get used to you a bit before you start trying to get them to do things). You could do the same; pray about it, talk to your priest about it, decide on a good time, (we had coffee after, so before Mass was better for us), announce it in the bulletin and pray that people show up. If no one does, just say one yourself. Eventually they’ll come.
      We have the tools we need to get through this, we just have to start using them!
      pcj

      Like

  44. Donette says:

    Ye, gads, Charlie. Sometimes when I read some of your responses like the one you gave to GB, I feel I need to go back to university and get my PHD and take up permanent residence in the library.
    Then I think, “What is an insignificant old lady, housewife, mother, grandmother and old RN doing on a blog like this?”

    I have a great number of the books you have mentioned and probably a few more, but then they sit on my library shelves making me look really intelligent to visiting priests and religious. In reality, I’m Martha,(the Bible Martha) in the kitchen, preparing food and entertainments, doing my daily duty and praying in between.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Well, Donette, whatever smarts I have were given by God to stand for His faith…to defend myself and all His people against the assaults of those half-wit “intellectuals” who seek to tear down the great institutions that gave more people freedom and prosperity than any in history and against the same half-wits as they try to help the gates of hell prevail against God’s Church. I am at home among people who are eager to use the gifts God actually gave them as best they can to give hope to those around them – which means I am not at all comfortable with the spiritually impoverished version of what passes for intellectuals these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  45. Pingback: The Divine Symphony | The Next Right Step

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