By Charlie Johnston
“Hear the word of the LORD, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah! What care I for the number of your sacrifices? says the LORD. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; In the blood of calves, lambs and goats I find no pleasure. When you come in to visit me, who asks these things of you? Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me. New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear. Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load. When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.”
I incorporate today’s readings into this article, for they fit like a glove. Yesterday, some people feared that it was something bad that had made my original Priest, Fr. Towering Intellect, wince when I told him. It was not; it was good but highly improbable.
I have mentioned before that I spent almost 20 years (well, surely 15) largely misinterpreting many small things I was told. It was frustrating, but it helped show me how much we overlay what we are told with our own expectations – and so don’t fully hear or contemplate what was said. Often, in a very narrow way, we think if something is true, it can ONLY happen in a way we imagine. However good your imagination, God has dozens of ways you will never think of to accomplish a thing. Once we decide, internally, how it must happen, then we often miss key things that really are requisite to it all…because they did not fit in with our original errant imagination.
Today, I talk about a few things that will happen in the course of all this that, I think, most have missed, but will see must be true.
The first is that, before the Rescue, even before we in the West first confront Islam or China, there must be a Restoration of the civil order in the midst of the Storm. I have told you true of the collapse of the civil order, which we are watching unfold with frightening speed all around us. I have told you that it will get worse – and it will. I have also told you that God will reveal Himself to all who call on Him in the midst of the Storm. I have told you that many will find renewed joy and hope, some whose love had gone cold or even flickered out entirely, even in the midst of the Storm. But I have told you that “WE” must confront Islam and then China before Rescue comes. If “WE” are to do any such thing, there must be a working civil order that rises from the one that is collapsing around us.
In 2007 I was ordered by Our Lord to begin contemplating how to rebuild a civil order for emergency circumstances that was both just and decisive, that could meet the challenge. I was ordered to figure out how to act to bring a people who had been shattered back to their feet, to imbue them with the confidence and hope they need to confront the challenges we must face from Islam and China. It was astonishing and scary to me, but I took it on as an intellectual exercise – and I am right glad I did. The collapse of Western Civilization that we see all around us is not the final word. It is the first step in the Resurrection of a just order…and that order cannot just be decisive during the emergency period; it must lead seamlessly into a just order after Rescue, when we are given a chance again to get it right in how we treat each other and govern ourselves.
To the upright I will show the saving power of God. – Psalm 50
I have told you that, for a short period, we will be governed by a benign dictator, raised up
by God to help us through this crisis – to endure until Rescue. For those who are historically well informed, that required no prophecy at all. Any time the rule of law has collapsed in any region of the world, degenerating into chaos, a dictator arises for at least a time. Usually, however he starts, he ends up almost as bad as the evil, ignorant leaders who called forth the collapse in the first place. But on rare occasions, he has been fundamentally benign, intent on restoring order and a shared commitment to the principles of justice that make order possible. We will see one of the rarest occasions in human history. You see, order is not made possible by a Constitution: it is made possible by a shared commitment to certain principles of justice and fairness. A good Constitution enshrines those principles, but it cannot enforce them except among “a moral and religious people,” as John Adams said.
When a venal, corrupt elite class begins deforming and mutilating those stated principles for personal advantage, they secure their own downfall in the process. Re-establishing it is a trickier business than it first looks. You cannot just forgive those who mutilated it with no consequences; that just shows there IS no consequence for a failed effort to subvert order – and so encourages the malign ambitious to simply do a better job of subversion in their next effort. Yet when the disorder affects a whole culture, you must have a way of re-integrating the malefactors back into society AFTER they have suffered serious consequences for their assaults. Otherwise, you just enter into an orgy of recriminations and vengeance that leads to a new collapse of order and justice – like the French Revolution. I am very fond of Abraham Lincoln’s method, expressed after he had completely trounced the Confederacy, obtaining their unconditional surrender – and just shortly before he was killed. Asked how to handle rebel leaders he said, “Let ‘em up easy.”
It is likely, but not necessary, that I will play a conciliar role in the re-establishment of this just order in the emergency circumstances going forward. Remember, though, that whatever you can think of, God has dozens of ways you cannot think of. Over the next week or so, I will publish a three-part piece on basic principles during the Restoration to sustain us in crisis and lead us back to a working Judeo-Christian order after the Rescue. It is less than the tip of the iceberg, but I pray it is sufficient to animate and guide whoever is called to lead us through this peril.
When Pope Francis declared the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, I was ecstatic. My greatest fear had been that once the Storm entered its fullness, hearts that had been hardened would only get more deeply hardened and so, many would be lost. In your own life, you have probably seen how that works. When people get into crisis mode, they often enter into an obsessive mania to press their own answer – and can’t surface to quietly think things through to a just and rational end. It is like a shark feeding frenzy: they just keep doubling down on their mania until the fever passes. The Year of Mercy makes it possible for even the most disordered to lift their heads up, even in the midst of the frenzy. The Year of Mercy is the greatest of graces in this unprecedented period of rising chaos and confusion. But woe to those whose hearts remain hardened when the Year of Mercy comes to a close!
That is why I pray that the fullness of collapse and the beginning of the Restoration be accomplished before the Year of Mercy comes to a close, that as many as possible might be recalled to life before we must face the challenges of Islam and China. But I know that God knows far better than I how it must be – and that He wants all His kids back, so will order things in the way that reclaims the most souls to Him.
When you are confused, hold fast to the Barque of Peter. When you are in despair, acknowledge God. When you don’t understand, take the next right step. When you think you can’t go on another minute, be a sign of hope to those around you. Call on the name of the Lord. Take refuge under Mary’s mantle. Many terrible and frightening things are happening. Know that it is not for our destruction, but for our reclamation. As the chaos deepens, lift up your head and know that your deliverance is at hand.
“Jesus said to his Apostles: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple– amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”