Workaday Miracles

(The Miraculous Draught of Fishes - Jacob Jordaen)

(The Miraculous Draught of Fishes – Jacob Jordaen)

(As many of you have figured out, I am dealing with several significant problems this Holy Week, which have caused me to be a tad pre-occupied. All will be well, but there are matters I must attend to. Earlier today, my brother, Steve, sent me an email that I have decided to use as a guest post, it so perfectly illustrates what I mean by living in the moment with complete trust. Steve’s conversion story is one of my favorites. Long alienated from all religion because of some of the rougher edges of the fundamentalism we witnessed while young, he was a career Navy man. We chatted from time to time and had warm relations, but not much contact over the years. At one point, he was frustrated with a problem that affected his and some other soldiers. Knowing the political work I then did, he called me and asked if I might be able to make some calls to draw official attention to the problem and help the soldiers out. So I did, not expecting much to happen. But the running problem of several years was quickly resolved – which, of course impressed Steve and some of his fellow Chiefs. He decided that he really ought to get to know a little more about my political work, so he googled me. One of the first things he came upon was this article from Spirit Daily. He called me, stunned, stammering and struggling to get something out. Now I kept these things very close to the vest then, but I knew immediately what was going on. I interrupted him to tell him, “It’s true, Steve.” He was utterly flummoxed.

For three days he struggled with it. He had been a big fan of the Chronicles of Narnia. In the original book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the siblings early on accuse Lucy of lying about the fantastic land of Narnia. In an encounter with the professor, he asks the

My brother Steve and his wife Tomoko, who joined me during my pilgrimage at Yosemite, which is also where they first met.

My brother Steve and his wife Tomoko, who joined me during my pilgrimage at Yosemite, which is also where they first met.

kids if Lucy has ever shown signs of insanity. They respond that she has never done so before. He asks if she is given to lying. They say no, she is very set against it. With no little aggravation, the professor then says that if she is not crazy and not given to lying, the most logical explanation is that she is telling the truth! (while grumbling about what a poor job the schools are doing of educating children about logic). Steve said that that is what convinced him. He converted and never looked back. He is the one who has the deepest affection for the Traditional Latin Mass. In fact, I went to my first Latin Mass with him. Since then, we have occasionally joked that you should never google me, as you just don’t know what you might find. I hope you find his wonderful story of everyday miracles, taking the next right step and living in trust as satisfying as I did. His son is Justin and his wife, Tomoko. – CJ)

By Steve Johnston

I would like to tell you about a miracle that Justin and I experienced just recently.

In February, I joined a hunting and fishing club here in California so that I could get access to private lands for hunting.  Last week, Justin was on his spring break, so I made a reservation for Wednesday evening through Saturday morning for a property with the club that has 3,000 acres of land available.  We were going primarily to hunt wild boars, but, at the last minute, I decided to take the fishing poles and tackle because they have three small ponds for fishing, as well.  Now, for some background, Justin and

My sister-in-law Tomoko and nephew, Justin.

My sister-in-law Tomoko and nephew, Justin.

I have been fishing several times (Justin more often than I) and we have been miserably unsuccessful.  Justin participated in a “Fishing Camp” a few years ago and caught one fish.  Since then he has been fishing probably 20 times and has not caught ANYTHING!
In preparing for this trip, we stopped at Wal-Mart to shop for our groceries.  This stop was made during our trip to the site.  One of the things that we failed to do, however, was to remember to buy groceries to support the Lenten requirement to not eat slaughtered meat on Fridays.  We did have some things, but it was all junk, such as potato chips or granola bars.  Justin did buy a can of tomato soup, but that was because he likes it, not because we were thinking about it.  On Thursday, we got up, went hunting (we did not see a pig during the entire trip) and went back to the camp site around 10:30/11:00 AM.  It was at this time that we started thinking about Friday.  I asked Justin if he wanted to try to go fishing, to which he agreed.  That day we went to one of the three ponds and started fishing.  We were surprised to have success, but all we were catching was bass, which, on this property, is a catch-and-release fish.  We had fun, but had to let everything go.  On Friday morning, we got up and went hunting again, being unsuccessful again.  On this morning we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and cheese sandwiches for lunch, just to make sure that we abided with the above mentioned requirement.  Once again, we came back to camp around the same time and decided to go fishing again in one of the other ponds.  Once we got there, almost right away, we started getting multiple bites.  Justin reeled in four bluegill (which we were authorized to keep) pretty quickly!  I had multiple bites, but only caught one bass, which, again, I had to throw back.  After Justin caught his fourth bluegill, the action died, we couldn’t get another fish to bite, and our hooks were getting caught in the water.  We decided that we had enough for dinner, so we returned to camp, in which Justin immediately started cleaning the fish.  He boiled two (giving me one of them) and grilled one, which he ate.  The fourth he cut up into chunks and put into the tomato soup, so we shared that.  In the end, we have more than enough food to eat, and we didn’t have to rely on junk food, either!  I pointed out to Justin what a miracle it was, that we had not prepared anything, yet God provided!  Pulling in 4 fish was more than he had ever caught in his life, yet he did it all within an hour of being on that pond.  In fact, for one of the fish, Justin cast his hook and as soon as it hit the water, he had a fish on it!  We both were amazed and thankful!

The 15-year-old me with my brother, Steve, and sister, Kim - numbers four and five of the siblings. One of my favorite pictures. I was probably telling them some silly story. Three generations of kids now can tell my goofy stories and silly songs.

The 15-year-old me with my brother, Steve, and sister, Kim – numbers four and five of the siblings. One of my favorite pictures. I was probably telling them some silly story. Three generations of kids now can tell my goofy stories and silly songs.

I know that to some people this would appear to be a coincidence rather than a miracle, but Justin and I both believe that, because we were determined to follow Church doctrine, God rewarded us, and that it is, truly, a miracle.  Justin and I both talked about how it made us think of when Jesus fed the multitudes!  I am so thankful for these opportunities to share my beliefs with Justin and that God gave us a sign to demonstrate not only his existence but his love and compassion for us, as well!



About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
This entry was posted in Discernment, Guest Columns, Preparation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Workaday Miracles

  1. Fred says:

    Love the story! God does speak in daily “whispers,” and if you don’t listen closely, you will miss Him.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. audiemarie2014 says:

    I truly smiled as I read this, Steve. The trust and next step in action, but also the father and son enjoying time together, talking about Jesus, and experiencing a miracle together. What a gift! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Karen says:

    Thanks Steve for an uplifting story. It gives us a small glimpse into how God the Father must love and treasure us, just as you do Justin. I tell my boys if you look at all the “coincidences” in your life, and instead think of them as Divine Providence, you will see God’s love and action in your life all the time.Thank you again, and a very blessed Triduum!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Donette says:

    I love your brother’s story and I love that he took his first right step right into the Traditional Latin Mass. Fish, the symbol of Jesus and the Apostles and the early Christians. “I will make you fishers of men.”


    Liked by 3 people

  5. Gary says:

    I had a little miracle/coincidence myself. JPII was going to Detroit and say Mass at the big football stadium. So on a whim I took my 3 oldest and my mother on an all night trip to Detroit. The Pope was scheduled to talk near the water front just after Aritha Franklin sang for us. Everyone including the cops all along the way had big bight bright smiles. After we saw the Pope real close in his popemobile, I ran across a couple of Opus Dei friends ( I am a Cooperator) they told me they had another Opus Dei friend who had extra tickets to the pope’s Mass. So we rushed to the stadium. We saw a guy looking intently around at the crowd pouring in and I figured he was the guy we were looking for. So we talked to him and he had three extra tickets for us. However there were four of us.
    So I gave two of the tickets to my daughter and mother and the third to my son. I had my daughter and mother head to their seats, and I held back my son in hopes that some one might have a spare ticket. We asked everyone if they had a spare ticket and a priest to ask for us as well. Well the incomig crowd was thinning precipitously, until finally the last person entering the stadium said that she too did not have a spare ticket. So I told my son to go it alone that he would find his way.
    I was feeling pretty down hearted thinking God does not love me, but happy that my kids and mother could go to a papal Mass. As I was headed back to my car feeling all sorry for my self,
    I heard a voice loudly saying Sir Sir. I turned around and the priest was holding something in his hand waving at me. So I went back to the top of the stairs were he was and he gave me a ticket that was given to him. It was the very last person that entered the stadium a woman who I had asked if she had a spare ticket previously. She gave it to the priest who in turn gave it to me. The very last person entering the stadium was the only person who had a spare ticket. And I got. So the moral to the story for me is that God’s time is not ours and sometimes he waits to the very last second to get us what we need. My son and I sat together to pray at the Mass the Holy Father said. And as the Pope left the stadium my so got within 5 feet of the Pope to say goodbye. God is good! That might be to some a series of coincidences but it was a miracle for me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Donette says:

      Gary, Since you are with Opus Dei. I read recently that “the movements” eg. Opus Dei are now out of favor in Rome. The movements were such a favorite of JPII. Are they now temporarily “laying low”?


      • charliej373 says:

        I, too, am a cooperator of Opus Dei, Donette, and one of my priests is one of substantial authority in America. I know that both of my active priests are extremely busy…and the idea that the movements are out of favor is largely wishful thinking among the progressive elements. In one of John Allen’s recent columns, he spoke of Pope Francis rather incisively trying to put that canard to rest. It is the second item down here.


        • Bob says:

          I too am a cooperator of Opus Dei and I can assure you we are not “out of favor” in the diocese of St Louis. In fact at a recent retreat one of the attendees was talking of some OD priests who were appointed to various diocesan positions including one appointed to be a bishop as Rome knows Opus Dei priests are faithful and orthodox.


          • Bob says:

            The bishop and priests were not in the Diocese of St Louis to my knowledge but Bishop Carlson does hold our prelature in good regard.


        • Donette says:

          Thank you. Charlie. Sometimes you have to go to the right source before you get the correct information.


    • SteveBC says:

      Gary, your story here of getting the last ticket has very much helped me in understanding something I’ve been wrestling with. I am much reassured, actually. Thank you.


      • Gary says:

        Your welcome Steve. Trusting in the Lord in difficult, but when it is all said and done who else can we Trust?


        • SteveBC says:

          Well, you are certainly right that we can trust the Lord. However, I think trust isn’t dependent on the other person but is an internal choice, one that can be tough at times.

          You can trust *anyone*. Most of the time you will be justified in your trust, and occasionally your trust will not be justified and might in fact be nutso! It’s just that with the Lord, your trust will *always* be justified (though the consequences to you may be tough to handle).

          Does that sound right?


  6. johnmcfarm says:

    I have been fishing when it seemed catching a fish would be miraculous! I think the moral of the story is that God will provide…and that is what we must learn to trust in Him to do…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark4:41 says:

    The story brought a tear to my eye. Life is great when we can here Gods whisper and see God working miracles all around us. Thank you for the story.

    Also, tonight or early this morning depending on time zone your in, check out

    MaryTV will STREAM
    Our Lady’s April 2, 2015 apparition to Mirjana.
    Streaming begins on Thursday, April 2nd
    at 2:00am EDT in the US, 8:00am Medjugorje time.

    (also on iPhones, iPads, etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tammy Lawrence says:

    What an awesome testI only of faith! Love you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Barbara Dore says:

    very beautiful story

    Liked by 1 person

  10. donna says:

    love this story, Steve…..your blessed! Love Yosemite too…..hiked there last summer. It was my first time in California. Wish I lived closer to enjoy that gorgeous place.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jo Ann Butler says:

    God is always faithful. Ask for prayers from you. Had pacemaker last week. Need angegram(.) in two weeks. Please pray for cleaN bill of health after this procedure. +++God bless+++ Joan

    Sent from my iPad



  12. DanSouthChicago says:

    Thank you for the story. Our God is so good! God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bob says:

    I have had some success fishing at times and have even talked to St. Peter at other times and sometimes the hooks are still not full and sit idle waiting. It is good that God can provide in time of need but I tell my wife at least we need to have our hooks in the water, preferably with bait on them!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. waitingNwondering says:

    These are WONDERFUL stories and remarkably, there are so many stories LIKE them!

    Many times I’ve read about God’s tendency to wait until the “last minute” to help. If that’s truly the case, it seems to me that our faith is often called to be tested by that.

    It’s during these tests that we need to remind ourselves that while God may not always give us what we WANT, He will always give us what we NEED. (And when that also happens to be what we WANT…well WHOO-HOO!🙂 )

    Thanks so much for sharing!



  15. diane says:

    a beautiful story of how God simply Loves us.


  16. MT Butterfly says:

    Thanks for sharing, Steve and prayers for you Charlie.


  17. Donette says:

    In light of Charlie’s information on 2017 and the Rescue, I thought you might all like to see this talk by Fr. Apostli at Franciscan University. The year 2017 is spoken of near the end.


    • Kati says:

      Wow! This is a great talk. I listened to the entire thing and even teared up a time or two while watching. I believe this to be very important. We really need to get more people involved in practicing the Five Saturday devotions! Thank you so much for posting this, Donette.

      Liked by 2 people

      • barb129 says:

        I just watched it too and there was information in there about Fatima that I had never heard. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing this Donette.


    • EllenChris says:

      Thanks, Donette. I managed to find the time to watch this (while I was eating breakfast — took my time). It is very good and helpful. I think he mentions the 100 year anniversary twice — once very briefly near the beginning. The whole 20th century was a battle between the red dragon of Marxism and the Woman clothed with the sun. I hope adn pray that the great Battle will, indeed, end before the end of 2017. Many blessings to you, Donette in the HDW


    • SteveBC says:

      Thank you, Donette. I was intrigued by the way he provided support for the idea that JPII’s consecration on 3/25/84 actually did satisfy the conditions set at Fatima. He noted that Russia has been slowly but surely converting ever since, which certainly seems like valid objective proof the consecration was correctly done. I find that impressive. It’s we who are unable to see God’s time rather than our impatience.

      I was also struck by his connection of 3/25/84’s consecration to 1884’s vision Pope Leo had, which leads me to believe that the 3/25/84 consecration was the end of that 100-year period of the satan having power. Very interesting. I’d been thinking that 1917-2017 was the 100-year period but now I think I was incorrect to believe that.

      It causes me to think that this period from 1984 to now is actually the reversal of the satan’s gains, since we are all so aware now of so many corruptions and shocking events. Yet it would take the rising of Light to start exposing such Dark things to our weak eyes.

      How strange to think that our belief that the world is getting worse is actually the reverse of what is actually happening at the higher levels of existence. As demons boil out of hell, it’s hard to believe that they are doing this as a last-ditch effort as their strengths fade and their prospects narrow toward none. But as my great aunt would say, “There it is.”


  18. Mary-Louise says:

    As I am typing I am listening to President Obama announce a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons. If there was ever a time to say a prayer of Miraculous Trust, this, I think, is that time. Our poor country.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jay says:

    Thank you Steve for sharing this re you and your son. And thank you Donette for the link to Father Apostoli’s talk on Fatima. His book Fatima for Today is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. EllenChris says:

    Great story — thanks, Steve and Justin and Larry. So often God’s touches are so simple and quiet.

    Holy Week is a very difficult and demanding time. The “mischief” gets going trying to distract.

    I could sure use a couple of blue gills about now. Many blessings of the Paschal Mystery to us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pawel says:

    This subtle story about catching fish confirms only that God rather favors quiet wonders than spectacular miracles. Likewise, God speaks in whispers all the time but in thunder occasionally. Likewise, God favors spiritual healing and conversions than spectacular physical healing.

    Liked by 2 people

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