A Family Affair: TNRP Episode 7

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the podcasting break! The only damage that Irma brought through was surging my old computer. I have it back up and running now! This week Dad and I are joined by Christy. My sister and Pops’ daughter. There is hope!

Enjoy the show,

Chaz

Posted in Podcast | 94 Comments

The People of the Kingdom and of Heaven…

 

 

One of our own has made her Final Journey Home. Let us pray for the repose of the soul of Nancy, who was known as nanannda2 or NancyD on site. Nancy passed away last evening, on the Feast of St. Padre Pio. Let us also pray for Nancy’s family and friends who continue their mourning process. May all who know and love Nancy be strengthened and comforted. May Nancy become an intercessor for us at TNRS as we continue striving to build God’s Kingdom on earth in these days of the Storm.

Special condolences to Kris who is also a member of this community and a dear friend of Nancy. Together, they hosted Charlie in Aberdeen, SD. Nancy and Kris have shared a longtime friendship, watching each other’s families grow while working and praying together for over thirty years.

 

 

Posted in Announcement, Prayer | 297 Comments

We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight

 

Please remember the announcement posted today: Charlie will be in Lake Charles, Louisiana Sunday for an informal visit. Lake CharlesThere will be a home gathering at 5009 E. St. Charles Ave, Lake Charles at 2 p.m. on Sunday that is open to any who would like to attend. For information or to reserve a spot, contact Mary at lovedbyhim1026@gmail.com.

 

 

[We press on in the Storm amidst all manner of personal trials. In his piece published on September 18th, Msgr. Charles Pope hits it out of the ballpark as he speaks to us and our times. (As ever, he allows this reprint of his work without endorsing the prophetic elements here.) I find Msgr.’s words both heartening and enlightening. I hope you do too. May we ever walk by faith even when we cannot see. BH] 

A Meditation on the Delay and Silence of God

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but God doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry about most things. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn.

We live in a loud, fast-paced world, one of constantly “breaking news,” in which crisis and urgency are the predominant mode. Instant communication and quick responses are expected, even demanded.

At the national level, there is hardly any reporting at all by the media before there is a rush to analyze, comment, and demand a reaction and plan of action from public officials.

At the personal level, someone will often express irritation at not hearing back from me within the day, or even within minutes. “I sent you a text! Did you get it?” If I do not answer a text quickly enough I may get another one that simply says “Father …?” An email may begin with a subject like this: “** Second Attempt **” if the previous email went unanswered for even a day.

In many companies, voice mail has been discontinued because it’s “too slow.” Many younger people seldom answer their phones let alone initiate phone calls. Communication is more commonly accomplished through instant messages, texts, and tweets. This results in a clipped quality to conversations that limits thoughtful discussion.

Yes, we are in a big hurry. But back to my question: Have you noticed that God doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry? God could easily solve everything instantly with a mere snap of His fingers; one word and it would be fixed. He does not do this, however, and He has His reasons. Perhaps it is important for us to live some of our questions in order to appreciate their depths. Perhaps the problems we want solved are themselves part of a deeper solution that God is working to make us humbler, wiser, and /or stronger.

Beyond puzzling, God’s slow pace can also be dismaying. Why does God allow the wicked to inflict so much damage for so long? Why does He allow error and heresy to go unchecked? Why does He permit sinners to remain unpunished and uncorrected?

The Church too is often rather slow to respond or act. We will go on for decades, even centuries, pondering and reflecting while the world rushes forward at light speed into error, darkness, and confusion. We often want the Church to have quick answers and effective responses to all of this; we want the Church to turn on a dime but that’s like trying to turn an aircraft carrier around.

Though at times imponderable, God’s delay is sinless. The Church’s delay, however, may be admixed with sin, sloth, and resistance. This does not mean that all the delay of the Church is sinful. Especially in today’s world of quick, often rash reaction, there is still the need for careful, thoughtful, prayerful deliberation. Our faith doesn’t reduce easily to sound bites. The Gospel does not fit on a bumper sticker. The Church should not be reduced to a fire department, but she should keep her identity as a careful medical practice. The urgent should not eclipse the important.

Yes, all of this has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I am impatient by nature; I tap my foot incessantly in meetings, thinking, let’s get to work already! I am a bit like the impatient field hand in the Gospel (Mat 13:24), who wanted to tear out the weeds from amongst the wheat. The Lord cautioned against doing so because it might harm the wheat. He said that they should be allowed to grow together until the harvest; the day of judgement will come, but not yet.

Indeed, rash actions can cause harm, even if unintentionally. Quick or draconian measures to eliminate error and sin may harm the saints and ration the Spirit. Conflicts have their place. They can call the question and sharpen the distinction between the good and the wicked; darkness can allow the light to shine even more gloriously.

But Father, but Father! What about the many souls who are lost and confused in the silence while the Church delays, reflecting and pondering? I know, I know; I have no simple answer, except to point back to God. While the Church’s delay may be prudent or imprudent, in these hurried times of instant communication and demanded answers, God’s sinless delay and lengthy silences still shine before us and challenge our often-rash instincts.

God takes His time. The Jewish people were 400 years in slavery and 40 years in the desert. From then it was 1800 years to the Christ, who spent thirty of His thirty-three years in seclusion and silence.

Yes, for reasons of His own, God is not in a big hurry. For my part, I must learn this hard lesson and be careful to enter into the silence of God through prayer. Having prayed in that silence I must emerge to patiently, teaching and preaching the faith that God has revealed. I can do no more, but I can do no less.

Cardinal Robert Sarah’s words are a fitting conclusion to this hard lesson for us modern compulsives:

Silence is of capital importance because it enables the Church to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, imitating his thirty silent years of Nazareth….and his intimate dialogue with the Father in the solitude and silence of the desert….

Light makes no noise. If we want to approach this luminous source, we must assume an attitude of contemplation and silence….The true nature of the Church is not found in what she does but in what she testifies. Christ asked us to be light. He ordered us not to conquer the world, but to show men the way, the truth and the life.

I know well that God’s silence constantly runs into man’s impatience…[but] nowadays man fosters a kind of compulsive relationship with time. One day we will understand everything. Until then it is necessary to seek without making noise.  

Who can understand God?…As with all questions connected with God, there is a stage when the search can go no farther. The only thing to do is to raise our eyes, to stretch out our hands toward God, and to pray in silence while awaiting the dawn…. [Robert Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence, pp. 219-221]

Posted in Announcement, Encouragement, Guest Columns, The Storm, Trust | 110 Comments

Lake Charles, Louisiana Visit

Charlie will be in Lake Charles, Louisiana Sunday for an informal visit. Lake CharlesThere will be a home gathering at 5009 E. St. Charles Ave, Lake Charles at 2 p.m. on Sunday that is open to any who would like to attend. For information or to reserve a spot, contact Mary at lovedbyhim1026@gmail.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

False Gods

Stonehenge_Closeup

By Charlie Johnston

“There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” – David Foster Wallace

 

Some people on the right are completely dissatisfied with Congress. Others are completely dissatisfied with Donald Trump. Others are dissatisfied with various branches of the federal government. People on the left are dissatisfied with everything. Fair enough. What do you think God might be trying to tell us with this historically low approval of everything relating to government?

Founding Father and second U.S. President John Adams warned us bluntly when, after the adoption of the Constitution, he said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” While red-state Americans are still largely religious (if not as moral as once we were), blue-state Americans are not irreligious: they have simply replaced God by making government their god. As with ours, their god is a jealous one: it will have no other god before it. So we do not have a battle between faithful people and dissolute slackers. Rather, we have an existential battle between adherents of two altogether incompatible Gods; the true God and a false god. For most of our history, our disputes were policy disagreements between moral and religious people. Sometimes, the disputes involved different interpretations of what God meant by what He said. As Abraham Lincoln said, in his Second Inaugural Address, about the North and South, “Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.” But whatever disputes there were about the nature of God or interpretations of His commands, almost all agreed that His commands were binding – and that He is author both of man and of the rights of man. All expected to give account to a just God for their actions in this life.

Because the Christian God emphasizes free will, rather than forced conversion, the nation was the most tolerant of religious minorities of any in history. Whatever problems there were in living this tolerance because of the cussedness of man (and there were many), it was a foundational principle of the new nation. It worked, so long as what religious – and irreligious – minorities wanted was tolerance. It was unprepared for the rise of a large, irreligious and immoral minority which was implacably hostile to religion, itself, declaring it the enemy.

In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s master work, “The Brothers Karamazov,” Ivan Karamazov’s central insight is often paraphrased as, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” Life is just a vicious grapple for power, wealth and influence – and all means, no matter how underhanded or dishonorable, are legitimate. Honor, itself, is a meaningless concept. Society degenerates into a primitive tribalism engaged in a constant struggle for power. Unless one faction becomes powerful enough to impose its will on all the others, it is just an unending battle between roving bands of rival warlords. The Marxist Dialectic demonstrates how such a philosophy destroys the very basis of language, itself, by how it redefines truth and lies. In the Marxist Dialectic, truth is whatever advances the cause of Marxism and a lie is anything that damages the cause: objective fact has no bearing whatsoever in the matter – except to confuse the useful idiots. All is the will to power. Religion and morality are the only constraints dangerous to this worldview.

That is why our politics is so impotent now. It was designed to arbitrate claims between different groups who subscribed to the same foundational principles – and to enforce the rights of those minorities who simply sought tolerance (real tolerance – not the redefined version that the anti-God left uses to try to impose its will on all). It was never designed to mediate a death struggle between people of faith and those trying to destroy faith. It is wholly incapable of this, for those of faith are constrained by concepts of honor, fair play and the traditional meanings of words like ‘truth’ and ‘tolerance.’ Their opponents are free to abuse power in any way that is effective in accomplishing their goals. The main difference between the modern iteration of tribalism and its ancient forebears is the modern tribalists’ pretension to enlightenment in justifying their grubby cause.

This battle has resulted in the erection of many false gods. There are the gods of sex, money, power and notoriety. But the granddaddy of them all is government. The anti-God left does not see government as a means of mediating competing claims from various groups of free, sovereign people, but as the means to impose its imperial will upon all. Gain control and it is self-will triumphant.  It has resulted in the perversion and near destruction of many ancient philosophical concepts. The one that bothers me the most is the new, hideously impoverished definition of “love,” which the left defines as “preferred form of genital stimulation.” Gone is the understanding of love as so willing the good of others that you will sacrifice your own wants and even needs to accomplish it, replaced by a banal determination to get whatever pleasure you want, whenever you want it. Whenever some chump leftist tries to justify that definition by asking, “What’s wrong with love,” I feel physically ill.

One might take some satisfaction in knowing that, if the anti-God left actually succeeded, it would not find peace and love – only endless violent struggle within its own factions. Self-will run amok is never satisfied. Fat lot of good that would do our children and grandchildren, though. I have no desire to consign them to the misery of such an ugly new world because I was too timid or lazy to man my post and, instead, betrayed my God and them.

The point is that this is an existential struggle. It cannot be mediated. A religious and moral people cannot co-exist with an anti-God left committed to its destruction. One or the other must prevail.

John Hawkins did a nice piece in Townhall that neatly summarized the problem. (Warning: while I admired the article, I found the picture accompanying somewhat offensive). Fr. Bill Bowling, Pastor of St. Augustine Church and Holy Name of Mary Church in Lebanon, Kentucky, recently wrote an incisive piece, quoting St. John Paul the Great, on his Facebook page:

“What is the “mark of the beast?”

(Rev. 13:16-18) “Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or on the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

Gradually, we are seeing the unfolding of this beast system on earth, and technology seems to be the most proficient means of promulgating this beast system which overtakes the economy, culture, and sense of morality in order to captivate the whole people of the world. It sets itself inexorably against the Church in order to eliminate it from the earth. Only now is the technology available to make real what St. John described in the Book of Revelation. See the prophetic words of St. John Paul II regarding the unfolding of this end times mystery.

(John Paul II, Dom. et Viv., 56) “Further on this second beast is identified with the false prophet because his role consists in leading men astray and getting them to worship the first beast. Because he has real (but evil) power he is able to work prodigies similar to those performed by the prophets (for example, Elijah, who brought fire down from heaven: cf. Kings 18:38) and can even seem to vie with the power of the life-giving Spirit by breathing life into the images of the beast. He symbolizes those regimes and ideologies which reject God and put man on a pedestal. Materialism works in the same deceptive way as the beast does, for “though it sometimes also speaks of the ‘spirit’ and of ‘questions of the spirit’, as for example in the fields of culture or morality, it does so only insofar as it considers certain facts as derived from matter (epiphenomena), since according to this system matter is the one and only form of being. It follows, according to this interpretation, that religion can only be understood as a kind of ‘idealistic illusion’, to be fought with the most suitable means and methods according to circumstances of time and place, in order to eliminate it from society and from man’s very heart.”

Do not take the “mark of the beast.”

(Rev. 14:9-11) “If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshippers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

This brings us to the real choice we have today: to bow down to the golden calves and Baals the anti-God left insists we worship with them, or to proclaim the one True God with relentless fidelity – and relentless charity in victory, not neglecting the battle that is necessary to secure the blessings of faith, liberty and freedom to our descendants. The True God will prevail, as He always has. He is not on our side: we must choose to be on His. Remember His words from Deuteronomy 9:4-6:

“Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you…Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.”

Finally, get out of your mind childishly sentimental notions of Rescue. Remember that when Moses rescued the Israelites, shortly after they began their long pilgrimage, they stood at the shores of the Red Sea with the Egyptian Army in hot pursuit. Remember that when Jesus came and spent three and a half years explaining to His disciples that He had come to rescue all of mankind, that Rescue took the form of a brutal crucifixion. Jesus only let His disciples wander in confusion and panic for three days, not 40 years, before showing them the rest of the story and His transcendent power. The point is, Christian Rescue is not for the faint of heart nor the sunshine soldier. It will not be as you – or I expect – but it is certain. It is not a reward for your goodness, but the time to prove your steadfast fidelity.

So gird your loins and proclaim the one, True God, whatever the cost. Not only is it the side that will win; it is the only possibility that will give your children and grandchildren a chance at a happy, prosperous life. Do not worry if your primary motivation is love for your children: self-sacrificing love is always love of God, Himself.

 

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Our podcast has been delayed this week because a surge wiped out some critical programs on my son’s computer. We will get it up as soon as we can. Next week, we will have my daughter on with us, discussing the problems of substance abuse and family trials along with reminiscences of joyful times and the great joy of when recovery takes solid hold. The week after we will have a dear nun, Sr. Bear, who lives an almost wilderness spirituality.

 

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I will spend almost the whole month of November and some of early December in the Southwest and on the West Coast. If you would like me to come visit with your group, contact my assistant, Mary, at lovedbyhim1026@gmail.com.

 

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This little article about pop singer, Selena Gomez, caught my eye. Several years ago one of my dearest friends told me that his niece, a doctor doing her internship residency at a children’s hospital in Dallas, told him that Gomez had skated a few rules to come and give special attention and hope to a young girl at the hospital who had been a huge fan. There was no fanfare or publicity – and the girl rallied quite nicely after the visit. I don’t know anything about Gomez’ politics, or who she’s dating, or her religion…but I have prayed for her occasionally ever since hearing that. And by this article, it touches me to see that this young woman has a great heart that goes well beyond her own interests and sorrows. May God bless her.

 

*******

 

Finally, some of what I think are the greatest cookies in the world are made by an order of Capuchin Poor Clares in Denver. I go to a Padre Pio prayer group on the first Saturday of the month when I am in town at the Church they are currently headquartered at. Now, to my surprise, “Clarissa’s Cookies” are not for everyone. They are subtly and delicately flavored, and they have an incredibly delicate texture. I love them, but some prefer their cookies bolder. Astonishingly, the nuns charge only $15 for a hefty box. If you want to give to a good cause AND get some truly great cookies, go here.

 

 

 

Posted in Culture, Solidarity, Spiritual Preparation, The Rescue, The Storm | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 181 Comments

Sorrowful Mother, Be Ever Near to Us

(Thank you to our own Patrick who sent the following material. It is fitting to share this devotion as we honor Our Lord of Sorrows on her feast tomorrow, September 15th. May she ever be close to us as this Storm intensifies. May she teach us how to endure our sufferings, but even more, teach us to continue loving those around us who, even now, need our steady sherpa ways. And may she grant us grace upon grace upon grace from her Son.) 

 

Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori writes: “Jesus Christ Himself revealed to Blessed Veronica of Binasco that He is more pleased in seeing His Mother compassionated than Himself. He said to her: “My daughter, tears shed for My Passion are dear to Me; but as I loved My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation on the torments which She endured at My death is even more agreeable to Me.” Wherefore the graces promised by Jesus to those who are devoted to the dolors of Mary are very great.”

Our Lady lamented to St. Bridget that very few consoled Her by meditating on Her Sorrows, and that the greater part of the world lived in forgetfulness of them: “I look around at all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity Me, and meditate upon My Sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, My daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do you not forget Me; consider My anguish, and imitate, as far as you can, My grief.”

– St. Alphonsus de Liguori from The Glories of Mary, 

from:  www.fatima.org/essentials/requests/devotion_of_seven_sorrows.pdf

 

The Promises

The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven signal graces to the souls who honor her daily by meditating on her tears and sorrows.

  1. “I will grant peace to their families.”
  2. “They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries.”
  3. “I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.”
  4. “I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.”
  5. “I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.”
  6. “I will visibly help them at the moment of their death. They will see the face of their Mother.”
  7. “I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.”

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Introductory Prayer

  1. O God, come to my assistance.
    R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
    V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
    R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen

Eternal Father, I offer you this prayer for your glory, so that I may honor your Most Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and share and meditate upon her suffering. I humbly beg you to give me true repentance for all my sins.  Give me wisdom and humility so that I may receive all the indulgences contained in this prayer.

The First Sorrow: The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)

Mary and Joseph obediently presented Jesus to the Lord. Simeon said, “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many,” and to Mary, “A sword will pierce through your own soul.”

Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

The Second Sorrow: The Flight into Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-21)

King Herod orders the death of all male children age two or younger. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with the infant Jesus.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

The Third Sorrow: The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2: 41-50)

As Mary and Joseph were returning home from the feast of Passover, the boy Jesus remained behind. After searching in agony for three days, they found him in the temple. Mary pondered these things in her heart.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

The Fourth Sorrow: Mary meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary. (Luke 23: 27-29)

Jesus was led away, carrying the heavy cross upon his wounded shoulders. Weak and exhausted, he fell three times. Along the way, Jesus met his mother, causing great anguish in the hearts of mother and Son.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

The Fifth Sorrow: Jesus Dies on the Cross. (John 19: 25-30)

Mary stood beneath the cross of her dying Son, unable to minister to him in his suffering. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last.

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

The Sixth Sorrow: The Pieta. (John 19:32-37)

After Jesus died on the cross, his heart was pierced with a lance. His lifeless body was taken down from the cross and placed in his grieving Mother’s arms.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

The Seventh Sorrow: Jesus is placed in the Tomb. (Luke 23: 50-56)

The body of Jesus is laid in the tomb. Mary arranges the body of her beloved Son with her own hands.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

 

Pray for us, O Virgin Most Sorrowful,

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray: Let intercession be made for us, we beseech you, O Lord Jesus Christ, now and at the hour of our death, before the throne of your mercy, by the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother, whose most holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow in the hour of your bitter Passion.  Through you, O Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.

 

Excerpts from Book 11 “The Sermon of the Angel” from The Prophecies and Revelations of Saint Bridget of Sweden, Chapter 18:

“You shall seek me and shall not find me.” These words of Christ were the sharp point of the sword of sorrow, entering Mary’s heart. That sword pierced deeper at the betrayal of Judas, and at the arrest of Christ, when he willed to be taken by the enemies of justice and truth. Deeper still at each insult offered to Christ, with each suffering inflicted on him. The sorrow of her heart overflowed into all the members of her body. She saw how cruelly Christ was struck, and more cruelly beaten and scourged. She heard the sentence of death passed by the Jews. She heard the cries of the people – Crucify him, away with him.
She saw him led out, bound as a criminal, to a traitor’s death. She saw him struggling to carry his Cross, dragged forward and whipped as he stumbled, led like some wild beast rather than a lamb to the slaughter. As Isaias had foretold, he went meekly to his death; like the lamb that is led to the slaughter house, like the sheep that is dumb before its shearers.

Christ was patient in his sufferings. Mary endured patiently the sorrow of his sufferings. She followed him, even to the place of death. She saw the wounds of his scourging, the crown of thorns, his cheeks disfigured with blows, his face covered with blood, and she wept in sorrow.

She saw him stretched on the Cross, and heard the blows of the hammer as the nails pierced his hands and feet. So great was her suffering and sorrow that her strength almost failed her as she stood by and watched. She saw the vinegar and gall offered for his lips to taste. and her own lips could not move in prayer. She heard his cry – My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?, and saw his head fall forward and his body become rigid as he breathed forth his spirit. She stood and saw how he died. Then truly was her heart quite pierced by the sword of sorrow. It was the strength God gave that alone saved her from dying in such sorrow. To see her Son, stripped and bleeding, dying, pierced by a lance, mocked by those who stood by, jeered at by soldiers, deserted by all but a few of his chosen ones, abandoned by so many whom he had won to justice and truth, to see this most bitter death – could there be sorrow so deep as her?

We read that once, when the Ark of God fell into the hands of enemies, the wife of one of God’s priests died for sorrow. How much greater was the sorrow of Mary, for she saw the body of her Son, which the Ark prefigured, nailed to the wood of the Cross. Her love for her Son was love for the Son of God, greater than the loves of all men. If the loss of the Ark could cause sorrow and death, the death of Christ would have brought Mary to death but for God’s gift to support so grievous a sorrow. By his death, Christ opened the gateway to heaven, and won for his own their entry into joy. Mary looked up from the depths of her sorrow, as one coming back from the gates of death.

Her faith never faltered that Christ would rise again, and in this faith she could comfort many whose faith had failed. They took him down from the Cross, and wrapped him in fine linen with spices, and laid him in the tomb. Then all left. Few still had faith that he would rise. Little by little, the sorrows of Mary’s heart lightened, and she felt the first sweetness of consolation. The sufferings of her Son were at an end. She knew that on the third day he would rise, would rise with his humanity united again to his Divinity, would rise to everlasting honor and glory, to suffer, to die no more.

Posted in Prayer | 120 Comments

Hurricane Harvey Aftermath and The Great Convergence ft. Ed Haren: TNRP Episode 6

Please welcome our first guest, Ed Haren! Ed is from Houston (Nassau Bay), Texas. He joins to give first hand experiences of the storm and the love in its aftermath. Pops (Charlie) talks about the signs of the times and relates them biblical signs.

Enjoy this episode of the podcast!

-Chaz

Posted in Podcast | 145 Comments

Podcast Saturday – Report From Houston

Heavy Storm

This week’s Podcast will be delayed until Saturday evening. Joining Charlie and Chaz will be Ed Haren of South Houston, who coordinated a visit by Charlie last year, to discuss how the city is digging out and how people worked together to help each other through the tribulation of it. Charlie will discuss how the unfolding of the terrible drama looked a lot like a pre-shadowing of Rescue and about the strange convergence of flood, fire and nuclear threat. Also they will talk about the good of praying before the Sacrament in preparation for Rescue.

Future Podcasts will usually include a guest for a segment. Over the last few years, Charlie has made friends in every corner of the country through his visits. When a big  event happens in a particular area, we can talk to faithful people right on site to get a sense of how it is unfolding and how people of faith are responding to help each other. Though people in every area are living their faith, it helps to hear from people to know that the faith we see in our little corner is going on and growing on everywhere – that we are not alone. We will talk to people who are making a difference, people who are completely committed to being a light in the darkness in ways both big and small.

See you Saturday!

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The Storm’s Raging; Come, Rest in Our Shelter

We’re here. As Hurricane Irma makes her way through the seas, on the heels of Harvey, and as the western and northwestern states are ablaze, we’re here for one another, human shelter, extending encouragement and solace, sharing burdens and offering prayers; we’re here, creating calm and remembering words of wisdom; we’re here, as Christ’s Light to one another in these days.

In a post from April, 2016, I Proclaim the Rescue, Charlie’s words ring with more urgency, today, in the truth of what we’re living, calling us anew to discern what God is asking of each one that we more confidently take our next right steps. Before sharing excerpts from this gem found in the archives, there are three news items concerning the site to bring to you:

*TNRS team member, Mick, has joined SteveBC and me in moderating comments. Particularly, when the fullness of the Storm hits its greatest intensity, we expect that increased numbers of people from this community will make their presence known and it will be great to have three of us collaborating in this work. (How did Charlie ever press on, in months past, with the daily onslaught of clearing 500+ comments? Ha ha! Perhaps it earned him a “bypass purgatory” ticket.)

*So grateful for the podcasts with Charlie and Chaz. After much investigation and consideration, we’ve come to the conclusion that we just cannot provide transcripts but please remember you can now listen in on iTunes.

*The third item for consideration is the closing line in the Comment Policy, for it captures the focus of what we strive to achieve in our discussions: “That is not to say we are nice and don’t say hard things or make tough criticisms – but it must be based in evidence rather than simply emoting feelings – and all is designed to build up the people of God, not to tear each other down.”

In these excerpts from Charlie’s I Proclaim the Rescue I have emboldened his words which I think it is well to highlight.  I actually found it soothing to reread this piece as it validates where we are and what we’re about. I hope you, too, are heartened by it. (9-7-17, I have edited some of this introduction which I wrote. To be clear, the following text was written by Charlie. And it is comprised of excerpts -long and meaningful- from his piece, “I Proclaim the Rescue.”)

 

I occasionally hear from people who are critical that I am frightening people with my predictions of a Storm. That is absurd. I am not predicting a Storm. Twenty years ago I was predicting a Storm. Now we are in it. I responded to the friend who sent me this in part like this:

When bombs are bursting all around, noting that bombs are bursting is NOT working anyone into a frenzy. I did not create the Paris, San Bernardino, Belgium or Pakistani atrocities…I did not create ISIS…I did not create the global financial crisis…I did not encourage China to militarize international waters. I did not encourage North Korea to shoot off missiles and threaten the world with nukes. This is just silly…this comment speaks as if people did not read me they would not notice that anything was wrong at all. For crying out loud, people are getting into a frenzy because they watch the STINKING news – which I have nothing to do with.

For decades I said nothing about the Storm to any but my Priests and a few friends I trust, knowing that to speak of such a thing when it was not obvious COULD be scary to many. When the contours of the Storm that I had described privately became publicly obvious to anyone paying attention, I DID come forward – to proclaim a Rescue and to encourage people to be part of it now, to assure them that God is NOT done with us.

Seriously, does anyone think that if I would just shut up ISIS would go away, China would retreat to her own borders, officials would be responsible with the economy, North Korea and Iran would dismantle their nukes and all would suddenly be sweetness and light? Absurd. If I shut up and went away these things would still be deepening – and who would be there to give credible hope that God has a plan and is not done with us?

I have to tell you I am a little weary of people acting as if I summoned the Storm I accurately described decades ago. Rather, I waited, hoping it was not true…and when it came proclaimed a Rescue – that this is God’s purification. So people should get a grip and quit trying to tear down a person who accurately foresaw this long ago and now – with equal accuracy – assures all that God has NOT abandoned us. If I shut up, the Storm remains and who is there to give credible hope of Rescue?”

One of the little-noted but highly significant lines of Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s letter concerning me was that they examined an “archive of writings detailing Mr. Johnston’s alleged visions as far back as 1998.” I have joked with my director Priests these last few years that you don’t need to be a prophet to see what is happening now – but it sure did help two decades ago. I have been consistent. When I got the archives to give to the Archdiocese, it was like traveling through a time machine, for I had not seen them since I had written them. I know I have consistently said that the Rescue comes in late 2017, but I saw I had written that in a letter I had sent in the fall of 2001.

The prediction of the Storm I was making over two decades ago is not the heart of my purpose. In fact, its main importance is that the consistency and accuracy of it lends credibility to my assurance that God is not done with us and this is lead-up to a Rescue. The Rescue is the indispensable prophecy here.

I have been gratified at how well regular readers have embraced the fundamental heart of my message to acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope. Drive-by readers still come up with some lurid mutations of what I emphasize, though.  

Do you know why I don’t discourage people from doing some small, prudent preparation? It is not because of the objective protection those preparations will give them. Rather, it is for the same reason that I would not snatch a teddy bear away from a frightened child. It soothes people, so I leave it alone.

I am a serious student of history. We live in an age where the elite leadership throughout the world – in politics and cultural institutions – is almost universally stupid, incompetent, irresponsible, feckless – and supremely convinced of their own superiority. It is unprecedented in its scope. Plenty of nations have been governed by self-absorbed, bumbling idiots – but to have almost the whole world governed by such at the same time is astonishing. Yet that is how it is. The first stanza of W.B. Yeats poem of a century ago, “The Second Coming,” is downright prophetic for these times:

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.”

I have said repeatedly that the rules have been changed – and it will soon be obvious. Everyone who gets their primary sense of security from anything other than God will have it taken from them. Everyone. This is not just for some, but for all. If you use anything I have said to devise your own plan beyond acknowledging God, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope, your plan will be smashed against the rocks of reality. The only way you can have anything is if you have it as if having not – and if you can do that, then you can have not as if you have. Whatever “preparations” you do can only be in support of the central issue – to acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope. If you are focused on the central issue, then you know that whether you have or have not is God’s call and will be used to help you carry out His will.

Some think they are smart and so, if they know enough, can outwit God. If you are the smartest person in the history of the world, your knowledge does not amount to the babblings of a three-month old in eternity. Others trust to their wealth and means to evade God. In these times, wealth and means are not as reliable as Monopoly money. “Give us this day our daily bread” must be your humble cry to the Lord for all the good your wealth will do you. Others think their power and prestige will exempt them. The graveyards are full of the bones of the formerly powerful and prestigious. Betting on your own power and prestige in these times is like betting on a gnat to beat a lion. Others are so certain of their own moral rectitude that they think God will exempt them from the vicissitudes of the Storm. God is going to show all of these what fragile clay their feet are formed of.

We have gotten to a point where self-actualization trumps everything. Vanity reigns supreme. Even many clerics plot and scheme over how to manipulate those around them and crawl over the backs of their peers to gain position or prestige. It is the masque of the red death, a frenzied dance of despair for a culture that believes life has no meaning except for the indulging of appetites and the gaining of notoriety. It is the logical end of materialism. Marx finally got his way and we are buried under a bitter harvest of quiet desperation at the emptiness of it all. Yet people try all the more frantically to get the better of their fellows and colleagues.

In the late 90’s I was told at the end of a little vision (the term I use to describe a particular type of stylized vision; it does not mean it is unimportant) that, “What you desire most is most effective against you. Desire God and all shall be added.” That is worth deep contemplation in these times.

I warn you not to put your hopes in traditional politics. It is collapsing around our very eyes. I know that is the way we have always moved on. Not this time. If you are riding a bus and it pulls over to the side of the road because it has caught fire, the engine has dropped out and the wheels have fallen off, getting a new driver will not help with the problem. Right now, getting passionate about politics can only tempt you to sin against charity. Our problem is spiritual and cultural. It is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Salvation will not come via a heroic figure from without, but by the quiet resolve to follow God by loving our neighbor from within.

When I speak of the rules changing, I mean that God is doing a new thing, something amazing. It is a great blessing or a great curse, depending on your interior disposition. Whatever you sincerely do or hope for another will return to you twofold. If you sincerely hope for the good of another, if you do some simple kindness for them, it will return to you twofold. If you try to attack them with malice, to undermine them with bitterness, or manipulate them to your advantage, it is yourself that you are savaging. The only way forward in these times is to deny yourself and devote yourself to the good of others. It is a primary way in which you express your love for God. That does not mean you must become a wimp. When France’s King Charles VII started dithering over peace negotiations with the English, St. Joan of Arc testily told him the only peace they would obtain from the English would be at the point of a lance. If you fail to defend those who are under attack, again, you shall reap what you have sown twofold.

I have said repeatedly over the last year and a half that everyone will be sifted. So it has been coming to pass. I have heard from more than a few who thought they would be a safe haven throughout that are undergoing severe trials and turmoil. Don’t you know that God has little use for sunshine soldiers in these times? If you have not proven yourself when the smell of burnt sulpher fills the air to the accompanying boom of cannons, how can you know you will not lose heart in the Storm? So be glad of the trials and trust in God. He is not proving you to Himself, but to yourself, so you may walk with confident trust in Him as the din grows – and thus be a steely sign of hope to those around you…

The Storm comes to all. As it is written, God sends the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike (Matthew 5:45). If you are truly among the just, even in the midst of your trials, you will help others caught in the Storm. That is your portion, not to sit and be served by angels while everyone else suffers.

A great dividing line has risen and everyone must choose where they stand. On Easter we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ. You must take hold of His robe to rise with Him or sink into the dust of the chaos we have made of our culture. You are called to be among the rising cohort that prepares the way for the great Rescue Our Lord is sending Our Lady to accomplish, but so long as you remain caught in your vanity, ambition and dreams of self-actualization, you just add to the chaos of our toxic culture…

Remember that God has a plan, a plan for your welfare and not your destruction. He will wipe out the vanity of all. So long as you pray like the Pharisee, thanking God that you are not like other men, you shall sink ever deeper into the mire. When you have the humility to pray as the tax collector, crying “God, be merciful to me a sinner,” you will become a useful instrument in the Hands of the Master. (Luke 18:9-14)

The confusion of the present age influences all. Do not be shaken if you hear something peculiar from a Prince of the Church. The rain falls on them, too. Remember that Our Lord said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church He founded. Work, then, with your Priests and Bishops to mount the assault against those gates, building each other up and covering each other’s nakedness. Now is not the time for retreat, but to sound the charge. May every street in the world become the sacred route of a Procession of believers behind Our Lord in the Eucharist and Our Lady, who is sent to Rescue us! As even the most secular and cynical lose hope in a world visibly spiraling into collapse, let them see the community of believers walking with confident faith in our two Pillars. Many will convert and begin to participate in the Rescue because of this. But first, you must deny yourself and take up your cross – see yourself for how little you are…and then you can begin to see yourself for how much you are, what you are truly called to be: Our Lord’s own beloved.

In July of 2000, the Archangel Gabriel came to speak to me of some elements of the Storm. I immediately began pleading with him that the Storm might pass over us. In a very rare moment of anger, he was transformed to an intimidating majesty and light. I think it was the only time his ceremonial wings were visible to me. I trembled as he told me with furious intensity, “You must tell them true – and they must choose or perish.” I was deeply thankful it only lasted a moment and he immediately went back to his normal, cheerful self. But I have pondered the meaning of what he said ever since. I had wit enough to never again plead for the Storm to pass over, but the command has remained enigmatic, both powerful and mysterious.

I think in the course of this past Lenten season I got a little better understanding of it. You must choose God through love of your fellows or perish under the weight of your own machinations.

I come not to proclaim a Storm. We are living the Storm – and near the entrance to the fullness of it. I come to proclaim a Rescue – and to call you to participate in it, to prepare the way. Choose or perish. I have told you true.

Posted in Encouragement, The Rescue, The Storm | 198 Comments

Prayers for Texas, The Divine Symphony, and Ramblings of the Charlies: TNRP Episode 5

Happy Friday everyone!

The latest installment of TNRP is live. The link is below. Keep sending us your comments and questions! I got hyped up and loud for this episode. Please let me know how the sound is! Thanks again for listening and please keep the questions coming!

-Chaz

Posted in Podcast | 160 Comments