By Charlie Johnston
As I wind down the Eastern swing of my visits and talks and prepare to head for the West Coast, I realize that this is yet another pilgrimage. In my first pilgrimage four years ago, I walked thousands of miles along dusty roads and near gurgling streams, was often visited in the night by the wild critters that populated the woods with me, went as much as a week and a half living on little more than trail mix and creek water, and enjoyed the wondrous warmth of people across this great American country. In this pilgrimage, I am much better fed, get less exercise, sleep in more comfortable settings and no critters visit me in the night (Alas!). But I am still enjoying the wondrous warmth and amazing hospitality of people throughout this great land.
I shared details of my first pilgrimage with friends and people I met along the way through the Facebook Page, Abraham’s Journey. I can’t actually take credit for that idea. Originally, I planned to go without any means of communication, but my dear friend, Judge Steve McGlynn, had been trying to persuade me to take something so I could keep in touch with family and friends. Finally, in frustration, he told me, “Charlie, I can’t just drop everything and go traipsing across the country, but this is my pilgrimage, too.” For well over a decade, this dear friend had been through thick and thin with me. I immediately recognized the truth of what he said. I spoke to one of my priests about setting up a Facebook Page. I would do the walking, but anyone who wanted to could accompany me on a virtual pilgrimage as I went. My priest was enthusiastic – and thus was born Abraham’s Journey.
The only time I ever considered ending the pilgrimage early was after the first few months. It was not because of the hardships. I bear difficulties fairly calmly. Rather, disasters seemed to stalk me, striking many towns within weeks after I had been there – devastating tornadoes, fires, floods and others. It felt creepy and made me wonder if the satan was venting his impotent rage against where I had been since he was not allowed to stop me. After much contemplation and prayer, I was not sure whether this was just a creepy coincidence or the satan was, indeed, trying to abort my pilgrimage. I concluded that these things must come – and that matters would not be helped by my choosing to be disobedient. Steady on, I decided, steady on. I did, however, use some of the abundant store of prayer I was offering to pray for every town and county I walked through and for every soul in them for the rest of my way.
In the early stages of this pilgrimage, I have been amazed and heartened by the warmth of the welcome I get almost everywhere, including from faithful men and women of real accomplishment and deep substance. I have been a bit flustered that, often, when I mention what a wonderful time I had with someone whose name is prominent, I find they get a flurry of notes, calls and emails attacking them for having “endorsed” me. I briefly considered not mentioning any prominent names at all. It was only briefly. I well know that this is your pilgrimage, too, and to withhold what is a big part of my joy would be to deprive you of it. A huge part of the purpose for this is to hearten all the faithful at a time we are under siege so that you know you are not alone, either in your own community or in the nation. I won’t give up a whit of that. I think there are three types of people who foment this agitation. The first are a few from this website who, with an excess of enthusiasm, inflate a brotherly welcome into an endorsement to cement their own hope. Then there are overly nervous friends of the prominent people I mention who are fearful when I mention the person at all it is liable to enmesh them in controversy or discredit them. Most of these mean well even as they clumsily create the very controversy they fear. Then finally – and most abundantly, I think – are those who are seduced by the satan into trying to rob this joyful journey of its fruit, the confident hope rising among the faithful throughout the country. These people have lost sight of the meaning of unity, which is not an impoverished uniformity like that imposed by worldly leftist statists, but a recognition of the heart; of a common devotion to God, to defending the faith and heartening the faithful, a willingness to endure sacrifice to proclaim that joyful message, and above all, a unity that is not buffeted by mere disagreements on the how and the when. A week ago at a small breakfast in Boston Paul Regan and I disagreed on a particular point. Regan chuckled and said it is certain that after all is said and done, he will find he has misinterpreted a few points and I will find I have, too. I chuckled with him and we continued our delightful conversation. Regan, as you may know, has traveled the world spreading the devotion to The Divine Mercy and was on the altar with St. John Paul at the canonization of St. Faustina.
I am very grateful to those prominent people who have not taken offense at me for what others say I have said, but have come here to see what I actually said. Thanks be to God, so far that has been all of them. One need not agree with all – or even most – of my supernatural claims to welcome me as a fellow worker in the vineyard. Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That is the sum of my message. All else is explanatory detail.
Most of the objections or “red flags” critics have cited have been misinterpretations of what I have said. I have often heard it said that I say the Storm cannot be mitigated. To the contrary, I have said its duration has already been substantially mitigated and its effects can be mitigated even more with prayer, fasting, penance and reparation out of love for bleeding mankind. This misinterpretation has come because I say, truthfully, that we cannot now be renewed without the instrument of the Storm – which is a different thing. I am thankful I spent so long in media and politics, for every day now I see myself badly misquoted on basic things. If I were not already long accustomed to that, I might be easily distracted into taking on the full-time job of trying to correct every misquote and misinterpretation I see. What I say I say in print or on video. People of good will can look it up if they are so inclined. If any are eager to defame without checking or, God forbid, intentionally, they will be held to account for that, not me.
Then I make mistakes in judgment. I have said that there will be 26 million physical casualties as a result of the Storm. I have been misquoted abundantly on that – and then in an errant moment on the Birmingham Video (thinking of an exchange earlier in the day) I quoted an incorrect number I was annoyed at having heard. My original intention in stating publicly such casualties was not to provide raw and nearly useless detail, but to emphasize how small the number is considering the comprehensive conflagration we have entered. Citing a specific number is a clumsy, ineffective way of doing that. Even in past regional conflagrations, estimates of casualties vary widely AFTER it is over, depending on how such statistics are counted. A better way of making my point is to note that, though this is a comprehensive global struggle, physical casualties will only be about a third of what they were in World War II. This both emphasizes how small that number is while avoiding leading anyone down the rabbit hole of parsing numbers. I chose clumsily how to convey it. I will do better.
Then there is what is a red flag for nearly everyone who is serious: that I specifically cite very late in 2017 for the Rescue. Such specific predictions as to time are almost always errant: making them is always a red flag to reasonable people. I well know this. Most of my life, I have had to learn how to interpret to make estimates. Heavenly visitors are big on “soon” and “now” and short on giving specifics. In private dealings with my priests over the decades, I have usually been off on times, sometimes by as much as three years. I know how dangerous this is. Yet I was specifically ordered to give this time frame by my angel. There was nothing to interpret. He told me to say this, say it publicly, and say it frequently. I didn’t like it, particularly given my experience. But I have always been obedient, even if often grudgingly so. It terrifies me. I would not be as disappointed as people think if somehow the Storm passed over. In my mind, I see it partly as a great battle where I am likely to be seriously and permanently wounded. I can live with the embarrassment if I did not have to endure that – though now I desperately do not want to see us continue the drift into despotism and despair that seems the only other option to the fullness of the Storm. But every time I say that time-frame in obedience to what I was ordered, a rill of cold, tight fear passes through me. I fear the despair that would arise on December 31, 2017, if we were still enmeshed in a desperate struggle – and my culpability for that despair. But I have been ordered several times, and so I obey.
Just before I embarked on this new pilgrimage, I read a story that fired an idea in my mind as to why I am told to give such a specific time-frame. The story was about shipwrecks near shore in a blinding storm. In such a shipwreck, most who drown do so within easy reach of the shore. Because of the fury of the storm, they can’t see the shore and lose hope, giving up. It ignited a great notion in my mind. I think I am ordered to give that specific time-frame because the Storm will be so furious near its end that many will have lost hope. Since we won’t be able to see the shore of peace, I think it pleases God to direct me to tell you this so that you know in the most furiously tempestuous moments, that the shore is very close, to give you hope to hold on just a little longer. It is a merciful grace, I think.
So the pilgrimage will continue. I will share all the joys I encounter along the way. In the end, it is not my pilgrimage. It is ours.