Patient Trust

patience-in-godPatience and trust are steadying virtues to cultivate in these days. A poem shared with Quin Hilyer brings renewed inspiration to trust in God and His ways at work within each of our lives, in this community, in our country and in our world. No matter the circumstances, God is with us, sometimes working perceptibly and, so often, working beyond our ability to perceive.

The poem evoked contemplation on the common goal we profess here: to be sherpas, even now, in our ordinary circumstances and in the face of any sort of intense trials the Lord might allow as a means of calling souls back to Himself. Without a pressing deadline for a specific event, these days are rather quiet in the comment section yet, surely, within each of our hearts and souls burns the flame of desire to be at the ready with comfort and hope to all around us should the Storm, this global civil war being fought on cultural lines, enter intense moments. For now, we watch, wait and pray while living the core message to acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around us.

In 65 days we’ll honor the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima. Let’s consider, again, the apparition in which Our Lady showed a vision to the three young children and said,“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go.” She also exhorted, “Sacrifice for sinners and repeat many times, especially when you make a sacrifice: ‘O my Jesus, this is out of love for you, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary!‘” This directive from Our Lady rings with new tones of urgency as we see hearts being revealed and as we are aware each one must choose. Praying and sacrificing are next right steps with tremendous import at this time, hope for the conversion and salvation of souls.

As we pray and sacrifice while waiting on the Lord, Hilyer reminds us of the heroes around us and the cloud of witnesses gone before us:

“There are, of course, countless examples in all our daily lives, and countless more significant examples in the history books, of people who pressed on amidst frustration and confusion, apparent failure and disappointment, wondering why their efforts were unavailing but never losing faith — and, after years in the wilderness, suddenly finding that God had given them their moment and their calling.”

In his article, Hilyer links to Winston Churchill’s famous address avowing that the British would fight in every place even as he proclaimed the victory would come, “In God’s good time.”

Are you waiting on the Lord for something? Perhaps many things? Certainly, we are all waiting, hopefully in joyful expectation, as God’s Plan continues to unfold. May we, too, press on, never losing faith, despite the division and the confusion swirling all about us.

Patient Trust Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything

to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.

We are impatient of being on the way to something

unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress

that it is made by passing through

some stages of instability—

and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;

your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,

let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

Don’t try to force them on,

as though you could be today what time

(that is to say, grace and circumstances

acting on your own good will)

will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit

gradually forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing

that his hand is leading you,

and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself

in suspense and incomplete.

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Be Not Afraid

god-has-a-plan

When pondering how God repeats a certain theme or message in the Scriptures to stress its importance, I found an information gem from an online reference source. The King James version of the bible includes the phrase, “be not afraid,” 29 times. The New American Standard Bible includes, “do not fear,” 57 times and, “do not be afraid,” 46 times. Some assert that, “fear not,” and similar phrases are present in the bible 365 times.

Pope St. John Paul II began his papacy with the cry, “Be not afriad!” An often repeated segment from a talk given by then Cardinal Wojtyla when he was in the USA in 1976 heralded our current struggle.

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or  wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church, and the Polish Church in particular, must take up.

It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.”

Recent headlines and news excerpts provide more evidence of this “greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced,” this civil war being fought on societal and cultural norms.

Pyongyang launches 4 missiles towards Japan

Christians are the most persecuted religious group, according to studies

South Sudanese Bishops Call for Food Aid, Peace Negotiations

Somalia: 110 Dea from Hunger in the Past 48 Hours in Drought

Media Bias on Steroids Since Trump Election

Enraged Protesters at Town Hall Event

Trump, Sex Trafficking & How It Ties to Russia

Live Action Released Footage Showing That  Planned Parenthood Trained Employees on How to Identify Undercover Journalists Instead of Sex Traffickers 

Our country, our world and, as you all must see around you, individuals and families are going through severe trials. We must choose, in the face of pervasive evil, to fear not, to have faith and to embrace trust. I continue to hear accounts witnessing to the power of the Prayer of Miraculous Trust so I remind us all to reach for it and pray it with firm resolve to choose trust. As the ugliness vents, erupting and spewing all around us, remember the Surrender Novena and its fruit, bearing Christ’s Peace amidst great turmoil. Just yesterday, Pope Francis reminded us of another shield against evil which brings direction, consolation and strength: the Word of God. It has been said that reading the Sacred Scriptures is a powerful medicine. Anyone on maintenance meds knows the need for the daily dose(s). Our Holy Father suggests we treat the bible as we treat our cellphones: check our bibles as often as we check our cellphones.

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Strangers in a Strange Land Are We

charles-chaput

Hat tip to reader and commenter,  Christene, for bringing to our attention a newly released book by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World. My copy came this week and, as I have begun reading and contemplating, echoes of voices in our community have rung in my heart.

JT Brannigan’s questions linger as I am reading: “Who will be signs of hope to the frightened society?  Who will proclaim that Mary intercedes and Jesus is with us?  Who will proclaim that God wants our salvation?”

Phillip Frank’s words reecho as well: “I liken this new course for us as the way Jesus thwarted the 5000 after He fed them with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. They, in their hysteria over this miracle, wanted to make Him king. He quickly quieted them with His command for them to “eat His body and drink His blood” and, because of this mystery, they quickly abandoned Him as it was “too hard” to follow. Jesus then turned to his disciples (future sherpas) and asked if they too would leave Him. They, of course, did not. So we, who are still here, have chosen the discipleship (Sherpaship?) of TDL. We have chosen not to abandon TNRS and to trudge on IN the world but not OF the world!”

SteveBC’s words, too, resonate: “A person’s outward circumstances matter little. Which world one actually lives in is determined by what is in one’s heart. A person surrounded by the old world who holds the positives of the new world in one’s heart lives in the new world. Someone who believes that one is living in the new world but whose heart is filled with the negatives of the old world lives in the old world despite that belief. My comments about the old and new worlds and to which world a person is attached are asking people to let go of the dark thoughts and feelings you have been suffering from. If you are constantly on edge and angry about what is going on with the Old World, not only are you in it but you are also of it, for those feelings are what make up the “heart” of that Old World. There is something better for you. Focus on love and God instead of anger, grief, and darkness. Why do you grieve when the New World is a change of heart away from you, and when that change of heart is yours to Choose?”

As we continue to move forward, focusing on the actions and attitudes we embrace in our daily lives, living as so many sherpas scattered throughout the world, I think this new release from Archbishop Chaput has great value for its potential to develop, nurture, challenge and inspire us on our way. Perhaps the following excerpts from the book can help you decide if you wish to purchase and read it.

“More than fifty years after Vatican II, the world is a bloody and fractured place. Some of those fractures reach deeply into the Church herself. But this isn’t news. It’s always been so. Scripture is a record of the same story told again and again, in different ways but always with the same theme, for more than three thousand years. God loves man. Man betrays God. Then God calls man back to his friendship. Sometimes that call involves some very painful suffering, and for good reason. God respects our freedom. But he will not interfere with our choices or their consequences, no matter how unpleasant. As a result, the struggle in the human heart between good and evil—a struggle that seems burned into our chromosomes—projects itself onto the world, to ennoble or deform it. The beauty and the barbarism we inflict on one another leave their mark on creation. But still God loves us, and his love endures forever.”

“TIME PASSES. TIMES CHANGE. Watersheds happen. I sat down to write this book for everyday Catholics and others who love Jesus Christ and his Church more than they love their own opinions; people who know that something’s gone wrong with their country, but don’t understand why, or what to do about it. That expression—“everyday Catholics”—needs some unpacking. In twenty-eight years as a bishop, what I’ve seen is this: Most of the adult Catholics I know have families and demanding jobs. They’re often harried and fatigued and distracted. But they’re nobody’s fools. Most of us ordinary believers were born with plenty of intelligence, and today more than ever, we need to use it. If our mass-media culture works to make people shallow, gullible, angry, and dumb much of the time, it’s because we let it. Since you’re reading this book, you’re probably different. You probably like to think, and want to think, as a grown-up real person, in a mature Catholic spirit of faith. And you might suspect (wisely) that too many people aren’t thinking at all. Adults deserve adult food for thought, and in these pages I’ll try to honor that.”

“But religion only works its influence on democracy if people really believe what it teaches. Nobody believes in God just because it’s socially useful. To put it in Catholic terms, Christianity is worthless as a leaven in society unless people actually believe in Jesus Christ, follow the Gospel, love the Church, and act like real disciples. If they don’t, then religion is just another form of self-medication. And unfortunately, that’s how many of us live out our Baptism.”

“Thus, believers don’t have the luxury of despair. And the idea that we can retire to the safety of some modern version of a cave in the hills isn’t practical. Our task as Christians is to be healthy cells in society. We need to work as long as we can, in whatever way we can, to nourish the good in our country and to encourage the seeds of a renewal that can enliven our young people.”

God bless Archbishop Chaput and his words which inspire us to live the joy of the Gospel even in the midst of difficult days. He is a true sign of hope!

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Renew a Steadfast Spirit within Me

lenten-heart

As we embark on another Lenten Journey, let us resolve to live Psalm 51 anew: “Have mercy on me, O God; according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me… The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Is this not a cry for each of us and an intercessory prayer for all human hearts?

In our recent comments, holding on to TNRS as sustenance and support while we make our way through life’s personal storms amidst the Storm in our world has been a constant theme.  Thanking God for Charlie who founded this community and fostered the message we have taken to heart, let us continue to pray for him. Let us, too, acknowledge that God often waits upon our intercessory prayer to act and that every good work which the Lord blesses flourishes on a bed rock of prayer. To this end, let us keep our community in prayer that God will bless us and that we become who and what He wishes us to be.

Now, with gratitude, I welcome and share with you the following Lenten reflection from our own JT Brannigan.

Lent begins again.  Even though it is not particularly early this year it seems to have crept up and taken me by surprise.  I don’t know if it’s the present craziness in the world, or the busyness of our family, or the unnamed respiratory issues that plagued me for almost a month.  Whatever the reasons, I was totally surprised and taken aback when my assistant innocently informed me that Ash Wednesday would be upon us in less than a week. How can that be?  New Year’s seems like yesterday.

I like Lent. It ties the Church of my childhood to the present.  It brings to mind the purple shrouds, darkened churches, lit by candle light, Latin chants, pews of people with heads bowed in fervent prayer. In my mind Lent occupies a place that is ancient as the faith itself.  Here is a practice first done by Jesus himself, passed down to us through a hundred generations and cultures.  Something medieval and modern, past and future, all at the same time. A time, set aside from time, to seek to be closer to God, to better understand the love of Jesus and the intercession of Mary.  A time to allow the realities of our faith to become more integrated, ingratiated, into our hearts, minds and lives.  It is a time to prepare our souls to accept the incredible, wonderful mystery of the resurrection.

This year Lent has a special meaning for me. About ten months ago I first encountered TNRS. In that time the participants at TNRS, have without fail championed the Blessed Virgin, urged people to say the rosary, supported the magisterium of the Church, supported the Pope, prayed for and consoled each other.

In my life, contact with TNRS has brought a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This freed me from bondage to my secular view of a coming upheaval and collapse and from the false belief that if I gathered enough food, water, medicines and guns I could save myself and my family.  Since last April, reading the postings of the many good people here has inspired me to repent of my lukewarm Catholicism, to renew my prayer life, to bring devotion to the Blessed Virgin back into my life (actually, to bring it into my life in a meaningful way for the first time), to work on those stubborn areas of sin which still clung to me, or I to them.  I find myself being more prayerful, more peaceful, more respectful of family and friends, more concerned with the status of Jesus’ church in the world and less worried about my fate and that of my family.

My sense is that coming troubles are very real.  I could see this on a purely secular and physical level long before I had heard of TNRS and long before I had a name for what was happening. The present order, which opposes God on so many levels, will not bring peace and security.

The powers that engaged in struggles of the election are not gone.  They are regrouping.  I have shared with a few others that I believe the election results were a temporary blessing, possibly a change of course due to the prayers of millions of people, but it is not the final battle.  We have been given some added time, free from persecution (which has been slowly increasing and which I believe would have begun to increase even faster if the results had been different) but this is only a temporary calm.

The irrational, emotional, bitter and violent reactions of the losing side are, I believe, a tiny fraction (and foreshadowing) of the emotions and evil that will be released should there be an economic or social upheaval or collapse. There will be tremendous need for people who have been physically, mentally and spiritually preparing for that day and who will be able to calmly approach others with the faith and certainty that this too will pass. People who will witness that God and Jesus, and Mary the intercessor, stand with us.

Who will be signs of hope to the frightened society?  Who will proclaim that Mary intercedes and Jesus is with us?  Who will proclaim that God wants our salvation?

Back to Lent. The Christian writer C.S. Lewis called the autobiography of his early years “Surprised By Joy”.  Taking cue from his great intellect, I find in my life I have been surprised by Grace.  That is what happened to me this past year.  A chance comment from a brother brings me to TNRS.  My encounters here open doors that had been closed for a long time.  I look back and realize God was pouring out his Grace long before I was aware of it.  I was at a place where I didn’t even realize the need to ask, but God in His Love provided for my unrecognized needs.

My prayers for Lent will be to ask God to make me more open to his attempts to “surprise me” by giving me Grace; even Grace I may not be consciously seeking.  I will also be praying for everyone at TNRS and for guidance as to where we go from here.

I, for one, would like to see the site continue and grow. I have learned much here. I believe I have received many graces from my contact with the other contributors.  What we will become is in the Lord’s hands.  If we put ourselves at His disposal I believe He will show us what we need to do.

Many here are facing these questions and have begun to open themselves to be God’s instruments in difficult times ahead. I hope that TNRS website and local groups will continue.  For anyone who believes God does and will continue to work through TNRS I am willing to begin that journey with you and see where God calls us to go.

My hope is that my thoughts and musings will be an encouragement to you.  If these words speak to you, I thank God.  If these words do not speak to you, or do not seem correct, that is fine. Pray for me. I do not intend to put any burdens or concerns on anyone.  I speak only for myself and my own sense of what God is saying in my life and I humbly submit these thoughts to you for your own discernment and hopefully your edification.

I have learned much from my time with you all. My prayers are for everyone here. My prayers are for Charlie. My prayers are for Beckita and Steve and the team.

My prayers are for God’s peace and Grace to all who come here.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

JT

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Is Peace Possible in Troubled Times?

cardinal-van-thuan

Our world is noisy with anger and division, seemingly everywhere. I try to read and listen to “just enough” news to have a sense of what is occurring in our country and world.  We can see interviews where people nearly rise off their chairs in disagreement, vying for the last, definitive word. I continue to return to Dennis Prager’s point in his piece “America’s Second Civil War”:  “Without any important value held in common, how can there be unity between left and non-left? Obviously, there cannot.  There will be unity only when the left vanquishes the right or the right vanquishes the left. Using the First Civil War analogy, American unity was achieved only after the South was vanquished and slavery was abolished.”

In this environment, social media is heated with hate, accusations, smears, aggression, ridicule and denigration of persons. This wears on the spirit as it reflects the above statement from the Servant of God Cardinal van Thuan: “The greatest  mistake is in not being aware that others are Christ.”

Observing this current phenomena which gives evidence to the reality of a civil war being fought on societal and cultural norms, please ponder with me: How can a NRStepper hold fast to the truth that each and every one of us has been created in the image of God? While we hold to our values, how *do* we also hold each person as Cardinal van Thuan advised: “The most important testimony we can give is love, forgiveness and reconciliation.” How do we maintain Christ’s Peace within and how can we BE Christ’s Peace around us? St. Theresa of Avila’s poem, Christ Has No Body, gives us food for pondering:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Another source for reflection can be found in Sr. Theresa Alethia Noble who surveyed our society, last November, and wrote her piece, “Five Ways to Find Peace in the Midst of Chaos.” In her article posted at Aletia, she expands her thoughts based on these suggestions accompanied by wisdom quotes:

*Take time to pause and pray. Prayer does not blind us to the world but it transforms our vision of the world. – Thomas Merton

*Reach out. Get coffee with someone who thinks differently. If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends; you talk to your enemies. – St. Teresa of Calcutta

*Be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14) Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*Ask God to reveal the source of your wounds. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. – Luke 10:34

*Find time for silence. Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth. — Pope Benedict XVI

Finally, another source for reflection is a song by Kathy Trocolli: Go Light Your World

Christ’s Peace be with you!

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Conscience Protection

religious-freedomv2

There is a renewed call for legislation to protect conscience rights in America. This plea is going out via various Catholic movements, apostolates and news sources. A Catholic News Agency article discusses the urgency. Articles, videos and suggestions for becoming informed and acting, a next right step, are at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site. Amidst these efforts, last week, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a ruling that florist, Barronelle Stutzman, who was fined for not serving a same-sex wedding, while following her conscience, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.

On President’s Day, February 20, 2017. Msgr Charles Pope addressed religious expression in America by considering the two presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in his article I reprint here: Two Presidents at Prayer. (You can visit Msgr. Pope’s blog by clicking the title of his piece.)

Two Presidents at Prayer

We live in an age of often strident secularism. If a religious utterance is made by a government official (or it would seem, even a First Lady) a loud cry goes up from an increasingly hostile minority. The platitude about “Separation of Church and State” is usually bandied about, a phrase that does not even appear in the Constitution.

Free Exercise clause – It is true that the First Amendment decrees that Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, but it also specifies that it shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. This second pillar, protecting religious expression, is eroding. Increasingly, the claim is made that religious bodies (especially the Catholic Church) have no right to attempt any influence in the legislative process. But this, of course, would limit our ability to freely exercise our faith, a major tenet of is that we should evangelize, be a light to the world, and testify to the truth. Secularists are increasingly proposing that the only acceptable place for religious expression of any kind is within the four walls of a church building.

Many secularists argue that America’s founding fathers wanted it this way, that they wanted a wall of separation because most of them were either irreligious or deists. But what is interesting is that most of them spoke freely of God, including appeals to Him and His will in their remarks. This is true even of Thomas Jefferson; any visit to the Jefferson Memorial will demonstrate that. Passages from a number of his writings and speeches are chiseled into the walls, and most of them refer to God. Most of these founding fathers (who purportedly wanted this dramatic separation of Church and State) were involved in drafting the Constitution.

Many people love to point out that God is never mentioned in the Constitution, but actually, He is! The final line of the Constitution reads as follows:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty-seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof, We have hereunto subscribed our Names:

In the year of our Lord? Oops, where did that come from? I guess the drafters of the Constitution never got the memo that God is not to be mentioned in government documents or at government functions. The Lord referred to is none other than Jesus Christ, for the year corresponds to the number of years since His birth.

The first signature on the Constitution is that of George Washington. Apparently he also never got the memo about keeping God and religion out of all things governmental, because he mentioned God frequently in his writings and speeches. Below are just three examples. The first speaks of our obligation to give thanks to God; it is a decree declaring a Day of Thanksgiving in the United States on November 26, 1789. The second is from a speech to an assembly of Delaware Indian Chiefs in 1779 and would be considered highly politically incorrect today. The third is from his last speech to the U.S. Legislature.

  1. Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:” Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789 George Washington, President.
  2. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are (Speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779).
  3. I now make it my earnest prayer that God would … most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of the mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion (Last Official Address of George Washington to the Legislature of the United States).

Abraham Lincoln also often referred to God and faith:

  1. On Faith as among the Civic Virtues – Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty (First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861).
  2. On Divine ProvidenceIn the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, as I am, and as we all are, to work out his great purposes, I have desired that all my works and acts may be according to his will, and that it might be so, I have sought his aid—but if after endeavoring to do my best in the light which he affords me, I find my efforts fail, I must believe that for some purpose unknown to me, He wills it otherwise. If I had had my way, this war would never have been commenced; If I had been allowed my way this war would have been ended before this, but we find it still continues; and we must believe that He permits it for some wise purpose of his own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that he who made the world still governs it(Letter to Eliza Gurney, October 26, 1862).
  3. On Religious Liberty – But I must add that the U.S. government must not, as by this order, undertake to run the churches. When an individual, in a church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest, he must be checked; but let the churches, as such take care of themselves. It will not do for the U.S. to appoint Trustees, Supervisors, or other agents for the churches (Letter to Samuel Curtis, January 2, 1863).
  4. On the Justice of God – Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-mans two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether” (Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865).

These are just a few samples showing that the aversion to any religious reference is relatively new, and is a disposition unknown to our founding fathers as well as to those of Lincoln’s era. These quotes do not “prove” that Presidents Washington and Lincoln were perfect Christians or that they were never critical of any aspects of religion, but they do indicate that they both understood the importance of religious faith to our country and were quite comfortable articulating both the need for faith and its benefits.

Extremism – Recent attempts to completely ban any religious expression, any spoken appreciation for religion, or any encouragement of its practice, would surely seem extreme to these men—extreme and far removed from the embrace this land of ours has historically extended to faith.

Washington and Lincoln did not hesitate to invoke God, ask His blessings, and exhort their fellow citizens to hearty prayer. Let us pray for our country and all of our leaders. Happy Presidents’ Day!

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Peace and Patience

peace

As we walk through our personal trials and survey our country and world, we need to steady ourselves in Christ’s Peace. Perhaps easy to say at times. Nevertheless, it is truth. Isn’t it often a matter of choosing? In the ubiquitous chaos, confusion and division of these times, it is good to remember that many have discovered new depths of Christ’s Peace by praying the Surrender Novena. (A link to this novena is found on the right side of this page.)  In my most overwhelming times, I have simply prayed the aspiration: O Jesus, I  surrender myself to You, take care of everything. If you are someone prone to worry and/or anxiety, it’s a perfect ruminating thought for it brings solace in any personal storm. May Christ’s Peace reign in each of our hearts.   

In just twelve days, we enter another Lenten Season. Perhaps it’s time to consider and then decide the aspects of spiritual growth upon which we each will focus during Lent. For some, it may be a continuance of Nineveh90. There are now 17,000+ people signed up for this prep to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition at Fatima. On Wednesday the site had 60,000 visits! It’s never to late to join and if only one unites by praying the 54 day Rosary Novena that is a great act of solidarity.

Wherever the Lord may lead each one, Msgr. Charles Pope who blogs here draws us to consider embracing patience as we journey. May patience reign at TNRS site.

patience

(Edit: After originally choosing to reprint Msgr. Charles Pope’s article here, I removed it yesterday in concern that it might somehow suggest he gives support to Charlie’s prophecies which Msgr. Pope does not. As a general rule, Msgr. Pope allows people to reprint his material. Thus, I will reprint the full article with the clear understanding that Msgr. Pope did not submit anything to me. I  choose to reprint it for its value to us and I consider Msgr. Charles Pope as a voice crying in the wilderness of our times. Please pray for him and all the clergy of our Church.)

Two Pictures of Patience

Msgr. Charles Pope – February 15, 2017

The readings from Mass yesterday (Wednesday of the 6th Week of the Year) give two helpful images that call us to patience. Patience is a virtue through which we are willing to endure as we look for something better that will come to pass. The word comes from the Latin patior, which means “to suffer.” Thus the virtue of patience is the capacity or willingness to suffer some difficulty for a greater good rather than for immediate satisfaction. For example, we might be annoyed at someone’s behavior and want to vent our anger immediately, but patience (and prudence) might counsel that we should wait for a better moment to discuss the matter. We are willing to suffer now for a potentially better outcome later.

We also need to learn patience in the areas of moral and spiritual growth, both for ourselves and others. Growth usually comes slowly and in stages. The term “stages” suggests that certain things need to be firmly in place before other things can happen. Jesus once said, I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (Jn 16:12-13). In this we see the patience of God as He accustoms us to His wisdom and truth. We read elsewhere, God’s patience is directed to our salvation (2 Peter 3:15). His patience for us is no mere coddling; it is meant to be ongoing, steady work as we grow in maturity and greater conformity to the truth.

This leads to the two images of patience in Wednesday’s readings. One occurs in the Gospel; in it, Jesus heals a blind man.

[Jesus] laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly (Mk 8:23-25).

It’s hard not to laugh a bit at this. Even Jesus had to lay hands on some folks more than once! We are more accustomed to seeing His miracles as instant fixes, and this is dangerous. What the miracles mean to teach is that the event described in the passage is what happens to us (if we are faithful), but extended over a longer period of time. Most of us see more clearly over time, rather than all at once. The Lord removes our blindness in stages and through ongoing healing. The miracle described here illustrates that well. Jesus works patiently with the blind man, and he works even more patiently with us.

We, too, must learn to work with others over time to restore lost vision. Sometimes in order to grasp higher truths, other supporting truths and first principles must first be understood. When a person has been in a dark room, it is usually inadvisable to turn on all the lights at once; rather, it is better to accustom him to the light gradually. Thus, patience and prudence counsel persistently working, with ourselves and others, so that progress can be made.

A second picture of patience is seen in the first reading from the Book of Genesis. Noah is “working” with a dove to assess the stages of the flood:

[Noah] sent out a dove,
to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,
and it returned to him in the ark,
for there was water all over the earth.
Putting out his hand, he caught the dove
and drew it back to him inside the ark.
He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.
In the evening the dove came back to him,
and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf!
So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.
He waited still another seven days
and then released the dove once more;
and this time it did not come back
(Gen 8:8-13).

Allow the dove to symbolize our growth and maturity, for we live in a world that is often flooded with trouble.

  • In the first stage, the dove flutters about and is so terrified by what it sees that Noah must reach out and rescue it by pulling it back into the ark.
  • In the second stage, the dove finds a sign of hope, serenity, and peace. It is able to return showing this sign of progress and peace.
  • In the final stage, the dove flies free!

This is a picture of growth and maturity for us, who in stages become free of our fears and from excessive dependence on others; eventually we fly free. As Noah patiently worked with the dove, so God patiently works with us. This is also how we should work with our own self and others.

When I was in my mid-thirties, I was afflicted with grave anxiety and was being treated for it. In a difficult and discouraging moment, I angrily said to God, “If you wanted to, you could just fix this for me in an instant!” God replied, “I will not do violence to you.” I quickly responded, “I didn’t ask you to do violence to me.” God retorted, “Yes, you did.”

Indeed, healing takes time. For example, heart surgery is a delicate work and not to be rushed. Many people want relief, not healing. Healing involves hard work; it means making important changes in our life. It usually means looking honestly at our wounds and then doing the spiritual and psychological equivalent of “physical therapy.”

This leads us back to where we began: We need to learn greater patience. But patience is not passive; it is not resignation to sin or other harmful drives. Patience involves suffering; it is a resolve to stay in an often-difficult relationship with what (or who) troubles us so as to lay hold of the greater goal of holiness and healing. Patience is not looking for a quick fix or mere relief; it is looking for healing. Healing is hard, but it is better—far better—than mere relief.

Patience!

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An Apology with Clarification

The Archdiocese of Denver issued the press release quoted below in response to a column I published on February 7. I regret that I was not fully clear on what I meant. The Rescue which I referenced, the “Process of Rescue,” as having been “fully approved by the Church” was not Charlie Johnston’s prophecy. I was referencing Our Lady’s promise at Fatima that, “in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” I thought that was clear because I mentioned that this process of rescue connected to Our Lady’s promise had begun before Johnston was born. Looking back, I can see how a reader might see some ambiguity and think it was referencing Johnston. I apologize for the ambiguity.

Below is the text of the news release, which can also be read at the website of the Archdiocese of Denver here.

 

Statement on false claim regarding Charlie Johnston’s messages
PRESS RELEASE:
Feb. 15, 2017

Contact: Karna Swanson
Executive Director of Communications
303-945-9136
Karna.Swanson@ArchDen.org

Mrs. Beckie Hesse, using the online profile “Beckita,” stated in a Feb. 7, 2017 blog post titled “The RESCUE Has Begun” that the messages of the alleged visionary Mr. Charlie Johnston, who resides in the Archdiocese of Denver, “have been fully approved by the Church.” In order to ensure that the faithful are correctly informed, it is necessary to publicly state that Mrs. Hesse’s claim is false.

In fact, Mr. Johnston’s alleged messages were reviewed by an archdiocesan theological commission and Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila determined that the faithful should be warned to be prudent and cautious about Mr. Johnston’s predictions. In addition, Mr. Johnston is not permitted to speak in Church-owned venues in the Archdiocese of Denver. Read Archbishop Aquila’s message, here.

The events of 2016/17 have shown that Mr. Johnston’s alleged visions were not accurate and the Archdiocese urges the faithful not to condone or support further attempts to reinterpret them as valid.

Read: Statement on the alleged visionary Charlie Johnston

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Trust.Do.Love.

joseph-coat

Invitations can be rich with possibilities to consider and explore. First, I invite us all to place the prophetic elements of Charlie’s work in a personal place where we let them rest from analysis and parsing. One might discern to cast them completely aside. Another may still believe they will come to pass in God’s ways and time. Either way, let us set them to rest for now. From the inception of this blog, the focus has been on our core message which I repeat for any new readers: Acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. In this, we shall continue as we see before us the ongoing chaos, confusion and division in our country. It is fierce. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read Dennis Prager’s piece, I think you won’t want to miss it: America’s Second Civil War

Secondly, I invite you to consider that we have entered the 100th year since Our Lady appeared in Fatima. Fr. Richard Heilman writes of the first apparition: “The anniversary is May 13, 2017. Many people are wondering if God may do (or allow) something soon to “shake us up.” (I wrote about it HERE – this is the most “shared” article I have ever written). 

As we watch terrorism rising up everywhere around the world, relations between nations in steep decline, a false economy ready to collapse, morality at an all-time low, pre-born babies murdered by the millions, marriage redefined for the first time in all of civilization, adult men allowed to share a bathroom with little girls, religious freedom under assault, corruption and collusion rampant within our government, and confusion in our Church … people are asking, especially as we enter this centennial year of Fatima, “WHAT DO WE DO NOW?!?!”

our-lady-fatima-1

Fr. Heilman has proceeded to initiate Nineveh90 as a response to the problems of our time and this 90 day period of prayer and mortification begins on Monday, February 13th. There is power in unity and, already, thousands have committed to the cause. From the website: “For our Nineveh 90 journey, which includes both men and women, we are embracing the great values of mortification, a support system, and the research in the behavioral sciences that says 90 days is about the time needed to change bad habits. We will also be using some of the tried and true supernatural elements. Namely, the Brown Scapular, 54 Day Rosary Novena, and the 33 Day Preparation for Marian Consecration.” While there are additional resources at the website, where you may sign up to join in this effort, encouragement is given to shape your spiritual program to fit your personal needs: Nineveh90

Lastly, I invite you to join in contemplation with one of the Josephs from the Old Testament, our Joseph connected to a coat of many colors. As we look upon this hurting world, as we have been through a major shift here in this community and as we continue to pray for one another in all our many needs and trials, Joseph’s ways and attitudes reveal wisdom which we, too, may choose to embrace. They provide a path to peace while building ironclad trust in the Lord. You may wish to pick up the Bible to read Joseph’s story in its entirety. Here is a synposis, written for catechesis, by a friend who is a priest :

“Abraham’s son, Isaac, married Rebecca and they had the twin sons, Jacob and Esau. In time, Jacob married Rachel who gave birth to Joseph. Jacob had four wives and 12 sons, but he loved Joseph the best because Joseph was a son of his old age. He made him a colorful tunic. Joseph’s brothers were envious and hated Joseph. Joseph had two dreams about his future greatness and this made his brothers even more angry. (Gen. Genesis 37)

One day, Joseph’s brothers were tending sheep in Dothan and Jacob sent Joseph to find out how they were doing. Joseph’s brothers seized him, stripped him of his tunic, first threw him into a dry cistern and then sold him to some Mediate traders for 20 pieces of silver. The Mediates, Ishmaelites, brought Joseph to Egypt and, in turn, sold him to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s chief steward. Joseph was 17 years old at the time. Joseph’s brothers dipped his tunic in the blood of a goat to make their father, Jacob, believe that Joseph was devoured by a wild beast.

Joseph in Egypt:  In Egypt, Joseph’s master, Potiphar, trusted him and put Joseph in charge of his household and the Lord blessed this Egyptian house. But Joseph was very handsome and Potiphar’s wife fell in love with him and tried to seduce him. Joseph refused and was falsely accused. He was put in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph. He was also trusted and well treated by the chief jailer. While Joseph was imprisoned, sometime later, Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker were also imprisoned. They both had a dream and Joseph successfully interpreted for them. The chief cupbearer was reinstated in his position and the chief baker was executed.

Joseph Is Promoted to Be the Vizier:  Two years later, Pharaoh also had a dream that nobody could interpret. The chief cupbearer remembered Joseph and recommended him to Pharaoh. Joseph correctly unveiled the meaning of the king’s dreams: The seven fat cows and the seven healthy ears of grain are seven years of plenty; and the seven gaunt and ugly cows and the seven shriveled and thin ears are years of famine. Pharaoh should collect and store the extra grain of the abundant years for use for the years of scarcity and a wise man should do this job. Subsequently, Joseph was appointed vizier and put in charge of all Egypt. He was given a gold chain on his neck, a chariot and a wife and he became second in command in Egypt.

Joseph traveled through the country during the seven good years and stored mountains of grain. Just as Joseph predicted, the fruitful years were followed by unproductive years. Meanwhile, Joseph’s wife, Asenath, the daughter of Priest Potiphera, gave birth to two sons whom Joseph named Manasseh and Ephraim.

Jacob Moved to Egypt:  Meanwhile, famine spread everywhere, including the land of Canaan where Jacob and his family lived. Jacob sent his ten sons to Egypt to buy grain. He kept the youngest, Benjamin, at home. The ten brothers presented themselves to Joseph. Joseph recognized them and spoke to them sternly, accusing them of being spies. He put them in custody for three days and let them go back home with a supply of grain but he demanded that they bring to him their youngest brother. He also kept Simeon as pledge. The brothers did not recognize Joseph and Joseph spoke to them through an interpreter.

When they ran out of food, Jacob had to send his sons back to Egypt. Jacob very reluctantly let them take Benjamin with them for Joseph had demanded this. Joseph put his brothers to the final test. After he wined and dined with them in his own home, he sent them away, placing his silver goblet in Benjamin’s bag and, then, accused them of stealing. He wanted to keep Benjamin with him. The brothers suffered much anguish. Finally, Joseph, with great emotion, revealed his identity. He dismissed the Egyptians and alone with his bothers said: “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt…do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you… So it was not really you but God who had me come here. Hurry back, then, to my father and tell him: ‘Thus says your son Joseph: God has made me lord of all Egypt; come to me without delay…’” (Gen. 45, 4-9)

Joseph provided his brothers with wagons, provisions, jackasses and clothing and sent them back to Canaan. Upon hearing the news Jacob was dumbfounded and overjoyed. The whole clan migrated to Egypt and settled down in the region of Goshen. Jacob was 130 years old.

From this astounding story, we see how the Lord our God works! His design is incomprehensible to men. He always draws good out of evil. So when we find ourselves in impossible situations and not knowing the whys and hows in our lives, we should never lose trust in Divine Providence. GOD ORDERS ALL THINGS FOR GOOD.”

One summation of Joseph’s ways which I favor: No matter the problem, don’t nurse it, don’t curse it, don’t rehearse it, but to God disperse it and trust Him to reverse it.

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The RESCUE Has Begun

lourdes1

In recent comments, the topic of all of Charlie’s prophecies continues to be raised. For some, in discernment, there is a belief that the error in the inaugural prophetic piece puts belief in all of his prophecies at risk. Not so fast, please, Fellow Discerners. There is a distinct difference between a failed prophetic element as we experienced at the inauguration and a false prophet which, I firmly believe, Charlie is not. I emphasize that great care must be taken to gather indispensible information and facts into your discernment as you ponder where we are in this Storm.

A primary, stand alone fact is this: but for all our contemplating and conjecturing about why the inaugural prophecy failed, not one of us definitively knows exactly why God allowed this. Not one of us knows. I repeat: “Was it a Jonah moment? Was it a Joan moment? Was it further deception of the satan? Only the Lord knows! “

ONLY God knows, Dear Friends. Only GOD knows. Only God KNOWS. In His Perfection, the Source of Wisdom, has not revealed this to us for His Own Perfect Purpose(s). We  are left, in our contemplation, to draw ever closer to Him in prayers and deeds, to wait upon Him and to completely surrender to His Plan.

I invite you to reflect on these facts:

*Charlie did not enter the public realm to proclaim the Storm. That had already been predicted 21 years ago and this evidence remains in his archives. Charlie conveyed we are IN a Storm and it would get much worse. This, we constantly acknowledge in comments here. Charlie went public to proclaim a RESCUE.

*He has written that RESCUE has two major dimensions. It is both a process and an unique event in time, I’ll call the FINAL RESCUE, in which Our Lady the Immaculate Conception will intervene in a miraculous way, visible to all. This prophecy is also unique because it was given directly to Charlie by Archangel Gabriel and when Charlie resisted naming a time frame for this prophecy, he was dramatically corrected by St. Gabriel to tell us and tell us true.

*The PROCESS of RESCUE had already begun, before Charlie was born, as, mainly, Our Lady and, sometimes, Our Lord had been appearing on earth, giving guidance and exhortation concerning ways, for those who would listen and take up the cause, to repair spiritual damage, resist the onslaught of our Mother’s adversary and reclaim souls due to rising forces of evil. The messages which have been fully approved by the Church, deserve consideration in order to cull the spiritual treasures which enable us to more fully participate in the process of rescue, for every soul that returns to God impacts both the individual soul, so precious to God, and mitigation. (UPDATE NOTE 2/16/17: An important clarification of this paragraph was published February 16, 2017, here, to remove an ambiguity that was never intended.)

*The majority of Charlie’s mystical input, if you will, has been given for him, personally, to guide his work. Since the inception of this blog and with the many presentations Charlie has made throughout the country, he has called people forth in faith, focusing on the prayer of doing which we know is encapsulated in this: acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. In embracing this commission, we participate in the process of rescue, right now, in our ordinary lives.

I, for one, continue to firmly believe in the FINAL RESCUE by Our Lady. In posts to come, I wish to lay out the case without hyper-focusing on the prophetic details of the Storm in relation to the difficulties and suffering yet to come, which many writers in the Church have named, “purification.” We NEED the Storm with its inherent purification. God in His Justice MUST purify us to bring us back and to prepare us for the great outpouring of graces needed to rebuild this world once He has allowed us to experience what we, as a human race, have collectively brought upon ourselves. At the same time, never lose sight of the anticipated joy which will also be inherent in the suffering of purification. Such suffering can cause people to fall on their knees in repentance and conversion. The classic, “There are no atheists in foxholes,” may well gain new emphasis as this world has the potential to become one major foxhole. Be not afraid! This is in God’s Providence and, if needed, it shall emerge from His Pure Love for His Justice is the very fiber of His Mercy. He only and always acts from Pure Love.

Should we continue to pray for mitigation? Absolutely. Every prayer is heard and taken into account. Charlie, himself, conveyed the prayers of the faithful have shortened the duration of the  Storm. Since we know God’s Justice is exerted to reclaim souls, I have long prayed for mitigation in so much as people respond to the effusion of God’s purifying grace. May it be. Blessed be God! Ave Maria!

For your ongoing consideration as you ponder how best to live your role of sherpa and to prepare for what is to come, even as you surrender all details to God’s Plan, I repost the following piece.

Go Forth

go forth workers

By Charlie Johnston

I have often told you that my messages are primarily for me, not for the world – to help me do what I am sent for. I will speak a little more plainly today. I am sent to proclaim the Rescue even as the Storm darkens around us, to give people heart to raise the siege of the culture, to endure the Storm and participate in the Rescue now, that they may be united in one flock under one shepherd, honoring Our Lady as Our Lord, Himself, honors her when it is accomplished.

Before two and a quarter years have passed, all of this will have been accomplished. I pray that I am steadfast and true. But it will be accomplished because the people of God and who God has called begin to rise now. I call on you to begin to go forth in faith now with steadfast resolve.

Many restlessly wait for the “invasion of Poland” moment when all will know the form of the struggle we face. Of those, many restlessly seek to know precisely how and when it shall come. I tell you, France and England did the same as the Nazi menace rose, restlessly parsing Hitler’s words instead of preparing for whatever came. Such dithering cost France her liberty for a time and nearly did the same for England. People think if they could only see, then they would surely do. I tell you it is exactly the opposite: do and you will see.

You already know what to do: acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. Live this steadily and you cannot fail.

I know I am often impatient when talking about predictions – others or my own. I have far fewer specific ones than many credit me with – but that is not the reason why I don’t like to dwell on such things. It is because it is the wrong question. Most believe the prophecy some have made of three days of darkness is quite literal – that there will be three days of absolute darkness for the whole world all at the same time. I take a little more figurative approach…that it probably means each person will be rocked and, for three days, bewildered as they try to get their bearings and live real conversion. My irritability at lengthy discussions of such is not because I want to prove I am right in my interpretation – but because I want to get the discussion back to productive matters. If others are precisely right on the three days, what do they gain if they do not occupy themselves acknowledging God, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope? Bragging rights? I gain no more if I am right and do the same. It is not that I don’t like being contradicted – it is that I don’t care about details of the question and spending inordinate time on it. Sometimes I feel like Dad has left us to split a cord of wood and we occupy ourselves arguing incessantly whether it is oak or maple or pine. If Dad comes back and we haven’t split the wood, it is not going to impress him at all who is right. If we do split the wood, even if we don’t know what kind it is, we have occupied ourselves doing his will – and he will be pleased when he comes. How I wish we would occupy ourselves splitting wood instead of splitting hairs!

Many still say I predict a Storm. I do not. I did 21 years ago, going into no little detail about its contours. Now I say we are IN a Storm – and predict it will get much worse before it gets better. Now temporal commentators, public intellectuals and former governmental officials in both America and Europe, in fields of economics, military and intelligence, routinely describe the Storm that is already well underway. Oddly, the less people know about fundamentals and history, the more sanguine they are that current troubles are just business as usual. They say we have been in debt before. They are right, even as their ignorance is appalling. We currently have about 100 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. I often use the passing of time to illustrate stark orders of magnitude. It takes 11 days for a million seconds to pass, 32 years for a billion seconds to pass, and 31,974 years for a trillion seconds to pass. In seconds, it would take 3,197,000 years to retire that debt. We have amassed debt that makes a geologic era seem a trivial thing and we think because we have overcome the equivalent of several hundred years of debt before that it is no big deal? We think because we have occasionally caught lizards that fighting an army of Godzillas is a trifling thing? We have gotten very stupid at the highest levels – and revel in our own stupidity, calling it enlightenment, even as we summon the darkness. The world is more volatile and unstable than it has ever been. The only close recent approximations I can find are the prelude to World War I, when every nation in Europe was itching for war – and the French Revolution, when every nation in greater Europe was threatened with upheaval. Those were only regional. Now every continent in the world, save Antarctica and perhaps South America are seriously threatened with war or revolt. And those are just the places where it has not already openly broken out. Throughout the world, Christians and Jews are under serious assault, with their livelihood, property and freedom threatened in the best of circumstances – and butchered, beheaded and burned in the worst. It takes no prophet to see this Storm now, nor to see its trajectory. It only takes a quick look around.

So what do we do with all this? The functionally atheist, progressive statists that currently hold sway simply double down on the very things that have brought us to this point. I don’t expect more than this from all those delusional pigeons who think themselves peacocks. (And yes, I know, many clerics have functionally abandoned the faith to curry favor with the pigeons who think themselves peacocks.) But what do many of the pious do? They act like denizens of a betting parlor, choosing their favorite locutionist or visionary or apparition, restlessly parsing the betting forms to discern which will prove most precisely literally accurate. It is going to get brutally cold this night – and your knowledge of the variety of wood you were supposed to split but did not is not going to keep you warm to survive the night. I have said repeatedly that we are not called to be spectators of destruction, but participants in the Rescue.

I only have eight public prophecies that I insist on. Only the visible, miraculous Rescue by Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception in late 2017, is time sensitive. Five things must happen between now and the Rescue, but can happen at any time during that period. They are:

– The continued toppling of governments throughout the world, including that of the U.S. The toppling of a government does not mean the nation shall fall.

– The confrontation with and fall of political Islam.

– The mass conversion of most Muslims

– The confrontation between the Judeo-Christian world and the current government of China.

– The alliance between Russia and the U.S. to lead the Judeo-Christian world to endure the confrontation with China.

To get caught up in the times and the means of each of these is to miss the point. Most will come at a time and in a way you do not expect. Busy yourself splitting the wood right in front of you and it will not matter, for you will be prepared. Do not assess these things by your estimation of how much time it should take. The rules have changed for this period. Just as St. Joan of Arc rescued France within a few months after over 90 years of decline and despair, rest assured that when the Lord acts, it is done.

Then there are two prophecies that happen shortly after the Rescue. They are the unification of the faithful into one flock under one shepherd and the building and location of the Shrine of thanksgiving for the Rescue.

My fundamental duties are three: to defend the faith, hearten the faithful and defend the faithful. These are actually tools to facilitate the proclamation of the Rescue and to hearten people to begin to participate in it now that we may knit the culture back together, build each other up and endure the balance of the Storm until Our Lady is sent.

So when an argument breaks out over which locutionist, apparition, or interpretation is most precise, my exasperation has little or nothing to do with who is right; it is frustration that we are still not occupying ourselves with serious things just because those things are plain and homely. We KNOW the basics of what we need to do by the perfectly normal means of the Church and Scripture. We want to spend time speculating and parsing. But we have entered very serious times and must confront it with sober humility and steadfast resolve if we are to endure and build each other up.

I have said repeatedly that I am sent to do, not primarily to say, and to encourage you to do the same. Going forward, I will occupy most of my time talking to you about how to do the same…to acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That is what will revive the culture even as the darkness seems to mount. That is what will build people up and fill them with courage to endure. That is what will keep people to the safety of the ship until we are safely in the port which is Christ. No matter how violently the wind and waves rise and howl, know that Christ is Master of the Storm. Man your post. Eschew vain speculation. Quit using your desire to see as a substitute for living your obligation to do. Do and you will see.

I apologize now for the fact that I will rarely indulge curiosity on speculative matters any more. We already know enough from what already surrounds us. We have a lot of wood to split – and it is time to get to it with passionate resolve and focus.

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