A Few Flashbacks

(I reprint today two pieces I wrote late last year. The first relates to the disappointment on the seeming complete sellout of the Congress to the President’s agenda in the budget. The second has to do with the eruption of demons last year which have spread confusion and despair across the world this last year. I do not reprint these to say I told you so, but so that you may have more confidence that I have told you true in telling you of the Rescue and the simple way of the next right step in cooperating with Him in accomplishing it.

I know the satan wants to foment feelings of betrayal in this coming year to create a sense of despair. I want you to pray for the impotent and avaricious politicians. Most did not intend to betray, even though that is the effect. Rather, in no little bewilderment, they try the things that have always worked for them to stabilize things – and instead they make them worse. Even the president is like a spoiled little kid, brattily blaming everyone else when his ill-conceived plans turn to ashes. This is the meager harvest of a culture that gives “participation” medals and routinely applauds itself without accomplishment. It is the fruit of credentials without competence, diplomas without intellectual rigor, entitlement without merit, merit without reward, and offense without consequence. Our elites, were they not doing so much damage, would be pitiable. – CJ)

  • First, the piece on politics…

Mammon is Fallen…And Great is the Fall

world-in-his-hands

At the homily at Daily Mass today, our priest delighted me. The Gospel reading was from Matthew 6:24, where it says you cannot serve two masters, that you cannot serve both God and mammon. Normally, I groan through the childishly oversimplified definition of mammon as money or wealth when this Scripture comes up, which mistakes a part for the whole of the matter. I wanted to stand up and cheer when our priest said that mammon is not merely money as many seem to think, but an attachment to worldly things, to a secular way of thinking.

This is at the heart of what is both good about the election results and why those results will make little difference in the progress of the Storm that is upon us. The systems we relied on to make both Western Civilization and America great bastions of freedom and opportunity are shot. They are tattered beyond repair. America was the final flowering of Western Christian thought before the Enlightenment divorced philosophy from theology, reason from faith. Barely a decade later came the firstfruits of the Enlightenment, the bloody and murderous French Revolution, which replaced one form of tyranny with another, far more brutal variety while pretending it was all for “the people.”

God, the Judeo-Christian God, is the firm foundation upon which Western Civilization was built and rests. I am uninterested in specious arguments from pseudo-intellectuals about the evils that Christian kings and rulers did through the ages. The Advent of Christianity did not usher in heaven on earth. As I have often said, we only get heaven when we actually get…heaven. From a social standpoint, what Christianity established was a framework to build upon, grounded in that which gives life. We were shown a way which, we would not fully attain to in this life, but which pursued with vigor and intellectual rigor, grounded in faith, would lead to a great advance in human dignity, in human freedom, in living together in harmony. We were given a system which, if followed, would allow each generation to get a little closer to the reality of Christ than the one before it. Each generation was able to build, brick by brick, upon the foundation and structure that was laid before it, getting ever closer to actually building a City of God.

In the first few centuries before Constantine, these were merely the claims of Christians, though the small Christian communities that dotted the Middle East, Northern Africa and Europe bolstered that claim. Once Christianity took root, it proved those claims, slowly, generation by generation. It was a way of thinking, of believing and of living that built up rather than tore down.

Now, I am going to digress for a moment to preempt the fools with a little learning who would point to the Dark Ages as a repudiation of the Christian impulse towards dignity. Modern ignorance of basic history, philosophy and theology is utterly astounding. I know that most people think the Dark Ages were a Christian phenomenon – because they have been taught that by anti-Christian polemicists near as ignorant as themselves. The Dark Ages were brought on by secular princes who feared that knowledge dispersed among the people was a threat to their power – that it should be suppressed in order to secure their ambitions and dreams of glory. Even half-wit secularists could deduce this without a great deal of study by following the logical conclusions that rise from the facts that, during the Dark Ages, the monastic movement took deep root. In the Monasteries, the monks went beyond copying Sacred Texts by hand and began to also copy out classic secular writings, the great ancient philosophers, that they not be lost to humanity entirely. It was in the Monasteries, during the Dark Ages, that the progenitors of the modern library and the modern university took shape. It has always struck me as a fine irony that, when all mankind abandoned faith en masse, it was the very home of faith that actually kept reason alive. The Dark Ages were the first great progressive movement, a determination to treat the great mass of men as dependent dogs to be ruled and cared for by a few elite princes who would decide what was best for each.

So what is good about last week’s American elections? What it reveals about the heart of the people. For generations we have steadily been pulling away from any public acknowledgment of God. That burst forth in the last decade in one major, perhaps predominant ideology, commonly called the left or progressive movement, that is openly hostile to God, Christianity, American traditions and values, and Western Civilization. We have bought almost completely into the toxic spirit of antichrist, that good can only be done without reference to God. Having marched through the cultural institutions of our society, it has reigned politically triumphant for the last six years. People have seen what it has wrought. It is not an increase in dignity, in brotherhood or in prosperity. The mass has started to reject it.

The problem is that the right is not a Godly coalition. Oh, it is not openly or even – for the most part – covertly hostile to God as the progressives are. It just thinks that God and talk of faith is ancillary to solving real problems – that, at best, God is just a brick in the wall rather than the foundation supporting the entire cultural edifice. The right will merely tinker at the edges of the corrupt edifice the left has erected. Who really believes the new Congress will firmly put a stop to the legal assault on small business owners living their religious conscience? Will anyone at the IRS and other public agencies that have targeted conservatives, Christians, and pro-lifers for their beliefs be held to account? Will a balance in powers be re-established, or will the new Congress just squeal impotently and hold show hearings if the President continues to unilaterally do whatever he feels like?

Even if the new Congress reacted with vigor on restoring a genuinely Constitutional order the nation is largely run by a bureaucratic class that has grown to beastly proportions and was removed from all accountability to the public – or elected officials – through Civil Service laws. Even if it tried to get the beast under control, the underlying financial structure is damaged beyond repair. It will crash because it has spun so out of control that government accounting measures are designed to hide the extent of the damage rather than reveal them. It will crash because there is no network of genuine collective international security institutions that are more than a facade. NATO exists on paper only. Throughout the globe, nations understand that they are on their own and must scramble, as best they can, to survive. What would happen if Russia invaded Poland? What if Iran invaded Israel? Who would stand effectively against Chinese adventurism in the South China Sea, Mongolia, even Japan? No one believes the United States would intervene effectively on behalf of any ally any more. Shoot, I’m not sure if the United States would do much more than send letters of protest if Alaska were invaded. The United States has been the prime guarantor of Western Civilization for a century now. When that guarantee loses credibility, it leaves foes looking to take advantage of the vacuum and it leaves old allies looking for new alliances that might secure their survival.

I caught a little flack a few weeks back when I noted that Russia has done nothing yet that does not make strategic sense to me. Some assumed I was praising Vladimir Putin, or that I endorsed Russian aggression and adventurism. It was neither. But I was irritated by shallow analyses that made Russian actions seem the dreams of a madman, a modern-day Hitler or Genghis Khan. To paraphrase a Chicago Alderman from the last century, “Geo-politics ain’t beanbag.” Some are horrified by Russian brutality. Well, so am I. But Russian rulers have been notably brutal going back into antiquity, whether they are Commissars, Czars, or roving bands of rival warlords. That the modern ruler acts as all Russian rulers have for almost a thousand years may be deplorable, but it is not a sign of national insanity. And frankly, it wasn’t all that surprising to me. Russia has long defined national greatness in Western terms while preferring medieval Eurasian methods of achieving its aims. It is part of what I describe as its thousand-year identity crisis.

Whether or not Russia has embarked on a mad quest of conquest must be judged on its actions within the framework of what it perceives to be its national interest. I have written before that, ever since the break-up of the Soviet Empire, there has been debate over whether Eastern Ukraine would be part of Russia or part of a Ukranian nation – both in Ukraine and Russia. It has been governed from Moscow for centuries and most Eastern Ukranians regard themselves as Russian, including religiously. While the technique used to justify the Russian invasion resembled the Nazi justification for the invasion of Poland, it is substantively different. If the American Union broke up and California became part of Mexico, an American invasion of California to take it back might be advisable or not, but it would not constitute irrational adventurism. That is roughly akin to the invasion of Eastern Ukraine. Once there was even a hint of danger that access to the warm water port in the Crimea might be at risk, invasion was inevitable. Whether good or bad, handled well or poorly, it was not irrational. It made geopolitical sense. Now if Russia were to invade Western Ukraine, that would be a different matter – more like the U.S. invading Mexico. It also would set up cultural problems, for Eastern Ukraine is Eastern Christian just like Russia. Western Ukraine is Western Christian, which would be an ongoing source of potential strife and disruption. It does not make geopolitical sense in any obvious context.

But let us take a look at the larger geopolitical framework. Vladimir Putin made a seminal speech at the Valdai Conference in Sochi last week, a speech that the western media has barely deigned to notice. I was particularly struck by the second fundamental point, that all systems of global collective security lie in ruins and that it is the United States which has destroyed them. It confirmed what I have thought about Putin going back for about a decade.

Russia, better than any other nation, understands the implacable supremacist ambitions of China – and its long-term, carefully patient strategy. For years, Putin longed to have an American Nixon to play off against, someone who understood geopolitical realities and was not put off by tough talk. The world was more dangerous and volatile than any one power could handle – and there were things, regardless of what was said, that were better off handled by others. Russia naturally wants influence in the Middle East. During the Bush years, Russia tried to advance its influence, but was largely content to let America handle it with only a few pro forma protests. Very simply, the Middle East is filled with a bunch of excitable Muslims – whose brothers are right at Russia’s door in Chechnya and other Republics. The potential for blowback was huge. While occasionally piling on, Putin was confident America would take the danger seriously and keep it contained. Russia would holler about defensive radars planned for Eastern Europe, but accept it. Why? It knew the United States was not going to invade Russia – and that, though those radars were justified as preventing Russian adventurism, they might come in right handy when China got to feeling its oats. Putin did not consider Bush a great geopolitical thinker, but he was a competent and responsible player on the world scene.

Fast forward to the Obama foreign policy as it unfolded. If you were watching for it, you could literally see Putin’s growing astonishment, dismay, and finally contempt for American fecklessness. When Obama cancelled the radars set to go into Poland within the first days of taking office, Putin was astonished. Gladdened perhaps, but shaken that the new American President did not even try to get a concession in return. In international relations, the only thing you give for nothing is nothing. It was an early warning of a new American incompetence on the very basics of international diplomacy. No one wants an incompetent dance partner.

When America allied with Qaddafi’s Libya as a useful partner in suppressing violent Jihad, then abandoned him at the first sign of trouble; when America abandoned the Egyptian ally most responsible for maintaining stability; when America ignored the rebels and sided with the Mullahs as serious potential revolt rose in Iran, Putin came to realize that America didn’t even know which team it was on anymore. When America began berating and undercutting Israel and siding with the very Jihadist warriors who were trying to destroy both Israel and America, Putin realized that while America might still have the toys, it was no longer a great – or even significantly consequential – power in world affairs.

It had to be a terrifying moment. Understanding clearly the meaning of China asserting its muscle in the South China Sea and the massive build-up of its conventional forces, Putin had to wonder to whom he was going to turn to balance growing Chinese power and adventurism. The United States might one day be a force again, but allying with it now was a good way to get toppled. A century ago, Europe was chock-full of great powers. Now it is composed of simpering eunuchs who would be useless in a real fight. (Apologies to my European readers, but your nations have castrated themselves). Japan, perhaps, but its relations with Russia have almost always been a troubled encounter – and it has enough worries with N. Korea and China acting up in its vicinity. Whatever they want to do, Africa and Latin America are not in a position to project useful power that far from home and are not likely to be any time soon. India can be a useful ally, but only if you can negotiate the knife edge between Indian and Pakistani mutual hostility. Australia is resolute and useful, but geography suggests it may want to hedge its bets with China.

The bottom line is that, at one point, Putin realized that China was rising, he was the only major world figure to take it seriously, and he stood almost alone. China needed to know that Russia had not gone soft – and Russia needed to shake up the world framework to defend its future.

It jumped into the Middle East with both feet when Obama fumbled the ball with Syria. Putin’s play might have seemed cynical, but he advanced two causes. First, he gained a foothold in real influence in the Middle East, demonstrating he was willing to be patron to other Islamic client states if they wanted it. This made sense because it was clear America was no longer effectively able to contain the volatility of that region – or even willing – and Putin always knew someone had to. Second, if the Jihadists on his borders created trouble, it would be useful to have some Muslim allies who might help dampen it down.

The invasion of Eastern Ukraine served a multitude of purposes. First, there was the ambiguity about which nation it rightly belongs with after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Historically, it is Russian. Second, the Crimea is vital to Russia’s ability to project naval power – and the lack of effective naval power is, incidentally, the only real weakness in China’s massive build-up the last few decades. Third, it demonstrated to China that it will project power if it perceives it to be in its interest – so that it is better for China to be a friend than an enemy for now. Fourth, it demonstrated to smaller countries wondering where to go given the vacuum of reliable American power, that it will exercise power to protect perceived interests and allies. You do not have to agree that this is HOW things should have been done to understand it is not just random madness. Even the Russian elder statesman most respected in the west, Mikhail Gorbachev, advised the west to take Putin’s speech last week to heart.

The real kicker is that Russia is exercising a brutal, medieval Eurasian temperament to uphold western Christian values that the west, itself,  has largely abandoned. So, American officials are counting on temporal political means to grapple with what are, at bottom, fundamental religious and cultural issues. It seems the Americans are using the right means for the wrong argument while the Russians are using the wrong means for the right argument. Meanwhile China lurks.

Mammon is falling as God rises actively in human history again. People act, advancing His purposes unknowingly. And the Storm draws force.

  • And now, the piece on the eruption of demons late last year…

Musings – Take No Thought What Ye Shall Speak

christ-between-the-baptist-and-the-satan-disguised-as-an-old-man-1508

In the early morning hours of Saturday, December 20, (2014) I was woken up to receive a brief, but intense visitation and conversation with my angel. I am still contemplating it before submitting it and the full implications of it to my directors.

At the heart of it was the warning that the satan has sent his minions now to foment despair, and that the most faithful are the primary targets. Naturally, I thought of attacks on families and disorders so violent that people went into panic. But I am contemplating another form right now. For many of the most faithful, their security comes from feeling they have this largely knocked. They know what to expect and how to expect it. Even bad things won’t usually shake them, if it is consonant with what they expected. But if they find things are not like they thought they are, they can go into despair and decide there is no God or that God has deceived them.

Contemplate Job’s pious friends, who had their expectations blown right out of the water when God actually appeared. Contemplate all the priests and doctors of the law, who thought they knew precisely what the ancient prophecies meant. Their knowledge was so certain that almost all of them dismissed the actual Messiah as a fraud when He came.

I do not write this to chide any of you, but to plead with you. If your votive interpretation of something the Church has not formally pronounced on is prickly and defensive, you probably do not trust in God, but rather trust in your interpretation of what God is. This century, which was given over to satan, is now nearly at its end – and satan has carefully mounted his final attack on those who are seemingly the most faithful. If you sit from a pious perch and pass internal judgment on those around you, this year you will find yourself in the seat facing judgment. If you are completely vested in your own judgment and interpretation, this year, God will permit satan to slap the complacency right out of you – whether your interpretation is right or wrong. If you are a brilliant theologian who has come to functionally think that Christ is man’s creation and you are master of the intricacies of this creation, rather than a humble servant of the living God, this is going to be a very hard year for you, indeed.

It is God’s will that all be stripped of human vanity before we are fit for rescue, both the subtle vanity of the pious and the obvious vanity of the impious. When the reversal comes for you, I tell you to keep your faith in God, humbly accepting that you did not know as much as you thought, rather than despairing of the possibility of God. This year, many of the most pious will enter the dark night of their passion. It is not God forsaking you, but burning away the last obstacles to pure union with Him. It will separate what is dross from what is gold…and if you are engaged with your expectation of God rather than God, Himself, you will be terribly shaken. I will touch on this more tomorrow when I write about concerning the consecration of Russia.

*********

I have spread the Prayer of Miraculous Trust, as it was given to me over a decade ago when I was told it would be the prayer through which God would help His people to endure the Storm. It is a prayer of abandonment to God’s will before all things. If people treat it like a magic card, it has no force at all. I have a repugnance for the misuse of such things as magic tokens – and a fear that it could be treated as such.

The heart of this prayer is abandonment – of embracing, not just accepting, whatever God’s will is. If it were treated like a magic card it would be useless, just another sensation in an age that has too many cheap sensations as it is. I appreciate those of you who have benefitted directly from it showing restraint and giving thanks to God.

*********

Finally, I leave you with two of the most refined links I have ever read.

First is Mark Mallett’s piece from the Feast of St. Stephen on the Christian Martyr-Witness. This brief, but powerful piece, blows away the mindless conceit of those who try to use the murderous butchery of Islamists to try to discredit Christians.

The other piece, by Pelianito (who comments by her given name of Janet Klasson here), entitled “Diamonds From Coal” is one of the most subtly sublime and refined pieces I have ever read.

My homies are on fire!

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 Prophecy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

166 Responses to A Few Flashbacks

  1. prayingflower says:

    Thank you, Charlie. I look forward to reading another…or two, in this case…of your masterpieces.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia says:

    Thank you Charlie for taking the time to do this. The two pieces helped.

    Like

  3. Phillip Frank says:

    I wanted to touch on another prediction you made concerning that this Christmas would not be like the past ones.
    One thing I have noticed is my salutation “Merry Christmas” has been met with complete indifference, if not even some nervousness, on the part of who I give it to.
    I mentioned this to my cousin, and has noticed the same thing.
    Seems the extreme religiosity being condemed toward ISIS is having a trickle down effect toward Christianity.
    The parallell deceptions of the enemy have borne fruit in this way by our condemnation of radical faith action of his followers being turned against us for our “radical” ideals ( pro life, pro marriage,etc,).
    The most disconcerting thing for me about this is the fact that I live in one of the most Christian counties in the state. Seems the politically correct act proglomated by our media is doing it’s damage even here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lily says:

      I have noticed this in Canada too. No one has said Merry Christmas to me in any shop or on any street (even though decorations have been out since Thanksgiving). Sometimes they say it back when I say it first, but it seems embarrassed or awkward, once scoffed at. I would be glad to hear Happy Holidays, but I haven’t heard that either. It is so sad! Growing up, even 5 years ago, everyone said something to everyone else, and were happy about it. Also, I have seen only a few nativity decorations in all my travels.

      It is true, Charlie, this year I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life, the problem is it concerned one of the most important people to me. I thought the relationship was different/stronger, and now it seems terribly broken, yet ok/polite on the surface. I still feel the need to apologize, explain, or talk somehow even though that did happen immediately afterwards. I’m afraid it might make things worse, so I’m trying to chill and act normal.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Francis Philip says:

      I have also experienced this nervousness. A religious soul I know even says “God bless you and happy holidays” instead of mentioning Christ, probably because we have a neo-Muslim in our midst. I said “merry Christmas” it a cashier the other day who, through her charity, obviously seemed religious. She fidgeted and returned, “Well, you have a nice day.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Patrick of South Dakota says:

      To Phillip and Lily,

      There is some hope.

      I was eating at the Firehouse Brewery in downtown Rapid and as I sat waiting for my hamburger, I heard:

      “Round, yon Virgin, mother and Child…Christ the Savior is born!”

      I strained to listen over the crowd and couldn’t believe my ears! I told the waiter to get me the manager immediately. He came and sat down, probably expecting the worst.

      I said to him, “You know, this is sad that I feel compelled to say this to you because Christmas always used to be Christmas. But I must thank you for your courage for playing real Christmas music here!” (Courage! I said)

      He smiled gratefully and said he had actually gotten a lot of complaints, so it was nice to hear someone supporting it.

      So if you hear someone playing music about our Savior versus white snow, holidays, and bells, let them know you approve, because those who oppose it are so persistently vocal.

      Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 10 people

    • Patricia says:

      Frank,
      If this makes you feel any better, I live in one of the most secular states in the union (MA) and I have noticed people saying “Merry Christmas” to me more frequently than past Christmases and saying it back to me in return. Almost as though they feel “I’ll say anything I want to say” type of thing.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Christine says:

        I have heard Merry Christmas more this year than ever! Seems like people are just getting bolder with their beliefs, Praise God. I’m from New England.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Nancy says:

        ditto from the Midwest–flyover country

        Liked by 2 people

      • zeniazenia says:

        Hi Patricia, I have noticed many service workers saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in the stores in CT. I return the felt heart ‘Merry Christmas’ in a louder voice, giving a big wave goodbye and a big smile as I leave. It is such a pleasant change this year.–Zenia Jane

        Liked by 3 people

        • Patricia says:

          Maybe our differences are being brought out into the open which is what I think I have heard is going to happen. Now,,,, where did I read that?????? 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • audiemarie2014 says:

          I bought some supplies and juice for my vapor cig the other day in my old haunts. A lot of the smoke shops there are owned and run by Muslims. As I was about to leave, the man who waited on me looked at me sheepishly and said, “Merry Christmas!” Maybe he noticed my Miraculous medal I was wearing or I looked like a Christian. 😉 Of course, I wished him a Merry Christmas too. It was a little sad because just a few years ago, I wouldn’t have had an uncomfortable feeling in the back of my mind, yet I couldn’t help but smile at him.

          Liked by 6 people

          • zeniazenia says:

            I shop at a Jewish deli where I can always find the ingredients for Polish Christmas Eve herring delicacy 🙂 śledź . The person who assists me and I always have the sweetest and somewhat unsure but peaceful interaction. He first offers me a ‘Merry Christmas’ and I wish him a ‘Happy Hanukkah’. It is clear that we desire to be at the table together and know this is a dream that is absolutely possible. For starters, we use the same śledź recipe! Maybe next year I should offer him a Merry Christmas too. Anything is possible when the grace of Charity comes first. –Jane

            Liked by 4 people

        • LukeMichael says:

          Yes Jane my wife and I both feel that it is different this year and we are getting a lot more Merry Christmas greetings than previously. Even stuffy old Ct is tired of PC! It also seems less commercial to us. God bless!

          Liked by 4 people

        • Doug says:

          Man. I’m jealous. I’ll I’m getting in NH is happy holidays 😦

          Like

      • dianebelv says:

        I am located in the midwest and I must say that I am hearing Merry Christmas said often and even loudly when I am out shopping! And every time I hear it, or say it, I get this nice big grin on my face! Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

        Liked by 4 people

      • ann says:

        Patricia,(and Phil and Frank et al) I live in secular New England too and I have noticed lately people saying “Merry Christmas”–although I said it to a store clerk a few days ago who looked startled and didn’t reply. Perhaps one benefit of the Trump Invasion is a courage to be less politically correct. I read yesterday that students signed a petition to forbid White Christmas being sung!! Too “Racist”, no doubt. My husband who is the most secular of secularists, said to me “what in the heck is going on???” So even he is getting disturbed by these bizarro trends. He thinks political correctness has taken us off the rails. Let’s hope it’s a quiet, growing swell of public sentiment to keep Christmas as Christmas. A very happy and refreshing thing to relate: at the theme park Santa’s Village this past weekend, I saw (in company of my grandchildren) a huge creche with life size figures and not far removed a huge cross right in the center of the park. In that cold blustery air it warmed me all over. Even though it was Santa and the elves everywhere, here in the center was the “reason for the season.” Bravo Santa’s Village.

        Liked by 5 people

    • Petra says:

      I was a little surprised when buying religious stamps of Our Lady with Child yesterday that the Post Office clerk said Merry Christmas at the end of our transaction. I was really heartened, and made happy by that. Then, later, the clerk at the grocery store where I picked up a few things said the same, Merry Christmas. So nice. Made my heart happy.

      In a way, I kind of like the low key way Christmas in public is this year. It seems to me the agnostic Christmas without Christ may have run it’s course. What can you do if there is no reason for the day? And there is no reason for the day without Christ. The public commercial overkill that normally seems to dominate these weeks leading up to Christmas seems flatter than other years to me. It seems the general irreligious population don’t know where to go with this. They have to ask, what exactly are we celebrating? But for me, I was able to actually keep Advent better than I ever have in the past because Christmas (as celebrated by the seculars) didn’t keep infringing on these days. And my heart is just growing in anticipation of Midnight on Thursday/Friday. It’s really cool.

      God bless.

      Liked by 5 people

      • zeniazenia says:

        ‘Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
        Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
        A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
        Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
        And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40 :1-

        Liked by 4 people

      • jlynnbyrd says:

        Susan that is so sad and God-willing will only be temporary. Isaiah: Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
        I’m singing out loud…
        yet the love of the Lord will stand
        as a shelter for all who will call on His name.
        Sing the praise and the glory of God.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Mike S. says:

      To slightly revise George Orwell, in times like these, saying “Merry Christmas” is a counter-revolutionary act!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Simone says:

    Hi Charlie. Thank you for reposting these. Being Canadian, I wonder if we will continue to stupidly stand impotently with the US because we are so politically correct and complacent.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      You’ll find your bearings…but probably only after the U.S. has found its bearings anew.

      Like

    • YongDuk says:

      You have Janet and Mark up there, Simone, so God definitely has you.

      Then you have your wonderful Shrines in Quebec that make such a great pilgrimage, from St Joseph’s Oratory to Notre-Dame-du-Cap to St Anne’s (and seveal Saints right along the way that St Kateri Tekakwitha (in St. Francis Xavier church), St Andre, Magharite d’Youville, Bl. Frederic and more) — made all the better fasting on poutine! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. SanSan says:

    Thank you Charlie for sharing all of this. Between you and Mark Mallett, I’ve been getting a crash course in history, philosophy, theology and current events. So much to meditate on…..but I’m just swallowing bits and pieces so as not to choke. God Bless.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. johnmcfarm says:

    Thanks Charlie, I really needed the second article…been feeling a bit like Job of late…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Francis Philip says:

    I had a similar (yet unstudied) view of Putin’s move into Ukraine and about Obama’s conduct (that he means well, but does not know what he is doing). I have known the feelings of despair in 2015 as you have stated, Charlie. I think that I have survived a couple of events, having been able to acknowledge God’s grace enough to rise above. So, I try now to be more disinterested in the things of mammon, and this gives me a lot of peace.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. Becky-TN says:

    Thank you, Charlie.

    It seems the Lord likes to really “work on me” at Advent. It’s been a tough one. Steve BC reposted a quote from you…”what you desire most will be used against you”. It is so true. Wish I weren’t so hard-headed!

    Merry Christmas to everyone! Family coming in tomorrow (please pray for peace – will have each end of the spectum on politics AND religion in the house!). I’ve made it a point to say “Merry Christmas” to those I meet. Many have happily returned the gesture; some have acted actually appreciative to be told “Merry Christmas” – especially service workers, Mall, AC/Heating guys…it’s a tough time of year for them.

    God Bless,

    Becky

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patrick of South Dakota says:

      So, Becky, once everyone sits down for dinner and after grace, why don’t you open with:

      “SO, HOW ‘BOUT THAT DONALD TRUMP, EH?”

      Liked by 5 people

      • charliej373 says:

        Ha ha, Patrick…but she would have to do it in her best Jimmy Johnson voice!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Petra says:

        Patrick of South Dakota said, “So, Becky, once everyone sits down for dinner and after grace, why don’t you open with: “SO, HOW ‘BOUT THAT DONALD TRUMP, EH?””

        Then duck, because you don’t want to be hit by the flying mashed potatoes or get a bread roll in the face…. :-0

        (Good one, Patrick! Made me LOL!)
        God bless.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Patrick of South Dakota says:

          Thanks for finishing it for me, Petra. I envisioned a food fight ensuing!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Patricia says:

            In my house, that is exactly what someone will say. Or Bernie Sanders instead of Trump, but you get the idea. A cooler head will eventually call a truce but in between, oh vey.

            Liked by 3 people

        • Monica Joseph of the Blessed Sacrament, OCDS says:

          Oh, well, I have refrained up till now, but I will briefly wade into the “food fight” to say that I have grown fond of “the Donald,” after doing some reading and watching him not just in the debates; I previously did not care for him at all. Basically, though, (and Charlie, with your political background you can correct me on this as to the validity of the analysis I’ve seen) — since he has been self funding, he is not beholden to the usual “powers that be” and their (apparently globalist) agenda. He does seem to me to genuinely care for the well being of the country, unlike the Republican majority, whom I cannot believe did not even muster up the will to defund Planned Parenthood after all of David’s work and sacrifice to expose the evil there. Or, as I have now started to quip, “Trump is the one person in the race who has never cast a vote against my interests.”

          I actually think his skill set as a CEO and long time supporter of the military and veterans ( he apparently was responsible for getting built, and maybe personally funding, the New York memorial to Viet Nam vets, as well as always positively mentioning and appreciating their service). Now, if he would go back to being squishy on life issues, well, I follow the Church’s teachings there. So. And, he would not seem to be a good choice for “pastor-in-chief.”

          But, as you say, there will not be a 2016 presidential election, so this all would be a moot point. 😉

          Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Well, there will not be a presidential election, but if there were, I would not support the Donald. I appreciate his blunt talk about how messed up and venial our parties are, but I can’t see how he believes in anything except that he is the stuff. I think he is every bit as narcissistic as Barack Obama. A few years back, he was supporting abortion at any time for any reason. Running for the Republican nomination, he decided he better be pro-life – except he recently said he will not de-fund Planned Parenthood. He is all for securing our borders now – but he criticized Mitt Romney in 2012 for being too restrictive on immigration. He believes in giving government the power to forcibly take people’s land for commercial purposes. There is almost nothing Trump proclaims to believe in now that he has not been against in just the last decade. I think he is a demagogue, pure and simple, who finds what he thinks people want to hear and jumps in front of it, claiming to lead. If he won, you wouldn’t know until after inauguration whether you were going to get the pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro-Obamacare, pro-tax and spend, pro-open immigration guy he recently was, the iteration of himself he chose for this election cycle, or something entirely new. But as a society slides into chaos, it is almost an historical constant that obvious demagogues become more attractive to an increasingly desperate populace. I thank God that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump – nor Bernie Sanders for that matter – are going to be the next national leader.

            Liked by 12 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            The support Obama and Trump receive is mind blowing to me. Our poor citizens are so confused — to be drawn to those two sides of the same coin– even though from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Our political system is a broken joke. That realization years ago is what made me think a total reset in our world is the only possible future reality.

            Liked by 4 people

          • Doug says:

            I think Donald has triumphed in everything he does. What greater challenge and stroke to the ego than to become president.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Well, he has had five bankruptcies and, last I heard, has less net wealth than what he initially inherited. His story is not quite as impressive as he makes it out to be when you take a look at it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Diane says:

            Charlie and friends –
            I see people are up bright and early today, I thought I was one of a few east coast early birds – I want to wish everyone on our NRS site a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We have all 5 adult children home for Christmas – and I am thrilled:) Love to all of you. Hold fast the Christ as Charlie says and all will be well. Love. I do.

            Liked by 7 people

          • SanSan says:

            I agree with Charlie. If we do our research, we can find that satanic Freemason’s and the Fed Reserve (pvt. bankers, elitist) pull the strings in America and the World. It would be hard for me to believe that Trump is not one of their front men. We know that Hilary, Obama, etc are controlled by them. I pray that a “God fearing” leader, of strong faith, someday emerges to bring truth and order into our desperate, dark, disordered nation.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            I must interject, here, SanSan, that I am not impressed by supposed secret societies. They exist, yes, but for the most part are pathetic dweebs who have very LITTLE control over anything. We don’t have some human shadowy masterminds running everything into the ground from the shadows. That does not mean there is not a conspiracy. There is. It is from the satan and his demons – who opportunistically use people in transient positions of influence to accomplish bits, than chews those poor pathetic dweebs up and spits them out when he is finished with them.

            I get nervous about such assertions because when we think there are shadowy human masterminds pulling all the strings, it encourages us to rely on our own wits to come up with a counter-plan. When we know it is the satan, we count all the more on God and direct ourselves to evangelize and participate in the Rescue of our poor brothers caught in his clenches, thinking they are powerful.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Amen Charlie.

            Like

          • zeniazenia says:

            Reminds me of the infamous, “But we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what’s in it….”

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Eeeeewwwwww. Now I might rather eat meal worms than think about this…..

            Liked by 1 person

          • Monica Joseph of the Blessed Sacrament, OCDS says:

            Thanks, Charlie. I do appreciate your political insight, since you spent many years in that arena. The articles I see in support of him focus more on his ability to break the globalist stranglehold apparently being put on all our elected representatives, as evidenced by the current budget monstrosity. I may be naive enough to think a leopord can change his spots ;), but I also at least realize that may be being naive. And, the parallels to the first blush of support for Obama are not lost to me. But, at least Trump puts his own money where his mouth is, and he doesn’t bash the country that has been good to him.:/ As is my usual course, I watch, wait, and analyze information as I get it, so as to hopefully not be taken by a demogauge, but there is always that possibility. :/

            Merry Christmas, everyone! My husband is finally recovering from his kidney infection, so it is a very merry Christmas indeed, even if I do think I may have caught the flu. :/ Still, what a blessed holy day for us all!!!

            Liked by 3 people

          • SanSan says:

            Interesting point Charlie. But I do believe that Satan is busy using the Freemasons, those in the Fed. Reserve and many of the elitists that run govts in the world for the purpose of enslaving the masses for their own gain. I don’t trust Trump and know that he has changed stripes more than once in the past, especially on abortion. Believe me, I’m not clever enough to depend on my own wits…….running to Our Lord at every turn in life and trying to stay under the mantle of Our Blessed Mother for guidance and protection. I do pray for those who are caught in the clutches of darkness and know that only by the grace of God go I.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Petra says:

            Well, honestly, the whole campaign season seems to me to be not much more than some sort ill conceived and lightly scripted “reality” T.V. show, ala the Donald’s last show, The Apprentice. I guess I believe the other candidates are really running, but it seems to me that the Donald’s appearance was to put on another show, only on the national stage with the MSM doing the filming. His purpose is to give Hilary Clinton a foil, to play the Republican fool; for him to mouth extreme and bigoted conservative sounding remarks, like a liberal imitating what they think conservatives think, and to generate interest in the political race in a population bored by these political races. In my out-of-whole-cloth-speculation, it seems to me the only reason Donald Trump is running (and as a Republican, no less) is as a kind of way to make national politics like a Jerry Springer show, not so much for his own ego, but as an agent for those who want Hilary to appear to be the absolute and obvious best choice. The whole thing seems to be a little like Championship Wrestling; lots of bravado, posturing, and fake throws, cries of pain, and finally triumph of a pre-selected contender. Very boring, very stupid, and really, really condescending. I hope it’s only my somewhat vivid imagination that thinks this. Regardless, I just tune out.

            God bless, my friends.

            Liked by 4 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            I agree with you wholeheartedly, Petra. I try not to pay any attention to all this nuttiness. It sure does seem like a setup and an absolute folly. People are being sucked into it and it is ridiculous. How can they fall for it? We have been spiraling downwards for decades and it is hard to imagine we could fall much further.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Petra, brilliant as usual. Highly opionated, but brilliantly put!

            I just say “buckthorn.”

            Like

          • SteveBC says:

            Kim sevier, when I read your comment about the nuttiness, and how you’ve been trying to ignore it, and it’s a folly, I swear I thought you were talking about how everyone here has fallen for the squirrel meme. Honest, I thought your remarks were absolutely hysterical!

            Then I figured out you were talking about the nuttiness of the world and were totally serious. Wow, talk about falling back to earth. Merry Christmas anyway. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            Ha Stevebc! I was talking about our political system! Of course the prevalence of squirrels and nuts on this website must have subliminally influenced my choice of words. But darn— I wish I could be funny when I am really trying to be! I mentioned earlier that I was so happy to receive my ornament today with a squirrel adoring our Baby Jesus. Just in time. Now I must settle down for a long winter’s nap as it is the night before Christmas! Blessings!

            Liked by 3 people

    • SteveBC says:

      Becky-TN, I pray that your family time goes better than you expect. 🙂

      The quote, as I remember it, is “What you desire most is most effective against you. Desire God and all shall be added to you.”

      Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 5 people

    • MomofSeven says:

      Could someone please explain “what you desire most will be used against you”?

      Like

      • charliej373 says:

        The actual quote is, “What you desire most is most effective against you. Desire God and all shall be added.” It is for contemplation.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Beckita says:

          Thanks, Charlie. I think I’ll take up calligraphy after the Rescue and spend my days painting colors, just gorgeous beautifully juxtaposed, sometimes blended colors as a background and then add, in calligraphy, your wisdom sayings.

          Hey Lisa! I could get a full line of products ready for Full of Grace Supply House. I’m not sayin’ what I’ll do with my share of the proceeds, but I’ll bet most can guess where they’re goin’.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. Rose says:

    Thank you for this article sent to me by a wonderful friend. I have noticed that the people I have been dealing with have gone out of their way to wish me a Merry Christmas. Let’s keep wishing it to others, no matter what. I often wish them a blessed, peaceful Christmas. Who could be offended by that?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. MaryE says:

    I feel blessed that most everyone I’ve met has been happy to say Merry Christmas with a smile here in Colorado. I’ve felt that the Spirit of Christmas is alive and well – more people smiling and helping each other and driving courteously. (I’m not in Denver!) And it helps to be the first to smile! God bless us every one!
    Thanks, Charlie for all you do to share what the Lord has given you!

    Liked by 4 people

    • the phoenix says:

      Hi MaryE,

      Interesting … I was just talking to some people about driving courtesy in different states, and complimented Colorado on being a friendly place to drive. My guess is you’re tolerant of sea-level visitors like me who drive up into the mountains and then discover they have trouble breathing at higher elevations, so native drivers tend to be understanding and compassionate. Wishing you and all here a very Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 4 people

  11. Mack says:

    These two pieces are even more timely now, especially this part about Congress:
    “The right will merely tinker at the edges of the corrupt edifice the left has erected. Who really believes the new Congress will firmly put a stop to the legal assault on small business owners living their religious conscience? Will anyone at the IRS and other public agencies that have targeted conservatives, Christians, and pro-lifers for their beliefs be held to account? Will a balance in powers be re-established, or will the new Congress just squeal impotently and hold show hearings if the President continues to unilaterally do whatever he feels like?”

    Check, check, check,…. everything has happened just as you said, and even worse. Obama unleashed is not accountable to anybody and no one is holding him to account.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Doug says:

    Always good!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: A Few Flashbacks | Chris Lyford

  14. Phillip Frank says:

    I just posted a comment at the end of your “The Pope and the Wolves” thread.
    I think my post should be mentioned here as well since you predicted Pope Francis would make a major blunder and I’m wondering if this is it?
    I quoted from the Pontifical Councils document on the New Age Movement called ‘Jesus Christ The Bearer of the Water of Life’ which rebukes some of the notions which Pope Francis seems to be asking for on the Climate debate.

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      Honestly, Phillip, I don’t know what it is. I think it has been his emphasis on political matters at the expense of spiritual ones, but there may yet be something I have missed or is to come.

      Like

  15. gotoJoseph says:

    Your mention of demons working double-time in 2015 to sow despair in the hearts of the faithful really pierced me. I find myself questioning the decision to pursue ministry work versus high-salary career now that the finances are starting to get tight, especially so since the serious attacks on the ministry itself began. I was seriously thinking for the first time to walk away from the ministry work to better support my family financially. Then I saw in an office yesterday this verse from Galatians “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.” Now your post has me thinking what seems a practical matter to me might be more spiritual than I realize. Maybe too much reliance on my own thinking than on God’s grace. As you have mentioned in the past, it is usually pretty straightforward to discern the next right step. But every now and then….not so much. Have you experienced this at times as well in your journey?

    Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Oh yes, Joseph. I spent years trying to get away from it all. As recently as a few years ago, when I was still hidden, I was so frustrated and unsure of what to do that one of my priests had a blunt talk with me where he appealed to me not to give up. May God bless and keep you. I have asked the Lord to send St. Monica to help and guide you through all difficulties. Do what seems most right to you, but do not let resistance or weariness be the cause of your decision. Duc in altem – cast out into the deep.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. JimH says:

    Thank you, Charlie.

    I’ve been following your site for about six months now. I found you via another site that I frequent that was dedicated to understanding the financial crisis we are in and how to be prepared for its collapse. Ever since 2008/2009 I’ve felt an urgent need to prep. I’ve felt things weren’t right for a long time and in the last couple of years have been saying to close friends that things seemed to have changed. What that was I didn’t know but I’ve felt uneasy.

    To say I’ve been a fallen Catholic would be an understatement. I was raised Catholic and did all the things one does growing up a Catholic but I think it was because my parents felt obligated to have me do that. I even graduated a Catholic High School. After I graduated I turned away from the Church and God. Not in open hostility but due more to indifference.

    Since my son was born I’ve felt a need to be better prepared to answer his questions about God. More so now that he has started religion classes. After reading your article on Our Lady of Tepeyac recently a voice in my head kept saying to pray the Rosary. I’ve never done so and can’t say I know anyone who ever has, or at least has confided it to me. I purchased a Rosary looked up on the Internet what to do and last Thursday I prayed it. I can say at least the voice stopped saying it constantly to me. 🙂

    To say I feel completely overwhelmed by the knowledge, faith, and commitment of the people here would be to put it mildly. It’s good to see there are people with such good hearts. I am glad I’ve found your site and hopefully I will be able to take the Next Right Step and be a sign of hope!

    Liked by 17 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Welcome Jim, both to the website and to a deepening conversion. I was a single Dad – and my kids were still little (4 and 5) when I was received into the Church. It was the defining point of our lives. I lived through more trials after that than ever before, but there was a core of peace, of real fortitude that was absolutely unshakeable. What joy we have had, living in the presence of God in good times and bad, in all simplicity. So glad to have you back!

      Liked by 7 people

    • Petra says:

      JimH: God bless you!!! So glad you are back in the fold. :-))
      Those pesky inner locutions that tell you to do stuff….:-) :-). I’m sure it’s our Guardian Angels. Once, a long, long time ago, when I was fallen away, I kept *hearing*, “Go to church.” “Yeah, yeah,” I’d say, and not do it. A few weeks would pass and I’d *hear,* “Go to church.” Finally I smiled and said, “Okay, okay already!” Never looked back. 🙂
      If you haven’t done it already, I’d recommend you pick up a copy of the John Paul II promulgated Catechism of the Catholic Church. You may need to brush up on doctrine, and it’s a great place to start.
      God bless. You and your family will be in my prayers.
      P.S. Welcome home, my friend.

      Liked by 6 people

      • JimH says:

        Thank you all for the warm welcome. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is actually one of the books we bought when my son started classes. I glanced at it previously but shall begin reading in earnest. Again, thank you.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Kim sevier says:

      Yeah JimH! Way to listen to the Holy Spirit!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Beckita says:

      You’re a sign of hope, Jim H!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Patrick of South Dakota says:

      Jim,

      Your life’s journey sounds so similar to mine and I’m sure to many others. Welcome home. And praise God how you listen to your heart and the unmistakable call to pray the Rosary! I remember printing out instructions in 2007 and fumbling my way through, and within a short time positive changes began to take place. Today, the Rosary is an indispensable and cherished part of my life. Praying it has become a yearning rather than an obligation — I almost can’t wait to spend that precious time with Jesus and his Blessed Mother. And the half hour passes by so quickly now…

      For several years I too have felt this need to be a bare-bones, well-prepared, self-sufficient utilitarian — freer from material burden and in a better position to help others. And after meeting Charlie a few months ago, this mindset is now beginning to make some sense.

      Interestingly, this past year I’ve felt the inner “call” to prayer become much more insistent, more urgent even — has anyone else experienced something like this too?

      Liked by 7 people

      • Beckita says:

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Patrick. I love this: “For several years I too have felt this need to be a bare-bones, well-prepared, self-sufficient utilitarian — freer from material burden and in a better position to help others. And after meeting Charlie a few months ago, this mindset is now beginning to make some sense.”

        I was blessed to attend Catholic grade school, high school and college for my undergraduate degree. By my early twenties, I no longer prayed the Rosary.

        Twenty-one years later, I was walking from a pilgrim house to St. James Church in Medjugorje. I awkwardly pulled out my newly purchased beads (I who had left my Peace Corps experiecne in West Africa with a wound in my heart for peace among all peoples of the world), and said to Our Lady Queen of Peace, “So you say the Rosary will bring peace? I begin again with this prayer.” By the end of the second decade, the previosuly silver links on my new rosary had turned a shiny golden color. That’s when my inner call to prayer for souls first came, twenty-five years ago. And, yes, it is now more urgent than ever… praying for a rich and bountiful harvest of souls!

        Liked by 9 people

        • Patrick of South Dakota says:

          Great story, Beckita. And another testimony that supports the graces that abound in Medjugorje.

          My Rosary is just looking tarnished.😔 *Sigh* I guess I’ve got to try harder to focus on the meditations instead of allowing those pesky thoughts that creep in to my undisciplined and self-centered mind. (Or I could go to a jeweler and ask him to plate it for me.)

          Merry Christmas, sweetheart!

          Liked by 3 people

          • Beckita says:

            HaHaHa, Patrick!!! When I returned from Medjugorje, I immeditaely took my rosary to a local, privately-owned jewelry shop and told the jeweler my story. He looked more than irritated. I asked if he could identify the metal now that it had changed color. He retorted that oils from my hands had caused the discoloration. I explained the rosary was only 3 weeks old so he said something like, “Hmph!” Then he went to his backroom to put the rosary through a “thorough cleansing process.”

            When he came out, he looked rather sheepishly at me, handed me the now brilliantly shining golden links and shook his head saying he had no idea what the metal was or how the links could have ever changed like they did. I thanked him very much for his time and help. He just scowled and walked away. Somehow I felt I might have been interacting with a Catholic who no longer believed and simply prayed for him.

            I think distractions are a pretty universal experience. One site which I have enjoyed visiting, before I found my way here, is the Spiritual Direction site to which Charlie has a link on this site. One of the most popular videos concerns distraction in prayer. It surely gave me food for thought: http://www.spiritualdirection.com/2013/03/04/struggling-with-distractions-in-prayer

            A very Merry, Happy, Holy Christmas, Dear Patrick!

            Liked by 3 people

        • jlynnbyrd says:

          Beckita, I love that story. My children’s great aunt on their father’s side was a nun and had that happen to her Rosary when she was in Fatima. The rosary brought me back full force to my faith after a time away too, after my mother died in 1987. I was not angry at God. I was horrified by how the fairly new pastor at our church responded to me at her wake.
          As a rule, I am not one to *be noticed* and am content to stay in the background. Matthew, Chapter 6 really resonates with me. Don’t get me wrong, I can take center stage and will not need a microphone, when necessary. 🙂 Father did not know me. I was in my early 20’s and outside of mass volunteered at their carnival yearly and was a regular donor when the church had blood drives.
          My parent’s illnesses had kept them from being *regulars* at church at this time in the lives. When I greeted him at my mother’s casket by name, he said with great sarcasm and raised brows, “YOU (pause) knooooow me?” It broke my already shattered spirit and I did not walk back into my parish church that I had received all of my childhood sacraments in until 7 years down the road. At first I felt justified, and later this incident became the perfect excuse to *blame* someone other than myself for not being an active and participating Catholic. Having children changed that for me. Our Blessed Mother and the Rosary (which I hadn’t prayed up until then) guided me home. Thanks be to God and His precious gifts of grace and mercy.
          By the way, I returned to my childhood church when I was Godmother to my sister’s daughter for her Baptism. During the homily, this same pastor gave an impassioned talk on sorrow, sin and begging forgiveness that spoke directly to my heart as his eyes seemed to be gazed directly at me. I broke down in tears and melted in forgiveness for him even though he continued to be outwardly haughty for his +20 years in that role at the church.

          Liked by 6 people

          • Beckita says:

            WOW, jlynn! What a story of faith and forgiveness! Thank you for sharing it. I especially appreciate how you respond to God’s Grace.

            Praying for this priest. When people behave in such a manner, I often wonder what kind of wounds have precipitated such nastiness. Oh yes, I’ve been nasty in life. May the Lord have mercy on each of us.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            ..and on the whole world. 😉 Amen!

            Liked by 5 people

        • Doug says:

          Wonderful Beckita!

          Liked by 1 person

        • LukeMichael says:

          Beckita

          I love your sincere and generous, insightful posts.
          They are full of holiness, mercy and love, always so positive!
          I am so grateful for you and all who post here.
          This year we are on the road for Christmas, a wonderful end to a beautiful Advent season. You will all be with me fellow NRSers in my prayers. Christmas is celebrated with our extended family thanks to the blessings of our married children. Wow, I could never have foreseen this, praise God!
          On Dec 26th we will celebrate the baptism of our little granddaughter, Anna, a presentation in God’s temple.
          Last Saturday we learned of the engagement of our only unmarried child who will be bringing a bit of the East into our big Irish family, a new daughter, a Ukrainian Catholic.
          Mindful of my own spiritual poverty, I am awed by our Father’s generosity!

          Merry Christmas to all here and my continued prayers for your health and well being!

          LucMichel!(thank you, Yung Duk)

          Liked by 2 people

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            Luke, wishing you and yours a safe and blessed Christmas Season.

            Like

          • Beckita says:

            Wow, Luke Michael, a baptism on the day after Christmas! I love the little Anna in the temple image. Congratulations as well on welcoming another daughter to your family.

            I agree with you about our commenters here. We are so blessed with and by each other.

            Travel mercies be yours, LukeMichael, with The Christ Child’s Blessings of deep faith, love, joy and wonder imbued in your clan.

            Like

      • jlynnbyrd says:

        I have indeed, and feel that for every inch I give, God gives me a mile. Most truly blessed to be a member of TNRS family, with Charlie as our patriarch and am filled with calm despite temporal challenges.
        May the joy and peace of Christmas fill our hearts
        and the Light of the Lord pave our way,
        each and every day.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Patrick of South Dakota says:

          Ooo, “Charlie the Patriarch.” That has a nice ring to it. Charlie, what biblical character do you feel best prefigures your life: Elijah/John the Baptist? Or Zechariah? Or are you more like a Daniel or Isaiah?

          Also, has Gabriel shared with you any of his moments with the Blessed Mother? I bet his hair was combed nice and neat for the Annunciation! I ask this in all seriousness.

          Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            He is chatty sometimes, but that is a subject he has never discussed except to say how much he loves her. Sorry, but I don’t initiate subjects with him…just take instruction and talk about what he brings up.

            That Patriarch business…one of my priests has told me several times that now that I have grown the goatee I am starting to look like a prophet. I laugh and tell him I just hate to shave.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Doug says:

            I say he is most identified with the gray squirrel prophet.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            Charlie, it’s pretty special claiming you as a younger brother in Christ and our Patriarch.

            Patrick, have you read of Charlie’s original pilgrimage across the country, Abraham’s Journey? You can search here and find some of Charlie’s reflections concerning his experiences and reflections. If you’re a FB user, there’s this: https://www.facebook.com/charliej373/

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Heh heh…I may be younger, but I’ve got a lot of miles on me!

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            A king’s secret it is prudent to keep… in this case, the Queen’s! I am not at all surprised that the Patron of Clerics would be chatty and would be all the more if he shared his moments with our Lady!

            One of the most beautiful meditations is what the Angel in the Garden would have said to Christ to console versus what he said to Mary (if you believe that Gabriel is the same Angel as the meaning of his name would imply).

            Liked by 2 people

          • Beckita says:

            Charlie , you said, “Heh heh…I may be younger, but I’ve got a lot of miles on me!” And I say: all kinds of miles and miles. My favorite: your miles and miles of wisdom.

            Liked by 1 person

  17. Jose says:

    I recently found a video of former congressman Ron Paul warning about the currency crises that Charlie has also been warning about. He says that money will become worthless. He gives a very good description of the possible scenario (chaos). If Charlie allows it, you may watch the first 22 minutes or so of the video linked below.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Louis Cote Belleville, ON says:

    I would recommend reading Bishop Barron’s Advent reflection on St Joseph.
    The point that reverberated with me was that, as a pious man who would not compromise, Joseph “trusted and let himself be led”. I take to heart your caution to the orthodox: do not allow your knowledge to compromise your trust.
    http://adventreflections.com/advent-day-24-joseph-the-just/
    Merry Christmas

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Paul says:

    Charlie…great to read these pieces again…quite timely for me…Merry Christmas to you and all here…

    Liked by 5 people

  20. SteveBC says:

    Hey, Charlie, thank for the post and the extra material. I would like you to check at the bottom of your various posts to look for an advertising rectangle. I’ve not seen it before and am wondering if you mis-set a setting somewhere. It’s in between the bottom of the Post text and the top of the “Share This” section. I checked another post (the previous one) and find it there as well. Do you see it in your browser as well (not in your Admin area)?

    Like

  21. jaykay says:

    I just read your two pieces, Charlie, after I’d read Mark Mallet’s highly relevant latest: “The Fall of Mystery Babylon”. Wow, what a harmony! Now, I don’t mean that in any trite sense; no, I mean that you both are, in these times, Trumpets of Warning (one of Mark’s themes in previous posts). What a treasure your two sites have been for me, Mark’s since about 2007 when I was first led to it and you since last year.

    And to new reader JimH above: bless you, friend, and welcome. Could I encourage you to visit Mark’s site also? Please do, and I hope you’ll find the peace there that I have, as well as with The Next Right Step. They are, I believe, true guides and signposts for the Times we’re now in. Peace stemming from a call to prepare and walk in faith and trust, and to “be not afraid”. I used to be; I’m not now. Apprehensive, yes, certainly, but more now that I’ll be found wanting in the trial. But the answer to that is, of course: trust! And pray. How good that you’ve found the Rosary. Please do continue with it and you’ll see.

    So, a very peaceful and blessed Christmas to all here from Ireland. J.

    Liked by 7 people

  22. gettimothy says:

    Hi Charlie, thank you for your work. Probably the most comforting thing for me is knowing that you got confused and frustrated yet still decided to trust Him. Its good to know I am not alone in this.

    For your “theological toolchest” I submit that you might like this distinction between “bricks” and “stones”. You wrote, “We were given a system which, if followed, would allow each generation to get a little closer to the reality of Christ than the one before it. Each generation was able to build, brick by brick, upon the foundation and structure that was laid before it, getting ever closer to actually building a City of God.”

    I remember a lesson where the tower of Babel was built with bricks whereas the walls of Jerusalem (?), God commanded that they be built with stones. The gist of the lesson was that “mammon” wants people to be uniform bricks, while God takes his people as the odd-shaped, irregular stones with which to build His structures.

    So, your metaphor can be improved by noting that it was built “stone by stone” and not “brick by brick”

    Please understand that I am not criticizing your choice of metaphor, only suggesting/hinting at something you may enjoy in later work.

    cheers and God bless you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thank you, Timothy! Your metaphor is MUCH better – and I will use it in the future. Marvelously insightful.

      Liked by 2 people

    • the phoenix says:

      Hi gettimothy,

      As an eccentric person, I like the imagery of individual unique stones. And then we remember the stone which the builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Patrick of South Dakota says:

        Phoenix, I submit that we are ALL a bit eccentric here. You are among your kindred!

        Liked by 2 people

        • the phoenix says:

          Hi Patrick,

          I’m a single woman who is an artist and attends Star Trek conventions in costume. I sometimes wear, along with an Indiana Jones hat, a coat of many colors to Mass because I can relate to Joseph exiled in Egypt. Maybe one day I will celebrate Christmas again with my kindred. Eccentric? … That’s just for starters. That said, “Hail and well met” as JRR Tolkien’s characters would say in “Lord of the Rings.” … and Merry Christmas! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Patrick of South Dakota says:

            Phoenix,

            You are truly a woman after my own heart. I attended a Star Trek Convention in Bonn, Germany with a Catholic priest where we saw William Shatner himself. In fact, in ’87 I used to scale a two-story brick dormatory just to get into the day-room to watch ST-TNG cuz I didn’t have a TV. I used to make tie-dyes for profit, I played keyboard in an alternative punk band and later accompanied opera singers, I saw Wavy Gravy at the outdoor Pigfest in Weed, California after Jerry Garcia’s death, and a whole bunch of other things that I’ve mysteriously completely forgotten or am trying desperately to forget.

            I also drove across the state of South Dakota on a whim to meet this guy named Charlie 🤓

            But these different points of time in my life have helped make me who I am, and I wouldn’t be where I am today with Jesus were it not for a life-long string of missteps coupled with his infinite mercy.

            I feel that I’ve now taken the right step in the right direction, and I feel right at home with this sweet group of people. (Fact be known, I do not Facebook, Tweet, blog, or chat. I’m very private, keep few friends — it is very unusual that I would open myself up in this way in this format)

            So Phoenix, after the Storm, let’s share a mimosa and discuss the Abram’s reboot and the tragic destruction of the Vulcan home world.

            Merry Christmas!!!

            Liked by 5 people

          • charliej373 says:

            I didn’t realize you had been there at my talk near Aberdeen, Patrick. Glad you came. At my host’s house I had some of the best fish I have ever had. They just used Trader Vic’s Lemon Pepper and broiled the Walleye and it was fabulous! (But if you can’t get great Walleye in SD, where can you?)

            Liked by 1 person

          • Josh in ND says:

            Patrick, you wouldn’t happen to be a Hard Rocker would you? I just figured there’s a good chance a Treky from Rapid would be fellow SDSM&T alum.

            Like

          • Beckita says:

            Thanks for sharing, Phoenix and Patrick! Wonderful stories!!!

            Like

    • Beckita says:

      Absolutely beautiful, Timothy!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Patrick of South Dakota says:

    A TROUBLING DEVELOPMENT.

    My church received a Koran in the mail today from a national Muslim organization, and I am unsettled by this poorly-timed “gesture”.

    In my opinion, this is an overt threat. Here’s why:

    1. INAPPROPRIATE. It’s rude for any religious organization to send their “holy” book to a completely different religious organization, particularly the Koran to a Christian church.
    2. PLAYING ON FEARS. The world and the U.S. are actively being attacked by Muslims and we are uneasy about existing threats, which this Muslim group knows and chooses to capitalize on. This has a similar feel to the “convert or die” messages delivered to multiple Swedish homes last week.
    3. TIMING. This is a high feast of the Catholic faith, and Muslims obviously know this but defiantly, arrogantly chose to be insensitive to that fact.
    4. DISCOURTESY. No letter accompanied the leather-bound green book beyond a photocopied promotion of their faith.

    My friend in Homeland Security has been notified.

    I must say to everyone, though, that I love living in South Dakota because we are patriotic, red-blooded American men and women, and many are armed to the teeth since firearms have always been a part of our culture; Jihadists would be foolish to mess with even the cutest South Dakota gal. And yes, we pack heat even in church.

    With this disturbing revelation, though, I’m now going to Condition 1 — meaning a round in the chamber, full magazine, hammer cocked, safety…oh wait, my Sig doesn’t have a safety.

    Charlie, if you feel this post in any way increases the risk of an attack in my neck of the woods, well…you know what to do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • charliej373 says:

      My final visit of the prolonged tour was in South Dakota – the “Hunter’s Paradise.” I don’t think your post will increase chances of an attack there…and one would really have to have a death wish to do so, for guns are as common in SD as Coca-Cola.

      But what a jerky thing to do…These guys whine about anti-Muslim backlash while continuing their assaults, both subtle and brutal.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Bob says:

        As for the Muslim attacks I have thought that only a fool would throw rocks at a rattlesnake without first controlling the head of the beast. That is, the head that strikes are the terrorists already in our country or those trying to get in and the throwing rocks is like our administration constantly assuring us they are bombing them over in Syria, Iraq, etc. while minimizing their direct danger to us here.

        Like

      • Patrick of South Dakota says:

        Spoke at some length with a priest yesterday, not so much focused on the “jerky” delivery of the koran (he shared your view), but on protecting the faithful. There is no easy solution for our church doors are always open. Apparently, Rapid City is on a hit list due to the military presence. Also, jihadists were instructed to target cathedrals on the Feast of Christ the King specifically. Father said the Masses on that day and was pleased to survive unscathed, but smiled because he was not overly concerned but aware.

        We both agreed with joyful speculation that it would be glorious indeed to die before the Blessed Sacrament! What a thought…to die as a martyr for Christ.

        Liked by 2 people

        • charliej373 says:

          I hate to see Churches have to lock their doors. In many of my statewide campaigns. I would do a “traveling” Rosary – stop every time I saw a steeple and go in and say a decade of the Rosary. Occasionally one would be locked and then I would say it outside the Church, but how I loved to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and light a candle before I went on my way. I got to know almost all of the Catholic Churches in Illinois that way – and it was a frequent practice on a traveling Saturday.

          Liked by 4 people

          • donna says:

            it’s a rarity in NJ to find an open Catholic Church during the day….I like to do my Divine Mercy prayers at 3pm and usually will find a church wherever I am and they are inevitably locked….so sad.

            Liked by 1 person

          • zeniazenia says:

            Dear Donna, I am very fortunate to have nearby a Nursing Home with a chapel, which is run by the diocese. These chapels are open until the front desk is closed, usually about 8 o’clock pm. Check with your diocese to see if there is a chapel in the area. You might make it your second home as I have done.–Jane

            Liked by 1 person

  24. jaykay says:

    Which should of course be: from Ireland, a very peaceful and blessed Christmas to all here. (!) A good old-fashioned sub-editor would have reamed me for that. Or indeed, my former English, and Latin, teacher, good Fr. Moore S.M. Anyway, yiz, as we say, get the drift 😊 God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. audiemarie2014 says:

    Maybe someone has posted about this before, but is there an especially recommended book about St. Joan of Arc? I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!

    Like

  26. ann says:

    I just love and appreciate everyone here, starting with Charlie on down. May all the richest spiritual gifts of Christmas come to all of you through Mary’s Immaculate Heart. You are all so full of insight and faith and kindness. And from all over the world! Brothers and sisters. Universal Church exemplified right here! Charlie thank you for your discourse on Donald Trump. It was helpful. I don’t like him but I have appreciated the assault on political correctness. However your warning to watch out for the “right” where we might not expect our enemy to lurk seems salient. Gosh. We really do have to be as gentle as doves and as wise as serpents. I’ve said to my husband and acquaintances that I do not think Obama will finish his term and get varied responses…mostly incredulity. I just keep recalling my own message from the Lord in 2008 via a powerful spiritual dream and a message “Everything will be shaken loose” no specifics, mind you, but a sense of utter chaos in the heavens on the earth and under the earth. I do have that Holy Spirit moment of prescience now and then (Irish y’know) so I am not entirely dismissed. (smile)People know things are terribly wrong but they can’t let go of their little clay idols and face the realities unfolding around them. And there but for the grace of God, go I. So I can’t criticize. And have to face the truth that I’m no help. I seldom speak any more because I just cause a dust up. I’m trying to just do the next right thing and be a sign of hope. And PRAY. Like everyone here so faithfully does–may I do as well. So loud and proud MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! And may 2016 be if not happy, at least blessed for us. I keep thinking of WWII and a year before the liberation of Europe. Dark dark dark. But a year later it was all over. “Who is she arising fair as the moon, bright as the sun, more terrible than an army in battle array…” Or as we used to say when we were little “Aw, yer mother wears combat boots!!”.

    Liked by 6 people

  27. Steve says:

    Larry, I did not read this post until just about an hour ago, and talk about timing! I’m not sure if you know this, but I try to read two chapters in the Bible each morning (or, at least, each workday morning). This morning I was reading Proverbs, chapters 13 and 14. When I got to verse 34 of chapter 14, it hit me like a ton of bricks (or rocks)! “Righteousness exalts a nation,
    But sin is a disgrace to any people.” Our nation was established in the righteousness of God and was, for a time, exalted above all nations, grew faster than all nations, excelled above all nations and protected human rights of all nations. Over the years, sin has set in and now our country is disgraced. After having this profound understanding of what was happening, I read (or re-read) your first piece above and was, again, staggered by that one verse that I read this morning in how prophetic it was about what has happened to us. I am reminded of the quote “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. I am heartened, however, to see so many people standing up and saying “Merry Christmas”, or seeing the McDonalds in Tennessee that boldly painted a nativity scene on their windows. It is truly a blessing to see, as the satan gathers his forces, God’s forces also gathering to stand true against the storm! Please pray for me, a lowly sinner.

    Liked by 6 people

  28. Phillip Frank says:

    MomOfSeven,
    Charlies quote, “What you desire most is most effective against you. Desire God and all shall be added.”
    Is basically another characterization of the scripture passage, Mathew 10-37, about if you love father or mother more than me you are unworthy of me.
    Its about inordinate attachments.
    When Jesus told his followers “let the dead bury their dead” and “if anyone put their hand to the wheel, and then looks back”, He was referring to these worldly attachments which are not just mammon or sin, but what may even be considered virtues, like the love you have for your 7 children. If that love becomes inordinate in you, it becomes a desire outside the normal, a selfishness not a true love, and then is a tool the enemy can use against you for despair, defeat, anger, etc.
    If in all things you desire God’s will first, even the hardships and falls become divine graces building you up and a real joy accompanies even the most difficult of times.

    Liked by 5 people

  29. Bob says:

    This link on the Passing of Christopher Dunn the case Texas Right to Life tried to protect while others waffled:
    http://abyssum.org/2015/12/23/chris-dunn-rest-in-peace/

    Like

  30. Paul says:

    Charlie,

    I am not sure if you saw the article “The Year Christmas Died http://on.wsj.com/1QXLYJU “. It fits in with everything that is happening sadly in our world.

    May you and your Family have a most Blessed Christmas and New Year.

    Paul from Katy

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      What a sorrow! May we keep Christmas every day and banish the grinches back to their lairs.

      Liked by 2 people

    • barb129 says:

      Reading that article made me feel a bit sick….
      Mark and I had noticed when we walked through downtown Cincinnati this past month that there is very little to remind you of the holiday season. When we were first married, back in the 70’s and 80’s, we would head downtown to see all the beautiful Christmas windows. I had wondered how it was in NYC, and now, I sadly know.
      However, I have hope that after 2017, we will all be celebrating joyfully! What a wonderful and glorious thought that is!

      Liked by 2 people

  31. Bob says:

    This is a sign of an act of solidarity between some Muslim folk protecting Christians. May God bless them greatly for their heroism.
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/22/africa/kenya-bus-attack-al-shabaab-muslim-christians/index.html

    Like

  32. Cindy says:

    This re-post is potentially life saving for me considering my past year of heart numbing detachment from Jesus. I know many have gone and are going through this but that knowledge does not diminish the accompanying shame and intense lonliness…especially when your dearest friends are on fire for Jesus and are faithful Catholics. Thank you Charlie. I needed to read this. It has illuminated my small bundle of suffering and I am ready to keep on keeping on.

    Liked by 2 people

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