By Charlie Johnston
It has been a rough week for the world. War intensifies in Syria and the Middle East. American pretentions and posturing are blown up by Russia. Hurricanes threatened the coastal areas where the Holy Father has just been. A young man murdered fellow students at an Oregon College, especially targeting Christians. The economy keeps misfiring like a car down to one or two cylinders, even as it keeps chugging along. As prelude to all this, the gloomy forecasts by the former Locutions to the World (LttW) site failed spectacularly.
It is time to get serious, friends.
When LttW imploded, I thought the Lord was giving many the chance to see what I had been taught mostly privately over decades. There is no shame in being deceived – particularly if the deceiver is likely sincere but errant rather than malicious. There IS shame in not stepping back and learning from the error rather than just continuing on the same path that led you to be deceived in the first place. LttW was perfect for this lesson. Though I may be wrong, I saw no intent to deceive – just someone who was deceived promulgating messages to people eager to hear them. This gave those outside the inner circle of the failed locutionist an opportunity to be both magnanimous and learn to adjust their own expectations so as to discern better.
Always, I objected to the tone the locutionist assigned to Mary. Our Lady never speaks in a bitter, hectoring tone. I do…people I know do. We little folks here have a hard time avoiding that entirely. But Our Lady is full of grace. She wants all her children home again – and she wants those of us who honor her to help her bring those children back to her Holy Son – not merely to denounce those children. Lesson: If a locutionist reports that Our Lady speaks in bitter, hectoring tones of denunciation, it is not Our Lady speaking.
It particularly irked me that at LttW Our Lady and Our Lord were constantly reduced to the role of play-by-play announcer and color commentator at a sporting event. I have said repeatedly that it is not God’s will that we know all the details of what is happening or will happen or focus on them. Rather, it is His will that we hold fast to Him and help His children do the same, that all might be rescued. Lesson: It is not God’s will that you occupy yourself trying to figure out exactly what is going to happen and when. That does not avail. Rather, He intends that you learn how to act according to His Will whatever happens.
Astonishingly, some people continued, after the deception was revealed, to relentlessly try to explain why that square peg really did fit in that round hole. Don’t you know that God allowed this both so the locutionist would learn and repent – and so that many would see how deeply flawed their own expectations are? If you continue with the same expectations, you will get the same results. Judge righteous judgment. Some, disappointed in LttW, are already restlessly trying to find a replacement to give them the regular play-by-play and color commentary, instead of examining their own flawed expectations. I have heard from several this week, hoping I will pick up the mantle of error so they can get their weekly fix, asking me about Russia, the hurricanes, and the Oregon shootings.
I don’t shrink from current events, but when I contemplate them, I look for signs of how they play into the larger sweep of things rather than just wallowing in the details. Start with the sure knowledge that God is not willing a wreck to occur: we have done that ourselves. Rather, God is mounting a rescue. From that perspective, you might ask yourself how some events contribute to Rescue. Let’s take a look at the three events I mentioned from this last week from that perspective.
- Russia goes all in with the Middle East: Since the adoption of American “smart” diplomacy (which I call notso), the Middle East has degenerated into a violently boiling cauldron of murderous mayhem that has already spread to parts of Africa, Asia and Europe – and is threatening to spread further. At its best, America has always played good cop. With the good cop’s withdrawal from the field, the traditional bad cop (Russia) has stepped into the fray. It does not shock me that Russia has behaved as it always has. Knowing that, in the end, Russia and America will be steadfast allies in resisting an ultimate evil, I am grateful that Russia is acting to re-establish some order and contain the chaos that is bubbling up from the Middle East. Yes, I wish Russia had taken a different side – but that is the good cop’s role and the good cop has abdicated its responsibility. But by the very act of jumping in with both feet, Russia has established its presence. ISIS and the other bad actors know that Russia is not going to be rolled or played for fools, nor fail to attack them if they get provocative. That makes it less likely that the chaos will continue to spread – and more likely that if any try, it will be ruthlessly knocked back down. Russia is not the storekeeper I would prefer, but I am glad someone is minding the store again instead of just mumbling empty platitudes. It means less destruction before the time of Rescue.
- Hurricanes trail the Pope’s visit to the U.S: I wrote last week that I suspected the blunder I had been shown the Pope would make was simply to emphasize the political rather than the spiritual – to concentrate on trivia while the faith and faithful were under siege throughout the world. The hurricanes that threatened each city where he had been suggest to me that I interpreted that properly – and that Pope Francis’ prelude to greatness is over. Now he enters into his greatness. I know that the satan, in his impotent rage, loves to attack people and places around what he is forbidden to touch. His impotent rage in the aftermath of the Pope’s visit here suggests to me something major happened here, a great transition, that does great damage to the satan’s efforts to destroy souls. I frequently say that, though the errors we make won’t get us where we need to go, we should not disdain them – for often God has something in those wrong steps that will be useful for us in taking the right steps later. The Pope’s political emphases of the last year emboldened those who are enemies of the faith within the Church to reveal themselves. Bishop Cauchon used his spiritual authority to wrongfully and maliciously condemn St. Joan of Arc to curry favor with English secular authorities 600 years ago. He has some spiritual heirs in the Vatican and the world. They now stand revealed to this Holy Pope – who they thought would be their champion but will, instead, be their nemesis.
- The murderous targeting of Christians in Oregon: It was hideous. When officials and the media routinely treat Christians with hateful contempt, it is only a matter of time before they are targeted by the unbalanced. But what most struck me was something else. I hear all the time about how lost people of the younger generation are today. But all the people who were murdered for their faith were in their teens or 20’s. Perhaps the first did not know what would happen when he confirmed he was a Christian, but the second had to have a pretty good idea. After that, there could be no doubt. Yet each of these young people, knowing that to affirm their faith in Christ would mean a bullet to the head, confirmed their faith anyway. I would not be surprised to find that some of these who died had not been sure before that. When the time came to make their stand, they did. I have sometimes told people that regardless of how things look right now, the young generation of today will become the true greatest generation. And I have prayed to these martyrs that when it is time to make my stand, I live fidelity to Him who is Lord of all as they did.
I do not much worry about the progressive anti-Christian statists who currently hold transient power. Events are discrediting them by the day and their power is waning. I have always known that when upheaval comes, they will be swept away like so much flotsam and jetsam. It was a productive vein for the satan to mine, but it is already played out. His last gambit is to convince some of the faithful to mutiny against the Church or, failing that, to seduce some to occupy themselves trying to know His mind rather than do His will. I was grateful to see that Padraig Caughey, who runs the marvelous Mother of God Forum out of Ireland, and Glenn Dallaire, who runs the Mystics of the Church website, covered the controversy over the LttW failure. I was even gladder to see that both of them have forbidden debate on whether Pope Francis is legitimate and have closed off further commenters from trying to tortuously square the circle of the LttW failure. For any of us who now run religious sites with wide audiences that take comments, it becomes important to make people aware of such controversies without allowing your site to be hijacked by those who would try to lead people into the shoals.
I sympathize with those who are drawn to look with fascination on the wreckage developing around us. There was a time when I bitterly and constantly complained that my life had been a torture, forced to watch an oncoming train wreck in slow motion without being able to stop it. But God did have a plan. He did not lead us to the wreck. We have done this to ourselves with our reckless hubris. It is He who mounts the Rescue – and those who would serve Him are called to gather the ambulances.
So I tell you, God is not calling you to be spectators to the crash. He calls you to be participants in the Rescue.
Grab a helmet and get into the game.