Love Among the Ruins

love among the ruins

By Charlie Johnston

Few people are shocked to learn that my Mom was 15 years old when I was born. Most are shocked to learn that she had been married to my Dad for over a year and a half when I arrived. She was married about a week after her 14th birthday when Dad was a couple of weeks shy of his 17th birthday. It was not the most common age for marriage in Alabama 60 years ago, but not so uncommon as to raise eyebrows. A century ago, it was not uncommon enough to raise eyebrows anywhere in the country. The first Republican candidate for president, General John Fremont, when he was 28, was married to Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton’s 16-year-old daughter, Jesse. After Fremont’s death, Jesse moved to Los Angeles where she became the city’s grand dame until her death in 1902.

This is NOT to encourage young marriages. My Mom used to aggravate me by pointing to how young she was and how steady and solid their marriage was. I finally got through to her one day by pointing to a story about a man who survived a jump when his parachute failed to open. Comparing it to my parents’ marriage, I said it was a thing to be profoundly grateful for, but it was not a reason to recommend jumping out of planes without a parachute. She laughingly said I might just have a point. Times and customs have changed so much that I doubt people so young are emotionally or practically ready for marriage yet.

Rather, the point is to look at how much the framework in which we view sexual activity has changed. For most of our history sexual activity was viewed in the context of marriage as the end. Even disordered relationships were viewed from that point of view; from whence flowed approval, disapproval, or studied indifference. Sex was both the most potent weapon in the arsenal of courtship and a self-giving sacramental sign of a committed, covenantal relationship. What it was not was an end, in itself. Some of the lesser weapons in the ritual of courtship included dating, flirting, friendship, repartee – and even seduction. All were geared toward forging a permanent bond – and everyone knew it. Most normal people went through several failed attempts, even several disordered attempts before succeeding. Even in those efforts that did not eye such an end, the participants knew they were doing something disreputable. With the exception of a few disordered eras doomed to ultimate destruction, that is the framework with which sexual activity has been viewed throughout most of world history.

The sexual revolution re-tasked sex from its role as a sacramental sign of covenantal love or, even, as a means to that end, into a casual form of recreation without consequence. But sex is never without consequence. It touches our deepest selves; our hearts, our aspirations, our insecurities, and our vulnerabilities in visceral and unpredictable ways. To sustain the dogmas of the sexual revolution required we suspend judgment and adopt schizophrenic contradictions: that sex is simultaneously inconsequential and deeply traumatic, that it is good clean fun and also the ugliest offense one can commit. We have become Caligulan libertines and Victorian prudes all at the same time. That’s what happens when the rituals of courtship become tools of mutual exploitation.

A common meme of modern sexual revolutionaries is to ask, “What’s wrong with love?” to justify their disordered attachments. What a poverty to re-define love down as merely one’s preferred form of sexual stimulation!  Aristotle wrote in his “Rhetoric” that “..love is to wish the good of another.” That deceptively simple statement gets to the heart of what is wrong with all the modern efforts to re-define love. Love is not about what you get, but about what you give; not about satisfying your wants and desires, but about willing and working for the good of those you love, often in self-sacrificial ways. Too many moderns postulate that love, to be authentic, must be sexually expressed. That topples sexually-expressed love from its elegant position as capstone of an exclusive, covenant relationship…and reduces it to so much manure to be spread among all relationships to see what sprouts. Small wonder that so many modern relationships have such a noxious odor about them.

It was the generation just before mine that began to dislodge sex from its privileged ideal as the capstone of an exclusive, committed relationship. That, in itself, unleashed a host of disorders, almost all of which were accurately foretold in the most prophetic public document of my lifetime: Blessed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, “Humanae Vitae.” Now we are surrounded by the wounded from that era, walking forlorn and baffled through the rubble of what was once a robust culture. In my grandparents’ era, people were very slow to grant access to their bodies, but brave in offering access to their hearts. Where the heart found safe haven, then consideration began of opening the body, as well. That is not to deny the power of the sexual impulse in every era. In the south of my childhood, people adopted the useful fiction of the “seven-month baby.” All recognized that the normal gestation time was nine months, but noted that it was often common for first children to only take six or seven months. Even so, there was little gossip about it unless those involved did not get married. Now, people carefully guard their hearts, but open the body with casual indifference. Alas, as I said earlier, sex is never without consequence – and the consequences often wound the heart. With each instance, the heart grows a little scar tissue. Keep at it long enough and soon the heart is so scarred over it is incapable of being opened to anyone. The possibility of joy evaporates – and the dispirited sexual revolutionary often seeks ever more salacious sensations to recapture a simulacrum of joy. He usually only succeeds in inflicting fresh wounds on his own heart. Sound familiar? Modern society provides rich material for an aspiring Dante wanting to describe a fresh circle of hell.

Sometime in the 90’s, we began to functionally redefine ‘love,’ itself. Instead of willing and working for the good of another, it devolved into the childishly imperious command, “Amuse me!” We degenerated into a rank materialism, judging everything by how it contributed to our self-actualization. Everything became a question of ‘how does it make me feel’ or ‘what’s in it for me’ rather than ‘how do I build my fellows up’ or ‘how do I make others feel.’ The relentless quest for self-actualization made every aspect of relationships into a commodity, to be marketed and bargained for. Instead of instances of self-giving, of mutually willing each other’s good, personal interactions became exercises in mutual exploitation. How could such a poisonous environment become anything but a cauldron of broken dreams, tears and abuse? With virtue-signaling replacing virtue and pious platitudes standing in for compassion, a simple set of secular indulgences was set in place: pledge your fealty to whatever the bilious, trendy bluster of the moment is, and you are free to sin at will. Men who declared their support for women’s rights and abortion saw their predatory behavior winked at or ignored. Women who treated their favors as items to be traded like alewives at a fish market were rewarded with jobs, promotions and applause – and if worse came to worse, they could cry #MeToo. All were telling the truth, all were lying – and all are miserable. Harvey Weinstein’s pledge to go after the NRA was simply a plaintive cry that, “Hey, I’ve always paid my indulgences.” Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey now claim the high ground, after being enablers, close friends, and public fans of Weinstein and the rest. Who paid the highest price? As always, the marginalized…those on the edge looking for a way in who were used, then tossed aside – or pre-emptively tossed aside when they refused to be used. Now all can say, “We are not amused.”

Hollywood and elite anti-God ideologues are not trying to banish mendacity, but to manage mendacity. They will shuffle the deck of predators and victims and discover, to their feigned horror a few years down the road, that some of the victims have now gamed the system to victimize new prey. That is what happens when everyone exploits everyone else, seeking leverage to advance their own ambitions and enhance their own self-actualization. ‘Tis a terribly cynical game. Outlawing courtship and romance, equating flirtation with rape will not renew us – only impoverish our lives and remove another bit of joy. All the zero tolerance policies in the world will not change things until we change our hearts. How to do that?

First, abandon identity politics. That can never do anything but divide, forever shuffling the deck of who’s up, who’s down; who is predator, who is victim; who is unjustly privileged to unjustly oppress the transient children of a lesser god. It is a forceful repudiation of Martin Luther King’s dream to see the day when all people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin – and is mockingly repudiated by people who pretend to be heirs of King’s vision. The only healthy and proper way to see each other is as fellow children of God, formed in His Divine Image and imbued with His very dignity.

Second, formally re-commit to the traditional definition of love as willing and working for the good of another. As long as we treat love as another tool to facilitate our own self-actualization and advancement, we will remain incapable of either love or joy.

Third, understand that sex is fire. Fire, uncontained, is raging chaos bringing agony and even death to those in its path. When properly contained in a furnace, it brings warmth and life. Quit endlessly arguing over which forests it is currently okay to set fire upon and, instead, set about containing the fire safely.

To accomplish these things we must return to the God we have abandoned, the God who facilitated the rise of civilization, the God who made human liberty truly possible, the God who set the fullness of the dignity of the human person against the depredations of transient tyrants and warlords who sought to build themselves up by tearing others down. Almost everyone knows that the anti-God left recoils from any authentic expression of Judeo-Christian faith with the same blind rage as Dracula confronted with a Crucifix. What is less well known is the contempt much of the conservative intelligentsia has for authentic faith. One of the most depressing aspects of my final days working full-time in politics was how many nationally known conservatives and their staffers regarded social conservatives as the problem. They constantly indulged in fantasies of setting the social issues to the side and getting to grips with economics and the machinery of government. I constantly railed that the economic and governmental issues could never be resolved until the social issues regained their religious foundation. I suspect I was tolerated because I was a useful tactical and strategic thinker. But the horrible reality is that the lip service most conservatives give to faith is just an effort to keep from spooking the rubes who, unfortunately, are a necessary part of their coalition. It never occurs to most to consider whether the rubes may be right.

We rubes are right. I am fond of philosophy. Still, long before I entered the Church, I had noticed that the most piercing insights of Aristotle, Locke, DesCartes, Burke and Mill were all meagre fare, indeed, when set beside the ponderings of St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine and, in modern times, St. John Paul. Modern conservative intellects don’t bother to refute them, thinking them largely irrelevant, but simply ignore them. What divine irony that the finest flower of human intellect is most carefully preserved by people who modern ‘intellectuals’ consider rubes.

The current political, intellectual and social elite classes are not going to rebuild a healthy, robust culture, though some may be useful in helping to prevent catastrophic buckling. To transform the ruins around us into renewed glory from within, we must first build around love. Real love, not the Dollar Store knock-off that passes for it these days. The sort of love Our Lord spoke of when He said, “…whatever you wish men would do to you, do so to them.” (Matthew 7:12)

First live and proclaim your faith both boldly and charitably. Do not react in defensive hostility to attacks on your faith, nor in blushing apologies for it. Simply say plainly that you believe in the morality taught by the Gospels (or the Torah) and you try to live it to the best of your ability, given our fallen nature. Remember the great quote by G.K. Chesterton in his book, ‘Orthodoxy’: “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” (Try that quote out on any of the many pseudo-intellectuals walking about sniffing at what rubes believers are).

Second, understand that every healthy family is an image of the Holy Family. The family is the forge in which genuinely self-giving love is formed. It is the First Church. It is the authentic cradle of liberty. Understand that, historically, any society which does not elevate and prioritize healthy family formation is a society on its way to ruin. If some cad asks you to define family, refer them back to the previous point.

Finally, commit to freedom. A man need not agree with me to be my friend, but he must respect my conscience as I respect his. If he won’t do that, we can’t be friends. Neither browbeat anyone nor suffer anyone to browbeat you. Wish their good, that is, love them even as you disagree. I often think that the reason society has gotten so bitter and intolerant is because of the dearth of large families these last few decades. I am the oldest of a family of six. My siblings and I often disagree on things…but only a fool would think that because we sometimes disagree, we don’t always have each other’s backs. Children of large families learn to manage disagreement without the need for trigger warnings.

You can’t force anyone else to do this. But you can commit to living it yourself. When you do, watch the love bloom around you. Once enough people do, even some of the most hardened cynics, weary of their constant, wailing misery and dissatisfaction, will give it a try. The ruins are not ruined, only neglected. Their rebuilding begins with the revival of the mystery, the ambiguity, the thrill of courtship in romantic love, properly contained and ordered.

 

 

198 thoughts on “Love Among the Ruins

  1. Wow, Charlie. SO true, heart-wrenching and profound is this piece. We need oceans of graces, procured in prayer and sacrifice, to support and strengthen our efforts to rebuild this culture. While acknowledging the sins, how essential it is to focus on God’s Hope and Promise: “Behold! I make all things new.”

    A God-incidence: I was listening this very morning to a podcast in a new series presented by my Bible evangelitsa who stressed: The only way to overcome sins of the flesh – meaning any type of lust, that which grabs at instant gratification via carnal things: over-drinking, over-eating, sexual sins, etc. – is to live, making choice by blessed choice, in the Holy Spirit. Each choice either feeds the flesh or the spirit. Feed the flesh and we rot; feed the spirit and we reach freedom. As damaging as savage self-gratification is, perfectionism is equally dangerous because we fool ourselves into a state of self-reliance. God Alone can set us free and fill us with His divine inspiration. Complete reliance on Him is the only way forward. Love is not natural for us because of concupiscence. Rather, Love is implanted and nourished within us from a life lived in the Holy Spirit.

    Another God-incidence: I “stumbled” across this exceptionally hope-filled talk given by Sr. Bethany Madonna, S.V., Vocations Director for the Sisters of Life. Her talk is entitled “Receiving the Promise of a New Heart.” Sr. Madonna’s talk was part of the Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium at Franciscan University of Steubenville. It IS a 52 minute talk, but, Friends, I promise, it is worth of every minute. The spiritual wisdom is delivered in a refreshing, sign-of-hope way and it is heart-piercing. I know hardly a single family unscathed by some sort of sexual disorder with someone in the clan. Within Sr. Bethany’s talk are suggested resources and thoughts for further self-evaluation. Oh! May the Promise of a New Heart be realized in each and every one of us.

    Liked by 22 people

    1. Beautiful post, Charlie. After praying for my children for all these long years, I pray and hope the truth you speak so eloquently in this article will miraculously find its way to them one day. I often ask Jesus to prepare their hearts now so they will recognize his voice when they hear it.

      Thank you, Beckita. This is one of the best videos I’ve ever seen. I discovered this nun last week in a shorter video and just fell in love with her. She is so filled with the spirit of God….so much joy and love….and her humour (yes humour has a “u” in it in Canada, Doug)!! I was wondering how my life would have been different if I had her as a teacher….in the “old days” with nuns??!!

      As for your “evangelitsa”…if you’re talking about the same one I’m thinking of, when I can get past her accent (there’s that Canadian thing again) and concentrate on the truth she speaks, I really like her.

      Blessings to all of you.

      Liked by 12 people

        1. Agree, avaeadie and Mick. Here’s another sign of hope from the Sisters of Life, a trust-building litany:

          Litany of Trust from Sister of Life
          written by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, Sister of Life

          From the belief that I have to earn Your love… Deliver me, Jesus.
          From the fear that I am unlovable…
          From the false security that I have what it takes…
          From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute…
          From all suspicion of Your words and promises…
          From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You…
          From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will…
          From anxiety about the future…
          From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past…
          From restless self-seeking in the present moment…
          From disbelief in Your love and presence…
          From the fear of being asked to give more than I have…
          From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth…
          From the fear of what love demands…
          From discouragement…

          That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me… Jesus, I trust in you.
          That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings, and transforms me…
          That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You…
          That you are with me in my suffering…
          That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next…
          That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church…
          That Your plan is better than anything else…
          That You always hear me and in Your goodness always respond to me…
          That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others…
          That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked…
          That my life is a gift…
          That You will teach me to trust You…
          That You are my Lord and my God…
          That I am Your beloved one…

          Liked by 9 people

        1. Sure enough, Jen. And here’s the thing for me: even in my sixties, Sr. Bethany connects deeply with me. This kind of inter-generational appeal really hit home when Father and I were ministering to a seventy year old woman some years ago. This dear woman had had five abortions in her youth. We assured her of Jesus’ words to St. Faustina: “The greater the sin the greater RIGHT that sinner has to My Mercy.” We talked and prayed over and with this woman and Christ’s Peace broke through the years of anguish. Such HOPE continues to rise in this current darkness.

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            1. I so appreciate your prayers for me and my family, Noreen. We need them… very much. One of the greatest treasures of this community is the continual prayer that ascends for us and our dear ones. God bless you and all our friends here. 🙂

              Liked by 2 people

    2. Your Bible evangelist is right, just as St Paul said, “Walk according to the Spirit, and you will certainly not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

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      1. You nailed it, Mack. Sondra Corbitt’s new series is based on Galatians 5. As she posts on her website: “Spiritual fruit is not about willpower. It’s about sinking deep roots into the rich soil of God’s word. Join us as we explore each aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. Learn how to abide in the Vine and produce abundant fruit.”

        I give witness that I’ve engaged in more than a few Bible studies over the years – some of my best studies have been done on the road with Father as I drive him to substitution ministry and we chew on themes, people and events while I get to pick his walking-talking encyclopedia-concordance brain, brimming with multi-dimensional knowledge – still, Sondra is dynamic. She’s truly gifted, has developed some strategies for people to use that they may engage more personally in the Scriptures and she is so real, so down-to-earth in her approach. In the best meaning of the phrase, she is a rising star in the Catholic evangelization world. She began ministering to women but the guys have caught wind of what she is offering and it is material of interest to all ages and both genders. In the event that anyone might be interested in giving Sondra a try, here’s her website link. And for anyone who may be interested in exploring Sondra’s last series which was comprised of taking any deep-seated woundedness to God via introspection combined with healing through His Holy Word, she does provide old content for a period of time. I make a small monthly contribution as a “Friend of the Show” and, thus, have access to all the old content. Sweet refreshment here below!

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      1. She IS a gem, Patrick. And right smack dab amidst that laughter comes THE most heart-piercing message that God is with us in our messes, no matter the details, calling, searching – day and night – for us, beckoning his ever ancient ever new LOVE in the reality that He DOES make all things new beginning with each and every one of us.

        Liked by 6 people

    3. Great article Charlie, and excellent video Beckita.

      I recently have had occasion to meditate on the commandment to honor your father and mother. One early morning in prayer, I thought back to the many times over the years I had dishonored my parents,, both directly and by my other sins, of which they had no knowledge, but which by the very nature of sin, brings dishonor not only to us, but to our parents, and God Our Father.

      I saw a mound of grains of sand that represented my sins against them. But, also a particular small good thing I had done towards them came to mind, and I saw 1 solitary grain of sand, beside the mound.

      I asked God about the sand, and was given to understand that He could only see the single grain of sand, which He had accounted as righteousness, and that He could not see the mound, because I had confessed my sins. To the God of the universe, the mound of my past sins did not exist.

      But, I could still see the mound, and felt some shame still for it.

      In the video Sr. Bethany invited those present to pray forgiveness for those who we had not forgiven, including ourselves. In that instant I saw the mound of the sand of my forgiven sins. Then, I saw a strong wind swirl around and whisk the entire mound away, leaving only the one solitary grain of sand still there.

      God’s mercy and grace IS sufficient to overcome our sins, and to overcome this sin sick world we live in.

      God Bless all who come to this new site, seeking wisdom for the journey.

      Michael Brandon

      Liked by 8 people

    4. I finally got to watch this. Sr. Bethany Madonna is a beautiful gift from God for these times. I hope and pray this video will be promoted and shared to Parish CCD Directors and Catholic Schools, and Priests across the Nation and beyond. I know I am sending it to Our Religious Director. ♥†♥

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  2. Tonight I’m attending a second Town Hall meeting for a Republican campaigning for Senator. So far, I like what I’m seeing in this new candidate. And meeting the people in attendance at the first Town Hall was like a breath of fresh air. So yes, that’s “A Sign of Hope.” 🙂

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Phoenix! It is SO great to see you again! I have often wondered how you are and what you’re up to. Are you still dancing joyfully at Star Trek gatherings? 🙂

      Liked by 6 people

  3. Before finishing reading all here, I had wanted to point out to you the Collect in the Mass readings these last few days, a perfect NRS statement: “Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care, O Lord, we pray,
    that they may see what must be done ( sanctifying grace for discernment:) and gain strength to do what they have seen ( actual grace).”
    The parentheses are mine, but it made me think ‘the next right step’ every time!

    Liked by 11 people

  4. “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” …Love this quote.

    One thing that I think needs to be addressed is the lack of critical thinking in our culture, whether in the home (because that’s where it starts) or the education system. Teaching critical thinking used to be the primary purpose of education (philosophy as a subject, being the foundation of it) rather than acquiring expertise in a particular skill set.
    With the advent of television (and maybe even radio in some ways), and now even more with electronic devices and the flood of information possible, critical and deep thinking have been losing ground.
    Maybe the reason “… the finest flower of human intellect is most carefully preserved by people who modern ‘intellectuals’ consider rubes” is because the rubes are the only ones regularly exercising critical thinking in contemplative prayer.

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    1. I agree, Andy14. What you quoted:

      “… the finest flower of human intellect is most carefully preserved by people who modern ‘intellectuals’ consider rubes”

      taken along with this:

      “The ruins are not ruined, only neglected. Their rebuilding begins with the revival of the mystery, the ambiguity, the thrill of courtship in romantic love, properly contained and ordered.”

      actually describes the situation in the early Middle Ages in Western Europe, when among the ruins of the Western Roman Empire Christian monks set about both preserving the best of classical culture and building the Church and a better civilisation. And they are now, as Charlie says, looked upon as irrelevant, “rubes”, when in fact they built the foundations of the entire Western civilisation their ill-educated, semi-barbaric, descendents are destroying, in their profound ignorance. I say profound ignorance, because one can perhaps forgive truly uneducated people for destroying that which they don’t understand. But one can’t forgive those who have every chance to be educated – more chances and resources than at any other time of human history – and still refuse to open what passes for their minds to see the truth. No, the Truth.

      Looks like it’s going to have to happen all over again. Still, the Immaculate Heart will triumph, this we know.

      God bless all. J.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Man, Jaykay, I really love it when someone completely gets one of my subtly embedded historical allusions. You are absolutely right that I had this in mind when I wrote these things. Not an exact parallel, because the elites of that time had some, but not overweening, pretensions about their intellect. Rather, it was about power and influence – and any who had none (and especially those who eschewed it altogether) were the rubes. The idea was that ‘you can’t win unless you take power and act with aggression.’ The rubes ultimately won then, and we will ultimately win now. I suspect, sometimes, that the dumb elites pretensions to intellect now is just the veneer over their lust for raw power – and privately wonder if they are sometimes aware and terrified of their own ignorance.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. “my subtly embedded historical allusions.”…

          are very high among the reasons why I love your stuff, C.J.! But not all the reasons. To be subtle: “let the reader understand” 😉 As, I think, most here do.

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      2. I suppose some of the ignorance comes from the revisionist history that is now taught and that tries to remove any link between the fruits that Christianity has given and how it has influenced Western culture (hospitals, universities, scientific method, etc.). As daunting as it seems, simply everyone taking the next right step (a.k.a. the Rube Shuffle) could change things pretty quickly.

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  5. Human sexuality in it current form has been turned from the “energy” it instills in a newly formed relationship as the drive to become worthy of the other, to a seeking of self satisfaction to the lust of our fallen nature .
    Bishop Sheen conceptualized the great strength and beauty of youth as the natural form for the fitness and desire to procreate. It is as natural to be attracted to youth and beauty as blooming flowers are to new spring growth ushering in a new season of propagation. As age abates this strength this desire is formed into the “agape” love or familial love that all properly ordered relationships possess. It becomes the “self-giving” love that our true nature was created for, to Love God with our whole strength and being and our neighbor as ourselves.
    Thus, to serve. In a proper relationship the gift of ones self to the other is not 50-50, but 100-100! In such a relationship, there is no need to look out for yourself because the other is covering you 100%. But your not worried about this anyway because you are 100% focused on the others needs all the time. This is true, fully lived agape love. This is the love God has for us -100%.
    I once read that when a man looks at a woman lustfully he does violence to her. I contemplated that for a long time because it rang true to me. I could feel this violence when I thought of someone looking at one of my daughters not out of love or appreciation for their beauty, but out of lust. How they did not appreciate the dear child they were but as an object to satisfy thier lustful desire.
    I thought of how terrible it was for a girl to give herself up to such a man who did not desire her as a person, but as an extension of his perverted ego.
    I realise that in our fallen state we victims of this condition and can only be redirected by “dieing to self” and then being resurrected by supernatural grace.
    “If water is to become hot, then cold must die out of it. If wood is to be made fire, then the nature of wood must die. The life we seek cannot be in us, it cannot become our very selves, we cannot be itself, unless we gain it by first ceasing to be what we are; we acquire this life through death.” —Fr. John Tauler (1361)

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  6. Thank you, Charlie!

    I pray for the grace to do this. There are some who do this so well. They are amazing and yes I think they have been blessed to learn these things at a young age. Please pray that those who don’t know how, can learn quickly. Thank God for the God of the impossible, who has mercy on those who haven’t been successful at this yet, but they keep trying. So thankful that he notices our attempts, however clumsy and ineffective they are.

    God bless you!

    Liked by 8 people

        1. Our sins make us no more than worms, correct Bob. Lord I am not worthy, but only say the word and My sins shall be healed. I totally understand your point, and yet that base desire to reject how truly wicked and offensive I am, keeps me from hitting the “like” on your post… … 😉

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  7. This is great! First the facts to help us to understand what is going on and why, then a simple 1,2,3 response.
    Charlie, I like how you break through all that is thrown at us, for us. My brain is too simple and cluttered to sort it out.
    You explain it so that I am free to take the next right step. Thanks.
    P. S. Please pray for a friend who lost her family home and cars in the CA fires. Her brother lost his job among other stressing problems.

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        1. Ah, but Beckita, you are conflating “clutter” with both “complexity” and “pile of junk.” 🙂 What appears to be clutter to one person is not clutter to the person who can hold a complex organization of things in her head or her home and always knows where any particular thing is within that collection of things. Every person has a maximum amount of stuff they can hold in an organized way. Some people cannot organize more than a few things, while others can organize many things. However, any person can get overwhelmed if too many things enter their life too quickly and overwhelm their ability to organize it all. Nor is someone whose house is filled with piles of junk that she doesn’t care about necessarily living a “cluttered” life. Within broad limits, if you don’t care about a bunch of stuff, it isn’t “clutter” to you and doesn’t drag you down into confusion. It’s just a pile of junk.

          Clutter is the stuff you care about, the stuff that’s important to you, but that you can’t organize. Clutter fosters confusion, drains energy, and prevents emotional and intellectual clarity. With a large amount of clutter in one’s life, one can even end up getting ill.

          Clutter interferes with clarity. Without clarity, you cannot be simple. Simplicity is measured in *part* not by the degree of complexity in one’s life or the amount of unimportant junk in one’s life but by the degree to which one’s life is uncluttered. An uncluttered life is a prerequisite for many good things, including clarity and simplicity. 🙂

          Check here for a definition of clutter:

          http://www.dictionary.com/browse/clutter

          Liked by 10 people

          1. Did your mother ask you to clean up your room often when you were growing up by chance?
            🙂
            You sound just like my brother who happened often to have stuff he cared about but couldn’t organize all over his room. Mom used to refer to it as a “mess”

            Liked by 3 people

          2. Well said, Steve… for a mind well developed in organizational strengths. Yet still, there is a synonym for the word “cluttered” which bespeaks the glorious potential of it all: “bestrewn.” If one’s mind is bestrewn with beauty, such as this dictionary example: “the bride’s train was bestrewn with rose petals” I can only imagine the simplicity of said arranged rose petals. Now, I really must get to organizing my desk. St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for me.

            Liked by 6 people

            1. Alas, Beckita, I am beleaguered on both sides, bestrewn by boffins and bozos who bash me with bathos and baloney, leaving me breathless and beaten. I withdraw, bloodied from the battle. 😀 😀 😀

              Liked by 7 people

              1. Gosh, Golly, SteveBC. You’re a gentleman of gallant stature, a generous and gracious guy with a gustatory style of bidding goodbye to a gabbling gran such as I. And oh how I love your humor! 😉 (edit: I now see your reply, Charlie and say: Ditto!)

                Liked by 7 people

              2. But surely not boggled. Bothered, even. Still less bedraggled. I shall refrain from another Anglo-Saxon adjective which begins with “b” and sounds not unlike “smothered”.

                Which, over here on our side of the big pond, can just about be got away with in (more or less) polite company.

                Which all the company here is, of course.

                Not being coarse.

                Liked by 2 people

          1. Ha, Doug! I think I shared with you that one of the most pressing realities which invoked constant wonder in my days in education was observing the many, varied ways God had wired the heads of His individual people. General differences between boys and girls were certainly there. I just loved helping wee ones develop metacognitive awareness as well as mentoring them to not be afraid when identifying personal strengths and weaknesses. Mistakes were framed as learning opportunities, not in a word play fashion which would deny that a mistake is a mistake, but in a venture to accept it without condemning self. As a little six year old was teaching my then five year old daughter how to finger knit, the elder child said to the younger one: “And you will make mistakes as you practice and get better. But sometimes, mistakes turnout to be something beautiful.” What a holy moment. What a moment of bespeaking God’s Power in our lives as He draws good out of our every mistake if we but surrender and trust.

            Liked by 9 people

            1. Oh yes Becks. The beauty in mistakes like that is that they display the child like inoscence of our humanity. Even though they are mistakes, they are not sins. This is where our affirmation as parents is so important.

              Liked by 4 people

        2. Somehow my reply of, “This is too funny!” landed in the wrong spot (my error I’m sure). I was referring to the picture entitled “Understanding Women” that Beckita posted. If the prior comment of mine has not yet been cleared, you may use this comment instead, as the prior one looks most inappropriate where it now sits.

          Liked by 2 people

      1. Smile. Steve, I actually considered that when I wrote it but both seemed to describe me ( and my brain) so I left it. Perhaps I meant all these things clutter and confuse my brain making me feel like a simpleton for not understanding.
        As an aside, I have been waiting for someone to mention this but no one has so perhaps I am the only one with this problem: not all, but a good many of the comments are showing up in a single unbroken vertical line. It makes reading nearly impossible. How do I fix it? Thanks.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Ha, yes, Kris R, I figured that that was actually what you meant. Now we know you’re not a simpleton, since you focused on a problem and did a simple thing which fixed your issue with the comments being too narrow. You turned the phone sideways. Voila! Sometimes just coming at a confusing problem from a different direction gives a simple way to fix what seemed an unsolvable mess. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

          1. SteveBC, I just read your comment on clutter. 😄👍🏻 You have explained my life to me and saved me the cost of a therapist. Happy day! 😊 Now I have another problem perhaps you and Beckita can work out for me. My husband wore out a pair of jeans. I was raised to not waste anything so I cut what I could into 5″ squares for a blue jean quilt. I had zipper and pockets left. Hmmm… I sewed the pockets back to back adding the zipper to the top. A neat little pouch for cell phone, cash and credit card but I felt it needed a strap. I dug the remaining jean scraps out of the garbage, cut along either side of the side seams and used it to add a strap to my little purse. I could finally let go of what was left of my hubby’s old jeans. It must be a diagnosable sickness, don’t you think? I have a house filled with such clutter waiting to once again become something useful. My heart wants simple but my brain stays actively involved with clutter!😳

            Liked by 5 people

            1. Now Steve, I want you to get on this. Kris’ husband makes the very best walleye I have ever had – and if I should get a taste for great walleye any time soon, I want both Kris and her husband’s head fully in the game.

              Liked by 6 people

            2. No no no, Kris. No illness. You save, are resourceful and improve life with your collections of objects – clutter is a misnomer here. Just get yourself some tidy little bins and boxes, fill em up and label em. Ta dah! Organized in a fashion which would impress the finest engineer’s mind. Cheaper than therapy too. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Kris R, you have me both laughing about your conundrum and in awe of your ingenuity and creativity. Do what Beckita said, label the entire collection of stuff your “Junk Pile” and put it out of your mind unless and until you need it. That will make all of that stuff available to you at need, but it won’t constantly be on your mind, since you will always know where it is and that it will be there when you need it. This will allow you to stop worrying over it and help you clear your mind.

              This is what David Allen, the author of “Getting Things Done,” says to do with anything on your mind: Set up a trusted method or place to store the thought or task or piece of stuff that’s on your mind, then store everything in that system so you don’t have to keep all those things on and in your mind. This will unclutter your mind, reduce worrying about losing things, and free your mind for other things you’d rather do than obsess over “stuff”. If I were your therapist, I would recommend you read that book and take from it anything that you think would help you. 🙂

              Know that you are farther down the road toward doing well in any bad situation than most of the rest of us here. You are AWESOME!!

              Liked by 2 people

  8. Great piece, Charlie! Peace definitely begins in the family. I have heard Ivan, Medjugorje visionary, speak on several occasions. He always reiterated that our Lady’s main message is to renew hope and bring back family prayer. He said, “She repeats messages to us as a mother often repeats requests to her own children. Do children often listen the first time they are told to do something?”
    Your writing reminded me of his talks, and that rebuilding the culture begins with the first fruits of family life.

    Thank you, Mother Mary, for guiding your children.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. oh I know LisasMania7 ,,,As I was reading this great piece, I was thinking..oh oh..yes..I’ll highlight this part..then oh oh…I’ll highlight this one instead…then it happened a few more times and I sighed, and thought..I’ll just post it and call it “TRUTH!” LOL

      Liked by 6 people

  9. My heart is saddened by all this garbage society puts out in front of children, the poor children who loose their innocence… I don’t see the METOO movement as a good thing, but only as a transfer/consolidation of power for another evil group to attack society with… In the end, the three days of darkness is probably going to be God’s solution to cleaning house of all it’s filth… Nowadays you get labelled hate speech if you disagree with sexual attitudes of society and may loose your job or excommunicated…

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Al…I’ve been pondering all morning how God is going to fix this mess! We are a society from our very beginning of life to quickly experience corruption and loss of innocence! I don’t think any of us have been untouched. I do see beautiful big families quite a lot in our rural church and so there is hope, but I’ve been actually thinking God will have to do some pretty big Noah style clean up to fix our poor broken world. The most important thing is our eternal souls however. It scares me that Our Lady of Fatima said that “Souls are falling into hell like snowflakes, ” back in 1917. Imagine today. But then again…where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. Or something like that 😉

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Yes, it alarms me a lot too at the potential souls going to Hell today, it’s not like everyone will want to reunite with God’s will… As for the cleanup, who knows… The saints gave some vague references to a cleanup at the end of the age (whenever that is…), I’ve read lots on this topic, but I find myself with more questions than answers; when whatever happens for “weeding the garden of life” I guess faith & trust in God is what’s going get faithful through the tough times… I find it difficult to understand why anyone would think they can reject everything of God and get away with it with no consequences…

        Liked by 5 people

      2. “Snowflakes”

        I have pondered this term lately. For me, I am wondering if Our Lady was hinting toward something more. In our current time, a “snowflake” is someone who is truly neither hot nor cold but luke warm in his/her beliefs. A tool of the Political Correctness culture we have enveloped (ourselves).

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hmmm… Linda, I have never read that Our Lady of Fatima used that simile of “falling like snowflakes” to describe the poor souls who go to hell. Could you please share a reference for where you might have read this quote?

        As The Lady of All Nations, Our Mother used the image of snowflakes to describe the dispersal of the prayer which she gave:

        ” Once again, Our Lady uses an image of snowflakes to teach the visionary that this prayer should be prayed everywhere. “I see the globe rotating under her feet, and snowflakes are falling thickly everywhere. Then the Lady says, ‘Did you see this? The Lady of All Nations will be brought throughout the world in the same way, from town to town, from country to country. This simple prayer will create one community’” (Feb. 17, 1952). “I want this to be [prayed] in many languages” (March 4, 1951) and the prayer brought also “to those countries where faith has declined” (April 15, 1951), because “The Lady of All Nations is not destined for one country, for one place, but is destined for the world, the peoples” (Oct. 11, 1951). “They all have a right to it” (April 29, 1951). Thus the explicit desire of the Mother of All Nations is understandable, that this prayer “will have to be prayed in all churches” (Dec. 8, 1952). “This prayer shall be spread in churches and by modern means” (Dec. 31, 1951). Yes, the Christians “shall pray my prayer against degeneration, disaster and war, and bring it among all nations” (Oct. 11, 1953). Not least of all, the Lady of All Nations expects that those who spread the prayer do it rapidly, very seriously, and with great zeal, because after all they work “for this cause, which the Son wants to be realized” (April 29, 1951).”

        From: https://www.devrouwevanallevolkeren.nl/en/the-prayer/

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree, Beckita. Our Lady didn’t use those words in Sr. Lucia’s description of Hell, which described damned souls (Lord, how horrible!) floating about in the flames, but that was all.

          “When the Lady spoke these words She opened Her hands as She had in the two months before. The radiance seemed to penetrate the ground and we saw something like a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were the demons and the souls, as if they were red-hot coals, transparent and black or bronze-colored, with human forms, which floated about in the conflagration, borne by the flames which issued from it with clouds of smoke falling on all sides as sparks fall in great conflagrations without weight or equilibrium, among shrieks and groans of sorrow and despair that horrify and cause people to shudder with fear….”

          Liked by 2 people

  10. I have the duty of marriage prep from time to time. Even among those who are inclined to marriage, the Church’s vision seems like the top of El Capitan when viewed from the valley floor.
    God’s grace can change this but it is amazing how few images of the ideal exist.
    Humanae Vitae is an amazing story of human love written by a celebate man! It is also such a prophetic document. That ought to commend it to anyone. And yet we think we can double down on our stupidity and change the course. That is something like the definition of insanity.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Indeed. He had a troubled pontificate, some of it brought about by himself but much else brought about by those who used him. For Humanae Vitae alone, though, his pontificate was, in retrospect, a great one. Also, his “Credo of the People of God” is great, and his upholding of Our Lady.

      Blessed Paul VI, pray for us.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Such beautiful truth, Charlie! The truth always sets us free & thank you Dear God for conscience!! I loved Fr Wade’s holly this morning on EWTN. He said when our conscience bothers us, the satan tells us to “shhhhhhh” be quiet! Don’t listen to your conscience!” Father talked about how an authentically married couples role is to bring each other to heaven. Amen! Blessed Mother, please send lots & lots of grace to all married couples to build up the kingdom of heaven. Truth is so beautiful & so freezing💖💖💖

    Liked by 7 people

  12. It was almost 20 years ago that I came to a personal understanding of the human family – Father, Mother and children, and most certainly in earthly example, the Holy Family, as a “mirror” reflection of the Holy Trinity. With the Love of the Father and the Word – the Son and our Savior, continuously and ever newly bringing forth the Love of the Holy Spirit, thusly Love and Life to all. So a very deep understanding of the abomination of contraception came to light, yet alone abortion. Blocking and killing the new potential for Life is counter to the Love continuously springing forth from the Trinity. It is chaos, it is insanity. During the year while working on monthly presentations of the Fatima apparitions at our Cathedral, I learned about the very depth of the evil in communism. The element I believe most Americans have never truly grasped since Communism became a word that struck fear in their hearts even before I was born. Mary told the children Russia would spread her “errors” through out the world. Lenin and Stalin having erroneously embraced Marxism as their social answer to Russia’s problems, set up their Russian Communist party in 1912. They seized power on 25th of October, 1917. Just 12 Days after Mary’s Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. What exactly was Russia’s error? Marx first wrote a piece called the German Ideology in 1846 with Frederick Engle. In it he stated that the “First Division of Labor” is between man and woman for the propagation of children. Engle affirmed that Marx theory “demanded the abolition of monogamous family as the economic unit of society.” One of the long time contemporary “students” of St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Christopher West, made the comment in an hour long presentation years ago( viewed online “Theology of the Body and Our Lady of Fatima” about 2014 I think) was that Americans believe we avoided the “errors” of Russia, we avoided Communism. But understanding Marx first Division of Labor tells us otherwise. We know the Devil has sought to attack the Woman since the beginning of humankind, we know the most pure, most chaste, most holy Woman gave birth to True Love and True Life, and we know the family has been under serious attack for quite some time now… On the 13th October, before Mary displayed her miracle of the sun by the grace given to her by God, she spoke a few last words to the three pure and innocent little children. She had pleaded repeatedly in the three previous months of July, August and September to “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and pray the Rosary every day.” In October her last sentence to the children was, “…they (sinners) must amend their lives and ask forgiveness for their sins.” She looked very sad and ended with, “Do not offend the Lord Our God any more, because he is already so much offended.” I quite foolishly or maybe only naively, but still pretty stupidly ( having always had Bibles within reach and so could have better understood this “depth and breath and long suffering offense of God’s”), thought of this “so much offense” as pertaining merely to us since about the late 1800’s or 1900’s, even though I could not imagine such an offense at that time of the world. Yes, I really thought that the before us, before Industry and technology could not possibly have been as terrible in their offences to God as we are with all our sins of today…but to add to all of this commentary and to try to make my ultimate point about God’s offense to our sins: to certainly include the sexual atrocities, which are a direct attack against the “Holy Family” and thusly all “human families”, and of course ALL other sins, is what I recently read in Jeremiah chapters 16 and 17 about God’s “offense”. God said, “…Because your fathers deserted Me…followed other gods, and served them and worshipped them…they deserted me and did not keep My Instruction….And you have acted worse than your fathers, every one of you following the willfulness of his evil heart and paying no heed to Me…For you have kindled the flame of My wrath which shall burn for all time.” which shall BURN for ALL TIME….ALL TIME… There is no explanation mark in the Tanakh from which I took this. Maybe God does not need them. But this hit home like nothing before for me regarding God’s offense. Even as I write the tears well up in my eyes…If we Love Him, we should be as sad as Our Mother Mary over His offense to our Sins, and for her to be in Heaven and look so sad to those little children about it, I would say she is Very, VERY Sad. It should be our daily motivation to assist her in prayer and sacrifice to God for the offense he bears because of all of our sins. Sorry this was so lengthy. Hope it did not ramble, too much. Been going to make this comment for months, but this post seemed the most apropos.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. Ava,
      For me, I have attempted to comprehend (read) but have stopped as I was getting lost in the one, long paragrapgh. Could you (would you) please add spacing in between? In the future? It makes for an easier read.
      Thank you.
      Sean

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Charlie, you are a good person, beloved by God. Whether you have been right, or wrong, that is not what God looks at. He looks at the purity of the heart, He looks at the desire to do good, He looks at the desire to serve God, and to love His people, and to further God’s Kingdom. I believe you have worked hard to do all of these, and for this, God is pleased. Thank you all of your efforts. God bless.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Hi, Beckita. Another technical question. I bookmarked this site, but when I go to it, it has not updated itself to the newest post. It stays on whatever post I bookmarked. Am I doing something wrong? I am not computer savvy. Thanks, and God bless you!

    Like

        1. Janet, I’ve pasted the directions we formerly had for TNRS and adapted them for ASOH. So, here’s the advice SteveBC wrote for those who wanted to activate the “Like” function. Let us know if you need more help.

          Step 1) If you do not have a WordPress account, it is easy to set up. Go here:
          https://wordpress.com/start/account/user
          and fill in (a) the email address to which you want any WordPress emails or notifications to be sent, (2) the username you want to use to log into your newly created account, and (3) a strong password. Then click the “Create My Account” button to register and log into your personal account with WordPress.com. Now skip to Step 3.

          Step 2) If you do have a WordPress account already, go here:
          https://wordpress.com/wp-login.php?redirect_to=https://wordpress.com/
          and enter the username and password for your WordPress account, check the box saying, “Stay signed in,” and click the Login button.

          Step 3) Click here:
          https://asignofhope442992340.wordpress.com/
          to go back to ASOH web site and load the Home page there. Look at the top of your browser window, under the browser toolbar and above the photograph on the home page You should now see a black bar running across the page. (It actually blends in with the starry sky.) If you do, then go to Step 4. If you don’t, click on this link:
          https://wordpress.com/wp-login.php?redirect_to=https://wordpress.com/
          and enter your WordPress username and password, be sure the “Stay signed in” checkbox is checked, then click the Login button. Then click on the link above for the website Home page, to load that page and check to see if the black banner is now there. It should be there.

          Step 4) Go to the post that has a comment you want to Like, find the comment, and click the “Like” button. In a few seconds it should indicate you have Liked the comment successfully.

          Stay signed into WordPress, so the black banner will always show up, and the Like button should always work for you from now on. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I did all that, Beckita..I do get the emails in my outlook account yet still I cant use the ‘Like’ button for the articles. I can however ‘like’ individual posts! I’m doing something wrong but I can’t figure it out.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Janet, first I think we need to clarify terms. When Beckita or Charlie write an article, that article is called a “Post”. When you or I write something below a Post, as we are doing here, it is technically called a “Comment” and not a post.

              From what I can see, you are able to Like comments but are not able to Like the Post at the top of this page. If that is correct, then perhaps you can tell me which of the following is true:

              Option 1) You are not able to find the Like button for the Post at all. If so, look in the “Share this:” section just under the end of the Post text. It should be in the second row of icons and buttons, second one in from the left.

              Option 2) You can find the “Share this:” section but there is no Like button in it. I don’t know what to do for this, except to say to make sure you are signed into your WordPress.com account at all times (which will cause you to see a black ribbon across the top of the webpage above Charlie’s pictures). If it still does not appear, I have no idea what to try next.

              Option 3) You can get to the “Share this:” section and can see the Like button, but when you click it, nothing happens. The button should turn blue, your gravatar icon pic of you should appear in the line of icons to the right of the Like button, and the text underneath should read “You and ## other bloggers like this.” I don’t know what to say to fix this either. As for (2) above, I recommend that you make sure that you are logged into your WordPress.com account, but also simply try reloading your web page to force it to reload and reset itself, then try Liking the Post again and see if that works properly then. Sometimes, buttons on web pages can get triggered improperly or not get their code loaded properly, something that should be fixed when the page is forcibly reloaded.

              Now if I am completely off base in my assumptions of what is going wrong for you, please give me a more precise description of your issue and use the correct terms so I can understand your situation more precisely. Thanks! 🙂

              Liked by 3 people

              1. Option 3) You can get to the “Share this:” section and can see the Like button, but when you click it, nothing happens. The button should turn blue, your gravatar icon pic of you should appear in the line of icons to the right of the Like button, and the text underneath should read “You and ## other bloggers like this.” I don’t know what to say to fix this either.

                This is the problem..I click it and nothing happens. Never mind Steve I can at least still read and reply to comments…thank you! 😊

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Janet, do you see a “Reblog” button to the left of the “Like” button? Or is the “Like” button the first button on the left end of that row of buttons and pictures?

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. There’s the answer then. You are not signed into your WordPress.com account, if you even have one. If you were, then you would see a half-inch deep black ribbon across the top of your browser page, with various WordPress selections on it. Go to this document here:

                    https://docs.google.com/document/d/13GHlzz6VCloAH96zKqcM6namReqkeCv5KW7vZuP4XlY/edit

                    If you have a WordPress.com account, do Step 1. If you don’t have a WordPress.com account, start at Step 2 and proceed (record your username and password!). If you log in, look for a checkbox that says something like “Keep me logged in” and check it. That will keep you logged in for a long time. Note that after you have logged in and gone back to Charlie’s site, you should see the black ribbon across the page whenever you are browsing any WordPress.com account, including Charlie’s. Also, you can go to the right end of the black bar and get to your account information and set preferences that include getting all Posts and comments via email, which is very convenient for posts, although you may find the comments selection causing you to get too many emails for your taste. Once logged in, all the Like buttons should work.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Thanks Steve….. I am logged in and I see the black ribbon across the top of the page, I also have set my preferences. I’ll take another look to see just what I’m doing wrong.

                      Liked by 1 person

              3. Well, Janet, that’s a mystery to me. I don’t know what’s going on for you. If you have the black ribbon across the top and see “My Sites” and “Reader” on the left end and “Write” and your gravatar and the bell icon at the right end, then it would certainly seem to me that you are logged into WP. You can click on your gravatar in the right end of the ribbon and check all your preferences, and click on Reader and make sure you are following Charlie’s site. Under Reader find “Followed Sites” and click the Manage button to see what WP-based sites you are actually following. I suppose it’s possible that you’re not following his site specifically but I admit that that seems a stretch. In the “Share this:” section under every Post, you should see the “Reblog” button at the left end to the left of the Like button. If you don’t see it, the Like button won’t work either, and the only thing I can think of is that you’re not actually following Charlie’s site itself. Please let me know if you figure out what has happened so I can know how to help anyone else with this problem in the future! 🙂

                Liked by 3 people

                1. Hi Steve,

                  I don’t see a “Reblog” button but I did check my settings and I am following the posts. If I figure it out I’ll let you know. Thanks for your help 🙂

                  Liked by 2 people

  15. Avaeadie that was profound! I took keep getting a same reading…the New Heavens & new Earth one..& it talks about how we will all go to a mountain…I often think of Mount Meeker. 😀 I truly haven’t memorized the passage, but next time God prompts me to open to it, Ill share it with you.😚

    Liked by 6 people

  16. Charlie, well said. God has certainly moved your heart to make this a “new beginning” post. And the comments build on it. I’m believing it’s #1 on His Heart and must be on ours, too. As I look out on the landscape of the modern world, the subtle goal seems to be the the elimination of all human life, and we have been rushing to help it along. There is a Scriptural passage that says (I think this is right), that if the days were not shortened, none would be saved. Look at the frightful plans for artificial Intelligence. [ oxymorom term] That was the satan’s hateful goal from the beginning.

    Lord, renew my strength, my courage to stand firm in Faith, Hope and Charity. Mercy Lord, Stay with me Lord, there is so much work to be done on this poor sinner.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Amen, Judith. I love that line from Matthew’s Gospel: “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” It keeps us pumped up in remaining faithful to prayer and sacrifice which Our Lady can bring to Abba’s Throne.

      Liked by 5 people

  17. Wonderful piece Charlie. I have heard that sex is like glue. If done out of marriage, it keeps a disastrous relationship together. If done in proper context in marriage, it can make the relationship stronger. Put another way, a good marriage relationship leads usually leads to a good sexual relationship and enhances it further. The converse is not true. Sex outside of what it was designed for does not lead to a good relationships. It often masks deeper issues.

    Liked by 8 people

  18. Begin a the beginning. Great start, Charlie, first things first. We’re so steeped in the secular world (even though we try not to be) it’s a good thing to ask God where we still have secular footholds in our beliefs and actions. Being born after the sexual revolution, I really have *zero* idea of what a healthy culture might look like, although I can use my faith and the stories of the saints to imagine it. But still, it’s shaky. I think I’m going to use that for a Lenten prayer this year–that God give me a new understanding of what this all might look like.

    Liked by 10 people

      1. Yes, but that would make the other fonts bigger than necessary. I’m just suggesting that the main article text font be the same size as the comments.

        Like

  19. To change society’s dysfunction is an overwhelming task. Only powerful action by Our Lord can accomplish this, I am sure. We will do our part and at the same time, keep praying for God’s intervention to bring massive conversions.

    I had quite a shock the other day, reading the latest e-letter from Dr. Mark Miravalle’s Mother of All Peoples website. Since I don’t have a book about Our Lady of All Nations, I have read many of Ida’s messages online. The one quoted the other day, and the date it gave, is what really threw me for a loop. Notice the year in the quote below.

    “Tell the Sacristan of the Holy Father to pass on the following: celibacy is still the great strength of the Church. There are people who want this to be changed. Only in great exceptions. Say this. He will understand me. The dogma of Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate has to be proclaimed before 1960.”

    I had never seen this date or deadline spoken of before! If the proclamation of this dogma will be the Triumph of Our Lady and unleash untold graces, imagine if it had been proclaimed when Our Lady asked that it be done. Think of all that has happened since 1960, that might have been prevented! The unleashing of the sexual revolution, was one disaster. Oh well, only God knows the reasons for things happening.

    I hear your puzzlement, Briana, in your comment, not knowing what life was like previously. I have often told my children that my generation has seen the “before and after”. Things were not perfect when I grew up, but oh, how much has changed! We have the Lord’s promise however, so we continue with hope and lots of prayer!

    Liked by 7 people

  20. I would like to ask for prayers for my son. He told us of some things he’d been up too about six months ago, he was getting it off his chest..anyway, he’s decided to participate in Nineveh 90. Please pray that the Lord will bless and give him direction. Just as an aside, I almost didn’t send him the email with the Novena information, and I figured why not??? I was very surprised when he said he was doing it…

    Liked by 8 people

        1. SO true! After my first child was born, I told my SIL how happy I was to have had a “normal” pregnancy and delivered a “healthy” daughter. While on meds and lying in my hospital bed recovering and basking in the blessing of my first bundle of joy, she said now you get to worry about her the rest of your life. I hadn’t begun to think about it that way YET! 😀

          Liked by 4 people

  21. Speaking of Ruins! The Global Elite Coup that, for 18 months tried to destroy the Trump campaign and after the election has been attempting, desperately, to Take-Down the duly elected President Trump is crumbling. Big and Small Rats, worldwide, are “getting cornered” and these Rats are Rich, Influential and Dangerous …. and Evil!!
    Most of the Global Media is part of The Coup as are most “top” politicians in the Global Left. These Rats have infiltrated the highest echelons of the Intel, Security, Civil and Military….. and, sadly, the Christian “Mainline” Churches ;-(
    I’ll leave it to your vivid imaginations to think-up unpleasant … “Wag the Dog” …. scenarios that Rich, Influential and Dangerous Rats could trigger to cover for and distract from their misdeeds of Blood Libel, Sedition and Treason. The Global Left has been implementing their Agenda/Plan since WWII. They believe they were “so-close” after eight years of Obama and 50 years of godless creeping PC. I pray that we have enough Patriot Citizens of Faith to counter what will, inevitably, come!

    “Confusing Dossier Chaff with Wheat” – Clarice Feldman

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/01/confusing_dossier_chaff_with_wheat.html

    The above article mentions several Patriot Watchdog sources and people that are doing yeoman service in Unmasking the Evildoers. I hope they and the folks @ Judicial Watch have good “Protection”

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “The Global Left has been implementing their Agenda/Plan since WWII. They believe they were “so-close” after eight years of Obama and 50 years of godless creeping PC. I pray that we have enough Patriot Citizens of Faith to counter what will, inevitably, come!”

      I’d say they’ve been implementing it since the French “revolution”. Maybe even further back, since the “reformation” (lower case deliberate). With current brainwashing, it’s only snowballing.

      Liked by 3 people

  22. Just a little something that brought me a smile. My husband and younger son still watch some football because they are Vikings fans. The older one boycotted all. I never watch because every team they’ve rooted for loses when I watch and I also boycotted. Tonight, the Vikings won which is being called the Minnesota Miracle. I had said a little prayer asking that they win (from another room upstairs), but that it wasn’t important really, just to give a little cheer to some people. In fact, our priest today said, “Skol!!” before the blessing at the end of Mass when he gives a little chat. Well, my son pointed out to me that when the quarterback was interviewed, he gave praise to Jesus and the young man who made the final touchdown (wide receiver?) said he “gives all the glory to God.” I’m noticing these things more. 🙂 God bless us all!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. It seems to me that there is a lot of giving glory to God–almost as if a restrainer had been lifted. Our country is in desperate need of conversion and blessing others and being a blessing to others is a very apparent sign of hope.
        I also started adding the phrase “the US and every soul within it” to various prayers: for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us, on the US and every soul within it and on the whole world.

        Liked by 4 people

  23. Charlie, I’ve read this essay of yours more than once ~ it is excellent, with some great metaphors.

    Saint Pope John Paul II wrote in 1981, the “future of humanity passes by way of the family” (Familiaris Consortio, 86). Families are central to God’s plan from Genesis on: man, woman, love, marriage, baby carriages, lifelong fidelity ~ all in the proper order. Anything that destroys the basic family structure, especially in widespread concerted ways, is not of God.

    Thus, in the “100 years” vision that inspired Pope Leo XIII to compose the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, one of the first shots out of the devil’s barrel in October 1916, before Fatima but after the beginning of World War I, was the opening of Margaret Sanger’s first birth control clinic in the United States. Many, many, many people fell for her arguments then and still do today. Not often acknowledged is that some of her ardent supporters had ~ and have ~ their own personal motives, which were often hidden under the public rhetoric.

    Imagine a fellow or a gal being addicted to serial adultery. What a boon it would be to hide the personal addiction under the public banner of some supposedly great social cause. Pope Paul VI was, indeed, a very wise man.

    The Seven Deadly Sins, alas, have never gone out of style. Here’s a handy acronym that I use to remember them: PAWLEGS.
    Pride
    Avarice
    Wrath
    Lust
    Envy
    Gluttony
    Sloth

    In the complexes of sin that have affected the world ~ perhaps with especially fierce intensity during the “100 years” ~ the seven deadlies cooperate in noxious ways. So, for example, the deadly sin of personal Lust goes hand-in-hand with the Avarice of multinational pharmaceutical companies that rake in vast profits by conning healthy women into taking birth control pills day after day, week after week, year after year, often starting as unmarried teenagers, to make themselves sterile. Sterile ~ for what purpose, serving whom?

    Additionally, what’s well known but not often acknowledged is that even sophisticated birth control chemicals fail to prevent pregnancy a good percentage of the time; hence, the supposed need for abortion as the back-up plan for those practicing “responsible sex.” Despite essentially unlimited access to birth control in recent decades, the abortion rate in America has never dipped below one million per year since 1978, five years after Roe v Wade. Abortion, too, has serious multigenerational aftereffects. On and on it goes.

    Planned Parenthood (the later name of Margaret Sanger’s enterprise) has been in the thick of all of this; it’s truly momentous that David Daleiden and his colleagues and supporters have been unveiling the evil in especially irrefutable ways in recent years.

    Meanwhile, on God’s side of the tally sheet, researchers started discovering nearly a century ago or earlier that fertile women in childbearing years are not fertile 100 percent of the time but have natural monthly fertility cycles that can be identified. This led to the Catholic Church’s support for Natural Family Planning within marriage. Understanding has advanced greatly since the early days. The “rhythm method” is an antiquated term describing an antiquated understanding, yet many otherwise well-educated people haven’t advanced their knowledge. (Could there be hidden motives?) One of the best websites describing authentic Catholic teaching on Natural Family Planning ~ both the scientific and the proper theological understanding ~ and its benefits is here:
    http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/

    Another sign of hope that I became a small part of in early 2012 ~ just when the odious Obamacare conscious-violating HHS mandate was proposed ~ is Women Speak For Themselves and its companion organization, I Believe in Love. WSFT started at the kitchen table of Helen Alvaré, JD, wife and mom, when her friend and neighbor Kim Daniels, JD, wife and mom, stopped by. While the soup was cooking, together they scratched out an open letter and put it up on a hastily constructed website. Quickly, tens of thousands of women across the country signed on. Women Speak For Themselves was born. Here is a link to their (our) history page on a more polished website:
    https://womenspeakforthemselves.com/history/

    I encourage you to click on the link within that page to see the text of the original letter that we were relieved to sign. Our mission is this:

    “Women Speak For Themselves is a national grassroots movement empowering women to speak in media, local communities and online, about how women are disadvantaged respecting dating and marriage, especially because of contraception and abortion, and about how to reconnect sex with marriage and children for the good of all people.”

    I Believe in Love, started and maintained by early members of WSFT, is designed to actively engage and to help young adults begin to clear up the wreckage caused by the “100 years’” notion of love, a tangle into which many were born with no direct experience of a holier, happier, healthier way. In their hearts, many long for this way but don’t know how to find it. Here is the About Us page of IBIL’s website:
    http://www.ibelieveinlove.com/i-believe-in-love-about-us/

    I could go on and on, but I’ll step off the podium now. Thanks for listening.

    God bless and keep you, Charlie and friends.
    Sister Bear

    Liked by 8 people

  24. In other news: 😀

    https://stream.org/pope-weds-couple-mid-flight-aboard-papal-plane/

    The groom is quoted:

    Ciuffardi told Crux that Francis held their hands and blessed the rings they had worn for more than seven years “in the name of God.”

    “What he said to us is very important: ‘This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married,’” Ciuffardi said.

    This story is all over the Internet.

    Liked by 5 people

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