For the Sick and Infirm

(My final public presentation of this tour of visits, will be on Sunday, October 25, at 1 p.m. at Ramkota Hotel, 1400 8th Ave. N.W. Aberdeen, South Dakota. Hope to see you there)

jesus-christ-heals-the-sick

By Charlie Johnston

In 1995, I received my most consequential visitation on December 7, the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since then, I frequently receive important, formal messages during my Novena at that time. Interestingly, if something has troubled me and I am expecting something, usually all I get is silence. When I just let go and take the next right step, the Spirit blows as It will.

In 2002 I had one of the most peculiar and puzzling episodes ever. My cat, Simba, had gotten fleas sometime in October. We had several months of frustration as every normal method seemed to make things worse. I got a flea collar. Things got worse. That collar, rather than killing the fleas, seemed to become some sort of flea nightclub. I used flea powder in conjunction with the collar. Much worse. I did some flea baths. The whole house became infested. When we would walk, fleas would jump before us from the carpet. It was like walking in a field infested with tiny grasshoppers, flying all over the place. All but one of my son’s friends quit coming over – and that friend said we really had to DO SOMETHING.

I have always been a believer in using the natural means God has provided for us when they are available. I think it more an act of hubris than of faith to demand only His supernatural means – that whether we are healed by his natural or supernatural means, we are to give thanks to God for the healing. This was a sensitive area for me, for when we were younger, my Mom would often try to pray the fleas off our animals – with little effect. The animals would suffer. My brother, Jerry, took to sneaking flea powder to them to give them relief. I once challenged him on it and, with a hearty grin, he said he was just doing it in answer to Mom’s prayers. All of us slyly turned a blind eye to Jerry’s tender ministrations.

But in this instance, I had a sense the Lord was trying to demonstrate something to me. So as I prepared for my annual Novena to the Immaculate Conception, I told the Lord I was at my wits’ end. I said He knew I never demanded His supernatural power, but that for the duration of the Novena, I was going to rid the house of all remedies and discard the cat’s flea collar. If things stayed as they were, I would go back to the normal means after the Novena, but if He wanted to show me something, I was listening. By the third day, the fleas were entirely gone – not just from the cat, but from the house as well. Gone. The friend who had so emphatically told us we had to do something came over and marveled that we had so quickly and completely gotten rid of them. He asked what treatment we had used. My son grinned and said I had a very special treatment of my own for the problem. The friend enthused that I should market it, because it was the best he had ever seen. My son laughed and said it probably wouldn’t work for everyone.

When the Novena ended, Our Lord appeared to me. In what I thought was His only corny pun ever, He said, concerning the satan, “He is not lord of the flies: he is only lord of the fleas – and he flees before me.”

After that, the cat never had any flea treatment again – and never had fleas again. Once, walking in some dusty scrub out back, we saw fleas (who had once treated him as a flea nightclub) jumping away en masse at his approach as if he was their destructor.

I hear frequently from people who are chronically ill, disabled, infirm, or have family members who suffer, worried about what they will do, how they will weather the Storm. I understand and sympathize with the fears. We all fear the unknown…and for most of us, different is usually interpreted to mean “worse,” until it proves otherwise. It is particularly fearful for those who are already most vulnerable. I have been reticent to speak other than obliquely about this, as the death rate for humankind ever has been and ever will remain 100%. Every man has an appointed time to die, hopefully to be born to heaven. I couldn’t say which souls the Lord intends to deploy to bear the trials of the Storm here in the Church Militant and which souls He intends to deploy to support us from the Church Triumphant. That is for God to determine and is a mystery to us. I am loathe for people to think there is some secret temporal cure-all, for fear that they might get focused on mere transient things that are passing away even if they are delayed for a time. For each of us, the important things are to abandon ourselves to God, to live well in the time He has appointed, and to die well when our time is come. Each of these things makes us a sign of hope. My Mother’s death three and a half years ago was a profound avenue of conversion and deepened faith for most who were with her in those last weeks. But as intensely as I and others prayed she be spared for this life, the answer was no. I would that she were still here – but not at the cost of losing the tender, gentle support she gives me from above during these trying times now when I so often and so badly need it. You could not have convinced me three and a half years ago that I would feel that way now.

If I have only spoken of it obliquely until now, I have spoken of it – and in ways that you could see more clearly with contemplation that trusted in God rather than is wracked by fear. My purpose in acting this way is to gently pull you to keep your eyes on Jesus rather than the violent winds and waves around you. If I merely convince you that the violent wave you fear will not harm you, I have accomplished nothing: for even when it proves true, there are a multitude of other violent waves headed in our direction. We must know that Jesus is Master of the Storm, then keep our eyes on Him as we do the little we can. Once we do that, the waves around us become irrelevant to our duty to our God and our trust in His providence. Usually, when I don’t answer a question directly, it is because the answer would do you little lasting good. I am trying to re-direct your focus to what will. I understand the frustration of many who complain that I don’t answer their question directly. My frustration is that some keep asking me for a fish as they ignore my efforts to show them how to fish. It is the way I was taught, so I understand…but after my visitors let me sweat long enough, they usually would show me more plainly. But each time they did, it was clear to me that they expected me to look deeper and see the true principle underlying my transient questions…so that I would understand better, to change my focus. Now, I will speak more plainly to you about this matter.

  • God gives physical healing to whom He will, according to criteria that are beyond me. It has little to do with perceived merit, but for purposes that are known but to God. I have seen many amazing healings – some to unbelievers who were healed instantly after being prayed over by a believer who loved them dearly. I have seen others of great piety who lingered and died, despite all the prayers of their friends. I have sometimes seen a really holy death (as in the case of my Mother) gain more to the faith than a miraculous healing would have. God has His purposes. In part, I think it has to do with deploying souls. He knows best who will work most steadfastly here and who will do their best work from heaven. In part, it has to do what will draw the most people back to Him. God knows…I don’t. But the death rate for humanity remains 100%. Only the appointed time is in doubt. Pray that in what time you are given, you live so as to help bring people to our permanent abode in heaven, where we will all rejoice together.
  • After any crash, there will be plenty doctors and nurses remaining. While their easy supply of medicines and technology will likely to be interrupted for a time, they will be able to devote themselves to their first love – caring for people – rather than spending 80% of their day filling out paperwork to satisfy their government overseers. We will still know how to make necessary medicines: it is only supply lines and formal manufacturers that will likely be interrupted for a time. Right now, the government decides that some effective medications will be disallowed because of the age of certain patients or the chronic nature of their illness…and so they die.
    Before the Pieta at the Grotto in Portland.

    Before the Pieta at the Grotto in Portland.

    There is a virulent utilitarianism underlying the government system of medicine, where they decide whether YOUR life has meaning, and they prescribe accordingly. There were some early news stories about cancer and other patients being denied medications that had worked for them, but the government decided against allowing those medications – and they died. The media-governmental complex has decided to bury those stories now, lest they spook the folksies they think they command. The medical delivery system will be different, but that does not mean worse. You will be treated by a person who is not beholden to a government telling him what to do, a person who gets to know you and whose very vocation is to care for the sick. I personally think the system will be notably better rather than worse, from very early on. It will certainly be more humane – and by humane, I mean run by doctors who know your name and are committed to helping you live with dignity, not the progressive perversion that defines humane as helping you to “die with dignity.”

  • People’s values are going to change dramatically. Many of the sick worry about being a burden to their loved ones. In the current toxically self-absorbed culture of death, that is good reason for worry, for too many people are only concerned about what gives them temporal advantage – and regard caring for children, the sick or the old as a burden. This has become so deeply engrained that even the pro-life extended families of people who are generous to having many children subtly look down upon that generosity. It will not be so very much longer. One of the first stirrings as times get darker will be the revival of a true culture of life. People will see how much we need each other…and I tell you that the little communities will soon see the opportunity for caring for and loving the most vulnerable to be a profound blessing rather than a burden. I have said repeatedly that the network of people you care for and who care for you are your greatest asset. I mean that literally. Silver and gold will fail, but love for friends and neighbors will build up strong communities. I have said, also, that the only real refuge is under the mantle of Our Lady who leads us to her Son. I have toured a few refuges, supporting the generosity of those who use their money now to prepare for those who may need help later. But I would NOT enthuse over any supposed refuge that did not revolve around faith. All I have visited have put a premium on raising a little church or chapel – and so I have been pleased and praised them. A refuge that did not revolve around the faith would be a starkly barren place, doomed before it began. In larger part though, wherever there is a church whose believers support each other and are vibrant in living their faith, there is the beginning of refuge. You may live in your own home and be a part of a vibrant refuge, for truly, it is the churches and synagogues of the believing faithful who do the Master’s will that are our refuge. Pastors will become beloved and trusted uncles rather than disengaged administrators. The churches will become true, extended families with all caring for all. I will expand on this in another article sometime…but all true refuges will be based on a community of mutually supporting believers revolving around a church – not a mere geographic phenomenon. The geographic layout is optional…being built around a chapel is not.
  • Finally, I have passed on to you the Prayer of Miraculous Trust, given to me specifically for these times.

Trust God, abandon yourself to Him and you will see the resurrection of the culture that gives life as it happens. Even more, you will be a participant. The sick, the young, the infirm will be cared for MORE tenderly – and quickly more effectively, than now. They will be valued for themselves. All that is needed is a core of believers committed to living the next right step and being a sign of hope to their neighbors under God. I have been seeding the country with that assurance since late spring. When you see what rises before you, those of you who are infirm will not see it as having been the beginning of your downfall – but as the beginning of seeing how tender and gentle God’s mercy and love truly is.

I know I cannot completely relieve you of your fears of the unknown. You will have to wait and see that it is true. But your determination to banish fear and help as you can will help bring it to pass all the sooner.

The Lord of heaven is actively involving Himself in our world now. The devil who divides us is merely lord of the fleas – and he flees before the Lord of Heaven.

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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155 Responses to For the Sick and Infirm

  1. BD says:

    Thanks Charlie. I know you have mentioned before that all manner of services will be disrupted including medicines etc. but are you shown a long disruption of electricity and power during the fullness of the “storm”?

    Like

  2. jnursester says:

    I cannot right now even imagine a world where I, as a nurse practitioner, could care for my patients they way they really need to be cared for. This is certainly something to pray, hope and look forward to with faith.

    Liked by 9 people

    • Petra says:

      jnursester: Wow! But see, you know what should be done, what needs to be done, and I think almost everyone in your profession wishes they could provide care as it should be done. That is our hope, and what I think Charlie is talking about. People like you are the majority of health care professionals, who will be freed from the bureaucracy to actually practice medicine the way it should be practiced, and use the gift of healing God gave you.
      God bless. I’ll pray for you.

      Like

    • donna says:

      I, too, am a nurse who can’t wait to practice without bureaucracy and paper work. I want to go back to the old days when we could be at the bedside most of the time, not behind a computer screen….

      Liked by 5 people

  3. Pam Nicholson says:

    Charlie, you are right on. I would like to know who came up with this sack of sod, known as “death with dignity”. No doctor is to hold fast to something they do not learn to be, ‘grim reaper to the sick and suffering”. I think life is hard enough without giving them something else we should expect of them, and that is to decide who lives and who dies. There is one Maker and one Taker of Life, and that is God. We are seeing yet again the manifesto of the communist regime being placed out there like it is some truth we have never seen before. I think what I take most from this piece you did is that no matter what comes out of the mouths of men who seek to control huge masses of people, they cannot succeed because God will always allow there to be students of history who will testify to the truth that God is now and always has been the best trier of truth, and He endures forever, and so does the truth. Thanks for getting the truth out there yet again! pam, from NJ.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. JoyInTheLord says:

    Thank you so much for this post, Charlie. I just prayed the Prayer of Miraculous Trust for a sweet daughter. I am about to say another prayer for a nephew.

    I praise and thank the LORD for you during these times. Really, His plans are wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynn says:

    Thank you Charlie! Church Militant or Church Triumphant…..I guess I’ll have to wait to find out my role.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Kris R. says:

    I was feeling very down and alone tonight. It had come upon me quite suddenly…a weariness that wanted to overtake me. My ailing father, my daughter who needs surgery, a personal situation that is beyond understanding… I was not so much worried as just worn out from dealing with everything. Then I read For the Sick and Infirm and found new resolve. Thank you Charlie. You do your job well. Looking forward to seeing you in South Dakota!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Kris R. says:

    Yes, I am “that” Kris. Nancy has been corresponding with Mary. I will touch bases with her tomorrow to make sure all areas are covered. Trials teach and strengthen in the end. The satan is just trying to wear me down…not gonna work. See you soon.

    Like

  8. aulavcikurt says:

    Thanks for your flea story. I have been struggling with lice my kids brought from camp for three months and I am at my wits end. I prayed to St.Martin of Porres to help me, but we still have lice. A priest during confession said it may be a spiritual attack to deplete me of my energy.
    Thanks for all your posts. I feel very encouraged by them. I am also using the miraculous prayer and a keep a notebook with all the prayer intentions I have made.

    Thanks again and may God bless your ministry.

    Liked by 5 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Oh my word, how I can relate to that. After trying everything I could think of to treat this parasite in my daughters hair, I read online to take Vasoline and apply to her head and scalp and cover it with plastic wrap overnight. This cuts off the food supply, traps, and then suffocates them. I was a bit aggressive with the application of petroleum jelly and it did the job of ridding the lice from her head and our home.
      My sweet baby girl’s golden blonde long hair now resembled the equivalent of a baby duck rescued from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. No lie, it took nearly three weeks and bottles of dawn dish soap and baby shampoo to get her hair back to normal. I’d been better off praying for patience and perseverance which is exactly what I have offered for you!
      I was depleted of both my energy and sanity for a bit. This too shall pass.

      Liked by 9 people

    • Mick says:

      When my kids got head lice 5 years ago from a baseball hat that we bought at a second-hand store (I’ll never do THAT again), we used a non-toxic shampoo called Lice R Gone. I washed their hair with it every other day for 2 weeks. No more lice. (I think they were gone after a week or 10 days, but I wasn’t taking any chances). A Nit comb also helps (you probably already have one of those, eh?). Here is the link:

      http://www.licergone.com/

      I have a bottle on hand in case we know anybody who needs it during the Storm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • NancyA says:

        Lice R Gone: is that the enzymatic shampoo? I keep a bottle with a tiny bit left in my cabinet so I never forget that stuff that really WORKS. Nowadays I’m using a cedar oil spray (cedarcide) for some pests and it works quite well. If we have to deal with lice, again I’d try that also.

        Like

    • Mary N says:

      aulavcikurt,
      Been there, done that! Years ago, my daughter brought me a present home from school one day. It was like something out of a nightmare…lol. I wrote this about it and posted it online. May the knowledge that mom’s everywhere have suffered through this cheer you up a bit:

      “Something is really bugging me and making me feel quite lousey (oops! I mean lousy! ) We have put men on the moon and yet no one has invented a product that removes those sticky nits from hair. Oh, Yes! It’s the ongoing saga of the “Licewarner” household. (Did I really just print that?) It has been kindly suggested to me that Noah may be to blame for this, that he jarred 2 of these critters and brought them on the ark with him. Two of everything, right folks? Says so right in the Bible. I have my own take on this, however. Since there were no glass jars back then I believe the Lord allowed them to cop a ride on Noah’s bushy white hair or beard. From there they multiplied at a phenomenal rate (this is fact) and soon the entire ark was infested.

      Nurse Ratchet has been helpful enough to tell me that these are simply “people fleas”. Oh, please! I have 2 dogs and let me tell you you cannot compare the two. Forty loads of laundry later I can assure you that “people fleas” is a misnomer. Assuming it’s against the law to boil a child, I have taken many other steps to “RID” my household of this problem. I’m simply boiling everything else 🙂

      Speaking of boiling… “Horton Hears a Who” is now banned from my household as the endless refrain “boil that dust speck, boil that dust speck” plays over and over in my head. I also owe my patron saint for the year, St. Francis of Assisi, my heartfelt apologies. St. Francis, you may call me “The Exterminator” and I will not take offense, I promise you. I love poetry but the words, “Brother nit, sister louse” just don’t have a pleasing ring to it. May you be consoled by how many people left purgatory this past week…”

      After I posted this a bunch of mothers posted remedies that had worked for them. Most agreed that it’s best to first use the over the counter treatments. One mom suggested using tea tree oil in their shampoos for a bit of time. Some of them loaded their children’s hair with conditioner and used one of those fine tooth combs.

      I did all three. But it worked! I will say a prayer for you.

      Liked by 2 people

    • donna says:

      oh, it is a spiritual attack….a distraction….do what Charlie says!!!

      Like

      • Judy Curran says:

        I read a book by Corrie Ten Boom and she said they had an infestation of fleas while in the concentration camp. It was a blessing in disguise because they were wanting to hold Bible reading in their section, but the guards kept interrupting them… However when the fleas made their appearance, the inmates were left alone to continue their Bible sharing.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. MarieUrsula says:

    I’ve thought about this for a while: Back in the day, people didn’t want to go to hospitals because they were afraid of catching some disease there and/or because that’s where people went to die and they didn’t want to die.

    Now it seems that to receive adequate healthcare when you don’t have adequate insurance is to become destitute. Healthcare is so overwhelmingly expensive. People are afraid of this.

    Obamacare played on that fear, but it has proven itself not to be the answer. For one thing, from the get-go, that program has stubbornly and unreasonably insisted on violating the consciences of people like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    And more.

    Something’s wrong with this picture. If The Storm helps to set things like this straight, bring it on.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Julee says:

    Well, Charlie, you were right. I like this post! As I said in another comment, I often have to go up against the “system” to prove my disabled son is worthy of supplies, equipment, healthcare, and education and then have to wait and worry for days while “the powers that be” decide if he’s deserving. It’s been a source of frustration since the day he was born. While we’ve had, and continue to have, some wonderfully supportive doctors, therapists, and teachers in our lives, funding is often the reason for denial regardless of the assessed need. That said, we’ve also had doctors who’ve refused care solely because of their mindset towards “quality of life.” We had an orthopedic surgeon refuse to provide leg braces to keep Justin from getting muscle contractions because “he’s never going to walk anyway and by the way you know it’s not his body, it’s his deficient brain causing the problem.” Our son’s comfort didn’t matter to him. Another refused hip surgery when his hip dislocated (due to hip socket never forming correctly). We ended up deciding against the surgery, but the first doctor never gave us any options. His colleague literally slipped us the name of a surgeon on the sly so we could get a second opinion. I could go on, but we all know the system is broken, so I’ll stop before this turns into a full-fledged rant!

    Regarding the culture of death…a few years ago, I actually had a stranger tell me to my face that my son was nothing but a burden to society and resources shouldn’t be wasted on him. Floored me! It hurt, but it also opened my eyes to the fact that the “right” to abortion and the push for euthanasia was making my “choice” irresponsible to a growing segment of society. I think I mentioned this before, but this attitude is what prompted me and my husband to agree to participate in a radio documentary on caregiving for our local public radio station. In the back of my mind, I knew it would open up conversations about our son’s right to life, and it did, especially when a shortened version was pitched to NPR and they picked it up. Along with the radio program, there was an accompanying article on their website and face book page. There were thousands of comments and shares, many supportive, but just as many suggesting he should have been aborted, his life wasn’t worth living, he should be put out of his misery, resources shouldn’t be wasted, etc. Not as prepared as I thought, I cried out to God in pain, but through my tears, I remember being in awe of how He was working through my son. Did God answer years of prayers asking for physical healing? No, but He gave us the opportunity to help change hearts.

    Of course I pray we’ll endure the storm. I hope we as a family have more to accomplish and that my son will continue to inspire people to embrace the vulnerable as a blessing. How awesome it would be to live in a life-affirming culture! As always, it’s in God’s hands.

    Liked by 7 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Pray for those impoverished souls who think life is so paltry. I have said that we are in a time of judgment – and we are pronouncing our own judgment. When someone says an innocent does not deserve to live, they are unwittingly pronouncing judgment on themselves. Pray they repent. I get angry at such outrageous things…but I am gripped by a deep sorrow when I hear them, too, for I know the person saying them is dooming himself. I pity them.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Aaron Pfoutz says:

        Charlie, it is not the time of judgement yet. It is still the time for Mercy as proclaimed by the last two popes and the present Pope Francis. You are right though the time for judgement is so close.

        Like

        • charliej373 says:

          It is a time when we are delivering ourselves up to judgment. I insist on that. The Year of Mercy, which delights me, allows people to seek mercy even after this time has begun. It extends Mercy into the midst of the Storm and judgment.

          Liked by 3 people

    • Carol says:

      Julee: You and your husband are true heroes and you shouldn’t have to fight for one thing your son needs; something I hope will change after “the storm”. My mother didn’t say many things that made sense in my life, but one thing she did say, which I find rings true over and over is, “If you haven’t lived it, if it doesn’t affect you, you don’t understand it”. So, in our house we remind one another to have some compassion for others in situations or circumstances we haven’t lived. I pray your family gets everything you need to care for your son.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Don_D says:

    Thanks Charlie for another uplifting and spirit filled post on your part. I have a chronic illness and without some very expensive and sensitive medications I am left physically very ill. My Pastor told me a while back that I am a blessing and inspiration to our church family precisely because of this weakness and I praise the Lord Jesus for this. I was very sick at the time and it gave me so much relief to hear these words. I have been consumed at times with worry over my burden to others because of my illness. Instead it has become a blessing and a glory unto God.

    Your site has really helped me to stay focused on the Lord and how I can best serve him each and every day. For this I am very grateful. I look forward to reading about your travels and witnessing and thank you for your efforts to help us all to stay focused on the next right step.

    -Donald

    Liked by 2 people

    • Beckita says:

      Lifting you in prayer. Don.

      Like

    • Mick says:

      Praying for you, Don. Please pray for my family. I will appreciate you prayers very much, because I know that the prayers of the sick are especially powerful. God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Doug says:

      In extreme situation, where everything is down and nothing is available, there is Fish MOX which is antibiotic for fish. Exact same ingredient as Amoxacillin. Can buy it on Amazon. There are few other types too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dawn Walker says:

      Don, when I was going through everything for breast cancer over 7 years ago, someone who is very faithful, who knows me told me-God is outside time (He sees all-from the first day to the last in 1 glance).

      Maybe, just maybe when I die(d) and went to my particular judgment-He knows how many people I am praying for-God may have given me an option-if I would accept a piece of His Cross-for those I love and pray for. I agreed, so He went back into my life, and gave me this cross-the breast cancer.

      You could be the same way. Think about it-you may have already agreed to your ailment, in order to have a “piece of the action” so-to-say, in what you’re praying for.

      This was an attitude, a game-changer for me.

      +Peace Be With You.
      +JMJ+

      Liked by 3 people

  12. Jay G says:

    Hey Charlie! Greetings from an area of the country that was once the least favorite to among your favorites now! As an attendee @ your KC Hall talk in Arlington,Tx. I am impressed all the more by your writing; maybe because when you spoke to us it was spontaneous and when you write, you are able to reflect and edit. Anyway I enjoy both and I thank God for your mission! I have what may be a frivolous question but we in DFW have enjoyed our Rangers and their successful season—it may be one of the last seasons for a while, right? I ask this because baseball is our national pastime and from your previous writings, one of your favorite sports as well. It’s okay if you don’t put this up as it is trivial considering what we will be experiencing.

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    • charliej373 says:

      Ha Jay…I don’t know. Even in crises, people still live after adjusting for normalcy. If I were in charge, I would think sports would be needed most during such times. I know I have often told the Lord I sure hope there is baseball in heaven – I would love to play again with all my moving parts working in proper repair and vigor again. (He doesn’t answer – but has used the request to tease me with sometimes). But if it should go on, there will be some rather dramatic changes in player contracts – and morals clauses 😉

      Like

      • DanSouthChicago says:

        Like. . .very much! God bless.

        Like

      • I understand the sentiment, Charlie. I also know some folks don’t have the least interest in sport and sometimes think the affection is foolish. That’s O.K. too, but I think that God doesn’t ask us to rip all our affections out of our hearts. I’m confident He will surpass our grandest expectations by a long shot.

        I’ll never forget my first trip to Comiskey Park with my dad to see the White Sox play… coming up that tunnel and seeing the field live for the first time (we had crusty black and white tv in those days that never did it justice)… having my first ballpark dog. Mostly being with my dad.

        I was a Hoosier, so naturally basketball was the preeminent sport for me and my buddies. I was out on my court every night, and it was there that I spent the most time contemplating and talking to God at great length (also dreaming of the NBA). I lived in South Bend then, so of course football was big time stuff there, and I can remember every trip to Knute Rockne stadium in the shadow of the Golden Dome, Sacred Heart Basilica, and of course the Word of Life mural of Jesus on Fr. Hesburgh library (more popularly known as “touchdown Jesus”, but I’ve never liked that reference).

        It’s just desert hiking and running these days, but I’m still using that time to contemplate, pray, think of NRS’s and others… and of course my dad. The two big things we always had in common were faith and sport, and I got my love of both from both my parents.

        I’ll keep running until… but I’ve got to admit that I’m really looking forward to finally getting over the finish line and hanging up my running shoes for good. Who knows, maybe Our Lord will indulge us just one more time then, maybe letting us round the bases or take a victory lap for old times sake. Probably sounds foolish, but I’m not going to put any limits on His Love and Mercy. If you do happen to get that pickup game of baseball, my 13-year-old son and I are definitely game.

        God Bless,

        MP

        Like

        • DanSouthChicago says:

          MP, I miss the old Comiskey Park. I would go there with my father for a Holy Name outing. Since it was enclosed by an upper deck, there was always a haze of cigar/cigarette smoke on the field by the fifth inning. I never noticed the green field walking up the tunnel, but that is the first thing I do at Wrigley Field – stop and look at the green field. Beautiful!

          And not to play with Scripture, but remember that Genesis begins with “in the big inning…”

          God bless!

          Liked by 3 people

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            …remember that Genesis begins with “in the big inning…” Thank you Dan for the ear to ear grin and the warmth and glow that good humor brings.

            Like

          • Yea, I preferred Wrigley Field too, but my dad grew up on the South Side, so it was only Sox games with him.

            Recently I had my buddy, Jim Lefebvre, come in to talk to the sales crews for inspiration/motivation and you can imagine the kind of stuff he regaled them with. I remember thinking to myself, hey, if I had that kind of experience and passion when talking about my faith then I’d have this licked. Then I thought, wait a minute, we all have that and more! Sure, it might not necessarily have the cultural sizzle, but it’s in fact much more universal than baseball. We just need to realize what a gift it is to be little, get out of the way, let God, and come Holy Spirit!

            I think that Jim is quite the character, but he knows that he’s really only a little fellow after all too. Heck, he might even be a NRS’er and not even know it.

            With John 21:1-23, my point was basically this: Jesus meets us where we’re at. Peter and crew wanted to go fishing. Sure, they had to eat, but I can’t imagine that that was the only reason they went fishing. They were fisherman. Jesus, just happened to transform the whole episode into something profound. He also ate some fish with them. I think there’s an immense wealth to contemplate there.

            God Bless,

            MP

            Liked by 3 people

      • jay g says:

        Thank you Charlie. Things were pretty bleak back in the 1860’s as our nation was recovering from the civil war. Can’t help but think that baseball came into existence and was in some small way responsible for the needed healing at that time. Like you, I enjoy watching the sport played on pristine fields, and it takes me back to fond memories and dare I say hoped for recovery of those supple muscles and joints that allowed us to play a game of youth with joy! Ha, back at ya! And I agree. Seems to me that the foreseen and hoped for “dramatic changes” to the game would be good for all concerned.

        Like

        • Bob says:

          My wife had often tried to get our kids to think of their faith more and I later told her that with kids they need some short term goals and hopes to look forward to. And sports and good healthy activities, I believe have their place too. So as we are still flesh and blood as well as spirit I do believe God will let use have some sports for healthy recreation, but I do believe He will have something to say about even Catholic Sports events when families should be praying together instead of running to another game with the kids on Sundays. As for as valuing each other, yesterday our family went on a hike which should have been 5 miles and due to a wrong turn on my part ended up being 8 miles and it was fun to see everyone hanging on my grandbaby while we each took turns putting him in the pack for our turn to carry him with grandpa (me) still being able to do his part. And I was admiring the way that baby has been able to draw my youngest, who had been more distant from us for awhile, back in because Elliott, the baby, is an absolute magnet for her. And I was joking with them about that if we really got lost I have a magnesium fire starter we could try out and several of us had jackets we could use to keep the baby warm.

          Liked by 5 people

          • That’s great that you took a hike with the family, Bob, detour and all. Sometimes I find that the unintended detours end up being the really important part. Of course you’re right about sport having gotten completely out of balance like everything else. I came across this article yesterday that I thought did a decent job of addressing the topic: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/gpopcak/3-simple-steps-to-reclaim-your-family-life/

            I’m also hoping and praying that there are not any Catholic sports actually playing on a Sunday. ND always plays on Saturday and I’ve honestly never encountered a Catholic sport being played on Sunday, but I suppose that may be the case somewhere.

            As for what God will have to say about it, I find that John 21:1-23 is a very good indication, and I think that my original point is covered there as well.

            God Bless,

            MP

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            Thanks for the link, MP. I very much appreciate Greg Popcak’s work

            Like

          • DanSouthChicago says:

            Replying to MP below: I remember that Chicago Catholic League football was played at 2pm on Sundays during the 1960s. I guess this allowed the guys at the steel mills – and other places – who worked OT on Saturdays to go to their sons’ games. Also, 2pm was late enough to make noon mass before heading out to the game. I think that nowadays most Catholic League games in Chicago are played on Friday nights.

            1960s – that wasn’t that long ago, was it?

            God bless!

            Like

          • Pam Nicholson says:

            No, it wasn’t that long ago. In 1961, communism began to take Cuba, all eastern bloc countries, East Germany, all of Russia, and made its way into the public schools with the hope of the wicked to get communism into the catholic colleges and eventually made its way into seminaries. People seem to forget that. Communists know that, with care to the lies and the utopian falsities, and time, people will forget what happened after WWII all over the world, and, it is still happening. And, Vatican II was meant to help spark catholics to wanting to know their faith, but, what happened? We are living in serious times, and from what we are seeing with the recent synod, a very important synod, those clergy who have been called “progressives” are being shown to be the heretics who are causing scandal and have been at it for a pretty long time, especially, if they are cardinals and archbishops. We have a lot of praying to do for them to get their hearts and minds in the right place. If not, they do know they can go elsewhere to where there is very little importance on what the truth is. Children must learn from their parents the importance of their faith, where else are they going to go to find the best example for how to live out one’s catholic faith? Parents have the responsibility, catechetically, to work towards getting their children and their spouse into Heaven. Why is it that the endeavor to get to Heaven has become only an after-thought? We all must work on that. We have all been guilty of this, and it is now obvious that we have a most merciful God, giving us as many tools as we can get our hands on to find and live out the truth of Jesus Christ. Always reason to hope, saints do not give up. Blessings. pam, from NJ.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Doug says:

          Being from NH, my Next Right Step will be to be nice to Yankee fans. After the rescue, it will probably come natural to like them…..

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mick says:

            Wrong step, Doug. There are two great rules in life: Don’t feed the bears, and don’t be nice to Yankees fans! Heh heh. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            My father, God rest his soul, was born in Buffalo, NY. He was all about the Yankees and Billy Martin. I was daddy’s girl and followed suit. Everybody loves a winner, and they certainly did win many times during my youth! Truth be told I am a fair weathered sports fan, and love rooting for the underdogs too. Go Cubs!
            I am an oddball for sure, because I eat my Chicago hotdogs with ketchup only too. Please don’t judge. Variety is the spice of life!

            Liked by 3 people

          • charliej373 says:

            You eat your hot dogs with ketchup?! I know that people outside of Chicago sometimes do that, but they can’t help it…they are heathens who never learned any better. But you are the only person I ever heard of from Chicago who actually engages in the barbaric practice of putting ketchup on a hot dog. Well…I guess I can console myself that you are a transplant and just have not gotten over some heathenish customs. 😉

            Liked by 2 people

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            I am stubborn and do not like to be labeled or defined. I get that from my mother’s Irish/German side. 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Man, how can anyone not eat a hot dog without Ketchup? I’d give up hot dogs. Of course during the storm, if food is scarce, I might have to consider it. Who knows, I may have to eat just the Ketchup with no hot dog. Now, this truly is “food for thought”….

            Liked by 2 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            I’m with you Doug. I always eat ketchup on my hotdog. But I eat mustard on my bratwurst.

            Liked by 2 people

          • LukeMichael says:

            Being a Yankee fan I would like to forgive you both!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            I am laughing hysterically.

            Like

          • Doug says:

            This means you are also taking The Next Right Step and being a sign of hope to others…… 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mick says:

            OK, LukeMichael… I’ll be a good little Catholic girl and say: “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” 🙂

            Like

          • Petra says:

            Charlie, I hear ya! One time my little grand-nephew (he was around 6) was visiting from Mississippi with his parents, and we gave him a hot dog. He asked for ketchup
            and my brother looked at him with horror and said, “You CAN’T eat hot dogs with ketchup!” The poor kid burst into tears. 🙂 His parents, my nephew and his wife were shocked my brother would say such a thing. They just didn’t know the Chicago rule: you NEVER eat a hot dog with ketchup. Order it that way, and you’d be shown the door in most hot dog stands around here! ;-D
            God bless.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Diane says:

      This reminds me, in the very early “apparitions” in Medjugorje, young seer, 9 year old Jacov asked the Blessed Virgin…”Is it okay if I still played soccer?”. Thinking, I’m sure he should now only pray after seeing Mother Mary. Our Blessed Mother, assured him he could still play soccer. A simple, but joy-filled life she always encourages for her children.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. little one says:

    Thank you so much for your words! They speak to my heart and ring with truth!
    Praise be to You Lord Jesus Christ King of endless Glory!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Heather Machado says:

    Thought this was interesting being that we were infected with lice and now a tick.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  15. johnmcfarm says:

    Thank you Charlie, I think this is one of your best! I know this isn’t PC, but I wonder if we do not value our mortal lives too highly, letting go and relying on God offers us a chance to lose the fear and After all, our reward (heaven) is so much better than the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Ha John…while you have long known me to be subtly refined in speech, when have you EVER known me to be PC? You are entirely right. Once you entirely give it up to God, you have very little fear. You are happy to be His instrument, deployed as He sees fit.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Joseph77 says:

        Charlie,
        Don’t know if I have “entirely given it up to God”, but for the past week or so, after reading your great posts, through the grace of God, have been feeling the world of woe been lifted from my shoulders. Singing an old song: “Happy days are here again”. and trying to be a sign of hope and joy to wife and friends, telling jokes that I “stole” from great comedians of old. Thanks to you Charlie for lifting us up out of the pit!

        Liked by 3 people

    • NancyA says:

      That is exactly how I look at it, johnmcfarm!

      Like

  16. Charlie,
    You speak directly to me. You know my friend Eva is battling pancreatic cancer. Probably what you don’t know is that a little over a year ago Eva and her husband adopted a little boy who had been violently abused. Violently. What can only be compared to a prisoner of war. By the grace of God she found him and rescued him. She wants to live for his sake. He finally has a mother who loves him, and then this diagnosis…. But the thing is, Eva asked openly for help, and for prayers. Yesterday she asked me if I could put together a prayer service for her and ask people to come over since she was going to have Whipple surgery today for her cancer. Since it was fall break I wasn’t sure if people would come. I put the word out. And people came. We read the Gospel of Luke 8:40-56. We prayed over her. We sang. After it was done her husband said when this all started that he wasn’t a believer. But that the one thing that all the people who came to help had in common was a belief in Jesus Christ, and that the love we had poured out for his wife, well he wanted that, and we made him want to believe. And he thanked us. My Priest did try to come but was unfortunately stuck in a traffic jam that didn’t move. But the Body of Christ was there present. There were Baptists, Lutherans, and others, by far the largest group that came were the Catholics. All of us praying over her together. Each bringing something different to the table in support.
    I looked around the room and felt the Holy Spirit. Eva said, there has been blessing in the cancer because her family is now closer than ever, and because we were all there. She said some things in their lives had changed for the better. Coming from a woman who vomits daily. The thankfulness was amazing. I thought, this is how it’s supposed to be. Neighbor coming together with neighbor to support one another. In that moment we’re all just human, all with the same hope. That Eva live. We prayed for the surgeons hands to guided. We also prayed for supernatural healing. I thought as you said above, we can receive the healing through the natural means but God can also choose the supernatural. Of course, If I am honest, I would love for the supernatural cure. And of course God may call her home. We prayed the Our Father at the end, asking “Thy will be done.” When I left, I didn’t have anxiety, because all of us, we took the next right step, and spread hope to others. Jesus I trust in you. This experience has really taught me to live in the present moment and face what’s right in front of me. Knowing all the time God is holding us in the palm of His hand.

    Liked by 12 people

    • charliej373 says:

      My Lord, Susan, how you hearten me! This is how we should be. This is what the beginning of the Rescue looks like. I have asked the Lord to send St. Maria Goretti to guide and comfort Eva, making her into a profound sign of hope for all she touches.

      Liked by 6 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Veil, you and Eva are sources of grace and inspiration. Please know that dear Eva remains in my daily prayers.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Beckita says:

      Thank you for your inspiring witness, Dear Veil. Prayers ascending for Eva and her family .

      Liked by 2 people

    • Aaron Pfoutz says:

      May our Lord Bless Eva, her surgeons, and all care professionals. I am a 7 year pancreatic cancer survivor who had a whipple surgery. There is a facebook page for whipple survivors that you could send her or her family. Lots of great help from those who have gone through it already. https://www.facebook.com/groups/250497878309541/

      Liked by 5 people

    • Doug says:

      Veronica, I will be printing this post as a prayer petition and bringing it to Medjugorje this week for Eva

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks Doug. They’ve given her 3 months to live. She called me this morning and she wants to become Catholic. She is having the Sacraments conferred on her tomorrow.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Petra says:

          Holy cow, veil, holy cow! What I mean is, I am astounded. I am so, so happy Eva wants to become Catholic and receive the Sacraments. Praise and Glory to You, O God!!! I will pray especially fervently for her tomorrow, given that she will probably be receiving three or four sacraments (Confession, Eucharist, Sacrament of the Sick, maybe Confirmation?) God bless her. God bless her. And you!
          I pray God will heal her cancer. The tragedy of her death for the small child they recently adopted is just so hard to contemplate. But God knows what He is about, so I trust in Him.
          Tell Eva we are keeping her in our prayers.
          God bless.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Petra says:

            Oh, veil, I just thought about it a minute, and unless she’s been though some catechesis, I expect Eva won’t be receiving Confession, Eucharist, or Confirmation tomorrow. Well, I hope it will be soon. Keep us posted.
            God bless.

            Like

          • Pam Nicholson says:

            Well, one step at a time. Let’s just keep praying. pam, from NJ.

            Like

          • Pam Nicholson says:

            Oh, yes, yes, yes, do veil. We are all praying here for her and her family. We will not forget her in our prayers, we are all a family here. God bless all. pam, from NJ.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Petra she was baptized Catholic as a baby. But nothing after that. The Priest said because of the dire circumstances he will confer the other initiation sacraments as she has asked and it is an emergency so to speak. Her mother was Catholic and I have worked with her some. But her heart desires it. She told me whatever time she has left she wants it to be beautiful.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Petra says:

            Oh, wow (again!) veil. Yes, I will pray especially hard for her tomorrow. What an incredible, wise priest – full of mercy – seeing her desire as tantamount and allowing the sacraments to come first and catechisis to come afterward if need be, given her physical state.
            What a beautiful thing she is doing. I pray Our Lord fills her with joy and light.
            Thank you for being such a good friend to her.
            God bless.

            Like

        • Doug says:

          Oh that is so wonderful. I don’t know what to say. There is such beauty in the midst of your friends trials.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. Doug says:

    In the scripture, Sirach 38 is a great chapter in the to augment this post (that is the apocryphal books for all you who are not Catholic)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jennifer says:

    My big concern had been medications, especially the ones which help loved ones with depression / anxiety or ADHD. One thing that kept coming up in prayer was to really work on relationships in my community. I think this article is a confirmation. I think professionals will try to help. There are natral remedies which can help though the production is not always consistent. There is also spiritual healing which people may be open to as well. I am at peace. I feel I have done my little part. I will also use the prayer of miraculous trust.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Francine Tiff’s article, A Former Midwife Speaks, https://charliej373.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/a-fromer-midwife-speaks/ is worth a re-read. As a massage therapist, I can vouch for the health benefits of physical touch, (mind, body & soul). As the storm takes us to our knees, perhaps we trust and return to the basics, such as the healing powers of the laying of hands. God has given us the tools; Trust – Do – Love. His will be done.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Beckita says:

        Absolutely agree about laying on of hands, jlynn. It’s an ordinary means even now and is a facet of Charlie’s post last week with St. Theresa of Avila’s poetic exhoration. Just a few months ago I had a friend who was trying for the umpteenth time to give up smoking. I laid hands on her, prayed and the Lord chose to free her from any cravings whatsoever. Blessed be His Holy Name! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. I must add this woman’s three year old daughter simply joined me in prayer without any prompting by anyone to do so. The purity of prayer from small children inspires me!

        Liked by 2 people

  19. Becky-TN says:

    Thanks for this, Charlie.

    Like

  20. Patricia says:

    Charlie, I am thinking that most of the meds older people are on are designed to kill them off anyway. My parents have stopped taking at least one prescription apiece. My father was having muscle aches and having trouble raising his arms above his shoulders. Turns out the blood pressure medication he was on was causing it. A little known side effect. Before that I saw on the news that statin drugs could cause diabetes and maybe dementia. I alerted my siblings who could not find it on the news. Sure enough it did not have even one 12 hour news cycle because the drug companies are too powerful. But…my mom was showing signs of being very cloudy, for lack of a better word, and she discontinued it immediately and within days felt better and clearer. They now use food instead of meds to control blood pressure and cholesterol issues which should have been obvious to us since they are in good shape and not overweight.
    They have mostly eliminated sugar, (except raw honey and a tiny bit of maple syrup) processed oils and wheat from their diets. It is hard to do that and go to people’s houses for dinner but they try. They concentrate on eating grass fed butter, milk, cheeses and meats. They buy range free eggs and chicken and any veggies and fruits are organic. Also, my mom takes several spoonfuls of coconut oil every day and uses olive oil generously on her greens. It does cost more to eat this way but they are not spending money on other foods that they did before like cookies, cakes and pies etc. They also feel better and my mom’s doctor is somewhat amazed.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Petra says:

      Patricia: I am so glad your parents are opting for using nutrition to help themselves and improve their health and not just pharmaceuticals. Of course, pharmaceuticals have their place, but if we can use a food based alternative, why not try that first?

      I wanted to mention a couple of things. I read a weekly column in the newspaper called The People’s Pharmacy, and there’s always lots of good tips about food and health, and information on studies that back up the claims. (There’s a web site by the same name.)

      Anyway, for cholesterol people report good results from daily oatmeal with a little (1/4 teaspoon?) cinnamon in it.

      For blood pressure, beets or beet juice (this could be mixed with other food I think.)

      And I read someplace (boy, wish I could cite this) that our digestive acids diminish 10% for every decade we age. So someone in their 60’s has about only 40% of the digestive acids in their stomach as when they were a kid or young adult. In your 70’s it’s 30%, and so on. The net effect is that you could be eating all the right stuff, but it isn’t getting absorbed by your small intestine because it’s not broken down enough by the time it leaves your stomach. To solve this, some people take supplemental digestive enzymes, but I find it’s hard to figure out how much. My solution is to use a blender to make a green/fruit drink including the fiber (like the Nutribullet) to get the some of the cell walls broken down so my stomach acids can be more effective.

      Sounds like your mom and dad are on the right track. All the best to them.
      God bless.

      Like

  21. Centurion_Cornelius says:

    MarieUrsala–you have a point! Got me to thinking.

    Can it be God’s great consuming love will literally and figuratively “burn away” all the nonsense our health care providers are required to do so that they can minister properly to their patients?

    I’m with you–if the Storm will result in this–BRING IT!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sandy says:

    WOW, Charlie, I am in tears after reading this post. It is so beautiful and presents us with a glimpse of God’s love and mercy that encourages us to hope and trust. I needed this inspiration so much as I, too, have family concerns regarding our health issues and access to medical help. Especially uplifting is the possibility of our local parish as a type of “field hospital” where the body of Christ cares for one another. Makes me think of the early church and how the Holy Spirit guided them to live in community and care for each other. You visited my church on June 23rd (near Fort Lauderdale) and that major road (only minutes from my home) has our Catholic Church, a large synagogue, a Baptist Church, a Methodist Church, and a Pentecostal Church. Our parish also has a school and a large Catholic High School next to it. You also visited the home for troubled children just up the road. We also have several plant nurseries on that road. So, from what you have shared here, I can now see at least the potential for a number of “field hospitals” where God’s faithful can care for each other, as well as those He sends to us. Thank you so much for sharing this. God bless you, Charlie, and all here!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Katherine says:

    I want to talk about refuges. I am hoping that my area will become one. Near as I can figure, in my immediate area we have all the right set-up for a refuge, from our rural neighborhood we can walk to a church (not Catholic, but it can be used as a prayer center), a lumber yard, a woodstove store, a recreation center, a woodshop (owned by my family, they run construction company) two beef farms, a dairy, an apple farm, corn fields and a few random people on my road with goats and horses. My in laws next door have chickens and goats, I have a field and together we have seeds. I have a hoe. I have no idea if God will help us set up a refuge out here or if He has some other plan. I think my extended family has tentatively decided to sort of go door to door in our immediate area and make some kind of connection with some families, maybe it would lead to a neighborhood meeting where we could help sort out who needs heating for the winter, maybe retrofitting the community center and church with wood stoves . . . (I hear it is going to be brutal in NY this winter). . . hopefully before people begin to really panic. Maybe even just say “hey, we live down the road and we’ve never met before, but I just wanted to say that you’re not alone if you’re worried about the future. We’ve talked to a few families already and we’re going to ride this out all together, so, if you need any help don’t be afraid to give a shout.” Maybe work out a community plan as to what to plant in the spring, check on the local nursing home, and maybe, in time, even work out jobs for people. I’m all set up to help teach a few kids. It IS tempting to just hunker down, because I could only afford to provide for my family. However, in the long term, we’re going to need everybody with their various resources linked in community. I hope I can be brave enough to offer my two fish. Whatever kinds of fish they might be. I am not naive, though, just because there’s a crisis it doesn’t mean that pedophiles and the like will be changed overnight. My husband and I intend to protect our family while offering our two fish. And pray a LOT. And invite people to pray. Gumbo block party and a decade of the rosary anyone? I envision us all living faith openly and including it in most things we do. Even if it’s just a quick shout out to God. I’m an incurable optimist though and a bit of a romantic. Anyway, I’m not PLANNING on doing anything in particular, but it helps to have these thought patterns in place before something happens. I thought I would write this down here because it seems to me that it is time to think a little more practically, and I wanted to share the kinds of practical thoughts that are floating around in my head. Again, I don’t know that we’ll be part of the creation of a nice little supporting community, but I have hope we can do it, God willing. I just hope that we have access to a priest too. I also like what Charlie says about living with the understanding that we are all terminal. My family will be prepared to die but ready to live, throwing ourselves into God’s ocean of Mercy.

    Liked by 5 people

    • charliej373 says:

      I like the way you think, Katherine. Wherever Christ is truly proclaimed, there refuge will rise.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kim Sevier says:

      I am like you Katherine, an optimistic romantic! I am the oldest of seven—many decades ago I wondered how I could make a real difference when there was so much sadness and want and need in the world. Then I noticed how my youngest sister (the baby of the family) would respond to those in need who crossed her path. She would help! She doesn’t worry about saving the world. She reaches out to those who come her way. When she was a baby I changed her diapers. When she grew up she taught me a great lesson.

      Liked by 5 people

    • SteveBC says:

      Katherine, yes, I think the same way about my village here, particularly during the winter when we winter people band together. This post by Charlie made me rethink a few things, though, in terms of what to put first.

      We have a stone church at the top of the local hill, as well as a chapel down in the midst of our little village. I’m not much of a prayer warrior, but there are a number of devout christians here, of several denominations including Catholics.

      I don’t know how people here will actually react to a Collapse, but dealing with winter storms and the general feelings of long-term connection we all have should get us going in the right direction together fairly quickly.

      The emphasis on God and creating refuge here might not spring right to the top of everyone’s priority list. Although I’ve been able to talk with several people here, most are simply proceeding in their normal lives. However, when needed, a little nudge would (I believe) find ready acceptance. We will see.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Katherine says:

        We’ll lead gently by example, not being preachy or pushy, but inviting others to pray with us sometimes, or just asking for their prayers. I do think it’s important to first break that taboo about not talking about God in public. We could celebrate the feast days as best we can and invite others to join us, even if we think they might say no. Let others see where we put our trust, step out of our comfort zones and reach out to people, and let others reach out to us. I’m in a deeply protestant area, the church nearby is Dutch Reformed. Good people. I won’t be pressuring anyone to convert, building friendships is more important initially. I’m sure we’ll figure it all out in time.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Aaron Pfoutz says:

        “I’m not much of a prayer warrior” I am not sure what that is about but if you are interested you can make your daily walk a prayer. “O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen..” Now the rest of your day is a prayer and you become a warrior. I have been making an offering of my walk with pancreatic cancer for 7 years. After a while you notice things that are in relation to your offering that God has blessed and you find yourself thanking Him (more prayer). It can be just as easy as this.

        Liked by 4 people

  24. Annie says:

    Our weekend travels involved seeing cars from these 3 states continually pass us:
    NH: Live free or die
    RI: State motto is “Hope”
    CO: State motto translated from the Latin, “Nothing without God”

    Thank you Charlie. God bless you.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Sr Lorraine says:

    I had always been healthy but in 1994 was diagnosed with a form of leukemia, treated and recovered. I had a relapse in 1999 but have been fine ever since. I could only think, “Well, God still has more work for me to do!” I’m glad now for the experience because it helped me realize thta our lives really are in God’s hands, and they are good hands indeed!

    Liked by 6 people

  26. Katherine says:

    Also: loved your flea story. Reminds me of someone. . . I forget who, a mother superior of a convent somewhere . . . anyway, they fell on some hard times . . . they eventually ran out of food. The sisters came to her with all they had left, a small coin (think penny) with which to buy food, the mother superior took it and threw it out the window and said “There. Now God will HAVE to help us because we have nothing.” And He did. I forget how . . . gee I’m not being very helpful here . . . this is a story I probably read as a child, but the image stayed in my brain as something to ponder.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      I get the gist of it…and like it. On my pilgrimage, several times I would encounter something too daunting for me. I would just chuckle and think, “Okay Lord, you’re going to have to take this – for I just can’t.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bob says:

        As for Fleas, was it Corrie Ten Boom, I think who told of how her sister complained of the fleas in the prison camp until they realized that they could preach Christ freely as the guards left them alone due to the fleas. Let’s pray things don’t get that bad, but that we can endure whatever God does permit.

        Liked by 3 people

  27. CHADPRO123 says:

    Once again you’ve penned another fantastic article Mr. Johnston.

    You know what they say about fine writing? Leave it to the prose.

    (how’s that for a pun!)

    Liked by 3 people

  28. SanSan says:

    Thank you Charlie and all the beautiful souls that comment. Brings peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. James Ignatius McAuley says:

    Charlie,

    The gist of what you are getting at is in the Epistle of James. Like the Brother of Our Lord, you are not merely telling sick and infirm people not to worry, but that they must trust God that their brothers and sisters in Christ will care for them as James the Apostle directed us to,

    2:15If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, 2:16and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit?

    So, we who are not sick and infirm must help, and we must start now and do what we can. It is an opportunity to grow in faith and love and patience.

    JIM

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Laurie Harris says:

    Hi Charlie,
    I just want to thank you again for this site and for your recent posts, and my the Holy Spirit and our Lord continue to guide you every day. You know that song “Be Not Afraid” is a good one that goes hand in hand with “Here I Am Lord”. “Be not afraid, I go before you always, come follow me, and I will give you rest.” That same statement came up in your post last week, and on the same day came up during a Bible study I attended with Julie from the book of Isaiah – Be not afraid. I remember when my dad was in the last few weeks of his life battling lung cancer when he shared his fear of death to a hospice nurse. He told her “I know what’s going to happen, I know I’m going to die, but I’m kind of afraid.” This nurse, who was one who had never been to our home before, simply stated this: “Larry, I’ve been doing this job a long time, and there’s one thing I can tell you is that you’re not alone with that feeling. Why wouldn’t you be afraid? You don’t know what’s going to happen, so that creates fear. When we start a new job, or when we first get married, we are usually afraid because we don’t know what to expect. Larry, I can assure that you will not be alone in this journey from this life to your eternal life in heaven. There will be others gone before you that will come and help you make this transition. So when you see something in the next few days or weeks, share the experience with your family so that when their time comes to make this journey, they may feel a little better in knowing what you saw and experienced.” And he did share his journey with us all, giving us the blessing of less fear of the unknown, less fear of death, as well as the blessing of being with him the moment he passed away. It’s easy to allow ourselves to succumb to fear, simply because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. But it’s with faith, with trust in God that we can say “What shall we say to these things? If God be with us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8: 31) ” I feel a greater sense of hope than I ever have in my life right now, hope for a better future with more people acknowledging God, engaging more and more people in being a sign of hope to those around them by taking the next right step, one foot in front of the other, one day and person at a time. Be not afraid, just love one another, pray the rosary, follow the beatitudes and Jesus’ sermon on the mount, and trust that God has you in the palm of His hands. Thanks, Charlie. May God continue to bless you and give you health and strength as the storm rages on. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. dciavarella says:

    Great Charlie! Was hoping you would get close to my home in Bismarck ND. I will be making the trip down with my mom to see you on Sunday. We are the only two in the family that read and see the signs of the times for what they truly are. Most just get too uncomfortable with the reality of our current situation of the world and would rather go on as “life as usual”. I for one am glad to have been a part of the communities of The Next Right Step, Pelianito, and Mark Mallet to be informed, enlightened, and prepared (at least as much as one can be) along with prayer and trust in the path that we must tread in order to reach the anticipated great Triumph of the Sacred heart of Jesus and Immaculate heart of Mary!

    Like

  32. lambzie37 says:

    Oh Charlie, I loved this post! You tell it so well! It brings to mind our own flea story.

    So right before we built our home in NH, we lived for about nine months in this little townhouse in Pelham. Our twin girls were almost seven; our son was two. One of our new neighbors (young college lads) moved out and left behind their kitty “Keg.” That alone should tell you much. Keg, an outdoor wanderer, had often frequented our doorstep–this most likely brought about by the frequent absence of her “caretakers” and the equally frequent offerings of our tender hearted twins. Long story short, after our previous cat had been hit by a car I insisted to Doug that I would only consider having another outdoor cat if we lived in a house in the woods somewhere. A place where we would not have to worry about cats and traffic.

    Yep, our house is in the woods. Keg moved here with us in 1995 after the landlord kicked him out of our neighbors abandoned place. We all lived happily ever after ish after that. Well at least until Keg, now blessedly renamed to Cindy, developed a rampant case of fleas. Like Charlie we tried all the usual methods of trying to rid the house and us of the nasty buggers. We even went to the point of bombing the place with strong flea bombs as we exited for a weekend and boarded the cat at the vet’s where she received a lovely, thorough flea bath. We happily came back to a flea-free home only to despair about two weeks later when apparently some well hidden eggs hatched and started the cycle yet again. I had never done such mountains of laundry in my life, including when the twins were young projectile vomiting infants (what fun that was’!)

    Anyhow, this went on for several months right into winter. Now we were truly perplexed because our cat was confined to indoors due to the mounds of snow. Where were the fleas coming from? Well we finally solved the mystery, One day as Doug removed a sleepy cat happily napping atop our VCR (which was NICE AND WARM) he noticed it was particularly dusty. On closer inspection..you guessed it,..a flourishing flea egg hatchery. Yuck. So after a final round of defleaing the place we were at last forever flea-free. Yippee. We replaced the VCR and later the cat when she sadly became lunch for a fisher cat. Well so now we have two cats who remain indoor cats but…at least they live in a lovely house in the woods with nary a flea in sight!

    Thanks Charlie for your encouraging words regarding the care of the sick in the storm. As a cancer survivor it is a concern to me. But I should know better. When my Dad, Fred, came down with Alzheimer’s six years ago, our family banded together to care for him, keep him at home with my mom as long as possible and to always get him the best care we could find for him, much to the oft proclaimed amazement of his care community. It was by no means an easy endeavor but we enjoyed an awesome closeness as a family during and since that time. Dad has now gone home. I was with him when he died having prayed the Devine Mercy Chaplet over him on the night of his departure. Seeing him lying there, lifeless, but assuredly at last at peace, did not bring me discomfort or horror or fear as I had always imagined seeing a dead body (especially of someone close to me) would make me feel. Rather I felt great comfort knowing he had reached his true home. Indeed, my own cancer journey made me face my own mortality and lay to rest most of my apprehensions about death and suffering.

    As a society we have separated ourselves from the reality of death and suffering often preferring to use euphemistic terms for it and to opt for an “easier” way. We are born and die for the most part in sterile hospitals or nursing homes. Often we are there without the comfort of familiar surroundings and familiar faces about our bedside.

    So finally, I have often heard it said that the greatest cause of death is…you guessed it…birth! Even after being brought back to life, Lazerus yet again faced death. What should make us shake in our boots much more than the fear of death and suffering is the despair of not living a life that proclaims the love, goodness and glory of God. May He richly bless you all with the comfort of a loving community throughout and beyond the storm.

    Much love,
    Jacki

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Doug says:

    In the Bible, Sirach 38 of the Apocripha speaks directly to this:

    “Honor the physician because of necessity, and because the Most High created him.

    2 For all healing is from God, and so he will receive gifts from the King.

    3 The expertise of the physician will lift up his head, and in the sight of great men, he will be praised.

    4 The Most High has created medicines from the earth, and a prudent man will not abhor them.

    5 Was not bitter water made sweet with wood?

    6 The benefits of these things is recognized by men, and the Most High has given this knowledge to men, so that he may be honored in his wonders.

    7 By these things, he will cure or mitigate their suffering, and the pharmacist will make soothing ointments, and he will form healing medicines, and there will be no end to his works.

    8 For the peace of God is upon the surface of the earth.

    9 Son, in your infirmity, you should not neglect yourself, but pray to the Lord, and he will cure you.

    10 Turn away from sin, and direct your hands, and cleanse your heart from every offense.

    11 Give a sweet offering, and a memorial of fine flour, and fatten your oblation, but also give a place to the physician.

    12 For the Lord created him. And so, do not let him depart from you, for his works are necessary.

    13 For there is a time when you may fall into their hands.

    14 Truly, they will beseech the Lord, so that he may direct their treatments and cures, for the sake of their way of life.

    15 He who sins in the sight of the One who made him will fall into the hands of the physician.”

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Aaron Pfoutz says:

    Charlie, thank you for your words. I am glad I mentioned my concerns that got this response. All of this comes down to “love.” If we truly believed God the Father loves us then we trust. It is like children. They will throw themselves into your arms because they trust us. We will do that when we truly trust our Lord. We have to be like children and trust He will not drop us, He loves us. He wants to take us by the hand and lead us if we will let Him. I don’t know about the rest of you but I am too frightened at whats out there to not take His hand. Honestly somedays it seems like someone has taken the blinders off and I can see what is around us. When my sister told me 16 years ago there was this “gay agenda” I just thought it was just sinners trying to find their way in the world. Here we are and laws are changing and they are force feeding children “I have two daddies” in school. To see the princes of the church not disagreeing on philosophy behind closed doors but instead arguing doctrine in the public square. Trying to use public opinion to influence their brothers or to shame them. Doing this all on the back of the family the very foundation of the society. It becomes apparent that some on both sides are more worried about their position on the debate then we the families they are debating about. Thank the Lord we are still in the time of Mercy. But how long will our Lord hold back the worst of the storm? If Charlie is correct it will not be much longer. Lord don’t let go of me, I need your hand.

    Like

    • Aaron Pfoutz says:

      Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.
      Psalms 56:3 NKJV

      Like

    • Pam Nicholson says:

      Aaron, I have a strong feeling that not only does the Holy Father know who these men are who have been causing scandal and schism, the faithful also know, and the Holy Father will take actions that he has to to get things right in the church as Christ’s vicar, and God gives him the tools and the timing to do what needs to be done. What these men have done, they did this with the idea to harm the church because they were very good at what they have done to mock the church by their very existence in being in place of hierarchy to confuse the faithful. That is a scandal that God will no longer tolerate. So, we have this pope for this time, and I have a strong feeling we, the Church Triumphant, have nothing to fear, only hope and trust in God that His church will continue to be the shining beacon it has always been to all people no matter what walk of life you come from, rich or poor, etc. The church is for everyone and will never be destroyed by evil. That, is what we can truly take to the bank! Blessings, pam, from NJ.

      Like

    • Aaron Pfoutz says:

      Also, is it ironic there is a cat hanging around on my deck for three days? It is a persistent little thing. Stands on two legs with front paws on window of the door meowing constantly. Probably has fleas.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. A Quiet Person says:

    Since Charlie reminded us that the death rate for humankind is 100%, I thought this was a good place to post this story about death. I was a hospice volunteer not so long ago and made myself available to be on-call for those who were actively dying but had no one to be with them. One night I was called to the deathbed of a woman named Mary. Some of us here have told our stories of the gentle, peaceful, grace-filled passing of our loved ones. Well, this was not that. Mary was in agony and it was horrific to witness. She was huddled on her side, a small, shaking pile of bones. The look on her face was ugly and terrifying, frozen in fear.. She seemed absolutely unapproachable. Just as I arrived though, so did another woman. She immediately got up on the bed and hovering over Mary she spoke right into her ear, “Mary, I love you. I LOVE YOU.” Over and over and over. I think she also may have said, “I am with you. You are not alone.” What I do clearly remember was “Mary, I love you.” This is where words utterly fail me though because it was so much more than that. All I can say is that I have never been witness to a more profound act of love in my life.

    After a while, Mary slipped into her last sleep with the words, “Mary, I love you” probably being the last ones she heard, and passed away sometime during that night. The next day I went back to visit with a few other hospice residents and I noticed that woman who was so unspeakably loving was still there. She was not a family member of Mary, nor a chaplain, social worker, or hospice grief counselor. It turns out she was an aide in that facility, just doing the drudge work, day in and day out. She appeared so ordinary, maybe a bit worn-out, and not even particularly cheery. No one could have possibly guessed at the enormous gift she brought to that dying woman. I am not sure it was even her “job” to be with Mary. And what a gift she gave to me, to be able to witness that.

    Anyway, I bring this up now because it is possible that among the many new things we will be experiencing during the Storm is death, in ways that may be new to us (at least new to those not in the medical profession). I am thinking a lot about this aide, and Mary and how even up to a person’s very last breath, when it seems like there is absolutely nothing you can do, no matter how fearful and hopeless it all appears, you can still love them and tell them so. Be close to them. Shout love in their ear or whisper it. They will hear.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Beckita says:

      WOW!!! Thank you, Quiet. What a gift you have given us all to share this story!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Petra says:

      Quiet: So many of us do not know the drama of death, and some agents of the medical field believe it is best to anesthetize the dying to minimize the agony and suffering they may go through. There is no doubt Mary was suffering a great deal. But I believe that that humble aide, that angel of mercy, brought the true medicine Mary and every dying person needs.

      Such a powerful story, and such a great lesson to us all — that aide was a sign of hope, and gave a great gift to a frightened, suffering, dying woman, and showed you how it could be done, and now you have shown us. I am sure God was present at that moment, and Mary was able to see Him. Thank you for sharing such an incredible lesson and teaching with us.
      God bless you, Quiet.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Mick says:

      Tears in my eyes, Quiet. THANK YOU!!! I think we all needed to read this today. We need to know how simple (not easy) it is to help someone cross over to the other side. It really is just all about love, isn’t it?

      May God bless you for sharing this story, may He bless the love warrior who did battle for and with Mary, and may He grant eternal rest to Mary’s soul (if He hasn’t already).

      Liked by 3 people

      • Kim Sevier says:

        Amen!! Thank you thank you!! I have seen 5 grandchildren born and one niece and had four babies myself—incredible to be there when someone begins life—and it will be so important to be there to help those who will be beginning the next life.

        Liked by 2 people

  36. Becky-TN says:

    Quiet, that’s so beautiful! Tears welling up.

    Sometimes I get so angry with myself and humanity. Why do we have to mess things up so much. Is loving someone really so hard??!!! Jesus, help us to love!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. If I may share another “Sign of Hope”…

    As a nurse, I’ve recently had the pleasure of caring for an elderly Jewish gentlemen in the hospital. He made it through a high risk, life-saving operation and spent months in the intensive care unit (ICU), clinging to life – barely at times! After struggling through multiple infections, kidney and respiratory failure, and more than one cardiac arrest – he was finally able to breathe on his own through a tracheostomy tube, and talk with a speaking valve at the end of it.

    He had suffered. Really suffered!

    After many months, he made it out of the ICU and transferred to a regular floor.
    He arrived looking tired, weak and very anxious. He was afraid to be on a new unit with nurses who didn’t know him. I tried my best to reassure him. I held his hand and promised that we would all take good care of him – and that our goal was to get him home soon. I desperately searched for words to be a “sign of hope” for him.

    One of the first things he said to me was, “I didn’t go through all that suffering for nothing!” He shared many of his thoughts in our first encounter…
    He said, “I always believed in God, but I took him for granted and was a money-monger”. He felt that God was speaking to him through this experience and that he was given a chance to change. “When I get out of here I want to help the poor, the less fortunate, the homeless… There are people with so much – even billions – and we don’t recognize the needs of others.” He had “hoped that God would have mercy” on him.

    My words fail to capture how remorseful and sincere this man was… and how desperately he wanted another chance to “do good”. There was no doubt that he had entered into a “storm” in his life and is emerging on the other side with a changed heart.

    Although I was trying to be a sign of hope to this very sick and elderly Jewish man… He was actually being an incredible sign of hope to me!

    Charlie, I can honestly say that without the gentle guidance and teaching from you, and all here, I may have viewed this man’s suffering differently. Thank you.

    Jesus, I trust in You!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pam Nicholson says:

      This truly brought me to tears. I think in this nurse’s own way, she is a beacon who helped this man see that he is more than what he had allowed himself to be. He truly seems to get it. I will pray for this man and his hopes to be a light to others with all his time, talent and treasure. This is also a jewish teaching. So, I think he gets it. God bless him and his new endeavors. pam, from NJ.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Petra says:

      maypacemcumte: How inspiring! I sincerely believe listening to and reassuring patients is such an important part of nursing. These human beings in hospitals who are sick and vulnerable need friends of their souls, not grim reapers, caring for them. Nurses can sometimes be substitute confessors, children and even psychologists, or just a sympathetic friend to act in a charitable way. We are much more than our physical selves.

      When my mom was in the hospital for her last illness, when their was a nursing shift change, the leaving nurse and the new nurse would stand at the foot of the bed, and the leaving nurse would recite almost the entire medical workup of the patient. For my mother the list was long. Most of the issues were chronic but stable and non-life threatening conditions, but when you listened to the list, it sounded like she was one medical mess. And I thought, no wonder they believe she should just die, and we are foolish for wanting her to live on. They see her list of illnesses and not her. The list is overwhelming. They never knew or saw her when she was well and feeling good in spite of her chronic conditions, and all they see is a very sick lady with multiple medical issues. They look at the caretaker (me) who is hopeful she will recover as either deluded or in denial. It’s very sad. In former times, the attending doctor was usually the person’s doctor of many years, who had seen them both sick and well, who could truly evaluate just how dire, compared with their normal state, the current illness was. But now most primary care physicians are not involved in the day to day care of a hospitalized patient, and the assigned doctor as no reference by which to judge the person’s true medical status.

      It sounds like your patient beat all the odds, and survived the sometimes fatalistic attitude some doctors and nurses who have never seen the patient before have. I am glad God was given every opportunity to work with this man through his illness, and he was helped to live even though dire, because obviously this man got the point, heard God’s correction and repented. What joy in heaven that day must have been, when his guardian angel and Our Lord heard those words of remorse. How wonderful that you got to share that, and thank you for sharing it with us.

      You as a nurse are in a blessed position for Our Lord. I love that people of deep faith are tending to hospital patients and their care, offering love and support God wants to give, under the radar of the company line. You are my heroes!
      God bless.

      Liked by 3 people

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