Live It Redux

Mom Missy with daughters Maggie (left) and Katie - from Dallas

Mom Missy with daughters Maggie (left) and Katie – from Dallas

(Well, while Dallas was my least favorite city in my first pilgrimage, it was one of my favorites in this one. My coordinator, Ellen Lopez, says it is because this time I understood it properly to be Dallas-Ft. Worth. Could be, though I stayed at a hotel in Arlington. What wonderful people here! A very faithful community. It didn’t hurt that one of the families, Missy and Tim, had two delightful little girls. Little Maggie, the younger one with the big smile, thought my silly songs were the funniest things ever. She is my new little buddy. I was the oldest of six children and was a single Dad…I love the life and laughter of lively children. Their simple joy in living absolutely energizes me and fills me with joy. Didn’t hurt that Missy is a fabulous cook, either!

Last December it took me a few weeks to adjust to a new phase of things – the time when oppression of Christians in the west and serious persecution everywhere else would deepen dramatically and when divisions in families and among friends would flare up with great intensity. It was in response to that that I decided to do this extensive tour of visits throughout the country – to hearten the faithful and to raise up troops committed to taking the next right step and being a sign of hope under God’s guidance. Now we are entering yet another phase. Once again, I am considering how to address it effectively. I will have things to say in the nest week or so, what must come and how to address it, to be living signs of hope.

No private revelation at all is needed to describe the early stages of the Storm, nor even how it will advance. The tattering of the global economy, the rise of war, the seeming loss of the culture is commented on by the most sober public intellectuals and former economic, military and intelligence officials in America and Europe. I still talk to some of my old friends in public life – and most are far more terrified than they let on in public. No private revelation is needed at all to see the divisions rising in the faith and in the Church. As dark as the skies are, they are going to get much darker. But that is not what I am sent to tell you. What I know is that within scarcely two years the culture of life will be vibrantly dominant throughout the world, the faithful will be one again under one shepherd and the apostates of both the left and the right will have repented or perished. This is not a guess. The Lord has work for you and it is time to get to it.

Though this piece is less than two months old, it is a transitional piece, leading into the moment of the “here I am” phase of events. Read it and contemplate. I will have more to say soon.

Live It


By Charlie Johnston

It is striking to me that many of those who should worry least about the Storm worry the most while most of those who don’t worry at all have a lot to worry about.

Imagine you have outfitted a canoe to navigate through a chain of lakes and streams. It is best to lay out a plan on how to steer through the various streams and what direction to take in order to reach your desired destination, for you are in control…you are driving, as it were. That is normal life. Now imagine that same canoe at the beginning of a great series of rapids you are not familiar with. The first thing to understand is that you are not driving, but being driven. In this case, having a plan on where to steer and what direction to take will likely cause you to capsize – for you do not know what turns and dangers are coming or when they will appear. Instead, you are called to react quickly and skillfully to whatever turns and obstacles arise as they arise. Survival depends on how well you respond to challenges in the present moment.

Right now we are in the early stages of an intensifying series of spiritual rapids. I get a host of letters and comments these days telling me, with great grief, that no matter how someone plans something, it is not coming out right…or about deepening divisions in families…or in shock at the latest outrage perpetrated by the ruling and chattering classes. As St. Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal, which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”-I Peter 4:12,13. I have told you that these things must come – and so they have begun. I have told you that your only source of security is to abandon yourself to God, then do what is right in front of you, trusting that He will ultimately bring all things to right. Yet some have used what I have said to devise their own plans to avoid the consequences of all this – and now are frightened that their plans are not working out. If you are in that place, be thankful it is happening to you now, for it is simply God gently relieving you of the illusion that you can rely on your efforts rather than His Grace. Do not think I am chiding you: I had decades to learn this. As I have occasionally said, I hope you are all quicker learners than I was, for events have reached a pass where you must be. But if you have such sorrows now, be thankful that you are close enough to what you should be that God finds it profitable to reprove you and bring you along to a real trust. Save your sorrow for those who have no idea there is anything to be sorrowful about, for by the time many of them learn, it will be too late for them to correct their course without a heroic effort.

Are there painful divisions in your family and among your friends? There are the same in mine – and in almost every family I know. And those divisions have ratcheted up dramatically this year. But I told you late last year that they would. You will not convince anyone by becoming more manically insistent on what you believe. Rather you must imitate the farmer.

Consider the farmer: he plants a seed, then must wait up to a week for a sprout to appear. It is a month before a real plant takes shape – and even longer than that for fruit to appear. He conjures neither the plant nor the fruit, but merely waters the ground – and in due time, God raises up a plant which bears fruit. When you speak with confident joy about what you believe, you plant a seed. Once you have done that, simply live what you say you believe with the same joy. When you do that, you water the ground. But to continue to try to push on the unwilling what you believe is to constantly root around where you planted, disturbing the ground and perhaps choking the tender plant before it can take firm root. The farmer must trust God for the increase after he has planted the seed. So must you. Every day that you spend arguing the faith instead of living it with confident joy after you have planted the seed, you are actually withholding water from that tender plant even as you dig around its roots. Stop trying to frantically conjure fruit and trust God for the increase.

I will tell you now something that may seem like a boast, but if it is, it is a boast on the sure confidence we can place in the Lord’s providence. Only once in my life have I ever encouraged someone to become Catholic or Christian. I just don’t do that. My friends and family know what I am and how I live. I meet people where they are and, if they are of good will, share ordinary joys and conversation with them. All know what I believe in, but we are more likely to talk about sports, politics, movies or whatever than God at any given moment. (If you truly believe in God, all good things you discuss are ultimately about God, whether you name Him or not). Even before I went public with these things, when God was mentioned it was brought up far more often by my friends – even those who do not believe – than by me. This was simply because all people knew they could talk to me and get a conversation or an explanation without a harangue to go with it. I truly believes God reads hearts – and if there is good will there, He will bring it to fullness in His time. My task is to encourage the good will that is already there, not to stifle it by haranguing my friends. Even so, there are dozens – at least a hundred I know of from before I ever spoke openly of this – who cheerfully and spontaneously credit me with a major role in their conversion. Why? Because however peculiar I might have seemed at any time, I always lived what I spoke with cheery confidence. I meant it, not just spoke it…and many wanted some of that cheery confidence for themselves. Long faces and strident arguments make for meager evangelization.

So it is all the more critical that as things get darker, you live your joyful confidence visibly and lightly. If you speak of joy but your countenance is ever clouded with worry or panic, your life gives the lie to your words. Live it. That is the witness that transforms lives. When you feel it, live it. When you don’t feel it, live it. When you are exuberant, live it. When you are exhausted, live it. If I had a dime for every convert who told me that my consistent easy confidence drew them into the faith, I would not be rich – but I would have a LOT of dimes. Live it.

Your friends hear what you say, but they also see your face. In the midst of the Storm, while Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on the water, too. When he was distracted by the terrors of the storm, he began to sink. Your friends see your face and know whether you have confidence in the Jesus you speak of, or whether you have been panicked by the storm around you. If it is the latter, know that however polite they might be to you, they have already decided the peace they seek is not here. Live it – and you will be a true evangelist. In these times, every time you give way to panic or stridency, you dishearten those you are called to evangelize. Your serene and joyful confidence IS the lifeline for multitudes around you.

I know this is hard. Even now, I often say to the Lord, along with the father of the troubled son, “I do believe. Help my unbelief.”Mark 9:24.

Love those around you and live it always.

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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48 Responses to Live It Redux

  1. Becky-TN says:

    I’ll try, Charlie. I promise.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SanSan says:

    Trying here too. Especially, hard after hearing the Pope’s big plans for conversion of the Papacy and decentralizing things in the Curia
    . Jesus I Trust in You.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Peggy C says:

    This is just what I needed to read tonight. Thanks, Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. audiemarie2014 says:

    As always, perfect timing! 😉 Thank you, Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. gdallaire1 says:

    Well, since Charlie is taking a break in between posts, for those interested I thought I might post here a collection of statements collected from this blog that I personally have found to be inspirational and edifying:

    On the Storm that is soon coming for humanity:
    -“God has a plan to carry us to safety and He is ALWAYS close at hand to YOU. God will never leave us bereft.”
    -“Be not afraid. God calls all men to salvation”.
    -“God is not punishing us through the means of the Storm. We have brought it upon ourselves. But God has a plan for us and for our reclamation.”
    -“I have told you before and I emphasize it now: devote yourself during the period of early chaos to caring for those around you. It is obviously good for them, but it will also keep you from obsessing over what is gone. Do that enough days, just doing what the day holds for you, and hope will emerge from the ashes.”

    On suffering:
    -“We do not get heaven until we actually get heaven.”
    -“In God’s economy nothing is ever wasted, and we are never left bereft.”

    On living our faith:
    -“If you want to interact with Christ, for it to be fully fruitful, He insists you stretch out your hand in faith.”
    -“Gird your loins, acknowledge God, take the next right step, be a sign of hope to those around you, and be deliberate and steady, knowing that God is always close at hand.”

    Glenn Dallaire

    Liked by 11 people

    • Lisa V says:

      Thank you for your kindness in writing these reminders. I am new to all of this with Charlie and all the small posts of loving help are so welcomed,


  6. Mary says:

    Hello Charlie and Helpers
    I just want to share with you what happened to me many years ago when my world was ‘falling apart’. Into my head came the words ‘If you keep your eyes on Me you’ll be all right’. I immediately thought of St Peter sinking into the water because he took his eyes off the Lord. And He did see to it that we were all right – not that it was easy or comfortable, but we got there. So I think keeping our eyes on Him ensures we are talking to Him, relying on Him and trusting Him to see us through our difficulties. No it won’t be easy, but life wasn’t easy for Him or Our Lady either. Thank you for all your encouragement and guidance.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Mary Anne says:

    The Lord has shown me today that I have been acknowledging Him and being a sign of hope to those around me. However (!) … I have been failing at taking the next right step. I’m sharing this so others can examine their ways. I go to Mass every day but Sats., pray my rosary (rosaries) every day, chaplet(s) of Divine Mercy every day, contemplate the Divine Will for me every day, contemplate the King in the depths of my spirit always…”always!”. All Mary, no Martha! And…failing to take the next right step. You see, when I go step into the world, it’s much different out there than the beauty and peacefulness of the interior world. My confessor spoke of fear! Me? Yes. Me. Fear to leave the beauty of the Lord for the ugliness of the world. The sin, the distractions, the noise, the hate. Getting my hands dirty for the Lord. He said, “You will fall down out there, but you must go out. Get up and keep going”, he said. The Lord needs you out there. And so I go…obediently. Taking the next right step. Souls are depending on you to take the steps too. My email signature has been this for some time now…”I AM NOT AFRAID! I WAS BORN FOR THIS!” (St. Joan of Arc) And now I go out!

    Liked by 8 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Mary Anne, my comfort zone is in very close proximity to all things/people familiar to me. Last week, my confessor explained that God is in all people and told me to GO OUT and live the Golden Rule in love and service to Him through them in more or less words. I will pray that we take a leap of faith and expand our horizons with the guidance of The Holy Spirit, Our Blessed Mother’s Grace, and our heavenly escorts intercessions.

      Liked by 7 people

      • JoyInTheLord says:

        In our prayer group meeting tonight, one of those present said that the Gospel must be read (head), must be felt (heart) and must be lived (go out and be a witness).

        Liked by 3 people

      • Doug says:

        St. Catherine of Sienna created what was referred to as a “cell in her mind” Where her father was Jesus, her mother was the blessed Mother and all her siblings were the apostles. Just think how we would treat people if we could imagine this in everyone we meet. TDL…….

        Liked by 2 people

  8. MarieUrsula says:

    Thank you for re-posting this, Charlie, and for your introductory comments. Your words become more and more relevant as events move along. I might have mentioned in an earlier post that I discovered The Next Right Step in mid-August 2015. I had been deeply troubled by the downward spirals in America and in the world, and I have prayed about them regularly and written about them occasionally. Your information and mission ring true. I have been telling friends whom I think will be receptive, and I have broadly referenced The Next Right Step in written correspondence and social media ~ without getting into lengthy specifics, since many of my friends are not believers. Since mid-August, my interior state has been surprisingly calm rather than disturbed. Thank you, Charlie and sub-sherpas.

    You-all might be interested in the blog I wrote just today about the martyrs in Roseburg, Oregon. I am an Oregonian, and I have been staying alert to the role we might play in God’s plan.

    Keeping you-all in my heart-prayers.

    Liked by 5 people

    • When someone comes to distressed about something and says “What should I do?” I now catch myself answering “What’s the next right step…say in the next hour?” They usually answer “In the next hour? Well, pray, I guess…” And I say “Good. Now you have a plan of action to begin to solve the immediate problem.” Oh, by the way, can you guys remember to tell me the same thing the next time I panic?

      Liked by 5 people

  9. DanSouthChicago says:

    Thank you, Charlie. God bless.


  10. Little one says:

    I am so grateful for being led to this sight by Spirit Daily and Mystics
    Of the Church. This site has answered so many questions that I asked God for direction.
    As others have also commented it rings true. I have been alerting people in my circle of influence but sometimes I wonder if I come across as a bit crazy.i would hate to lead anyone astray. I live in Elizabethtown Pa and I was wondering if there are any other folks on this site from Lancaster County. I’d love to know of refuge places and whether my home should be one. I need to know how to respond when true darkness descends. I also struggle wit a sister who is a seegist and one who is so progressive it’s hard to call her Catholic. I appreciate input and direction. God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lily says:

    My dear Charlie!
    What a piece you sent out!! This was so perfect to read. Just what I needed at this time
    I agree with you and I’m so happy of the way you present all this. The trials are difficult but I keep asking for joy. I was just saying to Our Lord that how can I stay at peace and remain joyful throughout the storm? Then I realized that it’s all grace given to us all grace!! Dependency on Him and our Mother alone

    Thanks again for your genuiness

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sister Marie Ursula, What a beautiful blog and what a beautiful reflection on the Martyrs of Oregon–Roses & Sunshine, indeed! I had not realized that the martyrdom occurred on the feast of the Little Flower. What a grace…. Charlie, thanks and blessings for all you do for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dottie Madigan says:

    This was an amazing post! Unfortunately, it seems I must continue to learn this lesson. When reading your post, I thought of Pope Francis! It seems he has learned the lesson well.


  14. johnmcfarm says:

    God bless you Charlie and all here. May we each do His bidding at our time of trial. May we each have the courage to say “I am a Chtistian”!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Carol Kelley says:

    Thank you Charlie for your words of encouragement and to all commentors. Praying for all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Doug says:

    Thank you Charlie. I am grateful for your posts.


  17. Katherine says:

    I just wanted to share . . . meditated on the mysteries of the Rosary last night from the perspective of those involved and what they knew about prophecy. I thought about Saint Joseph. Poor guy, he knew all the messianic prophecies, he knew exactly who Mary was. It terrified him at first, the responsibility. He might have had an angel nudge him in the right direction when he needed it most, but he wasn’t given a detailed road map telling him exactly how to fulfill his role. I think about that day at the temple when he “lost” Jesus, I wonder if he thought for a moment . . . “Whoa . . . almost really messed up there!!! I should really communicate with Mary better. How DO you raise a messiah? Should we send Him to the temple? He said He must be in His Father’s house. Or should we keep Him home? Should I even teach Him to be a carpenter? . . . Hey wait, He just said He was God. Should I worship Him? When will His time come?” Joseph just did what was right in front of him day after day, making decisions on topics such as these and trusting God to correct his mistakes. And then Jesus’ time came when He was 30. Imagine the patience and serenity of Mary, waiting until He was 30. 30!!! Any lesser person would have wondered about when Jesus was going to go ahead and get started with fulfilling His messianic mission. There is lots to think about in each mystery, but I think it helps to think about how these great people plodded along, each day doing what was right, trusting in God with patience and serenity to make sense of it all, making little daily decisions . . .and it amounted to great things in the end. I thought I’d share my meditation with you guys in case there was any merit in it for you guys. I realized that the comment section here isn’t for comments on Charlie’s articles alone, but also for people who just want to say something they think might be helpful to another . . . and not be embarrassed in any way. How nice.

    Liked by 9 people

  18. Laif W. says:

    Hi Charlie, I am sticking to the barque of Peter, but after reading some of the words in this piece off of spiritdaily I don’t get a fuzzy feeling from the words of the Pope when he uses “decentralization of authority “. Could this be part of a major blunder on his part that you were talking about?. It seems to coincide with the Mark Marett’s latest piece. God be with you always,


    • charliej373 says:

      No, it is not. The Pope has already entered into what will be remembered as the period of his greatness. The blunder was emphasizing the merely temporal at the expense of the spiritual – and that is almost entirely finished. When you read these things, do not read them from the perspective of hostile intent. Looking for the flaw is a legitimate approach to analysis when confronting an opponent. When dealing with a friend and ally, it is usually best to approach analysis from the perspective of innocent construction, that is, the most benign reasonable interpretation possible. On this, the most innocent construction has the Pope enacting the principles of subsidiarity, as discussed by St. John Paul the great, in the Church, itself. It would treat the Church as a family, with the laity playing a role instead of merely being spectators and supplicants along with enhanced pastoral discussions in local synods, while reserving to the Papacy the definitive interpretation of doctrine.

      Liked by 5 people

      • LJD says:

        I was actually very encouraged by the article and the pope’s words! Having a strong love and admiration for the Orthodox and eastern churches, I see the pope moving in that direction. It is the direction I see the church originally had with regard to episciposies that still holds in the east. This I see going a LONG way to reunifying the church! I have no doubt the east will see these very words as a big deal and sign of Francis’ burning desire to reunify…a desire I feel placed there by the Holy Spirit. I know it strikes fear to the conservative Catholics in the west, who view the church in more of a pyramid structure. I don’t think people need to fear this as God knows what He is doing and as a man who is in awe of eastern spirituality and liturgy, I couldn’t be happier! Of course, that’s just my two cents 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kathleen from NJ says:

          Hi – after read the article on decentralization on Spirit Daily I have to agree with you LJD. If you look at what the Pope is saying strictly in business terms, you would see that he is only speaking of making the church Flat rather than a verticle/ top down heirarchy. And spiritually speaking this would promote the involvement of the laity.

          This goes hand and hand with Charlie’s article about the sick and infirm.

          Ecclesiastes 4:9-10New International Version (NIV)
          9 Two are better than one,
          because they have a good return for their labor:
          10 If either of them falls down,
          one can help the other up.
          But pity anyone who falls
          and has no one to help them up.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Tarja says:

          I could not agree more !!!!🙂


      • Laif W. says:

        Thank You Charlie,
        I am so glad we have voices like yourself to help see clearly things that so easily can be misinterpreted on the surface without looking deeper into the true meanings of our catholic traditions. God be with you Charlie!

        Liked by 1 person

      • LJD says:

        …and hi Charlie! I haven’t commented in months, but I am still an avid reader and follower here. Glad you are doing well my friend! I have had confirmations in my own journey that you have spoken true and sparked my own flame to walk in courage. I still hope you are wrong though with what you told me about my Batman vs Superman movie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • JoyInTheLord says:

        The last sentence is just beautiful. After all, everyone is part of the Body of CHRiST: clergy and laity, with CHRiST the Head (the interpreting office).

        Thank you, Charlie, for this post.

        Liked by 2 people

      • janet333 says:

        May I ask about the ‘times’ after the storm? Were you shown many things or just told the truth that we will all love God and neighbour..and nothing more? Sometimes I need to have something to hold onto, especially when I know we are entering a storm of massive proportions.

        Thank you and God Bless.

        Liked by 1 person

        • charliej373 says:

          It will be an extended period of peace, prosperity and true Christian brotherhood. That is all I need to know, as my work is done then except for raising support for the Shrine. Details will not help anyone here…only developing iron trust will.

          Liked by 2 people

  19. Mary-Louise says:

    I suppose I am taking my eyes off the prize when I ask this, but if you could say more about your friends in public life who are more upset than they will let on publicly, I’d appreciate it. I have family members who have been DC insiders (SES level) for many years. I want to talk to them about the Storm. They are cultural Catholics only. But I would send them something about how others in the political world (not asking for names) think, that might be a way to move onto the Storm Warnings you are posting.


    • charliej373 says:

      No, your desire to give credible witness to those you love is fine. But they will not believe until they see for themselves that their hope in human institutions only has already failed. And in any case, I am completely discrete about those I talk with.


  20. Ann says:

    This post is one that had stuck with me during work, etc. Navigating the rapids is a great visual as to trust. Just a confirmation on the importance of the message.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. LukeMichael says:

    God forgive me, a sinner, but God help me a believer! I love all of you who live and pray for his will to be done! Jesus, I trust in You!

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Linda says:

    It has been said of Mary, by whom I do not recall, that “she did what her hands found to do.” These words have served me well for many years. Now it is being called “the next right step.” Still serving me well. Thank you, Charlie.


  23. Robert Cunningham says:

    Keep up the good work Charlie. Your voice is needed in these days and has produced good fruit. In fact,it seems to me that you bring some common sense to the mystical. At least that is my take.

    By the way, thanks for coming to Dallas


  24. Pam Nicholson says:

    Charlie, this is a very good piece. Thanks yet again. pam, from NJ.


  25. Kathleen Vacheresse says:

    Know that all here and family and loved ones are in our prayers each day as we go deeper into the STORM and watch the Holy Spirit and Our Lady guide us each moment frist prayer then action. In Christ forever Kathleen

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Kim Devers says:

    I just wanted to write and let you know that since I’ve started referring to difficult situations as “life’s storms” or as a “storm we went through”, my perspective has changed. I thank you for the cue to be able to better relay to others (and evangelize sometimes) by speaking of “life’s storms” rather than get into sad, depressing, ugly or curiosity-provoking details. It has really helped me to put terrible times, both from the past and the future, in perspective. Since reading your posts, I haven’t had terrifying dreams of tornadoes coming toward our family (something I had experienced since early childhood). After reflecting on this, I realize that maybe those dreams have dissipated because there is a sense of hope in my soul now. Pray for our family, as we fortify our efforts against THE STORM for the Kingdom of God. Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

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