The First Light of Dawn

Transfiguration Tepeyac, Marietta

Image which appeared at Transfiguration Church in Marietta, Georgia beginning December 12, 2015

By Charlie Johnston

Public surveys of late have consistently shown that the number of people who believe in God in America is in  precipitous decline over the last decade, though it is still over 50%. In Europe, the Old World that first colonized the New, belief in God has utterly collapsed, hovering at barely over 20%. This is not an expression of confidence in the new world order that secular activists have made. Rather, it is a cry of despair. Seeing the wreckage secular activists have made of our culture, of our communities, of our very relations one with another, many people wonder how a loving God could allow a movement that believes in no light, no love, no warmth and no joy to rise with so little resistance.

I have long said that joy will rise even in the fullness of the Storm, as God reveals Himself to those who will receive Him. I have also said that if you scratch the surface of a cynic, nine times out of ten you will find a disillusioned idealist looking for a reason to believe again.

Regular readers know I am reticent in talking about signs and wonders – and slow to get enthused about images of Our Lord and Our Lady appearing in public places. That is for three main reasons.

1)      We sometimes impose our expectations on things, straining to force an interpretation that the evidence doesn’t justify. When we do, we can come off looking silly, and end up discrediting our faith to those who do not already share it.

2)      I think most genuine personal supernatural manifestations are, in fact, little graces from above – pats of encouragement and intimacy from the Master. Those things should routinely be treated with the same circumspection we would treat a compliment from a parent or colleague. If the person making the compliment wants all to know, He will reveal it. Otherwise, I generally prefer to take heart from it and keep to my work.

3)      An absorption into these things can cause one to focus on the trappings of faith rather than the heart of it, which is to go forth. Even worse, there can become a self-absorbed quality in it that smacks of boasts of being the Divine Teacher’s Pet. When this arises, we squander the grace embedded in such things.

These are not hard and fast rules. I do not hesitate to tell people of little such graces privately when it seems to me it might give them heart or hope. I have even said some of them in public forums for the same reason. But every time I discuss one, there is a rill of fear that runs through me that I may be giving in to vanity and squandering grace. I take deeply to heart the old dictum that what Our Lord sees in secret, He will reward openly. I guess you could say I am a miser: I hate to think I might squander any of my heavenly reward.

I was told long ago not to concern myself with systemizing miraculous bits of evidence…just let it be. Wisdom reveals itself  – and His children recognize their Master’s voice. In the fullness of the Storm, I was told, God would reveal Himself in ways that were undeniable to all but the invincibly ignorant and maliciously defiant.

In the last week, I have seen two things so striking – in both my personal life and in the world – that I cannot help but think they are the first strains of the overture heralding God’s visible entrance center stage. The first one, the personal one, was the note falling out of my Grandmother’s Bible on Christmas Eve – written by my Mother wishing me a Merry Christmas on this Christmas when we are apart. She died three and a half years ago. I was amazed that that note, which I had never seen before, should fall out of that Bible, which she and I both cherished in memory of her dear Mother, on that day. I wrote about it in the piece, “What is Truth?” I put the note back in the Bible for safekeeping, intending it to be a cherished memento. And now it is gone. I looked in the place where I put it, and it is gone. So I went through the whole Bible. It is gone. I think my Mother did, indeed, wish me a Merry Christmas and express her solidarity with me for the coming year. It was on ordinary paper, in ordinary ink, in her ordinary handwriting. It was here for Christmas – and now is gone. Plenty of room for skeptics to have reasonable doubt, but I believe my Mom dropped by to give me her love on Christmas, a day I have loved intensely from my earliest days. Your loved ones who have gone on are lovingly watching you, too. Thanks be to God.

The second thing is from Transfiguration Parish in Marietta, Georgia near Atlanta. The image, a picture of which is at the top of this article, emerged on a Parish window on December 12th of this year – the Feast Day of Our Lady of Tepeyac, or Guadalupe. This is no generic image of Our Lady. It is an image of Our Lady of Tepeyac. You don’t have to squint or turn your head to some peculiar angle to see her. She is there, compelling.

I have often called Our Lady of Tepeyac the Mother of Conversion – for that is what she did in Mexico. She converted the Aztecs of Mexico and crushed their brutal cult of human sacrifice almost overnight. I have said I was told she would convert all who would hear and receive her during the Storm…that she would ultimately convert Islam through its women…and that she would reclaim the hearts

st.Juan-Diego

She’s back!

and souls of all those who have left the faith in Europe and the rest of the Old World. She is the Mother of Conversion and will transfigure the heart of the world even in the midst of the Storm, before she comes to Rescue us as the Immaculate Conception, late in 2017. As with the calendar, these two aspects of Our Lady overlap with each other in these times. This image appeared at Transfiguration Church. The world is about to be transfigured – and Our Lady of Tepeyac will both walk with us, keeping us safe under her mantle and revealing her loving heart to all who embrace it.

 

Now the curtain rise on a year that will be remembered as the Year of Paradox, a year when those who put their hope in secular things, in temporal might, see those hopes put to utter ruin. Yet even in the midst of the rubble of our poor, bleeding world, true joy and hope will burst forth, gushing like a sudden spring of clear, pure water in the barrens. I have said that I was told that Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje are manifestations of a single event. This is the hidden sign of Lourdes to be revealed this year. The fountain at Lourdes gushed forth in the midst of a garbage dump, bringing healing mercy to all who would accept it. Our world has become a garbage dump, but just as at Lourdes, Our Lord’s grace will burst forth with healing mercy for all who will come to His waters. Thanks be to God for Pope Francis’ declaration of this as the Year of Mercy…so that even as the terror, the strife, the passion of the world deepens, His Mercy bursts forth to refresh us and fortify us to endure the Storm.

This year, 2015, a year of trial and sorrow, despair and division, terror and strife is the year of Lourdes – when Mercy burst forth in the midst of the dump. Next year is the year of Fatima, when the scope of the battle is fully revealed. But all who press on through the battle have recourse to God’s mercy. And in the end, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph…and the people of the kingdom, and the people of heaven, shall rise together, shall rise forever, and God shall rule.

We are called to be the Family of God. He lives – and He is revealing Himself. He calls you to proclaim Him by your lives, by your tenderness, by your mercy, by your fortitude, by your love, by your unflagging resolve. Those in despair, blinded by the things of this world, will hunger for the Lord this year. But to find their way back to Him, they need someone to gently lead them, to gently care for them…not to berate them, but to love them and so, wiping the scales from their eyes, prepare them to behold the wonder the living God is working in their midst through His most favored daughter – even as the darkness thought it had prevailed.

You be the light, the joy that illuminates the Face of God for all to behold. I tell you, the Christmas after next when we read that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, we will exclaim with joy that WE are the people who have seen that great light. Blessed are those who light the way home for their brothers and sisters. We are the Family of God.

 

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, Discernment, Family of God, Mary Immaculate, Prophecy, The Rescue, The Storm, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

176 Responses to The First Light of Dawn

  1. Kuli Loach says:

    Charlie, Thanks for all your insiteful commentary. I look forward to them. However, could you use the larger font size through out your message. A lot easier to read. Thank you.

    Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2015 20:28:02 +0000 To: kuliloach@hotmail.com

    Like

  2. Linda says:

    Beautiful Charlie.. thank you so much for these inspiring words of hope and healing. .. i noticed wonderful things happening yesterday with me and with family members, ,the Lord and Our Lady are surely in our midst!;-) God bless you for helping us all and thank you so very much

    Liked by 5 people

  3. the phoenix says:

    As it happens, I also received an astonishing message last night, on Christmas, that fits in with what you’re saying. I was sent an e-mail from the Captain of the local Star Trek club (ship) of which I’m a member, in which he enclosed several newsletters from other ships as part of a newsletter exchange. In one of the newsletters, I was very surprised to see included an in-depth article of several pages about Our Lady of Guadalupe, complete with intricate scientific photos and a sketch of the constellations depicted on the tilma. The article was reverently written and well researched.

    Now, included in this same newsletter are topics such as: Star Trek, Star Wars, Lost in Space, monster movies, club meeting minutes, NASA’s goal for sending humans to Mars, and a recipe for meatballs.

    So Our Lady of Tepeyac is definitely putting in an appearance, sometimes in unlikely places!

    Liked by 14 people

    • Patrick of South Dakota says:

      The image that defies scientific explanation, an image that cannot be accurately photographed as it’s iridescent, made of materials that cannot be identified, the inverted stars of the precise moment of the winter Solstice, hidden music, the codex that only the Indians could understand, the eyes with the actual Samson-Purkinje effect….don’t get me started on that wonder imprinted on the tilma…it sometimes overwhelms me when I’m trying to focus on my prayer.

      Some of us need empirical evidence to be convinced of a higher power.

      Liked by 3 people

      • zeniazenia says:

        Hi Patrick, My concern is that the antichrist will work his magic signs in the end times and we are told that is specifically how he will deceive our underprepared brothers and sisters. I doubt if we will be around for that problem but we should prepare our progeny for the proper apologetics regarding signs and wonders. We need the Church, so we can be obedient to such decisions. –Jane

        Liked by 2 people

        • Patrick of South Dakota says:

          Nat Geo…liberal. Time….extremely liberal. Wow. Glad to hear that they were respectful…another miracle. Now, will the liberal readership actually listen? We can always hope in more miracles, for nothing is impossible with God.

          Liked by 2 people

    • maryM says:

      And the Blessed Mother was in the December issues of Time and National Geographic. I find that a miracle in itself. Both were very respectful.

      Liked by 3 people

    • janet333 says:

      That’s excellent Phoenix!

      Like

  4. docallanw says:

    What a privilege I was given to visit Her a half dozen occasions in Tepeyac, bathe many times in the waters flowing from Her grotto in Lourdes, and witness the stark grandeur which is Fatima! If 2015 was inspired by Lourdes and 2016 by Fatima, will 2017, the year of our Rescur be somehow connected with Medjugore?

    Liked by 6 people

  5. docallanw says:

    Also it is very perplexing that your Mom’s note is nowhere to be found now… An interesting sign indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Amen. I have seen Mother Mary as Our Lady of Tepeyac in my Rosary today and yesterday. Also, in speaking to my Mom last night, I noticed that God is healing my Mom spiritual and answering my prayers. What a great turn of events. Also, I know how you feel about revealing graces, but I also know that these revelations help others move forward, and this is a good work indeed. Thank you!

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Robert Cunningham says:

    Hi Charlie

    A few things came to mind as I read your article with regard to the Transfiguration. Shortly after the Feast of the Transfiguration on the Orthodox calendar (August 6th 1991), the USSR fell and Russia became a country again. The return of the faith in that country since that time is an inspiration of God’s love, the bumps along the way notwithstanding. A country that was virtually dead to the faith came back to life. St. John Paul II later changed the Catholic feast day of the Transfiguration to August 6th and declared it a universal feast day as a sign of solidarity with our Orthodox brothers (http://www.ewtn.com/jubilee/news/ECUMENICAL_Witness.htm)
    He also gave us the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, which include the Transfiguration. I have always felt that JP2 did this with the Eastern Church in mind especially since he had prepared us with Orientale Lumen http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_jp02ol.htm just a few years earlier so that we get to know our Eastern brothers better.

    Your comment about Lourdes being 2015 followed by Fatima in the coming year lead me to think about unity again, especially as Russia was called out by name by our Lady of Fatima for conversion.

    Off to Vespers . . . .

    Robert

    Liked by 10 people

    • Ellen Lopez says:

      Thank you Robert, and belated Merry Christmas. Ellen Lopezz

      Liked by 2 people

      • Robert Cunningham says:

        Merry Xmas to you Ellen. I know that you live on the West side of the Metroplex but hope you don’t have any family in East Dallas. The storms last night were rough for many of us but the tornado damage to East Dallas (Garland, Rowlett etc) is probably the worst that I have ever seen

        Like

        • Beckita says:

          Been praying for you Texans since last night, Robert, when a friend who lives 7 miles away from a lot of damage done texted asking for help and included two images of massive funnel clouds.

          Like

          • Robert Cunningham says:

            Thank you Beckita. One of my colleagues at work lives in that area. I think that her and her family are ok but I haven’t heard back yet. A lot of people need help and prayers.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. anne ovari says:

    Thank you Charlie yet again for your encouraging words so beautifully written. I really needed them. I thank God with heartfelt thanks for giving you to us to guide us through the stormy waters and that you gave your FIAT to do it. I am off to Mass and will place everyone at the foot of the altar especially all those who have asked for prayers . God bless

    Liked by 6 people

  9. EllenChris says:

    Ah, Charlie, this article is like cool fresh water in the wilderness and Light in the twilight. Our Lady has been God’s primary instrument of healing in my life, and I have loved her for a long time. But somehow just in the past few weeks, this has been ratcheted up many notches to a new level. Her role and place in the working out of God’s Will have become clearer than ever before: She is truly the channel of all Graces in God’s Will at this time. In a whole new way it seems like her heart is truly our home. She is so busy now already — it will be completely amazing to see what she will do soon.

    It looks like we are going to have an icon of our Our Lady in our sanctuary here at St. Andrew’s soon — just a little more checking-in with folks left to do. She is putting her mantle over St. Andrew’s, I do believe.

    Looking forward so much to everyone singing “The Anthem of Victory” together. Lots of Love to you and all now and always.

    Liked by 11 people

    • YongDuk says:

      Ellen, Merry Christmas and Feast of St. Stephen!

      I think I read correctly yesterday that you are an ordained cleric for the Anglican Church, as well as your husband.

      I wrote a few weeks ago on Vassula Reyden and a Greek Orthodox Parish I know in the SouthEast of America and their waiting to come into Full Communion with Rome and my own quandary on why they are waiting.

      Based on your word on your photo identifier, “Hoping very much and praying for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Kingdom of the Divine Will — ‘on earth as it is in heaven.'”, I am curious how you see the Great Re-unification in light of Charlie’s prophesy and your own deep Marian belief and the Barque of Peter and your own situation now.

      pax,
      +Yong Duk

      Liked by 5 people

      • EllenChris says:

        Dear Yong Duk, I would like to discuss this with you. If you send an email to TNRS.Answers@gmail.com marked: “To EllenChris Personal” Doug and Steve can make sure it goes into my mailbox, and I will be able to answer you personally. Thanks so much and blessings of Christmas. EllenChris+

        Liked by 1 person

        • YongDuk says:

          Ellen Chris, I passed up Doug lovingly, who I would ordain in a second to the Deaconate based upon my soul’s prompting should ever the Spirit place us together and he did his prepatory work (studying) and I have / maintain / the proper Authority canonically, I have to say I would prefer staying in the public forum for the time being, but thank you for your openness to discuss this otherwise. Praying for your Adam.

          Oremus pro invicem,
          +Yong Duk

          Liked by 2 people

  10. zeniazenia says:

    Dear Charlie, This message had me with tears streaming, starting with your mother’s note – now gone? oh my, our Lady’s steady guidance, our deceased loved ones who spent Christmas with us and ending with our loving family around the world, walking in darkness together toward the light. Thank you yet again for the strength you desire to impart with such gentleness. –Jane.

    Liked by 7 people

  11. EllenChris says:

    Sorry for adding yet another comment to the stack — but I forgot two things:

    First, the image in that window is really impressive — it somehow gives a sense of deep and gentle love and care. Thank you for sharing it. Sometimes we need a little reminder of the Presence that is always with us.

    Second, my heartfelt commendations of joy for your mother’s note to you for Christmas. Our Lord is SO surpassingly GOOD to us. Special delivery by a certain Archangel, no doubt. Thank you for sharing the joy.

    And also, could I ask everyone’s prayers for a young priest in our diocese who was inhibited from his orders on Christmas Eve and is spending the entire Christmas weekend in jail. Long sad story — just please ask God’s healing Grace for Adam. Thank you all for your charity.

    Liked by 11 people

  12. Patrick of South Dakota says:

    Wow…your mother’s note…that made my hair stand on end! (Well, you know what I mean.)

    And when I think of Lourdes, I hear the beautiful Bernadette cry out: “Penance! Penance!”

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Katherine Bailey says:

    Oh Charlie; My heart aches for all the souls that are blind to the joy and true meaning of Christmas, especially this year. I don’t know how many others have experienced a much deeper sense of an extraordinary peace and grace streaming down from heaven to deepen our faith and fortify us for the coming year, but I do gladly share this with you and all the NRS family through my prayers and joyful wishes . Right now, my heart can barely contain the love I feel. Trust me, I am not always this “giddy” , so I am pretty sure that I can lay claim to a lovely gift from the Lord in honor of His birthday. Pass it on..!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Lynn Garrison says:

    I just want to thank you for your writings and for being here for us. It brings me comfort every time I open my email and see there is something from you. Thank you.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Vivi says:

    Merry Christmas to our family here!

    I must say i needed this today i ve had attacks that made me anxious n this post bring consolation to all of us without despair. I love the points explained with gentleness n the fact We need to be hope to our nearest ones.

    I truly engaged in every word!

    Love n peace

    Liked by 5 people

  16. Phillip Frank says:

    The reclaiming of the earth by our Lord and Our Lady from the “rulers in high places” reminds me of the dichotomy between the Egyptians and the Hebrews as God released them from Pharaohs grip.
    The Hebrews liberation and the Egyptian army and way of life’s utter destruction.

    Mary of Agreda wrote that in one of her visions of our lady, she was robed the same as Our Lady of Tepeyac. This occured while she was still alive on earth and had been brought before the throne of God to be rewarded for something she had merited.
    Once so adorned, God placed in her hands the chains which restricted all the demons as a sign to them of His sovereignty over them being given to her as well.
    I was especially taken by her being robed by the angels in this way, well before us mortals had ever heard of it, and being given some control over the enemy while thus adorned and now Charlie making the pronouncement that this same title of Hers is to be mankind’s hope for an apparent third time but I guess she will be robed like Our Lady of Lourds if appearing as the Immaculate Conception in the end?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. This little light of mine……I’m gonna let it shine.
    This little light of mine…..I’m gonna let it shine.
    This little light of mine……I’m gonna let it shine……let it shine…..let it shine …..LET IT SHINE!!!

    Merry Christmas Charlie!!
    God bless!!

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Kim sevier says:

    Wow Charlie. What a one-two punch!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Nancy says:

    Praying for Adam,as he is in my diocese too…have yet to meet you Ellen, but I am sure we will at some point! Does anyone see Mary holding the Child Jesus in the Image shown in Georgia..I do! Just wondering? My three favorite apparitons,Lourdes,Fatima and Medjugorje!!! BTW,Charlie, such a beautiful post and I have had this deep longing for God since before Christmas,but esp. yesterday and today,and then read your post!!! May God bless us all, now and in this Holy Year of Mercy…Praising God,Nancy

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Meriadoc says:

    That’s fascinating about the hand-written message that apparently vanished. I know that St Gemma Galgani used to write letters to her spiritual director, place the missives in her top dresser drawer, and wait for her guardian angel to deliver them. The angel always came through and delivered the letters on time! (You can still see the drawer in Gemma’s former bedroom in Lucca, Italy). Gemma’s drawer seemed part of a “heavenly post office.” Maybe you and your mom are connected to the same “heavenly delivery system”? I too am VERY cautious about these kinds of events, even as I believe that they certainly happened in Gemma’s case.
    It does, however, appear that we’ll be dropping out of the ‘holding pattern’ you mentioned a few weeks ago. May God give us all strength!

    Liked by 5 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Well, I’ll say this…next Christmas I will check that Bible to see if Mom has sent me a note 🙂

      Liked by 10 people

      • Mick says:

        Oh, I hope she does, Charlie! Every time I see a cardinal (outside my house, in a book, or whatever), I always think of my mom; and I believe she’s letting me know that she’s thinking of me right then, too. 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

        • SteveBC says:

          Does the cardinal have hair extensions like YongDuk? (I’m just wondering if it’s a Church thing, you know.)

          Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            HaHaHa Steve! No doubt the cardinal extensions would be vivid red with fishtail braids.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mick says:

            I’m talking avian cardinals, not the college of cardinals (nor the baseball/football varieties).

            Although it’s possible that some of the Cardinals in St. Louis or Arizona have YongDuk-ish hair extensions; I’d have to check the rosters, though (with accompanying photos, of course). 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

      • Patrick of South Dakota says:

        Kinda like how at Christmas time, when I get a card from a relative, I open it first without reading it, giving it a good shake and hoping a $20 will fall out?

        C’mon….you’ve all been there!

        Liked by 7 people

        • charliej373 says:

          You got that straight, Patrick! And while I won’t be expecting it, I will be a little disappointed if I don’t get a note from Mom next year. It’s ridiculous…I still can’t think of that without tearing up.

          Liked by 10 people

          • cathyg2015 says:

            When my dad died in 2009 (after suffering a debilitating stroke 4 years earlier that left him unable to speak, read or write and then succumbing to lung cancer), my mother and I were at the funeral home poring through books of verses for his prayer card. There had to be hundreds if not thousands of verses from which to choose. My mother had one particular verse in mind but while looking we came across the 23rd Psalm. This reminded me of a poster from my childhood that someone had given to my father as a joke that was a riff, albeit a disrespectful one, on the Psalm. It stated “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a b**** in the valley.” My father, an ex-marine, was always a tough and distant person so this was a backhanded compliment of sorts. My mother and I mused on the verse for a moment then moved on and found the verse she had been seeking. We had 100 cards printed and laminated with his name, date of death, etc., and the chosen verse. The week after his funeral, my mother was sending out thank you cards and including a prayer card in each. She came across one card that was thicker than the rest and she noticed the laminate at the top of the card was separated and two prayer cards were laminated together. She pulled the second card out from behind the first and found all of the same information printed except for the verse: it was the 23rd Psalm. My father hadn’t been able to speak for the last four years of his life but I believe he spoke to my mother after his passing through this sign. Oh, and a month or so after my father’s death, while cleaning out some of his things, my mother came across that poster on a shelf in his closet. She was sure it had been thrown out in a move more than 40 years earlier.

            Liked by 6 people

          • jeanO says:

            Patrick and Charlie…I see His love and his humor here. Glad your Mom sent you a Christmas Card Charlie. Maybe you couldn’t keep the card but you sure got a Good Book out of the deal.

            Liked by 3 people

        • zeniazenia says:

          Think of all the times we pray to St. Anthony for lost items. I am sure it is our guardian angel who leads us to those obscure places where we find what we were praying for. Heaven must be such a fun place to pray and play!

          Liked by 2 people

      • Marie says:

        Charlie, Maybe next Christmas, take a picture as soon as it appears, if, indeed, another note from your mom surfaces, will be interesting to see if it disappears from the virtual ‘cloud’ also!

        Like

    • zeniazenia says:

      Yes Meriadoc, I immediately thought of St. Gemma and the heavenly postal delivery system. Our angels will give us all the help we need, as God Wills, Let’s remember to give our guardian angels permission (include them in our morning offering) to keep us, and our prayer intentions, safe from harm and in the Divine Will.-Just think of the hosts of angels who serve our Lady! – Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      • Patrick of South Dakota says:

        Hi Jane,

        A large picture of Saint Gemma is right in front of me, hands clasped, looking up. She is clearly focusing on someone, be it her angel or Jesus. I love the story how she would getting into praying contests with her angel to see who could pray more fervently!

        Only recently have I been prayerfully acknowledging my Guardian Angel. I invited him to have full access to my thoughts, and even gave him permission to slap me up side the head if my behavior warrants it. I’ve repeatedly asked him what his name is, but since he does not answer I’ve named him Damiano. What do you think?

        He became a regular part of my prayers in late May of this year. I would ask him to join me in saying the Rosary. Then, no more than two weeks later, I was strongly “prompted” to evacuate my trailer on a moments notice and wait out a massive storm that struck western SD in early June. I returned home 4 hours later, only to find my trailer completely and utterly destroyed by hail. Broken glass was embedded in the walls, baseball-sized holes were punched clear through the siding and burst into the house. My poor cats were terrified for 2 days after the event. It was a total loss. (Curiously, my statues of St Joseph and Our Lady of Grace remained standing, and while most all of my books were damaged by glass and/or water, the Diary of St Faustina and the Little Office of the BVM were unscathed while books on either side of them were ruined!!)

        I credit Damiano for prompting me, almost like a Marionette, to ignore my wish to simply remain in place; instead, I quickly and deliberately got into my truck, avoiding possible injury or worse.

        Damiano, ever this day be at my side, to light, and guard, and rule, and guide. Amen.

        Liked by 8 people

        • Beckita says:

          Great job of listening and responding, Patrick! God bless you and your dear guardian angel.

          Liked by 1 person

        • zeniazenia says:

          Beautiful! God will keep it simple if we are willing to be child-like. I love your witness to your angel and to your love for each other, You are both awesome!–Jane

          Liked by 2 people

        • zeniazenia says:

          I always wondered if we pray the Rosary with our angel if that is considered a Family Rosary (for indulgences sake?) 🙂 It sounds as though your angel stayed back in the storm to protect your holy books and blessed articles. For my story, a child ran into the road in front of my car and I can only believe my angel move my car or him or both, because he only suffered a teeny cut in his eyebrow, but I saw him standing right in front of me as I was going 40mph.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            I’ve often wondered the same about our little dog who always seems to make her way over to me, no matter where I am in the house to be with me during the rosary too.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Zen, I do that too and with the specific intention of it being a family rosary. Of course it is . Why wouldn’t it be? He is my angelic brother. I also ask him, when we go to mass, to offer his mass for me for whatever he thinks my most important needs are. I send him to take messages to my deceased loved ones (my favorite thing to do because I know that he will and my loved ones will get my message!) to ask favors from Our Lady, to ask for help from other angels and to warn me of impending danger. And a million other things. See, the key is free will. There are so many things the angel can do for you, and wants to do for you, but he needs your free will permission. He is just waiting and hoping for you to ask so he can do what he is just itching to do…help you in any possible way! I have stories of his remarkable interventions…but it would take too long to tell. Patrick of S.D. is right! Give your Angel full access and watch what he can do. Patrick, I have not named my Angel but I call him “Dear Brother, my Angel Guardian.” Seems to be acceptable. And it draws an important distinction for me: I must remember that he is not my slave or my butler or my personal assistant; he is my big brother who looks out for me. Humility is also necessary in this relationship.

            Liked by 4 people

      • Meriadoc says:

        Oops, I got a detail wrong about Gemma’s letters. She actually placed them under a crèche in the Gianinni’s house, not in her dresser drawer. Her angel picked them up from there and delivered them to wherever they needed to go.
        That’s what I get for relying on my own memory!

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Brad J says:

    Thank you Charlie for yet another insightful article…you always resonate with my family and I.

    My wife and I are often quite reluctant to share our conversion story for exactly the reasons you mentioned above. God preserve us from motivations that are not pure… This is why I mentioned that I would not be one bit offended should you have felt the little snippet that I posted the other day was not appropriate and had you decided not to post it I would have accepted that as a grace.

    It is however exciting to see how much our Mother desires our conversion.

    God bless you all,

    Brad

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Meriadoc says:

    Oops, that previous post was meant for you, Charlie.

    Like

  23. BD says:

    Great article. Much appreciated and anticipated Charlie. By the way it appears someone just put their game face on. God Bless to All…

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Rita Warfel says:

    How special indeed to receive such a comforting message from your mother. I am sure this was at the urging of our Blessed Mother. I also deeply miss my mother and Father during the season of Advent. I received a consolation gift from a dear friend that everyone would benefit from this year in particular. I am sure many of you are familiar with the devotional book written by Paul Thigpen, A Year with Mary, Daily Meditations on the Mother of God. He too is a convert and was mystified by Catholic’s traditional devotion to Mary. He also fell body and soul into her ocean of love. Now he writes, “of Mary there is never enough”.
    Wishing everyone our Ladies protection and comfort this coming year.

    Liked by 8 people

  25. Sr Lorraine says:

    That was really beautiful about the note from your mother, Charlie. What a special message.
    My mother died 10 years ago. She had always loved calla lilies and asked for them to be at her funeral, which we did. That year when I walked into our chapel for Mass on Christmas Eve, besides the poinsettias there were quite a few calla lilies in the sanctuary. We never get them for Christmas, but that year someone had donated a lot of them. I told the sisters that my mother had sent them.

    If next year is the year of Fatima, we should make sure to use the “weapons” Mary has given us: The rosary and the scapula. St Dominic prophesied that “One day through the rosary and the scapular, Mary will save the world.” That day is NOW. I hope everyone here not only prays the rosary but wears the scapular too. You can get a free one at the link below. At the final vision at Fatima, Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mt Carmel and held the scapular in her hand. Sr Lucia later said:
    ““Our Lady never looked so beautiful as when she appeared in her Carmelite habit. . . . Our Lady wants everyone to wear it (brown scapular); it is the sign of consecration to her Immaculate Heart.”

    http://freebrownscapular.com/brown_scapular_prophecy.html

    Liked by 9 people

  26. radiclaudio says:

    Hi Charlie. Merry Christmas. What is your email address again? I want to send you a short article where your RNS is mentioned.

    YBIC

    Liked by 1 person

  27. As we celebrate the Holy Family during this Christmas season let us remember St. Joseph. One of my favorite prayers is the Angelic Salutation To St. Joseph: “Hail, Joseph, Son of David, blessed is Mary, thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spririt; and she shall bring forth a Son and thou shalt call His name Jesus. Holy Joseph, Guardian of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.” I read somewhere that the privilege of being given the task of naming Jesus must have been a great joy to him because it shows that God was bestowing on him the role of fatherhood to the Messiah. Therefore it gives him great honor and joy in Heaven to be reminded of this moment.

    Liked by 6 people

  28. The way is long and sometimes tedious. We need all the encouragement we can get, Charlie! Many of you remember Thomas Merton, but may not know he wrote poetry. This one is so beautiful for this holy season:
    THE HOLY CHILD’S SONG – Written in 1944

    When midnight occupied the porches of the Poet’s reason
    Sweeter than any bird
    He heard the Holy Song:

    “When My kind Father, kinder than the sun,
    With looks and smiles bends down
    And utters My bodily life,
    My flesh, obeying, praises Heaven like a smiling cloud.
    Then I become the laughter of the watercourses.
    I am the gay wheat fields, the serious hills:
    I fill the sky with words of light, and My incarnate songs
    Fly in and out the branches of My childish voice
    Like thrushes in a tree.
    “And when My Mother, pretty as a church,
    Takes Me upon her lap, I laugh with love,
    Loving to live in her flesh, which is My house and full of
    light!
    (Because the sky My Spirit enters in at all the windows)
    O, then what songs and what incarnate joys
    Dance in the brightest rays of My childish voice!
    “In winter when the birds put down their flutes
    And wind plays sharper than a fife upon the icy rain,
    I sit in this crib,
    And laugh like fire, and clap My golden hands:
    To view my friends the timid beasts-
    Their great brown flanks, muzzles and milky breath!
    “Therefore come, shepherds, from your rocky hill,
    And bend about My crib in wonder and adore My joy.
    My glances are as good as wine.
    The little rivers of My smile
    Will wash away all ruins from your eyes,
    As I lift up My hands,
    As white as blackthorn blossoms,
    And charm and kiss you with My seven sacraments.
    “This seeming winter is your spring
    When skies put off their armor:
    Because My Heart already holds
    The secret mortal wound,
    By which I shall transform all deserts into garden-ground:
    And there the peaceful trees,
    All day say credos, being full of leaves –
    And I will come and be your noon-day sun,
    And make your shadows palaces of moving light:
    And you will show Me your flowers.”
    When the midnight occupied the porches of the Poet’s reason
    Sweeter than any bird
    He heard the Holy Child.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I need to keep reading this one for encouragement. Sometimes it’s awfully hard being a light.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. El ingeniero de Tepeyac says:

    Hi Charlie and the rest of the NRS family. I received some really good news today that reflects well on Charlie Johnston and his messages.

    First the preamble; around late August of this year I first heard of Charlie Johnston from the Mystics of the Church website. After reading the website, it intrigued me and I sent the link of the website to my Catholic friends.

    One of them shared with me yesterday that after fifteen years of being enslaved to pornography, he finally has been set free. According to him, it was a combination of the Prayer of Miraculous Trust and praying the Rosary daily with a devotion to Nuestra Señora de Tepeyac that allowed him to be liberated. He told me this yesterday with tears of joy running down his face. He is too embarrassed to share it himself but he did give me permission to tell it here. As a side note, he had despaired of ever being able to break free that is how strong the devil had his grip on him.

    If nothing else Charlie, your message has changed the life directly of one person and indirectly several others (his wife, children and his friends).

    God is Good – All the Time

    Thank you for your messages.

    Liked by 12 people

  31. Doug says:

    Oh so nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Amanda says:

    Such a beautiful article. I always look forward to your posts. Thank you for sharing with us!!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Kati says:

    I can not adequately describe just how timely this piece from you, Charlie, has been this morning. It was MUCH needed by me. And …our Father in Heaven arranged for THIS to be the Hymn in the Morning Prayer today:

    Hymn
    Mary Immaculate, star of the morning,
    Chosen before the creation began,
    Chosen to bring in the light of thy dawning,
    Woe to the serpent and rescue to man.
    Here, in this world of both shadow and sadness
    Veiling thy splendour, thy course hast thou run:
    Now thou art throned in all glory and gladness,
    Crowned by the hand of thy Saviour and Son.
    Sinners, we worship thy sinless perfection;
    Fallen and weak, for thy pity we plead:
    Grant us the shield of thy sov’reign protection,
    Measure thine aid by the depth of our need.
    Bend from thy throne at the voice of our crying,
    Bend to this earth which thy footsteps have trod:
    Stretch out thine arms to us, living and dying,
    Mary Immaculate, Mother of God.

    ALL glory to our God and our King!

    Liked by 6 people

  34. Patricia says:

    Charlie,
    I check in with this site periodically and this morning it looked as though one of the regular authors reads your site. You may not want to allow the link or the whole article. The most pertinent paragraph is at the end. As any secular site, the comments can be off putting. Anyway, here it is:
    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/merry-christmas-may-the-spirit-of-the-american-stand-in-bastogne-be-with-you-all_12252015

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Thanks Patricia. Funny thing, I get link notices from such sites – and this site has linked to me before. Even better, I have gotten notes from several such people at sites like this telling me that reading me has caused them to focus more on living solidarity rather than hunkering down and withdrawing. They will be great and reliable friends as things get darker, I think. It is fear that causes us to withdraw, regardless of how tough we talk. Strength leads to solidarity and fellowship with others of good will. We will endure together and God will prevail. And frankly, his story was inspiring, capturing the heart of what is best about America and Americans when America is at its best – and our best, noblest days are yet before us.

      Liked by 7 people

  35. capo828487@yahoo.com says:

    Live it thanks gives me hope for my family of 5 sons 1 daughter and 4 grandchildren! Hope! Just witness my husband of 43 years come back to faith! Through an Emaus retreat, he participated more than once to see the light it is still slow process for him but is happening, thanks I do need your words

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 6 people

  36. Joseph77 says:

    Charlie, Thank you for:
    Faith, in the dark night!
    Hope in a despairing world!
    Water, cool, crystal-clear in a trackless desert!
    Fortitude, in faltering resolve!
    Confirmation in signs and wonders!
    Our Lady of Tepeyac revisited and in my heart!
    Our Lady of Fatima, Mother of my Conversion!
    Our Lady of Medugorje revisited and trust in fulfillment!

    I thank God for giving us the gift and blessing that you are to the world!

    Liked by 6 people

  37. Brenda Cavallaro says:

    Wow Charlie! When I read your post (first on Christmas day) about the note from your mom I felt in my heart that it was a gift from her NOW. You affirmed this in your writing today! Your message was one of great hope and encouragement to those of us feeling a bit fatigued keeping our family members in prayer for conversion. Our blessed Mother surely is our safe refuge, her Immaculate Heart is where we need to be and our consecration to her should be one we recite daily. I thank God for your posts and find strength from your words. Thank you for being true to your mission!

    Liked by 4 people

  38. motherofsouls says:

    Is anyone else here waiting until 2017 to make major, life-altering decisions? There is something very serious and painful I think I may have to do but it would affect everyones life around me so I would like to see if hearts will be changed by Mary in 2017. I have no idea what to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      It remains the same as it ever has been, mos…take the next right step. That said, I know there are some family troubles in my extended family that, if a clear opportunity arose for healing, I would exercise it. Otherwise, I just let it be and concentrate on the work right in front of me.

      Liked by 3 people

    • victura98 says:

      I like to imagine the Blessed Mother’s “Fiat” at the Annunciation, in answer to such questions. Mary is the first “Next Right Stepper,” when you think about it. 🙂
      God cooperates with genuine human free will to incarnate his grace into this world, and grants graces to others tomorrow as a consequence of our cooperation with him today. I think we ought to leave future uncertainties in the hands of providence, and simply do the best we are able right now.

      Liked by 5 people

      • charliej373 says:

        IU hadn’t thought of it that way, Victura, but she was, wasn’t she? I have always been deeply touched by the Visitation. Our Lady, knowing she was to be Mother of the Messiah, in an incredible miracle, nonetheless went to help her cousin Elizabeth in what could be a difficult late-in-life pregnancy. If anyone could be exused for thinking, “Ah, God will take care of it…” it was Our Lady. But she knew, when the Annunciation came, to leave the details to God and just trust – and she knew when we are to be the instruments of God’s will…and so humbly went out to help her cousin. And what graces poured forth from this simple devotion to duty! My favorite prayer, the Magnificat, is a fruit of it. But of course Mary knew these things and discerned them perfectly. She was full of grace! May she pour forth a measure of that grace over us.

        Liked by 4 people

        • the phoenix says:

          Yes, that was what I was trying to remember … Magnificat. You spoke of the Year of Paradox, Charlie … I think what you’re describing can also be called the Year of the Magnificat. So many words, probably all, of that prayer fit. Some of which include:

          “He has mercy on those who fear him
          in every generation.
          He has shown the strength of his arm,
          he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

          He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
          and has lifted up the lowly.
          He has filled the hungry with good things,
          and the rich he has sent away empty.”

          Liked by 3 people

        • zeniazenia says:

          Mary heard the angel’s message. She really listened (and pondered a minute or two probably). 50% of his message that day was about Elizabeth, and Mary knew it would be rude to accept this bit of news from a distance..

          Liked by 1 person

        • aaronpfoutz says:

          Charlie, after many readings of the visitation last week I started commenting on it and asking others. A good friend of mine Fr. Jerry Priscaro wrote back this beautiful message I thought I would share. I really am amazed at the faith of Elizabeth in all of this.

          Okay Aaron, you asked for it. Here’s my two cents. Like the poor widow that Jesus watched drop her contribution into the temple treasury, I’m making my deposit here on facebook for what it’s worth. You may recall, when Jesus visited the sisters Martha & Mary, Martha was busy in the kitchen. Meanwhile Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus “just visiting and clinging to his every word”. Jesus affirmed Mary’s visit as “choosing the better part”. In other words, visiting with others, engaging them in conversation, listening, and simply being present is a monumental part of living out our faith journey. We can appreciate how much a visit means especially during this time of year. It is when we come to appreciate “visiting and a visit” that we more fully enter into the Joyful Mystery of the Visitation, in which Elizabeth who is in her second trimester of pregnancy visits with Mary, the Blessed Mother, her kinswoman (cousin) who is in her first trimester of pregnancy. Leave it to two pregnant women to truly enjoy a visit with one another. It was certainly a welcome one, no doubt. For these two women as different as they were, one much older and infertile (Elizabeth) and the other (Mary, the Blessed Mother) much younger and a virgin, still had much to share in common. First, more than likely, both of them as women would have acknowledged the impossibility of their pregnancies given their unique circumstances. Second, both would have shared the joy of their conceptions. Third, both embraced God’s call to be full-time mothers and to nurture their unborn child through 9 months of pregnancy and well-beyond into young adulthood. Fourth, both women recognized their unborn child was a gift from God and a real miracle in the real world. And, lets not forget, both women acknowledged and affirmed their unborn child was a living, breathing, human being, and a sacred gift from above, even though that unborn child was still surrounded by amniotic fluid within the womb of Elizabeth and Mary. While it seemed so impossible for a virgin without the help of a man, and an infertile woman advanced beyond child bearing years to conceive a child, God, through the power of the Holy Spirit made it possible. For all things are possible with God! When Elizabeth affirms Mary as “blessed are you among women”……..it reaffirms the vocational role Mary would take on as “the Blessed Mother……and all the generations that would acknowledge her thereafter as the Blessed Mother.” But there is an even more powerful message than those revealed by way of the visit of the two women and also the acknowledgement of Mary, as the Blessed Mother and the Lord being with her. It is a message that we were all meant to embrace especially during this Christmas Season and well beyond. Here’s the message. Long before there were obstetricians, neo-natologists, gynecologists, obstetric nurses, medical schools, medical science, supreme court justices of the United States, U.S. Presidents, and Members of Congress and long before there were sonograms, ultra-sound, MRI, and CAT Scan technologies, and certainly long before there was even a Planned Parenthood………More than 2,000 years ago, Elizabeth said to Mary, “Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb”. Long before there was Fruit of the Loom, Elizabeth said “Fruit of the Womb”. Fruit of the Womb came long before Fruit of the Loom. You can bet those two women embraced. And, as they embraced, their bellies met, the belly of an older woman nearly 6 months pregnant, and the belly of a woman in her early teenage years in her 1st, 2nd, or 3rd month of pregnancy. As they embraced, the unborn babies within their wombs met for the first time and the babies leaped for joy as a sign, that even an unborn child recognizes another unborn child, and an unborn cousin recognizes another unborn cousin, and an unborn child destined for greatness recognizes another unborn child destined for greatness. Elizabeth’s words to Mary affirms the unborn child in the womb of every expectant mother. Elizabeth’s words also affirms the sacredness of all human life even in utero. Elizabeth’s words “Blessed is the Fruit of Your Womb” forever impresses upon all women, and all men, and all doctors, and all nurses, and all government officials, and all presidents, and all supreme court justices who listen to God’s Will and God’s Plan, that “What is Within the Womb is nothing less than a Living, Breathing, Unborn, Human Life, Human Being, Human Child, and a Precious Gift From God whether you’re old or young, whether you’re a virgin or infertile woman, whether you’re married or unmarried, whether you believe it or not, whether the conception and pregnancy was planned or unplanned, believe it or not! The profoundness of Elizabeth’s words that have echoed loudly and clearly through 21 centuries of human history certainly reaffirm as well, No Mary, No Christmas. No Jesus, No Christmas. No Fruit of the Womb, No Christmas. No Unborn Child, No Christmas. Thanks to St. Ann! Thanks to Mary! Thanks to Elizabeth! And thanks to every woman who has ever conceived, nurtured an unborn child in the womb and given birth to that child before them, with them, and since them……there has been a Christmas. For God so Loved the World that He Sent His Only Son into the World……as an unborn child within the womb, destined to be born as an infant, to show the world “Sometimes God has a Kid’s Face”. Of all the ways in which God chose to be born into this world, God chose a woman to be the instrument of delivery. God also chose to be conceived as an unborn child and born as an infant child to elevate and exalt the dignity of All Women, most especially the Blessed Mother, and to elevate and exalt the dignity of every unborn child, considered to be the greatest in the kingdom, and according to God’s Will and Divine Plan to be seen as a Blessing not a Curse, to be Born not to be put to Death, and to be Appreciated, not to be Abused. Let us Pray that the words of Elizabeth will be convincing enough to all of us and all of our society, that every unborn child deserves a birthday no matter how or where they are conceived in this world. Merry Christmas Everyone! Elizabeth is a reminder to all of us that “God is With Us” and “God is With Every Child, born and unborn.”

          Liked by 8 people

      • Beckita says:

        Love this, Victura! Please keep ’em comin’!

        Liked by 3 people

    • YongDuk says:

      Firstly, I think St. Thomas’ discernment for fraternal correction is invaluable: If you think that it will do good and as long as you do it with a motive of charity, then you should and may even be beholden. If you know that it would not do good by being received on deaf ears and in that even harm, then you can with good conscience and even should not do fraternal correction; however, make sure that it is not out of avoidance or quietism.

      Secondly, I was thinking during the Homily at Mass today–sorry, I got distracted, see “eyes closed” comments elsewhere–about how many parents and pastors I know who have not stood up for the Truth in their family life and in parish life (this was obviously influenced by Charlie’s reflection and the Feast). I thought about how many Priests and Bishops don’t defend the family, their family, and therefore become lax fathers (and how that even trickles into seminary formation): not in the sense of contraception, divorce, homosexual lifestyles, euthanasia, abortion, etc., but with regards to allowing sin to predominate and not making focus on God something essential. A deliverance [“exorcism”] case came to me recently of a young man in university caught up into drugs. His Asian parents put him with an American family so that he could attend a Catholic high school in America to get him ahead in the world. While highly intelligent, he made some bad choices and fell into evil and this is affecting his studies, of course. I thought that his parents’ own formation of him in those years may have prevented this and lamented their choice to have him raised by people not invested in his future. Now they are faced with some tough choices about what to do with him and university. &tc.

      I always remember Padre Pio and the story of expelling a woman (whom I expect suffered from grandiosity in wanting to go to Confession to Padre Pio) from his Confessional for the reason that seven of her children were in Hell due to her laxity.

      Yet, at the same time, I always hear Scott Hahn’s voice in my head in these circumstances from a tape I heard by him long ago where he said that if you are the type of person who feels you need to correct people [morally or spiritually], then perhaps you are indeed the last person [due to your ego] who should be doing it.

      I think there is a need for real discernment on timing, Mother of Souls. I mean real discernment with a Priest or well-formed Spiritual Director. Unless Charlie or Victura has a read on your soul and the situation, I would really recommend that.

      Liked by 4 people

      • charliej373 says:

        Thank you, YD. Very wise counsel on discernment in action.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Y.D., knowing when to correct and when to be silent is so difficult for me! I would welcome further instruction on this. We have all been victims of misjudgment and false accusations at times so I am loathe to correct lest I be wrong in my judgement. This can do so so so much damage! Also, love, like honey, is more effective than vinegar. In fact, love is everything! Yet I know I need to speak up for my Lord at times. But which times? I remember reading that Padre P I o was instructed by our Lord to be harsh to certain people in confession. God knew who needed a stern reply. Padre P. Would obey but would shed tears when obliged to do so because he was so tender-hearted. But lack of correction can also do damage. As I said, I would welcome further instruction on this because, basically, I’m a wimp.

        Liked by 3 people

        • YongDuk says:

          SingingFlowerChild, I am not sure how to answer your question without knowing you, but I wrote this reply, nonetheless.

          I got politely scoffed at at a charismatic prayer meeting once when I was incognito and had been going to this meeting a couple of times already, as I like to go incognito and find a nice humble, prayerful group traveling as much as I do, when in response to someone I stated that the person in the State of Grace should not see reading souls as something extraordinary, but the Light of the Holy Spirit. However, this requires humility and docility–dare I say great as I am not sure I have the right amount even though I have been given this grace from time to time.

          Extracting from that, SingingFlowerChild, that your soul would be in the State of Grace and that you would be living detached from sin, then starting to discern the proper time for fraternal correction should be come naturally, much like St. Faustina writes in her Diary from Christ: if only souls would listen to their souls, they would advance in holiness in no time (paraphrased).

          It is not about accusing. It is about living your role as Priest, Prophet and King by Baptism and helping others to achieve the same. What does that role entail? Being a spiritual physician. While not to the same degree and same authority as a Priest would have in the Confessional, not to mention the grace therein, nonetheless, proper to any baptised person is this role. Case in point is the Domestic Church wherein the Parents have a role, as well as older siblings acting as mentors to younger.

          The problem is ego–and I mentioned this at the beginning in regards to that Prayer Group. They were humble. It was so refreshing to see. Glorious even. Rare in the Northeast–dare I say more.

          Our problem is our ego on so many levels. With the spiritual life, many of us think that if we only had such and such a spiritual/mystical experience we would grow tremendously in no short time. But ask many of who have had it and whether we have grown spiritually as we think we should have or could have. (Yet, that too keeps us humble by our humiliations.) And yet we miss the blessings of our neighbor–and I am speaking to myself and ask for your prayers. Our ego butts up against, causes frictions with their egos. Not even in the sense of intellect, but in the sense of our will, our sense of space and wants and needs.

          I amaze myself with myself and my own bullheaded stupidity with those I love. (Hopefully not so bad as the old axiom: angel on the streets, demon at home.)

          I have been blessed to see the soul of a child newly baptized, not in the way of St. Catherine of Genoa (if I have the correct saint, but there are many), but in the sense of seeing that soul’s intellect and will and with that the soul’s spiritual love for me as its neighbor when I looked into that soul’s eyes. (Was quite “freaky” at first really, since this was when I was still in University and had just re-converted to the Faith. [Sorry for that word, freaky, but it is the only word for the emotion that I can imagine].) The dignity of that person whose soul I was shown struck me as something absolutely astounding. With that, I for years hungered to meet someone (i.e. a girlfriend) with whom I would fall in love looking into her eyes like that. Yet, for years (and still) I missed seeing my neighbors’ souls with that same astounding and due respect as they deserve. My ego got and gets in the way. I wish they would treat me as I wish I treat them, but I keep failing and falling to say: just hang on the cross even in the smallest and tiniest moments and love the person next to me with that same astounding respect and dignity as I saw in that child’s eyes and with that same Love that Christ had in enduring the suffering for their sake.

          So all that is to say, SingingFlowerChild, that polishing of one’s ego (chiseling, sanding, polishing) is that ongoing process that needs to be going on to remove the mote from one’s eye, so as to see the dignity and love and respect due to the other wherein the true and absolute care for their soul will eventually come out in the most ideal form.

          That takes a lot of work–or being in Heaven

          In the mean time, an honest assessment of yourself (remember, from St. Catherine of Siena: the root of humility is self-knowledge) and an honest intention to continue to chisel, sand and polish is what I think is needed to care for another soul spiritually to the point of being able to fraternally correct. Knowing your honesty and integrity to work on yourself and an honest and loving approach to them that honors their dignity would then allow your approach to be imbued with the fraternal love.

          If you are sincere in that and wanting that for yourself and for them, then your soul will sense or start to sense (akin to the grace of reading souls) when it is best for the other person’s soul and not just for your ego.

          But please, I caution you and anyone reading this that I keep repeating ego for a reason. And again, Scott Hahn: if you are the type of person who finds that you like to correct people [morally or spiritually], then perhaps you are indeed the last person [due to your ego] who should be doing it.

          It is better to hang on the cross praying for them in many circumstances — unless you are given due authority over the soul in question (a child, a parishioner, a Bishop to his Priests and Deacons) — trusting God and asking for light for yourself and that person.

          (I remember well one of my Carmelite nun friends who was a novice director. She used to say to her novices when they had a problems to go before the Lord and ask the Lord, “Please show me, Lord, what is it in me that makes me react so strongly to this person?”)

          I wish I were perfect all the time. I know if I don’t pray my Holy Hour and get good rest, I am not the best I can be. While it does keep me humble from my humiliations, it doesn’t excuse it and with that I have to be very careful not to get angry/upset at myself for failing so easily and just try to do better.

          You have–we all have–a responsibility to God, our neighbor and ourselves to root out the bad in us to be able to be the best and to give the good to each other. Remember Aristotle says: Good gives of itself / Love seeks the good of the other. That is precisely what that means: I root out the bad in me to give the good of myself to those I love.

          So, SingingFlowerChild, considering approaching fraternal correction in that way as the first Next Right Step perhaps and get a good Spiritual Director to help you with the chiseling, sanding and polishing–and enlist your Gaudate Angel, the other Angels and the Saints for help!

          Hope this helps…

          oremus pro invicem,
          +Young Duck

          Liked by 10 people

          • Beckita says:

            Amen! Alleluia! Thank you, YD. LOTS to unpack in that refreshing, revealing response!!!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you for your kind and wise reply. I had to think about it a while. It seems to me that what it your reply boils down to is this: good fraternal correction, like all virtues, is the fruit of grace. That Grace, like all graces, must be asked for in prayer and developed by living a holy life. What came to my mind while I was reading your reply was my favorite quote by Antoine deSaint Exupery: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” In this instance, a beautiful soul in a state of grace and humility is the alluring “endless immensity of the sea.” You don’t give people orders, you just teach them to long for the Good, the True and the Beautiful. They will do what they need to do to capture that beauty for themselves.

            Liked by 7 people

          • P.S. Freaky is a great word; I use it frequently.

            Liked by 1 person

          • ann says:

            THANK YOU, Yong Duk. Thank you! I have looked for guidance for this (like Singing Flowers and so many others) for so long, tilting between guilt for not speaking and then having to undo some damage from speaking. It could give me spiritual whiplash (smile) but of late, these last years, I seem to be drawn always to just praying and trying to live it and then waiting on the Holy Spirit to speak if the time is right. The accuser (I assume) whispers “Cowardice!” but then when I try to speak I just can’t. Now I ask the Holy Spirit to set a guard on my tongue, to control it, to free ti when He wishes, to silence it when He wishes. What a struggle. I am trying (humbly I hope) to just clean up my speech altogether meaning, no unkind or critical words about anyone! Even those in positions of power. I spent too many years making judgements. I deeply repent of that. May God judge me with more mercy than I once showed to others. Thank you for your wise counsel.

            Liked by 7 people

          • Beckita says:

            Ah, SIngingflowers! “You don’t give people orders, you just teach them to long for the Good, the True and the Beautiful. They will do what they need to do to capture that beauty for themselves.” An exhortative summation imbued with Beauty, Grace and Truth! Thank you.

            Liked by 1 person

          • janet333 says:

            .”… but in the sense of seeing that soul’s intellect and will and with that the soul’s spiritual love for me as its neighbor when I looked into that soul’s eyes”

            Wonderful! Thank you so much Young Duck.

            Liked by 4 people

          • RJW says:

            I needed that.

            Like

          • Kati says:

            YD, That is one of the most beautiful things I have read today…and I have read some beautiful things today in the book, Discernment of Spirits, An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living by Fr. Timothy Gallagher. I am asking our Father in Heaven to bless your gifts and enlarge them for HIS glory. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Dear YongDuk,

            Thank you so much for your response and wisdom!
            “Our problem is our ego… An honest assessment of yourself and an honest intention to continue to chisel, sand and polish is what I think is needed to care for another soul.”

            I’ve recently prayed to St. Padre Pio to guide my examination of conscience and to help reveal any faults that I may have tucked away somewhere for safekeeping. I believe he went through YOU to guide me – and fortunately, you’ve helped me find more than a few of them.
            I love this family!

            Liked by 2 people

        • zeniazenia says:

          Dear sindingflowers, When it happens that someone now longs for the endless immensity of the sea, they will still need encouragement. Don’t stop there. This is what will happen to cause the tribulation after the age of peace. People still sin, forget and lose interest. Be prepared to help people at every stage of their conversion. 🙂 Love — Zenia Jane.

          Liked by 1 person

      • motherofsouls says:

        Thank you so much, YongDuk (and sorry for the delay in responding). Things have gotten shockingly worse and I will be contacting my priest shortly. Please, please pray for me and my family, all.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Petra says:

      No, I am not waiting. But I am not paying attention to any *storm* or possible crises in my decision making. A long while ago I decided to continue making the same decisions I would have made anyway, and trust like a blind person that God is taking me on the path He intends for me. For instance, I needed a new car (the one I had was 19 years old). Instead of rushing my decision and buying the car last March because of a possible financial crash, I held off, not worrying about it one way or another. I figured my old car would do if God intended that, or He would get me to where I needed to be regardless of how I got there. My own mind told me to wait until the end of the year when I knew dealers would be anxious to get rid of the current year cars because the new model year cars were arriving at their dealerships. In fact, ironically (or God-incidentally), during the months that passed I learned about the hybrid version of the model I was looking at, and how it gets about 40 miles per gallon of gas. Somehow I felt this was a very prudent car to buy given that I could get further on a tank of gas than with a regular car. Suddenly in mid-November I just decided one day to look online at dealers’ inventories, and go visit a dealer. I bought the car. I feel I got an incredibly good deal on a very good, practical, reliable car.

      If I thought I should change jobs, or move, or stay, or have a needed operation, or whatever, I’d make that decision based on whether it is the right decision and not on whether the storm or crises or collapse is imminent. I expect God will take care of the details, and I don’t have to worry about them. He will even fix my “mistakes.”

      I sense you may be speaking of a divorce, or separation? In this only God can lead you, but if the situation is one where there is abuse or addiction or serious damage is happening to you or any children, then I would guess the answer is not to wait, because even if hearts are changed in 2017, the relationship can be restored at that time, but if you are not in a safe situation now, it is best to get away, as you would if had no idea of any miraculous intervention. Since I don’t know what you are asking about, I strongly suggest you take it to prayer, or even to a priest to ask for guidance. Asking such serious questions in a public forum like this is not a good way to make such important decisions.

      I will pray for you that God will lead you in what you should do. God bless.

      Liked by 7 people

      • charliej373 says:

        Brilliant answer, Petra! So much better than my original that I was tempted to delete that original. Motherofsouls, my original answer wasn’t terrible, but this is right on. I change my answer to, “What Petra said.”

        Liked by 5 people

        • YongDuk says:

          Amen!

          Thank you as always Petra. You know I love your level-headed clarity in how you write!

          That is quite the gift; praise God

          Liked by 2 people

          • LukeMichael says:

            She is rock!

            Liked by 2 people

          • YongDuk says:

            Petra is a girl?

            Like

          • Doug says:

            Yup. German name for a girl.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Really? I just thought it was a linguistic play… Kifa : Hellenicised Kephas :: Petra : Petras

            Next you will be telling me that Beckita is a girl too!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mick says:

            Yep, YD; it’s the feminine form of Petrus.

            She’s Polish, though, rather than German (unless, Petra, you got a German grandparent or something that I don’t know about). 🙂

            Like

          • Petra says:

            Nope, Mick, no German heritage that I know about. Polish 100%, both sides, back to great-Grandma and Grandpa on both sides. But I don’t know what happened over in Europe before that. My great grandparents on my mom’s side came here around 1905, and my grandmother (in her early 20’s) met my grandfather here (also in his early 20’s) around 1908 or so. On my dad’s side, my great-grandparents never came, but my dad’s mom and dad came over (did not know each other) as young people and met here too. Interestingly enough, most of Poland had been taken over by Prussia/Austria at that time, so on the early census records they self identify as Polish but where they came from as Prussia or Austria.

            God bless and Merry Christmas.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Ok, now I am reading you with a female voice. (I had been reading you with a male voice, like a English literature professor with a touch of flare and but minimal eccentricity–so maybe that crossed with differential calculus grad student.)

            Liked by 1 person

        • Petra says:

          Awww, Charlie. Now I’m embarrassed…..

          Geez. God bless.

          Liked by 4 people

      • Beckita says:

        It’s true, Petra. Your comment gives evidence you’ve internalized the heart of what Charlie has been teaching in acknowledging God, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope. I agree with YD as well. There are God-given gifts interwoven in your replies which get to the heart of the matter when you reply. You are blessed and we are blessed!

        Liked by 3 people

      • motherofsouls says:

        Thank you, Petra. You are pretty much right on the money. I will be going to my priest asap. Please do pray for us. Everything is in shambles.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. MT Butterfly says:

    Speaking about The First Light of Dawn, as my husband and I were driving to Mass this morning the sun was coming up in a V shaped area between two mountain ranges. The colors were the deepest redish oranges we have ever seen.(Usually they are hues of pink). As the sunrise contiued it spread behind the mountain range on the left and silouetted the mountain range in front of it, still in the brilliant redish orange hues. We were just mesmerized by the awesome beauty of it all. How great, O Lord, is the handiwork of your creation!!

    Liked by 7 people

  40. Julia Meredith says:

    I hardly ever comment here but at this time of year, thought I would say a great big Thank You Charlie for all your posts. They are wonderful and I so look forward to them. The post on Our Lady of Tepayac was a real eye opener. Living in England, I had of course heard of her but not taken that much notice. Wow, I am certainly taking notice now. All that detail on the tilma and the conversion of the Aztecs! Just wonderful. Sending you prayers and blessings in this Christmas season and for 2016.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Joshua says:

    Hi Charlie, something very similar to the note from your mother happened recently to my best friend from Canada, who is now a priest in France. He was on a religious trip in Rome, and there he forgot on a bench a sweater that he was wearing. He looked everywhere, asking St Anthony of Padua for help, and it was only upon his return to France that he saw his sweatshirt again, on the pulpit of his church (where the Word of God is read and preached – a striking similarity to the note coming out from your Bible).

    Liked by 5 people

  42. Bonnie C says:

    I’m so happy to report that I got to read the chapters, “Her Life With St. Joseph” and “The Nativity” from Revelations of St. Bridget (On the Life and Passion of. Our Lord and the Life of His Blessed Mother) on Christmas. -about 5 minutes – to my family. Everyone seemed captivated. When Our Lady greets Jesus, she says, “Welcome my God, and my Lord, and my Son.” I, of course get a little choked up at that. Just think of it! Merry Christmas to all.

    Liked by 5 people

  43. CHADPRO123 says:

    Just wanted to say that Father Fernando Molina-Restrepo (the pastor of Transfiguration in Marietta) was the pastor that welcomed my wife and I into the Catholic Church nearly 2 years ago.

    Liked by 4 people

  44. Cheri F says:

    Thank you for this blog, Charlie. It is a blessing. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Susan T says:

    My husband and I were visiting my son and family in Georgia and decided to visit Transfiguration Parish. Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside the hall to see the image (they were closed earlier for that day), but did see the outline from the parking lot. The best view (at that time of day) was near the Perpetual Adoration parking signs. God-incidence? We stopped in for a visit with Jesus at their very nice adoration chapel. If others go to see the window, make sure you make a stop at the adoration chapel too.

    Liked by 5 people

  46. prayingflower says:

    Thank you, Charlie

    Liked by 1 person

  47. victura98 says:

    Charlie, here’s a question that has percolated in my thoughts since I first read this post. You mentioned that, “…those in despair, blinded by the things of this world, will hunger for the Lord this year. But to find their way back to Him, they need someone to gently lead them…not to berate them…”
    Do you anticipate that, among those who have never bent the knee to the idols of statism and secularism, there will arise a strong temptation to “gloat” as we see those idols crumble?
    Pope Francis, in announcing the Year of Mercy, said that the theme for this year is to be, “Merciful, Like the Father.” I have found that wherever the merciful spirit of the “Good Father” is present, the “Prodigal Son” feels welcome to return home, and where that spirit is lacking, potential reconciliation is lost.
    Without proper guidance, fallen human nature will tend to gloat over an adversary. Is this a concern to focus on?

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Pingback: A Reprise of the First Light | The Next Right Step

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