The Pivot of Civilization

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The Annuciation –  by Fra Filippo Lippi

(Another of my little stories to begin the New Year. This one is attached to the Annunciation.  As with all these, I emphasize that this is a work of fiction, entirely a product of my contemplative imagination. It is NOT a statement of how it happened. I hope, though, that it may help you enter into the events of the Annunciation and, perhaps, spark your own deep meditation on the subject. Happy New Year, in this great year when God will once again announce Himself to all who will hear Him.- CJ)

By Charlie Johnston

Satan was brooding.

Eons ago, when he seduced Adam and Eve, Satan had expected the Ancient to drop mankind as a failed experiment and put things back to normal. Instead, at the very moment of this first triumphant indictment of the worms, the Ancient set a grand, celestial dance into play. Though he could not divine its meaning, the devil was sure it boded him no good. Since then those fly-eaten curs the Ancient called His prophets had proclaimed that the stately dance of the stars heralded the coming of a Messiah, one who would redeem the Ancient’s people and nullify the consequences of the fall. Much as he loathed them, Satan assumed the prophets were right. They usually were. Oh, occasionally he had been able to manipulate their fears, their vanity, sometimes even their compassion to implant a false notion into their heads. But it was rarely long before they corrected themselves, so it was not nearly as effective in sowing confusion as he had hoped it would be.

No matter. Lucifer had recruited plenty of false prophets of his own – and they had sowed plenty of confusion. It was easy. The gullible fools the Ancient so doted on loved a fortune-teller – and loved a sensation even more. If anything, Satan was a master showman. He filled his ‘prophets’ with much frothier pronouncements then the real things usually produced. He gave quick results, too. There was little waiting, wondering and contemplating required to understand what his men were getting at. Best of all, his ‘prophets’ were masters at telling the little fools what they wanted to believe. Even when he sent gloomy messages of doom (which he did quite often) it was not calculated to change men’s hearts, but to set them against each other. Oh, how quickly even the most pathetic of the creatures was willing to believe himself specially anointed and enlightened to seize power and ‘save’ his fellow creatures from themselves. But if the competing visions of the Ancient’s authentic prophets and Lucifer’s frothy frauds succeeded in clouding men’s minds, Satan was not deceived. He knew very well which were his servants and which, the Ancient’s.

Lucifer chuckled. He wondered if the Ancient really understood what valuable information he was able to glean from the authentic prophets. Since being evicted from eternity, he could no longer see the future or read men’s thoughts. It had not been as debilitating a handicap as it sounds. He was, after all, Satan, a master of inductive, deductive and yet six other forms of logic mankind had nary a clue of. Most of the fools were so transparent and slow-witted it was a trifle to know what they were going to think before they thought it; what they were going to do before they did it; even what they were going to eat for breakfast a month from today and what they would wear while eating it. That was usually enough to convince men of his power. If more was needed, that was almost as simple. Send a false prophet out to tell a man he will meet another eating a pomegranate while riding west on a camel at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Take another of the servants you possess, give him a pomegranate and set him riding west on a camel at the proper moment and voila! It was enough to deceive the devout for a time; it would invariably make disciples of the silly.

For every authentic prophet the Ancient sent, Lucifer sent a thousand frauds. It should have been enough to discredit prophecy altogether, yet somehow it didn’t. Men could not see the distinctive halos that surrounded the real prophets, so that couldn’t be it. Lucifer thought of a father calling out, “Son!” in a crowd of children. However many heads turned, the father’s actual son snapped to attention. The Ancient must have given them some similar rudimentary instinct that recognized His Voice.

But now, urgent business was at hand. The celestial dance was nearing its climactic moment. A Messiah was at hand – and Lucifer was determined to identify the family into which this redeemer would be born so he could strangle the brat in its cradle. He summoned the only demon with whom he regularly took counsel, Mordred, to consider the matter.

“What news, Mordred? Have any new candidates for mother of the redeemer popped up?” he asked.

“We think you are right, eminence. It will be Rebekah. The lineage is perfect and they are one of the foremost families in Jerusalem. I have personally confirmed that her husband, Josiah, is secretly a Maccabite who burns for the overthrow of the Roman overlords. They are the perfect family to produce a redeemer,” Mordred bowed, then continued. “I must tell you, however, that a particularly intense light has flared from the womb of Elizabeth. We have not seen its like since Elijah. It is an agony for any of us to get within a mile of her. Is it possible…”

“I know of it,” Satan interrupted. “It’s a good catch. But remember, the Ancient loves to mislead us into wasting time and effort chasing smoke. What you must do is learn to think as He does. He misleads us by putting emphasis on matters that cause us to misinterpret His intentions. But He never lies on matters not subject to interpretation. The Messiah must come from the line of David. Elizabeth’s kid will undoubtedly cause us a host of problems, but he is a Levite. He is not the one we seek. What about Rachel? You’re not ignoring her, are you? It would appeal to the Ancient’s warped sense of humor to have the redeemer proceed from the namesake of the weeping mother of the lost children of Israel. Never underestimate the Old One’s guile.”

Mordred considered. “We are watching her, master,” he assured Satan. “She is the most obvious alternate to Rebekah. But the light coming from her does not feel right. It has not the martial quality one would expect from one who would be king. That quality was quite pronounced in David, Moses…even Abraham. It just isn’t there with Rachel. We will keep watch on her, though, for any change. Wormtail has suggested there is another we should watch.”

“Who is it?” Lucifer asked. “Wormtail is a bit slow, but he has a real knack with these humans – perhaps for that very reason. I am interested in his thoughts.”

Mordred cleared his throat. “Well, he says we should keep an eye on Mary of Nazareth…”

Satan’s eyes widened in astonishment. “You mean the daughter of Joachim and Anne? She isn’t even married, much less pregnant. And the family is just a tattered remnant of the royal line.

“Yes, I know. But she has just been betrothed to Joseph, the carpenter. The Davidic lineage is solid,” Mordred replied.

Satan’s eyes remained wide. “The Davidic lineage is laughable,” he spat. “That branch of the family is the impoverished detritus of the royal line.”

“With deference, your eminence, that is true…’

“Can it with the deference,” Satan interrupted. “You know I rely on your candor to help me frame my thinking. Just don’t let the others get any ideas about assuming such liberties.”

“Well, my point is, look at the prophets. Almost every one has come from a broken, decrepit line. You said, yourself, how crafty the Ancient is. Our problem is we think too much along the lines men do…”

Mordred faltered. Satan was glaring at him with smoldering fury. “We do not think like they do. They think like we do – and getting them to do so was no little accomplishment,” Lucifer bellowed, then calmed himself. “I take your point, though. What you are missing is that, in this case, it works very much in our favor. The people will not follow a pauper.”

“But eminence, David the King was, himself, a poor shepherd boy,” Mordred rejoined.

“Irrelevant!” snapped Lucifer. “At the time the Hebrews were just a contentious rabble. The glories of Israel had not yet been established. They would have followed anyone who promised them a little order and a little glory. But now they are captives of the pride and vanity that glory brought. If David, himself, appeared now as a poor shepherd and claimed to be their king they would have him stoned to death. You might as well suggest Mary’s brat will be high priest.”

“But as you, yourself, noted, that actually is impossible,” Mordred protested. “They would have to be Levites…”

Again, Satan interrupted. “Precisely my point. We have co-opted most of the leadership, Mordred. Really, almost all are in bed with the Romans. More important, every one of the leaders would rather remain overseers of a captive people than mere citizens of a great nation. They will be savagely hostile to anything or anyone that threatens their position. I’m telling you, Mordred, it would be easier for a non-Levite to become high priest than for a pauper to become king of this bunch.”

Mordred bowed his head. “Very well, master, but there are some things about this Mary Wormtail thought you should know. We are both puzzled concerning her.”

Satan pondered his servant a moment, then nodded his consent for Mordred to continue.

“Well first (and even her own parents do not know this) it was she who approached Joseph and encouraged him to speak to her father,” Mordred began.

“Ho ho!” chortled Satan, “A bold wench, eh? Sounds like my kind of girl.”

“No, master, that is what is most strange. She is the very model of modesty. It was not lustiness that moved her to act, but…well…we’re not really sure what it was,” Mordred stammered. “I think it has something to do with the strange light that emanates from her. It is unlike anything we have ever encountered. It is soft, but incredibly intense – and forms a strange boundary around her we cannot cross. It has some of the characteristics of the light Adam and Eve originally had…”

“Why worry, then?” Lucifer asked. “Adam and Eve worked out quite nicely for us.”

“I said it has some of those qualities,” Mordred retorted, more tartly than he intended. “There is much more to it than that. It is not painful at all to us, but if we draw too near to her it’s like…well, it’s like we start to dissolve. Everything gets dark, and it’s so cold…oh, so cold. We are suddenly all alone. It feels that if we did not back away quickly we would dissolve into nothing.”

Mordred shuddered. Lucifer was not chuckling any more. The Dark Lord was finally gazing into the distance with real concern. He sat in silent contemplation, then shook himself and looked back up at Mordred.

“Okay. Keep an eye on her. She and any kid she has will be serious trouble for us. But the Messiah will not come from her – and that is where we need to keep our focus right now. I want you to stay on Rebekah and Rachel. Send Wormtail out to watch Mary. He has a knack with humans, particularly those that cannot ever be possessed,” Satan ordered.

“Is that the cause of the peculiar barrier around her? Doesn’t that make her even more likely to be the source of the Messiah, master?”

Satan sat in silent contemplation. Part of his punishment was to be confined to the normal flow of time. He could not ‘look ahead’ into human affairs anymore. Not that it made much difference. He was not supposed to ‘look ahead’ without leave of the Ancient even when he had been counted among the favored of the heavenly host. Doing so without leave was part of what got him cast down in the first place. But in his eagerness to identify the redeemer, the devil had tried mightily to slip the bonds of time and sneak a furtive peak. It had been a complete failure – and trying to enter eternity had been frighteningly like what his servant had just said it was like to approach Mary. This was bad. Very, very bad.

“I’m not sure what it means, Mordred,” Satan told his servant frankly. “This is something new. What it does not mean is that she will be mother of the Messiah. People do think as we have trained them now. I tell you, they would not accept a redeemer from that seedy branch of the family if the Ancient, Himself, came crawling out of her womb. She will certainly be a new and vexing sort of trouble for us, but we must identify the Messiah before worrying about her. If we don’t stop him all our plans could collapse. Send Wormtail to glean what he can. YOU stick to the plan.”

“As you command, eminence. Forgive me if I remind you that Wormtail prefers to be called Barnabas when on mission. He says it helps him blend in with them.”

Satan’s somber face was suddenly re-animated with rakish mirth. “Oh yes…helps him blend, does it? Oh my goodness, he is almost as foolish and vain as the worms he infiltrates. What he thinks is that it lends him dignity and stature. Well, Barnabas it is, then. We need his very best work on this.”


*******

Gabriel paced restlessly. He thrummed with nervous energy.

“Why are you so worried, Gabriel?” Chloe asked him. “You have been sent to speak to men countless times before. You are the Father’s most trusted messenger. Who else did you think He would entrust with the most important message in human history? And why would it make you nervous?”

“That’s why I needed to see you,” Gabriel explained. “I am the chief messenger, but when I am sent it is always as Grand, High, Exalted, Mystic Delegate of the Mighty God. I puff myself up to my most intimidating stature, call up my most commanding, imperious voice, toss off a few “Thou shalts…” and “Thou shalt nots…” and am on my way. But this time I am to announce, to soothe, even to try to persuade if necessary – and with the woman who would be the mother of the Son, no less! You have been guardian to so many noble souls. How do you talk to them…I mean…like in normal conversation?”

“Why, like you talk to me, Gabriel,” Chloe replied. “How else would you go about it?”

“Now don’t have fun with me, Chloe. I know they will be greater than us after passing through the cocoon of mortality, but we both know they are very slow-witted at this stage. How do you get through to them without scaring them?”

Chloe considered. “Well, yes, the best of them must contemplate the simplest concepts for years before they even begin to understand. They are easily distracted and really don’t listen very well. I often have to whisper the same thing over a thousand times to get them to hear me once. And that is the really good ones. So be patient and persistent, but very gentle. If you proceed in this manner, you will be startled at how much they can grow, even in that state. Trust me, if you keep at it, you will find yourself falling in love with them. I know I fell in love with the race long ago.”

“But how?” Gabriel asked. “It has to be maddening to cover the same ground over and over with them and still see them crawling off in the wrong direction. I have seen that too many times myself. I deliver a clear, compelling directive from the Father. They listen with awe, then go muddling off on some random tangent completely unrelated to God’s directive, while boasting bombastically that this is what God commanded them. How do you get through to them?”

Chloe considered, then smiled. “Tell me, Gabriel, have you ever closely watched a litter of puppies?”

“Why, yes, they’re adorable creatures. So brave and eager.”

“Ever tried to reason with them?” she pressed.

Gabriel opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. Finally he grinned. “I take your meaning. But the thing is, people reason almost as poorly. They are forever crowing with triumph over some insight they have had today that will obviously bring disaster tomorrow, but they can’t see it until they’re surrounded with ashes.”

Chloe started to respond, but Gabriel pressed on. “I know, I know. They are formed in the Divine Image. He has even made them participants with Him in creation. He allowed me to see what some of them will be when they are here. They are breath-takingly magnificent. Chloe, I was never, not even for a moment, swayed by Lucifer’s resentment that creatures who are so feeble there should become so glorious here. But they are feeble there. They routinely butcher each other; and for what? Their sojourn there is as transient as an anthill before an oncoming tornado, yet they value nothing so much as being lord, for a moment, of the anthill. All their most elaborate schemes only further enfeeble them. Even our old companion, Lucifer, has a purpose in mind with his war on men: to preserve our race’s pre-eminence in heaven and restore himself to favored status. It is a bafflingly foolish purpose, given the abundance we enjoy. It is as silly as if you were to resent me for being a messenger or I, you, for being a guardian. But at least it is a purpose. Men on earth, though, march mindlessly and relentlessly to their own destruction. How many times would they have succeeded already without the Father’s intervention? And they cheer…they cheer the most mindless destructors while celebrating the most ignorant, blind bullies among them as models of wisdom and enlightenment.”

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Angels in Heaven – by Pat Kunke

 

“Are you finished?” Chloe asked, an affectionate twinkle lighting her eyes.

The wounded wonder melted from Gabriel’s face. He twinkled right back at her and broke into a toothy grin. “I do like to talk out loud, don’t I?”

“To the delight of all of us, the Almighty included,” Chloe smiled.

“Yeah, I know. I’ve noticed the mirth behind his eyes when I start emoting. I do love how quickly I can make Him smile,” Gabriel observed brightly. “But my questions…I really need to know.”

“You’re always so transparently and urgently earnest, Gabe. What a lovely gift it is! Let’s go back to the image of the puppies for a moment. They start off blind and feeble. As they grow a little, they love to fight and scrabble. At that stage they are usually lumbering and clumsy. It is their eagerness that charms. Throw a stick and the clumsiest will fall all over itself to get it and bring it back to its master in exchange for a pat on the head. Their joy, eagerness and transparent need to have their affection returned melt all but the hardest hearts.

“Yes, people are slow and clumsy. They are capable of the most savage cruelty. But they are also capable of the most sublime love. Consider it: they are so blind even the best of them struggle to see beyond their little existence there. The fear that death is their end, that there is nothing else lurks like a snake in their hearts, ever ready to strike. Even so, all but the meanest of them will sacrifice himself to save one he loves. Think about that. It takes your breath away, given their infirmities. The best give their lives for others they have never even met. As plodding as they are, I suspect the Almighty has given them a capacity for love greater than our own – even in that plane of existence. And we both know that love is the fundamental essence of the Trinity.”

Color rose in Chloe’s cheeks as she continued. “I wonder if your grief over the rebellion of your old friend, Lucifer, isn’t obscuring your own vision a bit. His work is much more destructive to his own stated ends then you think. Forget, for a moment, his colossal presumption in seeking to correct what he believes to be God’s error in creating humanity. Every savage cruelty they visit on each other is inspired by him – every single one. He exploits every element of their frailty; their fear, their vanity, their greed. Sometimes he even exploits their love – and that is one of the meanest forms of blasphemy. He doesn’t understand love, Gabriel. Anyone capable of doing to poor humanity what he has done is not fit to be called angel, much less named Bringer of Light. It is himself he destroys in his war against them – and we are well rid of him.

“The Divine Image is imprinted in each man, but they can choose to embrace the satanic image. Some embrace Satan so eagerly it obscures all evidence of the divine imprint in them. But their cruelty, their savagery, can only be a pale reflection of the master they have chosen. When you see brutality what you really see is the true face of Lucifer – a face he went to great pains to slyly hide from you here. How piteously sorrowful it is to see men seduced into abandoning their birthright. It has taught me about hate. I loathe Lucifer and would not want him re-instated to the heavenly host if he abandoned his savagery right now.”

Chloe was shaking with emotion, her face entirely flushed. Gabriel was shocked. She was usually the most generous and gentle of the angelic host. After a few moments, she calmed and continued.

“The main thing that prepares me in working with people, Gabriel, is to keep firmly in mind both what they are and what they may be. Most of all, I keep my duty to them firmly in mind. Do not indulge their weakness when they need correction. Neither let their weakness frustrate you to the point of disgust. Your duty is to help them become the saints they are called to be.

“The ones who are in most danger fancy themselves giants among their fellows. It is hard to reach them. But take care; some who know their weakness puff themselves up in an effort to hide it. With patient resolve you can reach them. The true ones figure out early how little they are, but their love makes them tenacious. They grab hold of sanctity like a bulldog with a rag – and Satan’s most vicious efforts can’t tear it from them.

“You will fall in love with those who are true, Gabriel. They start with such handicaps and such enormous obstacles, but nothing stops them. They stumble, they fall, they go charging up random blind alleys. But they keep getting up and starting over again. They only stop to minister to others along their way – and they do that even when they have stumbled themselves. Somehow, they get outside of themselves and their frailties and have eyes only for God. They actually learn to see Him through their fellows. In some of these you will see tantalizing contours on earth of the glorious beings they will be in the Father’s house. I have learned so much about how powerful love really is from them. You will, too, Gabriel.”

The great archangel gazed at Chloe in fascinated wonder. He was dazzled by her earnest conviction. He thought carefully before he spoke.

“Well, it is but to Mary that I am sent,” he began. “If she says yes, she will be mother of the Son. She will become Queen of Heaven, itself, in the fullness of time. Oh, Chloe, this is the pivot of civilization, the critical moment of salvation history. How do I speak to her?”

“Why, Gabriel, use your personality,” Chloe said. “You know how you rally us here. Your bubbly enthusiasm, your little pranks; we have all seen the Almighty, Himself, laughing with delight at you. And your sensitive, delicate compassion. When you had me laughing myself to tears with your silly little stories after I lost Aminadab to Satan, did you think I didn’t know what you were doing? But it worked. I went on to my next assignment with joy in my heart. Let her see you, Gabriel. Yes, she is subject to the infirmities of her state, but remember – she is exempted from original sin. She is immaculate. If any of them could appreciate you as we do, it is Mary – if you let her see you, fully.”

“Maybe I should make myself small when I first appear so I don’t frighten her,” Gabriel suggested.

“No!” Chloe exclaimed. “You go to her in all the glorious majesty with which God has cloaked you. Hide nothing. I tell you; she will appreciate you as we do. She is full of grace.”

Gabriel went and was true.

*******

The coppery taste of fear filled Mordred’s mouth. Now it sat cold and heavy, like a rock, in the pit of his stomach – and was just as indigestible.

Lucifer eyed his lieutenant with wary impatience. “Are you going to tell me what disaster has befallen us or just stand there gobbing air,” he asked.

Mordred stiffened. “Permission to speak candidly, master,” he said formally.

“Blazing infernos, you know that is what I demand of you. Ask again and you’ll earn a trip to the pits,” Satan replied furiously.

“Eminence, I think you should consider appearing at court to end this. Ask Yahweh’s pardon, I mean,” Mordred said, still stiff and formal despite his trembling.

“What?!!! You dare speak the Name here?” Satan roared. “I should send you to the pits to gather your wits before you address me again.”

Mordred remained stiffly at attention. Lucifer considered. Something must have terrified his lieutenant beyond reason for him to speak in this manner. Satan shifted uncomfortably. Truth is, he had not been invited to appear at court again since the business with Job. The Ancient had seemed rather put off with the intense, gleeful relish he had taken in afflicting the man. But what had He expected? If the Ancient had wanted him to make just a token effort, He shouldn’t have agreed to the wager in the first place. Besides, the Ancient had won the bet in a convincing and unexpected fashion, so what was the harm?

“What has gotten you into such a state?” Satan demanded. His tone was by no means kindly, but made clear that a trip to the pits was no longer among the possible consequences Mordred might face for candor.

Relaxing, Mordred explained. “I was so curious about the peculiar effect that the light emanating from Mary causes that I set myself in her path as she went to draw water from the village well. I figured if I was completely disabled when she came near enough, the effect would eventually pass as she drew away from me.”

Lucifer’s eyes glistened with malevolent curiosity. “What happened?”

“It was horrific, eminence. I melted into nothing. It was so dark and so cold…but that was not the worst of it. If I had just ceased to be, as many of these humans fear happens with death, that would have been bad, but bearable. samaritan-woman-at-well03smI remained fully conscious, though. And all there was to be aware of was darkness and cold and despair and hopelessness. Thank God it lifted as she passed away from me.”

Satan glared balefully at that last comment.

“Sorry, master, you know what I mean,” Mordred continued. “I wondered, what if this is the logical end of our rebellion? What if all we accomplish is to consign ourselves to the same cold, despairing darkness we are trying to consign them to?”

“It is the logical end,” Satan responded, “…for them. Look, I was the Ancient’s favorite. All we are doing is demonstrating that these new pets of His are not worthy of Him – and certainly don’t deserve to rank higher than us in eternity. You know, yourself, that the Ancient, Himself, invited me to prove my point with Job.”

Mordred did not look at all mollified, but stood in silence.

“Out with it,” Satan commanded wearily. “Let’s put this completely to rest.”

Mordred stared at his own feet for a moment, then gathering himself, lifted his head and said, “Begging your pardon, your grace, but the Ancient won the wager concerning Job. And you handled it yourself. You threw our very best stuff at him and lost. And in the process, four of his friends we had duped into thinking they were serving the Ancient while they were actually serving us were lost to us.”

Mordred waited for the blast he knew must come, but when Satan spoke it was almost gentle.

“That’s not the point. Yes, these humans sometimes show more reserves of strength and resiliency than I expect.” Satan waved his hand in the air and wiggled his fingers dismissively as he added, “The truth is, the matter with Job could have gone either way. The point is that the Ancient gave me leave to tempt and afflict him. What we do we do with the Ancient’s approval.”

“But what if the Ancient expected us to concede after that loss?” Mordred asked. “We keep getting deeper. Our temptations and afflictions keep getting more subtle and intense. What if we pass a point of no return? I don’t want to be alone in cold, darkness for all eternity. When was the last time you appeared at court?”

Lucifer was pleased that his visage showed no hint of how badly the last question stung. What he said was, “If we can destroy or seduce the Messiah or, even better, get mankind to reject him, then surely the Ancient will see that the whole business with humanity was a mistake. Then things will be put back to what they were. I assure you, Mordred, once I am restored to my rightful place as first in the Ancient’s favor, you will be first in my favor.”

Mordred pondered that. “Yes, eminence, but will you promise that if we fail this time, you will appear at court and ask pardon?”

Satan nodded. But what he thought was, “I will never take second place at table to these worms.”

*******

Gabriel was overflowing with excitement. Joy bubbled out of him like water from a spring.

“Oh, Chloe, you cannot believe how magnificent some of these creatures can be!”

“Gabriel, I’m a guardian. It’s what I do. I have been working with them since the dawn of creation. I told you they would capture your heart.”

“But Mary of Nazareth…she was praying in a garden when I went to give her the message. I had thought and re-thought how to greet her and ended up just saying, ‘Hail, full of grace.’ She was startled as she looked up at me. I immediately wished I had come up with something more elegant. But after her initial surprise, I could feel what she was thinking. You won’t believe it. Take a guess,” Gabriel gushed.

Chloe suppressed the knowing smirk rising out of her and simply told the Messenger, “I can scarcely imagine…”

“She could sense I was nervous and wanted to make me comfortable…me, God’s chief messenger!” Gabriel exuded in wonder. “I fell for her right then and there. I explained everything to her. I was really eager to answer the barrage of questions I knew she would have. But you know what? She only asked one: how it would come about since she had taken a vow of perpetual virginity. I explained that to her and waited. All she said was, ‘I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to His word.’ That’s it. She didn’t ask how she was supposed to explain it to Joseph; she didn’t ask how she was supposed to avoid being stoned as an adulteress; she didn’t ask how to spare her family the shame of what it would appear to be. She just said, ‘Let it be done to me according to His word.’ I have spoken to white-bearded patriarchs who asked me dozens of questions and still didn’t get it right. But Mary of Nazareth…’Let it be done to me according to His word…” Gabriel mused in delighted wonder. “I just wish I had come up with a greeting that was more poetic, more worthy of her.”

“Why, Gabriel, you did better than you think,” Chloe replied. “Yes, ‘Hail, full of grace,’ is a bit stilted, but simply add her name and it takes on a lovely rhythm and describes her perfectly. It would not surprise me if, ‘Hail, Mary, full of grace,’ becomes the opening line of a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving that sounds throughout the ages.”

Gabriel was delighted. “That really does have a marvelous rhythm to it, doesn’t it?”

Chloe smiled. “And it is your greeting.”

“Oh, let me tell you about Joseph,” Gabriel said. “The Father had me stay near the family until all was accomplished. I figured I would have a hard time with Joseph. Sure enough, when Mary gave him the news he was shattered. I thought it would take weeks for him to get through the shock, hurt and self-pity enough so he would be able to hear me. But that very night, instead of wallowing in self-pity, he cried out, ‘O God, my God, what do You intend for me in this terrible situation?’ Can you believe it? I was able to speak to him right off in a dream. He understood, believed and rejoiced. How well the Father chose the people to whom He would entrust the Son, once He took on their humanity. I knew that Mary was Immaculate, but silent Joseph is nearly as wise as she. Though they are not as knowledgeable, I think these two may already be wiser than we are.”

“But the Son is not yet born,” Chloe objected. “I thought you were supposed to stay with them until all was accomplished.”

“Oh yes,” Gabriel answered brightly. “Once they set off on the road to Bethlehem all was accomplished until the time of the Nativity. A cohort of angels travels with them now. I will lead a band to announce the Son’s birth to some shepherds and others, then there are several things I will have to speak to Joseph and Mary about after the King is born. But I have a little break now to prepare. I’ve got to tell you what Mary did after she and Joseph were all settled about their Divine Charge…”

As with most of the heavenly host, Chloe had watched all that had happened, but she loved listening to Gabriel tell her how it had moved him.

“Mary heard that her cousin, Elizabeth, was pregnant,” Gabriel continued. “Knowing that Elizabeth was older (and how difficult a late in life pregnancy can be) Mary set off across the hill country to help her cousin through it. Astounding, isn’t it? In her own Annunciation she knows to leave the terrifying details to God. Then, hearing of Elizabeth, she knew to be an instrument through whom God would accomplish His purpose – all without being told. Are any of us in the heavenly host that full of grace?

“And, of course, it is the new Elijah, John the Baptist, that Elizabeth is pregnant with. So the first encounter between the Son and John was while both were still in the womb. John started kicking with joy the moment Mary entered the house, and God gave Elizabeth wisdom to know what this was. Then Mary began the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard with the words, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord…’ Oh, Chloe, that one sentence describes the unmistakable mark of all the varieties of authentic saints. Their souls do magnify the Lord, drawing the furious malice of those who are attached to the world or seduced by Lucifer; while giving hope to the broken, comfort to the afflicted, and new heart to the weary believers. She captured such profound truth in her opening words. You and I both know how terribly hard it is to capture even small profundities when constrained by language – and that is practically the only tool they have to communicate with each other.”

Gabriel was basking in the memory of it all and Chloe, in the contented glow radiating from Gabriel.

After a while Gabriel asked, “Do you think the Father will let me continue to visit with His servants rather than just carry commands? They are so delightful – and now I have seen the regal imprint of divinity that is in them, even in this state, when they bear it. Lucifer has gotten it all wrong. They are worthy heirs of the kingdom we are servants in. I want to help them and be their friend as they struggle to gain their inheritance.”

Chloe answered immediately. “Gabriel, you are a natural. I am sure the Father will send you to help many of His servants as He fulfills the Old Covenant and enters into the New. Just remember that they can abjure their inheritance, too, and go chasing after the paper and paste they think are riches in that world. When they scorn the precious gems and pearls that proceed from the Father in order to horde the worthless trinkets they think are riches, it will break your heart.”

“I know, Chloe, I have visited many such men over the millennia,” Gabriel responded sadly, “But now that I have seen up close what they can be, I want to help and know as many as the Father will send me to.

“You know, the only thing I will miss while the Son is there are the stories. The Father tells such wonderful stories, but He only tells them through the Son.”

“Why, Gabriel, your excitement has gotten the better of your wit,” Chloe exclaimed. “That is exactly what the Father is doing right now. This has got to be the greatest story ever told – and you are its opening act.”

Gabriel gaped at Chloe in astonished wonder. “It is, and I am, aren’t I? How abundantly the Lord has blessed His servant!”

Just then, an event in time caught the angels’ attention. A gentle plume of brilliant light bloomed in Bethlehem and grew to fill all the earth. The birds and beasts cooed and mooed in joy. The trees swayed in adoration. The winds sighed through the mountains in glad relief.

Gabriel looked from Bethlehem to Chloe and said, in hushed awe, “He is with them.”

“You better get moving, Gabriel. I believe you have some announcements to make,” Chloe smiled.

light-of-the-world.jpg

*******

Nine months earlier, hell had gone on red alert.

Wormtail, who had been trailing Mary of Nazareth, had been badly hurt when it happened. The light was so powerful that both Mordred and Lucifer came rushing as near as they dared. It could only be an archangel. Lucifer recognized the glow at once as that of his former friend, Gabriel. Still, even Lucifer could not draw near an archangel without leave of the Ancient. To do so was to suffer unbearable agony – agony that lasted long after the encounter had ended.

“What does it mean, Eminence?” Mordred asked. “Is Mary to be mother of the Messiah, after all?”

“I don’t know,” Satan responded. “It could be a distraction to focus all our forces around Mary and miss our main chance. On the other hand, the Ancient never sends Gabriel unless He means business. Send five more demons to watch Mary until Wormtail recovers, but keep those that are on Rebekah and Rachel with them. Whatever this means, the time is at hand and I want at least three tails on every serious suspect.”

It was just a few more days before Satan knew exactly what Gabriel’s visit meant.

“Aiieeee!” he screamed as the Savior took root in Mary’s womb. “Is there no end to the Ancient’s trickery? He has come, Himself, in the person of the Son. We cannot touch Him.”

 

 

 

About charliej373

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

  1. jlynnbyrd says:

    Charlie I was captivated! What a treasure it is to read your works.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Beckita says:

    Oh Charlie and Friends! I had the most glorious day yesterday!!! I had a 2 1/2 hr drive to ministry and stopped, on the way, at the Cathedral of St. Helena where the one and only set of Holy Doors are for this diocese. (I’m going to get biographical, YD. There are only a million people in Montana, a state with vast lands. That’s but 7 people in a square mile. Amazing, huh?) As God would have it, no one was there in the cathedral. So the priest, for whom I chauffeur, and I walked through those doors naming all the dear ones we were carrying in our hearts.

    Brought you all through the Holy Doors with all your intentions. (I’m aware many have already passed through and will have opportunities to do so in the future. This was simply my act of Love for you and your dear ones.)Tears flowed freely as I thought of you and the great needs as well as the great affection expressed here. Once through the doors and adoring Jesus, I was moved to confess with the intention of rewalking through the doors as a more pure vessel. Superstitious? Not one bit. I L.O.V.E. confession and the gift of Mercy it brings and, after all, bringing people from 174 countries through those doors is an awesome event! Here’s where the spirituality of living in the Divine Will is so rewarding. As any child of God, I am nothing yet to Abba we are everything! I desired to do it and Jesus is the ONE Who actually welcomed each and every one of you. Waterfalls of tears were shed.

    Then after Mass in the evening, I nestled into a cozy chair in the rectory where we stayed and sat in solitude before a Christmas tree and read the piece “The Pivot of Civilization.” Thank you so much, Charlie. As I read, I entered the mystery with you and more tears… Why? Because I experienced in new ways so many of the lessons you have been teaching us here, sternly when needed and very tenderly at times, and now in poetic prose they were anchored anew in this heart with the desire to be a better person. So many lessons, Charlie: the horrors of sin, the frailty of who we are, the power and loving care provided us by angels, the repulsion in the volcanic vomit of satan always spewing temptation and confusion, the unending Love from our ever Ancient ever new Abba, the P.O.W.E.R. of our Mother’s humility and her full of grace being, a proper discernment of prophecy, authentic humility …

    We have come to know Gabriel through you and this writing has revealed the beauty in the depths of your own heart and soul, Charlie. Thank you. I had already been greatly pondering during this Advent season how Archangel Gabriel was chosen for much activity at “The Pivot of Civilization.” Now Look! Behold! We are at another pivot of civilization, rooted in the original Pivot when the Christ Child was born of Mary. Thus Gabriel, by God’s command, has been engaging with a prophet in our day and time. I believe this time the Child, as He has through the generations, wishes to be born more deeply in us. I believe the Rescue by Our Lady will not only free us in the physical battle with China. Somehow, somewhere within I sense She will unite with her Spouse in a most profound way to engender in each of us the most beautiful childlike virtues, such as innocence, candor, complete dependence on Abba, guilenessless, complete readiness to help anyone in any way etc. so that we look and act more like Her Son, Jesus and this can only be done with grace upon grace upon grace upon grace.

    A salient lesson in this writing is the n-e-e-d for silence, solitude and contemplation. I believe we will be a people of deep contemplation as we rebuild our civilization with God’s Love at the core of everything. (But why wait until then if we can begin now? Even five minutes a day is a beginning, with adding of time as we progress in the comfort of contemplating.) We weren’t meant, I don’t think, to be a crazed people with unending tasks and involvment in so many seemingly wonderful things. We can’t *hear* when over-involved. If we can’t hear, how will we truly know what it is God wishes to accomplish in our lives? Charlie, you very much teach by example as well as in speaking, be it written voice or oral presentations. Thank you.

    I considered this beautiful line in the lights of the Christmas tree last evening: “Happy New Year, in this great year when God will once again announce Himself to all who will hear Him.” And I know I hear Him coming, even now, in the people at this site via the profound, beautiful, loving, affirming, clarifying, self-revealing, prayerful, supportive, educating, humorous, suffering, dying and rising comments made. My Family, I have seen many dimensions of the Face of God in each of you! May this Jubilee Year of Mercy continue to manifest the Presence of God with a commensurate response from His people as they fall on their knees in repentance and conversion, in love with Love Himself, in wonder and awe! Blessed Be God in each of us! Ave Maria forever!

    Liked by 22 people

    • LukeMichael says:

      Beautiful! And thank you!

      Liked by 5 people

    • dolordee says:

      Thank you Beckita for carrying me through the doors of mercy. You have been blessed with a beautiful gift of writing. Rich in visualizations, and interpretations. I blogged when i came to this site way over a yr. ago, and find such difficulty saying what’s in my heart. And since then so many more have come with a great gift such as yours. And I just add my “like” to your writings. Thank you and others for sharing your beautiful gift. Thank you too Charlie for all of your spectacular pieces. My prayers are daily with our loving family here, and with your prayer requests. God bless and save us all. Dee

      Liked by 7 people

      • Beckita says:

        Thank you, Dee. I was so happy to take you, and all with, me through the Holy Doors, Dee. Others are and have been doing the same. I agree with you that there are so many ways we are being blessed by each other here where each one has a significant place in this safe refuge as the storm rages on. Thanks to Our Lord and Our Lady for bringing us here. Special thanks to Charlie for tending the gate so well that we sheep can safely pasture on the Love of Christ poured out in one another.

        Liked by 6 people

    • Doug says:

      What better way is there to end a Sunday evening than to read your post Beckita.

      Liked by 5 people

    • dianebelv says:

      That was so beautifully written Beckita. wow. And thank you soooo much for taking us all through those Holy Doors with you!

      Liked by 5 people

    • prayingflower says:

      Thank you so much, Beckita. For all of it, thank you, my sister. prayingflower

      Liked by 5 people

    • Laurie says:

      Thank you Beckita! You are a great inspiration to me.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

      Thank you, Beckita. I can rest easy now. I wonder if you have any idea what this means to me. I don’t even know what to say, thank you, thank you, thank you!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Beckita says:

        Snowy, thank you for the many ways you touch us all with your gifts as you comment. Here we are on the fifth day of renewing the consecration and it’s the first time I’ve added the Retreat Companion book which accompanies Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33Days to Morning Glory. Thus far, I’m impressed with the thought-provoking questions in the add-on book. Praying for you, Mick, her two boys, YD and anyone else who’s renewing at this time!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Kim sevier says:

      Sweetest Becita!

      Liked by 1 person

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Oh Beckita how lovely for you and for us! Thank you for your prayers and pilgrimage. This evening was the first time in this glorious Jubilee Year of Mercy that I walked through Holy Doors of Mercy also carrying all here and your intentions, both known and unknown. My local parish, St Mary Immaculate, is not a church in which Doors of Mercy were opened. Have thought and typed that seemed rather odd as I believe all of our Apostolic Catholic Churches are houses of Mercy, nonetheless. 🙂

      I missed our very small window of opportunity to go to Confession at our parish yesterday. Confessors currently are only available for one hour per week for a parish with approximately 7,750 families. We also only have one early morning daily Mass. I must have been so spoiled living in Chicago. There my parish, St. Tarcissus, had about 1800 families with several daily Masses and Confession times.

      I visited the Joliet Diocese website and found out that my former parish of a couple of years, in the heart of Naperville, Sts. Peter and Paul Church had its Doors of Mercy opened. I used to go to the Sunday 8pm Mass there often. Every once in a while I’d go to the 4pm Latin Mass too. I was so thrilled. I took long and winding dark back roads to the church. There was a light glistening snow falling along the way there and back. The church was decorated in a nostalgic Christmas style. The church was founded in 1846 and was built in a regal fashion. http://www.sspeterandpaul.net/vtours/index.html
      My local church was rebuilt and dedicate in 1994 after a F5 tornado in 1990pretty much wiped out the village and has a sort of no frills motif. I must say though in the Commons is a large mosaic of Jesus’ Crucifixion made with the shards of stained glass from the original church that is a site to behold.

      I arrived at the start of confessions, just after 7pm. The wait for confession was a short time. After I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I was in awe and in deep prayer and penance before the start of the Mass and felt entirely overwhelmed with joy. I wiped a single tear from my eye in the warmth and peace of it all.

      I will strive to walk through all the churches with Doors of Mercy opened in my Diocese with all here this liturgical year, God-willing. It was my pleasure to be with you all in this most intimate and spiritual way!

      Liked by 5 people

      • Beckita says:

        Thanks for carrying me through the Holy Doors with you, jlynn, and for your prayers! So true when you say, “I believe all of our Apostolic Catholic Churches are houses of Mercy, nonetheless.” It’s an inconvenience when there are miles to travel and only one set of Holy Doors in my diocese. At the same time, I respect that the Church is setting aside particular designated Holy Doors because it speaks to me of a certain solemnity which reflects the importance and power of this Jubilee. Thank you for your promise to continue walking us through the Holy Doors in your diocese!!! That is a blessing and you are a blessing!

        Liked by 2 people

        • jlynnbyrd says:

          Beckita I too appreciate the solemnity of this grace bestowed upon us and after reading your words of wisdom, it made clear sense to me that the road to holiness may be long, and well worth our efforts. Again I am reminded that we have to do the work that is required of us. Bless you always for your ability for providing such clarity.

          Liked by 5 people

      • Beckita says:

        PS Jlynn, thanks for the link to Sts Peter and Paul. Beautiful! Here’s a simple photo gallery of St. Helena Cathedral: http://www.sthelenas.org/photo-gallery

        Liked by 3 people

      • dianebelv says:

        And thank you jlynn for carrying us with you through the Holy Doors. What a special gift to all of us.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

        Jlynn, thank you so much! Sometimes, lately more times, as this seems to be growing here by leaps and bounds, when I am reading I feel such a contentment and much peace and…Joy. I’ve learned so much here. I just love all of you. So many here, in fact everyone from what I am seeing, desires God in a way that is really rare in our world today. I am reading about people going through such painful things here and carrying extremely heavy crosses and yet reaching out for prayers (and so many literally running, stepping right up to help and pray) and hanging on to God through it all..and yet the very next second they are encouraging others and praying for them! How Jesus and Mary have blessed this little community of people…it is truly Heavenly.

        Liked by 6 people

    • Anne says:

      Beckita ……. I am so thankful….. Especially for taking us all through the doors of Mercy!

      Liked by 1 person

    • deereverywhere says:

      How wonderful, thank you Beckita!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mick says:

      Thank you, dear Beckita. God bless you (and God bless Father, too).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beckita says:

        Thanks for blessing both of us, Mick. I love that preparing to make the consecration lands us on Candlemas Day for the renewal. I like to tell the Padre it seems he and I are like Simeon (the priest) and Anna (the widow) praying in the Temple for the Child Jesus to come again and save His people from the destructive path on which we have veered. He has never assented to that meditation; just raises a Chinese eyebrow and says I flatter myself to think I’m actually that old. Old age is a matter of HUGE esteem in China. Even with the middle name of “Ann” and claiming Anna as one of my patrons, looks like I’ve got a lot of aging yet to do for qualification.

        Liked by 4 people

    • zeniazenia says:

      Thank you dear Beckita. May God bless you! –Zenia Jane

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kati says:

      What you have shared here, Beckita, GREATLY resonated with me (including the tears). I also like THIS line from Charlie very much: “Happy New Year, in this great year when God will once again announce Himself to all who will hear Him.” I fully believe that we will experience this at deeper and deeper levels and be graced to watch it happen in others as well….and you are right in that it includes the growth of virtues as well. It has all been pretty phenomenal and extremely humbling….and beautiful. It is absolutely mind-blowing just how much our God is in love with all His creatures….totally mind-blowing!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Theresa 323 says:

      Thanks Beckita for walking us through the Holy Doors. So Beautiful

      Liked by 2 people

      • Beckita says:

        So glad to do it, Theresa. With others also having done so and planning to do so in the future, graces will abound for us all. May the Treasury of Grace be unloaded on the hardest of hearts to return to the Source of All Grace! God bless you.

        Liked by 2 people

    • montanababydue says:

      Charlie, First I want to say that I have been following NRS since August 1, 2015. I really look forward to your blog and this story was no exception! I feel challenged, enriched, convicted and enlightened spiritually when I exit your website. I have prayed and laughed with you, feeling like I know many of you through your life stories and courage to share ideas and beliefs. The loving and merciful engagement of conversation with one another has been a display of TRUE LOVE, as Jesus hopes for all of His children.
      Secondly, I want to say that I have been praying for each of you, as even before my introduction to Charlie, For many years now, I have prayed for “Everyone in the whole, wide world” . My most recent prayer however has changed to: “that Every child of God will Surrender to The Divine Will and be Fully open to the Love & Abundant Graces of our Blessed Mother, who will aid us in taking The Next Right Step”.
      Although this is the first time that I have chosen to blog, I already feel like a member of this “Special Family”. Even though you don’t know me, I personally know Beckita & have been a friend since about 1992, when myself & a friend initiated the Star of Hope Cenacle( a Marian Movement of Priest Cenacle), under the spiritual direction of our beautiful Chinese Padre. You all are truly blessed to experience Beckita’s Holy Spirit words, which are always so tender, loving & spiritually enriching.
      My husband & I live full-time in our RV & travel south for winter respite from the snow. I have been missing MT, especially not having a white Christmas this year. Thank you so much dear Beckita for the gift of carrying all of us through the Holy Doors of my home parish of St. Helena… seeing the Cathedral pictures brought the presence of home alive in my heart today, along with a smile & tears too. Although, I long to celebrate the Eucharist with my Cathedral family, I find comfort from receiving the Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Christ, with the larger family of God in other parts of the USA. But wherever we are in our travels, I know that we are all connected spiritually across the miles, whether in sunshine or in snow!
      In addition I would like to wish each of you a Happy, Healthy and Holy New Year in the Lord Jesus! Christ’s Peace be with each of you in the NRS family!

      PS Charlie, I just saw your post that you are not feeling well. Praying that the loving, healing hands of Jesus, as Divine Physician will heal you quickly!

      Liked by 10 people

      • jlynnbyrd says:

        Montanababydue, it is a pleasure and a joy to read your words, and thank you kindly for your prayers. I wish you and your husband safety and happiness in your travels.

        Liked by 4 people

      • LukeMichael says:

        Any friend of Beckita’s is a friend of mine! And I love babies. We are expecting grand baby number 3 any day now.

        Liked by 7 people

        • Margaret says:

          If that’s all it takes is to befriend a woman of grace to become your friend, I picked the right friend & now I have you for a friend too! Many blessings upon your family, as the tribe grows!!!!

          Liked by 3 people

        • Mick says:

          Ha. LukeMichael! I was just getting ready to write “Any friend of Beckita’s etc…” but I see that you beat me to it.

          Welcome, Montana! We’re so glad to have you with us. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

      • Doug says:

        Montanababydue, Nice to hear you and it is apparent from your post that you and Beckita share a common grace. Welcome to the family here! The only comment I have is your screen name makes it sound like you are expecting 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

        • Margaret says:

          Thank you for your welcome comments. When I was trying to sign up on the blog, I had a bit of trouble. My picture didn’t post & I entered my info a couple of times. I apparently didn’t see that my email address was where my user name should be…ugh! Montanababydue comes from my email address, which came from my pro-life ministry work. I am retired & NOT pregnant. I am in my senior years, being a grandmother of 15 & great-grandmother of 7!!! To avoid questions about my pregnancy I will try to work with Charlie to get my name changed 🙂

          Liked by 6 people

      • Beckita says:

        Welcome to commenting, Montanababydue! Thank you for your generous words and prayers. Please, continue to comment as I know that your prayerful, spirit-filled, action-for-Christ packed ways and perspectives will enrich our conversations here. Your screen name surely reflects the incredible energy and hours you have spent as a pro-life advocate for so many, many years. God bless you and your dear husband and family!!!

        Liked by 3 people

        • Margaret says:

          Thank you dearest Beckita! Very TRUE words from me to you! Hoping that the Holy Spirit will lead me to have a worthy contribution. Thanks for your kind words as well! Speaking of names you probably have noticed that I am now using my given name. Charlie’s comment was cute & actually Elizabeth is my Confirmation name…I don’t think that I will be chosen for anything big like a John the Baptist! However I am trying to be fully open to the Lord & our Blessed Mother as an instrument. Wish that I could be close enough to hug you & Padre, but for now our journey is in the Southeast! O being away from Montana isn’t stopping me from my ministry. I am looking forward to a pro-life opportunity close by….40 Days for Life & the March for Life in St. Augustine. Praying that all of us will take the Next Right Step….whatever that is! Glad to be aboard the ship before the Storm blows in!

          Liked by 6 people

          • Beckita says:

            Ah Margaret! For as long as I’ve known you, your openness to God’s Will has been an inspiration to so many. God bless you as you carry on. His travel mercies and blessings be upon you and your husband! XO-cyber-style

            Liked by 2 people

      • The Cathedral is getting lots of beautiful white snow today :).

        Liked by 2 people

      • Snowy says:

        Hi Margaret 🙂 welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Have been contemplating your statement about being at another pivot of civilization. I love it when other people can put into words thoughts that I myself are not able to express, but when I read them they go deep into my heart. Thank you, Beckita.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. A Quiet Person says:

    I enjoyed the story but from one on the outside, looking in. I read something about angels that was really distressing to me so I hope I misread it or misunderstood it. I read (don’t remember where) that at our own personal last judgement we will be ALL ALONE and that even our angel will be testifying against us. Ever since then I have had a very difficult time with trying to have a relationship with my angel. The hopelessly immature part of me thinks about my angel like this . . . “Well, why bother when you are going to tell on me anyway.” I am hoping that I just read something totally inaccurate, that I am wrong, and that then you can correct this misconception. In the meantime though, this idea have been a big stumbling block for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Well, I may have missed something, but I don’t think that is a Christian doctrine AT ALL, Quiet. I am aware of some in Islam who say we are appointed two angels at birth – one who bears witness in our favor and one who testifies against us. But that is the only place I have ever heard of such a thing. So don’t worry about what “Muslim” angels might do; hold fast to Christian angels who love us.

      Liked by 11 people

      • Kim sevier says:

        That our angel would testify against us seems so illogical. Plus– God knows all that we do. He doesn’t need anyone telling Him anything.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Beckita says:

        Quiet, it’s the satan and his minions who are the angel accusers; even while we’re on earth, they get a sick treat from provoking others to accuse us rather than extending us Mercy as well as provoking us to accuse ourselves in self-recrimination. We can think of so many Gospel passages in which Jesus WELCOMES the sinners and when HE forgives, there’s Mercy with the exhortation to turn from sin, but no haranguing from Him. We can recall Jesus reveals the Father to us in the ways Jesus lives His Life on earth. We see the unending Mercy of Jesus and, therefore, we see the Father.

        In the words of absolution we hear that Abba sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins so we’ve got the entire Holy Trinity on our side when we repent and confess! To St. Faustina Jesus said:
        “I perform works of mercy in every soul. The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy. My mercy is confirmed in every work of My hands. He who trusts in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are mine, and his enemies will be shattered at the base of My footstool” (Diary of St. Faustina #723).

        From the Book of Revelation 12:10New International Version (NIV):

        10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

        “Now have come the salvation and the power
        and the kingdom of our God,
        and the authority of his Messiah.
        For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
        who accuses them before our God day and night,
        has been hurled down.

        Here’s a page from the online Catholic Encyclopedia, with an excerpt:
        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04764a.htm
        (Greek diabolos; Latin diabolus).

        The name commonly given to the fallen angels, who are also known as demons (see DEMONOLOGY). With the article (ho) it denotes Lucifer, their chief, as in Matthew 25:41, “the Devil and his angels”.

        It may be said of this name, as St. Gregory says of the word angel, “nomen est officii, non naturæ”–the designation of an office, not of a nature. For the Greek word (from diaballein, “to traduce”) means a slanderer, or accuser, and in this sense it is applied to him of whom it is written “the accuser [ho kategoros] of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night” (Apocalypse 12:10). It thus answers to the Hebrew name Satan which signifies an adversary, or an accuser.

        Be at Peace, Dear Quiet. Praying for St. Gemma and her guardian angel to be a bridge of fostering a treasured relationship between you and your dear guardian angel. Each one’s guardian angel can be among his/her best friends, ready to help us if we but ask.

        Liked by 8 people

      • A Quiet Person says:

        Thank you everyone for your responses. I was not expecting such a of flurry of ideas, especially since I knew it was a dumb question and it could not possibly be right. It was just that I needed someone to be in-my-face to correct me which you all did. Behind it is that I am being falsely accused now on a number of fronts at an almost dizzying rate, so I am on overly-high alert for betrayals right now. Truly, it is a wonder that my ex has not killed me and I think that the only reason is that it would not go well for his Christian ministry to have a dead-ex-wife in the picture. So he has been going at me in different ways. That is just one of a few situations that has been smearing everything in my mind and heart and it makes a real nice smooth entry for the Satan’s lies if I don’t hold firmer than I have been to all that I know to be true. The betrayals have been profound so my crazy question just fit right into the fear that my real situations are generating for me. Thanks for your patience with me.

        Liked by 8 people

        • Beckita says:

          Thanks for this update, Quiet. Praying for the stormy waters in your life to be still! Praying through the intercession of St. Peter who also was sinking, as we all do at times, and cried out to the Lord. May Christ’s Peace be infused in you, Dear Quiet.

          Liked by 3 people

        • prayingflower says:

          Patiently praying, my dear sister Quiet. God is blessing you.

          Liked by 5 people

        • zeniazenia says:

          Dear Quite, I suggest memorizing the Memorare and say it the minute you feel discomfort or temptation to doubt. Say it all day long if that is what it takes to stop the doubts. Ask our Lady for grace when you pray.Pray for your persecutors. I am praying for you and with you too. Love Zenia Jane
          Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

          Liked by 7 people

        • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

          Quiet, I know how hard this is when it is happening but it always helped me to shut it all out and look only at Jesus on the Cross. Jesus told us we would be falsely accused, He warned us that we would go through much of what He Himself experienced. He is right there with you when these terribly painful crosses come upon you. Your Angel is also right there with you, crying with you and praying for you…doing all he can to help and comfort you. You are very loved and all of this will turn to pure gold, pure grace for you, though you may not be able to see that while this is happening. You’ve been very blessed by God, not everyone has the crosses you’ve been trusted with. You’ve been chosen by Jesus to pick up your cross and follow Him. It is the greatest of all gifts!!!

          Liked by 7 people

        • Ed Allison says:

          Quiet, be assured of the prayers of this community, on your behalf. I will add mine to the choir of voices petitioning heaven! I will offer my morning rosary for you tomorrow.

          Romans 8:31 – What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

          Liked by 6 people

        • deereverywhere says:

          Quite, May God bless you and keep you, MatHis face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He treat you kindly and grant you His peace.

          I was reading Charlie’s response to Aaron further down the page. I bring this up because my next question may hurt, have you prayed for your ex husband? A friend of mine when we were speaking of praying for our enemies said she had a hard time with this and she would just say allright God, I’m praying for them” as there was infidelity. It eventually ended up where she became good friends with “the other woman” . If it hurts to even think of praying for him, I was thinking that you could imagine him as one of those demons that Charlie and Aaron talk about below. You could even imagine him with horns and a little pointy tail so long as it was in the context of prayer and/or compassion.(I would think anyway). Maybe see him in brimstone an flames, remember it is for Christian charity.

          You will get through this. I know how dark it can be. When everyone stabbed me in the back I came to realize that God had something else in store for me and He didn’t want me around those people. If they are talking about you then they are leaving some other poor soul alone, so you see, you are already helping someone. Feel better about yourself. Father Kirby said in one of those podcasts that if you don’t feel good about yourself you are an adopted daughter of God, and when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, and the Father said “This is My Beloved Son” , that it applies to you. He recommended that the girl having a problem write “This is My Beloved Daughter” on her bathroom mirror so she would see it in the morning and believe it.

          You are in the middle of the Father’s hand! Nothing can happen to you that He hasn’t foreseen and provided for. It will be okay, eventually. Good comes from bad. When you need a knife you can just reach behind you and pull one out of you back! You are being Spiritually supported!

          Liked by 4 people

          • A Quiet Person says:

            I understand your hesitancy to ask about whether I pray for him but that is not the problem. Once I understood that forgiveness is an act of will with no emotional component that necessarily goes along with that, I have been able to forgive. This is not new, by the way. It has been years and years and a few more years, so truly, I have had much practice and not just with him but with others who actively seek to bring me down. It is shocking to me sometimes because I see myself as pretty harmless and . . . well. . . quiet. It is just that now, like so many others, the onslaught is unbelievable. I understand that times are intense for so many of us. I have to believe that all of this practice forgiving is going to be useful because, of course, the first time when one has to truly forgive one who has betrayed or hurt, the first reaction is to balk and then justify yourself in your stance as being right and the other being unforgivable. But , all of us in the battle are are going to have to forgive. And what it sounds like we will be forced to face, with forgiveness, is going to make our (or at least my) present problems looks like a squabble between kids in a pre-school. As long as we remember that forgiveness is an act of will and not something we will necessarily feel like doing at the time, we will be able to accomplish what He wills. But, oh Lord, I will be glad when this is all over.

            Liked by 5 people

          • deereverywhere says:

            Never fear! It will get worse before it gets better!!! I remember reading an article in maybe Readers Digest about a lady who was really down on her luck. She lost her job and all kinds of bad things were coming at her. She had to take a potty break and when she sat down on the toilet it cracked in half and she ended up on the floor in a running water puddle. As she sat there, in the middle of the floor with her pants down, she decided that her life could not get any worse. This was it. She hit bottom. Sure enough, things went up from there. (I apologize for my typos apparently I had a case of cross eyed fingers) There is a pun somewhere there but I won’t go there. My son talked of suicide I got him help. I think him quitting college and getting a job did more for him that the mental health professionals. But that was right for him. He is still pursuing a degree but earning money greatly enhanced his self esteem. Sorry, I was looking at the prayer requests because I had a thought about planning out interjections, like Jesus and Mary I love you save souls, or Mary, conceived without sin Pray for us who have recourse to theme, or (Our Lady’s Medjugorje message of April last year which I turned into an interjection) Come Holy Spirit, transform me with Your strength of faith and hope that I may stand firm in this battle against evil. I had a nurses appointment yesterday and had to go to town. I thought of my route and fixed in my mind certain landmarks on that route and when I would encounter these landmarks I would remember to say an interjection. I thought this would be a good (mnemonic ) devise to bring me back to God and to put my heart back into lip service if I was saying the rosary. To bring me back into the prescience of God. I saw your New Years eve from hell and I was happy to see the recovery. I too, am quiet. I would take a vow of silence and only be in God’s prescience if I could but I have to talk to my husband and son who don’t hear what I say anyway, so I guess I have taken that vow. They keep me on auto tune out. Be brave and strong like Petra said. You are the only one of you we have and we need to wrap you in bubble wrap until you get over this hump. You are in my prayers! Please pardon any crossed eyed typing.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            Quiet– I feel prompted to say to you that your husband and son do hear you. Keep speaking to them with the love of Christ. With gentleness and kindness always. You may be surprised.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Kim sevier says:

            I meant to address that to deer!

            Liked by 1 person

          • deereverywhere says:

            Oh, I talk to them. My husband has been forgetting to put ridex in our septic tank for a few days. I said to him do you want to put the ridex in…no response…so I put the rides in. Three minutes later he came in and said ‘ Ya, I’ll put the ridex in.” I said did it take you that long to figure out what I said? We both laughed. Or my son comes home from work and I tell him what’s for dinner. A minute later he says “Mom what’s for dinner.” I guess that is why patience is the fruit (or gift)of the Holy Spirit.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            Oh Deer– that is so funny! My husband and I are so opposite in terms of temperament. He is like your guys. Very slow to respond. I can be like a machine gun when I talk. And I am so impulsive and he is sooooo slow to act. But we have adjusted to each other and really balance each other. Together we are pretty timely now!

            Liked by 4 people

          • deereverywhere says:

            Its only been this this way for 33 years, the older we get the funnierit becomes. May you and your beloved live in happiness and humor!

            Like

          • Beckita says:

            Such wisdom, Quiet: “As long as we remember that forgiveness is an act of will and not something we will necessarily feel like doing at the time, we will be able to accomplish what He wills.” And there are many moments when I couldn’t agree more with: “But, oh Lord, I will be glad when this is all over.” Come Lord Jesus! Ave Maria, our Rescue Queen!

            Liked by 3 people

        • breadoflife55 says:

          Well, Quiet, All your NRS family are bringing you consolation by our prayers for you. I hope this thought also brings you consolation. I have always thought that when that much trouble comes to you, the satan is just having a hissy fit because you are or you soon will be doing something very good that makes him very mad which to me, means you’re on the right track.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Mick says:

          Love ya, Quiet! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • dianebelv says:

      I totally agree with Charlie, Quiet. I have never heard or read what you have read about angels. In fact, everything that I have ever read has been the opposite of what you mention. I have read that when we walk into a church, our own guardian angel immediately bows down in worship to the Lord. Since I read that, years ago, I am very much aware of it and I do the same as soon as I walk in the door of a church. I have read that your guardian angel’s main job is to fight off the evil ones threatening you and lead you back to another visit with God. The angel assigned to you, prays earnestly for your soul and begs God that his job may be accomplished and God’s will be done in you. Don’t worry, and see with eyes of faith, dear Quiet. I’m sure I have given my guardian angel close to a heart attack over the years, but I believe he has steered me back on the right path. Know that your angel cares about you as well!

      Liked by 11 people

      • deereverywhere says:

        Dianebelv, I really like the heart attack line because I must have done the same. About a year before I returned to the faith I would hear Hail Marys being prayed in the background of what ever I was doing. I figured out, or had the inspiration, that it was my angel. How great our God is!

        Liked by 7 people

        • Dolly says:

          Deereverywhere, I am realizing more and more that my guardian angel is guiding me each and every day. I don’t always realize it at the moment but I have come to recognize his work on my behalf. I believe he guided me to one of your posts on a previous blog entry that mentioned the podcasts of Fr. Jeffrey Kirby. I made a mental note to go back and check the podcasts, which I did later and I have no words to express how they have opened my heart to God’s love for us. I believe God has used Fr. Kirby to get a very important message of hope to me, and He has done it through you and your guardian angel and mine. Thank you for posting the information for the podcasts. We may not know each other but God knows us and our guardian angels are working together accomplishing His Will.

          Liked by 8 people

          • deereverywhere says:

            You made me cry, Dolly, thank you. He is such a great priest but all of our priests at St. Mary’s are. He is suppose to be in Rome, but his mother ( who is around my age) is recovery from something she had to have an operation for, and I was actually admitted to the hospital the same day she was operated on for something (he just asks us to pray for her and I never asked thinking it may upset him.) . I had some weird infection that came from somewhere that they bought could be lupus but wasn’t. I kept up intersession to Our Lady all night cause I saw his Facebook page saying she was there. I don’t know when he is going to Rome again. Speaking of crying at mass, you know when you really feel God at mass and your own worthiness and the tears start to flow, when he was saying mass on day during the consecration I knew that is exactly what happened, and he had tears in his eyes, which of course open the floodgates for me. So, please say a prayer for his mom. Thanks Dolly, you are in mine.

            Liked by 3 people

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            Deer, I will keep Father’s mother in my prayers.

            Liked by 3 people

          • deereverywhere says:

            Thank you.

            Liked by 3 people

        • dianebelv says:

          Yes Deer, you are so right, our angels never give up on us and when we can look back and see their influences in our lives, it’s a Joy!

          Liked by 6 people

        • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

          Deer, I just can’t tell you how much I love that~ He is great! You are a hidden gem.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Dolly says:

          Deereverywhere, I don’t know how to reply to a reply but I wanted to thank you for prayers and thank you for mentioning Father’s request for prayers for his mother. I will pray for her as well as for you. How interesting that you said he should be in Rome right now. I’ll be in Rome in a few weeks. For some reason, Fr. Kirby is figuring in my life right now and it is all through you.

          Liked by 2 people

      • Bob says:

        I don’t recall the specific prayers but do remember that Catholic funeral prayers mention angels and saints being there to greet us and to lead us to paradise. Anyone have the specific prayers? They are encouraging.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Beckita says:

          Good idea, Bob! Just before my husband died, we were all blessed to pray this official prayer of the Church with a priest. Notice the tone of love and mercy, welcoming a sinner Home:
          Prayers Immediately after Death
          The following prayers may be recited immediately after death and may be repeated in the hours that follow.

          Saints of God, come to his/her aid!
          Come to meet him/her, Angels of the Lord!
          R/. Receive his/her soul and present him/her to God the Most High.
          May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
          may Angels lead you to Abraham’s side. R/.
          Give him/her eternal rest, O Lord,
          and may your light shine on him/her forever. R/.

          Let us pray. All-powerful and merciful God, we commend to you N., your servant.
          In your mercy and love, blot out the sins he/she has committed through human weakness. In this world he/she has died: let him/her live with you forever. Through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen.

          One of my favorite renditions of the Song of Farewell at Catholic funerals (when the incense is used and the final prayer of commendation is prayed) contain these lyrics: “May songs of the angels welcome you and guide you along your way. May the smiles of the martyrs greet your own as darkness turns into day. Ev’ry fear will be undone and death will be no more, as songs of the angels bring you home, before the face of God.”

          Liked by 5 people

        • Petra says:

          Bob: From the Requiem Mass:
          May the angels lead him into paradise; may the martyrs receive him at his arrival and lead him to the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels receive him and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may he have eternal rest.

          God bless.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Doug says:

      Quiet, confusion, doubt and condemnation don’t come from God. Now I am no expert on Angels, but based on what I have read, I have to imagine them being a cheerleader coaching us on and saying “you can do it”. I have also heard that there is a sort of envy (not really envy as we understand) or what may be better characterized as longing as we humans have been given the gift of suffering because of our humaness which Angels cannot experience. This underscores how great a gift suffering is; especially when aligned with Jesus suffering. When we are suffering, I can picture Angels stroking our back with an intense desire to comfort and participate with us. I am also aware that they are sort of a shield and keep evil from penetrating our souls often in our igorance. I will defer to Charlie as being a first hand expert on this. God bless you!

      Liked by 6 people

    • Doug says:

      Quiet, one more thing from St. Faustina. She had doubts about herself and the authenticity of her experience after confession and heard from Jesus who said “let me prove it to you. Ask me what your sins were”. St. Faustina’s asked and Jesus response was “I don’t remember”. How beautiful is that!

      Liked by 9 people

      • Mick says:

        Doug and Quiet: Doug, thanks for sharing that story about St. Faustina. There is a similar story that I heard years and years ago, about another holy female (can’t remember who), who was relating her mystical experiences to her confessor. The priest, believing in the woman’s sincerity but still skeptical, devised a test. He instructed the woman to ask Our Lord to reveal to her what was the most serious sin that the priest had ever confessed. She agreed to ask. The next time she went to confession, her confessor asked her which sin the Lord had revealed to her. Her answer was, “He said that He doesn’t remember.”

        Quiet, your guardian angel loves you and wants nothing more than for you to get to heaven. He will help you any way that he can, and he isn’t going to try to sabotage you when you’re standing before God at your particular judgment. Whoever wrote the piece wherein you read that garbage should be made the central figure in a round of Whack-A-Mole.

        I love the following verse from the Psalms. It’s verse 12 of Chapter 102 in the Douay-Rheims version (Chapter 103 in all the other versions): “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us.” How awesome is THAT? I mean, if you go north far enough, you eventually have to head south. If you go south far enough, you eventually have to head north. But if you head east, you could keep going until doomsday without ever having to go west. Same thing if you head west: you never end up going east. Once our sins have been forgiven, they’re gone. Ding-dong-dead. Nothing left… zip, zero, NADA. So, dearest of dear Quiet Persons, please be at peace about this. God and His Mercy have you covered. 🙂

        Liked by 10 people

        • prayingflower says:

          Whack-A-Mole…Ding-Dong-Dead. I love this catechesis! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Mick, you crack me up.

          Liked by 8 people

        • Doug says:

          Well said Mick and a good laugh too.

          Liked by 3 people

        • A Quiet Person says:

          Well Mick, I am not so upset with the author of what I read. I take responsibility for letting it get get to me, even as I knew it could not be right. But what has my interest now is this Whack-A-Mole thing. I mean, how do you play it? Could I get my ex to be made the central figure and see how it works? His lawyer? Maybe a few administrators at the school system I work for?? My posts are always so heavy (except for the squirrel recipe) that I do not even know how to put a happy face at the end of a post. Now, that is just plain pathetic. I have never used a happy face in my life! I don’t even know where they are so you all are just going to have to imagine one right here.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Doug says:

            Here is a happy face Quiet:

            O O
            <
            \ /
            \ ______ /

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Oh rats. Happy face did not come out right 😦

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mick says:

            Behold Whack-A-Mole:

            By “central figure,” I meant, of course, the mole. However, there are actually several moles that pop up from various “holes in the ground.” I suppose you could imagine your ex and the school administrators as the moles that you clobber when they poke their heads above ground. Although perhaps it would be more Christian to imagine that you’re figuratively clobbering them with prayer and love, rather than literally clobbering them with blunt-force trauma (which would certainly be more fun, at least to me). 🙂

            Oh, by the way, to make a smiley face: After the end of the relevant sentence, you type a space, and then a colon, and then a close-parenthesis. After Charlie clears the comment, a smiley face mysteriously appears. I await your next comment with much anticipation, as I hope to see a smiley face somewhere in it. You can do it… I know you can! 🙂

            Liked by 4 people

          • Beckita says:

            XO, Quiet!

            Well Doug, your heart is good, and I totally empathize with the graphic not coming through well. I’m surprised Charlie didn’t fire me when I burned up comment space trying to get an image of a skinny squirrel sipping coke to show up and resorted to footage of said squirrel belching that coke.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Beckita says:

            What a totally charming interpretation of Whack-a-Mole, Mick: clobber them with prayer and love!

            Liked by 1 person

      • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

        Doug, that is so beautiful it’s beyond words! We have this to hang on to! We are all going to go through similar doubts, fears and experience similar things as the saints did…as we can clearly see happening even now! I believe Charlie is trying to get us all ready to hang on to our Lord and His Mother…no matter what! Amen.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

          That last sentence about what Charlie is doing, talk about repeating the obvious.wow.sometimes I say such no-brainer things. Sorry! :/

          Liked by 3 people

          • Mick says:

            I think it’s fine that you repeated the obvious, Snowy–especially since we get so many new readers here every day, it seems. What’s obvious to “old-timers” like you is new news to the newbies. So, carry on. 🙂

            Liked by 5 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Ha…and if you repeat the obvious, Snowy, that is one less time I have to. Thanks for the break.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

            Mick, I’ve only been here for 2 months! but yes, we old-timers do tend to repeat things. just call me Ma Kettle! Sittin in my rocker smokin my pipe with a rifle and my pet squirrel. Tha’d be me.

            Liked by 6 people

          • Mick says:

            Ha, Snowy! I didn’t mean that you’re chronologically “up there”; I was trying to make a funny… we’re getting so many newbies that the people who have been here a few months seem like oldsters.

            I’m going to give up comedy and stick to my day job. Now where are the diaper wipes… 🙂

            Liked by 6 people

          • Doug says:

            Today in my Ignatius contemplation I was reflecting on the humanity of Jesus and it was evident that the Blessed Mother had to change his dirty diapers. So Mick, in your humanity, you are imitating the Blessed Mother in your daily living 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

            Mick! I got the comedy (don’t you dare give it up, you always get me rolling)..I ran with it-just being silly 🙂 besides, it’s true and it fits.

            Liked by 2 people

          • prayingflower says:

            LOL, MIck. Between you and Snowy, I don’t even bother reading the daily comics anymore. Thanks, both of you, for keeping us real. I love it. prayingflower

            Liked by 2 people

          • prayingflower says:

            Love the owl, Snowy.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Mick says:

            Ah, I get it now, Snowy! Like I’ve said before (I think), I’m sometimes slow on the joke uptake.

            Prayingflower, I’m glad that Snowy and I are able to give you a smile. I’m a big believer in the value of humor (silliness?) in helping to keep everybody (myself included) loose in difficult situations; and we are currently in, and facing, the most difficult period in the history of mankind. so… I’m glad to play the court jester on occasion. I hope and pray I can still smile and laugh now and again when things really, really get dicey.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

            Amen Mick! Thank you and also you, prayingflower 🙂 (Isn’t he a cutie- he’s a barn owl..couldn’t resist) I heard this the other day Mick and it reminded me of you and all of us here!

            They say God is happiest when His children are at play” ~ Legend of Bagger Vance.

            Liked by 3 people

    • zeniazenia says:

      Dear Quiet, I have heard, (mystic or legend?) that satan will attend our judgment and testify against us. This is the major reason he is called the ‘accuser’. (Logic would suggest, don’t know, that our guardian angel would testify in our favor.) This all happens in a Court of Law, the law being the New Covenant. Jesus told St. Faustina, ‘When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior’ (1541). I was also taught that one of the two accusations satan used against our Blessed Mother at her personal judgment, was that she made the dangerous journey to Ein Kerem near Jerusalem to visit Elizabeth–risking the safety of her unborn Messiah -Son of God. The second accusation was about Jesus’ passion and crucifixion. Love Zenia Jane

      Liked by 6 people

      • Petra says:

        Revelation 12:10-12
        “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”

        “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”

        God bless.

        Liked by 3 people

    • janet333 says:

      That is absolutely false, Quiet. The accuser is Satan. ” And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night.” Rev 12.

      I’m sure that every prayer uttered to a saint will bring them forward in your defense on the day of judgement. Now think of all those Hail Mary’s you have said over the years? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. aaronpfoutz says:

    Charlie, you described the loss that the fallen feel when in the presence of the Virgin Mother. How do they not feel that hopelessness now? They have been given over to eternal damnation to a place they do not feel the love of God. The greatest torment given to anyone to not feel the love of the Father. When I contemplate on it I don’t understand how the fallen can function at all with out Gods’ love. Great piece by the way. It gives me much to ponder on in the future. The way that Mary took on her role as mother of our Lord with only one question and not the endless questions that we would have. How she gave Gabriel comfort in her answer in the fiat. Every day I have become more reliant on the mother Jesus gave all of us at the cross. It has been told by those who have done exorcisms that Mary’s name is the most troubling to evil spirits. It is the Blessed Mother who through her yes brought forth the Savior of the world Jesus Christ. So as I go forward I ask Mary to cover me, my family and all the faithful in her mantle so that we may not be distracted or tempted in the trials coming our way. I believe it is through Mary and her Spouse the Holy Spirit that this is possible for those who trust. Jesus I trust in thee!

    Liked by 5 people

    • charliej373 says:

      That is an excellent question, Aaron, and one I have often pondered. I think it could not be unless God had given them leave for a time for His purposes. The interesting question is why does He give them such leave? Was He leaving a “door of mercy” open even for them for a time? Is it because there may be no true hell until final judgment, yet they may not remain in the Kingdom in light of their rebellion? There are dozens of possible answers one might think of and hundreds of more we probably can’t…but it is something I have contemplated often.

      Liked by 8 people

      • Bob says:

        And sadly why do those on the road to damnation not feel their hopeless now. I suppose it is because they are so enmeshed in their idols that they cannot feel their hopelessness but when death comes all their idols are taken away and we will all stand naked before God and will realize that only God is enough but for some it will sadly be too late!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Josh P. says:

        I might be wrong about this, but I don’t think that demons are removed from God’s love. My thought is, that God’s will is necessary for a creature to exist. And since God is Love, it is not in His nature to hate or be indifferent to any creature, even demons.

        I think that the feeling of hopelessness and loss comes from being more fully in the presence of Love. I’ve seen that bad people will often resent it if someone tries to comfort them, because of their pride. It stings their ego. I think it must be agony for evil to stand in the presence of God or Mary, who cannot help but feel love and compassion for their plight. In that way, it would make sense that approaching an archangel or the Holy Mother would be horrible for a demon.

        Liked by 6 people

        • charliej373 says:

          You remind me of my son, Josh. Sometime before I left on my pilgrimage, my son told me he thought he was going to cut to the chase – to pray for the conversion of satan and all the demons. He asked if I thought that would be okay. I thought about it for a moment, then told him I didn’t think it would convert them, but pray away, for it would sure slow them down and toss a few obstacles in their way. I asked some of my priests later if that was an okay answer. They chuckled and said I probably had it exactly right.

          I, myself, do not pray for demons. I have seen their handiwork too closely, and I loathe them too much.

          Liked by 3 people

          • janet333 says:

            We can’t pray for demons Charlie. They are doomed to everlasting punishment. Praying for those obstacles is good advice though.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            So why can’t you pray for them, nonetheless? I asked several priests, including a theologian and a canon lawyer. They agreed it would not lead to their salvation, but it would do no harm and might do a little good. I do not pray for them, though my son does sometimes. But when you make a flat, forceful statement like this, you need to give the citation to show it is a fact, not merely an assertion. Now if you said, “I don’t think we can (or should) pray for demons,” that would be fine, as is.

            I don’t know with certainty. I would be glad to be corrected if there is something in canon law or the Magisterium that forbids it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • janet333 says:

            So why can’t you pray for them, nonetheless?

            What would we be praying for?

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            For their conversion. Though it would not happen, it creates obstacles for them. And I appreciate you illustrating what I meant. Noting that you cannot imagine why we might pray for them is a very different thing then dogmatically pronouncing that we can’t. That’s all I look for – on things that we can’t imagine a reason for but we don’t know the answer to, humility dictates we state our case but recognize our limitations.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            So how would the St. Michael prayer tie into this?

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            I love the St. Michael prayer – and would that it were said at the conclusion of every public event.

            Liked by 4 people

          • Petra says:

            Personally, I would never even consider praying for a demon, because they are unredeemable. But mostly it’s because I want no connection to them whatsoever, and praying for them suggests I may have some (however minuscule) compassion on them, (i.e., love), and I do not. These demons knew exactly what they chose at the time they chose it, in entire truth and full knowledge, when they chose “not God.” Therefore they are fully culpable and have no chance to repent. And I would believe not one has a sliver of remorse in their choice, and in their darkness still believe they have a chance to win.

            However, now that you’ve brought it up, I might just start praying for them they’re bugging me. It might have the same effect as pouring hot oil on them, and they might just scatter in terror over it, trying to get away as quickly as possible, seeing as how their action is having the exact opposite effect of what they desire. 🙂

            God bless and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

            Liked by 6 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Exactly, Petra. That is what I was thinking. Flood them with what is holy…put them on the defensive.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            I think fighting them is a distraction in general and could be a sign of vanity (personal experience). It was given to me a while back in a dream to focus on love.

            Liked by 2 people

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            Petra, that is certainly one way at looking at it. At times I find myself praying for blessings for all His creation. I guess that would include the creatures of the dark side as well. 🙂

            Like

          • Honestly, I’ve never heard this issue come up, so I don’t have an answer as to whether or not it’s expressly forbidden. I have a hard enough time doing the things that Jesus expressly asked us to do in Scripture without trying to come up with new material. When Jesus told us to love our enemies, I always took it that he was referring to our fellow man and will continue to leave it at that. Sorry, I have nothing but revulsion for demons, and with only 24 hours in a day, I don’t want to waste one drop of precious prayer time. I don’t even like thinking about it.

            Thanks for your above meditation which was sometimes sublime and sometimes challenging. You’ll understand (based on my opinion/comment here) why I skipped over some chunks. I couldn’t ever get through the Screwtape Letters either for the same reason. That’s just me, though.

            Keep inspiring and challenging us!

            God Bless,

            MP

            Liked by 4 people

          • charliej373 says:

            I agree with you, MP. I loathe demons and their master. I could never bring myself to pray for them. But I respect the instinct of those who do.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Charlie, I can not site the reference now, but there was a theological correction at an early Synod on Augustine, himself, stating that one could pray for the damned souls in Hell to lessen their sufferings.

            (The Council of Orange comes immediately to mind.)

            If that correction applies to damned human souls and that cannot pray to alleviate their sufferings, it should with certain certitude apply to damned angelic spirits.

            Just want to jump in, if that is ok.

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Yeah, I think it is probably best to leave this alone. Better not to get involved with demons at all…a dangerous thing, ultimately.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            I agree Charlie. About 26 years ago, I was studying tactics of demons with the thought of understanding the enemy to fight him. This lead to an oppression or some form of attachment (don’t know exactly). Without going into details, certain things happened and tremendous fear overshadowed me for a long period time and I could not control it. I eventually was delivered with prayer at a retreat. After the deliverance, the contrast was stark. I got rid of all material I used to study them. I have endeavored to keep my focus on God and loving him. I heard it stated that the tecnique the US treasury uses to find counterfeit money is to scrupulously study real currency. This way, when counterfeit money is seen, it is immediately recognized as not being authentic. God bless!

            Liked by 4 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            Me too Doug. One of the spiritual directors of my Divine Mercy Oblates group says not to engage with the enemy at all ever! In any way!

            Liked by 2 people

          • Petra says:

            Amen!

            Like

          • janet333 says:

            I think I better explain about my initial comment. When I wrote……”We can’t pray for demons Charlie. ” I wrote it in the way I would say…”You can’t put your hand in the fire.” It’s hard to tell the tone on here) Well of course you can put your hand in the fire…not recommended though haha. But anyway I did follow with the reason why I wrote that… “They are doomed to everlasting punishment. ” This teaching, as we know, is according to Scripture. I also felt we were on ‘dangerous ground’ YD has now posted on that heresy.

            It is best to have this all explained or risk someone being left with the mistaken belief that you feel we should pray for demons. I know this is not what you were suggesting at all..I also know that you are careful to explain everything and put us right on what you DID say and what you HAVEN’T said on many topics.

            I always pray for the first man Adam to the Last one to be born. This obviously includes the damned but seeing as God is outside of time my prayers might have made a difference. God’s Mercy is unfathomable! 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Ah, some of the comments are inverted when I go to clear them – in that process, it is often literally true that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. No, though you could not cite specific teachings, the fact is you were right and I was wrong. Thank you for your persistence.

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Ok, now we are playing with heresy–unless we clarify what we mean by “praying for their conversion.”

            There is a neoplatonic influenced heresy based on Acts 3: 21: Apokatastasis panton, that believed in the restitution of all things to God, including demons, at the end of time. This was taught by Origen, Evagrius of Pontus and it finds its way into the writings of St. Isaac of Nineveh in his mystical theology exactly on this subject.

            That heresy was soundly condemned–again, I believe it was in the Sixth Century.

            However, if we want to pray for the Angels before their Fall–for the Good and the eventually Fallen, then that might be another conversation.

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Thanks, YD, I figured you would weigh in on this if it got hinky. I did not expect it would cause their conversion, but that it would cause them a lot of trouble – like throwing holy water in their faces. But I think, given what you have said, it is skirting too close to the edge of heresy. I will so inform my son.

            Liked by 2 people

          • breadoflife55 says:

            I remember reading somewhere(wish I could re call ) that praying for demons only adds to their misery. I won’t even pretend to know what theology might back that up!

            Liked by 1 person

          • YongDuk says:

            Funny, that I have been too distracted with things the last few days and even trying to finish my Breviary for this, a partial specialty, to be the time I end up chiming in. I was not planning on catching up this evening with your posts, but felt drawn by the Spirit.

            No need to fear the demonic, but for engaging the demonic in debate in all meanings.

            Like

          • Josh in ND says:

            I remember reading something by an exorcist who said that during an exorcism, satan’s purpose in taunting the exorcist to try get the exorcist to feel hatred for him. The exorcist’s only power is to cling to Christ. By making the exorcist feel hatred, (hatred being of satan) he looses his grip on Christ. Even with satan and demons one must “Hate the sin and love the sinner”.

            When trying to understand something it is often useful to do thought experiments on extreme cases. Contemplating praying for satan and demons is interesting because it takes charity to our neighbor to an extreme. When performing an exorcism it is quite obvious that maintaining a firm grip on Christ would be essential. But when life’s everyday taunts cause anger, frustration and even hatred to boil up, we chalk it up as no big deal. We regard it as part of being human. In reality it is us loosing our grip on Christ.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Josh P. says:

            “If anyone says or holds that the punishment of the demons and of impious men is temporary, and that it will have an end at some time, that is to say, there will be a complete restoration of the demons or of impious men, let him be anathema.” from the Synod of Constantinople (543 AD)

            I do not dispute the Church’s teaching that demons cannot be saved. I did not say that demons should be prayed for. But to tell you the truth I was a little irritated at this proclamation of anathema- well, at first, anyways. Because I don’t think someone should be kicked out of the Church for feeling compassion for a demon. If a demon deceives someone into believing he (she? it?) can be saved, what exactly has that demon gained? An increase in prayers from the deceived to God and the probable agony of being loved? The perfect love of loving one’s enemy from the deceived?

            Look, I’m sure Satan or any other demon could fool me a thousand times before breakfast if God allowed it. But they can’t fool God, and as long as I cling to God in prayer, it doesn’t matter that they can outwit me.

            That being said, the fact that those who choose hell cannot be saved is an unfortunate truth. Because they want their sin and to revel in sin more than they want God. And they already know everything about God and their sin with perfect clarity, so no further argument could be made to a demon that would sway them. So I do think it is a dangerous thing to believe in the salvation of the damned, not because you feel compassion for them, but because you might believe that you yourself could make such a choice and be damned and then later on be able to get out of it.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Yes, on reflection I think there are many subtle dangers in it – and that our very compassion could be used against us. My first spiritual director, an accomplished canon lawyer, was once very provoked with me when I embarked upon a project of trying to eliminate sin from my life. He told me that when you are concentrating on eliminating sin, you are engaged with…sin. It dominates your thoughts. The only way to banish sin, he said, is to drown it in a sea of love.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Mick says:

            I’m with you, MP. I had to skip the “demon parts” of Charlie’s story, and I can’t read the
            Screwtape Letters. I’ll never be able to read anything by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, either.

            Like

          • YongDuk says:

            Josh P., the Church celebrates St Isaac of Nineveh as a great spiritual father despite his apparent belief in apokatastasis panton and the Neoplatonic and Origenistic influence to that end.

            St. Augustine — Saint Augustine — contradicts himself frequently depending on which work you read and what position / point he is arguing. So anathematising a teaching is different than anathematising someone who is persistent in error. Origen is not (and should not be inserted into the Litany of Saints, you silly music writers and liturgical musical directors, you) a Saint, not because of his being speculative.

            (I am unsure why Evagrius of Pontus is not, as I do love reading him.)

            Sorry, I got distracted trying to find out why Evagrios is not a saint and forgot what I was trying to say.

            Still tired and full after dinner and a persimmon,
            +YD

            Liked by 2 people

          • charliej373 says:

            Marvelous and important fact, YD. I was surprised during some studies some years ago to discover how many saints at one point held positions that were later determined to be heretical. That did not make them heretics, for they obeyed the Church – or the heresy was determined after their death. People really need to get past the notion that saints actually share the mind of God and never err. They do – and quite frequently. Yet in them, even their errors help advance our understanding of the faith.

            It is why I pay much more attention to the authenticity of a person I am listening to (do they love God profoundly? do they love their neighbor? Are they risking themselves and their reputation to find truth? Are they in love with the Church?) than whether I agree with them on all points. A man with a good heart, though he err, will find his way to God’s truth. A man with a vain or malicious heart, though he get something right, will find his way to serious error.

            Liked by 6 people

          • Doug says:

            Nice Charlie and YD!

            Like

          • Kim sevier says:

            Yessiree! What he said! 🙂 I love it– all about heart and attitude.

            Like

          • Kim sevier says:

            I have never tasted a persimmon. Are they sweet? Is it a tropical fruit?

            Like

          • A Quiet Person says:

            I’m just going to jump right in here with another dumb comment and question, thankful that very few of you know my real name all the while knowing that the answer to this is not important. But we are talking about demons, praying for them or not.so I am not entirely off-topic here. I am curious though. What about leprechauns? I was receiving deliverance ministry with a well known, experienced exorcist and along with demons howling outside and a few other choice events, a leprechaun was just messing around, up to no good during the session. Holy water was not his favorite thing, I can tell you that much. The exorcist just said that there are all kinds of things out there and left it at that. And until that experience I had totally forgotten that when I was about 4 or 5 I saw a leprechaun, clear as could be, standing in the doorway of my bedroom. I had never even heard of such a thing then, and I sure screamed pretty loud. Then, a few years ago my classroom aide told me about her student the year before who had lots of issues. The mom said she was having trouble getting rid of the leprechaun in the house. I am not making this up. As I understand it, leprechauns are not bad enough to go to hell but not good enough to go to heaven which flies in the face of everything I know about heaven, hell, free will and everything else on that topic. I figure they eventually have to go somewhere for all eternity. They can’t just straddle the two worlds and do their own thing forever. I am certain I am missing something here, and believe me, I do not seek these things out. They were sort of in my face though, and I do wonder about it a bit.

            Like

          • charliej373 says:

            Quiet, I think that in all ages demons appear in some guise that people will give plausibility to. Thus, hundreds of years ago, people were inclined to consider the possibility of fairies and leprechauns and elves, so demons would opportunistically take those forms. Nowadays, people give some limited credence to aliens, so demons opportunistically take those forms sometimes.

            I don’t want these boards fall prey to speculation on the fantastic, so I will limit discussion of such subjects, that we may remain focused on acknowledging God, taking the next right step, and being a sign of hope to those around us.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Doug says:

            I was just over in Ireland this past June (beautiful country by the way) and learned that leprechauns are not good. I have no theological background on them, but it is evident they are not from God per se. This leads me to believe they are on the side of the evil one and most likely a form of demon.

            Quiet, if this is still bothering you, then my suggestion is to seek strong spiritual direction from a priest that has experience in this area. This is something you should not try to battle yourself.

            Liked by 2 people

          • SteveBC says:

            Some very successful people, people who get a lot done, say that they follow a particular piece of advice that I think has application to this spiritual question about praying for demons.

            Do more of what succeeds and let go of what fails.

            This works because you tend to get more of what you focus on and less of what you let go.

            When it comes to demons, no matter what the Church says, or any exorcist says, you probably cannot succeed to heaven by focusing on those who have failed to achieve it, or even worse, who have rejected it.

            It’s a close corollary to what Charlie has said many times before: “What you desire most is most effective against you. Desire God and all shall be added to you.”

            When I get tempted to fight the satan the way Padre Pio did, I do two things. First, I remember that he was more effective when he let God do it for him, and I will never in a million years be even a fraction as capable as he was. Second, I apply cold compresses and take a couple white willow bark caps, ’cause obviously I’m feverish and not thinking straight.

            Focus on what is good and do as much of that as you possibly can. There should be no room in your life for even thinking about praying for demons, if for no other reason than because your life is full of the Good and of God.

            And that’s as far into this matter as I am going to go.

            Liked by 6 people

          • Doug says:

            Steve, Nice post. On those lines, my wife and I avoid use of the word “divorce” in any discussion since its usage can entertain thoughts around it that can be self fulfilling. We generally refer to it as the “D” word. We are totally committed to each other (31 years as of 2 days ago). I think the same could apply here in the context of this discussion on those evil bad creatures we are talking about. I prefer not to entertain discussion since it can too easily entertain thoughts or lead to distractions in this area. I too prefer to put my energy in things that are known to succeed. Thus, I will trust God and take the next right step!

            Liked by 8 people

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            Happy belated anniversary Doug & Jacki! ❤

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Oh thank you Jen!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mick says:

            Kim, I had a persimmon once. All I can say is that it must be an acquired taste.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Kim sevier says:

            Ok Mick– I haven’t noticed them in the grocery store– even when I lived in South Florida (assuming they are tropical). But maybe they are there and I am not observant. From what you say I guess they are not sweet!

            Like

          • A young gal I know was struggling to come to grips with the meaning of life, so I shared my take with her: to know God, to love Him, and to return to Him fully as sons/daughters. I’m sure that’s lacking in some respects, but I just tried to keep it simple since she’s experienced many obstacles, habitually chasing various ‘shiny things’ (deceitful things) down dark alleyways.

            Of course I also shared the Sure Path who is Jesus Christ, and that to know Him is not simply a matter of knowing ‘about’ Him… and some other things that everyone here knows well and can express better.

            I was also thinking about some older women I know (my mother-in-law and her 10 sisters), a robust mix of Catholics and Evangelicals. I fondly think of them as hobbits. They are diminutive in size, but I’ve really come to know and appreciate them over the years for their hobbit-like humility, simplicity, steadfast faith, and courage. Just try wandering down a side alley with that group and see how quickly they get matters right back to Jesus. They’re wise women.

            While pondering these things this morning, I also recalled the following from Sirach 3:19-24: For great is the power of God; by the humble He is glorified. What is too sublime for you seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. What is committed to you, attend to; for what is hidden is not your concern. With what is too much for you meddle not, when shown things beyond human understanding. Their own opinion has misled many, and false reasoning unbalanced their judgment.

            That reads just like TNRS to me.

            I know that some folks here have compared Charlie to J.R.R. Tolkien’s character, Gandalf, and I respect those personal insights. In my opinion, though, he’s clearly a hobbit.

            God Bless and Stay The Path,

            MP

            Liked by 7 people

          • charliej373 says:

            I think the holiest people I have known have usually been the simplest. God has use for passionate, intellectual and shrewd men. But these qualities carry with them much danger for those who have them for they can so easily and subtly turn to disorder. It is the one reason why I wish everyone could visit regularly with angels: if they could, they would not be so proud of their paltry gifts no matter how much they shine in this dim realm.

            Liked by 8 people

          • Kim sevier says:

            Oh I LOVE it Charlie! I love reading about saints who are so humble. And isn’t humility the absolute most attractive attribute in someone? Contemplating it makes me feel bubbly!

            Liked by 4 people

          • prayingflower says:

            That is one of my favorite scriptures, MP. As for someone expressing better what you have written, I very much enjoy reading your comments because they are so clear and insightful, poetic and full of imagery and little adventures. I also enjoy strolling around your own site. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us. God bless you and your family.

            Liked by 5 people

          • Doug says:

            Nice MP!

            Like

          • Beckita says:

            Thanks, MP, for your hobbit points, so filled with wisdom amd simplicity. Loved the reference to Sirach. Amen.

            Liked by 1 person

          • CJ, as soon as I say “hobbit,” you go ahead and say something Gandalf-like. Hm. I think I’ll stick with ‘hobbit’ though. At any rate, I get your meaning.

            Liked by 1 person

          • charliej373 says:

            Taught me well, Gandalf has (or was it Yoda?)

            Liked by 1 person

        • Robert Cunningham says:

          YD

          Could the doctrine of impassibility be applicable here? The Catechism speaks of the fallen angels state (The quote therein is St John of Damascus):

          393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.”

          It may be wise for me to follow the lead of St Michael and let God alone rebuke the evil ones.

          “Yet the archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment* upon him but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9)

          Liked by 2 people

          • LukeMichael says:

            With regard to demons, the Church has given us the prayer to St Michael. I believe that’s as far as it should go.

            Liked by 3 people

          • Bob says:

            Psalm 139 vs. 21 and 22 has a good answer here: “do I not hate those who hate you O Lord…, with a deadly hatred I hate them”. This verse came to me and struck once when we were praying for deliverance with a person who had been harassed by demons which had caused this person to feel such a combination, of hatred, despair, rage, hopelessness, etc. after they began dabbling in satanism and wanted out.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Yup Bob. When one plays with fire they risk getting burned; a healthy respect for it and leave it alone.

            Liked by 2 people

          • YongDuk says:

            Sorry, Robert, I may be a bit daft today.

            Would you kindly flush out how you would posit the use or application of impassibility here.

            Fr. Weinandy has a book, _Does_God_Suffer_? and an observant theological student proposed to him in a seminar on modern Trinitarian Heresies that the removal of Angels from modern theology even to the point of doubting their existence removed the checks and balances in understanding the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union. The learned religious in the seminar smirked and muttered under their breaths at him as being un-understandable and uncultured as a lay man as he was, but Weinandy gave pause and admitted that he never thought of that.

            So please help me understand your thought process and let us contemplate the unfathomably glorious, generous and necessary position in Creation that the Angels are!

            I am still with sticky fingers in the Immaculata and really tired,
            +Young Duck

            Like

          • Robert Cunningham says:

            YD

            Thank you for your response. I do not speak of impassibility as the inability to suffer bodily once the soul is in heaven, but rather the inability to be inconstant in love and choose against God and sin. I may be going down a theological rabbit hole so I ask for your patience and welcome any correction as needed.

            At present, I love God and try to do the best that I can but am aware that I am to some extent ruled by my passions and do not love God as I should, even as the Apostle says, “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want”. With God’s grace I may grow in his love now and become less inclined to the passions but I will completely love Him without shadow when I see my dear Lord in the Beatific Vision. Then I will no longer be inconstant: God loves me with his all and I will love Him with my all – not even thinking of myself. It seems to me that the saints in Heaven enjoy this perfect exchange of love now and will never change their mind and could not as love has been perfected in them.

            Along that line of reasoning, it seems to me that the test that the angels underwent was somewhat analogous. I have heard theories on what the test of the angels was but what is more important is that there was a test. Some passed, some did not. Did God reward the angels with a gift similar to impassibility so that they would never waiver, never doubt never change in their love of God and therefore could never choose against Him?

            Robert

            Liked by 2 people

          • Bob says:

            As for the simple ones, well Jesus chose mostly smelly young or old fishermen and only Judas and perhaps Matthew had any real potential in a worldly sense and look what happened to Judas!

            Liked by 2 people

        • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

          This is excellent and makes many things concerning Satan and the Angels and the Church’s teachings very clear. It is from from Father Gabriele Amorth and it is very informative. Needless to say, he has a gift in dealing with and explaining all of this.
          http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features/framorth_excerpt1_aug04.asp

          Liked by 1 person

        • Beckita says:

          Wise counsel, Doug: “Quiet, if this is still bothering you, then my suggestion is to seek strong spiritual direction from a priest that has experience in this area. This is something you should not try to battle yourself.” The power of the priesthood is awesome as by ordination there is a profound ontological change as he actcs in persona Christi.

          At the same time, there are some lay people who have been greatly gifted by God to address this problem area. Jesus spent His lifetime healing His people and casting out evil spirits. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and needs the servants He has chosen to continue His work. In my experiences on a deliverance team, I have encountered many manifestations and forms. Serious stuff this is. Quiet, if you would ever wish to consult with someone, actually one of my spirtitual mothers, concerning your questions please write me via TNRS Answering Service. I can connect you with her.

          Amen, Charlie: I don’t want these boards fall prey to speculation on the fantastic, so I will limit discussion of such subjects, that we may remain focused on acknowledging God, taking the next right step, and being a sign of hope to those around us.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Beckita says:

          Kim, I had a friend who used to send me dried persimmons from his trees in CA. A flavor all their own and yummy in dried form!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Pawel says:

    Charlie, is J.R.R. Tolkien your other pen name? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • charliej373 says:

      Ha, Pawel. Well over a decade ago I was in deep sorrow over something. I was nearly inconsolable. I was talking to my dear brother on the phone and he was upset that he could not console me…then he said, “Wait a minute, let me read you something.” He came back on the line and read one of the most breathtakingly consoling pieces, inspiring me with new hope I had ever heard. It broke my sorrow. I told him how magnificent it was and asked who was the author, so I could read more. He seemed oddly smug as he told me I knew this author well, had in fact, read everything he had ever written. The author, it turned out, was me – and it was from a letter I had written him nearly ten years prior when he was in deep sorrow.

      The funny thing is that, when I actually write something, I cannot tell whether it is good or not. I am so close to the construction of it, I suppose, that that dominates. But a few times I have been presented with something a few years later, not remembering that I had written it, and been powerfully moved by it. God gave me a little gift. I am glad I have been able to use it to help others find hope – and even, upon a re-read, myself find my way back to hope.

      Liked by 13 people

  6. zeniazenia says:

    Remember the Epiphany House Blessing. 20 + C + M + B + 16 The traditional chalk notation over your door. Those are crosses not plus signs 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • breadoflife55 says:

      We put that over our door posts every year Zenia, since a dear priest, Fr George introduced it to us about 10 years ago. Thank you, Fr George, and may God bless you and all good priests a hundred fold!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

      Zenia, I remember that blessing! I put over my door when my kids were little! I’ve moved since. I need to do that here!!! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Donna says:

      Can you please tell me more about this? What do the letters mean?

      Liked by 2 people

      • zeniazenia says:

        Hi Donna,
        ‘ It is an invitation for Jesus to be a daily guest in our home, our comings and goings, our conversations, our work and play, our joys and sorrows.
        A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 16. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross and 2016 is the year.
        Blessing the Chalk
        V. Our help is the name of the Lord:
        R. The maker of heaven and earth.
        V. The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in:
        R. From this time forth for evermore.
        Let us pray.
        Loving God, bless this chalk which you have created, that it may be helpful to your people; and grant that through the invocation of your most Holy Name that we who use it in faith to write upon the door of our home the names of your holy ones Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, may receive health of body and protection of soul for all who dwell in or visit our home; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
        Instructions for Blessing the Home
        Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:
        20 + C + M + B + 16 while saying:
        The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and fifteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.
        Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen’
        “Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the symbols written sink into the depths of our heart and be manifest in our words and actions the Latin words, Christus mansionem benedictat, “May Christ bless the house.”
        Br. Daryl Moresco OCarm. is the Director of Vocations and the Pre-Novitiate formation program for the Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary (Chicago) Province.
        http://www.carmelites.net/news/chalking-door-epiphany-house-blessing-2015/

        Liked by 7 people

        • Donna says:

          Thank you so much! I love the idea. I will do this tomorrow!

          Liked by 2 people

        • LukeMichael says:

          I’ve never heard of this. Very cool!

          Liked by 3 people

        • Petra says:

          Here’s a link to the St. John Cantius Facebook page and a photo of one of the seminarians “chalking the door” of the church. It says in the post that CMB could also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, or Christ Bless This House. I LOVE that!

          20 + C + M + B + 16

          On January 6th following the Epiphany Mass in the Extraordinary Form was the traditional practice of blessing the church door. Blessed Chalk is used with the initials of the three Magi (Casper, Melchior and Balthasar) surrounded by the year.

          An additional meaning then for the C + M + B is ‘Christus Mansionem Benedicat (Christ, bless this house!)

          https://www.facebook.com/SJCantius

          God bless.

          Liked by 1 person

      • breadoflife55 says:

        Hi Donna. There is a prayer for the Epiphany home blessing, as well as a good description of what the letters above the door mean at catholic culture.org.

        https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=49

        Liked by 3 people

  7. little one in PA says:

    Very good Charlie! I learned a lot from your story! A perspective from outside of time. Another way of thinking about things and what matters in the long run. God indeed has a marvelous plan. Praying for all here! I thank God for having this wise group of people to learn from. Thank you!

    Liked by 8 people

  8. janet333 says:

    Thank you so much Charlie. One day everyone will know just how very very special Our Lady is in salvation history. 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Andrea says:

    Good stuff, well written! Can you please make this into a published book?? I want to read it to my kids! God bless !

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I sure do love these stories/inspirations of yours Charlie!! It made me cry as did the other one.
    Happy New Year to you Charlie and all your family.
    Thank You!!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. bflocatholic says:

    Today is September 29th – the Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels.

    As a “Michael,” I have always considered this Feast Day a special day. Now, however, I am drawn to consider the roles of Sts. Gabriel and Raphael, as well. This morning, as I was thinking about this day, I remembered your reflection regarding St. Gabriel in “The Pivot of Civilization” and also thought about the central role he has played in your life. Amazing and wonderful things.

    Anyhow, Happy Feast Day to St. Gabriel, St. Michael and St. Raphael! May they continue to pray for, guide and protect all men and women of good will!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Charlie, we know from Scripture that Gabriel appeared to Joseph in his dreams, and I gather from your posts that he appears to you in bright daylight. Would you have anything to comment on this difference?

    Like

    • charliej373 says:

      God does as He will. I do not have prophetic dreams…at least I am not aware of any. I don’t know, but kind of suspect, that God speaks in dreams more often to those He does not speak directly to, for it is easier for them to accept it and not so scary – more likely to focus them on the message rather than the phenomenon. When I had my spinal surgery 14 years ago, they lost me on the table several times and revived me (a dicey bit of business). Naturally, my Priests and a few friends who were aware of my situation asked me if I had a near-death experience. I joked that no, there was nothing, and that I figured God said, “Charlie’s had a rough few months. Let him sleep. We’ll talk to him when he wakes up and is back at himself.” God does as He will – and calls us each by name.

      Liked by 4 people

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