In From the Desert


By Charlie Johnston

I need your help. I have been struggling to just do something, but it scares me. I have not wanted to write about it lest I come off self-absorbed – and I don’t think sharing what I struggle with gives confidence to those I need to be strong for. Giving people heart is one of my prime duties. But I think this is one of those times I need to publicly ask. If it must please God for you to see me weary and uncertain at times, I must ask that you also keep in mind that whatever my mood or my struggle, it is NOT even a hint of a faltering on my work. I have accepted that fully and will do it or die trying. That is not just hyperbole. I mean it with every fiber of my being.

Let me explain. When faced with a daunting, near impossible task, I can enter into an almost altered state of constant, furious intensity and awareness. It is like having a jolt of adrenaline, but sustaining it for an extended period. It rarely scares anyone, for I mask the intensity with humor. Even when I am sustaining it, I take little breaks – at least a full day every seven or nine days, so I don’t lose perspective or become completely overbearing. Entering into it, I get astonishingly productive, effective and charismatic. The problem is that it seems to consume some part of me while I live it. The longest I have ever sustained it is for about seven months – and I was completely wiped out for months after the task was finished. Since my surgery 12 years ago, I have rarely let it go for more than a few days, occasionally a week, at a time. The pain I have on my best day since the surgery would have sent me to the emergency room before the neurological episode.

I complain too much about being inundated here. The truth is, I know I could handle it easily – and deploy people to help effectively without burdening them. All I have to do is surrender to the obsessively intense state I use when facing insurmountable odds – and then surmounting them. Shoot, I used to enjoy quietly showing off its effects, going into a project and seemingly effortlessly accomplishing in a day what most struggled for a week to get done. Now it scares me because, once I take it on, I know it will not end until the Storm is finished. It is about four times as long as I have ever sustained it and I am much weaker physically – at least as far as endurance – than I used to be. I worry about how living it fully might further cripple or disable me. It is a reasonable fear, but it is a failure of trust on my part, the very thing I exhort all of you to live well. I keep trying to kick-start it – I know how. But my fear is getting the best of me. It is what is needed to accomplish the work and help us all get through the Storm. I regard it with the same trepidation as a man determining to jump on a live hand-grenade to save those he loves. Ha ha, as the Master says, the spirit is willing (and capable), but the flesh is weak. This is what I have been prepared my whole life for; to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. I want to say, along with Holy Mary, “let it be done to me according to thy word,” but I feel more like Peter saying, “Who, me?!”

So I ask that all of you who will, add this intention of mine to your Fatima Novena, for the time is now. For you Deacons, Priests and Bishops who read this regularly, I ask you to say a Mass on my behalf. It does not need to be publicly stated…just carry my intention with you when you say the Mass. I want to fully surrender during this opening Novena to Our lady of Fatima for the year. It is time. As a notable American Admiral once said, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.”


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 Conversion, Solidarity, The Storm. Bookmark the permalink.

180 Responses to In From the Desert

  1. Barbara Dore says:

    It is a very, very beautiful monastery and I wish I can go there but I do not live in USA…alas!!!

    Monastery of Christ in the Desert – Official Site Cached
    Saint Benedict; News; Supporting Us; Contact; … Mailing List Join Our Mailing List. Search. Advanced Search. Welcome to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. Ab

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bhocutt says:

    If I can do anything to to assist you, you know I will. I see others here are also willing. I keep you in my prayers. Bye the way you are one of the toughest people I have ever met and fearless. May God continue to bless you.


  3. Jennifer says:

    This site is pure gold. There is diversity and yet a commonality. Everyone seems to have a few things in common: real conversion and deep desire for union with God. The experience of intense suffering as a purification which enables that same union and serves as a personal training ground specific to God’s will for us individually and generally as Christians. There’s a growning acceptance and understanding of our littleness and weakness as dependance on God grows. Finally, without needing to control or quantify it, a deep knowing that God is going to intervene soon causing a storm which we will all have some role in. This shared experience is a sign of hope and encouragement.


  4. Ruthie says:

    Charlie – you are such a beacon of light to all of us and we are all so very grateful. May God wrap his loving arms around you during this trying and scary time. Let go and let God and all will be well. You are in my prayers. Thank you for sharing and reminding us all that we are all human. I feel it takes a village to get through these days and we are your village – here for you. Soldiers of God and getting ready for whatever lies ahead and all so grateful for your insight and words. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kathleen from NJ says:

    Charlie – you got it. My Sunday mass prayers this weekend will be for you. FYI, I had an image come to me a couple of months ago during prayer and the image was exactly the photo you posted above with one difference. When I saw the image I felt very strongly the words ‘we are leaving the light now’ and I knew the storm was full blown. But in the image I saw there was an additional figure and it was the enemy. He appeared as a shadowdy figure. As if the person being pushed into the darkness had no choice. But we do have a choice don’t we!
    God Bless You Charlie!


  6. mezza49 says:

    God bless you Charlie. I will keep you in my daily prayers. Thank you for all that you share with us


  7. Crystal Sullivan says:

    Charlie what you are describing reminds me of how I felt when labor pains started with my second child. Suddenly, the pain from the first labor all came back. I literally said out loud, “I change my mind, I don’t want to do this again.” My husband laughed but I was NOT kidding. If I had had a choice, like you do Charlie, I do not know what I would have decided. I think back to my fear, knowing it was justified, and yet knowing the good that would come out of my yes. It might be similar in a much smaller way because labor, though it can be long and hard, is still relatively short in duration. And it was to give birth to a child. But you have the power to say yes or no and it is for all of us, strangers to you. (though I do feel that this group has become like family). Not sure who it was that said it is like your own Garden of Gethsemene. I promise my prayers. Real men are willing to accept their need for prayers from others. Thank you so much for your sacrifice on our behalf to help shepherd us through the Storm. Can’t wait to meet you on the other side!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Terry says:

    Dear Charlie,
    I added you to my novena and am sending you my favorite version of St. Teresa’s prayer:

    Let nothing disturb thee,
    Nothing affright thee.
    All things are passing,
    God never changeth.
    Whom God possesseth,
    In nothing is lacking.
    Alone God sufficeth.


  9. Donette says:

    Charlie. From this post it is obvious that you need some really big time Heavenly Hitters to help you see your way through this mission therefore for you I have given twenty minutes before the exposed Blessed Sacrament, I asked that the Sacred Heart of Jesus set you aflame with His love. I asked the Blessed Mother to take you on as one more of her champions, also, one chaplet of Divine Mercy, one rosary of Our Lady’s, and then I turned to the Angels, one of which started you into training.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim that the Lord make you worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim, to grant you the grace to leave the ways of wickedness and to run in the paths of Christian perfection.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir Thrones, that the Lord infuse into your heart a true and sincere spirit of humility.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominions that the Lord give you the grace to govern your senses and subdue your unruly passions.

    I asked for the intercession of St Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers that the Lord will protect your soul against the snares and temptations of the devil.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues that the Lord will preserve you from evil and suffer you not to fall into temptation.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities that God may fill your soul with a true spirit of obedience.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels that the Lord give you perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that you gain the glory of paradise.

    I asked for the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels and in particular, your guardian angel, that the Lord will protect you in this mortal life and conduct you hereafter to eternal glory.

    I asked St. Michael to defend you in battle, to be your protection against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. I asked humbly that God may rebuke him and permit Michael to cast him into hell and all of his minions who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of you and all of God’s children and that your mission be a success to bring about the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.




  10. Becky-TN says:

    Praying for you, Charlie!


  11. Sonya says:

    Dear Charlie, You ask for prayers, DONE. It will be a great honor to pray for you. You have cast out into the deep. I pray for the courage to swim out to you. You have so many swimming out to meet you already. The battle is upon us. Thank you Jesus, we will never swim alone.


  12. William Weeks says:

    God Bless You, and keep you strong. You are in my prayers every day. Sandra


  13. Maria says:

    I read perhaps on your website or on that of Mark Mallett that the demon of Fear is growing stronger and stronger, but with the help of God, his angels and saints, we can not only survive but triumph with God. I will offer my rosaries and Masses for a week for your encouragement and intentions.


  14. eileen1012 says:

    I offered my daily Eucharist for you, Charlie. God bless you and thanks for all your efforts.


  15. I you suffer with Him you shall reign with Him. It looks like a blood soaked trail from here but it is actually the red carpet that leads to Heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. torilen says:

    Hi Charlie,
    As usual, I’m behind on my reading here, but I want to let you know I’m increasing my prayers for you & having Mass offered for your intentions at my local Carmelite Monastery. Thank you for all that you do for us.


  17. Jane manarik says:

    Anything for my friend.


  18. ginnymancuso says:

    I’ve written and responded to you on Facebook before, but after reading about your struggle and fears, felt as though I had to write. It is humbly courageous to ask for prayer and support when you are struggling. Personally, if you, of all people, suffer when doing a great work for Our Lord, then I feel a little more comforted in my suffering. My late husband taught me to offer any suffering up to Jesus to share in His passion and our blessed Savior would use it to help others. My prayer is for your strength and fortitude. It’s in our weakness we experience God’s amazing strength and mercy! God bless you, dear Charlie!

    Liked by 2 people

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