Live It!

Good-Samaritan

(I published this piece a little over three years ago. It seemed such a perfect companion piece to Deon Mangan’s “Paradise on Fire” that Beckita quoted it in the comments section. Alas, though, many who read the articles here miss the rich food to be found in our comments section. So I add it here that as many as possible might see and contemplate it.

Deon’s amazing and compelling narrative about her and her husband’s journey through the raging fires a month ago resonated powerfully for many of us. It was powerful in its own right. On that day, in real time, both Deon and her husband, Mike, repeatedly took the next right step. Once Deon thought she had taken the wrong step – but God drew powerful grace from what she thought was her error and a life was saved because of it. Throughout the day, many were a sign of hope to her, as she was a sign of hope to them. In all things, she and her husband humbly acknowledged God and tried to do their best, trusting that whatever He allowed was for their – and others’ – good. The piece dramatically showed what the next right step/a sign of hope looks like in action.

Above all, it illustrated what we are here in a very unique way: a true community of believers. To fully experience the community, you should make sure to get involved in the comments. We argue with each other sometimes, we share important insights with each other, we offer practical counsel to each other; we lift each other up. I reckon I am the virtual Mayor of this virtual community – but I am not the community. If you read my stuff, I am glad – but today I invite you to come on down to the village of comments and experience it for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.-CJ)

By Charlie Johnston

It is striking to me that many of those who should worry least about the Storm worry the most while most of those who don’t worry at all have a lot to worry about.

Imagine you have outfitted a canoe to navigate through a chain of lakes and streams. It is best to lay out a plan on how to steer through the various streams and what direction to take in order to reach your desired destination, for you are in control…you are driving, as it were. That is normal life. Now imagine that same canoe at the beginning of a great series of rapids you are not familiar with. The first thing to understand is that you are not driving, but being driven. In this case, having a plan on where to steer and what direction to take will likely cause you to capsize – for you do not know what turns and dangers are coming or when they will appear. Instead, you are called to react quickly and skillfully to whatever turns and obstacles arise as they arise. Survival depends on how well you respond to challenges in the present moment.

Right now we are in the early stages of an intensifying series of spiritual rapids. I get a host of letters and comments these days telling me, with great grief, that no matter how someone plans something, it is not coming out right…or about deepening divisions in families…or in shock at the latest outrage perpetrated by the ruling and chattering classes. As St. Peter said, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal, which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.”-I Peter 4:12,13. I have told you that these things must come – and so they have begun. I have told you that your only source of security is to abandon yourself to God, then do what is right in front of you, trusting that He will ultimately bring all things to right. Yet some have used what I have said to devise their own plans to avoid the consequences of all this – and now are frightened that their plans are not working out. If you are in that place, be thankful it is happening to you now, for it is simply God gently relieving you of the illusion that you can rely on your efforts rather than His Grace. Do not think I am chiding you: I had decades to learn this. As I have occasionally said, I hope you are all quicker learners than I was, for events have reached a pass where you must be. But if you have such sorrows now, be thankful that you are close enough to what you should be that God finds it profitable to reprove you and bring you along to a real trust. Save your sorrow for those who have no idea there is anything to be sorrowful about, for by the time many of them learn, it will be too late for them to correct their course without a heroic effort.

Are there painful divisions in your family and among your friends? There are the same in mine – and in almost every family I know. And those divisions have ratcheted up dramatically this year. But I told you late last year that they would. You will not convince anyone by becoming more manically insistent on what you believe. Rather you must imitate the farmer.

Consider the farmer: he plants a seed, then must wait up to a week for a sprout to appear. It is a month before a real plant takes shape – and even longer than that for fruit to appear. He conjures neither the plant nor the fruit, but merely waters the ground – and in due time, God raises up a plant which bears fruit. When you speak with confident joy about what you believe, you plant a seed. Once you have done that, simply live what you say you believe with the same joy. When you do that, you water the ground. But to continue to try to push on the unwilling what you believe is to constantly root around where you planted, disturbing the ground and perhaps choking the tender plant before it can take firm root. The farmer must trust God for the increase after he has planted the seed. So must you. Every day that you spend arguing the faith instead of living it with confident joy after you have planted the seed, you are actually withholding water from that tender plant even as you dig around its roots. Stop trying to frantically conjure fruit and trust God for the increase.

I will tell you now something that may seem like a boast, but if it is, it is a boast on the sure confidence we can place in the Lord’s providence. Only once in my life have I ever encouraged someone to become Catholic or Christian. I just don’t do that. My friends and family know what I am and how I live. I meet people where they are and, if they are of good will, share ordinary joys and conversation with them. All know what I believe in, but we are more likely to talk about sports, politics, movies or whatever than God at any given moment. (If you truly believe in God, all good things you discuss are ultimately about God, whether you name Him or not). Even before I went public with these things, when God was mentioned it was brought up far more often by my friends – even those who do not believe – than by me. This was simply because all people knew they could talk to me and get a conversation or an explanation without a harangue to go with it. I truly believes God reads hearts – and if there is good will there, He will bring it to fullness in His time. My task is to encourage the good will that is already there, not to stifle it by haranguing my friends. Even so, there are dozens – at least a hundred I know of from before I ever spoke openly of this – who cheerfully and spontaneously credit me with a major role in their conversion. Why? Because however peculiar I might have seemed at any time, I always lived what I spoke with cheery confidence. I meant it, not just spoke it…and many wanted some of that cheery confidence for themselves. Long faces and strident arguments make for meager evangelization.

So it is all the more critical that as things get darker, you live your joyful confidence visibly and lightly. If you speak of joy but your countenance is ever clouded with worry or panic, your life gives the lie to your words. Live it. That is the witness that transforms lives. When you feel it, live it. When you don’t feel it, live it. When you are exuberant, live it. When you are exhausted, live it. If I had a dime for every convert who told me that my consistent easy confidence drew them into the faith, I would not be rich – but I would have a LOT of dimes. Live it.

Your friends hear what you say, but they also see your face. In the midst of the Storm, while Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on the water, too. When he was distracted by the terrors of the storm, he began to sink. Your friends see your face and know whether you have confidence in the Jesus you speak of, or whether you have been panicked by the storm around you. If it is the latter, know that however polite they might be to you, they have already decided the peace they seek is not here. Live it – and you will be a true evangelist. In these times, every time you give way to panic or stridency, you dishearten those you are called to evangelize. Your serene and joyful confidence IS the lifeline for multitudes around you.

I know this is hard. Even now, I often say to the Lord, along with the father of the troubled son, “I do believe. Help my unbelief.”Mark 9:24.

Love those around you and live it always.

281 thoughts on “Live It!

  1. “If you read my stuff, I am glad – but today I invite you to come on down to the village of comments and experience it for yourself. You’ll be glad you did. -CJ”

    Hear Hear, Charlie! In solidarity, standing by each other… all over this world.

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    1. Beckita;
      Everybody should think about the challenges that were overcome in recording, producing, mixing, and mastering this video. Then there’s the travel and finding the right players while coordinating the tempo, key, and tuning. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the mix-down. A brilliant piece of recording work.
      What a great and timeless song.
      R.I.P. Ben E. King

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      1. Christopher, I echo your RIP. Ben E. King was a prince among men: married to the same woman for over 50 years, never a wandering eye, excellent father who put his family before his career, man of deep faith and charity, a true gentleman, never let money or fame change who he was. His whole life was about TNRS-ASOH.

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  2. Bless your heart Charlie. The Sherpa is still going strong in there. Thank you for this lovely heartening encouragement.

    Your are as they say bang on target about family internal strife. I know of at least three separate serious issues among my extended family. I have tried to listen and encourage, without taking sides and leave the rest in the hands of God.

    Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for all of our families; all your poor children in exile. Amen

    The Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe starts today. Praised be to Jesus and Mary.

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  3. Live it in faith, in the faith.
    Live it in hope, sharing hope.
    Live it in love, become through theosis love.

    On another website, Unam Sanctam Catholicam, I saw an article that addressed the fact that the old apologetics books vis a vis protestantism are fading away
    The author sagely stated: ” . .
    . The essential divisions within Christianity are no longer confessional. ” This is not to say there is not a need for apologetics, but, the situation has changed, and is changing.

    Happy St. NICHOLAS DAY ON THE 6TH AND ST AMBROSE ON THE 7TH!

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  4. Hi to all. I need prayers for my neighbor Gerry, dying from pancreatic cancer. He is a baptized Catholic who has explored various Protestant religions but doesn’t appear connected to any religion. When I asked if he would like a priest and confession earlier today he responded no. I also asked if there were others to forgive and the answer was an affirmative head nod. Also pray for family members who seem not connected to God. Thank you.

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    1. Praying for God’s Grace to flow upon your neighbor, Bill. May Gerry pass gently, connected to Christ and filled with Peace. Praying, especially, that the seed you planted in his heart, that of forgiving all, will be watered and warmed in God’s particular ways fashioned for Gerry. God bless you, Bill.

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    2. Bill, I’ll offer a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for your neighbour, Gerry. Thank you for sharing this, so that we can unite to pull him through. May Grace flow upon him, to prepare him. This we believe.

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  5. Charlie, This is a valuable message to frame the Christmas season.

    You wrote, ” (If you truly believe in God, all good things you discuss are ultimately about God, whether you name Him or not). ” I believe this is really a foundation principle for living in faith. In our mortal form, most of us most of the time do not see or feel connected to God. But the reality is we were made by God, of Him, and will return to live in God when we pass.

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  6. The publishing of Deon’s and Mike’s piece on their experiences during and after the terrible fires and now Charlie’s reposting of “Live It!” have been perfect for me personally at this time. I saw what you meant, Charlie, by not being able to stop reading the Mangans’ account of their frightening ordeal. I found myself, with tears, feeling the heat, and even imagining the difficulty breathing as I could picture it all in my mind’s eye. My heart is what felt it the most though. The love they gave and received. I recently went through a very difficult time over Thanksgiving. I had been praying for change in my famiy and boy did I get it! Not exactly what I would have expected, but I trust that God knows best and it appears what looked like a distaster could very well be the way to healing. What looks contrary to my prayer request seems to be God’s answer, but requires some pain and hard work on our part. The Mangans’ story gives me courage and hope, and Charlie’s piece shows me how to, well, live it!! Thank you. God bless you all!

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    1. Praying for you and your family, Dear Audiemarie, as you make your way through the current trials. Asking Holy Spirit to overshadow each of you and sending St. Maximilian Kolbe – who gave his life for a family – to remain by your side, interceding for every detail. God bless you.

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      1. Thank you, Beckita. That means a lot to me. I am praying for you to recover from the walking pneumonia and for good results of your upcoming imaging. Please keep us posted. God bless you. xoxoxoxo

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  7. Thanks Charlie, Beckita, and all of this family for constant support and encouragement. I just printed a wonderful article over on Veil of Veronica titled “Be True-Not Right. Judgement is for God”. This article is a wonderful companion piece to Charlie’s today and reinforces a beautiful way to help family & friends who are hurting and deceived by this broken world.

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        1. When I spoke in Charlottesville (before the ugliness there) a young man who was a gifted artist came to the talk. While I was talking, he drew an incredibly beautiful rendering of a Miraculous Medal for me on an INDEX CARD. He had been laboring for a time in a major eastern city in the artists community, but withdrew because of the toxic, hedonistic morality that seemed de rigeur. We chatted at some length – and he told me he enjoyed religious-themed work, but rather missed some of the cool non-religious stuff he did. He wished he could do his art on all themes without the hedonism that was so prevalent in artist communities. I told him we desperately needed artists who did popular-themed work that assumed the goodness of God…and that if he did this, he would be serving God in a unique and desperately needed way. We started talking about popular movies prior to the 60s – and how whether they were on religious themes or not, Christian virtues and piety was large assumed in them. It seemed to fire his imagination. Alas, I lost his contact info, but I pray he is finding his way with joy.

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  8. So for many months I have not commented a lot, preoccupied a bit with my own Storm. My life is like everyone else here, I have trials and sorrows but many blessings. My grandchildren preoccupy me because they are such a cause for joy. I hope I don’t annoy TNRS’s with my obsession with them. (By the way, one more coming in January.)

    I do pray for everyone here and love the insight of some of our more erudite and artistic (MP). I will contribute more as I can. If Charlie is the mayor of the village, I can be the dog catcher. I have a lot of experience in this department.

    The California fires have weighed on me. Stories I’ve read are so shocking. So great to know our community is there on the ground.

    God Bless everyone!

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    1. Well as long as we’re putting in for duties: MP for Sheriff. I always wanted to be Sheriff of a small town. At the very least, deputy badges for Doug and I. Got this motorcycle with a sidecar I bought at the surplus auction and I’ve been wanting to put it through maneuvers. Comes with two sets of goggles. Perfect for chasing down chicken thieves, moon shinin’ grannies, two bit conmen and the like.

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      1. Oooo…I like this…who will have the various jobs. Now no one should be forced into a job they don’t want, but let’s go wild and staff this village! (But remember, we like to keep it simple, regulations light, and taxes low…Mayberry is what we want, not any of the insane bureaucratic nightmares of California. I’m particularly interested in who is going to be Floyd the Barber).

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        1. I’ll be one of those old timers at the hardware store, sitting by the coal burning stove, knowing about nothing and talking up a storm. Perhaps in a rocking chair.

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        2. I’ll volunteer to be an assistant to Beckita n Patrick in the melodic dept. Specifically,
          inquiring the type of music jailed offenders detest; playing that while they’re in the pen, then switching over to soothing ballads so they’re not in a cantankerous mood before discharge.
          Speaking of pens, studies have shown that chickens lay heavier and more eggs if classical music is played, so if our smart phones are DOA, hope some ASOH members have violins and guitars,etc 🙂

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                1. How clever, HTTP. 🙂 I can cook well and I’ve been developing a LOT of LCHF/keto recipes, however, I’m usually scrambling with Nana duties and ministry duties so that pie-making is forever way at the bottom of my daily to do list. We’re gonna’ need another Aunt Bee/pie maker.

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            1. Ha!, Patrick, or maybe I should say, ‘yikes!’ Guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the stuff you’re able to have at the ready, from your cyber musical ‘repertoire’!

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              1. Thanks, Marie. So I don’t know if you remember, but I wrote an Ave Maria arrangement. I just spoke with the soprano who performed it and we’re trying to together to record it. Maybe first week in January. I’ll post it went I can.

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                1. I do vaguely remember that, Patrick. Will be ‘front row and center’ waiting for it; and may St. Cecilia, patron saint of music, help with the finishing touches.

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                2. I have not forgotten about this PD…I’m a Blessed Mother-loving lyric soprano who is waiting with bated breath to hear your arrangement…thank you for the update! I will be patient!

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        3. Ha! My 94 ( almost 95) year old father worked as a barber until age 74. He has great faith, a listening ear and he worked in the town you yourself called Mayberry when you visited. A perfect fit, I’d say.
          Aaand, he kept it simple: he kept track of expenses by throwing receipts into a shoe box. At the end of the year, he simply handed the tax preparer the box. Not one for gossip though. We might miss the mark there.

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        4. Ever notice that folks seemed to go to the barbershop just to chat and ruminate? Couldn’t have been for a haircut, because Floyd’s scissors –– for all the cutting motions –– never so much as grazed a hair.

          Best not to forget some of the many other unsung heroes such as Emmett, the handyman who ran the repair shop. Sure, there was always a lamp and some such on the shelf behind the counter, but folks always came in to pick up that one toaster.

          You would think that the local mercantile could have stocked a better toaster. Or maybe the towns folk weren’t in the habit of simply discarding old toasters for new ones. Oh, they were more frugal times. Certainly Emmett had a tremendous amount of patience.

          Only thing I know for sure is that Mayberry liked toast.

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            1. You’re the man for the job, Patrick! Know what? I had but two years of piano lessons in 4th and 5th grades. As a child, I was just so intrigued by the piano and found it to be great joy and fun to create with it. Mine is a developed innate talent rather than a more professionally trained talent and, over the years, as you can imagine, my own style has emerged. So much so that when I would get a sub during my parish ministry days, the accompanist was, often, more than peeved to discover that the music notation given was not what was being played on Sundays. Oh I would read it and play from it when first getting to know a piece but, as my brother with the Master’s Degree in music would say, I’m a jazz pianist in the sense of ever interpreting a piece. Mostly, I would lean into the guitar notation and run with developing an accompaniment from the chords.

              And my style of directing the choir was to encourage people to develop themselves in all the ways they had come to love making music. Some had degrees in music, others sang and accompanied by ear. One year we had a local group, the Drum Brothers, who were into playing West African drums, give us a workshop on percussion. We wove eclectic styles into our liturgical music. Loved the experiences I had with John Bell of the Iona Community, for he had traveled the world collecting worship music from many countries which we used. We loved chant and Latin.

              One wonderful musician who grew up while in our choir began her piano training with the Suzuki method. She went on to earn her BA in piano performance from Colorado U and then went to Eastman for her master degree work. After completing her PhD, she became a professor. She had literally played all over the world in competitions and was featured in so many symphonies. When she came back to her hometown to be married, she asked me to play and sing. Oh Boy. In my humanity, I experienced a sense of imposter syndrome at the thought of professional musicians in attendance. My friend said she had literally traveled the world and had never met anyone who could do as much with even three chords as did I. In addition to all her years in the choir, she had asked me to be her confirmation sponsor, a great journey together. In the end, I got that she was coming home to be married and the heart of the matter concerning her musical choices for this blessed event was our connected hearts, her memories of developing as a musician in the parish setting as well as in the secular world and our shared love of making music for the Lord in ways that encouraged His people to ever join in the song. In short, I got over myself and put aside the pride to focus on loving.

              Play away, Piano Man Patrick!

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              1. Loved your mini-music bio, Beckita! If and whenever we all meet, no doubt, as music director, you’ll provide goose-bump inducing, toe-tapping musical memories in Maryville!

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                1. You’re so sweet, Marie. When Father and I joined a new parish about five years ago, I opted for the lector rotation rather than music ministry. I love singing from the pew. I have a hunch there are a lot of folks reading here who would have great musical contributions to make in Maryville. 😉

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              2. Thank you for sharing your experience, Beckita. We have much more to share at Mount Meeker.

                Well, I can say that we’d probably mutually envy each other’s abilities at the keys, B. I feel that people who can play without the “confines”, if you will, of structured musical notation are freer to play more expressively from the heart. I truly believe this. There is a world of difference between the classical pianist and the jazz pianist. (And then there’s people like Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin.)

                Did I share that story about the pianist for the Gospel service that needed me to play a piece of music for him just so he could hear it? It illustrates this contrast well.

                Another time, I subbed for a Charismatic protestant service at Bitburg Air Base. The regular pianist, proficient in jazz, kindly saw to it that I was given music “with notes on it”. During the morning rehearsal, the director said, “…so we’ll just repeat that section however many times, as the Spirit moves us.” I raised my hand and asked respectfully, “Is it possible you could give me an idea *now* how many times the Spirit intends to repeat that verse?” We laughed…but I was actually serious. She said 3.

                Ah, What these two men in the above video can do astounds me. Their musical styles are so complementary. And if it’s not impressive enough to sing and play at the same time with a band on live TV, Billy Joel takes it to another level by playing the harmonica. Sheesh! What talent!

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                1. There’s surely all kinds of talent in the music world to be admired, Patrick. SO agree with your thought: “… we’d probably mutually envy each other’s abilities at the keys…” Thanks for sharing your subbing story. Smiling… So where did you study piano? Lessons in childhood? Oh! And if we run out of time for sharing at Mt Meeker, there will be plenty of time to gather round the eternal campfire.

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                  1. Oh, JOY! Yes, yes, music in HEAVEN! How quickly I forget what life is all about! I love how Charlie said that music is the closest thing on earth to the language of the angels and saints in Heaven!

                    They say musical ability skips a generation. My grandmother on dad’s side, now deceased, played for 70 years with only 9 working fingers after severing her right pinky tendon. She hated music because it confused her. Her favorite song was “Tea for Two.”

                    I started in 1976 after parents bought a Baldwin spinet. I sat down and immediately started picking out melodies. I was 8. My teacher was Mrs. Findeisen, a delicate, classy woman living two houses down. Studied with her for ~7 years. She held annual public recitals. Something changed when I became a high school freshman…I went from grudgingly practicing 30 min a day to suddenly loving to practice 2 to 3 hours a day. Experience includes oboe in band, oboe and piano in orchestra, baritone in choir, piano in jazz ensemble, pit orchestra pianist for musicals, Catholic weddings, state competitions, etc. Highlight was performing Mozart Concerto in A Major, K 488. I studied piano in college, including pipe organ, but left after 2 years. Then military. While serving in Germany, I took an accompanist position with the General Protestant Service (where most of the colonels attended). After separating in 95, I returned to Germany as a civilian and worked (struggling starving artist in socialist country) as a teacher (250+ students), church musician (400 services in 4 years), and also accompanied jazz singers in hotels and a few aspiring opera singers. I studied at the Luxembourg Conservatoire de Musique for 3 years under piano prodigy Serge Bausch, who is now the assistant director of the school. (And other stuff too : )

                    This is a taste of what Serge can do:

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                    1. I do love it, Marie. I’ve been largely avoiding doing music because I burned out badly after Germany. Took the fun out of the art. But a Catholic friend recently told me I had “buried my talent,” so I came out of the woodwork by subbing and now with Our Lady’s Choir….and my heart is full of joy once again.

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          1. Ha! I don’t picture you being Barney Mick, but I will not challenge you for the position because folks in the new Mayberry won’t do that. There will be complete humility 😎

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            1. How ’bout this, Doug: You can be Barney and I’ll be, say, Barnetta (a chick playing Barney would be kinda weird anyway). Then if I swap out my Glock for a Beretta, I can be Barnetta Beretta. That has a nice ring to it, I think. So, whaddya say… do we have ourselves a deal? 🙂

              I will still insist on multiple bullets for my sidearm. Whether or not you get more than one bullet will be between you and MP. 😉

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              1. Oh, man, Micki, that’s hilarious! It’s a 70’s police show set in the heart of Detroit. Wednesday night primetime after “Shaft” and before “Kojak.”

                I can see it: big ‘fro and headband, bell bottoms, vest, beads, and a huge pink pistol on your hip. Undercover cop. Bustin the pushers. Can even hear the fast rhythm guitar with wah-wah pedal: Chu-ka-waka-Chu-ka-waka-Chu-ka-waka……..

                “She’s mad, she’s bad….
                and she’s packin’ heat….
                BARNETTA BERETTA.”

                So much for Mayberry.

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                1. AhhhHAHAHAHA!!! I’m dying of laughter, Patrick! You had me at “Shaft.” Then in my head I’m hearing the Chu-ka-waka sound from those awful ’70s songs like “Psychadelic Shack” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” But the mental image in my mind was NOTHING compared to the photo to which you linked. Heavens to Betsy, I can’t tell can’t tell you how hard I laughed!

                  P.S. For the record, when I was 6 years old in 1974, I flat-out told my mother, “I will NOT wear an afro!” So I wore my hair in pigtails for years. That meant that my poor mother had to roll my hair up in curlers every night (sometimes the pink foam ones that snapped closed; and sometimes the metal-covered-with-plastic-netting ones with the long pink death-spikes that held them in place; ladies over 50, you know what I’m talking about). Finally when I was in high school, I got a curly-perm. Kinda tacky; but hey, I never did wear an afro.

                  P.P.S. Instead of visualizing Barnetta Beretta as Superfly’s Sista, I see her–I mean, me–more like this… except, um, not white. Just check the photos and ignore the text:

                  https://moazedi.blogspot.com/2014/08/hot-pink-with-black-tiger-stripes.html?m=1

                  P.P.P.S. I can NOT stop laughing about your post!

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          2. Whenever Barney recruited a sidekick, it was usually Goober or Gomer and neither carried a pink Glock or drove a tank. You might have to just show up as yourself, or make a celebrity appearance (e.g. – Barbara Eden, Buddy Ebsen, Don Rickles, Jack Nicholson,
            Ellen Corby… Mick).

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                  1. Patrick, I should’ve figured that you speak German, given that you lived in Germany for a bit. I do NOT speak German (well, except enough to talk to my brother’s kids and dog when they were babies). ON a trip to Germany to visit my sister-in-law’s family when I was 25, while trying to say the 2 sentences that I knew in German, I accidentally propositioned some dude at a dance club/bar. My sister-in-law’s brother grabbed my arm and dragged me out of there so fast that it made my head spin. Boy, was he mad! I didn’t try to speak any more German.

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                    1. That’s funny, Micki. Ah, those Euro dance clubs (discotheque) …when I was a young guy in the military. Even small towns had cool clubs with intense lights and thumping techno musik, and no enforced age restriction on the female patrons. Those days are fortunately long gone.

                      The first two sentences I learned were:

                      “Ein Bier, bitte.” AND “Wo ist die Toilette?” Very handy. Then to be a courteous American, I’d always follow up with “Donkey shorts!” 🙂

                      (Back in the States I was eating at a German restaurant in Colo Springs. The young waiter brought me a beer and I nodded and said, “Donkey shorts.” Confused, he blurted back “Donkey sh…?!“ but stopped himself mid-word, paused, then added flatly without smiling, “Good one, sir.”)

                      If you want a great laugh, Mick, pick up this little gem Wicked German. I laugh just reading the cover.

                      https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-German-Travel-Howard-Tomb/dp/1563052946

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                    2. Thanks for the link, Patrick. I giggled my way through the pronunciation guide, and I’ve decided that I’m going to have to snag a copy of this book.

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      1. I was thinking maybe the Chief of Police. You are not afraid to confront what needs confronting, yet you always have that cheery, upbeat personality – and so visibly like most people you meet. I think you would be the coolest, funnest and popular police chief ever!

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        1. Ha, Charlie! I think Sean would be way better at that job; but I’d be happy to be the Barney Fife sidekick for either him or for Sheriff MP. Only one request: can my officially issued firearm be a pink, with Hello Kitty on the grips?

          Liked by 5 people

          1. I reckon we’d be involved in stuff like this for the most part:

            https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article222657875.html

            Perfect.

            Your officially issued pink sidearm with Hello Kitty on the grips gets allotted the one standard issue bullet per the Fife protocol. I also imagine we’d be laughing most of the time when Phil wasn’t pushing me to wane on Theological topics.

            Fire, Phil.

            No, don’t fire, Mick. Save that bullet.

            Liked by 5 people

            1. Surprisingly, I’ve been fired upon three times in my life (all by accident), and arrested at gunpoint once (also by accident).
              No bullet wounds to declare but the PTS catalyst is induced post haste!
              I wear so many hats I’m just not sure what position I would “Phil”.
              Is “Renaissance Man” a vocation?

              Liked by 3 people

              1. Whoa on the being fired upon experiences, Phil! “Renaissance Man” it is. Surely, in addition to your wisdom and catechesis expertise, your musical talents must pour forth, as well, to bless the citizens of Mayberry.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Ok, Becks! Funny thing is, the name came by my work with reptiles!
                  I got the idea from a Professor at UF who, after he read out loud from the podium my list of accomplishments (I was actively involved with several Phd’s and other researchers on several projects at the time) I had accidently written down on my application to give a lecture on the heretofauna of Trinidad and Tobago, that he called me “quite the Renaissance Man”.
                  My good friend Dr Lawson was rather put off by this list but I told him I must have accidently written it on the application in the spot where the host reads your introduction at the meeting.
                  Looking back, if this be when my more important Mayberry moniker was coined….so be it!
                  Prophesy full-Phil-ed!

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. How unique, Phil! Who wudda’ guessed you’re a retired reptile researcher?! (Or maybe you’re still researching?) I love listening to life histories, especially when they reveal the ways God connects, later in life, so many one off, seemingly disconnected, stray pieces (people, places and things). And here we have it with our very own Renaissance Man.

                    Liked by 1 person

              2. Ah, so you did catch my pun. Maybe we should consider Citizen #5 and Citizen #6. I think we’d both appreciate the broad latitude and be equally comfortable filling out the background (e.g. – delivery guys, third row choir singers, concerned citizens picketing City Hall, customers at the bait shop, hobos, etc.). I just can’t promise to keep a straight face if I have sing in the third row of the choir. I fidget indoors.

                Liked by 3 people

                1. Grinning as the teacher in me remembers well those wee ones driven to fidget. I may have told this story before, but I felt such compassion for those who fidget that I looked for ways – and invited ideas for ways – to allow them to move while listening and discussing. The only rules were that they had to move in a fashion which didn’t distract themselves or others. I even provided balloons filled with cornstarch to fiddle with if that seemed a satisfying fidgeting outlet. Happy campers were they, and all of us really, until the afternoon when it seemed every balloon in the classroom started popping and blasting cornstarch in every direction.

                  Liked by 3 people

                2. Yea MP,
                  I was a volunteer Fire Fighter for about 20 years.
                  My sister is still very active in the emergency medical field which gravitated away from the fire dept over time and I work with them part time as a none-emergency driver for the EMT service in a 5 county area. I get to see and speak to, pray with/for all kinds of people whom I pick up and deliver to their medical appointments throughout the land ’round here. It’s a very diverse job in that we drive wheelchair capable minivans, stretcher vans, wheelchair-lift vehicles, small and large buses fitted with oversized lifts along with seating for 20 or more and even a high security “Baker Act” vehicle for transporting mental patients to and from security locations.
                  I feel like an American version of St Mother Theresa at times dealing with the lonely, sick, disabled, dying and poor.
                  Takes you right out of complaint mode after a day spent alongside people with real problems!

                  Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you, Mayor. Sure needed this today as I feel I am at the end of my rope. You are spot on about families. Please pray for my sons, John, Thomas, and Tim. They were brought up in the faith but have abandoned it. Pray for me that I will not give in to discouragement.

    I don’t usually have time during the week to comment but look forward to reading everyone’s posts. I can hardly wait for this huge family reunion in heaven! You all are such great encouragers. The first hand narrative of the fire was riveting. Holy Smokes! God is so Good.

    Liked by 8 people

  10. Mayor, eh?

    Well, sir, no stranger to the Village (comments thread), I thought I’d take a stroll up Main Street towards the corner diner. Does anyone else read bottom to top? And who’s up for pie?!

    As for your repost, it’s starting to read more like a checklist.

    Canoe in rapids. Check.
    Divisions in family. Check.
    Shocking ruling classes. Check.
    Waterfall ahead. Check.
    Etc. Check.
    Joy (mostly) nonetheless. Check.

    Liked by 10 people

  11. Iirc it was you who prophesied a world wide civil war. Ordinary men and women vs a satanic ‘ruling class’
    Dome have prophesied communism will be defeated again.

    God has a sense of humor and watching the workers of the world unite around Him against world wide communism fits nicely with His Wit.

    Grace and peace

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I have been busy on the prayer request side of ASOH but not so much here as I have been in the field hospital of life again. I escape to ASOH daily for strength and reprieve. Our new “normal” should never have become normal. Lives are a mess, the world is a mess. Happy moments come and go but the roller coaster ride is nauseating. Evil loves to exhaust, to wear us down. Sadly, my life is no different than any other here.
    We are all experiencing first hand, the battle between good and evil. Deon’s story of escape should be a TNRS movie. I need to study and learn from it. My listening skills are rusty to say the least. I am grateful for this community and looking forward to seeing all on Mt. Meeker.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. Thanks Mick. I depend on your prayers. Could you also pray for my friend Sonnie who just lost her mother, please and thanks. Sonnie has a unique story that would make an incredible mini series. Her life story is almost unbelievable. I’m going to ask her if I can share it. At any rate, she grew up not knowing where her mother was. They discovered each other several decades ago.
        This is the second time she has “lost” her mother.

        Liked by 5 people

  13. Hey y’all, mommacarmella in northern CA here. Thanking God for the air being clear again—it was a long 2 weeks indoors with 6 kids. Thank you for sharing the Camp Fire story as a demonstration of TNRS. And indeed, the ASOH comment section is among the best places on the internet 😁. For now though, my NRS is usually not to comment, as most of the time I’m knee deep in baby/kid land doing my thing, taking a break while nursing to scroll…so if I “like” something please take it as my “hello” and be assured of a prayer offered up. Long live Mayor Charlie; I’ll volunteer for town mess hall chef. Been feeling like the Lord’s been working though my cooking lately, inspiring me to get back to basics, and contemplate through the slow work of making from scratch. Maybe feeding the troops will be part of my role in the storm—my own and maybe then some!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. You are part of the family here Momma. Like going on a long trip a hundred years ago with no contact, it is joy when one finally gets word from a long absence. This is a great place to be. It is what modern technology is meant for!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. LOL Doug…something like that! And little kid land CAN feel like a long trip too, I suppose…but I know you more experienced parents will tell me the time with the little souls in our care flies by all too quickly! God bless 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  14. It is a bit comforting that all we need to do is go with flow of God’s will, as worrying about preparations or survival will prove fruitless. It should be obvious by now that the tide of evil is too great in the world for anyone to stop other God.

    On another note, I seen this interesting article that talks about the issues we often discuss on this site:
    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/11/30/saint-paul-the-apocalypse-and-the-mystery-of-evil/

    Liked by 5 people

  15. I have never commented although I have been faithfully following all of Charlie’s posts and reading the comments for about two and a half years. When I first heard about you Charlie from my aunt, I had no idea about the storm. I just knew in my heart that things were not right with the world, and I was feeling a lot of angst at where the it was headed. What a gift my aunt gave me when she directed me to you and all of you who comment here. Here is where I found hope and love and a purpose.

    I have never commented because I have had so much to learn. Even though I am a cradle Catholic and attended Catholic school from kindergarten through college, it was the 70s and 80s, and I was not properly formed in the faith. Therefore, I have spent the last two and a half years reading, praying and learning all while trying to do the right thing every day. It has been a wild ride. And although I do not know any of you personally, I consider all of you my teachers and good friends. You are my people!

    I pray for all of you each day and thank the good Lord for having gently steered me to this blessed site.

    Liked by 13 people

  16. Mayberry was a bit before my time…. but I have seen enough episodes to know that I would prefer that time period. I will take whatwver role.

    Thank God fir Mayor Charlie!!

    This community has helped me to learn and grow so much! And has helped my prayer life and given me hope.

    Thank you!

    Praying for the requested prayers and for each of you in this village.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Hahahaha….To late, Charlie….like we tell the kids at school….you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.
        But, since it is your town, you may have any job you want.
        I just want to sit on the porch after supper and shoot the breeze.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Yeah, but the fella who played him (Dick Elliott) certainly had some interesting roles listed in his filmography: 1st Reporter, Editor, Publicity Man, Agent, Newspaper Editor, Middle Aged Man, Bar Patron, Judge, Party Guest, Small Town Juror, Train Conductor, Small Town Doctor, Detective, Justice of the Peace, Range Leader, Sheriff, Magician, Traveling Salesman, Arizona Sheepman (o.k., maybe no symmetry there… but I had to throw it in), and a character named Meeker.

        A little tidbit: there was a successor to Mayor Pike. Roy Stoner. He was a bit high strung and always lecturing Sheriff Taylor.

        The way I figure it, feel free to make the character you’re own, as clearly Mick is already intent on the pink Hello Kitty grips. She’ll also no doubt insist on more than one bullet.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Amazing, Frank. Laughing at the idea of the job opening. Ha! I have an identity crisis, I guess. In 3rd grade, I gave up cartoons for Lent and then hardly ever watched much TV after that. I was usually in the piano room, mesmerized by what those black and whites could do. I did see some Mayberry episodes, but not enough of them to really know the characters. Still, I love the joy in the bantering here. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I actually never watched the show. I stopped watching TV shows at around the age of 15. I liked “Dobie Gillis”, the “Twilight Zone”, “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (from England), “The Rifleman” and old movies. At the age of 17, I really fell in love with film, cinema, the movies or whatever you want to call the medium. I still watch movies from the 30s, 40s, 50s and even some silents. I also watch movies from England, the Soviet Union & Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Hong Kong, Poland, Hungary, Australia, Ireland, Canada, China, Cuba, South Korea and, of course, the US. My favorite film of all time is “Vertigo” (1958) by Alfred Hitchcock. I consider it a spiritual thriller. Spiritual films that might be off of the beaten path that I recommend are:

            > The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), Carl Theodor Dreyer, France (note: this is a silent film)
            > Rome, Open City (1945), Roberto Rossellini, Italy
            > The Flowers of St. Francis (1950), Roberto Rossellini, Italy
            > Stars in My Crown (1950), Jacques Tourneur, USA
            > The Diary of a Country Priest (1951), Robert Bresson, France (from the novel by Georges Bernanos)
            > Under the Sun of Satan (1987), Maurice Pialat, France (also from a novel by the great Catholic writer Georges Bernanos)
            > The Seventh Room (1996), Márta Mészáros, Hungary (about Edith Stein)

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Thanks, Frank, will check ’em out. Recently stumbled across Gary Cooper in ‘Sergeant York’, Not a spiritual thriller, but has a sp. thread. True story of a exceptional marksman who changed his mind on requesting conscientious objector status and became a war hero. Won best picture and best actor in ’41.

              Liked by 4 people

              1. “Sergeant York” was a great movie, and Sergeant York was a great man. Gary Cooper was a great actor who converted to Catholism shortly before he died. I hope that he and Sergeant York are together enjoying the Beatific Vision.

                Liked by 3 people

          2. “In 3rd grade, I gave up cartoons for Lent and then hardly ever watched much TV after that.”
            Beckita, believe me…you haven’t missed much in the last _ _ years.
            Yeah, we’ve had some fun with the whole Mayberry thing but I you know what? That show, and others like it, were reflective of the broad culture of the day. I remember the chaste purity that was portrayed in Andy’s relationship with Helen. Never one ‘blue’ innuendo. Not even the slightest. One time Charlie said young people think the attitudes and lifestyles in old movies and TV shows is all contrived. NO! That really is how the majority of people comported themselves in that day.
            We need supernatural help. Stat!

            Liked by 3 people

            1. Agreed, Christopher. Yesterday I had a conversation with my 22-year-old. He mentioned how for his generation, godlessness and its associated ills are the norm; and that Christians are the odd man out. I noted that it was the exact opposite in my and my parents’ generations. We discussed how it has been so sad for the older generations to watch what has become of our beloved country, but how most people in his generation think that the way things are is no big deal because it’s their normal. Oh, how I long to just get the Storm over with so that we can get to the other side and return to a God-centered reality!

              Liked by 4 people

              1. Diito, Mick. Several years ago when my son was working at the lumber yard, (summer job during college), he informed me that one of his full-time co-workers was taking a leave of absence to check in at rehab. I inquired, ‘alcohol, opioids, or drugs?’ “no, nope and nyet” Whatever for then? P-orn addiction. early 20’s. Lord have mercy.

                At least some students at Notre Dame recently asked the university to put a p-orn filter on the school’s internet server.
                Excerpt from the DailyBeast:

                The effort started at Notre Dame University in October, when 80 male students penned an open letter requesting a porn filter on the campus WiFi. Since then, lead letter-writer Jim Martinson said, he’s received emails from more than 40 students at other universities who want to install a filter on their own campuses.

                Georgetown senior Amelia Irvine, a conservative firebrand, told The Daily Beast that Martinson’s letter inspired her to push for something similar at her Catholic university. She plans to recruit support over the winter break and start an open letter or petition in the spring.

                Students at secular schools like Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania also said they were excited by the idea, but were still figuring out how it could work on their campuses. At Princeton and Penn, students said they were already tabling and handing out fliers about the dangers of pornography on campus.

                Remainder: https://www.thedailybeast.com/these-college-guys-are-trying-to-ban-porn-on-campus?ref=home

                Liked by 4 people

            2. Amen, Christopher and Mick. Actually, I think we’re smack dab in the middle of supernatural help all around. Ever amazed at how God has a pattern of working through “process.” I remember well how Charlie spoke of God burning out of each of us the pride, pretentiousness and any other vice inhibiting our full union with Him. This current process of revealing, sometimes, seems excruciatingly slow which, for me, has pressed more and more deeply into my psyche how we can do nothing without Him. Nothing.

              So we carry on…waiting in and on God’s Timing and Ways. Praying Mary’s patient and trustful spirit into each one of us. Full of Grace she was and is yet she, in her humanity, had to wait for many things throughout her lifetime… When I think of becoming pregnant, I remember the absolute joy in sharing the news with family and friends. How challenging it must have been for Blessed Mother to wait to share her news, surprisingly being able to first do so when she was with Elizabeth… to wait upon Joseph who loved her so much that he initially discerned the best response to her pregnancy news was to quietly divorce her – even she, Full of Grace, must also have been full of anguish, for she had given her heart to Joseph whom she loved with pure love… and how about waiting to understand fully what a “sword will piece your heart” really meant?… astonishingly, how awe-inspiring it must have been for the Virgin Mary to pray while yearning for the coming of the Messiah and to, then, discover that s.h.e. was the very answer to her prayer. Looking with joyful expectation to the surprises and miracles yet to unfold in this leg of the Journey.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a travesty how much our culture has degraded since then Littleone. God is the restorer of all things and I believe we will get back there, but we have a very bumpy road to travel before we get there. We were all created for this time. God has a plan for all of us in these times.

      Liked by 4 people

  17. Spiritual rapids … and spiritual earthquakes.

    On Friday, November 30th, reading the news on the computer at work, I found out there was an earthquake in Alaska … right in the area where I have relatives living! (They are all okay.) Then came the headline about the elder George Bush dying. Later that same day, I received an email from a friend I made years ago on Charlie’s blog, the email bearing the news of an earthquake in Argentina … right where the G20 summit was taking place with President Trump in attendance, signing a document to officially end the NAFTA trade agreement!

    And then I saw a quote from the late President George Bush 41 that someone had posted about NAFTA years ago: “I believe the time will come when trade will be free from Alaska to Argentina,”
    – quote by GHWB

    So, the same day on which GHWB dies, NAFTA is ended … and there are earthquakes in both Alaska and Argentina.

    Curiouser and curiouser.
    Like many say, there are no coincidences.

    Liked by 6 people

  18. I trust parents more than anyone because they deal with the real job of being apostles/evangelists just by the nature of their lives. Who else can do this, who is like God? I don’t want to be the dog catcher, I want to be the dog rescuer, but in Mayville dogs will be the friends not the enemies of those who worship Our Lord! God bless all who love his creation!

    Liked by 5 people

  19. Speaking of art with a subtle Christian influence, back in August, a framed photo of mine called “On a Wing and a Prayer” won third place in an exhibition at a local art gallery …

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Great advice from the great George Weigel:

    By peremptorily ordering the American bishops not to vote on local remedies for today’s Catholic crisis of abusive clergy and malfeasant bishops, the Vatican dramatically raised the stakes for the February 2019 meeting that Pope Francis has called to discuss the crisis in a global perspective. How the Americans’ taking decisive action last month would have impeded Roman deliberations in February—the strange explanation offered by the Vatican for its edict—will remain an open question. Now, the most urgent matter is to define correctly the issues that global gathering will address. As there are disturbing signs that Those Who Just Don’t Get It are still not getting it, I’d like to flag some pitfalls the February meeting should avoid.

    1. The crisis cannot be blamed primarily on “clericalism.”

    If “clericalism” means a wicked distortion of the powerful influence priests exercise by virtue of their office, then “clericalism” was and is a factor in the sexual abuse of young people, who are particularly vulnerable to that influence. If “clericalism” means that some bishops, faced with clerical sexual abuse, reacted as institutional crisis-managers rather than shepherds protecting their flocks, then “clericalism” has certainly been a factor in the abuse crisis in Chile, Ireland, Germany, the U.K., and Poland, and in the McCarrick case (and others) in the United States. There are more basic factors involved in the epidemiology of this crisis, however. And “clericalism” cannot be a one-size-fits-all diagnosis of the crisis, or a dodge to avoid confronting more basic causes like infidelity and sexual dysfunction. “Clericalism” may facilitate abuse and malfeasance; it doesn’t cause them.

    2. The language describing the crisis must reflect the empirical evidence.
    “Protecting children” is absolutely essential; that is the ultimate no-brainer. But the mantra that this entire crisis—and the February meeting—is about “child protection” avoids the hard fact that in the United States and Germany (the two situations for which there is the largest body of data), the overwhelming majority of clerical sexual abuse has involved sexually dysfunctional priests preying on adolescent boys and young men. In terms of victim-demographics, this has never been a “pedophilia” crisis, although that language has been cemented into much of the world media’s storyline since 2002. If the Rome meeting ignores data and traffics in media “narratives,” it will fail.

    3. Don’t ignore the devastating impact of a culture of dissent.
    Ireland and Quebec demonstrate that sexual abuse occurred in the pre-conciliar Church. Still, the data suggest that there was a large spike in abuse in the late 1960s, the 1970s, and much of the 1980s: decades when dissent from Catholicism’s settled moral teaching was rampant among priests, tacit among too many bishops, and tolerated for the sake of keeping the peace. That appeasement strategy was disastrous. February meeting-planners have said that the Church needs a change of culture. Does that include changing the culture of dissent that seems to have been involved in spiking the number of abusive clergy and malfeasant bishops? Then let the bishops gathered in Rome in February issue a clarion call to fidelity to the Church’s teaching on the ethics of human love, as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. And let them affirm that ethic as a pathway to happiness and human flourishing, rather than treating it a noble but impossible ideal.

    4. Forget bogus “solutions.”

    How many times have we heard that changing the Church’s discipline of celibacy would reduce the incidence of clerical sexual abuse? It’s just not true. Marriage is not a crime-prevention program. And the data on the society-wide plague of sexual abuse suggests that most of these horrors take place within families. Celibacy is not the issue. The issues are effective seminary formation for living celibate love prior to ordination, and ongoing support for priests afterwards.

    5. Resist playing the hierarchy card.
    Drawing on lay expertise does not diminish episcopal authority; it enhances it. Bringing lay expertise to bear on this crisis is essential in getting at the facts and restoring the badly eroded credibility of too many bishops—and the Vatican. The leadership of the U.S. bishops’ conference understood that, and the majority of American bishops were prepared to act on that understanding with serious remedies. The February meeting must be informed of those remedies—and it should consider how Roman autocracy made a very bad situation worse.

    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2018/12/avoiding-another-roman-fiasco-in-february

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I’m Praying & Hoping that my worst fears are not …. but we have been told NOT to worry and live life every day as best we can!!

      PROTECTING THE POPE
      https://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vortex-protecting-the-pope?mc_cid=8a5e687ef3&mc_eid=2a0b6c7ef6

      Believe me!! … I’m on the Look-Out for Good News:

      Philippines to deport American Catholic priest wanted for sex crimes
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-church-abuse-philippines/philippines-to-deport-american-catholic-priest-wanted-for-sex-crimes-idUSKBN1O50KU

      Australian court quashes Catholic cleric’s abuse cover-up conviction
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-abuse-archbishop/australian-court-quashes-catholic-clerics-abuse-cover-up-conviction-idUSKBN1O50ED

      Satanic Temple statue joins Illinois Capitol holiday displays
      https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/12/05/Satanic-Temple-statue-joins-Illinois-Capitol-holiday-displays/6301544047681/?sl=11

      How Much Blood Would Leftists Be Willing To Shed To Disarm Patriotic Americans?
      https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2018/12/06/how-much-blood-would-leftists-be-willing-to-shed-to-disarm-patriotic-americans-n2537012

      Atheists target Christmas, Hanukkah displays: ‘All we do in December is this kind of thing’
      https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/dec/5/atheists-target-christmas-hanukkah-displays/

      Are We Prepared to Tell God’s Story?
      https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/are-we-prepared-to-tell-gods-story

      GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. CrewDog, where did your screen name go? I started reading this comment by some GOHOGS fellow whom I assume is a new (or very quiet) ASOH’er; and I’m thinking, “Boy… his style is a lot like CD’s.” Then I get to the “GOD SAVE ALL HERE!” and I realize it’s you. What gives? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Just learned from a trusted friend… she says that John Paul II is not as good/saintly as is perceived. That he contributed to the state of the vatican today. And that the third secret of Fatima was not totally provided because it spoke about what is happening right now with clergy in the Church.

    Any thoughts friends?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m confident that Pope St. John Paul II was and is very saintly. How can he be held to account for evil deeds that people were doing in secret while deceiving him? I think it’s important to remember that what has been revealed, recently, about the cardinals, bishops and priests, who were and are guilty of wrongdoing, was going on covertly for many, many years. For these reasons and more, my hope and prayer is for a thorough investigation into the scandals.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Beyond that, Beckita, St. John Paul, as a young man risked death at the hands of the Nazis to attend the secret seminary in Poland. The sort of ugliness we have seen come to light was, literally, unimaginable to one such as St. John Paul, who literally risked death repeatedly in service to Christ. Can anyone believe for even a moment that such a noble soul would toss away all his fidelity to protect predators? That is a malicious, cynical idea fostered by the devil. We have to remember in all things to seek and speak the truth. There is a flaw in man that likes to defame the good and the great. We are confronted with some very ugly men who have terribly betrayed their faith and the faithful they are supposed to serve. If we let our sorrow over that generate cynicism about the good and the great, it does not help end the abuse – it augments the devil’s gains.

        Liked by 11 people

    2. Little One, God Himself referred to King David as “a man after my own heart”–David, who committed adultery and then murdered the woman’s husband in order to cover it up. Saint Peter denied our Lord three times. The Apostles abandoned Our Lord in the Garden. Abraham the Patriarch, because he was afraid, let some powerful dude take his (Abraham’s) wife and almost (and unknowingly, because of Abraham’s lie) commit adultery with her. St. Mary Magdalene was by some accounts a harlot before her conversion. All of these individuals committed acts that, objectively speaking, are magnitudes worse than anything that JPII is alleged to have done; and all of them are saints of the Church. Yet according to your friend, JPII is not as good or saintly as perceived? I certainly do not know the heart or mind of your friend; but what she told you sounds maybe like sour grapes to me. Just my 2 cents.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Paying these kinds of things too much attention will take away some of the simplicity of the soul that so delights Jesus. Our real focus and energy ought to go towards practicing the simplicity of our faith as ardently and as lovingly as we can. There’s a LOT of stuff out there that calls to question certain things, the third secret, certain canonizations . . . some of that stuff provides a temptation which kind of chips away at our trust in God. It’s not bad to wonder, or to do a bit of research now and again, and there are indeed those who are responsible for doing such research, but for the regular person like me, it is somewhat heroic to decide that some of these things are not worth the effort to pursue. Maybe there was a part of the secret that has not been publicized. Whatever. What could possibly be in there that has not already been indicated by the dire warnings of other approved apparitions? We have all that we need to know: God will have peace with mankind once more, because He loves us, and we can do it the hard way or the easy way depending on our cooperation. We want to know exactly how this will shake out because we’re curious, and we certainly don’t want to be duped, but we must be careful, we need to practice custody of the mind along with all the other virtues as we move forward lest our faith be shaken. As for Saint John Paul II, the underlying doubt, there, is a doubt in the ability of the Church to honestly recognize saints. That’s dangerous and borders on doubt in God’s protection of the Church. Don’t doubt the goodness of the Father who keeps His promises. The Church is the instrument of salvation on earth, and she will come through this trial too. While she is being purged and purified we will focus on the simplicity of faith in our individual lives and not be shaken or disturbed overmuch when it seems that people are just royally screwing up everywhere. Because they are and they will continue to do so and yet somehow, in the end, God has His way. I think it’s important to meditate on the simplicity of the faith especially during the Advent season . . . God came to us as a child. Imagine the delight a child has in the simplest little things . . . a little toy offered, a single cookie . . . we must be not only be like children, delighting in the things God has given us and trusting in Him absolutely, but we must also be like someone offering little things to the Child Jesus. He delights in our small lives and little sacrifices. Our glances at the Crucifix, our endurance of small pains for our neighbor’s sake and for the love of Christ’s peace. Jesus LOVES this stuff, and this should be our focus. For the Child Jesus, knowing all the details of accusations against the Church, being able to trace the movement of Freemasonry throughout modern history or knowing what might be “the real secrets” is like . . . reading a newspaper to a child instead of the little board book they love. The newspaper doesn’t matter to a child and doesn’t interest them. What matters to Jesus is your heart and your love. That holds His interest. Oh my gosh I do ramble. It’s just been on my mind, lately. I guess all I’m saying is that there’s a lot of gossip out there, we should be careful what information we spend time chasing because it could be just the thing the devil is using to distract us from our true duty and keep our hearts from turning to God with absolute trust. We will think that we know the truth and pride ourselves on knowing it, but all we have in that case is just so much dust.

      Liked by 4 people

  22. Thinking about the job I’d apply for in Hopeville.

    Papa Jack Griffith, CEO, Sole Owner, Proprietor and bon vivant extraordinaire of the Hopeville Circus and Pharmacy. Where every little girl gets to ride the pony and every little boy gets to eat all the ice cream sundae he can shovel down …. for free. And where the guys can congregate in the backroom and play cards and smoke cigars and consume a little “medicine” on Sunday mornings while the rest town heads off to church.

    A silly place. A silly town. A silly man. A silly time. Where love trumped all.

    Always has been my career ambition. Sadly, never made it happen.

    Why? Call me irresponsible. Great title song of this movie.

    P.S. The movie Papa’s Delicate Condition starring Jackie Gleason could never be made today.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Who needs a pony ride? Give me the all-you-can-eat ice cream sundae any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

      As an aside, I love the word “sundae.” My dear mother, God rest her soul, pronounced it “sunduh” rather than “Sunday”… I don’t know why she said it that way, but it was endearing.

      Hey, I just noticed that I accidentally made a pun or a play on words or something in my first sentence. I’ll never be as good at it as Doug is, though…. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  23. I think it is important to remember that scandal is a sin.
    The church has always done its own house cleaning for centuries. Secrets are kept in spiritual arenas for the purpose of privacy because of the seal of confession and to reduce scandal by those without the authority to know certain happenings in the church.
    To exclaim that this is WHY the scandal in the church now exists is to overlook the reality that many sealed secrets will never be divulged and we will never have “the rest of the story” and what was happening behind the scenes to remedy the problem.
    Thus the struggle for our prelates is to decide which is the greater “evil”; hiding and preventing further scandal which the church has always done or divulging things to an outside “lower authority” and allow the chips to fall where they may? It’s a cliff walk to be sure and none of us have the wit, historical expertise or authority to understand, much less decide, about such things.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “It’s a cliff walk to be sure and none of us have the wit, historical expertise or authority to understand, much less decide, about such things.” True, yet, the beauty of it is that God has raised up saints all throughout salvation history when we have been at such a serious impasse in the Church, to guide them and use them in His Plan to set things right. As I continue pondering the themes in the Ballad of the Ordinary Man, I continue to come back to the importance of simply remaining openhearted, for as Jesus exhorts us: Stay awake! Be ready!

      Liked by 3 people

  24. Good News!? … Bad News!? … Who’s to say!??
    I’ve come to the conclusion, “These-Days”, that much seemingly bad news is actually GOOD. The more The Usual Suspects reveal themselves the better for US and The, Praise GOD, Great Cleansing & Renewal 😉

    PSYCH PROF CLAIMS GOD LACKED MARY’S ‘CONSENT’
    ‘Virgin birth story about all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen’
    https://www.wnd.com/2018/12/psych-prof-claims-god-lacked-marys-consent/

    Due to Canadian PM Trudeau’s radical liberal policies, it’s only a matter of time before Islamic terrorists cross over into America from the northern border
    https://www.jewsnews.co.il/2018/12/05/due-to-canadian-pm-trudeaus-radical-liberal-policies-its-only-a-matter-of-time-before-islamic-terrorists-cross-over-into-america-from-the-northern-border.html

    DNC Chair Tom Perez Complains That Voters Influenced By Church
    https://thepoliticalinsider.com/tom-perez-church/

    Ireland Votes to Allow Girls Under 16 to Have Abortions Without Parental Consent
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/3711116/posts

    FACEBOOK CENSORS IMAGE OF SANTA KNEELING BEFORE JESUS
    https://www.infowars.com/facebook-censors-image-of-santa-kneeling-before-jesus/

    Elkhorn elementary principal put on leave for banning Santa, candy canes, and other Christmas decorations
    https://www.ketv.com/article/elkhorn-elementary-principal-put-on-leave-for-banning-santa-candy-canes-and-other-christmas-decorations/25424233

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I started with the “DNC Chair Tom Perez…” bit and oddly enough found him using the word “megaphone.” Interesting because I was going to comment that satan seems to have the biggest megaphone right now which is not only used to lead astray, but I think the big prize is to demoralize believers so they lose heart and despair. As for Perez, just more idiotic, ranting babble.

      Well, the good news is that God doesn’t need a megaphone.

      I had already seen the Pysch Prof, Facebook and Elkhorn stories which are typical fare for this time of year… but, yeah, much louder and more voluminous with each year.

      Anything about Trudeau makes me wrinkle my brow and spit, but that fella would do well to look over the pond at his bookend, Macron. I didn’t give those French much credit for caring about anything that matters in their country, but it appears the fuel tax nonsense finally woke them up.

      I’d like to see the same passion and energy expended on issues like the Irish one, but sadly think it’s only going to be about the money for the most part. As I said, mammon is going to be thrown down at some point, then we’ll see what happens.

      Here’s a little news bit you won’t find on the web (until just now):

      Couldn’t sleep, so got up in the wee hours and went out back with the dog. We were met with clouds and drizzle. There’s a lot of open desert and mountains in the neighborhood, plus some serious lighting ordinances, so you can imagine that it was dark out.

      Well’sir, my eyes scanned all around looking for something to fix on. As it turns out, I fixed on a particular mountaintop I’ve always been fond of, that is until somebody built an enormous house up there. Just didn’t seem right, cutting a zigzagging road up that scenic hill and topping it off with a house that amounts to somewhere around 15,000 sq. ft. + to my reckoning.

      That said, I was stopped in my mental tracks when my eyes landed on that mountaintop. There, soaring high (maybe 150 ft. +) from the rooftop of that abode, was the Cross. No other Christmas decorations to be seen, just that big, glorious Cross, lit up with myriad white Christmas lights… blazing brightly for all eyes for miles ’round to see.

      You’da liked it.

      Sure, there’s probably some counter group forming as we speak, putting new batteries in their megaphones and such, bristling with angst and hate for the symbol that is above all others… but there it is.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Wow….that’s just awesome. Enjoy the sight of that beautiful cross MP! The last house we moved into before this current condo, was in a hilly area with lots of space. One of the first nights in the house, I drew open the blinds to discover a beautiful blue cross on one of the hills across the way. We enjoyed looking at that cross for 12 years before it came time to move up North. It was a blessing to be sure!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Hey Crew Dog.

      You see this cool infographic on the Clintons? Now that they ain’t Commander-in-Chiefs, they can’t seem to find anyone willing to give them money. As an example, their armchair tour is a total disaster. Mark Steyn joked that people who went to see them in Toronto paid more for parking their car. The well has dried up. Go home, you two, enjoy retirement and cuddle under an afghan by the fire…….

      <>

      In my mind, Hillary is the most bizarre person imaginable, among the worst of the worst. Her very success and prominence is baffling, and now more than ever her arrogance and rage is palpable (and visible). And Bill, he is no man by my standards. When I see him, I do not see a dignified former president, I see only an aggressive wild-man and rape, rape, and more rape. (How quickly we forget). Dozens of victims, most likely….we only heard about a handful.

      These 2 haggard faces of the Leftist party, Billary, have left a weaker America and many, many devastated human lives in their collective wake. And their reign is finally over. (Thank God for D.J. Trump)

      May justice be done.

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Yes this is so true in my life . So many problems in my family . My wife and I married for 33 years . We have 10 children and now are in the middle of divorce . Spiritual attack like I never imagined and yes I see it in so many other families

    Liked by 2 people

      1. that’s the million dollar? Doug . We have been to all kinds of retrouvaille and counseling . And no help . All I could do is give you my viewpoint and that would take days . Thank everyone for all the prayers . That is still my hope . I’ve come to the conclusion we cannot fix this . I know God can

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Soda, after 3 years of dating Lambzie, I broke up with her. Totally crushed her. It was during this time I had my conversion and God’s love touched me in a powerful way. We got back together, but decided to do things the right way with God. Jesus changed my life in a very profound way and no way I was looking back. Next month will be 34 years for us. It took the break up for God’s plan to unfold. So do not give up hope. Keep praying. God sees your plight. Oh how my heart aches for families and marriages more than anything.

          Liked by 4 people

    1. So sorry, sodakrancher! Thank you for the opportunity to pray for you and your family! Commending you to St. Rita of Cascia, saint of impossible causes and difficult marriages.

      Liked by 4 people

  26. I live in a Mayberry-like place. The fact that Mayberry needs a sheriff means that it’s still not perfect. 😉

    Anyway, I volunteer to serve on the school board ~ a surprisingly action-packed role even in Mayberry!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Maybe, maybe not, Sr. Bear, since a sheriff covers a county. Maybe our sheriff keeps a little office in Maryville (a.k.a. – Hopeville, Mayberry…) just because they find the folks friendly there. That, and the pie is really good there too, or so I imagine.

      If all the parents, families, teachers, school board, etc., get it right, I reckon the Sheriff will amount to little more than a fill-in for crossing guard at the school.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. MarieUrsula, when I was growing up, my parents had an 18″ ruler made of metal, with something like the following message printed on it: “Vice President, in charge of vice, naturally” which I just thought hysterical. Be careful what your title is!

        Along those same lines, I was clearing out a friend’s basement a few years ago and found something I simply had to have: a four-foot yardstick. Get it? Do you get it? 😀 😀 😀

        Liked by 3 people

  27. Hey, looks like we’ve got us a little sidebar going on… in addition to folks volunteering for various duties, there’s a name that Village contest. Along with the usual Mayberry reference, I’ve seen Hopeville and Mayville, plus whatever else I missed.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. What arrogance we Catholics are capable of. Despite the fact that very many prophesies and celestial messages contain a large dose of mystery, we insist that any revelation of the third secret of Fatima be crystal clear or it must be a false claim. No wonder that Jesus has called us to come to him as a trusting little child. Watch and pray, pray and watch, TRUST in the Lord. May the Holy Spirit continue to protect and guide us, lead us to all holiness and truth as we travel on discerning the Next Right Step and preparing to be a sign of Hope to those around us.

    Liked by 7 people

  29. Hi there Mayor Charlie and all here at ASOH… wow..what a great piece…!!! I read this to Michael and he said, “Linda, I’ve been telling you all this for years! Quit talking about it and just “live it” by example! ” hahah.. he was quite smug to be up there with you Charlie! I def want to print this when I can plug my printer back in..these sort of pieces are really important I believe to read, re read, and read again as this storm increases! One would have to be totally blind not to see where things are headed with China… already we are in a “trade” war with them… yikes!!!

    I have so much I want to say, not that any of it is important, and my schedule is FINALLY starting to slow down so I will revisit this site and see all your wonderful wonderful comments above by all our family members here.

    I am so very thankful for you, Charlie and all of you here. I feel such peace as this storm continues as God has already taken EVERYTHING (in human form) from me except you guys, my churchy friends (we just wave at each other at peace sign) and my Michael. It’s been horrible, but looking back, I can see why God stripped me of all human comfort JUST FOR THESE TIMES.

    It’s going to be a good Christmas because I’m just going to smile and love everyone who is around. If they aren’t around (which most of them will not be due to divisions) I’ll think of them warmly and say a little prayer for them.

    Wow..we’ve all been through so much throughout these years! Charlie, God has prepared you well and I am so thankful to Him that He is teaching us through you! I thanked God personally yesterday at my Holy Hour for you as I looked into His Majesties beautiful Eucharistic eyes! It made me cry with gratitude! lol any my mascara smeared all over my cheeks…the next lady came in, Jane, and she brought in a box of Kleenex as she said she was going to have a good ole cry too and knew there weren’t any Kleenex’s in there! haha.. Hey all, please say a prayer for Jane..she is trying to get this one job and they are giving her the run around big time. thank you!

    On this Eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, I pray so hard that God give us all peace, joy and the sufficient grace to simply, “live it!”

    On a final note…Dearest Mother Mary, Our Lady of Grace… I ask you now that all those extra graces that nobody ever asks for… please share them with us here and now so that we may all be ready to help all your other children that are not quite sure what the heck is going on..

    Ave Maria! TNRS ASOH God Save All Here as Crew dog always says!

    Liked by 7 people

  30. Linda; You beat me to it. I just came here to pass along my best regards to everybody here on this the Eve of the I.C.
    And a hearty welcome to the newcomers in our comment family. As Fr. Ripperger said, God loves variety. If you’ve been reading these threads for a while you already know that we have philosophers, educators, artists, medical professionals, ranchers, techies and on and on. Blue collar, white collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you wear. I hear we even have a semi-retired political consultant. 😉
    Don’t be shy, everybody has their specialty dish to bring to the banquet.

    Liked by 3 people

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