Our Lady of Tepeyac, the Beginning of Conversion

our lady of tepeyac

By Charlie Johnston

Today, I reflect in a meandering way on Our Lady of Tepeyac, whose feast day this is.

I have been told that, as things unfold, faithful Christians (be they Catholic or Protestant) and faithful Jews are to be treated as full partners in the works of mercy, of reclamation and struggle that are ours. I am told that one of the great fruits of the Storm is that the divisions in Christianity will end and we will once again all be one. Sometimes people assume that, like a football game, there will be a winner and a loser. It is far more like the reconciliation of a great family that has long been divided against itself, which means that all will win. Protestants will once again enjoy the unity and foundation they have so long lacked as Catholics regain many charisms that have long been lost to them. I do not know how the Jews play in, save that they were the first people of the One God. I was at a presentation given by a Messianic Jew (one who has embraced Christ as the Messiah) once and he pointed out something very interesting. He said that if the Jews had not rejected Christ, the faith might well have been contained to the Middle East; but because of that rejection, it spread throughout the world by evangelical necessity, a need that would not have existed had the people to whom Christ was first sent accepted Him immediately. There is a mystery there, and one worthy of contemplation. What seems objectively errant is sometimes a means God uses to spread the faith. He wants all His children safely back.

Having been, in my life, first Protestant, then Catholic, I am intimate with many of the virtues and vices of adherents of both. The divisions are now of such long-standing (498 years) that the label is of little use in assessing the holiness of the individual adherent. In both faiths, there are many who claim the title as a mere adornment, a type of cultural identification with no more significance than the color of their hair or eyes. Then there are the self-righteous prigs, who use their self-identification as the base from which to blast away at others. Seeing through the eyes of satan, they live to find the flaw, to accuse, those around them. And like the satan, they have their reward.

God draws good even from evil. In my lifetime, the pro-life movement has been a prime example of that profound truth. Abortion is one of the greatest evils in history. But God used the occasion of this evil to bring Catholics and Protestants, particularly Evangelicals, into close collaboration with each other for His purposes. In the process, they have found a deep appreciation for the authentic Christianity of the other – and come to see each other as fellow workers in the Lord’s vineyard rather than ancient antagonists. I know few seriously faithful Catholics who do not have great esteem for the Rev. Billy Graham, nor do I know many seriously faithful Protestants who do not have great esteem for the late John Paul II.

Knowing what a stumbling block Mary is for most Protestants (including me, once) I have often been reticent about speaking candidly about her role in this Storm. But the Lord has instructed me firmly on the matter. The first Protestants – Martin Luther and later, even Calvin, did not abandon veneration of Mary. It wasn’t until the movement was about 150 – 200 years old that the first hints of real hostility to her arose, and only in the last few centuries has it become ubiquitous. It really didn’t even have much to do with her. In order to tar those who had held fast to the ancient apostolic teachings and sacraments, some branches of Protestants attacked them as idolators. Since Mary was the most venerated of all saints, she became the prime target of such venom, despite the Biblical assurance that all generations would call her blessed (Luke 1:48).

When the Lord came the first time, He took up residence among us. He may visit, but when He comes again to take up residence among us, it will be right at the end of time and to bring those of the saved who remain on earth to take up residence with Him and the saints in heaven. Because He will grant the mercy of reclamation from a mass apostasy one more time, He sends His mother this time to bring us back to Him and rescue us.

I know some get confused at all of the different “Our Lady” titles. They are all the same person, Mary, but they signify different things. It is the same with each of us. I am the same person, but I am sometimes son, sometimes father, sometimes boss and sometimes subordinate among many other roles. One of the most commonly known forms is that of Our Lady of Tepeyac, who is commonly called Guadalupe, and whose image appears with this post. I used to think the title, Guadalupe, was errant because I was told Tepeyac is the proper title for these times. But I have come to think of the dual titles as a profound sign of unity for all times. When the Americas were in need of evangelization, Our Lady came with a European title – a profound act of mercy. Now that Europe needs re-evangelization, the great Mother of Conversion comes with an American title, another profound act of mercy.

In 1531, the poor peasant, St. Juan Diego, was visited by her several times on Tepeyac Hill, near what is now Mexico City. Most of the missionaries in the Americas were well-intended, but they had utterly failed to convert the Aztec Indians. The average Aztec was caught between a rock and a grinding stone. Their indigenous faith, the cult of Quexlcoatl (the infamous feathered serpent) required constant human sacrifice. The pyramids always ran red with human blood. The Spanish and Portuguese explorers frequently enslaved native peoples. The problem was so bad that, in 1430, Pope Eugene VII had made enslaving a native of the Canary Islands a matter of excommunication. In 1537, Pope Paul III explicitly extended the punishment to the enslaving of American Indians, as well.

The Aztec culture had long prophesied of a woman who would free them from the bloody requirements of Quexlcoatl. When Juan Diego tried to report the messages of Our Lady to his bishop, the bishop quite reasonably demanded some proof. On his last visit to Our Lady, a bunch of wild roses were blooming at the hilltop out of season. Our Lady told Juan Diego to gather them up in his tilma (an apron made of cactus fibers, commonly worn by working peasants) and take the flowers to the bishop. When he dropped them from his apron in front of the bishop, the image with this post appeared on his apron. (Interestingly, tilmas rot, usually within 20 years – and never last more than 40. Diego’s tilma, with the image of Our Lady on it, still stands in the cathedral in Mexico City, vibrant almost 500 years later). The titles of Our Lady are always related to where she appeared or to what her primary role in that appearance is. Diego explained to the bishop that this woman was, in Aztec (phonetically) tuh-quad-luh-SHOE-pay, which roughly translated means “she who crushes the serpent.” The bishop heard the name of the European Spanish City, Guadalupe, rather than the Aztec phrase, which is how the title came about.

The miraculous image spoke simultaneously to two cultures. I could go into detail on what it meant to the Aztecs, but suffice it to say it was recognized as the deliverance from the bloody cult of Quexlcoatl. Within a decade, 10 million Indians converted and the Cult of Quexlcoatl was consigned to the ash heap of history. When the missionaries failed, Our Lady came herself and accomplished the conversion to the worship of Her Son. Our little efforts to re-convert Europe and to convert Islam may fail, but so long as we hold fast to Our Lady’s mantle, she will prevail.

I know that she wants to be called by what she says is her proper title for these times, Our Lady of Tepeyac, because she told me so. She is the Mother of Conversion and her work is not finished. Through her guidance, the Church will be renewed, the Old World will be re-evangelized from the New World, and; taking root in the heart of the women, Islam will be converted to Christianity. (Sadly, the latter will not be completed until we have met Islam in a great and bloody clash). This was a prophecy given to me 17 or 18 years ago – and I regarded the election of Francis, the first pope from the Americas, the New World, as the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy. She has instructed me to spread devotion to her under that proper title. I have done so privately and some miracles have been attached to it. Now I do so publicly. I urge you, when you seek relief from some great illness, sorrow or calamity, go to Our Lady of Tepeyac and ask her to speak to her Son on your behalf. The Prayer of Miraculous Trust acknowledges her in every instance.

As the Storm rages to a time when all despair, rescue will come through Our Lady in the form of the Immaculate Conception. I am told that it is in that fundamental form that she has appeared in Lourdes, Fatima and now Medjugorje. Interestingly, two of my most important Novenas each year, that to Our Lady the Immaculate Conception (Feast Day, December 8) and Our Lady of Tepeyac (Feast Day, December 12) overlap right in the center. The work of the two forms is inextricably intertwined, conversion and rescue.

As I converted, reverence for Mary was a big stumbling block for me. I knew that veneration of her had been part of Christianity for an almost unbroken 1600 years before some Protestants started derogating her. I knew that she was the one case in history where the parent proceeded from the child rather than the child proceeding from the parent. Yet the aversion was so ingrained, I had trouble with it and just avoided it. On the occasion of my reception into the Church, someone gave me a beautiful Rosary. With no little trembling, I prayed that God would show me – that I was going to pray this Rosary for one month without telling anyone, walking with Mary through the mysteries of Christ’s life. I asked the Lord to show me. If it was wrong I would quietly put it aside and never say a word about it. If it was right, I would never put it down. I would trust God to show me. I entered into one of the most astonishing periods of sustained blessing in my life during that month. So I joined Pope John Paul II in proclaiming joyfully, “Totus Tuus!”

I have written before that nothing has so enkindled Our Lord’s anger as the general indifference and contempt with which so many who call themselves Christian treat His mother. If you honor Mary, you may pray as you wish. But if you are among those who treat her with indifference or contempt, I am commanded to tell you that the Lord speaks to you in the same manner as He once spoke to Job’s ‘pious’ friends: “You have not spoken rightly of me as has My mother. I will not hear your prayer. Go to my Mother and ask her to pray to Me for you and then I will forgive you.”

Our Lady of Tepeyac, pray for us, that we may honor you and be Our Lord’s instruments for the conversion of the world.

About charliej373

Charlie Johnston is a former newspaper editor, radio talk show host and political consultant. From Feb. 11, 2011 to Aug. 21, 2012, he walked 3,200 miles across the country, sleeping in the woods, meeting people and praying as he went. He has received prophetic visitation all his life, which he has vetted through a trio of priests over the last 20 years, and now speaks publicly about on this site. Yet he emphasizes that we find God most surely through the ordinary, doing the little things we should with faith and fidelity. Hence the name, The Next Right Step. The visitations inform his work, but are not the focus of it. He lives in the Archdiocese of Denver in the United States.
This entry was posted in Conversion, Family of God, Mary Immaculate, Prayer, Prophecy, Solidarity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

391 Responses to Our Lady of Tepeyac, the Beginning of Conversion

  1. Kathleen Vacheresse says:

    Praying for you little one. Our Lady of Tepeyac pray for us


  2. Brad J says:

    Thank you Charlie once again for this inspiring and instructive writing. I have a tale to tell of a portion of my family’s path to the Catholic Church. We were reminded of it by your story of how it was difficult for you to accept Mary and the rosary, but how you entrusted the problem to God. If you don’t feel that this story is appropriate to post I will not be one bit offended. I will try to keep it as short as possible.

    I come from a Lutheran background and my wife from a Baptist background. Neither one of us felt any particular animosity towards Mary, but she really only ever featured in Christmas pageants for us. My father, who had been a Lutheran pastor had, along with my mother become Catholic while we were living overseas. A lot of folks thought he was nuts, but I knew him better than that and although I didn’t understand why, I respected his decision and was opened up to exploring what might have lead him to this decision. He sent me books…some collected dust but I read a couple and one was about Medjugorje. (This was in about 2000)

    This led to me taking my family there in 2003. My wife wasn’t all that keen on going as it was all so foreign to her, but she prayed about it and was given peace with the idea that she should go in obedience to me. On our group of 106 pilgrims we were the only Protestants and everything was way above our heads. At one point we were told to write down intentions for Our Lady and hand them in so that they could be presented to her at an apparition. This was all VERY foreign to us. My wife, who has always had a beautiful heart with an incredible love for our Heavenly Father, wrote something like this: Dear Heavenly Father, I’m not really sure what all of this Mary stuff is about and I don’t want to have anything to do with giving worship to anyone but you so please don’t let me fall into anything that would offend you. She then never bothered handing it in.

    That evening we were to go to the church to pray the rosary. My wife suggested that we sit outside behind the church on some benches they had that were facing Cross Mountain, a big hill on top of which the villagers had erected a large white cross. The rosary began and we were doing our best to try to keep up with what was going on given that different languages were involved as well as the fact that we had only just been introduced to it. Part way through she grabbed my arm and looking up at the cross on top of the mountain she asked me if I saw that. I didn’t know what she was talking about.

    It was towards evening on a day with a low broken cloud layer, not much higher than the top of the mountain and the wind was blowing the clouds so they were moving fairly swiftly. As the sun was setting some glimpses of sunset colors could be seen. That’s what I saw so I asked her to be more specific, but by then she was not answering but just gazing up into the sky by the cross. Following the rosary she asked me once again if I had seen anything unusual and then proceeded to explain what she saw. First there were several white bodies in the clouds that were distinctly different from the clouds and they were bent in prayer, she assumed them to be angels. The sky around these “angels” turned pink with a reddish tinge and the “angels” disappeared. She started to feel an overwhelming intense peace and the presence of God such as she had never before felt. Then as everyone dropped to their knees as the time of the apparition (they do this every evening at 5:40pm I believe) the colors became very vibrant and then one or two rays shone out of the pink directly to the Cross on Cross Mountain. As this was happening a small Cross appeared in the sky near the Cross on the mountain and turned to face the Cross on the mountain. Then all faded away and she was left with an immense sense of fear, awe and peace and warmth.

    Of course not having had anything to do with stuff like this before this is a lot to unpack, but my wife knew right away that this was an answer to her prayer, not wanting to offend God and she was shown both visually and internally that Mary leads us to Jesus. As it relates to your article Charlie, God’s Mercy in showing us the Truth about His Mother Mary if we open our hearts (even though we may have serious doubts) is truly overwhelming and awe inspiring.

    Myself, my wife and our two kids became Catholic in 2005 and it has begun a journey that we could have never before imagined and I am truly grateful that my wife has a humble child-like heart that trusted her misgivings to our Lord.

    Liked by 17 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you for this, Brad. We all see, as St. Paul says, through a glass darkly. But the good God gives helps to all those who ask Him with a sincere and humble heart.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Mick says:

      What an amazing story, Brad. Thank you for sharing it.


    • Doug says:

      After becoming Catholic myself as the result of my experience with Medjugorje, later, I learned even more about Mary’s role and how she was prefigurrd in the Old Testament much more than we realize.

      As a protestant, I used to wonder much about the Arc of the covenant. It almost seemed like the Israelis practically worshipped the Arc. If someone mishandled it, that person would be smitten by God and die. In the Arc was the manna in the gold jar, Arron’s staff and the stone tablets (10 commandments). This represented the bread of life, the great high priest and the word of God which all prefigured Jesus.

      Now, when the Bible was originally written, there was no segregation by chapter and verse. So picture no separation in reading it. At the end of Revelation chapter 11:19 , John says and the temple of God was open and there before him was the Arc of the covenant and there was flashes of lightening peels of thunder, rumblings, earthquake and hail. Immediately following this. John says a great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.

      The Arc of the covenant John saw was very simply Mary. When she was with child, inside her was the bread of life, the great high priest and the word of God. Now this is one reason why we have very high regard for the Blessed Mother! Merry Christmas.

      Liked by 8 people

  3. Ellen Lopez says:

    Thank you Charlie. When I first read your reflection when you posted it, I was struck in my heart with – how are the Jewish faithful among us to be part of the unity that we have been hopeful for in the Christian world. I am not opposed at all, but it stood out as a question in my heart and mind. Today, in meditation as I was praying the Glorious mysteries, I wondered whta was the difference in how Mary and Adam – both of whom were immaculately conceived (I believe this is correct theology) – yet one stayed in the Will of God and one did not. What was the difference? I came to realize that Mary had the benefit of the history of the Jewish people, the Old Testament prophetic call to faith in all its history. She anticipated the coming of the Messiah; she lived in an Old Testament, Jewish orientation to the world and to God that perhaps was the difference. I am so grateful for all those Jewish, Protestant and Catholic believers whose desire for God can be united with mine by God’s grace for His glory.

    Liked by 3 people

    • YongDuk says:

      Hi, Ellen; thank you for your Prayerful Insights!

      There is a slight distinction, if you would allow me: Adam and Eve were created immaculate, not conceived.

      The crux of the issue is Mary’s Love compared to Adam and Eve–without meaning to denigrate the latter in any way.

      Aristotle says basically and St Thomas Aquinas makes use of him in his theology: Love seeks the good of the other. Love desires to abide with the Beloved.

      When Eve was tempted, Adam seems to have been right next to her. He should have supported and cared for her, just as God gave him charge to care for (to till) the Garden. He should have sought her good. Like wise Eve should have sought his good. They both should have sought the Good of God and desired to remain abiding with their beloved(s).

      She faltered. He faltered. They fell. They no longer abided as they once did. (O Happy Fault!)

      Mary’s Love was different. Several great Saints talk about her Choice to love from the First Moment of her Immaculate Conception. (This is how Pope Leo XIII can state that She crushes the head of Satan from the first moment of her Conception.)

      There then is a difference: Mary grew up in that Love: the Love desiring to abide with, to belong to the Beloved, to seek the good of the Beloved. She fixed her will on God’s Will. (She fixed her Love — Love is of the Will, truth is of the Intellect –on God’s Love.) She grew up in innocence, moving through childhood in simplicity, moving into her youth taking that innocence and that love with Her in her Heart. She indeed could reflect on the world and its sinful and fallen state and remember Scripture and the Promise of the Protoevangelion and of Issaiah and long of God to send His Messiah, His Immanuel. She then, the Saints say, would have joined her Love in the form of prayers to elicit from God the Messiah to be sent sooner out of Love for God and His world: So that God would abide with His beloveds, that is, His People, both Jewish and Gentile: Immanuel, God with us.

      And in this fixing her Will and Love on God, She then constantly sought the Good of her Beloved!

      Adam should have sought the good of God and of Eve. He should have stood up to Satan in the Garden, even if that meant laying his life down! The New Adam did just that.

      The New Eve did what the first Eve did not: She did not even engage in that dialogue with Satan which is a crack to let him in.

      Jesus was tempted in the Desert and look how He responded. You, then, would have to imagine that Mary too was tempted. Yet, She, the New Eve, too responded in a completely different way than the first Eve.

      You are right, She would have had the History of her People in Scripture, like Jesus did, to quote back to Satan. But it is as you say, She had the Will to not to want to sin, to not to want to not do Good to her Beloved and the absolute desire to abide with her Beloved, including His Incarnation as Immanuel! (A great reflection for us in our weakness: She not only did not sin–She did not even want to sin.)

      The difference and the answer to your question / meditation then is Love, pure and simple!

      Pax tecum,

      Liked by 6 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      In my Day by Day bible, the reading for the day titled: Jesus our Mediator, states:

      With the Jews, we Christians are aware of the awe-inspiring greatness of God. Hence, we repeatedly pray to him through our Mediator, Jesus Christ. Being conscience of our own sinfulness, we know that there is one who is human like us but sinless. “Through him we [Jews and Gentiles] have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18)
      Think of this when you pray in church “We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.”

      Liked by 3 people

  4. luvmercy5775 says:

    Holocaust Hanukkah Story

    With all the current interest and comments regarding the Jewish connection, I felt sharing this story would be a blessing to NRS readers.

    Miketz: The Ninth Flame – The Meaningful Life Center

    Auschwitz memorial
    As heard from a Holocaust survivor, who was an eleven-year-old child in the camps. Today he is 71 years old and living in the United States.

    Chanukah 1944. Auschwitz.

    It was exactly 60 years ago. Time moves very quickly and very slowly for me. 60 years ago is both like yesterday and like a 1000 years ago. Those horrible days are frozen moments that never go away. Yet they are also very distant and apart – from another universe, another era.

    I will never forget the last Chanukah in the barracks. Most of us were so consumed with scrapping together any morsel while avoiding the attention of the guards that we had no inkling which day in the year it was. Especially in those last weeks before the liberation, the Nazis were particularly unpredictable and cruel, and the chaos only made matters worse.

    Yet there were a few who always knew the exact dates. They would tell the rest of us that today is Shabbos, Pesach and other significant days.

    On this particular day a man would tell me that it was Chanukah.

    That morning I went to the infirmary to try smuggling out some balm – anything to help relieve my father’s open sores. His disease – I am not sure whether it was Typhus or some other cursed ailment – was eating his body away, and whenever I could sneak over to see him I would see him silently struggling for some relief. As a child I was completely overcome by the sight of my suffering father.

    That particular day, when I finally snuck over to my father’s bunk – if you could even call it that, it was more like a cattle pen – he was no longer there. I became frantic.

    An older gentleman, who I did not know but I often saw talking to my father, came over to console me. He too did not know when my father was taken – to this day I don’t know if it was the disease or a Nazi bullet that took my father to heaven – but his was a calming presence.

    Today was Chanukah and we celebrate the victory of the few weak over the many powerful oppressors.

    He told me that today was Chanukah and we celebrate the victory of the few weak over the many powerful oppressors. We light the candles to demonstrate that our light is stronger than any darkness. Your father would be very proud to know that you carry on his light despite the blackness around us.

    I was so moved by his words – and all the memories it brought back from my earlier years in Lodz – that I suggested to him enthusiastically that we should light the menorah tonight. He sort of smiled to me the child – a smile hardly concealing his deep anguish – and said that it would be too dangerous to try. I insisted and made off to get some machine oil from the factory.

    I was so excited. And for this brief moment I was able to put aside my grief. I slowly made my way back, so not to be noticed, to the barrack with my treasured bit of oil. Meanwhile the strange gentleman had put together some wicks, apparently from clothing or some other material.

    Now we needed fire to light our makeshift menorah. I noticed at the end of one building smoldering cinders.

    We agreed that we would wait till dusk and at an opportune moment we would light our Chanukah lights.

    Wait we did. As we were walking over to the cinders a guard, one of the especially ruthless ones, noticed us and grabbed away the oil and wicks we were concealing. He began cursing and frothing at us. A miracle seemed to happen when his superior barked some command that apparently needed his participation, and he ran off with our precious fuel.

    The miracle however was short-lived. The animal yelled back at us that he will soon return to “take care of us.”

    I was terrified. The gentleman was absolutely serene. And then he said to me – words that are etched into my every fiber until this very day:

    “Tonight we have performed a miracle greater than the miracle of Chanukah. We have lit a flame more powerful than the Chanukah lights.

    “The miracle of Chanukah consisted of finding one crucible of oil, which miraculously burned for eight days. Tonight we preformed an even greater miracle: We lit the ninth invisible candle even when we had no oil…

    “Make no mistake. We did light the Menorah tonight. We did everything in our possible power to kindle the flames, and every effort is recognized by G-d. G-d knows that we were deprived by forces that were not in our control, so in some deeper way we lit the Menorah.

    “We have lit the ninth flame – the most powerful one of all, so powerful that you can’t even see it.”

    The man then promised me: “You will get out of here alive. And when you do take this ninth invisible flame with you and let it go free. Let it fly like a bird.

    “Tell G-d that as great as His miracle of Chanukah was, we preformed an even greater miracle: We lit a candle even when we had no oil.

    “Tell the world – show them the light that has emerged even from the darkest of darkness. We had no physical oil and no spiritual oil. We were wretched creatures, treated worse than animals. Yet, we in some miraculous way we found a ‘crucible’ where none existed – in the hell fires of Auschwitz.

    “The fires of Auschwitz annihilated not just a Temple. They burnt to ashes the people themselves. In the Temple’s destruction the Divine wrath was released on ‘the wood and the stones.’ Here they have consumed our lives.

    “So there was no oil. Not even defiled oil. No oil, period. Yet we still lit a flame – a flame fueled by the pits of darkness. We never gave up.

    “Let the world know that our ninth flame is alive and shining.

    “Tell every person in despair that the flame never goes out.”

    As he finished these last words, the Nazi beast returned and viciously led him away behind one of the barracks…

    I made my escape. A few weeks later the Russians arrived and we were liberated.

    Here I am today to tell you the story of the ninth flame.

    * * *

    Editor’s afternote:

    Chassidic thought explains that the light of Chanukah is rooted in a place that is beyond light and dark. It therefore has the power to illuminate and transform even the darkest darkness. As stated in Psalms (139:11-12):

    Surely the darkness will shadow me, then the night would be light around me. Even the darkness conceals nothing from You, and the night shines as day; the darkness is as the light.

    I have yet to find a source for the “ninth” flame, but perhaps the mysterious gentleman was referring to the secret Chanukah light that is beyond darkness and light, which only emerged in a place with no oil.

    Image by Sebastian Ilari/Flickr.
    Note: Occurred to me that the old man who comforted the boy and told him we would live may well have been an angel in disguise. With faith like this, can anyone really believe these people are lost and not beloved of God?

    Also, of interest is the fact that Chanukah begins on the 25th day of Hebrew month Kislev. This corresponds to the 25th of December –Christmas Day!. That it is celebrated for eight days takes us to the day of Jesus’ circumcision which is central to Jewish faith. It’s based on Genesis 17: 10-14 , and officially marks entry into the community of God’s chosen people — the people through whom the Messiah would be born. I can’t imagine that these parallels are accidental. To God be the glory!

    Liked by 8 people

  5. luvmercy5775 says:

    Something else I felt worthy of mention. Copied below is the churches first reading for Saturday Dec.12. As true of Catholics, Jews also have set weekly readings which are followed throughout the world. So isn’t it interesting that this same passage was read in synagogues on Saturday Dec. 12? An encouraging word to be sure. And note the specific mention of Judah — not the entire twelve tribes of Israel.
    Saturday, December 12, 2015
    Reading 1 – ZEC 2:14-17
    Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!

    See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.

    Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
    and they shall be his people, and he will dwell among you,

    and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
    The LORD will possess Judah as his portion in the holy land,
    and he will again choose Jerusalem.

    Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the LORD!
    For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Mick says:

    What a beautiful piece, Charlie. Thank you. I hope you have a very blessed and peaceful retreat in the mountains. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Patricia says:

    Thank you everyone who prayed for us last week when I was “off my rocker” due to extremely serious health problems in my family. The first, a young adult, has had surgery and waiting to hear if he needs chemo. In my heart I feel not. His cat scan was on the 8th (clean) and his surgery was on the 9th ( successful). The second, a young mother, has had a proper diagnosis and hopefully her situation will improve. I know I have been blessed by all your prayers because the difference is a grievous heart and now a hopeful heart and, most importantly, the positive results. Thank you again Charlie for your kind words and prayers and help.
    Here’s hoping we all can live a blessed Christmas.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. dolordee says:

    Dear CJ, Yong Duk, and Daniel. I have a question for you theologians. Although it might seem like a dumb question. I read the diary of St. Faustina at least 20 yrs. ago, and have been saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet ever since. And also after reading Luisa Picaretta I have been trying to live in the Divine Will, so consequently I felt that I had walked through Christ’s door of mercy, which I took figuratively. Now that a door of Mercy has been opened in this Jubilee year, does one have to walk physically through the door of mercy to not taste Christs justice. I have appreciated and enjoyed all of your writings and insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      We Catholics love ritual…for Our Master, Himself, loved ritual. When Jesus cured a blind man, He wet some mud and rubbed it on his eyes. He didn’t need to do that: His mere thought would have cured the blind man. When the Pharisees wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery, Jesus made a great show of writing in the dust with His finger. When the man with the withered hand wanted healing, Jesus told him to “stretch out his hand.” That was not necessary for Jesus to heal Him…the mere thought would have done it.

      We are spiritual and physical beings. Jesus NEVER neglected the physical needs and the comfort of touch – even telling the family of the little girl He raised from the dead to get her something to eat after Her raised her (always made me think with a chuckle that dying must be a hungry business). Living both the physical and the spiritual in the course of our devotions ministers to both the foot that is in this world and the one in the next. I am confident of God’s mercy, having received it in such abundance, but I will joyfully go through every Holy Door I see this next year. It’s a festival!

      And I am NOT a theologian – though I am instructed by some masters of the subject.

      Liked by 6 people

      • LukeMichael says:

        I think this is the incarnational aspect of our faith, that God took on flesh to save us and uses all of creation to effect his will. Blood water mud spittle: it is all live giving in God’s hands.

        I am told that what Jesus was writing in the dirt with his finger were the sins of the Pharisees holding the rocks!

        Liked by 2 people

        • zeniazenia says:

          Hi Luke Michael, Jesus’ incarnation, His human body, broke God’s Covenantal Death Curse on Adam (and his descendants – once and for all )–and only a sinless human man was eligible to do that. Jesus didn’t redeem us as a spirit—Jesus saved us by dying as a sinless Son of Man, the New Adam, just as Adam was sinless when he entered the garden… just as Mary is the New Eve. YD would remind us… Jesus’ Love is the difference.
          St. John wept because he had infused knowledge (as we understand Charlie also clearly does) that all men in history are sinners, so there was sadly no man who could come forward to open the scroll.
          Book of Revelation– beginning of Chapter 5
          1.And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;
          Jesus is the Victor over Death by offering His Body. He is our New Covenant of Everlasting Life!! Amen!!! –Jane

          Liked by 1 person

        • zeniazenia says:

          I would love to read your paper LukeMichael, Let’s figure out how to use the forum for this! God bless you. –Jane


      • Doug says:

        It is a physical sign of our act of faith and love. Now I am a guy and an engineer and am very pragmatic. I could never see buying flowers for my wife as practical since I knew they would die in less than a week. Why waist the money? Some how, my wife just never really saw this the same way I did. It has taken me about 25 years to figure out that there is great beauty and love in buying my wife flowers and she absolutely loves the gesture. Come, to think of it, I have not bought some recently. Ok. I know what I’m doing later….

        Liked by 3 people

        • Mick says:

          Ha, Doug! I am a girl and a math geek and very pragmatic. I could never see my husband buying me flowers as practical since I knew they would die in less than a week. Why waste the money? My husband was cool with my way of thinking… until a few years ago, when he started buying me flowers a couple of times a year. My reaction is always, “What are THOSE for?” I always have to remind myself to snap out of it, smile, say thanks, and just “smell the roses.” 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • jlynnbyrd says:

        Charlie, I love your reflection on the matter. When Jesus healed, he asked those He tended to take action. I think about that in context to TNRS. We must act. As eager as we are to see the fruits of the rescue, we must go about our daily business.
        My dear mother, God rest her soul, occasionally she still speaks to my mind with her loving wisdom. Last night when I was making soup, impatient as may I tend to be, I heard mom remind me that *a watched pot never boils.* It hit really hit home that that message applies to the Storm/Rescue and my/our waiting for it. So while that pot is heating and not quite yet at a boil, I will wash the dishes and clean the counter because staring at that pot was accomplishing nothing other than distracting me.

        Liked by 5 people

    • Katherine says:

      Of course you don’t HAVE to walk through the physical doors in order to throw yourself into God’s ocean of Mercy, but what could be easier? Sounds like you’re doing an awesome job pleading for Mercy for the world and yourself. The doors of Mercy are an extra, even easier thing, for everyone. Some people can get a little worried about whether or not their prayers have been heard, some might worry that they haven’t willed to be in God’s Mercy “hard enough”. Walking through Doors of Mercy can put people at ease. Walking through doors is also something even someone with almost no habit of prayer can do. Praying even every so often may not be where people are at, spiritually, and the Doors of Mercy are like an extended invitation, from God, to approach His Mercy no matter what your spiritual life is like. I think of it like confession: where we are assured forgiveness of our sins because of absolution and we don’t have to worry about having a perfect act of contrition. The priest takes our imperfect acts in the confessional and Jesus accepts them. We’re physical and spiritual beings and it’s not good for us to live in our heads all of the time. Doing something concrete can solidify certainty in our minds that we have done what will be accepted and we don’t have to worry about it. After all, we can’t even earn Mercy, Mercy is something freely given, absolutely freely given. All we have to do is ask for it. I’ve asked God to put me in His “Mercy” pile, but it felt really great to go through the Doors of Mercy at the Shrine for Divine Mercy on Sunday. It feels good to do physical things for God sometimes. I’m not so proud that I wouldn’t walk through a pair of doors to ask for mercy, especially if the doors were so close to where I live and I could get there with ease.

      Liked by 3 people

    • YongDuk says:

      The Church typically publishes a guideline for gaining indulgences during Holy Years, such as Visiting this or that Shrine. She in Her Maternal Care also includes provisions for those who cannot make such Visitations, but who likewise want to gain fruits from the Holy Year.

      Charlie says it well… as do the others.

      I stumbled upon the Holy Door at the Cathedral here today–literally. The thing’s usually closed!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Petra says:

      Well, dolordee, the Church has granted a plenary indulgence (under the usual conditions of Confession, Communion, and prayers for the intention of the Pope) for actually walking through the physical Holy Door at what is known as a pilgrimage church during this year of Mercy. You can see more information about it here:

      As for me, I’m going to try to walk through the Holy Doors of a pilgrimage church as many times as I can this year (there are three such churches close enough for me to do this, although it will take some effort on my part). It’s a great blessing.
      God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dolordee says:

        Thank you Petra for your concern, and link to the information. The requirements for the sick or elderly were exactly what I needed to know to acquire the indulgence. I tried to reply to one of your other posts but the word reply to click on was missing. I just wanted to tell you how surprised I was to see the word “pierzyna”. It brought back many memories. Most of my pillows are made from the feathers in my aunts last pierzyna in the family. They too had a farm in Pennsylvania. God bless, Dee


  9. Snowy Owl says:

    Isn’t Our Lady of Tepeyac also the Title the Blessed Virgin promised to end abortion under? I recall reading this. How perfect since this is another form of human sacrifice, how miraculous this would be!

    Liked by 3 people

    • zeniazenia says:

      Hi Snowy – Our Lady sadly understood how the Aztec mothers felt after their children were sacrificed. Our Lady’s visitation to them stopped that form of sacrifice — at that time and place– so we do hope abortion will soon only be a frightening memory for us and nothing more.. Regarding the image–I wonder what the meaning is for the red, white and blue (or blue, white and red for France) color of the eagle wings on the angel holding our Lady’s garments. Jane

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Vijaya says:

    Charlie, thank you for your wonderful instruction. I am only beginning to appreciate Our Lady of Tepeyac (feels strange in my mouth to say it but I will honor Our Lady’s request). I have a beautiful children’s book with gorgeous paintings by Jorge Sanchez-Hernandez, written by C. Lourdes Walsh. http://www.amazon.com/Story-Lady-Guadalupe-Empress-Americas/dp/1412068266/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450126484&sr=8-1&keywords=our+lady+of+guadalupe+c.+lourdes+walsh

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mick says:

      Vijaya, we also have that book. My daughter loves it and is saving it to give to her little brother when he’s big enough to take proper care of it.


  11. dolordee says:

    Thank you Charlie for the beautiful answer. I know you’re not a theologian, I just phrased it that way for brevity. I’m an oldster to this site. I would joyfully go through the door as if at a festival if I could. That’s why the concern. I can’t do that anymore. If it’s necessary I will have someone take me, and pray for a good day. I will try my best because your analogies were extraordinary.And I do want to be part of the festival.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Charlie, thank you. I have a HUGE image of Our Lady of Tepeyac in my home. It is a digital life-sized image, and I ordered it online years ago. It sat rolled up in a poster tube under my bed for several years (um, 5-7?) while we were doing some renovations in our home. Last year before Christmas, I brought it to our priest rolled up and asked him to bless it, my husband built a custom-made frame for it, and we finally have it displayed in a small room in back of our house that has very high ceilings, so it’s large enough for this beautiful image. I live in Baltimore City and it was a great comfort during the riots we had not so long ago, keeping me centered even as I listened to helicopters and sirens all night. My teens tease me about it gently, but they also love it, I know.
    I also prayed a novena to the Immaculate Conception, and I am currently renewing my consecration to Blessed Mother – Consecration day is January 1st. I read at Mass the other morning on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (I’m sorry, this is what it’s called in the lectionary), and I was afraid I might break down with emotion just reading about the woman clothed with the sun. I have experienced her grace and presence in my life in so many concrete ways. In fact, I sometimes joke to myself and with the Lord that they play good cop/bad cop – she is the good cop and Jesus is the bad cop. hahaha! I love Him, and He knows and I know this is tongue in cheek. But my point is that she is the way that His lavish gifts are delivered. She is his pure instrument and channel through which there are no obstacles to His grace. And we remember that He is the one who gave her to us. Let’s thank and honor and take the hand of this most gracious mother. Our Lady of Tepeyac, pray for us. We love you!! ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • zeniazenia says:

      Hi Daughter– great story! I would have a room dedicated in such a way to our Lady Yes! Especially in the midst of an urban area. It may become a chapel during the Rescue. The good cop -bad cop suggestion is not lost on me or God –most likely. (if we can see the correlation well then…) This reminds me of a well known comment by St. Teresa of Avila. ‘While Teresa’s spirituality was a deeply reverential one, her humor also evinces a kind of playfulness in her relationship with God. Once, when she was travelling to one of her convents, St. Teresa of Ávila was knocked off her donkey and fell into the mud, injuring her leg. “Lord,” she said, “you couldn’t have picked a worse time for this to happen. Why would you let this happen?” And the response in prayer that she heard was, “That is how I treat my friends.” (Fr. James Martin on the Humor of St Teresa of Ávila James Martin S.J. | October 15, 2013 )
      We who run to Our Mother can all tell stories about her gentle gentle ever present love. – Zenia Jane

      Liked by 3 people

    • zeniazenia says:

      This is the earliest known prayer to ‘the Mother of God’ 250 AD They were already referring to Mary as Theotokos.!
      Beneath your compassion, we take refuge, O Mother of God.
      Do not despise our petitions in time of trouble
      but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one.’

      Liked by 4 people

  13. barb129 says:

    I’m so sorry Marie. I will be praying that your bishop decideds to open holy doors in your cathedral.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, barb129, I appreciate your prayers.
      I just wrote a reply, but suddenly it disappeared. Apologies if this is a repeat.
      I wish you, your family and everyone here an abundance of blessings in the year to come. We are going to need them…

      Liked by 2 people

  14. moreen67 says:

    The article “Trump and the American Macho Pushback” was a good read….


    Liked by 2 people

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