Mallett: Remembering Who We Are

(While I labor over my post, tentatively entitled “A Glimpse Into Eternity,” I reprint this piece from Mark Mallett in its entirety. He published it on New Year’s Eve. I think it among his finest pieces of the last year – which is saying something. Christ must be the focus of our whole being. Evangelization that leads through love is the greatest act of mercy we can live – and wins people to the Kingdom. So arises joy. Enjoy this piece – CJ)

Remembering Who We Are




EVERY year, we see and hear again the familiar motto, “Keep Christ in Christmas!” as a counter to the political correctness that has neutered Christmas store displays, school plays, and public speeches. But one could be forgiven for wondering if the Church herself has not lost her focus and “raison d’être”? After all, what does keeping Christ in Christmas mean? Making sure we say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”? Putting up a manger as well as a tree? Going to midnight Mass? The words of Blessed Cardinal Newman have been lingering in my mind for several weeks:

Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit—he may hide himself—he may attempt to seduce us in little things, and so to move the Church, not all at once, but by little and little from her true position. I do believe he has done much in this way in the course of the last few centuries… It is his policy to split us up and divide us, to dislodge us gradually from our rock of strength. —Blessed John Henry Newman, Sermon IV: The Persecution of Antichrist

As I ponder the Synod on the Family that concluded this Fall, we spoke of the “pastoral care” of the family in unorthodox situations. Important questions. But when did we speak about the “salvation” of the family?

Vatican officials suddenly became emboldened and courageous this year, but not so much in becoming “fools for Christ”, but “fools for climate change.”

As the “Year of Mercy” began in Vatican Square on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, it was not images of the Divine Mercy, the Sacred Heart, or the Blessed Mother that were beamed onto St. Peter’s facade, but wild animals replete with grunts and growls.

This was followed by a Vatican Commission on “Relations with the Jews”, which concluded that the Church no longer “conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews” —a contradiction to 2000 years of biblical approach finding its roots in St. Paul. [1]“A Reflection on the Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish Relations on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of “Nostra Aetate“, n. 40, Dec. 10th, 2015;; nb. the document itself says that its conclusions are “non-magisterial”.

And as Catholic churches suddenly filled to the brim on Christmas Eve with “parishioners” filing up for their yearly Communion (or bi-yearly, if Easter is included), one must ask the question: do we remember why we are even here? Why does the Church exist?


Pope Paul VI answered the question succinctly:

[The Church] exists in order to evangelize, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of His death and glorious resurrection.Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 14;

There is something frequently missing from our dialogue these days. And that is the name of Jesus. The year has been filled with debates on pastoral care, global warming, the Pope’s appointees, the Pope’s interviews, the cultural wars, politics, and on and on… but where does the salvation of souls enter in and the mission of the Redeemer? While many were dismayed that Pope Francis would dare say that some are “obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently”,[2]cf., Sept. 30, 2103 the past year has often proven those words to be more true than not. When I speak to crowds of people, I often remind them that if our morning unfolds without any one of us giving thought to the salvation of others, whether through our witness, sacrifices, and prayers, then our priorities are off—our hearts are no longer beating in unison with the Savior’s heart. After all, we heard the Angel Gabriel announce to Mary that she was to name Him Jesus “because he will save his people from their sins.” [3]Matt 1:21 His mission is ours.

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. (John 12:26)

That’s the meaning of Christmas. The purpose of the Church. The motivation of this website: to release the world from the grip of sin that has the power to eternally separate us from our Creator.[4]cf. Hell is for Real


It is also true that we must avoid a common twofold fundamentalist response: either a limited concern for the “soul” and “salvation” of the other while neglecting their needs and wounds; or, on the other hand, to relegate faith to the private sphere. As Pope Benedict asked:

How could the idea have developed that Jesus’s message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others? —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Spe Salvi (Saved In Hope), n. 16

In this regard, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium continues to provide a lucid and challenging blueprint for evangelization in 2016. In a world where near out-of-control advancements in technology are creating an unparalleled anthropological earthquake, it is imperative that we remind ourselves over and over again of why we are here, who we are, and who we shall become.

Francis has hewn a path understood by few in the Church and misunderstood by many: it is the path for maximum attraction to the Gospel, a path that Jesus Himself trod at a time when “the people were in darkness.”[5]cf. Matt 4:16 And what is this path? Mercy. It scandalized the “religious” 2000 years ago, and it scandalizes the religious again today. [6]cf. The Scandal of Mercy  Why? Because while not neglecting the reality of sin, Mercy does not make sin its initial focus. Rather, it makes the manifestation of “love of the other” the first initiative. St. Thomas Aquinas explained that “The foundation of the New Law is in the grace of the Holy Spirit, who is manifested in the faith which works through love.” [7]Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 108, a. 1

In itself mercy is the greatest of the virtues, since all the others revolve around it and, more than this, it makes up for their deficiencies. —St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a. 4; cf. Evangelii Gaudium, n. 37

Francis has explained in paragraphs 34-39 of Evangelii Gaudium [8]cf. precisely what he is up to: a re-ordering of the priorities of contemporary evangelization that while not neglecting the moral truths, re-places them in their proper “hierarchy.”

All revealed truths derive from the same divine source and are to be believed with the same faith, yet some of them are more important for giving direct expression to the heart of the Gospel. In this basic core, what shines forth is the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 36;

In a word, the Church needs to urgently recover the essence of the Gospel:

The essence of Christianity is not an idea but a Person. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, spontaneous speech to the clergy of Rome; Zenit, May 20th, 2005


Yet, how can we be witnesses of mercy if we have not encountered He who is Mercy? How can we speak of One whom we do not know? Brothers and sisters, if the essence of Christianity is not an idea, a list of rules, or even a certain way of life, but a Person, then being a Christian is to know this Person: Jesus Christ. And to know Him is not to know about Him, but to know Him in the way a husband knows a wife. In fact, the biblical term for “know” in the Old Testament means to “have intercourse with”. Thus, for Noah to “know” his wife was to make love to her.

“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife,and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. (Eph 5:31-32)

This is a simple, accessible, but profound analogy of the spiritual intimacy that God desires to have with each of us.

Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us… God thirsts that we may thirst for him.Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2560

When we enter into the “thirst” of God and begin to thirst for Him, to “seek, knock, and ask” for Him, then Jesus says:

‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’ He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. (John 7:38-39)

With the supernatural help and grace of the Holy Spirit, all other questions, problems, and challenges can be faced in a new and uncreated light, which is Wisdom itself. Thus,

It is necessary to enter into real friendship with Jesus in a personal relationship with him and not to know who Jesus is only from others or from books, but to live an ever deeper personal relationship with Jesus, where we can begin to understand what he is asking of us… Knowing God is not enough. For a true encounter with him one must also love him. Knowledge must become love. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Meeting with the youth of Rome, April 6th, 2006;

However, if Jesus remains distant; if God remains a theological concept; if Mass becomes a mere ritual, prayer a litany of words, and Christmas, Easter, and the like mere nostalgia… then Christianity will lose its power in those places, and even disappear. This is precisely what is happening in vast portions of the world at the present moment. It is not a crisis in morality so much as a crisis of the heart. We, the Church, have forgotten who we are. We have lost our first love,[9]cf. First Love Lost who is Jesus, and once foundations are lost, the whole edifice begins to collapse. Indeed, “unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build”. [10]Psalm 127:1

For the power of the Holy Spirit flows through a personal relationship as much as sap flows only through those branches connected to the vine. The Church’s mission is accomplished ultimately not through edicts and ideas but through a transformed people, through a holy people, through a docile and humble people. Rarely is she transformed through theologians, scholars, and canon lawyers—unless their duties are undertaken upon their knees. The idea of a personal relationship with Our Savior is not an innovation of the Southern Baptist Convention or Billy Graham. It lies at the very roots of Christianity when Mary took Jesus into her arms; when Jesus Himself took children into His arms; when Our Lord gathered Twelve companions; when St. John lay his head on the Savior’s breast; when Joseph of Arimathea wrapped His body in linen; when Thomas placed his fingers into the wounds of Christ; when St. Paul expended his every word for love of His God. A personal and profound relationship marks the lives of every Saint, of the mystical writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila and others that describe the nuptial love and blessings of union with God. Yes, the very heart of the Church’s liturgical and private prayer comes down to this: a personal relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Man, himself created in the “image of God” [is] called to a personal relationship with God… prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father… Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 299, 2565

What could possibly be more intimate than receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus physically within us at the Holy Eucharist? Ah, how profound a mystery! But how many souls are not even aware of it!

As the New Year begins, the words from today’s Mass on this Solemnity of the Mother of God take us back to the heart of the Gospel:

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons,  God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,  crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son,  and if a son then also an heir, through God. (Gal 4:4-7)

There you have the essence of Christian conversion—one who realizes that he or she is not orphaned, but now has a Father, a Brother, a Wonderful Counsellor—and yes, a Mother. A Holy Family. So how do we come to this place of literally crying out “Abba, Father!”? It is not automatic. It is a decision of the will, a choice to enter into a real and living relationship with God. I decided to court my wife, to betroth her, and to give myself totally to her in order for our marriage to bear fruit. And the fruit today is eight children, and now a grandchild on the way (yes, you heard me right!).

The Lord did not save us to only save us, but to make us His very friends.

I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. (John 15:15)

On this Solemnity of the Mother of God, ask her—she who formed the first personal relationship with Jesus—how to love Him as she did. And then invite Jesus into your heart in your own words… I suppose the way you would invite anyone out of the cold into your home. Yes, we can keep Jesus on the outskirts of our lives in a cold stable—in sterile religious exercise or intellectual vanity—or we can make room for Him in the Inn of our hearts. Therein lies the whole heart of the Gospel—and who we are, and are to become.

I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”. How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards! —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 3;

About charliej373

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

78 Responses to Mallett: Remembering Who We Are

  1. Shirley Bachmeier says:

    —–Original Message—–

    Brother Mark! If you have ever doubted that your ministry is needed, here is a yea and amen from someone who was helped beyond belief with this blog just this morning. When I read it yesterday, the only pull on my heart was you becoming a grandpa! I had been struggling for months big time ever since I felt the stinging exhortation from the Lord that I had left my first love [my Charismatic experience was powerful beyond belief and kept me in the power of the Spirit and intimate relationships with Jesus, Mary and the Father for years never questioning its validity.] This morning I woke very early planning to attend First Saturday Mass and reconciliation. I have been ill during Christmas so that bed looked mighty good. No! I jumped out [or maybe I was pushed out] and started in the right direction. My first prompting came; to re-read your message which almost started on fire in my hands. mind and heart. The grace of the words started to unlock doors that had all but closed me down; nary a presence of Mary and/or Jesus; dead silence as I begged and yearned for solace. Of course, once you have lived in Christ Jesus, you cannot live without Him as you well know. When Anthony Mullen began to exhort his people to spend 15+ minutes minimum with Jesus in intimate prayer, plus other responsibilities of being called by God, I stood up inside! The gal that always “ran to God” was now running away from God. i.e. Pope Francis [Evangelii Gaudium] “Lord, I have let myself be deceived, in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet I am once more to renew my covenant with you. I need you, save me once more, Lord.” There it was, Mark, in black and white, the reason for the exhortation and the answer to once again entering into an encounter with my Savior and Lord. In today’s reading from I John confirmed my new covenant of being made whole in His forgiveness and returning to His redeeming embrace. In my time of intimate prayer with Him, with my ears and heart cleaned up and ready to be encountered with whatever He had for me, I heard Him say, “I never let go of your hand.” Mark, I know if he would have I would have headed for the abbess of deception and self-love. Oh, one more thing…when I was out the door for Mass, my car would not start. [Something that only happens to the Malletts;0)] Now what do I do? For the first time I called a taxi and got to church before reconciliation was over and shared the good news with my priest who had heard my litany of sins for so long with no break throughs. This morning we rejoiced together.

    Man of God, I am grateful that it was your ministry that God used to unlock me and send me back into the fold. Shirley B

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

    Just beautiful! Isn’t the only unforgivable sin insisting, in pride, that your sin is greater than His mercy…and persisting in refusing Jesus’ Mercy, to forgive, love and take us back? Even that sin is forgivable but can’t be because we ourselves block God by our own freewill. It’s judging one’s own soul and putting oneself in God’s place. I pray no one ever does this.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. jaykay says:

    Snowy Cherry Blossoms: yes, you’ve said it there. St. Faustina’s diary often has Our Lord revealing His sorrow that His children won’t trust in His mercy. He said, on one occasion (paraphrasing): “If they won’t believe my mercy, let them believe in my wounds”. Ok, that’s only the sense, but it goes to what you’re saying, that our pride doesn’t let us trust. We may know who’s behind that, intellectually, but still on the actual practical level we just can’t drag ourselves away from that feeling that we’re the worstest, worstest EVER and… well, you know!

    But Mark M’s post that Charlie put up here is truly magnificent. I’ve been following his writings for a long time now and, dare I say, have seen him go from strength to strength (and he was good in the beginning, Lord, I don’t want that to seem in any way patronising!). But I honestly think his charism is really shining brighter in these recent times. I love this especially: “if our morning unfolds without any one of us giving thought to the salvation of others, whether through our witness, sacrifices, and prayers, then our priorities are off—our hearts are no longer beating in unison with the Savior’s heart.”

    I really pray for the grace to live up to that this year. Thank you, Mark. And Charlie. And, of course, all here. J.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Charles McNeiece says:

    Somewhat unrelated to this post, and at the suggestion of the TNRS team, I would like to offer my gardening experience to anyone interested in starting a small household garden this coming spring. I have tried a technique which is outlined at the website and found it to be quite successful under drought conditions. Please feel free to email me at

    Liked by 6 people

    • SteveBC says:

      Charles, thank you for publishing your information here. As it turns out, I got a copy of that DVD a couple years ago and liked it very much. We used some wood chips on our small vegetable garden this past summer, and I think it helps keep the ground more moist. We had a lot of veggies to eat!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Beckita says:

        Another thanks, Charles, for sharing this information!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t have time to search which thread was talking about what Charlie has reminded us often about reaching out to the Lord, but everytime I have read a new comment about it, it would bring to mind Michealangelo’s famous painting of the Finger of God kn( I think that is the title). Anyways, in the painting, I see the Lord’s hand reaching out, but it is as if He is waiting for us to STRETCH out our hand to meet His. I just always think, yeah, Michaelangelo got it right.
        (Sorry, don’t know how to just put up an image) Btw, Steve or anyone else out there, I always have problems typing- the letters go where they want sometimes and it takes me forever to type anything, I have to delete and retype. Drives me bannanas! I thought it was just my laptop. But it does the same thing on my tablet. Anybody got a suggestion????

        Liked by 3 people

        • SteveBC says:

          BOL55, I’m no art expert, but I did read once about that scene. If you look, Adam’s hand and fingers are droopy. There is little energy there. God’s touch is meant to give Adam life, give him energy, to awaken him to existence. That seems a reasonable idea. That Adam is reaching out even a little bit enables God to reach back and grant life.

          As for your typing problems, I’ve not heard that issue before. Since I’m not able to watch what happens, since I’m not there with you, I’m going to have to say I probably can’t help you. If I hear about this from anyone else, I will pursue it more directly. Meanwhile, I tend to think that the problem is at your end. I could be wrong, though.

          Liked by 2 people

          • That’s sweet of you Steve. I am probably ADD, so you would have to work a miracle. My husband says I have some bad effect on electronics, and I tend to agree with him. I don’t even wear a watch anymore because they would all stop working on me.

            As for Michaelangelo’s Finger of God, I thank you for your insight. It’s like Charlie says, when we reach out “even a little bit” (as you said) then God can act in a deeper way in our lives.

            Liked by 4 people

          • SteveBC says:

            Ha, BOL55, I drive my mother and her friend round the bend sometimes, because I have the opposite effect on machinery than you do. They’ll be having some sort of weird glitch, they’ll ask me to help them out, and I’ll sit down and find the problem solved, never to return. 😀

            A friend of mine has a friend who literally cannot get within 50 feet of anything electric or electronic. The only profession he could pursue was to be a cowboy, and if he got within 50 feet of an electric fence, he would short the fence out and blow the fuses.

            Just repeat after me, “My computer is my friend. My computer is my friend. My computer is my friend. … ” Maybe that will help! 🙂

            Liked by 4 people

          • Petra says:

            Oh, SteveBC, you made me laugh with your story of computers starting to behave as soon as you showed up. I had a very similar experience when I worked in a small office of about 40 people back in the 1980’s. About that time computers were pretty new to the workplace. For some reason, I really “got it,” although I had no schooling in computer science or the hardware. But since I had such an interest in them, and was always tinkering to figure them out, or the functionality of the programs, I became somewhat of our resident computer guru and helped out many a colleague before they threw the computer out the window. 🙂

            But then it got to the point where someone would call me to come see why their computer was acting up, and as soon as they’d try to show me what was happening, the thing wouldn’t do it anymore, and they’d protest and protest it really WAS acting funny, REALLY, I SWEAR, REALLY!!!! Yep, I’d say, the computers around here are scared of me. 😉 I’d say, well, you know, they talk to each other through the wires in the walls, and as soon as you call me to come help you, they warn each other though the wires and the misbehaving one straightens up.

            So one time one of my colleagues called me and she joked, just threaten to come down here to my office, and I’ll hold the phone up so the computer can hear you’re coming, and it should be fine. So, as a joke, I said, OK computer, watch out, I’m coming right down. The next thing I hear is her shriek, and she gets back on the phone and says, You are NOT going to believe this!! It’s working fine!!!

            This sort of thing never happened after I left that job, but it sure was funny while I was there.

            God bless. 🙂

            Liked by 6 people

          • jlynnbyrd says:

            I occasionally sprinkle my computers with holy water too! ():)

            Liked by 3 people

          • SteveBC says:

            Petra, that is hysterically funny! In all my years, I have not thought to do that over the phone. Maybe I should! 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy says:

            Steve, do you have the same effect as your comment below on WordPress? I am watching my “likes”, after I click to like a comment, disappear right before my eyes…and my cursor isn’t anywhere near it (the star). So I click the comment again and it stays put, then later I see it has gone away again. I noticed many comments I have liked over the past few days are no longer liked by me. Odd, I know …but I’m serious! Do you think it is just a glitch again?

            Liked by 1 person

          • SteveBC says:

            Snowy, I don’t know. Maybe Petra can help you. The only reason I can think of that your likes would be disappearing is if you did not tell WordPress you want to remain logged in when you logged in the last time. Then WP would not know who you are the next time you start up your computer and come here to the site.

            You might want to check the upper right corner of this blog page and see if it says you are “Following the Next Right Step” or if it invites you to Follow this site. From the FAQ on this comes this quote:

            “If you do have a WordPress account already, go here:
            and enter the username and password for your WordPress account, check the box saying, “Stay signed in,” and click the Login button.

            You have to check the “Stay signed in” box in order to have your Likes be available the next time you start up your computer after shutting it down. Otherwise, you have to sign in again each session.

            On the weird cursor action, if you are using a trackpad, make sure you use it correctly and don’t have anything other than the one finger touching or hovering over the pad.

            I hope that helps! 🙂


        • Petra says:

          breadoflife55: Every once in a while the cursor on my computer will hop to another line or place and if I don’t notice and keep typing the next thing I know everything is all mixed up and I have to retype it. If that’s what is happening to you, the only thing that seems to fix it for me is to run an anti-spyware or anti-virus scan (a complete one. I usually set it off to run overnight.) All I ever find are *tracking cookies* but when I delete them the problem seems to go away.

          Don’t know if this helps, but you can try it.

          God bless and Merry Christmas.

          Liked by 2 people

        • vkmir3 says:

          I have had a similar issue with my laptop and a friend observed it seemed to happen if I was resting part of my hand on the laptop, especially close to the touchpad. It was very frustrating to me until that observation was made. Just a thought.

          Liked by 3 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      I look forward to watching the film. Thank you Charles.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jaykay says:

    And, dear friends, Mark Mallett’s “The Now Word” has yet another powerful post entitled “Ascetic in the City”. 10 great points on how to “Come out of her” i.e. our modern Babylon. This is a theme he’s been putting forward for some time now but, wow, this latest is truly worth going to. Please do, already it’s made me recollect myself somewhat! Needed, let me say, and no false humility with that. You’ll love it. Again, bless all here. J.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. James Todd says:

    A very nice piece but I struggle with the disconnect between the problems you cite (slide show, document on the evangelization of the Jews) and Pope Francis. I too am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I believe these things and many others have been done with his knowledge and assent. Another example, is communion for the divorced and remarried. it is Pope Francis who first gave currency to the idea by giving Cardinal Kasper the floor at the Consistory in February 2014- and then continuing to allow this idea to be taken seriously through the following 1 1/2 years and two synods. Sure Pope Francis has said and done many good things, but there have also been many, many troublesome incidents that give me great pause and are a cause for much concern. I pray for Pope Francis every day but I remained concerned about his leadership of the Church.


    • charliej373 says:

      Understand, James. Whether it was wise to give those who would change doctrine (as if they could) such a prominent forum is a legitimate question. I know there are many causes for concern for reasonable people. I know that God often works with profound effectiveness by indirection. I think that is what is happening here. I wrote about it a few weeks ago.

      Also, James, I very much appreciate you coming here and expressing your genuine concerns without malice or rancor. I get so weary of those who think that they cannot express serious and genuine concerns without bombast and advocating abandonment of faith.

      Liked by 4 people

    • God is leading His Church, as He always has. Remain “concerned” if you like, but as for me and my household, we will remain trustful.

      When, in any point in her 2,000 year history, has inciting the Church’s Faithful to oppose and criticize the Vicar of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity proven to be God’s Will?

      Liked by 6 people

  7. Kim sevier says:

    Charlie– I too was confused by Mark’s discussion of the Vatican slide show and evangelization of Jews. It didn’t transition into the rest of the article. Was he pointing out that it was an error but we shouldn’t worry about it? That is the attitude I have taken regarding things the pope says/does that I don’t agree with. Like you say, he hasn’t taught contrary to the magesterium.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Snowy Cherry Blossoms says:

    “Relations with the Jews”, which concluded that the Church no longer “conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews”
    I’m probably confused here but wasn’t it Pope John Paul ll that called the Jewish people our elder brothers? I remember hearing ( and reading) that we should not try to proselytize them and I respected that due to what he had said and explained about them being our elder brothers. Was this wrong? Maybe, as with Pope Francis, there’s more to this that we will understand as things unfold? Or do I have this completely wrong?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. barb129 says:

    Off topic, but did you see that North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb this evening….made me catch my breath for a minute. Jesus, I trust in you….

    Liked by 2 people

  10. PiusXII says:

    It’s context. I sincerely doubt you people even understand why the Holy See even issues non-magisterial documents. They want to be able to propose ideas without imposing them. They want to engage on a broad array of subjects, including ones that have a fuzzy boundary with matters of faith and morals. They are under greater scrutiny than ever in history, with a correspondingly greater risk of misunderstanding.

    Listen up! I know people who are Jewish and they are tired of being bullied. Often when a bible or a Catechism from the Council of Trent was shoved in front of them it was never done out of love but as a way to eradicate them from the planet. Evangelization has to be a courtship, not a shotgun wedding.

    It’s like they are looked at as the enemy or something. I fail to see how. They are our brothers!


    • charliej373 says:

      Pius, you make some good points. They would have been even better without the bombast and insulting tone. I know most sites put a premium on the food fight. We don’t do that here, but treat each other with mutual respect even in the midst of serious disagreements. I figure new folks deserve a first shot. You sound like you could be a welcome addition here, but please read the Comment Policy link on the top bar, then read a few comment threads. We treat each other as family. If that suits you, we would be glad to have you here.

      Liked by 3 people

      • YongDuk says:

        Okay, a dinner and persimmon later with mostly clean fingers.

        The reference to Judaism above is from my quick read actually a pronouncement against proselytism in the most pejorative sense that that word caries.

        In other words, finding common ground, discovering the Truth, moving forward.

        The fruit of the recent pronouncement from orthodox rabbis reflects this.

        Benedict XVI changing the Good Friday prayers in the Extraordinary form reflects this.

        That is what I sense from what Mark Mallett is possibly missing, if I am reading him correctly. (Of course, I am jumping into this conversation from only a comment I read at 3.30 from Kim lower-case-sevier in the midst of a meeting and the disconnect on Mark’s introducing Judaism.)

        I think HSNE and Daniel O’Connor are saying this, so not sure if this warrants repeating here

        Liked by 2 people

        • charliej373 says:

          It does warrant repeating, YD, and I thank you for doing so.

          Liked by 1 person

        • prayingflower says:

          YongDuck: Thank you for taking the time. It is always much appreciated on this end.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Kim sevier says:

          YongDuk– when I initially signed up here I erroneously did not capitalize my last name and now, alas, I am stuck with this catywampus identifier because I am too tech ignorant to fix it. Actually, I did not hit the caps button for Kim, it automatically capitalized the first letter I typed. When I shop online I have developed the habit in my haste to not capitalize anything (name, address, city). It spilled over into this website when I signed up. TMI? Sorry 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • LukeMichael says:

      “We people” here love Christ and his Church! We hope you will join us and help us in our pursuit of God’s will for us. I think over time that you will find a great deal of love here. It’s a fantastic bunch! God bless!

      Liked by 7 people

    • deereverywhere says:

      Catechism from the Council of Trent ? I would think that would be something hard to obtain and even harder to read. It would have to be translated a few times. We have a new one now that says (and I paraphrase here) Jews are our older brothers and sisters in the faith.


    • janet333 says:

      “Evangelization has to be a courtship, not a shotgun wedding.”

      Absolutely! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. PiusXII says:

    How was I insulting? I’m only telling this from the perspective of the Jewish people that I know. Charlie, this is a new era. We aren’t under the protection of the Catholic state anymore. Our society is changing. It seems to me that in the small minds of traditionalists, that the elimination of Judaism will happen when the Church engages in a campaign to convert the Jews. Not happening.

    I must also remind you that the Church holds Muslims and Jews in high regard. Nostra Aestate, Mallet should know this, calls Jews and Muslims brethren because they are sons of Abraham like we are. For they believe in the God of Abraham as do we.

    Liked by 1 person

    • charliej373 says:

      Perhaps you are just naturally bombastic and insulting. “I sincerely doubt ‘you people’ are even aware…” Starting out by telling people they are far too ignorant and benighted to have reached the level of wisdom and understanding you have is not a way to persuade them…and it is insultingly ugly. Then “Listen up!” Ah yes, all us benighted people should prepare to benefit from your supreme wisdom and abandon our stupid, ignorant errors. Again, very insulting, ugly and presumptious.

      I had no problem with the substance of your comments. But here, it is not enough to get it right…you need to behave with a little grace and humility, too. Trust me, it will come in handy when you say something ill-advised and you need a little slack. So again, I appreciate the substance of what you said, but unless you can say it with respect for all here, you aren’t really a fit. We talk to each other like family.

      Liked by 2 people

      • YongDuk says:

        So, I was dazed and confused last night, unable to rest, and an email came entitled “Debates”… It called me to humility and I feel bad for being provocative–and even more so a catalyst to bring out the truth in a situation that needs discernment …

        I love how God sometimes shoots with buckshot. (Not to imply that God is at all involved in gun legislation.)

        Someone later quoted Sirach. One of my favourite passages too, after the one on the BVM and on friendship.

        Several shots from several different places to fit together to form a corrective tapestry–perfectly fitted for each of our egos as a reminder.

        It is interesting how we humans hold such and such a perspective dear and how often we fence in our beliefs, build up our walls of belief without truly ponder Who the Holy Spirit is and how He blows where He will.

        It is interesting then how we react in our broken egos…

        I have a problem, as I have mentioned before, with arrogance and pride as my kryptonite within Church affairs. I have worked with the smallest and the illiterate-est and for all my IQ and training which is dross I am nothing compared to them, even if I have bandaged their leprous wounds or helped them find shelter for the night. I am still nothing. I wish at times I could be nothing, sitting on an objectively ugly shanty-town hill admist the Poorest of the Poor and remain simple and smile eating poor bread soaked in watered down spice broths, feet covered in mud, and hopefully just mud (but it’s not just mud)…

        In my work as an Exorcist, I have met the three demons who follow Satan in aping the Trinity.

        A few pages ago (or hours), a young man, well-intended, but quick to judge it seems on how the Spirit works in our day and age, and perhaps confronted rudely by this curmudgeon writing this, called those leaders of the Church un-wise, tackling as he did from his position and the “traditionalist” position, as opposed to asking the Holy Spirit humbly, perhaps like Job: Why did you allow this?

        “Why did you allow the Three Archangels’ Feasts to be combined?” — the humble question put forth and asked to be considered.

        Self-Justification. We justify our behaviours. We comend ourselves to be the righteous ones who can correct and give truths. We go to Confession and we accuse ourselves only to recuse ourselves as being correct. Yet, Christ cried out: Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do! He, Who was the Ultimate in Righteousness calls us to forgive, even when we are right, just to surrender our being right for the sake of asking God to forgive and to let Him justify us. How hard that is to learn. Yet, how freeing as we feed each other…

        Self-Salvation. (I shall not right long on this one.) We define our reality. We define God as our idol. We define and we make God our tool. Charlie’s story about the young homeless lady, if I remember or edit it correctly, and his asking her for prayers and her bursting into tears is the opposite of what I refer, plus the addition of the Protestant Work Ethic and meritocracy and all the power plays for ourselves we make to gain salvation our own way as we define it and as we define God.

        Self-Protection. This I believe is the strongest: Road-rage; going-postal; Columbine, etc. Our space, our way, our media interactions with each other without considering the effect on others. But so many more nuances. The Vulnerability of Jesus, as Henri Nouwen once spoke, versus our self-protection so that we would not be vulnerable. To that Mother Teresa should be a contemplation.

        This is the Wisdom of the Church, my friends. I am weak in the face of kryptonite with the agrumentitiveness and all.

        I have to answer Robert Cunningham still on impassibility and immutabilty, but might as well start with the Three Archangels and how the Church is the Seat of Wisdom mirroring our Lady and She is not an idiot, despite Her children and how we judge Her children–including this unworthy and sinful Servant who merely wanted to be a Priest, but God elevated to a Bishop against his enemies when he echoed Michael, Gabriel and Raphael one Day.

        From those three demons arise every heresy throughout the ages, if you look with the eyes of Wisdom.

        And in our age: they shall be and are combined.


        Liked by 6 people

        • LukeMichael says:

          I still can’t hit the like button, but I deeply appreciate this meditation YD!

          Liked by 3 people

        • YD, thanks for referencing those passages. Sirach is one of the books I can fly through thinking, “Yes! Exactly!” That’s usually followed by, “Oh. Wait, that’s challenging stuff. Boy, do I have a long way to go.” How often I feel like I haven’t even started when I have to check myself all day, every day.

          Saturday I was a couple of clicks downriver whiling away the time in a pleasant desert meadow (yea, “desert meadow” doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what it was). The whole point of that trek was to pray for the TNRS family, especially with the intention that everyone finds peace in their particular circumstances.

          I suppose I was still feeling a bit of euphoria from our holiday squirrel party, so I let myself get distracted to the point of some truly dangerous stuff creeping in –– right when the going started getting tough. I won’t even bother to go into how lousy I am at praying. Talk about ego; somewhere along the line I noticed that there wasn’t so much as a bird or cricket to keep me company.

          I slogged on anyway –– distracted, brooding, pointless, ridiculous thoughts and all –– because I was bound for an area where eagles nest on Yavapai land. I was hoping to see the bald eagles and settle in there for a bit, but I wouldn’t see anything more than a couple of Mallards making a break for it when I got too close to their spot on the river.

          That’s kind of how it went that day, until I finally came to a place on the way back (I snapped this picture of it here):

          It was enough just to sit their in silence for a couple of hours, but I could still imagine those bald eagles perched high up somewhere, old beaver over in the dry cattails, my favorite gray coot padding around the mud on the edge of the river just out of sight, birds twittering in the distant trees, squirrels and deer and desert critters of all varieties doing what they do in the thick cover all about.

          I’m often ashamed of my particular weaknesses and failures, but what’s a fella to do? Heck, I’m just grateful that folks aren’t too bothered by having me along on the hike. From Bishops, Priests, Nuns and other Religious, to lay folks of all kinds, to squirrels, to Charlie (possible/probable mystic), I’m truly happy for the extended Family.

          I’m especially thankful that Our Lord –– The One who put up that spectacular panorama in the picture –– is going to have the last word on everything. That can make me tremble, but it can just as easily elicit a smile in spite of myself.

          Jesus, I trust in You.

          Prayers for all, and I appreciate your prayers.


          Liked by 5 people

          • YongDuk says:

            Michael Patrick, how I long for the day that you, Doug and I can “escape fixedly staring at the Beatific Vision” and go on our field trip… with our chaperone friends here (as long as they are quiet-ish).

            Liked by 4 people

          • Beckita says:

            Thank you for the Winter Light, MP, in your words, in your prayers for us and in the image. Praying for you and your family.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Snowy says:

          YougDuk, what is the most powerful prayer that we can pray daily for you, to help thwart Satan and these other three demons? I love you for what you are doing for us, for souls and I love your faithfulness to our Pope and the Church.

          Liked by 4 people

    • charliej373 says:

      The softer answer is that we presume each other’s good will here whether we agree or not. We vigorously defend our beliefs while taking some pains not to make anyone feel “less than.” That is very important, for it makes this a safe place where people can speak candidly about what puzzles them or particular beliefs without fear of being made to feel stupid. I absolutely maintain that tone, for it is how we grow together. Most everyone here respects my insights – and that is great. What is even greater is that most will freely tell me where they think I am wrong without fear that I will get all huffy – or at least that I will stay huffy for very long. Because of that, readers here have helped me refine my thought as I have helped them refine their. We grow together.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Beckita says:

        Amen. Alleluia!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Bob says:

        I do like the content of what Pius said here about Jews: about it being a courtship and not a shotgun wedding. Remember to soften your ideas with the same respect we are being invited to share with Jewish folks Pius. Having participated in several events from the “Association of Hebrew Catholics:”
        and this group is very loving to both Jews and to us Gentile Christians. i do believe we should share our faith with Jewish folks when we sense the time is right and invite not force or pressure. AHC takes the approach, i think, of trusting that God will create the hunger for truth among Jews and they share who Christ and the church is when people ask with gentle sharing otherwise..

        Liked by 3 people

      • LukeMichael says:

        Huffy or hinky, here Charlie, it’s all good!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Petra says:

      From St. Paul to the Corinthians:
      “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:21-25)

      From St. Paul to the Philippians:
      “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:8-11)

      You said, “It seems to me that in the small minds of traditionalists, that the elimination of Judaism will happen when the Church engages in a campaign to convert the Jews. Not happening.”

      When every tongue, including a Jewish tongue, a Muslim tongue, and even a Catholic tongue, is ready to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and bend the knee Him as their King, then will be the “elimination” of Judaism, not for the destruction of them, but for their fulfillment and their salvation. If it’s not happening now, or near to happening, that is one thing. But to pretend Jesus did not come to save all and that would necessitate the conversion of the Jews, Muslims and anyone else who teaches a different set of “facts” is another matter, and if a people do not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, they cannot be saved.

      St. Paul, again, to the Romans: “For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law [Judaism] shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.
      How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:5-16)

      How can anyone change what was taught from old, from the first apostles? I did not decide the criteria for salvation. Jesus did that. And the first apostles preached it. Reject or accept it as you will, but you cannot change it, even if upon hearing it the listener becomes indignant. It is what it is.

      God bless.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Bob says:

        In sharing Christ with Jews we do need to consider their historical experience and as my video from Roy Shoeman above shows past attitudes were not the loving ones, even in our church which God wishes us to have. We have, thank God learned much in the last century from JP2 and others about being loving to Jews as well as others. That said, we should, I believe, understand the historical resistance to Christianity among much of Judaism and pray for the grace and for the wisdom to share who Christ is in a way which does not create more resistance but instead more openness. An example, a priest once suggested to me in confession that my desire to evangelize my children, who were being resistant, was likely making things worse and that I should say much less and pray much more for them. Since then our relations have improved and I pray God when the time is right they will be more opened.

        Liked by 6 people

  12. Mary Deltgen says:

    I really enjoyed reading it and totally agree that we should work toward a closer relationship with Our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is my most beloved and it would make me very happy to help others to the same.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Bernice says:

    This post was very rewarding. Everything you said in it is true. When sex came out of the closet back in the sixties the world did not know how to handle it, and today we really don’t know what love is. We know sex, all it’s cravings and temptations, but we don’t know real love. We will find love though—–. I can still feel the uplifted feeling I felt the first time I really read the “Book of Songs” in in lite of what you explained. I felt married to Jesus and felt his love and understanding of me.

    Liked by 3 people

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