By Charlie Johnston
I find myself being quoted fairly frequently by other sites and their commenters lately. Most are solid – some even cut and paste actual quotes. But two or three times a week I see people citing me, then paraphrasing something I never said and don’t believe, to support their point. I would get more aggravated, but I was accustomed to seeing it both when I was in media and in politics. Unless it is particularly egregious and flagrant, I don’t weigh in, for doing so is like hitting the proverbial tar baby. You just get stuck in a sometimes hot and bitter controversy over trivial matters.
Of more concern, I see a bit of a drift away here by a few on what I have said. So let me re-iterate some of the basics while adding a little that will be new to all of you. People occasionally ask how we can rebuild our society when there will be no more money and how we will communicate when technology will be gone. I emphasize that this is NOT the end. Economies are crashing as we speak, technology will fail…but these are not permanent states. If your house burns down you don’t go off and live in the woods because it is all over for you now. You build another house. We will build another economy.
Then I see some speaking of a paradise on earth after the Rescue, complete with angels as our entertainment directors and saints as our wait staff. Not gonna happen. Think of a video battle or racing game. Every one of them that I ever knew of gives you several resets if you fail catastrophically. But when the reset begins, the game does not suddenly take over and vanquish all foes on your behalf. You are still responsible for winning or losing. The hope is that you will be better on the reset than you were originally. That is very much what will happen after the Rescue. We have catastrophically failed, badly enough to where if there were not a reset, this could be the end entirely. When the Rescue, or Triumph of the Immaculate Heart Comes, we will still have to take up the controls and build society over again. The advantage we will have is we will know God is; we will be less inclined to seek relentlessly after the dime-store immortality of fame and influence for the sake of influence. Original sin will not be revoked. We are prone, in our very nature, to feed our appetites rather than our nobler instincts – to let those appetites pervert the very virtues we are given, to turn love into mere lust; the creative instinct into mere greed; the effort to develop our skills into a quest for mere power. During the five years that I was given to live the life of Job, for the first three, God gave the satan power to test and sift me. It was horrible. Sometimes seemingly ordinary people would come in off the street to my place of business – then actively torment me on behalf of the devil, brazenly revealing who and what they were, only acting normal if someone else came along. Three years in, God did something particular that would be a great help to my coming work. A side effect of it was that to be in close proximity to me was agonizing to the demonic hordes. They would rarely risk it. I thought it meant I would no longer sin. I was wrong. Satan eggs on our worst appetites, but the reason he can is that they are there in the first place. The spirit of rebellion lurks in us even without the evil one egging it on. Chaining him will get rid of the “bad crowd” we have fallen in with for a time, but it will not eliminate the core disorders with which we must ever struggle. It will be a lot easier to master them without the demonic horde egging them on, but they will still be there. And some (a tiny fraction of what we are currently accustomed to) will give themselves over to even the worst disorders. We have free will and are responsible for what we choose. We have screwed up badly and so the Storm comes. When the Rescue comes, it will give us another chance, but we will still be free to screw it up again. Why do you think the Storm is necessary? Since God is NOT going to revoke our free will, it is one of the few means violent enough to embed in our memories the ultimate consequence of disorder without actually destroying us.
SOME HAVE WONDERED how they are going to manage with the skill sets they have when crash is complete. Far better than you think, folks. I learned from my pilgrimage how incredibly adaptable we are. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention – and so it is. I was not an outdoorsman by any means. But when I needed something to solve a problem I was encountering, I figured out a way to do it. Then there were my fears. I worried about discovery in the night. That nagged at me for about the first month and a half. Three months in, you could set me down anywhere and I would find cover easily and confidently…sometimes within 20 feet of where people were passing by constantly. I dreaded extreme heat…the 95 degree days that I was sure I would encounter. I don’t like it real hot. I even have trouble sleeping if it is hot enough to be what most people think is comfortable. I like it very cool with extra blankets. Demonstrating His sense of humor, that first summer out I had over 100 days where the high temperature got up over 100 degrees. In Austin, Texas, for a full week it got over 110 each day. One day, in southern Louisiana I was walking into the small town of Iowa (pronounced I-Oh-Way) and talking with my daughter on the phone. I mentioned to her that, thank God, the suffocating heat had broken just as I came around a bend to see a bank sign that showed the current temperature – 105 degrees. I told my daughter and laughed…said okay, the heat hasn’t broken, my body has adjusted to it. Even better!
I did not make any special preparations for the year and a half trek. Just the basics…pack, bag, books, trail mix. I figured I would figure it out as I went along. I did. I left on Feb. 11, 2011, with fifty dollars to my name. By the Fourth of July I was in Houston. While sitting one day overlooking the eastern branch of the Buffalo Bayou, I came to a stunning realization: if everything collapsed that day, I would be fine. I knew how to fish, how to find cover in sparse areas, how to make the hard ground pretty comfortable. I would be fine.
Your biggest enemy, your biggest threat is fear and panic. Trust God. Keep walking and, like me, you will figure it out.
THEN THERE ARE THE ELDERLY AND DISABLED. I have hesitated to speak about this because people have to wrap their minds around something that is completely counter-intuitive to our current utilitarian and materialist society. A hat tip to reader Kenneth, who sent me this marvelous piece on that utilitarian culture – a culture that, thank God, is dying before our very eyes. I have avoided speaking of it because the temptation is very powerful to give merely human reassurance.
One of the greatest offenses of modern times is that, as a culture, we treat people like things. There is little respect for the inherent dignity of human life, either unborn or born. For people who have seen nearly 100 million abortions, the advance of euthanasia as a human right, assisted suicide celebrated, the legal execution of Terri Schiavo…(the most telling part of that was not her killing, but that there was a debate on it at all. People are now disposable). In that cultural setting, both the elderly and the handicapped have to be terrified that when things get desperate, they will be the first to be tossed over the side. They would be, if it were not that the culture is already being transformed – and will be further through the instrument of the Storm.
As I have said before, the Storm will not so much change people’s character as reveal it. The grasping, covetous, self-serving crowd will, indeed, quickly abandon the poor whose care they bleat so loudly about as reason to give themselves more power. But it is not the poor who will be abandoned in that…it is the grasping, covetous and self-serving. The strategies that have served them so well in the culture we have created are now inoperative and will simply lead them to destruction. But there are others, people who have had a great awakening of their faith, people who have begun to come to see that people must be treated with dignity and care simply because they are people, not because of how useful they are. These people will make caring for the lame and the elderly a priority…they will seek those who are infirm out to care for them. And God will bless those little communities that take pains to care for their infirm – while He will curse and smite those who, thinking they are clever, abandon the infirm in their midst.
Medicine is something people fear losing – particularly as many have already lost effective access to care because of the fundamental changes in the law. Yes, availability of medications will be spotty…in some cases non-existent. But you do have recourse to God – and He intends your good, not your destruction. Meanwhile, in the ashes of the civilization that once was, there will still be a host of doctors who practiced in the old order. For a very long time, they have been the subjects of oppressive bureaucratic oversight…spent more time satisfying the overseers in some cases than treating patients. For many of them, this will be a real personal renaissance. They will once again be able to live the dream of their youth; to care for the sick, to heal the wounded instead of dancing to the tune of impersonal government or third-party overseers. Most will embrace it with joyful vigor – and find a piece of their youthful joy and wonder all over again.
I know most who have asked want detailed instructions and assurances. I can’t give them to you. You will fear. God will teach you to trust Him, but through the instrument of going through the valley of the shadow of death and coming out the other side. When you emerge, you will trust in a way you never dreamed of. All I can do here is identify with you. When I was going under for my neurosurgery, I thought, well, if I’m a nut I’m not going to wake up from this. When I got ready to leave on my pilgrimage I thought, well, if I’m a nut this is going to end very badly. Sometimes, the only path to real trust leads through the valley of the shadow of death. I have been there. Many of you are headed there. Trust, and I will see you on this side of a valley I have already walked through – and I’m looking forward to meeting you.
A CORRECTION TO A CORRECTION…some time back, some people thought that, when I talked about the government falling, I was merely speaking of the president being replaced. I rather intensely said that the WHOLE government is going to fall…the Congress and the Courts and all. I gave the impression that everyone who currently holds seats in the Congress or Courts will be toppled. They may or may not. If they continue to hold office, it will be merely ceremonial and for show. Well, they might actually do a few small things. What I really wanted to get across was that the whole SYSTEM is going to be toppled. After the period of initial chaos, in which we may have a different formal “leader” every few weeks or so, things will eventually settle out after a few months – at least three, maybe six or seven.
What will emerge is the left’s fondest dream…a dictatorship. Alas, it will not be the dictatorship they wanted. I am led to believe the ultimate dictator, while exercising unreviewable executive, legislative and judicial power in America, will consider himself the “Regent of Democracy.” I expect he will clear out the brush of our overly intrusive laws and federal agencies. I think he will largely leave the states alone, so long as they don’t adopt anti-Christian legislation or attack basic freedoms – real freedoms. The most close parallel is probably Oliver Cromwell’s tenure as Lord High Protector of England, though that is not completely accurate.
This is not by direct revelation, but by surmise based on what IS by direct revelation. There will be a leader who will rally us, restore our confidence, and rouse us to fight for the traditional Judeo-Christian culture and freedoms that made Western Civilization the great blessing to the world it has been. This leader will be able to direct diplomatic efforts with other nations, for he will lead a coalition finally to defeat radical Islam. He will ally with Russia when the threat from China becomes overt. But he will likely try to keep many of the old forms on life support until the Rescue, so that what is good can be restored.
Once that Rescue comes, we will still have jobs, a monetary system (a new one, because the old one is dead), presidents, kings and prime ministers. We will have to organize society, raise families, produce goods and services, pay our bills…but we will do it under God, fully aware that he is in charge and joyfully caring for our neighbor instead of plotting how to get the better of him.
A few links…
First, this article by Jonah Goldberg of National Review is one of the best I have ever read, period. He gets right to the heart of much our cultural disorder – and the sleight of hand used to rally eternal verities as excuses for ramping up coercive statist power.
This piece by Fr. George Rutler from Crisis Magazine is one of the better pieces I have seen on what prophecy is and is not.
I hope this piece on Pope Francis from the Telegraph of London cheers you as much as it did me. Entitled “Beware of…Francis: he ain’t no liberal” I was tickled to see that, to their deep disappointment, the chattering classes are beginning to figure that the Pope is actually Catholic.
Finally, a little piece here that may surprise and delight you. I knew all but numbers two, four and sixteen. Kudos to the Aleteia site and to Meg Hunter-Kilmer for compiling this brief, but cool list of things you may not know about the Catholic Church.