A Conscious Examination


By Charlie Johnston

Holy Week started with the Gospel reading in which Judas criticizes Mary of Bethany for anointing Jesus’ feet with costly oil, claiming it could have been sold for a great price and the proceeds given to the poor (John 12:3-7). Throughout history the most malignantly malicious among us have often been at pains to cloak the evil they do in some noble sentiment.

Whether it is the Nazis against the Jews, the Hutus against the Tutsis, the Russians against the Jews, French Revolutionaries against the aristocrats, Jihadists against the Jews, or the American left against the Jews – and now Christians – the story is depressingly always the same. The aggressors claim they have been “victimized” by the group they target and that simple justice requires a pogrom. They work themselves into a progressively greater frenzy until, filled with demonic rage and a sense of invincible victory, they commit hideous atrocities that often end in some sort of genocidal slaughter. Eventually sanity returns and the aggressors who were so recently filled with murderous self-righteousness are condemned, both literally and figuratively to the ash heap of history. Even many of them are a bit baffled as to how it could have gone so far and gotten so ferocious. When a person opens his soul to darkness, he is consumed by the bitter rage the satan gleefully inflames in him. When a society does it, the society falls.

Like Judas, pretending, perhaps even to himself, that his malice was actually a refined love of social justice, the malignant left targets all Christian and Jewish expressions of faith in the name of their higher “tolerance.” Intolerance is tolerance in the new thinking, just as war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength, as Orwell predicted. In 2008, one of my secular colleagues told me I needed to develop some “brilliant” talking points, slogans, and carefully concise arguments to bring Americans back from the abyss to which we were headed. The policy enthusiams that were all the rage would beggar the economy, invite chronic war, and generate incredible human misery across the board. I sadly told her it would do no good. “I fear we have reached a tipping point. The stupids have become the majority. They will have their way and we must wait to rebuild from their wreckage,” I said.

National Review’s Kevin Williamson wrote a brilliant article this week on what is really afoot with the new toxically malicious tolerance. The great classicist and public intellectual, Victor Davis Hanson, wrote a brilliant piece on what it means in terms of the coming nuclear holocaust our American administration has enabled with Iran. Both are must reads. But both fall into the category of “These things must come…” If there was no God, we would now be staring at the end of civilization barreling down on us like an avalanche. But God is – and He has decreed it is not yet to be the end, even if we must get a dose of what our self-absorption inevitably leads to.

The toxic social dysfunction that now threatens our very existence does not spring forth, fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus. It is a product of a generations-long dumbing down, a coarsening of basic values and mores that have corroded the very possibility of hope and justice. Like a field of dandelions, it is not a single massive organism, but millions of individual parts. It seems to have sprung up overnight, but the seeds that made it inevitable were sown long ago. Unlike the soil that hosts a field of dandelions, though, each of our souls is the soil in which the seeds of dysfunction are planted – and each of us has a choice as to whether to accept that seed or root it out. What we face is not a crisis of politics or policy, but a crisis of the human heart. Many, maybe most, of us have accepted that seed into our hearts, not realizing what it would become. It is in our hearts, at our hearthstones, in our faith that the seedling must be uprooted if we are to restore things to their proper order.

In serious, professional politics, opposition researchers are a shadowy but vital part of the process. They cast a wide net, examining every aspect of an opponent’s life and career, looking for areas of vulnerability. In the best campaigns, the candidate is subjected to the scrutiny of his own opposition researchers in order to determine what areas of vulnerability will need to be defended against. While I episodically investigated specific allegations, I was never an opposition researcher. But the guys who did that valued my input a lot. See, they cast a very wide net…kind of a shotgun approach. I always had a great knack for accurately telling them what areas to target their efforts in on a particular opponent to produce the best results. Most thought I had a sixth sense about it, but it was much simpler than that. Start with the knowledge that most people wrongly assume that everyone else shares the same interests and motivations as they do. It is a kind of subtle narcissism.

I always looked at the sort of accusations an opposing candidate had made against his opponents in prior public statements. There are basically two types of allegations; those that are grounded in substantial evidence and those that are reflexive, often non sequiturs. I was uninterested in the former, but paid close attention to the latter, looking for patterns in reflexive accusations. The reason is simple: since most people think other people share their interests and desires, their reflexive accusations usually reflect what they would do IF they had the chance. Zero on those occasions where they had the chance, looking for the sorts of things they accuse others of, and you almost always came up with pay dirt. A part of me always loved when an opponent started swinging wildly at my candidate or, often, at me. The opponent thought he was wounding me – and I never disabused him of the notion – when actually he was revealing himself to me.

That technique makes for a powerful and fruitful examination of conscience when rigorously turned on oneself. Contemplate the criticisms you usually level at others you don’t know and without evidence. Do you routinely call people greedy if they have more than you? You probably are covetous. Are you constantly accusing others of sexual impropriety with little evidence? You probably had best examine your own dark fantasy life. Do you constantly think others are cheating? You probably spend as much time looking for ways to get one over on your colleagues. It is a powerful tool of self-examination which will root out much of the dysfunction you carefully hide even from yourself. Most have neither the stomach nor stamina to apply it rigorously to themselves. But if you do, you will begin to find a peace that will carry you through all storms.

Remember this: satan is sometimes called the accuser of mankind. If you are constantly looking for the flaw in others, whose eyes are you looking through? I do not say to put on a pair of rose-colored glasses, rather, to see things as they are…to, in effect, live Christ’s order to let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” That is why I try to be so cautious about facts…neither to accept defamatory assertions about opponents without evidence nor flattering assertions about allies without the same. The satan does not care whether the lies with which he hopes to seduce you seem pious, particularly in the early stages. He well knows that once he can get you to believe a soothing lie because you want to believe it he is well on his way to getting you to believe the lies he wants you to believe, for you have forfeited your will to your desires.

A true Christian should apply charity as the watchword in contemplating the actions of another and rigor while contemplating his own actions. In our toxic culture, we have gotten it terribly backwards…so backwards that malicious prigs are often publicly considered to be icons of piety, when they are actually icons of something much darker. There is nothing so easily and cheaply condemned in another as a sin to which you are not tempted. You should not live your life so that people are intimidated by your piety, but so that they find hope of righteousness in themselves. Nothing so bespeaks a life nobly lived as the testimony of those who found hope and renewal in their encounters with the person who so lived.

In all the decades I contemplated the horrors of the Storm, it never occurred to me that we would reach a point where the Storm would be a less starkly terrifying option than the logical end of our normal course. But here we are. This Storm was made possible by the degeneration of millions of human hearts, one at a time. Renewal will come, one at a time, in hearts that commit themselves to simple principles: acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. Those who commit themselves to these, come what may and under all circumstances, begin a hidden revolution, a revolution which will truly renew the face of the earth. As we prepare our hearts for this, we come to understand that even the Storm is not what it seems: not a harbinger of destruction, but the beginning of rescue.

As we enter Good Friday, may we resolve to let our vanity, our malice, our envy perish on the Cross taken up by Our Lord. Let us separate ourselves from our hidden sins by rigorous self-examination, preparing the ground for our rescue. Let us set our jaws into the wind like flint and say with all our heart, “Come, Lord Jesus”

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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73 Responses to A Conscious Examination

  1. Diane says:

    True wisdom – thank you for your beautiful words

    Liked by 2 people

  2. johnmcfarm says:

    Oh my…how you captured me today Charlie! I have been absolutely incensed with what is happening in Indiana and particularly to the Pizzeria in the small Indiana town that has had to shut it’s doors because of the multitudes of death threats to that Christian family who has actually never even had a request to serve pizza at a homosexual “marriage”.

    My anger has seethed and I have declared that society has now crossed that invisible line whereby I now am ready to fight for Christianity…to stand with God…not bad, except the malice in my heart Charlie. We cannot stand for God with malice. Reading your post above has reminded me of that…I drank the “toxic poison”, but you brought me back.

    May God continue to bless you in all ways Charlie, I know you are being assaulted…so am I and it is increasingly worse it seems. But, when I get my head on straight I realize that this suffering is truly a badge of honor for Christ! It is part of that noble fight that truly we are blessed to be able to participate in. But, we must do it without malice! Malice is satan’s realm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      I’m glad, John. I fight a bit of a dual battle – first getting people to understand we are going to have to fight a real battle with implacable vigor and fortitude, a real physical battle…then second with getting people to understand we must do it without malice. It is why I so admire Abraham Lincoln and St. Joan of Arc. They lived it.

      Liked by 5 people

      • CrewDog says:

        Yes! … but I believe that there is nothing wrong with Righteous Anger. Malice is in a different category. I have a boiling Righteous Anger when I read of another horrific attack targeting Christians in Kenya … 147 KIA … whilst Obama is touting Munich II and, no doubt, creating a Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East …. dragging the USA into an abandonment of Israel that I, truly, believe will have negative Biblical implications for US ;-(

        Liked by 1 person

      • Donette says:

        I think you should add here for John, Charlie, since this is Good Friday, the words of Jesus from the Cross. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Kati says:

      JohnMcFarm, I think you might like the tactic that Fr. Z. is suggesting on his website this morning. Though his description of the tactic is a bit tongue -in-cheek, he may have the nugget of an effective strategy. Here it is:

      “We need a new approach. Think about this.

      When some homosexual couple comes to your Christian business for services at their immoral event, don’t panic. Go ahead and take their business! Then explain what is going to happen next.

      Tell them that the food and services will be just fine. And then inform them that all of the money that they pay for the services will be donated to a traditional pro-family lobby. If it is something like catering, where your employees have to be there to provide services, tell them that all your people will smile, be professional, and everyone of them will be wearing crucifixes and have the Holy Family embroidered on their uniforms. Then show them pictures of your uniforms. When the truck pulls up, speakers will be playing Immaculate Mary. Show them the truck and play the music.

      “Oh, you would be offended by that? I’m so sorry. You approached us because we are Christians. Right? We are happy to provide services for you and we are grateful that you chose to come to our Christian catering business. We just want to be of help.”

      Then tell them that you will take out an ad in the paper to let everyone know what you did with their money, thanking them by name for their business so that you could make the contribution.” http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/04/when-they-come-to-destroy-your-business-because-you-are-pro-traditional-family/

      I wonder if this scripture is a possible backup: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt. 10:16

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Donette says:

    Charlie, this was very good. I do have to admit that I had to read the title several times as well as the entire post. You title the post ” A Conscious Examination”. At first I thought it was a typo and that you meant a conscience examination. Then reading the post you use the term “an examination of conscience.” So I swung there, like a pendulum wondering which was the word you wanted to emphasize and suddenly a light bulb went on. WAIT! Both words were the correct. When we examine our conscience, we make a conscious decision to do so therefore it is “a conscious examination”, but once we do that it becomes an “conscience examination”. Very good, Charlie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks, Donette. I love it when people pick up on my little plays on words. I do it almost all the time to amuse myself. I have actually only known one person who routinely picked up on almost all of them. To my satisfaction, it mainly amused her too.


  4. ann says:

    Thank you for this. This has truth ringing from every word. I was especially touched by the line about rigorously examining yourself instead of others and peace will follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A Quiet Person says:

    Hi Charlie,

    I’ve read that one of your missions is to hearten the faithful. Well, I am one of the faithful that could use a little heartening right now.

    When I read your recent post here, “The stupids have become the majority.” I thought, “Hmmmm he must know who I work for.” Seriously though, I work in a big, ugly city that is at the top of the list for every problem there is. (I am a special ed. teacher working with severely, multiply impaired kids. I just bring that up as there were a number of comments from another post having to do with kids with special needs). For the past 5 years I have worked there, each year with increasing intensity, I have been subjected to all sorts of verbal abuse, abuse of power, stupidity, intimidation, threats, bullying, lies . . . This year is the worst. I believe the Lord put me there to offer reparation for many sins, especially racism (although I have to be honest and tell you that I tell the Lord almost every day that if He wants to un-put me there, that is really, really OK with me.)

    I acknowledge God always. I have taken pretty much all of the next right steps insofar as I am not striking back in anger, retaliation, or hatred. I’m no saint here, but because I have had so much practice over the years, it is not a stretch to pray for my enemies and ask blessings for them. I have consistently treated everyone respectfully. But as far as being a sign of hope to others??

    Last week, in the middle of a miserable circumstance anyway, the principal lit into me about something that was so unfair that it literally took my breath away. Now, I was able to keep my mouth shut, I did not lose my faith or control of my emotions. But apparently my body just said, “NO MORE!” I literally could not catch my breath. I had an asthma attack 2 years ago and I thought this might be happening again. Really, I had to sit down. The nurse came in with a stethoscope and thought maybe I was having a panic attack. I really do not know what happened except that I couldn’t breath. My body just wimped out on me.

    I am no visionary or anything but I have been aware of the Storm for many years. I don’t know what my part is in anything except what I would be doing anyway, raising my kids right and praying Recently though, I was thinking about how I was born on the feast of St. Maximilian Kolbe and I have a relic of St. Peter Nolesco who ransomed Christians captured by the Moors. And I have been falsely accused a ridiculous number of times so I really know what that is about and I’m thinking, “Lord, I can see what direction you’re going here going here. . . ”

    But the reality is that I just fell apart . (And then to add insult to injury, today I got written up for that event, being charged with insubordination and not treating the principal with respect because I turned my back to her. (She left out the part that I had to turn around to find my chair because I was about ready to faint. She also left out the part about what she claims she ordered me to do and then my response. It is a total, without qualification lie.)

    How can I be of hope when, in spite of my faith and in spite of maintaining my integrity I just fall apart anyway? To use your words, I don’t think anyone is finding hope of righteousness in themselves by being around me. I look back on that event and wonder if there was something I could have done to at least keep breathing normally?

    It was a very sobering experience. And such a failure. At least I have no actions or words to regret.
    I live a very prayerful life but still come up so very short on strength. I would love to be that sign of hope but how can someone as quiet and weak as me be that?

    Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      One of the most painful things I do since my neurosurgery is to kneel. Some days I can’t do it at all (I have a general dispensation on the matter, but use it as rarely as possible). In the first few years afterwards, I went through great pains not to let anyone see I was at…great pains. Once, at a daily Mass at Santa Maria del Popolo I could not hide it, the agony was just too great. I know a couple of whimpers slipped out, too. I was utterly humiliated and abashed. Never let ’em see you sweat and all that. After Mass, I wished I had skipped that day rather than be seen like that. And then, after Mass, a woman maybe 10 years older than me came up to me with tears in her eyes, shook my hand and thanked me for my love and courage. Said her late father had an injury that made kneeling agonizingly painful for him, but genuflected until the day he died when he was in the presence of the Lord – and that seeing me that day had felt like her father was there watching over her again.

      I was shaken…and decided I would do my best but would not go to heroic lengths to hide when it was real painful. I would leave it to the God who knows what people needed on the given day. I thought back at how many times people who had attacked me and been an enemy, when they were down, came to me for help or advice, explaining the contradiction only by saying they knew I was a decent man. The thing is, Quiet, you will never know who you have inspired by living grace under pressure until the judgment…but it is far more than you know – and includes some of the people who torment you.

      Liked by 4 people

      • jeanO says:

        This touched me so deeply. It called to mind “Jesus wept.” To utter a groan, to struggle for breath, to allow tears of frustration to pour out are the language of the Holy Spirit. The honest and humble expression of agony is a powerful weapon in the face of evil, as it disarms. “Quiet”, I have two grown children with special needs. I KNOW you are doing God’s work. Thank you for your love and courage.
        And Charlie, thank you for this on Good Friday as I examine my conscience. It reminded me of the childhood expression “I know you are but what am I?” By accusing myself I disarm the enemy. May the dark shadows in my life be brought into the light of God’s mercy by your work of words. God bless you.


    • SteveBC says:

      Quiet Person, why would you think your body is the gauge of your courage? It is not.

      Your strength of spirit is awe-inspiring. To stay in such a place to care for those you help even as you are abused for the privilege is, well, all I can say is that you must be built with the strength of granite inside.

      I can see why you would want to stay alert for a sign from God that your time there is done, and you can head for Easy Street. If so, don’t hesitate. However, if God wants you to stay there and you can retain that durable spirit, I just have to believe that once the Storm truly hits, you will be a rock that others can cling to and learn from.

      Liked by 3 people

    • CrewDog says:

      Thank YOU “Quiet Person” for the work you do with disabled young people!! I have come to the opinion, recently, that a prime reason for The Storm is God’s Rescue Mission for all the lost, unguided and unloved Young People!


    • Mick says:

      Quiet, as a mother of a baby with Down Syndrome, I want to thank you so much for what you do for the kids with whom you work. I can pretty much guarantee that you’re a sign of hope to them, and to their families. God bless you and your family.


    • Mark4:41 says:

      For 19 years I’ve been a janitor in the dorms at a University. The lies, games, set ups, rejection, etc… It is almost unbearable. I used too be weak, scared, very sensitive to rejection and failure. Now I trust in God. I know God can crush em or have me crucified it’s all up to him. They reject my offers, I offer more of my snacks and help at work. I catch them being nasty, I return it with kindness and a smile. I try to see the good in them and pray for them. They are just tortured soles with hardened hearts in need of prayer, like me. I talk openly about Jesus Christ the God-Man. How he did everything perfect and they crucified him for it and he still prayed to God to have mercy on them for they know not what they do. Repent!! for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand. They don’t gossip and back stab around me anymore knowing I’ll start talking good of the person. I’ll pray a rosary for you that God helps you Quiet Person.

      Let me add what Mary the Mother of God said today at Medjugorje to the visionary Mirjana because it fits.

      Dear children, I have chosen you, my apostles, because all of you carry something beautiful within you.

      You can help me to have the love, for the sake of which my Son died and then resurrected, win anew.

      Therefore, I am calling you, my apostles, to try to see something good in every creature of God, in all of my children, and to try to understand them.

      My children, you are all brothers and sisters through the same Holy Spirit.

      You, filled with love for my Son, can speak of what you know to all those who have not come to know that love.

      You have come to know the love of my Son, you have comprehended his Resurrection, with joy you cast your gaze towards him.

      My motherly desire is for all of my children to be united in love for Jesus.

      Therefore, I am calling you, my apostles, to live the Eucharist with joy, because in the Eucharist my Son gives himself to you anew and with his example shows the love and sacrifice towards the neighbour.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 3 people

      • charliej373 says:

        Good for you, Mark. You have learned to live one of the things I would tell candidates and naieve staffers when they were first confronted with deeply malicious and lying attacks. A fact we must all deal with is that there a lot of malicious jerks in the world. Once we accept that, then we must choose whether we are going to be one of them and add to the world’s malice or not. Far too many become malicious in a futile effort to combat malice. And don’t think that means I think we should be milquetoasts: far from it. But the first thing I do when confronted with one who has acted with genuine malice towards me is to go pray for them and light a candle on their behalf. Then if it is a battle that counts, I methodically work to knock their heads off until they are defeated or unconditionally repent.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mick says:

        Mark4:41, thank you for your witness in the hostile environment where you work. You won’t know until you get to heaven how many souls were saved through your charity and your prayers. God bless you and yours.


    • Petra says:

      Quiet Person: I’m sorry this happened to you. Often worldly ones believe meekness and quietness is a sign of weakness, and they despise weakness, so attack all the more. I know in my own life when I have just taken a browbeating, expecially an undeserved and untrue browbeating, I’m the one who ended up miserable, depressed and disturbed. Then I found my voice. I found I could respond with charity, clarity and boldness in defense of myself, and often the interaction had a much different outcome. I sure felt better!
      I would say, “What you are saying is not true.” or “Please don’t say I did something I didn’t do.” or “Please stop speaking to me in such an angry tone.” I know you want to turn the other cheek. I also was taught that was a right response when attacked or accused: say nothing in your own defense, take it, offer it up, and you will have merit with God. And that is sometimes true. But it seems your passivity in the face of being attacked is taking it toll on your physical health.
      I love that you kept control of your emotions, and that you pray for these and ask God’s blessings on them. But sometimes it is necessary for us to speak up, and speak boldly. Look to Jesus. At one point they accused Him of expelling demons by the power of the satan, suggesting He was evil. He did not just meekly keep silent. He spoke up and showed them how flawed their logic was: the satan expelling demons would be working against his own self! He didn’t let them get away with saying it, because they were wrong.
      Think of how often Jesus often spoke up boldly in defense of Himself and His followers. For that matter, read some of the Acts of the Apostles, and how boldly the disciples speak up, for instance, when they have received the Holy Spirit and people are saying they are drunk! Think of how boldly St. Paul speaks. Sometimes God wants us to speak up and say the truth in a bold way. Believe me, you will be a sign of hope if you do, because I will bet you’re not the only one not happy with the work environment.
      God bless you. The work you do is so necessary, and in itself a sign of hope. Remember, our fight is against principalities and powers, not against flesh and blood. The satan would like nothing more than to chase the likes of you out of there, where you are a light shining in the darkness. Don’t let him get away with it!
      God bless you. I will pray for you tonight during the Holy Thursday vigil as we keep company with Jesus as He is locked in Caiaphas’ jail, that you find a spirit of boldness to speak the truth in charity and love when attacked.

      Liked by 1 person

      • EllenChris says:

        I have to agree most strongly with Petra. Bullies keep bullying until they are stopped. Kindness and Truth *can* go together. By not telling the truth, you are allowing the principal to continue lying, which is not good for her soul. Maybe she believes the lies because she has not been confronted with the truth. Have no fear! We will be praying for you. Gently — quietly — but truth. Perhaps the Lord is teaching you this very thing: how to stand up and do that. With love and prayers.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michelle says:

      Yes, Quietperson. I’m a quietperson, also. The same thing has happened to me within my family. The bullying, the threats, the intimidation, the lies, By our children of all people. Charlie describes narcissism on a large scale, and he’s right, the game is always the same. The bullies claim that they are the victims and set out to destroy all that is good and decent about you. What seems to be different in recent years is that others just stand around and watch. Even if they know the truth, that these are lies being spoken, they’ll just scurry on their way. When I’ve been brave enough to ask why they would let the lies stand, I’ve been told, “Oh, it’s none of my business.” or “I don’t want to take sides.” My sister actually said, “Because I’m Sweden, hahahaha.” I said to her, “But I’m Isreal.” I wasn’t laughing. Such betrayals by the watchers. All I can do is pray for all of them. I think it is training us to just TRUST God. That’s all we can do. Just know that you are not alone in your struggles and we are all praying for each other, here.__TDL


    • Serena J says:

      I really admire your resilience in the face of such opposition and attack. I wish I could respond the way you do by saying nothing to those who fasley accuse you. I often find that when I am in these situations my reaction is less than Christian. I am easily offended by those who attack me or insult me. I am often quick to react and speak out against my opponent and often angrily. I know its not good and not the right thing to do cuz often afterwards I regret my defensive outburts. What you do and how you respond requires great strength of character, not weakness (unlike me). And do not doubt being a sign of hope to others around you,because even they don’t come up and say it to your face, they admire you from afar. You have also given me hope in showing that it is possible to hold my tongue and to remain silent in times of affliction and that it is possible to put into practise the command of Jesus to love our enemies and to bless those that hurt us. Thank you.


    • Dear Quiet One. After I read your post, I thought of the Passion of Our Lord and thought that by the actions of that person, you may have shared in the scourging and mocking of Our Lord. It makes me think of two Scripture passages (paraphrased). “Yet He opened not HIS mouth” and “it is in weakness that we are made strong”. I think you received a gift from Our Lord during this Holy season. God Bless you always!


  6. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    Crystal-clear as our waters of Baptism.
    We ponder, reflect, and will act with humility upon these words of immense wisdom and beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “There is nothing so easily and cheaply condemned in another as a sin to which you are not tempted.” So succinct and so true, and something I will remember for a long time. Have a Happy Easter, Charlie. You are loved, dear friend.


    • charliej373 says:

      Ah Jane, my old school friend. I am gratified – and a little surprised – at how many old friends from high school and even grade school read my meanderings and enjoy them. God bless you and your family.

      For the rest of you…when I was in school, Jane was one of my dearest friends. We were in band together. We never dated…but I guess it looked like we did because we hung out together so much. I don’t really know why we didn’t, except that she felt like a sister. I was always at her house…and her Mom and Dad, Meredythe and Russ, became great friends. Her Mom had a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor, so naturally we became great friends.


      • Bob says:

        As I get older Charlie remembering family and friends who have been dear to me is happening more often. Those we have been graced to be close to are truly treasures from God.


  8. Lin says:

    Thanks for this challenging piece. You have left me with much to think about tonight….


  9. Anne says:

    All about need for deep repentance as our hearts have been compromised and taken into darkness so very,very subtly. may the Light Christ heal and purify our hearts and root out all darkness.Thestorm is deep surgery needed.without it the future is even worse to think about.May all those aware call constantly on the Light og the Holy Spirit to reveal theTruth to all hearts.We no longer recognise sin.may the Love of Christ open all hearts this Easter…. may all who visit here truly open theirheartsto the Graces available.


  10. Nancy D says:

    This writing has come at just the right moment for me. I know it will help me to make probably the truest examen I’ve ever made. I pray for the courage to do so. I’ve had to pray a lot for courage these days, and I think this writing is just one answer to all those prayers. Thank you.


  11. SteveBC says:

    Charlie, you said, “The satan does not care whether the lies with which he hopes to seduce you seem pious, particularly in the early stages. He well knows that once he can get you to believe a soothing lie because you want to believe it he is well on his way to getting you to believe the lies he wants you to believe, for you have forfeited your will to your desires.”

    It seems to me that we have discussed this in specific example with the situation surrounding the Synod and the recent comment about the possibility of one or two anti-popes by the end of the year. Even pious traditionalists can be caught up in this problem.

    Is what you are discussing here linked to preparing us for this potential problem as well, so that we can see when our eyes and hearts are betraying us and where they are not?

    It seems there is a time for rigor toward oneself and charity toward others, and that is indeed most of the time. However, when objective truth indicates falsehood and malice “out there”, we must let ourselves see that truth, state it as so, and live our judgment.

    Do I have this more right than wrong, or should I be patient for more from you on this dichotomy?


  12. anthonymullendivineantidote says:

    Charlie, excellent post! Are we as a Family going to respond to Bishop Bootkoski on the Scandal? I note that Micharl Hichbron of the Lepanto Institute wrote a brilliant, charitable letter asking the Bishop to explain his written comments/reaction as it factually did not square with Catholic teaching. It seems that without some pressure from enough of the Faithful, and especially in asking the Papal Nuncio to become involved for the Holy Father, Patty Januzzi will not be rehired. The effort made for the young gentleman from Texas proved that this Group can act and cause change when gross injustice is perpetrated. The facts to date would seem to indicate real injustice and the Faithful need to hear from the Bishop as confusion reigns. I realize that your personal situation recently has likley caused you not to be able to yet address this issue, but hopefully in the near future you will be able to do so…if it be God’s most Holy Will. May God bless you in every way, Tony


    • charliej373 says:

      I did speak of it in the post, “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” But you are right, it is not all I have to say on the matter. It is not just the problems I am dealing with this week, but that I did not want to focus on this matter in Holy Week. That said, I am getting addresses of who should be written to to complain and ask for an apology and reversal from this Bishop or a call for his removal. We, the laity, have the right to demand that a Bishop, at a minimum, not turn on us like a wolf when we defend the faith. The Papal Nuncio is one who should be flooded with letters along with Cardinal O’Malley who is, apparently a special envoy to police these American Dioceses. After his caustic comments on Bishop Finn on 60 Minutes, a Bishop who maladroitly, but in good faith, handled a difficult and scandalous situation that maybe he should be removed, I think Cardinal O’Malley should be flooded with letters asking that he turn his focus towards a Bishop who is actually attacking the faith and a faithful Catholic who tried to defend the same. It might be appropriate to write to Archbishop John Myers, who is Bishop Bootkoski’s Metropolitan, though I know Myers is nearing retirement. Anyway, I will get addresses for all and mount that challenge next week. I do think the faithful must respond forcefully now – that all may see it is not only sinful – but a good way to lose your sinecure, to side with the screaming mob against the faithful when your job is to defend the faithful.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. Momof6g4b says:

    I found your post after returning home from Holy Thursday Mass and adoration. It was a deep and difficult night. I found myself identifying a lot with Peter and begging God’s forgiveness for all my failures just during Lent, nevermind the rest of my life! How weak and lazy I am, how much I have neglected and abandoned Him and chosen not to suffer with Him these last 40 days. Now you show me that I must dig even deeper. Oh God, create in me a clean heart, and a steadfast spirit renew within me…. Tonight I go to bed feeling very much the weight if the cross, thankful that God has not abandoned me and is allowing me the opportunity to suffer with Him at this late hour. May we all experience a deep and meaningful Passion and an exhuberant Resurrection united with Our Lord and Our Lady. Peace to you all…

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Lily says:

    Charlie, do you know where I can learn about these virtues and vices? I feel rather stupid to know nothing about charity or malice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Lily, I strongly recommend you start with the Catechism. Vanity is the same thing as the cardinal sin of pride. Malice is any unjustified evil you wish another whether motivated by envy, wrath, defamation or other such things. A simple list to begin with can be found here. Much of what I write on these matters is an extended meditation on the meaning of these things.

      Liked by 1 person

    • MMBev says:

      Oh, Lily! Sometimes you don’t even have to know the name of the vice! I had four years of therapy starting in 2008. I had to dig through my whole (it wasn’t MY idea) life, at the same time, without the need of (THANK GOD) sharing with the therapist. Well, I hit Grade Two. There it was, just staring me smack in the face. PRIDE. And full blown at that. I had felt that my new teacher (we moved half way through the year) had been unjust to me. From my perspective, I suppose she was, but she’d really just forgotten I was a new arrival and couldn’t possible know what had been DRILL into us before I arrived. I, however, felt it as a HUGE injustice. And like a little snot pig, I harboured that sin of pride as close to the vest as I could. Oooooh, ugh.

      At the time, of course, I hadn’t any real idea, but I was smart enough to know lack of forgiveness even if I didn’t know too much else. Boy, it sure starts on us young. I bet there is a lot before that I don’t even remember.


  15. Bonnie C says:

    Thank you, Charlie, for this beautiful meditation. I will read the articles you cite because I know they will be worthy.

    For “Quiet”: In the mid ’90’s, I was scandalized out of my job (scapegoat) as a campaign was initiated against me to humiliate me enough to make me leave my job. Everything was thrown at me. From it being insinuated that I stole money, caused financial difficulties, that I tried to usurp my friend – who I hired – from her job as her husband was dying from brain cancer, and I was made to leave my wonderful office to occupy a windowless room in the basement to sit there all day in exile with no work. I was put on “administrative leave” with pay after I exposed this treatment by writing a letter to the local papers. It was a public facility, and the county commissioners approved these actions against me. I have no idea how many thousands of dollars were spent to find SOMETHING that I did that was wrong by hiring teams of lawyers from a big city, auditors, etc.

    It is written that Abraham Lincoln said he didn’t take too much to heart that he didn’t think would affect him 10 years down the road. It took me every bit of that and more. Although I was brought back to work, I ended up leaving that horrid place and wish that I had listened when I knew I was supposed to be a stay at home mom and prayer warrior in the ’80’s. I didn’t trust what I knew and was afraid to give up the employment and benefits.

    The administrator who started this campaign to save his skin lost his job. The director of nursing lost her mind – literally. Two commissioners lost their next elections and despite trying to get their seats back multiple times, they never returned, and the third had to resign when he went to prison on felony drug charges. I actually passed him several years later holding a traffic sign that said “SLOW”. I thought that was ironical. Also, Quiet, it took over 10 years, but my friend whose husband died wrote me a letter of apology, that I was very grateful to accept – overjoyed. Another woman, who responded to my letter with one of her own – a very nasty one – published in the newspaper that broke my dad’s heart weeks before he died – sent me a letter of apology just last year. Also gratefully accepted and answered. I respect their great courage and I know that it took a lot to apologize. This is the Holy Spirit at work.

    When I say The Lord’s Prayer, I take to heart, and actually strike my fist to my heart when I say these words, “…as we forgive those who trespass against us” because I want and need the grace to maintain that.

    Praying for you, Quiet, and all here. God save us all! God bless all here!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Mary Ann says:

    It is true that the reason we see the mote in our brother’s eye is because it is simply the reflection of the beam in our own – a sort of reverse projection in which we condemn and try to fix in another something that is so big in our own life that we are engulfed in it and can not even see it. I see certain faults in others so easily because I have them in myself. So now I realize I can be humble and grateful when I see faults in others – they have borne those faults so that I might have a chance to see my own!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Anne says:

    I am becoming so aware of the difficulties for young people especiallyunder 35 or so. crew dogi, I agree they defiantly need help,guidance,love. Everything is so transient for them……jobs, friends, family. Like all of us they.need the rock!!


  18. “As we prepare our hearts for this, we come to understand that even the Storm is not what it seems: not a harbinger of destruction, but the beginning of rescue.”

    Yes. That requires hope. I have been under tremendous pressure from one family member, a close one who is not well in the head, and has decided to invest a substantial part of his considerable income to sue me, my youngest brother and sister into oblivion. When all of it started about 30 months ago, in September of 2012 I was just arrived here in BA to take some rest from a long period of spiritual trials in the US. What followed were 30 months of relentless litigation that I had to face without any significant income and no legal representation. This is a corrupt area and lawyers are bought very easily. I went through a number of them. Miraculously I have been saved at every turn of these events. I attribute this to Divine Providence and the prayers of so many friends. All the work I have been doing for years, suffered. I just could not see the “light at the end of the tunnel” at all. As one thing after another crumbled so did my level of energy. I had never experienced that before. I am a “go-getter” and once I put my mind to achieve something I do it. But this Lent was more than I could take … when suddenly, as Holy Week got near, things began to clear and have apparently turned around completely through no effort on my part. I am very grateful but also exhausted and wondering what the next month or two will bring.

    During the worse part of it I felt it was impossible to “love thy enemy” and yet, making a supreme effort, I had Mass given for that person and his various hired helpers. Now I believe that is what turned the situation reversed: God wants us to do that little imitation of His mercy. In my case it is a pathetic little thing, a short prayer, a Mass asked in a rather grumbling way. And yet from those crumbs He was able to do something.

    In the same manner, the storm may be the lesson, the rescue can be compared to recess after a long tiring class on a subject we don’t quite like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • the phoenix says:

      “I attribute this to Divine Providence and the prayers of so many friends.” and “making a supreme effort, I had Mass given for that person” …

      Yes, exactly!
      And I am praying for you, Carlos Caso-Rosendi, as well as for everybody else here on this blog, in my daily Rosary.

      And I can relate to many others here this Lent. In my case, things have escalated so that I’ve been praying the Chaplet of St. Michael on top of the Rosary and on top of using holy water, because yes, I feel the spiritual attacks are that fierce and I am in great need of protection.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Petra says:

      Carlos: Wow, thank you for saying this. I had a particularly trying Spy Wednesday overnight into Holy Thursday due to some family circumstances that are similar to your own, although no where near as drastic (yet?). The mental anguish was beyond me. I completely fell apart. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed – wow, like I was in a war and beyond all help. I knew God was there, I could sense my angel and Our Lady and St. Joseph, but God permitted some bad attacks of my inner self. I was overcome by hopelessness. I sure felt battered in the morning.
      In prayer at the Holy Thursday services last night, I in a somewhat defeated way said “Lord, I know You answer our prayers for help in our spiritual life, but I know often our material lives find no such help from You.” (See the state of mind I was in? How ludicrous that prayer is!) But today, this morning, there is calm, and much of the fear and hopelessness has faded.
      I see now it was a trial. It came up without warning. It overwhelmed me. If these are the first bands of the Storm for each of us, I will have to really amp up my ability to pray!!
      Carlos, you helped me by first of all contradicting my thinking, and affirming that God will indeed help me in my circumstances. And you also reminded me (or God used you to tell me) to have Masses said for the situation – for the people involved, for God to bless them. I thank you for sharing what you have, because it seems to be the answer to my prayers. God bless you!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Petra, now I see the Lord helped me at every turn of the road but I must confess, at times I wondered where my next meal was going to come from or if I was going to have a roof over my head in a month or two. I succumbed to the pressure, the Lord allowed me to be defeated and yet he took care of my basic needs. I must say I failed Him a few times, I lost my trust. I thought God was busy somewhere and could not come to my rescue. And yet every time there was “a day after.” Now things have not really changed, there is still a lot of work to do but I can feel I am being comforted for a little while, like a warrior that takes a few seconds off the battle to gulp down some water and clean some wounds. You have helped me by sharing your experience. Others are being attacked in the same manner, we are not alone. Thank you, Petra.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. A Quiet Person says:

    Dear Friends (which is now what I consider you all to be), thank you so much for your thoughtful and understanding responses. All of your comments have touched me deeply. I would be remiss though if I allowed anyone to think that I was staying there out of some sort of heroic virtue. Truly, the Lord put me there. If you honestly give the Lord permission to work in your life as He wills, then He will station you where He sees fit. In the past 5 years I have applied to literally hundreds of teaching jobs. My recommendations and credentials are impressive on paper. But I have had about 3 interviews, and no job offers. My area happens to be a critical shortage area as well so it doesn’t make sense. One strange thing though. I was called to an interview a couple of years ago from a very good school district. The competition is so great there that I remember making the decision that I wasn’t even going to bother applying. I couldn’t believe it when they called for an interview. I got out my computer and could not find any record of having applied there. Even now I cannot account for how I was called for an interview for a job I did not apply for in the best and most desirable district in the area.. I didn’t get the job but what I did get is reassurance that God is in control and as long as I continue to do the common sense things (like look for another job!), if I do not get one, then it is the Lord’s plan and I can rest assured that I am where I am supposed to be. I take some comfort from this when I consider where I will go and what I will do during the Storm. At least for me, the Lord does not seem to give me a lot of options. Maybe He thinks I am dense (and I would not argue). The only option I have is to do His Will where I am or not. He doesn’t seem to give me other options like, do I want to have this job here or that one over there? Meanwhile, I have taken all of your suggestions and insights to heart and am so grateful for your input.

    I have also gained much from learning about the 16 Discalced Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne. I have heard that what happened during the French Revolution would be similarly happening here so I had been wondering about how saints from that time handled themselves. Their story is very inspirational! My favorite part is when the sisters were given notice of their fate – death by guillotine, they received the news with peace, even joy. That is except for Sister Therese Soiron who fainted! She was revived with a cup of water, asked pardon for her weakness, and then proceeded to her martyrdom along with everyone else with serenity.

    Sister Therese Soiron, pray for me and all of us!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sarah says:

      One of the patrons of our church is Father Miguel Pro. Also Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher. I look to them to help me do the right thing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • DanSouthChicago says:

      God bless you, Quiet Person. You are in our prayers. My wife and several of her friends have experienced a viciousness in public education that goes beyond my experiences in corporate life. I don’t understand it. But Our Lord has put you in contact with children who greatly need the talents He has given you and the service and love you offer them. Again, God bless.


  20. Mary Ann says:

    Charlie, you are right about the Storm being a blessing. If the culture of death were to continue its triumph, it would be a centuries-long totalitarian nightmare. I have often meditated on that, and feared its advent, and prayed against it. The lights out all over the world in a Dark Ages of all dark ages. except in the hearts of humble people, and the apparatus of tyranny fully engaged in farming, mining, and disposing of human beings and things. Now that you say it, I am rejoicing at the prospect of a stormy deliverance (a pale imitation is the end of the Perelandra Trilogy).


  21. Sue says:

    This is stunning. Just before reading this, I had completed my examination of conscience, and in my crib notes (yes, I take crib notes to the confessional, lol) I had written the phrase “the accuser”, as I have a tendency to find fault in others when I am in turmoil about my own sins. It is creepy-what you wrote about is pretty much the process I just went through in preparing for confession. Must be the Holy Spirit, yeah? Thanks be to God!


  22. Bob says:

    To be rigorous on myself and charitable toward others is good as I perhaps can be given the grace to know my own heart some but other’s hearts I cannot know unless I am a Padre Pio or someone holy like him. I remember times when I would find myself judging and condemning a certain sin in others and feeling smug like “Thank God I am not like those” and later would find myself falling into the same sins myself. Oh how the ugly pride tries to manifest itself! And for such things he died.


  23. Bob says:

    The daily readings for yesterday about the Passover Lamb being slain were especially good:


  24. Jim M. says:

    The United States is becoming Sodom, and will visit the fate of Sodom without our Lord’s intervention. .

    In 1993, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed by President Clinton. To say the law had overwhelming bipartisan support would be an understatement. The bill passed the House unanimously and 97-3 in the Senate. With no such thing as an LGBT lobby at the time, public opinion was also in strong support. States began passing state versions of the law.

    The decline accelerates. A mere 23 years later, the LGBT movement has risen like a dragon. Woe to those who oppose their agenda, and woe to religious beliefs that stand in their way. Intense Hatred fuels the movemrnt. A hatred dry so vicious and malevolent it can only come from one source. A hatred that is aimed at tge destruction of the Word.

    We have seen the consequences of LGBT control before. A burning concupiscence that consumes everything in its path:

    “And they called Lot, and said to him: Where are the men that came in to thee at night? bring them out hither that we may know them: ” Genesis 19:5

    Today those holding true to the Word are persecuted, threatened with harm and are utterly destroyed, subjected to loss of property and liberty. Tomorrow will be much worse. For we have seen what a city controlled by those flaunting abonominations to our God is like. With minds devoid of religious morality and direction and with unchained appetites, there simply cannot be coexistence with God. There is an absence of tolerance to the Word, for it pains their very souls. The pain must be eliminated. And once it is, all becomes subject to their will.

    5600 years of folowing Biblical direction brought down in about 10 years. Maybe less. All under the spiritual Trojan Horse of “equality”. Religion has now been cast as the enemy to equality, and the hounds of hell unleashed on believers.

    Religion has become the anathema. As it was under Marxism, Communism and 20th century facism. The pogrom is here.

    The rate of decay has greated an epidemic of cognitive dissonance and has people blindly accepting this new diabolical paradigm. Know this-it will not end well.

    We are indeed in the times of which Isaiah warned, when good becomes evil and evil good. Many woes will come upon us, but Isaiah also tells us God in His love and Mercy will send us a righteous king to restore us.

    The Storm is upon us, and now the battles begin.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bob says:

      And sadly, I am not sure if it was Billy Graham or his wife, once commented that “if God Doesn’t judge this country He will need to apologize to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah”.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Rosie says:

    Quite introspective, I sent the article on to many other people in hopes most would give it some thought and try to understand your words. We live and are part of this world that is becoming darker and darker each day, and at times, we contribute to the circumstances. Our righteous attitudes will be our undoing, if not our Lord’s will. I have 4 grand children, tuff cookies, yet, trying very hard. Since they are public school educated, I see some sad problems arising. They have been completely informed about the world’s changes (by parents and grandparents), and are trying so hard, but their little hearts are up against some very mean new rules and circumstances. I explain to them, let it all go, rise above this, and listen only to your guardian angel. Leave the room, if you must, for they will call you parents, and have to deal with them, not you.
    Your words bring great comfort to me, daily. I have gone back several years in your work and see where your direction is taking us I just hope I have the fortitude and understanding to proceed in that direction. Your words are jewels, previously and now. Thank you, and may you and your readers have a beautiful Easter!


  26. Mick says:

    Somebody might have already mentioned this somewhere, but today is the first day of the Divine Mercy novena that Our Lord gave to the world through St. Faustina. Along with the Chaplet, there are different intentions and different prayers (short) for each day. Here’s a link for the intentions and prayers, for anybody who may be interested:


    Liked by 1 person

  27. Donette says:

    Sufferings, sufferings, all types of sufferings are listed here. Permit me to offer the words of Jesus to the Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta.

    “The life of the heart is love. I am like an infirm person who is burning with fever and keeps looking for refreshment, for relief, from the fire that devours Me. My fever is love; but from where do I extract the refreshments and the reliefs which are most suitable for the fire that consumes me? From the pains and toils suffered by souls beloved to Me, only for love of Me. Many times I wait and wait for that moment in which the soul turns to Me to tell Me: “Lord, only for love of You do I want to suffer this pain.” Ah, yes, these are the reliefs and refreshments most suitable for Me which cheer Me and dampen the fire that consumes Me.”

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Donette says:

    Please remember today is the day to begin the Novena to the Divine Mercy and go to confession, Mass and Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday for the forgiveness of all of your sins. The Lord’s promise to St. Faustina. Also remember that 2016 is the Jubilee Year announced by Pope Francis as the Time of Divine Mercy.


  29. Donette says:

    In my time zone, the young Lord, 33 years of age. has now hung on the Cross for love of me and you for one hour and one half. “Have mercy on us Lord, for we have sinned against you. Have mercy on us and on the whole world”.


  30. Mary Ann says:

    Another thing about the examination of conscience: it is not just that we harbor the faults we see in others. Sometimes, it is something different. Sometimes, what makes us quick to respond to the faults of others is the fact that we are over-invested in our egos in the corresponding virtue or value. A way to discover this is to ask oneself: what is it about this person/deed/event that is threatening to me, and what does it threaten? Talk about a good soul scouring!


    • charliej373 says:

      Very insightful, Mary Ann. Some people who have done the most malicious things I have ever known are so convinced of their own rectitude, that they cannot bear just to have a disagreement or compete on fair terms with another: they must impute evil motives to their competitor to maintain their own sense of sovereign purity, so they compound maliciousness with slander and defamation – and sometimes blame it on God.


  31. Mary Ann says:

    Interesting that the acronym SCOTUS is greek for darkness, and the personfication thereof.


  32. radiclaudio says:

    Amen, amen.


  33. DanSouthChicago says:

    Wow, Charlie. You must have the Holy Spirit on speed dial, because you really hit it out of the park with this entry! This will be printed out and kept in my prayer book to read and contemplate many times. Thank you for your work. Thank you to all who respond here with prayers and insights. And a Blessed Easter season to all. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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