Into the Whirlwind


By Charlie Johnston

(I am trying a different theme. The most dramatic operational thing that is different is that to pull up material that used to be in the sidebar, you need to go to the top right of the site and click on the “Menu” tab. It will open up all those sidebar options and pages. To leave it, just click “Menu” again and go back to “Home.” It will take a little getting used to, but I am trying to find something that is both user-friendly and visually attractive. As I said, this is a bit of a work in progress.

I start this with an important post from the old site. This is an excerpt from a piece I wrote  well over 20 years ago, a meditation on the Book of Job. I hope you enjoy it – and the new theme of the site.-CJ)

Since God’s interaction with each person is so intimately personal, how do we encounter Him properly and help others to do so? However interesting it might be for a finger to explain its function to a foot, it won’t be terribly helpful in teaching the foot to walk. One of the best answers to this question is to be found in the most misunderstood and misinterpreted book of the Bible; the Old Testament Book of Job.

There is good reason why many skim over – or skip entirely – the Book of Job. It turns the nostrums of traditional piety upside down. As it opens we are introduced to Job, a just and pious man who is blessed in all his affairs. He is prosperous, healthy and has a big, joyful family. In fact, Job is so notable for his good-natured righteousness that God boasts of him before the heavenly host. Hearing this, the satan appears before the throne and tells God that the only reason Job is so faithful is because God has given him such abundant blessings. Satan proposes a wager: if God will let him afflict Job, the man will curse God to His face. Though the Anti-Gambling Coalition would surely disapprove, God takes the bet anyway.

Disaster after disaster befalls Job. His crops are ruined, his livestock perish, his children are killed, his health is afflicted and his life becomes an almost unbearable misery. It is idiomatic to speak of the patience of Job; even Jesus comments on it. But if patience is understood to mean meek acceptance of whatever comes, that most assuredly does not describe our Job. There are 42 chapters in the book. By Chapter Three Job is in full dudgeon. He complains of God, complains to God, insists he has done nothing to deserve this, and demands that God appear before him to explain.

In the course of his bitter complaints Job is visited by three traditionally pious friends (a fourth pops up briefly near the end) who come to defend God, urge Job to repent of his complaints and to confess to the sins that have caused these disasters to befall him. But Job is adamant. He insists that if God would agree to stand with him before an independent tribunal where both presented their case without intimidation, his own righteousness would be confirmed.

The two most commonly quoted verses of Job are at 13:15 and 19:25. The former is quoted as, “Slay me though he might, I will wait for him; I will defend my conduct before him,” (NAM) and, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him,” (KJV). The latter reads, “…I know that my Vindicator lives…” (NAM) or, “…I know that my redeemer liveth…” (KJV). Though both are beautiful expressions of faith, what is notable about them is the contrast they present to Job’s usual litany of complaints and demands. For those who would make Job into a meekly pious, long-suffering man, they are about the only useful quotes in the whole book.

Rarely is any of Chapter III quoted. In his opening complaint, Job goes into a lengthy curse of the day he was born. He comes perilously close to cursing creation, itself, in the process – which would be blasphemy. Even so, the two quotes cited earlier are consistent with Job’s main argument, even if not in the way that many would like them to be. Job does not argue that God is unjust, though he skirts close to that argument frequently; his argument is that his own treatment is unjust. Job demands, often quite stridently, that God appear to him and explain; yet he remains faithful that if he could obtain this he would ultimately receive justice from the Almighty.

His friends, on the other hand, insist that God’s justice is always immediate. So if Job suffers, he must have sinned grievously.

Astonishingly, God does exactly what Job demands. At the beginning of Chapter 38 God comes roaring out of the whirlwind to answer Job. For the next four chapters God takes Job through all of creation; the heavens, the earth, the seas, the sky, the animals, the darkness and the light. At each step, God asks Job what he knows of such things, what he can command. The Almighty is not gentle about his questioning of Job. Dripping with sarcasm, He taunts and mocks the man, showing him how small he is and how little he knows.

After four chapters of God roaring at and apparently browbeating him, Job submits. “I put my hand over my mouth…I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know,” (Job 40:4, 42:3 NAM). It is at this point that many commentators who are candid about Job’s impassioned dissent lose their way. Though God appears, He does not seem to answer Job’s questions, only to roar at and intimidate him. Observers who admire Job’s courage and passion in challenging God lament that, in the end, he buckles before God’s power rather than persisting in his demand for answers. Though trying to approach the book honestly these commentators are as limited as Job’s ‘pious’ friends.

God certainly roars at Job, but He does much more than that. He spends fully four chapters showing Job every aspect of creation. Think about that. God did not just come out of the whirlwind to Job; He took Job back into the whirlwind with Him.

I love contemplating what it was Job saw that caused him to put his hand over his mouth and dispute with God no more. Imagine that God showed Job our world, sparkling blue and green like some impossibly rare and precious gem, glittering with life and light. Then God shows Job the entire universe. Think of Job’s wonder at the billions of stars, comets, quarks and planets all pulsing and whirring, a symphony of light and rhythm. Then the stunning realization that our world amounts to less than a grain of sand in the ocean of this staggering abundance. Most stunning of all, God shows Job that this vast universe is merely the support system for our little speck. Every passing comet, every collapsing black hole, every bursting supernova, every moon, every planet in the most distant galaxy is designed to maintain the dynamic tension which keeps our world ticking. Utterly amazing that in the grand physical scheme of things we are less than a speck – and yet are the very reason for that grand scheme. We are God’s beloved.

Zooming back to Earth, Job is shown how all the animals and plants, the land and sea, winds and waters, fire and ice in striving with each other maintain the vitality of life. He sees more than this, though.

Standing with God outside of time, that remorseless captor from whom no man has robbed even a minute, every moment of Job’s life is present to him; his birth, his death, his sufferings and his restoration. Watch with Job as he considers this divine terrarium contained in time and space.

Though He constrains Himself against compelling our will, God manages the divine economy so that every event, every chance encounter calls us to Him. Here is a child of great purity born to parents given to licentiousness. There a child of great courage is given to parents who are rootless. An arrogant rake named Augustine is born to Monica, a woman of astonishing purity, persistence and fortitude. Bathed in the grace of decades of her prayers, Augustine ends by becoming one of God’s most fruitful servants. How often are parents sanctified through their children and children through their parents! There are saints with great sins on their consciences. In them, it merely opens up new channels of grace as their remorse gives them a larger spirit and a tender empathy for other sinners. There are great sinners who only have a small virtue, but grab hold of that lifeline and follow it back to God. Many people are inspired to find their path to salvation through an encounter with one who suffers with dignity. Ah, but many others are seduced by the transient glitter of vanity and power, fooled by the false luster of what is only paper and paste compared to what God intends for us.

Job sees great natural catastrophes – and a flood of divine grace pouring forth just before the catastrophe hits. For a time even enemies recollect their common humanity and pull together in solidarity with each other. Many are saved through this. But there are those who loot and exploit their fellows, unaware that they tear a piece of their humanity away from their soul in the process. God weeps over it. There are untimely deaths which seem tragic. But most are souls in their final state of grace. It is God’s mercy which plucks them before they can fall into perdition. In God’s economy every event is a potential new channel of grace opening up.

Job does not see God punishing anyone; He is far too busy trying to save them. A little temporal or physical suffering is often applied to help heal a soul. But souls can only be damaged by their owners’ free choice. Certainly, the satan busies himself trying to undo God’s grace, encouraging souls to maim themselves by chasing after sex, money and power at the expense of those around them. With every step away from God it becomes harder for a soul to hear and respond to His call. God not only calls each of us to salvation; He calls us a thousand times a day in little whispers. The Lord of Hosts suffers intensely over each of His children who so maim their souls that they begin to lose the capacity to respond to Him. Everything leads to eternity. In eternity, outside of God, there is only agony and isolation.

Job sees that, in temporal time and space, the greatest conquests and the greatest accomplishments are less than a puff of smoke on a windy day. The only thing that matters – the only thing – is the witness we live with those we encounter and, especially, with those given into our care. Everything in this bubble is always passing away. Those who anchor themselves in temporal things will perish with those temporal things. All that counts is to help others to choose life, the life that is when all this passes away.

Job sees great souls whose purity and love unite them with God. Even greater souls manifest their love of God through their love of and tender care for their neighbors. But the greatest souls are those who embrace what little sorrows and sufferings come their way in penance for themselves and as an offering for those who do no penance. Everyone wants the consolation of God, but these are the souls who console God. Their willing participation in His sorrows opens up profound channels of grace through which many otherwise unreachable souls are recalled to God, to life.

This is some of what I see when I enter into the whirlwind with Job. He does not put his hand over his mouth in servile fear, but in awe and with gratitude. Though he can’t understand all he sees, he discovers a bit of the magnitude of God’s love for us. And he takes new joy in knowing that his sufferings, too, make him a participant in God’s redeeming grace for us.

As Job’s tale comes to a close God does what may be the most astonishing thing of all. In what should (but somehow does not) send a chill of terror up the spine of every religious scold in history, God turns furiously on Job’s ‘pious’ friends. “You have not spoken rightly of me as has my servant Job,” He tells them. The Almighty is so angry He refuses to hear their prayers for forgiveness. Instead, He directs them to go to Job and ask him to pray for them, for He will hear and accept Job’s prayer on their behalf. These are the very people who have spent the entire book defending God while Job has been busy raging at and challenging Him. What are we to make of this?

Perhaps the friends were not defending God at all. Perhaps all they were defending was their preconceived notion of God or what they thought He should be. Even worse, if what they said had been true, it would have meant that God truly is unjust. They said God only afflicts those who have sinned grievously. But Job spoke truly in defending his righteousness. For all his histrionics, Job never accused God of being unjust. In fact, Job seemed quite confident that if God would only appear to him justice would follow. God did come to him and gave him even more than what he expected. Job had, indeed, been the one who spoke rightly of God. God always responds to the honest heart. Job was certainly noisy in complaining of his pain and discontent. His questions were less requests than demands. But he was candid and entirely sincere. And God came.

Whatever your beliefs, you would certainly like to know if God is. Go ahead. Acknowledge where the shoe of faith pinches – or even if it does not fit at all. Then ask whatever you can with sincerity. You shall receive

92 thoughts on “Into the Whirlwind

  1. I would add that people can click on the Menu button in the upper right corner of the page to open the sidebar. To go back to the previous page you were on, look for the “xMenu” button at the top in the middle fo the page top and click on that button. This will cause the sidebar to disappear and will return you to the page you were just reading. If you click the “Home” button, you will go to the Home page, not necessarily back to the page you were just reading.

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    1. Chas, I think we’re living it. That vision of Pope Leo XIII in 1884 reminds me of the enemy’s interaction with God in the time of Job. Here’s a piece by Fr. Heilman about that encounter which Pope Leo mystically viewed. There’s a pattern, throughout salvation history, wherein God allows suffering to awaken the hearts of His people. When we respond and return to Him, he relents of the purification-chastisements we had called down upon ourselves. When we continue in our errant, life-sucking ways, He allows us to feel the pressure of the wine press as we are so stiff-necked and bold as to remove ourselves from the truth and safety the Vine. I can hardly wait to get to living the part of the story where He restores our treasures. Praying and sacrificing with great hope for a great harvest. Maranatha! Ave Maria!

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      1. Succinctly expressed Beckita. Yes I agree … We are well and truly living it.
        Just been listening to Fr Chad Ripperger again on various topics.
        I am amazed how clearly it pours out of him…. Hardly takes a breath!!

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    2. Chas,

      The reprinting of the Job posting (Thank you Charlie) made me think of the answer I read on another site to the question “ON THE NUMBER OF SINS BEYOND WHICH GOD WILL PARDON NO MORE”.

      An excerpt from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s Preparation for Death.

      “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Matthew 4:7

      The sinner who abandons himself to sin without striving to resist temptations, or without at least asking God’s help to conquer them, and hopes that the Lord will one day draw him from the precipice, tempts God to work miracles, or rather to show to him an extraordinary mercy not extended to the generality of Christians. God, as the Apostle says, “will have all men to be saved” (1 Tim. ii. 4); but He also wishes us all to labor for our own salvation, at least by adopting the means of overcoming our enemies, and of obeying Him when he calls us to repentance. Sinners hear the calls of God, but they forget them, and continue to offend him. But God does not forget them. He numbers the graces which He dispenses, as well as the sins which we commit. Hence, when the time which He has fixed arrives, God deprives us of His graces, and begins to inflict chastisement.

      1. Saint Basil, St. Jerome, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and other Fathers teach that, as God (according to the words of Scripture, “Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight” (Wis. xi. 21), has fixed for each person the number of the days of his life, and the degrees of health and talent which He will give him, so He has also determined for each the number of sins which He will pardon; and when this number is completed, He will pardon no more. …

      2. “The Lord hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart” (Isa. Ixi. 1.) God is ready to heal those who sincerely wish to amend their lives, but cannot take pity on the obstinate sinner. The Lord pardons sins, but He cannot pardon those who are determined to offend Him. Nor can we demand from God a reason why He pardons one a hundred sins, and takes others out of life, and sends them to Hell, after three or four sins. By His Prophet Amos, God has said: “For three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I will not convert it” (i. 3). In this we must adore the judgments of God, and say with the Apostle: “[T]he depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments” (Rom. xi. 33). He who receives pardon, says St. Augustine, is pardoned through the pure mercy of God; and they who are chastised are justly punished. …

      How many has God sent to Hell for the first offense? Saint Gregory relates that a child of five years, who had arrived at the use of reason, for having uttered a blasphemy, was seized by the devil and carried to Hell. The Divine Mother revealed to that great servant of God, Benedicta of Florence, that a boy of 12 years was damned after the first sin. Another boy of eight years died after his first sin and was lost. You say: I am young: there are many who have committed more sins than I have. But is God on that account obliged to wait for your repentance if you offend Him? In the gospel of St. Matthew (xxi. 19) we read that the Savior cursed a fig tree the first time He saw it without fruit. “May no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And immediately the fig tree withered away.” You must, then, tremble at the thought of committing a single mortal sin, particularly if you have already been guilty of mortal sins.

      3. “Be not without fear about sins forgiven, and add not sin to sin” (Eccl. v. 5). Say not then, O sinner: As God has forgiven me other sins, so He will pardon me this one if I commit it. Say not this; for if to the sin which has been forgiven you add another, you have reason to fear that this new sin shall be united to your former guilt, and that thus the number will be completed, and that you shall be abandoned. Behold how the Scripture unfolds this truth more clearly in another place. “The Lord patiently expecteth that when the day of judgment shall come, he may punish them in the fullness of sins” (2 Mac. vi. 14). God waits with patience until a certain number of sins is committed, but when the measure of guilt is filled up, He waits no longer, but chastises the sinner. “Thou hast sealed up my offenses as it were in a bag.” (Job xiv. 17). Sinners multiply their sins without keeping any account of them; but God numbers them that, when the harvest is ripe, that is, when the number of sins is completed, He may take vengeance on them. “Put ye in the sickles, for the harvest is ripe” (Joel iii. 13).

      4. Of this there are many examples in the Scriptures. Speaking of the Hebrews, the Lord in one place says: “All the men that have tempted me now 10 times … shall not see the land” (Num. xiv. 22, 23). In another place he says, that he restrained his vengeance against the Amorrhites, because the number of their sins was not completed. “For as yet the iniquities of the Amorrhites are not at the full” (Gen. xv. 16). We have again the example of Saul, who, after having disobeyed God a second time, was abandoned. He entreated Samuel to interpose before the Lord in his behalf. “Bear, I beseech thee, my sin, and return with me, that I may adore the Lord” (1 Kings xv. 25). But, knowing that God had abandoned Saul, Samuel answered: “I will not return with thee; because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee,” etc. (v. 26). Saul, you have abandoned God, and he has abandoned you. We have another example in Balthassar, who, after having profaned the vessels of the temple, saw a hand writing on the wall: “Mane, Thecel, Phares.” Daniel was requested to expound the meaning of these words. In explaining the word Thecel, he said to the king: “Thou art weighed in the balance, and art found wanting” (Dan. v. 27). By this explanation he gave the king to understand that the weight of his sins in the balance of divine justice had made the scale descend. “The same night, Balthassar, the Chaldean king, was killed” (Dan. v. 30). Oh! how many sinners have met with a similar fate! Continuing to offend God till their sins amounted to a certain number they have been struck dead and sent to Hell. “They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment they go down to hell” (Job xxi. 13). Tremble, brethren, lest, if you commit another mortal sin, God should cast you into Hell.

      5. If God chastised sinners the moment they insult him, we should not see him so much despised. But, becausH he does not instantly punish their transgressions, and because, through mercy, He restrains His anger and waits for their return, they are encouraged to continue to offend Him. “For, because sentence is not speedily pronounced against the evil, the children of men commit evil without any fear” (Eccles. viii. 11). But it is necessary to be persuaded that, though God bears with us, He does not wait, nor bear with us for ever. Expecting, as on former occasions, to escape from the snares of the Philistines, Samson continued to allow himself to be deluded by Dalila. “I will go out as I did before, and shake myself” (Judges xvi. 20). But “the Lord was departed from him.” Samson was at length taken by his enemies, and lost his life. The Lord warns you not to say: I have committed so many sins, and God has not chastised me. Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? “For the Most High is a patient rewarder.” (Eccl. v. 4). God has patience for a certain term, after which He punishes the first and last sins. And the greater has been His patience, the more severe His vengeance.

      6. Hence, according to St. Chrysostom, God is more to be feared when He bears with sinners than when He instantly punishes their sins. Plus timendum est, cum tolerat quam cum festinanter punit. And why? Because, says St. Gregory, they to whom God has shown most mercy, shall, if they do not cease to offend Him, be chastised with the greatest rigor. “Quos diutius expectat durius damnat.” The saint adds that God often punishes such sinners with a sudden death, and does not allow them time for repentance. “Sæpe qui diu tolerati sunt subita morte rapiuntur, ut nec flere ante mortem liceat.” And the greater the light which God gives to certain sinners for their correction, the greater is their blindness and obstinacy in sin. “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice, than, after they had known it, to turn back” (2 Pet. ii. 21). Miserable the sinners who, after having been enlightened, return to the vomit. Saint Paul says that it is morally impossible for them to be again converted. “For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated and have tasted also the heavenly gifts … and are fallen away, to be renewed again to penance” (Heb. vi. 4, 6).

      7. Listen, then, sinner, to the admonition of the Lord: “My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no more, but for thy former sins pray that they may be forgiven thee” (Eccl. xxi. 1). Son, add not sins to those which you have already committed, but be careful to pray for the pardon of your past transgressions; otherwise, if you commit another mortal sin, the gates of the divine mercy may be closed against you, and your soul may be lost forever. When, then, beloved brethren, the devil tempts you again to yield to sin, say to yourself: If God pardons me no more, what shall become of me for all eternity? Should the Devil, in reply, say: “Fear not, God is merciful”; answer him by saying: What certainty or what probability have I, that, if I return again to sin, God will show me mercy or grant me pardon? Because the threat of the Lord against all who despise His calls: “Behold I have called and you refused. … I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared” (Prov. i. 24, 26). Mark the words “I also”; they mean that, as you have mocked the Lord by betraying Him again after your confession and promises of amendment, so He will mock you at the hour of death. “I will laugh and will mock” But “God is not mocked” (Gal. vi. 7). “As a dog,” says the Wise Man, “that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly” (Prov. xxvi. 11). Denis the Carthusian gives an excellent exposition of this text. He says that, as a dog that eats what he has just vomited is an object of disgust and abomination, so the sinner who returns to the sins which he has detested and confessed becomes hateful in the sight of God. “Sicut id quod per vomitum est rejectum, resumere est valide abominabile ac turpe sic peccata deleta reiterari.”

      8. O folly of sinners! If you purchase a house, you spare no pains to get all the securities necessary to guard against the loss of your money; if you take medicine, you are careful to assure yourself that it cannot injure you; if you pass over a river, you cautiously avoid all danger of falling into it; and for a transitory enjoyment, for the gratification of revenge, for a beastly pleasure, which lasts but a moment, you risk your eternal salvation, saying: “I will go to confession after I commit this sin.” And when, I ask, are you to go to confession? You say: “On tomorrow.” But who promises you tomorrow? Who assures you that you shall have time for confession, and that God will not deprive you of life, as He has deprived so manyothers, in the act of sin? “Diem tenes,” says St. Augustine, “qui horam non tenes.” You cannot be certain of living for another hour, and you say: “I will go to confession tomorrow.” Listen to the words of St. Gregory: “He who has promised pardon to penitents has not promised tomorrow to sinners” (Hom. xii. in Evan). God has promised pardon to all who repent; but he has not promised to wait till tomorrow for those who insult him. Perhaps God will give you time for repentance, perhaps He will not. But, should He not give it, what shall become of your soul? In the meantime, for the sake of a miserable pleasure, you lose the grace of God, and expose yourself to the danger of being lost for ever.

      9. Would you, for such transient enjoyments, risk your money, your honor, your possessions, your liberty, and your life? No, you would not. How then does it happen that, for a miserable gratification, you lose your soul, Heaven and God? Tell me: Do you believe that Heaven, Hell, eternity, are truths of faith? Do you believe that if you die in sin, you are lost for ever? Oh! What temerity, what folly is it, to condemn yourself voluntarily to an eternity of torments with the hope of afterwards reversing the sentence of your condemnation! “Nemo,” says St. Augustine, “sub spe salutis vult ægrotare.” No one can be found so foolish as to take poison with the hope of preventing its deadly effects by adopting the ordinary remedies. And you will condemn yourself to Hell, saying that you expect to be afterwards preserved from it. Folly — which, in conformity with the divine threats, has brought, and brings every day so many to Hell. “Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness, and evil shall come upon thee, and thou shalt not know the rising thereof” (Isa. xlvii. 10, 11). You have sinned, trusting rashly in the divine mercy: The punishment of your guilt shall fall suddenly upon you, and you shall not know from whence it comes. What do you say? What resolution do you make?

      Paul in Katy

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      1. Well, Paul, no doubt St. Alphonsus was using fear to motivate his listeners with these preachings. I believe his words cannot be considered without equally acknowledging that God’s Mercy is Infinite, Endless and ALWAYS open to those who ask for it. What is critical at death is repentance. The number of sins does not bring our condemnation. In fact, one should never despair no matter how many sins one has committed and no matter how awful those sins may be. Jesus, Himself, told St. Faustina: “The greater the sinner, the greater right he has to my Mercy.” (Diary of St. Faustina, 723) Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who looks day and night, night and day for each lost sheep. He ate with sinners to the horror of His contemporaries. Look how He tended to the woman caught in adultery while convicting all present of their own sins.

        What I love most about the traditional Act of Contrition prayer is the focus on LOVING the Lord: “… I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.” Of course, Jesus tells us: “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15) Perhaps the folks to whom St. Alphonsus was preaching needed to be prodded with some fear. I appreciate the approach of Our Lady in these times. She appears to Mirijana on the 2nd of every month so they can pray for those who do not realize how much God loves them. Oh how I pray that all would come to know that God loves them and to be drawn into His Love, for when we truly love someone, nothing is too much to do or offer. God bless you, PAul. God bless us all.

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        1. Amen! Jesus also said to St. Faustina: ” My Heart is even more wounded by their distrust after a fall. It would be less painful if they had not experienced the goodness of My Heart.”
          “I rejoice that [souls] ask for much, because it is My desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts.”
          , “Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy, because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy. I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust in My mercy. I Myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls. I will provide them with everything they will need to attain sanctity.” (Diary, 1578).

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          1. I believe in both viewpoints, in times & situations of great evil & sin God’s mercy is greater, but in better times & situations more is expected of us… God is the one that decides what standard applies to us. We are obviously living in very dark times right now, everyone should be praying the chaplet of divine mercy right now.

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        2. All I can say is…… Thank God for His magnanimous Mercy. I rely on it! I need constant outpouring of His Love and grace. I need Jesus . when I look back I know He has carried me and still does. He makes me smile… And can bring me to tears.

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        3. Yes Beckita, he is instilling fear in those who reject God by their hard heartedness and true desire to sin fooling themselves to believe they can out smart God by bantering His word for their hypocritical life and designs. These are the people Alphonsus is speaking to. These are the people God does not give endless chances to because they wish not to grow in grace and love but to make everlasting excuses for themselves reasoning not with wisdom and truth but with deception whispered in their ears by the satan and by their own folly and vanity.
          God forgives endlessly the contrite and the humble as a “just” man sins seven times a day and so he must be given an equal amount of chances to repent and as God’s mercy is infinite it is ever active in this way.
          As a child grows its parents guide and correct them, instilling virtue and disciple in them. Once the child comes of age, they are expected to walk in the ways of righteousness. If the child, become adult, chooses otherwise and becomes obstinate and abandons the moral teaching of its parents, it will loose its place among them if this action is disastrous in its effect on the family and themselves.
          God is sovereign and omnipresent and sees all times and beings throughout history all at once and they are ever present to Him. The mystery to us is His ability of discernment to condemn someone even at a very young age but this condemnation is only given after every opportunity is made to save the soul and is done in His capacity as an infinitely loving Father of divine reason and righteous judgement over one of His creatures, no matter how young and innocent they may seem to us.
          At death, every soul receives full understanding and then is judged based on its acceptance or denial to “serve” which is directly correlated to its chosen sinful or virtuous nature. At death, God calls to every soul and the soul then accepts or rejects this call. Once a soul has hardened its heart towards God, this hardening is fused and is irreversible for eternity but
          if the soul makes even the slightest movement towards the Father, it is saved.
          If we are sinful but diligent to “run the race, fight the good fight, and keep the faith” our reward is His infinite mercy and forgiveness.
          But if we are lazy and full of personal deception and make excuses for our sinfulness, what else can be expected from the righteous Judge but condemnation?

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        4. Reading the commentary from St. Alphonsus and your reply Beckita had me taking it to the Lord at mass. After reading about God’s “justice” had me longing for some commentary on his Mercy (your comments). Divine Justice and Divine Mercy. So much can be said. The tension inside reading both, longing for truth, questioning God.
          My thoughts – that tension, struggle, strife, is a call into greater holiness, a deeper understanding, a foothold into living in the divine will. Let me ask this, was Charlie correct on his interpretations or his interpretations of his interpretations regarding his publically stated prophecies (rhetorical question). When the children of Fatima saw souls falling into hell like snowflakes was it to show how many people are going to hell or rather a call? I think a call. We in the finite so many times miss the point. If I see souls falling into hell or are warned by a Saint about the gravity of Gods judgments isn’t it less about how easily a soul can be lost or more a call through the veil to be active participants in the redemption of mankind. Are we not instruments of redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus. Called to be co-redeemers under the mantle of Mary? The Triumph is hastened not so much by our actions but rather the disposition of our souls. Prayer transcends time and so on this side of the veil we are able to hope even for the salvation of Cain. It is not the determination of how many go to hell or heaven that is important on this side. In fact it is more of a distraction unless one becomes an instrument for the plan of salvation of our Lord Jesus that is being worked out today and of which we play such a vital role. I think Charlie was right when he spoke before how God works everything out for the greatest number of souls to go to heaven. But I also think human nature pulls us back into just a managing of our lives versus a total surrender to God. This dynamic tension I think if lived with a struggle towards God will bear much fruit in Jesus’ plan for salvation.
          But woe to us who presume on God’s mercy living as heathens rather than struggling to overcome through the power of the cross. Better we be a sinner who falls 1000 Times a day but cries out for mercy and help from the Lord, knowing our weakness and longing for God than a Saint who believes in his own strength.
          Isn’t the point of the illumination that we see ourselves more as God sees us. Jesus has a deep love for the poor. Pope Francis has a deep love for the poor. We are all the poor! Sinners so confidant in ourselves but unable to even raise ourselves from the pit, truly in need of the most tender, understanding, and loving of saviors. Better to see our faults and weakness and to ask for his help than to think we can manage by our own strength.

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          1. Thanks for your pondering reflection, Joe. Lot of wisdom here. Actually, in my studies and discussions of faith which have included priests well steeped in general theology, mystical theology and Mariology, it is commonly taught that God’s Justice and Mercy are inextricable. Not opposing each other at all. God’s Justice is the very fiber of His Mercy.

            Not to be picky, but to be true, while “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” every commentary I have read and every sermon I’ve heard preached about Our Lady of Fatima’s words concerning Her expression that too many poor souls go to hell because, in essence, they need our prayers and sacrifices to help them, has been conveyed in a way that acknowledges a literal interpretation of Our Mother’s words on this sad state in which humanity has struggled. SO many spiritual truths and understandings are both-and. Yes, She has been calling each of us to personal conversion AND She has been calling her children, those who would respond to Her, to pray, sacrifice and fast for the conversion of all Her children. She was sent with this messages because of the dire need. Each soul is precious to God. As Jesus said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Each and every soul matters.

            Indeed, better to know who we truly are in the Light of God and, as you say, to seek His help rather than rely on our own weak, limited self. In fact, the tender Mercy of Jesus’ Light penetrating the interior of St. Mary Magdalene’s heart and soul brought her to be a prime example of what a full response to God’s Mercy should be, as it has been in the life of every saint: one so moved with gratitude, peace and joy because of the Lord’s forgiveness that s/he spends the rest of life’s days thanking, praising and serving God while asserting full efforts to bring others to know the Mercy of the One Who saves. How fitting and significant that Pope Francis would elevate St. Mary Magdalene’s memorial to the level of a feast day. And I love his assessment of her in her repentant state: “Mary Magdalene, apostle of the apostles” and “Apostle of Hope.” God bless you, Joe, and all of us.

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            1. My quick thoughts, God’s justice and mercy are one. But in us there is that tension until those two paths are known as one. That has been my progressing experience as I look ahead to their oneness.
              I believe that Prophecy needs to be viewed in light of the progression of the bride and will be understood in full at the final coming of the King. In the meantime I am free to hope for the salvation of the many, but if I am not an instrument to the Lord for this end than it is just presumption on my part.


              1. Joe, Our Lady has been inviting people in our times, via many Church-approved apparitions, to assist Her with the conversion and salvation of souls. All are invited to be God’s instruments for this cause.

                From Fatima: “Our Lady gravely said, ‘Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, “O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”‘ Our Lady made clear that God wanted us to help save souls through devotion to Her Immaculate Heart. From an account of the July 13, 2017 message: “Then we raised our eyes to Our Lady, who said with kindness and sadness: ‘You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If people do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. ‘ ”

                From a book by Sr. Lucia: “Our Lady further said, ‘Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them. ” (Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words)

                These words of Our Lady of Fatima have been promoted and shared all over the world. The apparitions and messages are fully approved by the Church and are meant to be lived now. Many an Apostolate has been formed to do just that. One could say, we then become part of Our Lady’s Heel which has been ordained by God to crush the head of the serpent. I understand your point about full understanding of prophecy coming in hindsight. I agree. But how sad it would be to miss opportunities to assist in the conversion and salvation of souls. It has been our call as Catholics throughout the ages. We are called to be Jesus to each other, to lay down our lives for others. Often a hidden work, it is a great act of agape love to do so. In the end, we shall all be judged on how we loved. In closing, here’s a great article written by Mother Angelica on the value of redemptive suffering:

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  2. Really like the stylish new format…. Well done.
    Glad to have the Job article on site. Still looking forward to the new topic you mentioned in last article though Charlie!!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. New format works for me. Thank you.
    Loved the reprocessed meditation on Job. One of my favorites. I do shudder with how God handles the pious friends……much to ponder.

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  4. Thank you so much for the change of colour…it brings much relief.

    There is something that I have noticed over the years in my prayer life. There are certain devotions that seem to stir up trouble in the spiritual world and I end up with difficulties and challenges. It’s like I’m prodding the beast and it turns on me with with fire and fury. This brings challenges as to how I react in these difficulties. Its almost a testing I guess. This may be classified as a Job experience but not to the same degree that dear Job endured.

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  5. I’ve always liked the book of Job. He lived a simple life, “…feared God, avoided evil..”, prayed and offered sacrifices for his kids habitually every morning. If that’s not next right stepping, I don’t know what is.

    New layout looks good, …Steve is there a way to see the most recent comments similar what used to be on the right of the screen?

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        1. This is going to sound horribly irreverent (although I don’t mean it to be), but Andy’s fish rather reminds me of my cute dearly departed grandmother. (If a lightning bolt comes down from the heavens and leaves me as a pile of charcoal, we shall know that Grandma was not amused.)

          Liked by 4 people

      1. I am a fan of the colors BUT do notice it is quite challenging to read, especially here in the comments section. From my perspective, a plain white background is ideal. Thanks.


  6. Yes…… I agree that you can never please everyone. Just that I was a bit taken back that green had been replaced so quickly……. And with such an insipid colour!!!

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  7. He he he… Ya can’t please em all, Charlie😅. Just wondering about Yong Duck? Are you here dear? Also, Charlie don’t you usually have a big celestial event in Feb??? Or was it January??? But that’s a private matter I’m sure…just thinking about it. We had a meteorite last night over Michigan.. They Caught it on tape & it produced a 2.0 earthquake. Strange things in the sky lately😕

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    1. Yong Duk’s time and energy is consumed in his many duties as bishop, Linda. As he had often conveyed, he travels extensively as well. Let’s remember him, and all our cardinals, bishops and priests, in prayer. 🙂

      Liked by 7 people

    2. That was pretty wild, wasn’t it, Linda? I didn’t see the meteor because I was in my house with the curtains drawn. However, I felt the sonic boom (or earthquake, or whatever).

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  8. Today’s Lauds Ps 76/77 reminded me of this vision, especially the notion of God being waited for ( to change His behavior again?)…
    But in honest trustful-as-possible, angstful waiting. Remembering:

    “And I said, “I am wounded indeed,
    that the Most High has changed.”
    I will remember the works of the Lord.
    I will remember your wonders, from the beginning.”

    The whirlwind is mentioned soon in the Psalm.

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  9. The new webpage look works…

    Waiting, watching, & praying for an end for the greater threat of evil still present in the world…

    Evil seems to be doubling down it’s efforts. I wonder if Pope Leo XIII may of been onto something, by addressing the root cause of sin & evil… The St. Michael prayer… I wonder if praying for the defeat of principalities & powers the rulers of the darkness in our world…

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  10. I Hope-n-Pray that this policy is implemented.
    The most disturbing thought came to mind as I read this. We in OUR Church still have many (Majority?) of “Bigs” and their Staff Weenie sycophants embedded in the Vatican and just about every Western World Diocese who, STILL, claim that they would have preferred Billary and the continuance of Obama’s ANTI-Christian and PRO-Abortion, Islam and Perversion Policies. Very Scary Thought really ;-(

    Trump’s New Healthcare Move: ‘We Will Not Allow People of Faith to Be Targeted, Bullied or Silenced’

    I can assure you that Billary, like Obama, would never address the Pro-Life marchers!:


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    1. Those very same anti-Christian attitudes & policies are freaking me out too…

      The pope did mention “apocalypse”… I was all for Charlie’s prophecy of a storm hoping we could all be spared the Calvary & Crucifixion of the Church… We’re just human beings, we can’t possibly endure a growingly evil society indefinitely…

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      1. So true, Al, and therein lies the HOPE. God DOES have a Plan. He does. Charlie will not be making public prophecies, but God has not changed Who He was, Who He is and Who He shall evermore be. Throughout all salvation history, we humans have been notoriously stiff-necked. He IS Pure Love. Love throws lifelines to us, His people, as we struggle, drowning in our stinky stews we are wont to concoct. Let us act on the exhortation at the end of Psalm 107 and never lose heart:

        Psalm 107

        Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
        his love endures forever.

        Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
        those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
        those he gathered from the lands,
        from east and west, from north and south.[a]

        Some wandered in desert wastelands,
        finding no way to a city where they could settle.
        They were hungry and thirsty,
        and their lives ebbed away.
        Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
        and he delivered them from their distress.
        He led them by a straight way
        to a city where they could settle.
        Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
        and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
        for he satisfies the thirsty
        and fills the hungry with good things.

        Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
        prisoners suffering in iron chains,
        because they rebelled against God’s commands
        and despised the plans of the Most High.
        So he subjected them to bitter labor;
        they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
        Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
        and he saved them from their distress.
        He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
        and broke away their chains.
        Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
        and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
        for he breaks down gates of bronze
        and cuts through bars of iron.

        Some became fools through their rebellious ways
        and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
        They loathed all food
        and drew near the gates of death.
        Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
        and he saved them from their distress.
        He sent out his word and healed them;
        he rescued them from the grave.
        Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
        and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
        Let them sacrifice thank offerings
        and tell of his works with songs of joy.

        Some went out on the sea in ships;
        they were merchants on the mighty waters.
        They saw the works of the Lord,
        his wonderful deeds in the deep.
        For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
        that lifted high the waves.
        They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
        in their peril their courage melted away.
        They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
        they were at their wits’ end.
        Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
        and he brought them out of their distress.
        He stilled the storm to a whisper;
        the waves of the sea[b] were hushed.
        They were glad when it grew calm,
        and he guided them to their desired haven.
        Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
        and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
        Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
        and praise him in the council of the elders.

        He turned rivers into a desert,
        flowing springs into thirsty ground,
        and fruitful land into a salt waste,
        because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
        He turned the desert into pools of water
        and the parched ground into flowing springs;
        there he brought the hungry to live,
        and they founded a city where they could settle.
        They sowed fields and planted vineyards
        that yielded a fruitful harvest;
        he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
        and he did not let their herds diminish.

        Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled
        by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
        he who pours contempt on nobles
        made them wander in a trackless waste.
        But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
        and increased their families like flocks.
        The upright see and rejoice,
        but all the wicked shut their mouths.

        Let the one who is wise heed these things
        and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

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        1. Wow! Today, I completed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (1500hrs) and picked up the Bible spontaneously opening to:
          Psalm 107.

          The opening quote which caught my eye:
          “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

          This quote is also in todays afternoon Divine Office prayer.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. I Put this here as Linda Tripp who helped disclose the corruption of the Clinton’s said “America dodged a bullet” and discussed how corrupt the Clinton’s were. I dislike discussing the disclosure of evil but still think that despite the imperfect instruments God has to lead us now it could have been far worse and we should be grateful:

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  11. Charlie, I really love this piece. I love the mystery and grandeur of our God! It is so comforting to know that we are so little and helpless and THIS amazing God of ours loves us each so intimately and cares so deeply for us! We are but little specks and yet all of this for us! It just takes my breath away!

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  12. Dear Charlie,
    This piece you wrote speaks to the deepest parts of my soul.
    I read it so many times and every time it leaves me profoundly moved.

    It is truly divinely inspired meditation.

    Simply beautiful !!!

    It forces us to look at our sufferings at the completely different angle.

    But ……when a person is drowning in suffering for example parents of a sick child ..
    It is so easy to become like Job and demend answers from God .

    This piece you wrote reminds me to offer my sufferings for others, while I am still kicking and screaming “please dear God take this away from my child”

    At least Job had friends somehow in my situation God took them away from me and they became distant…

    Despite all …in His mercy God gives me moments that I too put hand over my mouth in awe ….

    So I try to take a tiny step forward, sometimes I crawl …

    Aching but hoping one day He will wipe away my tears
    I miss Him !

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    1. Praying for you, Dear Dorothy. Praying, too, for your dear daughter. God bless you in your witness of continuing to crawl when those next right steps are so hard to take. May you be ever uplifted in the love and prayers of this community and, please, never hesitate to ask as often and as much as you need our prayers. I do hope you might have the opportunity to read Fr. Robert Spitzer’s extraordinary, insightful, inspirational and practical guide for navigating our seasons of intense suffering. It’s available here. See, even in the midst of our hearts being broken, God wants to console and hearten us. If reading is too much with all you must do and how you feel, please consider visiting You Tube to search for Father’s videos. Just when you think you can’t go on, Fr. Spitzer has words which strengthen and focus our attention to Christ’s Light shining in every darkness. Love and Prayers, Dorothy. You are not alone and the miles collapse in prayer as God hears every one of ’em for you and He always answers each one perfectly. May He draw especially near to you, imbuing you in the PEACE that only He can give.

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  13. The Pro-Life Movement is on the March today and Our President will address them 😉 …but my Bishopo won’t be.;-( Another SIGN of LeftWing Kumbiya Idiocy at high levels in the Church. I simply can’t see a reasonable excuse for a Bishop to NOT participate in a National/State March for Life and encourage Catholics (His Flock) NOT to March for Life all because …. The State Attorney General believes in the Death Penalty!? Really!!?? Somehow this twisted thinking equates the innocent in the womb with most vicious and horrendous killers.
    I just caught this on a Little Rock Talk-Radio Station and I’m here to tell you that, just like PF, our Bishop Taylor’s visions are going over like a Lead Balloon! We can argue about the Death Penalty and the rare executions that take place these days …. after decades of court battle. …. but … this is just another cheap political stunt that will BackFire, be a setback for the AR Pro-Life Movement and future obstacle to overcome for us Bible Belt Catholics!
    This is almost as idiotic as comparing JMJ’s trip to Bethlehem with the current Muslim Invasion of Christendom!! Ops!! I better be careful about JMJ and there journey to Bethlehem!! … Ooops! The Bishop’s Pals might not appreciate an unborn Jesus as being a person and capable of travel!!

    “Bishop will not attend March for Life in Little Rock”…will-not-attend-March-for-Life-in-Little-Rock


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    1. My take on todays march: VP Pence opens the Live video feed reciting our Constitution “Life, Liberty…”; President Trump acknowledges life changed after a Supreme Court (5 people) ruling altering our Constitution; Speaker Ryan states life commences at conception. {Yet, there is nothing they can do about it.}

      It’s time for President Trump to trump the system and sign an Executive Order banning all forms of Abortion, Euthenasia and medication causing the cessation of life.

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  14. Islamic Invasion-n-Barbarism is just fine & dandy ’cause …. Why?? … Exactly!!??
    You won’t, of course, see any reports of the below on ABCNNBCBS/BBC/NPR/PBS or Vatican News Service. We have let The Barbarians thru the gates and they didn’t need a Trojan Horse!
    We have the same horror in the USA … and the Usual Suspects in cover-up mode.

    “Police Commander on Lack of Female Genital Mutilation Convictions: ‘There Are Many Nuances to This Crime”…emale-genital-mutilation-convictions-nuances/


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  15. Charlie,
    I know you said you have several Post’s in your “hopper”, but I would be really interested in a Post on your views of the political chaos in the US lately. I was reading somewhere that for many of Hillary’s crimes that must indict by February 1st, something about the statute of limitation.

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  16. Hi AudieMarie2014! I think I told you about this passage awhile back. I feel that Jesus prompts me to open the bible up often when I’m having a bit of a bad day, to give me a feeling of comfort and hope. (Sometimes a word of warning… ) He led me to this passage today and for it I am most grateful… This passage reminds me of what will be coming in the New Era and boy if it doesn’t sound like Mount Meeker!!!! Maranatha~ TNRS 😉

    Douay-Rheims Bible + Challoner Notes

    01 02 03 04 05 06 07
    The glory of the church of Christ, by the conversion of the Gentiles. The Jews shall be carried captives to Babylon, and be delivered again.

    [1] And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of mountains, and high above the hills: and people shall flow to it. [2] And many nations shall come in haste, and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth out of Sion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem. [3] And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into spades: nation shall not take sword against nation: neither shall they learn war any more. [4] And every man shall sit under his vine, and under his fig tree, and there shall be none to make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken. [5] For all people will walk every one in the name of his god: but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

    [3] “Neither shall they learn”: The law of Christ is a law of peace; and all his true subjects, as much as lies in them love and keep peace with all the world.

    [6] In that day, saith the Lord, I will gather up her that halteth: and her that I had cast out, I will gather up: and her whom I had afflicted. [7] And I will make her that halted, a remnant: and her that hath been afflicted, a mighty nation: and the Lord will reign over them in mount Sion, from this time now and for ever. [8] And thou, O cloudy tower of the flock, of the daughter of Sion, unto thee shall it come: yea the first power shall come, the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem. [9] Now, why art thou drawn together with grief? Hast thou no king in thee, or is thy counsellor perished, because sorrow hath taken thee as a woman in labour? [10] Be in pain and labour, O daughter of Sion, as a woman that bringeth forth: for now shalt thou go out of the city, and shalt dwell in the country, and shalt come even to Babylon, there thou shalt be delivered: there the Lord will redeem thee out of the hand of thy enemies.

    [11] And now many nations are gathered together against thee, and they say: Let her be stoned: and let our eye look upon Sion. [12] But they have not known the thoughts of the Lord, and have not understood his counsel: because he hath gathered them together as the hay of the floor. [13] Arise, and tread, O daughter of Sion: for I will make thy horn iron, and thy hoofs I will make brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many peoples, and shalt immolate the spoils of them to the Lord, and their strength to the Lord of the whole earth.

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  17. Dear prayer warriors, may I ask your help. My 97 yr. old mother in VA has been admitted to the hospital. (She would never move to be near me and I’m in CA.) It doesn’t look good. After the assisted living facility got her to the ER, they made the admitting decision. I’m begging the Lord to let her go peacefully if it’s time for Him to take her, but to give me time to get a priest to her. Then I have to get to VA and I’m dreading it. I’m the only immediate family member. Thank you.

    Sorry if this is not too coherent, I’m a bit rattled. God bless you all.


    1. Annie, I will pray for the grace of a peaceful passage for your mother. I will also pray for peace for you, and that you be able to find a priest for her.

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    I am posting this not related to this article per se, however, it would be great to get the word out regarding this endeavor to tell the story about how the political left and progressives were able to get abortion legalized in this country. They are looking for funding….so spread the word. Facebook had blocked this posting, but I know TNRS won’t!!

    God bless all,

    Keep on fighting the good fight!

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Thanks Charlie, I learn something new every time I re-read one of your pieces. This is one of my favorites, too. It gives me a fresh perspective and insight into what I may have been pondering about our journey.

    Liked by 2 people

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