By Charlie Johnston
Most men will forgive you for being wrong. Some will never forgive you for being right
It may surprise some that most of my life I have rarely had much confidence that I was right on the matter of my predictions.
First off, the older I got, the more conscious I became of how peculiar this all is…and how unlikely it was that the world and its value systems could be completely upended in the short period of my lifetime. Second, this stuff was scary. I desperately wanted to be proved wrong so I would not have to deal with it. Third, for about two decades it pleased the Lord to give me a little information on immediate things, let me work out what it meant, then show me what He actually meant – and I was always wrong. Sometimes in little ways, sometimes in big ways, but I never got it exactly right. I was almost always the smartest kid in my earthly classes. It was a profoundly humbling experience to be constantly shown how slow-witted I actually was. It was humbling to have my angel congratulate me with real enthusiasm for the equivalent of getting three out of 20 on my test right rather than my usual one or two.
It was a hard method of training, but it accomplished some important things. First, it showed me that even with angelic help and even with high native intelligence and much study, I was frequently wrong. It burned the vanity out of me that I had deciphered the mind of God right well. Eventually it taught me that merely trying to be right was an errant goal in the first place. Oh, I was responsible to do everything I could to get it right, but the important thing was to be true, true to the promise I had made to God from the time I was about seven – to undergo instruction and to go forth to His people IF these things I were shown came to pass; to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful and assure them He intended their reclamation, not their destruction. IF these things came to pass.
Being true meant that I would often fail, but that God never would. Someone who seeks to be right usually defends his errant theories even after he knows they are wrong in important ways. It is a vanity. Being true means acknowledging your errors as soon as you know them – to God and to men – and thus taking a step closer to what is right. Being true means acknowledging you may be wrong on some of your most cherished totems, even as you advocate for them with vigor. Being true means abandoning those totems as soon as you know they are errant, but only for that reason – NEVER just to go with the flow. Being true means respecting the honorable conscience of others even on those things you are nearly certain of rather than trying to grind them into dust, trusting that so long as their heart is honorable, God will correct them in His time – or He will correct you. Being true means treating argumentation as a means of drawing closer to truth, not a contest for dominance.
By the time I got to my Priest directors a few decades ago, I had come to think my heavenly visitors were probably true, not just a peculiar way a powerful intuition manifested itself in me. I was not proud; I was terrified. If my visitations were true, we had a terrible crisis coming, a crisis that would rock the foundations of the world…and I would be caught in the center of it. I desperately wanted it not to be true. When I went to my first spiritual director, I was not hoping he would confirm me, but that he would give me a way out. If I could be shown to be wrong in some fundamental way, I thought all would go away. That Priest was more uncomfortable with these things than I am, but he quickly figured out I was trying to get out of it, not convince him of it. After one particularly intense visit where I told him some wild things, he grinned broadly and said, “Sorry Charlie, nothing contrary to faith and morals there.” (I didn’t begrudge him a little glee at my discomfort; Lord knows I caused him enough discomfort.) If I am going to go into full confession here, even some of my disorders had less to do with reveling in the sin than they did a panicked effort to get myself disqualified.
For a time I played a sort of “chicken” with God. I would boldly proclaim to my superiors what seemed to me the most outrageous stuff in the hopes that this would be the one that got me out of this. At other times, I would be directed to say something particular to someone that I really did not want to. Sometimes I would procrastinate. But that was not good. It would sit like a rock in my stomach, getting heavier and heavier until I was done with it. I would usually console myself that, well, maybe this would be the one that would prove me a fool and set me free…and then get it out.
I argued sometimes with God that there were so many people who were purer, smarter, braver than I am that surely I misunderstood. I argued that if He would just show everyone what He was showing me there would be no need for a Storm. I used every argument I could to get out of having to speak – and then act – on these things. Our Lord was often amused at my antics, but never moved. Finally, one Sunday at Our Lady of Snows Shrine in Belleville, Illinois, Our Lord visited me and told me why me. It was just four words: “Because you were willing.” I was willing to look the fool in order to be true. I was willing to forego any real career to be ever ready to answer the call should it come. I was willing to forego many comforts and security that were perfectly licit, but would compromise my promise. And I was willing when I largely did not believe it, where many would avoid the consequences even if they were absolutely certain of it. I always figured that, just in case it were true, people would really need someone who had undergone a lifetime of instruction when the crisis was upon us. It is why I often end my presentations by telling people that God is not interested in whether they are worthy. He already knows, with each of us, that we are not. He is interested in whether we are willing. If we truly are, He will make of us a useful tool in His hand. I finally concluded the Storm would come, whether I kept my promise or not. Better to weather it keeping the promise as best I could.
What I have long focused on is not proving I am right, but simply being true to the promise I made to God, however fearsome it may sometimes be. I cannot know that I am right on all things: in fact I know I will turn out to be wrong on some. (This does not include the collapse of the political system or the Rescue – these are things I have been told plainly and directly). What I can do is be true…try my best to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful while telling all, “Be not afraid: God calls all men to salvation.” So long as I am true, acknowledging and abandoning error as soon as I discover it, treating all with the fullness of the dignity of God’s children even as I exhort them and never making it into a mere contest of will, God will draw fruit even from my misfires and errors. It is a great comfort. I have NO confidence that I will regularly get it right, but I have ABSOLUTE confidence that if I stay true and focused, God will make a straight way even through my crookedness. To know a little is not to exercise dominion over others, but to be held to a stricter accounting before God. Any who truly understand that will seek to banish all hint of vain pride.
“Truly I say to you, tax collectors and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” – Matthew 21:31
We have stepped out onto the precipice of social and cultural collapse. As the spectre of Venezuelan-style collapse hovers over all the world, I find myself worrying less about those who have lost the faith or despaired of it than I do those who think they have mastered the faith.
None of us can divine the mind of God. But many of the seemingly most pious have convinced themselves that they have. Sometimes people try to draw me into an argument over the interpretation of prophecies such as the three days of darkness, the illumination of conscience or the warning. They have figured it out exactly and they can’t accept me as authentic unless I agree with their interpretation. They must prove to me that they are right. What I usually have a hard time getting across is that I don’t care. Frankly, if the conventional interpretations proved to be correct, it would make my job MUCH easier. So if conventional interpretations prove right, I will be grateful, not sulky. I am not offended at almost any interpretation of various prophecies so long as it is not contrary to faith and morals – and so long as the interpretation is not treated as the only possible way. Shoot, I even think there is merit to those who think the consecration of Russia as spoken of at Fatima is ongoing, not fully accomplished – but well on its way. So long as those who think that do not make of a sainted Pope, a holy Pope Emeritus, and one of the visionaries into liars and conspirators to deceive the faithful, I am okay with them. The Church, even when caked with layers of mud, is God’s safe haven for us in these times and I do not abide attacks upon her (not to be confused with the fraternal criticism of loyal sons and daughters). But for many, they have come to value their private interpretations – or their favorite interpreter – with such covetous self-regard that they would not abandon them if God, Himself, came to correct them.
That actually happened once. When Jesus came, the dregs of society, those who had been cast off and rejected by the pious, rejoiced and found their faith anew. But those who were the most learned, who knew the Scriptures and the Prophets backwards and forwards, were not impressed. They not only did not believe He was the Messiah, they could PROVE it with Scripture and theology. The Pharisees, Sadducees and, above all, the Sanhedrin had spent a lifetime divining the mind of God. They had looked into the mirror on the wall and determined to their own satisfaction that they were, indeed, the most pious of them all. They were not about to let this unlettered young upstart from Nazareth suggest they had anything to learn. So when God, Himself, came to help and correct us, the most despairing and disreputable took new heart. The most pious of them all conspired to crucify Him. It should strike terror in the heart of all who think they have divined the mind of God.
When someone lashes out at me because I don’t share their favorite conspiracy theory or their favorite interpretation of some prophecy, I am not interested in proving I am right and they are wrong. I don’t care. I only want them to stay open and not get so vested in their own certainty that they have divined the mind of God that they do not lose faith or seek to crucify Him anew if it turns out they are wrong. I do not even want them to concede that I am right: they may be right on a particular interpretation and I, wrong. They should advocate for their position with vigor, but without covetousness.
Before this Storm is over, each and every one of us is going to find that we have been wrong about something we cherish. I don’t worry about it: I spent several decades being shown how little our understanding is. But if you cast your lot with the Sanhedrin and sputter with rage at the very idea that you have not accurately divined the mind of God, you will be lost. Whether you are right or wrong about any particular matter (always obeying the Church on defined matters of faith and morals), you can always be true, humbly acknowledging God, taking the next right step, and being a sign of hope. That is what matters.
I don’t like being called a mystic, a prophet, or a visionary. I am just a guy with one of the weirdest jobs in history, stumbling forward and trying to be true. Oh, that we could abandon all white-collar pretensions and just do the blue-collar work right in front of us!
We are all about to enter into an hour of visitation. If you find you have been mistaken about something, don’t double down on the error to assuage your vanity. Just humbly look to the Lord and be true.