Counsel for the New Year

Our Lady of Good Counsel – Pasquale Sarullo

By Charlie Johnston

Throughout the world, we are not what we once were. Whatever we will be after the existential agonies of these times have past, it will be something new. Whether sublimely good or horribly bad, it will not be what we have ever been before.

There are a host of perils that face us in the New Year. It is likely to be as deeply consequential a year as most of us have lived, perhaps as deeply consequential as 1861 was for Americans. It is not here that I wish to discuss the crises that surround us, either in civil society or in the Churches. Rather, I wish to discuss some habits of mind that will stand us in good stead as we grapple with the challenges of the year.

A friend of mine complained to me today of the “lies” about Pope Francis denying the Immaculate Conception. Even if his take is almost as tendentious as the original charge, he has a solid point. I have lost confidence in this Pope. That is not a secret. Even so, it is an offense to constantly seek the most malicious construction of a statement in order to promote an ideological narrative against one you do not like or with whom you frequently disagree.

The charge rose when the Pope spoke of Our Lady and St. Joseph in a Christmas message to Vatican employees. Commenting on a school of thought that joy was easy for Mary and Joseph, the Pope said, “…let us not think it was easy for them: saints are not born, they become thus, and this is true for them too.”

The Immaculate Conception says that Mary was conceived without sin to become a suitable vessel to carry the body of our Lord – the New Ark of the Covenant. That being the case, she WAS born a saint. But the Pope clearly was not commenting on the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception here. He was speaking of the struggles of every life in the living of it. The point he was making, even if theologically clumsy, was that we have to choose holiness and choose well at each moment. It takes on heightened poignancy when we consider that there are three people all of us know of who were created free from original sin: Our Lady – and Adam and Eve. God never revokes our free will, even if He spares us the burden of original sin. Adam and Eve brought original sin into the world by their defiance of God’s command, even though they were created sinless.

To extrapolate this clumsy but innocent statement into a formal rejection of the Immaculate Conception is ideological and rhetorical warfare, not thoughtful commentary. It does not advance the cause of truth to intentionally and maliciously make such a statement into something it clearly was not intended to be.

On the other hand, to just call it a lie is to disregard the genuine dismay and perplexity with which many faithful Catholics have viewed the ambiguous, sloppy and off-hand theological pronouncements that this Pope often makes. We cannot possibly dial down the rhetoric if we consistently make the worst possible construction of any statement coming from the mouths of those we do not trust. There are enough serious issues to be dealt with without intentionally making malice out of molehills.

Try to make the most innocent construction you can of any statement made, either by your allies or your opponents, for as long as you can. (I do not, by this, suggest that you ignore what they do: if the witness of their actions contradicts the witness of their lips, follow the evidence there, too, in making your assessments). Human nature often seeks to impute ill intent on everything an opponent says or does. Do not do that. If there is a case to be made, the actions and words of your opponent will make it soon enough for you – and you will not incur the wrath of God for calumny in the process. If it turns out you have misjudged your opponent, he may well become your ally. Many will be ensnared by the devil because of the heat of their rhetoric as things continue to degenerate. Don’t become one of them.

The Twelfth Book of the Confessions of St. Augustine includes an extended contemplation on the layers of meaning contained in Scripture and of our infirmity in comprehending them all. It warns against denying alternate interpretations that do not do violence to fundamental truth. This is how we gain insight and deepen our understanding of Scripture and truth. Augustine is very harsh in his condemnation of people who think their own explanation is not just a facet of the greater truth involved, but the entirety of the matter. “They speak as they do, not because they are men of God or because they have seen in the heart of Moses…that their explanation is the right one, but simply because they are proud…they are in love with their own opinions, not because they are true, but because they are their own…(this attitude) is the child of arrogance, not of true vision.”

St. Augustine, broad and deep as his vision was, never thought he had penetrated the fullness of Scripture or truth – and was contemptuous of the sarcastic little men who insist that they have the only possible interpretation. He was equally contemptuous of those intellectual nags who dismiss Scripture for its simplicity, thinking that their own complex schemes have transcended Scripture. He regarded their contempt as evidence of their stupidity (though I agree with it, ‘stupidity’ is his description of such an attitude), for they could not see how something sublime and profound could be expressed in such seemingly simple terms. Even then, he prayed for them, as for swallows who have stumbled out of the nest. “Have pity on such callow fledglings, O Lord…send your angel to put them back in the nest so that they may live and learn to fly.”

St. Augustine is adamant that just because the facet of truth another sees is not the same facet we see in the same passage, so long as it does not do violence to the truth central to Scripture, it is a small-minded and stupid arrogance to dismiss it. It would be fruitful for all, as we enter this year of judgment, to read closely the twelfth book of St. Augustine’s Confessions.

Long before I ever went public with these websites, I was praying intensely for those who think they have fully divined the mind of God and have the complete understanding of all His truths, His prophecies, and His intentions. I frankly think the fullness of the Storm is going to be rougher on them even than on non-believers. Events will move non-believers to consider truth; it will only embitter many of those who thought they had already captured the fullness of truth – and more than a few will be lost because of their invincible vanity.

When hiring young advocates for a political campaign, many would boast to me of what excellent researchers they were. Most were not even competent, much less excellent. What they really meant was that they were good at picking up citations to support what they already had chosen to believe. If what they already believed was erroneous, all they could accomplish by their talent was to add weight and mass to their errors. They were not actual intellectuals, just “Google intellectuals.”

Unless you thoroughly understand your opponent’s case and can express it at least as well as he can, you are a poor researcher and, perhaps, incapable of actual critical thought. To some extent, all of us are subject to error in our reasoning. To think otherwise is to think you can walk through a briar patch with Velcro pants and pick up no briars. That is why we must constantly refine our thoughts and reasoning by examining them and challenging them, by seeking out the best, most credible evidence that we have erred in some cherished opinion.

I do not just preach this; I live it. Shortly after he started high school my son, with no little trepidation, told me he was not sure he actually believed in God. I told him that was a question that everyone must come to grips with for themselves in their lives. I told him he could ask me anything, however challenging it might be, and I would do my best to answer him candidly. I encouraged him to study deeply and seriously on the matter. Above all, I told him, he must not just pretend to believe to please me, but neither should he pretend to disbelieve to please a disbelieving world. If you seek the wisdom of Christ, Christ will draw near – and you will know. He was relieved at my reaction. We had some wonderful conversations on the subject. Unlike most teenagers, by the time he graduated high school, he was well on his way to becoming and living as a profoundly serious Christian man – despite both his and my flaws.

You have to trust God. If you go to Him seeking the bread of life and of wisdom, He will NOT give you a stone. Too many people are charitably tolerant of their own flaws while rigorously unforgiving of those of others. There is a better way. Be rigorous with yourself and charitable with others. Examine yourself and your beliefs. If you fear to examine your beliefs with rigor, you do not trust God enough…and your belief is mere willfulness. God calls us to the better way – to acknowledge Him, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope; to always see our own feet of clay with clarity but to persist and endure anyway out of love – for God and neighbor.

I end with the closing stanza of Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address, as good advice as I have ever seen on how to live true virtue, humility and resolve in ugly times:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

*******

Our old friend, Joe Crozier, asked me to pass on a message to all here:

“I wish all my friends on ASOH the happiest Christmas time and a time of peaceful and powerful endurance and good service in the coming year.”

 

 

274 thoughts on “Counsel for the New Year

  1. I love this counsel piece, Charlie. Especially struck by the need for openness in our hearts, minds and spirits that we can encompass what actually unfolds as we discover it in real time. With such an attitude, we can process unexpected events without getting stuck in a stunned zone, becoming overwhelmed when things don’t happen as we thought they would. We’ll have the energy, then, to remain faithful in acknowledging God, ready to act on Holy Spirit’s promptings.

    Love the language you’ve used in your wisdom exhortations to “dial down the rhetoric” and refrain from “making malice out of molehills.” The whole piece is worthy of rereading and further pondering as well as intentional practice of each mental habit. Thank you for this sound and solid advice. I look forward to taking you up on your suggestion to read St. Augustine’s Twelfth Book of the Confessions. And oh! How golden is this: “Be rigorous with yourself and charitable with others.”

    Thank you for the beautiful wishes of this season, Joecro. May your kind and good words become, in your life, just what you wish for each of us.

    Liked by 15 people

    1. I noticed, too, the inscription on Our Lady’s halo in this image: Mother of Good Counsel. How apropos. Did you know if you make pilgrimage to Rwanda, there is usually an overnight stay at a hotel called “Centre d’Accueil Mater Boni Consilii”? May Our Lady, Mother of Good Counsel, continue to guide us through you, Charlie, and through anyone or anything which suits her desire to see us through this difficult year.

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      1. This first image of Our Lady is the same statue that Father Jozo had in his retreat center in Siroki Brijeg in Bosnia, when I was there in April 2002. Thank you for bringing back to me such beautiful memories.

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        1. I do not intend on being argumentative, but the statute is located outside Medjugorje in Herzegovina. Slavanka (love her), our Medjugorje guide and interpreter was very specific in the geography history lesson.

          Pretty much the same as stating the statute of Liberty is in New Jersey. {Lol. It actually is} Back in the day, before NJ broadened their police powers, NYPD covered all maritime activities, Manhattan to the shore of NJ.

          The statute story is remarkable as when shipped to Herzegovina, the ruling communists handled the shipping package roughly, intending on breakage. It sat unintended for a while then opened revealing the beauty within. Thus, though this image of Mother Mary has been the unofficial Medjugorje image, the local Parish holds rights, quite determinedly.

          Praying (kneeling) under and before this statue is awe-inspiring and these pictures do not do justice. However, they are the best one’s I could find.

          https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=7TuyyHNZ&id=976A781474C5D15A34443E0A85A906620C8FE9B6&thid=OIP.7TuyyHNZXneZTmF6Ud3hHQHaEo&q=Our+Lady+siroki+brijeg+in+herzegovina&simid=607997291215914038&selectedIndex=227

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            1. It was so very beautiful in Father Jozo’s Retreat House, I could never forget it. I snapped a few pictures of it when I was there for those 10 days. And of course, Siroki Brijeg is considered to be in Bosnia/Herzegovina. Father even passed out pictures of this beautiful Mother’s statue while we were attending his retreat. I didn’t see this statue in Medjugorje, when I was there 3 different times, however. What a nice story about this statue, Sean. Thank you for sharing that.

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          1. Sean,
            Back in 1987, I went on a guided tour to Medugorje. We made a visit to a church in Tihaljina where the saintly Father Jozo Zovco was pastor. Father Jozo was pastor of St. James Church when the children first began receiving apparitions of the Blessed Mother Mary. I have photos of an exact copy of the very same statue of Our Blessed Mother Mary! The graces and blessings poured down upon us as in a storm and the veil of faith became so very, very thin. I was on cloud 10 for about a month after that!

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      2. OH my gosh, Beckita.. I was just watching this and tears were streaming down my cheeks.. still are.. and call it coincidence? I dunno… lights just turned on on my mantel set to turn on at this time..but the timing was very heartening… Ave Maria! thanks for posting this Beckita

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    2. Yes- so true, Beckita. This openness of hearts, minds and spirits that you speak of seems like martial arts lately- requiring constant flexibility, with ourselves and others. Thank you for piecing this out for us. It is truly an intense time of trust in God and prayer that we learn to trust.

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      1. Thank you for your kindness, Thankful. Honestly, I found every thinking/speaking dimension which Charlie highlighted to be worthy of mention but didn’t want to merely repeat all his gems. You are right. Flexibility is key. Amen to ever-deepening trust in the Lord.

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      2. I can’t stop smiling at your analogy….. Martial arts!! That is truthfully funny.
        A moment at a time. That is all I can do. Nothing else. It is Gods plan…. We just happen to be born in this time. Just keep holding Marys hand.

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        1. Thank you, Anne for the reminder to keep holding Mary’s hand. We all need her so much. Thank God for her encouragement and that of people here like you. God bless you

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    1. Technically speaking “born” without original sin would also include St. John the Baptist. But we are now arguing semantics…
      Also, Charlie, I have been wondering throughout the last 2 years how you can still, on multiple occasions, mention “The Storm” in the same vien as the old site, yet the credibility of the visions/visitations are shot? It now seems like everything pre 2017 was sensationalism to gain a following. I can agree we are at a crossroads, but the visions of the messanger seem to be deeply flawed. So hearing you speak as if the visions are still in tact seem to be a bit misguided. I like your spiritual and political take on things, but reference to “Storms” and previous visions/visitations are very off putting.

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      1. I can certainly understand how you feel that way, Joe, but I do NOT believe for a moment that the credibility of the visions is shot. I misinterpreted details on two occasions – and took full responsibility for it. But pray tell me who has been more accurate over this last decade in speaking of the trajectory of these times? In my old political days, I was occasionally wrong in my assessments of what hard data meant – yet my services remained in much demand because I was so solid on the overall sweep. When I deal with much greater more difficult things, I dealt with even more care, but still managed to get two interpretations wrong…and with that and getting just about all else right in a way that no one else, you say my credibility is shot. I do not concur.

        I was saying from the beginning that my primary purpose was to hearten people to get through the Storm, which would come whether I spoke of it or not. Few listened to me, with most ears itching for more details so they could do exactly what I said would be counter-productive: make their own plans without God to avoid the consequences of the Storm which must – and would – come upon all mankind. I get flustered that, as plainly as I have spoken and as much as I warned at the old site that I would likely get a few things wrong, as difficult as this all is, that people still want to judge me by a standard that almost no actual, authentic saint or prophet has ever met – and I am very much a work still in progress. It is not that I am not what I should be, but that many peoples’ expectations are not what they should be. I will press on and endure – and make a few more mistakes before all is settled. I have long told people who I have counselled that at their very best, they cannot hope to always be right, but they can always be true. We are all, even the greatest of us, just little ones. I have spoken enough about that – and lived it here and elsewhere – that I figured people would get that that is a KEY part of the message for all, even if it took many some time to internalize it. Some of your ideas are going to be proved to be errant, because you, like me, are a little one who struggles to see through a glass darkly. But the world is caught up in such a preening vanity that many think if they ever err, they must completely withdraw from the field rather than risk ever erring again. Consider the Parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30. The one that was condemned was the one who would take no risk, for fear of failure. Do you think the ones who did take risk for the Master’s sake never suffered losses on their way to the net gains? You must risk, knowing that you will sometimes fail. Take responsibility for your failures, but be persistent in risking for the Kingdom. I have not only told you that, I have lived it in public for all to see. You may think my two errors obliterate all credibility, but I trust the Lord notices the gains as well – and the persistence in proclaiming the Kingdom. How I wish you would see it, too…for very soon all will suffer serious setbacks and will have to choose whether to quit the field or persist, knowing we each have feet of clay.

        When I switched sites, what I said was that I would make no new prophecies, not that I would not refer to old ones…or suddenly denounce everything I had ever said. Internally, I believe I have a job to do and am intent on doing it in submission to God and obedience to my lawful superiors: to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. My occasional errors will never stop me from living that commission, nor from acknowledging authentic errors when I make them. Nothing about that has changed. Again, I certainly respect your position, but I will continue to speak as I always have. You can either look past that for things you find uplifting or dismiss me altogether. The Storm is here. I described it accurately and its implacable coming while others were hooting, even on this site at times, that I was a paranoid alarmist. I was not accurate about where and exactly how it would make landfall – and acknowledged that fact as soon as it was apparent – but I was deadly accurate on its nature and its coming. I occasionally chuckle at those who used to mock my description of it as a “global civil war fought on cultural lines” by asking what that even meant. They know now.

        The prophetic elements were important primarily so that when the Storm came as I had described it, you could have confidence in my equal assurance that this is not the end and God is intent on purifying and then prospering us. My work is only half finished. It still is not to tell you what is going to happen, but to exhort you to press onward to proclaim the Kingdom to those who are in deepening misery and darkness.

        As to John the Baptist, I know some (but not all – or even a majority of) theologians posit that he was freed from original sin at the Visitation. I know of none who say he was conceived without sin. So your point is likely correct, but I spoke of those who were created without original sin. I do not include Jesus, as He was not created, but as the Eternal Son was incarnated into our humanity. On the larger point of whether there are others in history that God exempted from original sin as He did Mary, Adam and Eve, I do not know.

        Liked by 16 people

        1. Dear Charlie,
          Thank you for picking up the pieces and continuing to be an encouragement for us here on ASOH. I greatly appreciate it.
          I too was disappointed to have it not end late December 2016. I wanted to be with our Blessed Mother and Jesus so much.
          My thought(worry, sometimes) is what if this storm doesn’t end.? Like the back pain I have had for 50+ years, I get reprieves but it doesn’t completely go away. What if this storm is like it? I am most likely listening to fear instead of faith right now. Your faith is helping me to have faith along this cold muddy slog.
          Hopefully, everyone keeps failing forward. There is no standing still. Gads, we must all look like toddlers learning to walk to God.
          Please keep writing your encouraging words.

          Liked by 11 people

          1. We have so many promises from Heaven that this storm will conclude in great joy, HTTP! When I found my way to TNRS, it was at the request of a priest friend who wanted to know what I thought of it. In reading Charlie from the get-go, I saw and experienced some consistent things.

            1. I heard a re-echoing of many of the messages from Heaven with which I was familiar. And this from a man who obediently followed the wise counsel of his spiritual directors to NOT read other messages.

            2. As Charlie carefully prepared us for various possibilities that might emerge, he was ever tamping down the sensational attitude, cautioning us to trust God rather than hyper-focus on details and what exactly would unfold.

            3. What I also noticed, immediately, after finding my way here is that Charlie was not and remains not a typical message bearer who simply conveys what God wishes to say to His people by means of a heavenly visitor. No. Charlie is living his mission of leading via walking alongside us, defending the faith and heartening the faithful just as he was commissioned to do. He fosters discussion knowing that this builds up the mental toughness needed for the days upon us as we consider themes and possibilities and real life problems. How *many* times he’s acknowledged that the discussions refine his own thinking.

            4. He did, indeed, tell us that during his many years of training he had been incorrect on some interpretations of what his angel had said and was, therefore, corrected many a time by St, Gabriel. Further, he (CJ) forewarned us that he had been told he would be wrong on some major things. In November of 2016, he wrote: “Sometime in the next year, I will be significantly wrong about something…When it comes, it will not be a test of me, for I already know that God is good and seeks our reclamation. It will be a test for some of you, to see whether you have put your faith in me or your faith in God. If it is in me, your faith was always ill-placed. God is good, all the time, whatever the circumstances – and works to call us all back to Him. When I am wrong, I will accept the correction with gratitude and more wisdom. I will not leave the scene unless it is one of the fundamentals, and then, in full obedience to Holy Church, I will wait on the Lord, knowing that He will strengthen my heart and that it serves His purpose to call all His children back to Him.”

            In that same piece, A Reality Check, Charlie also wrote: “My angel rarely congratulates me for being right. Rather, if I am in serious error, he rebukes and corrects me. Many of the greatest saints have been deceived by the devil for a time. I have no illusion that I am exempt from that. So what if I was deceived for a time and my angel, for whatever reason, did not correct me? Do you think that would be so God could abandon or destroy you? Of course not! Everything that God allows is for our good and our reclamation. I know that, I have no doubt at all of it.”

            My Goodness! It is so clear to me that – in observing how Charlie has conducted himself through the difficult times – we are being trained and/or reminded about how to respond in those moments when each of us gets it wrong too. We have; we do; we forever will err because we’re made of dust. I cannot even wrap my head around how much courage it must have taken for Charlie to entrust the care and sustaining of TNRS blog to others in a time when he was flogged to the max for faithfully manning his post to the best of his ability. (Wee edit, he was flogged for the perceptions people had even as his goal was to be faithful to manning his post.) And like a mother hen, his greatest concern was for our welfare as evidenced in this excerpt from the piece which I quote:
            “But I worry that some who were shaken put their faith in God because of their confidence in me, rather than recognizing me for what I am – a cheerleader for the mighty God. Jesus’ followers thought He was going to re-establish a temporal kingdom through military might and political skill. Imagine how despondent they must have been when He was executed. Many thought all was lost. They found, as we always do, that God’s plan is both far different and far greater than any of us can imagine. Imagine then, their joy at the Ascension, when they had to have contemplated that what they had thought was the end was actually the beginning. We must ever wait, watch and trust, even as we humbly do the very little right in front of us that we can with absolute fidelity.”

            And how many times have we heard and reiterated that we’re simply looking Through a Glass Darkly and rightly so. No mystic or prophet on earth knows exactly what is going to transpire. Even in what we’ve been given as glimpses of possibilities, we know not what has been mitigated, even as we press on in prayer, fasting, sacrificing and doing good for the sake of Love and reaping a great harvest of souls. God deserves our humble waiting – even if we do become impatient in our humanity. He deserves our complete trust. (Why do we torture ourselves with worry?) He deserves our very best efforts and, through His Mother, the most wonderful conclusion of this Storm awaits us: the complete Triumph of her Immaculate Heart!

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            1. Well said, Beckita. Thanks for pointing out Charlie’s previous comments that I had forgotten. Charlie has always told us true. It is our expectations that cause us trouble. Thinking right now of family circumstances and my propensity to try to fix [correct?] things.
              Failed You again, Jesus. You take over.

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            2. Thank you so much for all this!!! Yes, all so true. What a beautiful time awaits us as we struggle through this storm now. Thank you for all the good reminders, dear Beckita!

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        2. I totally agree with you Charlie and support you. I see you as carrying out to a high degree, “Humility is Truth.” I have been led to always stay framed within the big picture and it gives a high degree of stability unlike letting any little apparent aberration dissrail you through overreaction based on a need to be right rather than to take the time to ascertain truth, with it actually impeding that search. Something is true in and of itself and what we or others think does not affect it in the least. Why should I get upset by anyone’s uninformed opinions when my stability is anchored in the truth. I wondered why I sometimes got upset by criticism and not other times until I realized that it was depended on whether I recognized truth in their charges.
          It would seem that the biggest problem in the world today, especially in the US, is unrealistic expectations totally divorced from reality. The young are especially prone to this, aided and abetted by the education system culminating in the universities resulting in vast acceptance of Markxist socialism and communism. This is a large element in the cultural upheaval which is largely based on self centeredness and unreality and wishful thinking.
          I admire your steadfastness and dedication despite the many challenges you face Charlie and will continue to pray for your success in this most important mission you are called to. May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us all, lead us to all holiness and TRUTH as we continue to discern the Next Right Step as we strive to give hope to those around us as the storm continues to intensify on our journey toward the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

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          1. I get very worried sometimes, sojourner, because a great flaw of many who are otherwise notable in their piety is that, when they inevitably make a significant error, they often think God has failed them, rather than that they have failed God – and so quit the field in shame to pout, rather than to refine their understanding and commitment. This is deadly to whoever does it. I get a little animated because of the danger to them, not because of any danger to my dignity. I feel I am failing to get the message clearly to them and thus, going to be complicit in their loss, when my whole purpose is to get people to hang on, to wait on the Lord. If people could get past the childish expectation of perfection from any created being save Mary, it would be utterly irrelevant what they thought of me. I am not worried about their reaction to my errors, but what their reaction to their own errors will be when they become obvious – for we have entered a time when many confidently held platitudes are going to be upended with the same vigor with which Jesus cleansed the temple. Who will be able to stand? Only those who are utterly committed to serving God and neighbor with humility, not those who are seduced by surety of their own righteousness. Now is the time when it is vitally important that people get that. Some get it now and are well-prepared; some will get it after they have stumbled and remember what I have consistently said here; some will not get it at all, thinking that God failed them…and those latter are at great peril of being lost.

            Do I say I am sent for these times? Absolutely. I know it is troubling to many who expected a perfect king or prophet and instead got a screw-up like themselves whose notable feature is his persistence, whether in sunny or stormy weather. We walk together and build each other up. That is how God intends it for these times. No one gets to sit on the sidelines like some judge deciding whether they have been well-entertained. We have entered a great battle, each soul is the battleground, all will sometimes fail, all who persist will sometimes succeed – and to all who persist with fortitude and humility, GOD will give victory in the war.

            Liked by 13 people

            1. I wouldn’t say that I’m perfectly content being a screw-up in the company of screw-ups, but there is an odd sort of comfort in it, isn’t there?! Yes, I’m so thankful for the prodigiously Holy souls who go about their work in relatively small numbers and near total obscurity, but if they’re ever within physical arm’s reach of me I probably wouldn’t know it. Just the grace of prayers from afar, and the din and dust from other ordinary soldiers on the battlefield (with the occasional solo treks to recharge).

              Oh, I like some din and dust… rugged conditions, getting dirty, getting back up after catastrophic falls, picking up others out of the dirt. Not to boast, but I sometimes feel like I’ve become an expert on getting up out of the dirt and mud (better to say letting Jesus pick me up), considering the amount of spills I’ve willfully taken.

              I resolved decades ago to avoid scripting the trials which were sure to come. What these times –– the battle –– would look, sound, smell and feel like. Good thing too, because I’d have been acting on faulty intelligence.

              Funny thing, but the very first memory I still retain is of my Ma grabbing my hand and hustling me down into the cellar. My serious but calm Ma, who passed on this great Faith to me. It was Easter 1965, and various tornados were passing on through our little town.

              Later in my teens, there was my Dad sending me out to secure the boats as the storm quickly rolled in. I was trying to get the mast down on a sailboat when the waters went from calm to 4 foot waves in the span of about a minute. Suddenly I’m balancing precariously on wet deck, rocking to and fro with the mast only part way down. Well, no amount of athleticism could overcome that predicament. I lost my footing and came crashing down hard onto my back. But, hey, at least I didn’t lose my grip on the mast. I was still clutching it firmly as it slammed on top of me and broke a couple of ribs.

              Sure, I was tempted to just lay there and curse, but the sight of a 20 ft. pontoon boat going aloft with the wind and getting hurled into someone’s house was enough to get me up, hustle up the hill and into the cellar. After the devastation, I was happy to see the boats sitting where they should, at near total rest on waters as calm as glass. Sore ribs notwithstanding, it was also the perfect time to go fishing, so my brothers and I did just that.

              In ’78, I was the first one in the household up after the great blizzard. It was 5 am, and I was surprised to discover the house buried in snow to the halfway mark on the second floor. I went it alone that time, prying my bedroom window open, scooting onto the roof of the garage and trying a flip into the ‘pool’ of snow in front of the garage door. Well’sir, that was ill-advised, since I found myself stuck upside down, buried in the snow for a span. Yeah, I was a bit impetuous in those days. Oh, but I did manage to get unstuck, find the door to the garage and force it open. Gosh, it took us days and weeks to dig out of that snow.

              I also may have previously mentioned the 7.8 trembler I experienced while stationed in Alaska. That one was an attention-getter, and then the tsunami warning sirens kicked in. Seems I had the keys to the duty van in my coat pocket, so loaded up a bunch of folks in short order and headed for higher country. Considering the long scenic route past the Bay (the ideal place for the tsunami to rip through), I just cut across the tarmac and runways with nary a thought other than mutual survival and efficiency. That, while 3 squadrons were scrambling to get off the deck and into the air. My passengers held their collective breath on that crazy joyride until I had them up the mountain in short order… at which point we just all busted out laughing.

              Oh, just some small examples of how we’ve all probably been provided Intelligence (via firsthand experiences) over our life spans, useful for serving God (I don’t say “serving God well” necessarily) throughout, and beyond, the storm. I’ve got other life lessons in this storm vein… hurricane, forest fires (hey, my brothers and I darn near started one), volcanoes, etc., but you get the idea. If they can be told simply, we can simply draw from our own experiences in a pinch, trust in God, and hope for the best.

              As for the human tragedies of our day, well, seems we’re all human too, and likely well trained and prepared on that front as well.

              Well, that’s the roadmap I’m going with. Simple. Always right there in my back pocket.

              If anyone wants to share, I’d be happy to listen to any Intelligence you’all have received. ‘Course, that’s sorta what we’ve been doing here for a long time… and I’m a good listener, believe it or not.

              It may sound sarcastic at first blush, but I genuinely hope everyone has a happy and blessed New Year and year to come. Seriously, I mean it.

              Liked by 9 people

              1. You must have been in the Chicago area for the winter of ’78-’79: Snowmageddon. I have never seen anything like it. A buddy of mine had a second-story apartment – and we had fun diving off his balcony into the snow. There were VW Beetles that got caught in a drift that didn’t turn up again until spring. There was a cottage industry of hiring people to shovel off flat roofs so they did not collapse. No one who lived through that will ever forget it

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                1. That was an awesome fun blizzard! Ha! Charlie, I was a sophomore in High School and we were just getting ready to go to the Caribbean with another family and when we got there, we rented 2 sailboats and bare boated the us and british virgin Islands. It was crazy. I was afraid of sharks in the ocean as that’s where we took our baths! lol it was hard to get out of Ohio though…

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              2. How about that story MP..that was really cool! I’m a sailor too btw.. I know what you mean about those waves kicking up in scary minutes! There was one race we were on called the VBC where the waves were as high as the ceiling.. at least my ceiling. Two men died that day. Their boat capsized and they didn’t have life vests on and down they went. It was a sad day. It was Lake Erie VBC race back in the 70’s I think. Mother nature is very very powerful and scary to boot!!!

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              3. Blizzard of ’77.

                I was nine and have vague memories of it, yet my Mother provided us tee shirts of “i survived the blizzard of ’77”. I remember my Uncle John climbing on top of a snow drift to carve my initials onto the street telephone pole…just below the electrical lines.

                My Mother has ‘fond’ memories of walking out their second story bedroom window ontop of the snow or tunneling thru to the street from their front door. She taught me how to shovel snow, individualy and as a community (as youngsters).

                In those days, before the modern plows, each street (neighborhood) would be responsible to clear a route for emergency vehicles in front if their house, respectively. Those who could not (elderly) were taken care of by the neighborhood, aka the kids.

                Each kid would clear the snow in front of their house and work in the middle, side to side, then up n down the steet for the houses to be cleared (for emergency access) via fire or ambulance.

                Watertown, NY at its best!

                Liked by 6 people

                  1. I love that! I was a teenager and worked at an Arby’s that was across the street and then only just through the field of my high school. After that blizzard the walk across the field to get to work felt more traversing mountain tops as the snow from the parking lot, and drivers ed course were plowed there too!

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                1. Just before I turned 11, we had the great Chicago blizzard of January, 1967. It was very vivid in my mind because a few days earlier, playing with my chemistry set, I had treated a piece of cloth with chemicals that were supposed to forecast the weather. More pink was stable and the cloth was supposed to turn blue to indicate a coming change in the weather. It did not work very well. The day before the blizzard, the ground only had patches of snow – but I noticed that my cloth, weirdly, had turned an almost bright cobalt blue. I was excited to show my Mom, who was pretty much, “Yeah, yeah, kid.” When we woke up the next day, it was amazing. The cloth was never very good at anything else – but if you are going to get a monster blizzard, it was right on point.

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                2. Sean, so you grew up in Watertown? I visited there a couple of times in 1992; I dear friend that I grew up with was stationed at Ft. Drum. I thought the town was cute and quaint. And there is a convent there, from which I have since ordered some prayer books and sacramentals. I believe the order is the Sisters of the Precious Blood, or something very close to that. Do you know them?

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                1. L1, God is good, and if he can use us to help someone… awesome! If we can leave ’em grinning and chuckling, that’s a bonus in my book.

                  In my younger days, I often found myself involuntarily staying after class… cleaning the blackboard, knocking dust off erasers, practicing repetitious handwriting skills, etc. Who knows, maybe my teachers didn’t appreciate a dry sense of humor, but it was only the rare one that I couldn’t get to give in with a laugh… at least a heartfelt grin.

                  Their fine lessons and discipline was God’s gift to me and the other students. My leaving ’em a little lighter at the end of a tough day was just my way of saying “thanks.”

                  Folks, give what you have been given, even if the critics bash you for it.

                  And never underestimate littleness. That’s a formidable gift you have to share, among the many others you’re no doubt blessed with.

                  Liked by 5 people

              4. Happy New Year to you, too, MP. I enjoyed reading your stories, especially about The Blizzard. I will never forget it, and I’ve talked about it several times to my husband (he’s from Seattle, so he’s never experienced anything even close). I remember that we missed two straight weeks of school. It was like a second Christmas vacation, and we loved it. My dad and my brothers dug a tunnel from the back door, through the back yard, and all the way to the (detached) garage. I’m pretty sure they were able to walk through the tunnel standing up, the snow was that deep. I don’t know firsthand though, because my mother would not let me go into the tunnel. I was little (fifth grade), and I think that maybe she was afraid the tunnel might collapse on and bury me. My brothers and my dad had no such trouble, and I was so bummed that I never got to walk through that tunnel.

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            2. wow..Charlie..that is so profound… I pray I am one of those who persist with fortitude and humility…just imagine God giving to a soul victory in war!!! wow I would think victory in the war is those souls and maybe even ourselves being saved?

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            3. Constantly re saying the Surrender Novena (sometimes all in one sitting). Brings me back to God’s reality, not mine. So hard to do, I keep slipping up. Keep wanting to substitute my will. Keep thinking of the martyrs, trusting in His will even to the end.

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        3. This makes me think of St. Francis of Assisi when God told him to rebuild His Church. The prophesy was correct and St. Francis heard him correctly. Then St. Francis went and literally rebuilt an old church, and sold all of his father’s clothing to do so. Jesus didn’t correct him and St. Francis gave up everything of his father’s to be sold to pay for the Church. When St. Francis was told to give everything back, he even gave back the clothing he was wearing. God never corrected him but used all of his choices to reclaim the church. This is all so hopeful to me- God sees our hearts and our intentions. So hopeful that he can take everything and bring so much good even when we misunderstand Him. Thank you for your help Charlie and God bless you and all here.

          Liked by 10 people

        4. Charlie,
          I just re-read your piece “A sign of Our Lord’s Presence in the world” dated December 7, 2018. You refer to 2 Timothy 3:5 and recommend reading the four verses immediately prior. Zingers…

          Catholic Study Bible

          2 Timothy 3:1-7

          1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress.

          2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

          3 inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good,

          4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

          5 holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.

          6 For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses,

          7 who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

          *******
          Wow! I may only imagine verse 6 could mean TV/ internet/ etc.

          Liked by 4 people

        5. Way to go Charlie!!! You were never wrong, in my opinion. It was the interpretation that was wrong. I still remember the date….9/23/17 if I am not mistaken. God bless you always.

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        6. “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.” (Deu. 18:22)

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          1. Ah, how I am amused by the amateur theologians that sometimes drop by here. Notice the text does not say when “someone who purports to be a prophet,” it says when a prophet speaks such – and then tells you you need not fear that prophecy. Thus, this verse anticipates that authentic prophets will err.

            If you were to seriously examine and discuss the issue, you would also take into account how often prophets mis-interpret what they are authentically shown. If you were very serious, you might do a serious timeline in the Old Testament and discover how many times the actual prophets there were off on their timing by anywhere from three to 40 years. Then you would have to reconcile it with this verse. But that would require seriousness of purpose and humility, rather than just bumper-sticker style gotcha stuff.

            I speak not to those who are invincibly blind to the times, but those who see them clearly and want help navigating these crises. You keep on keeping on as you will, I will do the same, and we will see who is justified in the Lord’s own time, won’t we? I pray that ultimately it will be both of us.

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            1. Years ago when a dear friend of mine sent me something you wrote, I was intrigued that someone saw what I was seeing in our world. In addition, everything you put out was drenched in the faith of our Holy Mother Church. Your message of taking the NRS and being ASOH was so simple and logical (in terms of Church teaching). Then to see the incredible number of kind and faithful Catholics who comment here— what more could one ask? Even if Obama didn’t leave office or whatever else was off, the truth that you find here is irrefutable.
              When you were speaking outside of Birmingham at a private home, my sister and I drove down and back in one day to hear you talk. That was one long day, but would do it again in a heartbeat. I had endeavored to coordinate an appearance for you here in Memphis a couple years ago and at the last minute it was shut down by our then-new bishop. I already had your favorite candy and soda for you!! This is the bishop who was recently abruptly removed by the pope in a swirl of high drama and controversy. Anyway, we were sorely disappointed we didn’t get you here in Memphis— maybe some day!

              Liked by 3 people

      2. Not so sure we’re at crossroads as much as we are cross eyed. Hard to see clearly. I am thankful for Charlie’s common sense, faith based encouragement. Be at peace, Joe, God’s got this.

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      3. Joe Are you sure you read all the comments and kept up this last year? When the Rescue did not occur as expected (God seems to love to maintain a sense of mystery lest we mere humans become even more prideful of our own intelligence), in the latter part of 2017, it soon was discerned that the Rescue was not a single one time happening or “event” but was actually a process (An inspiration from the Holy Spirit no doubt) that began in late 2017 and was amazingly continuing to unfold. It was a veil lifting that exposed the threateningly evil behavior going on in the Church and political actions of the left. They didn’t even seem to be aware or even care about the exposures so confident in their own power. The Satan seemed to be convinced that he had already won and could not be stopped. It is continuing even to this day. How can there be any doubt that we are in an increasingly threatening storm and we must pray and fast even more because only through God’s help can we be saved. The enemy is indeed powerful. The eventual Triumph of the Immaculate Heart has been promised from many prophesies over the years.
        May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us and protect us, lead us to all holiness and truth.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I finished watching “One night with the King” regarding Esther https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0430431/ and found one saying remarkable. The King is going to battle but remarks he needs a Queen to watch over his subjects in his absence.

          How fitting is this in our time. Jesus departed to fight the Devil and His Queen Mother is reigning in His absence… or something to that affect. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

        2. It’s funny but I never thought it was going to be an immediate rescue and always thought it would be a process over time to give lots of people time to wake up and convert. So many knuckleheads out there steeped in ignorance and obstinacy ie abortion.

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      4. I didn’t mean to “like” what you said, Joe…I don’t think that was nice what you said about Charlie…I believe in peophesy, things can change..look at ninevah…or misunderstood..for they may still impeach trump n undo all his gains, or it could’ve been wrong timing…2020 perhaps? Anyhow, something is Def not right..even unbelievers are on edge to what is coming….

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        1. You’re on target, Linda. Prophetic words are a limited and mere whisper of what’s to come and such words are to be deeply contemplated and interpreted carefully. Mostly in hindsight, do we get what was given in exactly the way it was meant.

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      5. Somehow I missed this part of the thread, but was catching up out back this morning. I was out there picking up some partially eaten citrus left by ole’ Bobcat. I know the lady with the citrus trees does not like critters except for the birds. Maybe there’s a sign out there that says “all critters are welcome” in my yard. Hm. I might have to draw the line at mountain lions though. Haven’t hosted one yet, so I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when it comes.

        Joe let me ask you an honest question. Charlie obviously believes to his core that he has been given a mission, human imperfections notwithstanding. Clearly he’s got the stuff to see it through. You, and many others like you, would like Charlie to only talk about certain things, if not go away altogether. For me personally, I find a bunch of the latter to be some degree of fear covered in a layer of cynicism.

        Considering the state of affairs in the world today, and the apparent trajectory of humanity, which do you think is more sustainable? Your objections, or Charlie’s commitment?

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        1. MP,
          You words are much more eloquent than I.

          I think Charlie has been too kind to all these ‘Joes’ and would rather see him say p-off. Charlies message has been a sign of hope, one of charity and love of neighbor.

          {BREAK}

          The Identity ‘Political’ culture storm we live within… who would have seen it a few years ago no less than ten. Transgenders? Yesch. Yessh with a Yuch… Personally, I think every school should ask all the boys to go to the soccer field and all the girls to the baseball field with anyone left over report to the gymnasium… for pschological evaluation. Telling a boy he is a female and a girl likewise a male is… [Child abuse].

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          1. Well, Sean, I don’t begrudge the “Joe’s” or anyone else their opinion, but I agree with Charlie and others that they should endeavor to fashion an informed one before public disposition. Would be nice if everyone got there together.

            Underlying my above wandering thought was a niggling, but better question: What drives persistent behavior in a person? Hm. I sorta boiled it down to a couple of things. (1) Love. And, (2) fear. That may be oversimplifying, but everything in between just seems like some degree of inconsistency, incompleteness, disorder, etc. (or some degree of consistency, completeness, order, etc., depending which way a person is trending). Of course I don’t really know anyone who is perfectly one or the other.

            [Break|
            (Hey, can I borrow that, or was that a subtle suggestion that my thoughts are usually a run-on?!)

            Shortly after I awoke this fine New Year’s day, I was chasing some snow for my friends. That might sound absurd, since I live in the Arizona desert, but there was indeed a light dusting of snow on the peaks to the north and east of here. I could see it.

            A half hour later I mounted up to take some pictures of the scene. I normally like to walk that route, but had to cover some considerable distance and the holiday eating was overdone. I could feel it. No problem for the Dun. He just beat tracks and treated my ole’ bony arse in the saddle as if it were a mere trifling. That, and the smell of horse hide and tack is like aroma therapy to me.

            So here’s the New Year’s day shot that I wanted to get and share (snow on peaks in the upper left, and all):

            I tied off the lead and walked the last mile or so to get that shot because I wanted some quiet and better mobility. Good thing too because I was able to catch a particular song in the quiet and snap this bonus shot:

            It’s a bit crusty because I had to enlarge it and didn’t have time to focus. A little splash of red… only the third time I’ve run across a Vermilion Flycatcher. Happened so fast… that particular bird, just at that time and place. Such a little thing, but to me, God spoke volumes with that brief encounter.

            Oh, no one has to agree with me, but there it is. Scripture says that if we can be trusted with small things…

            Naught but shared stories and images for now, but I’m fervently hoping that one day we can all joyfully see what no eye has seen. Even the rigid ones that stifle the possibilities with a lack of imagination at present.

            Happy New Year’s to all!

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you Charlie. This is the clearest advice yet on how best to conduct ourselves in the current Church crisis and broader culture. It helps me greatly. Thank you.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. i say it all the time Patty but I thank God ALL THE TIME FOR CHARLIE! I think I would have been in an insane institution by now or worse with all the division. I owe Charlie my life and Thank you Jesus for sending him to us all …TNRS ASOH

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  3. Great advice, Charlie. Thanks for spelling it out for we Steppers here because each step must be as a building block for the Kingdom – solid and true.

    Thank you Joe and the same to you! Miss your presence in the commentary but embrace it in the Kingdom – and oft reminded of it when I see the statue of OLO All Nations!

    Still praying Dolordee – may the Lord masterfully take your heart into His Fatherly hands and soothe and strengthen it, Amen.

    Liked by 11 people

  4. Thank you so much, Charlie. I do very much appreciate all that you do here. It is a great encouragement to me and many. It all seems very much like a time of great humbling: God allowing us to make mistakes even as we discern His will and then we continually ask for his mercy when we do. It seems like shortly after each mess-up, he allows those around us to mess-up too, so we can in turn be merciful like He is to us. It seems to be happening more and more frequently and there is a constant prayer to do His will, ask for mercy, and petition Him for many needs. It seems to be a constant roller coaster ride that is exhilarating some times and terrifying at others. Sometimes it seems like the ride operator has left his station, sometimes like He’s given the job to a novice or someone with bad intentions and only by faith do we know that the roller coaster operator is God Himself.

    Liked by 11 people

  5. Charlie, as a refresher, could you say more about the “year of judgement” that we are entering?

    Also, your sage advice to “constantly refine our thoughts and reasoning by examining them and challenging them” reminds me of driving with “Siri.” If we make a wrong turn, she quickly recalibrates and gives us new directions. (Sister Jeep doesn’t have Siri, for which I’m actually thankful. Around here, Siri has been known to direct visitors via shortest routes that get them stuck in winter snow.)

    Liked by 9 people

    1. I will, Sr. Bear. I laid the groundwork for the year of judgment in this piece, “A Sign of Our Lord’s Presence in the World.” I have some stuff ready to pop and will be emphasizing it in the New Year, but just did not want to go into it in depth until the calendar has turned. The key is that almost everything has been revealed over the last year and a half – so now the choices we make, we make with access to all the knowledge we need to choose prudently – and will now be held fully accountable for the choices we make. We are not choosing wisely…and will quickly see the consequences of our defiance.

      Liked by 11 people

        1. I wonder just how many places and times this sort of exchange is occurring all over this land. (A warning for those with delicate ears, the expletive known as the f bomb, is in nearly every phrase and sentence in this heated exchange but, if such as that bugs anyone, there is the option to simply read about this encounter.) A-mazingly pathetic and disturbing. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Sean, because I see living lessons in the dialogue between these guys. As I observed it, not only is this snowflake’s behavior problematic, but also this poorly treated customer took the low road as he exhibited real delight in escalating the heat by taunting the clerk. Neither of these guys wins any kind of honorable mention for living the counsel provided for our consideration by Charlie in this new piece.

          Thanks, too, for the Johnny Cash song. As this year comes to a close, I’ve been recounting my blessings in gratitude to God. This brings to mind another golden oldie, one that could well be apropos, not just for a romantic duo. It has application for friendship… the kind of friendship we offer one another in this community. We are the “someones” chosen for these times and I love the ways we become guides for one another other in the comments we share:
          It’s a long, long journey
          So stay by my side
          When I walk through the storm
          You’ll be my guide, be my guide
          If they gave me a fortune
          My pleasure would be small
          I could lose it all tomorrow
          And never mind at all
          But if I should lose your love, dear
          I don’t know what I’d do
          For I know I’ll never find another you.

          Liked by 6 people

          1. Agreed! This morning, before morning mass, (@ St. Michael the Archangel church) I offered three-day Votive candles for the snowflake and two witnesses. The chaplet of Divine Mercy (f/o the Tabernacle) was prayed for their conversion (and all snowflakes)

            During the offertory, I thankfully prayed to God to join my prayer intentions, deeds, Indulgences and good works into the Eternal Sacrifice on this Fifth Octave day of Christmas. It is a great joy to realize we have the opportunity to pray for those whom we may never meet or know…

            Liked by 10 people

            1. Amen, Sean. What a great response of prayer you consistently make. We may never meet those for whom we pray… at least not on this side of the veil, but we will surely become fast friends with all those who have been touched, by God’s Infinite Goodness via our own generosity of prayer.

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                1. Sean, thank you for posting this. Every time I hear the songs he of Adoration from Medjugorie it’s like I’m there again.I can actually feel the same peace here as I had there.

                  Liked by 2 people

          2. Thank you, Beckita! This is beautiful. Besides our community here, I immediately thought of my husband. I read the comments on the video and see it is the song for “Marriage Encounter.” Comments from 9 years ago with a different president are interesting.

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          3. Beckita, I was also very disappointed with the way the Trump supporter guy in the vape store descended down into the gutter. The take-away for me: There were no men in that exchange.

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  6. Throughout the forthcoming days, if and when asked about personal New Year resolutions, it’d be the perfect time to do some indirect evangelizing: “Oh, I’ve heard that some guy, Charlie Johnston, has an intriguing blog so gonna allocate time for inspiring reading and watching Father Ripperger’s videos. Some will probably ask, “Who, What, Why”, and voila… be ready with a succinct, yet amusing reply so you’ve piqued their curiosity to take a look and/or listen.

    Miss your commenting, JoeCro; hope you’re well, and may the New Year bring blessings from the Babe in the manger to you and all here.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Such a great idea, Marie, to continue inviting others into our community. The door is always open and the comment policy which Charlie established has kept this place a civil, sane place even as we agree to disagree – even strongly disagree – at times.

      Liked by 8 people

    1. My mom who just recently passed, March 15…Ides of March…this past year 2018… Used to always tell me not to make enemies out of friends or that she herself would not do that. I thought it was very kind of her to try to do that. God Bless her soul…

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  7. Thank you very much Charlie. I find much of what you said here summed up in the simple statement given to me by the Holy Spirit some 54 years ago, “Humility is truth.”

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  8. Charlie, May I ask a question? Regarding alternative interpretations of scripture, I struggle mightily with the historical critical method. I am not well versed in it, but it seems to deny the supernatural and the fact that all scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit. I think this method throws the baby out with the bath water. Am I misguided, or should I open my mind to it? Thank you, Karen

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    1. No, I think you are right on target. I don’t buy the historical critical method – it is something used by people who have lost their faith and, inexplicably, want to hold on to a religious feeling that denies the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). I will go further. I am friends with more than a few people who are not very religious, but most enjoy talking to me on the subject. On a few rare occasions, one of them has had a clearly supernatural experience and has called me shaken. I have told them each time to look at the matter as to whether it is good or bad, for the devil uses people’s foolish arrogance that there can be nothing supernatural by making a display of power. Since they are so shaken, they are suckers to believe that it is a GOOD power for they have been convinced there is no power. People who take the line that there can be no supernatural power in God are not just foolish, but make themselves easy prey for the devil. I will yet go further…soon enough, all will see directly the power that is in God. Anyone who denies that God has power denies God, Himself. It is wonderful to study the laws which govern the universe…but foolish not to understand that the author of those laws is not, Himself, governed by them. Those who think themselves wise think you foolish…but soon enough all will see that your sort of ‘foolishness’ is wisdom. Stay where you are and reject such arrant, errant nonsense.

      Liked by 13 people

      1. Dei Verbum, the Church’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, promulgated during Vatican II, says, “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord…” Dei Verbum also says that “Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1).”

        Whenever I run into a progressive Catholic who questions the accuracy of the Scriptures, I always quote Dei Verbum to them and then say “What’s the matter? You’re not one of those dissenters of VII are you?

        There’s nothing inherently wrong with using certain academic methods to study the Scriptures as long as you use them under the umbrella of Faith. The problem lies when the practitioners of those methods fail to see that they are vulnerable to subjectivism, a priori thinking, solipsism and cultural chauvinism. They assume their method is infallible while it is the Scriptures that must undergo what Joseph Ratzinger has called a “Hermeneutics of Suspicion”. According to Benedict XVI, the result of such an approach often leads to what he calls “creative writing”.

        I love the Bible and I think all Catholics should read it everyday and attempt, at least once, to read it cover-to-cover in a yearly plan. One of the great gifts the Lord has given the Church in recent years are scholars like Scott Hahn, John Bergsma, Brant Pitre, Edward Sri etc, who study the Scriptures through the lens of Faith. They engage in scholarly research and sometimes find that prevailing axioms of the majority of Scripture scholars may not rest on solid scholarship. For example, these men, especially Pitre, make a convincing case that the Gospels were written earlier than what most scholars of the last 100 years thought. The closer we move the writing of the Gospels to the life of Christ, the harder it is to claim that they were the work of anonymous authors who patched together a bunch of folk stories.

        Merry Christmas!

        Liked by 8 people

        1. Amen, Frank! So well said with well-chosen quotes. Love Pope Benedict’s choice of words for errant study: “creative writing.” How elegant was his own writing and his corrections were ever gentle, strong and true.

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        1. Ha, Mick! I know Charlie has read the Bible – the whole Bible! – more than thirty times… and knowing him it wasn’t the speed read style but the furrow-the-brow some and contemplate-deeply-a-lot way. I’d wager he’s read Shakespeare more than a time or two and the word “arrant” was just plumb pressed to his memory for such a time as writing this piece.

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          1. I was talking heatedly to my son about something once and a word came out that had popped into my head. Chaz looked at me and said he didn’t think it was a real word. I thought a moment and said, “No, I don’t think it is either…but it should be!” He did agree later that it perfectly described what I was getting at and he immediately knew what I meant. So Mick’s question was a fair one. I just love words…trying to find just the right one for the situation deeply intrigues me…always has. But truly, I’ve been like this from early childhood. One of my granddaughters (who has not yet started school yet) is very much the same way – constantly flummoxing adults when she casually uses a word they don’t know, and when they look it up they find she used it correctly. There must be a stray gene rattling around in my family that causes it.

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            1. Toss in your voracious appetite for reading and a career of writing which involves ever considering word choices, Charlie, and we can all stayed tuned for additional word surprises yet to come!

              Like

            2. Words are a beautiful thing. I have even thanked God for the letters of the alphabet specifically. 😉
              My dear mother was an avid reader and I was able to learn many words as a result of our many games of Scrabble and Boggle.

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  9. REQUEST FOR GOSPEL TRACTS Pls, May I apply for tracts especially on these areas of your life saving messages of Christ’s kingdom to enable us reach greater audience in South Eastern Nigeria . If my request is accepted then, I will send you our Box number. Thanks so much Daddy, man of God.

    Your in the Vineyard, Pastor. Obodo Peter.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t publish tracts, Pastor, but you are free to print out as many copies of these articles and distribute them as you please.

      For the rest of the group here, the last line is a bit jarring. But I have been in contact with a growing number of Christian people and religious in Africa and India, particularly. They are very formal in the use of titles of respect that are extravagant to the English ear. I have found it is usually considered an insult to reject such an honor from them, so I accept it all in the spirit in which it is honorably offered.

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      1. The pastor’s closing line is music to my ears, Charlie. I loved my time visiting in Nigeria and I miss West Africa for many reasons. The fishermen from the Fante tribe in Nigeria often made their way to fish in the sea waters of our coastal home – for two years – in Cape Palmas, Liberia. How gentle were those fathers with their children! Those fishermen were after the big boy snapper and grouper while they were irritated with the lobster which were always getting tangled in their nets. We were happy to relieve them of those irritating sea critters… at 50 cent apiece. Oh yah. We enjoyed boiled lobster, baked lobster, BBQ lobster and all manner of lobster dishes and soups.

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        1. I love your lobster story Beckita! I was in Uganda for a short time, but I must say we never had lobsters nearby, like you on the ocean. What a treat that must have been! I couldn’t always identify what we were eating! 🙂

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          1. Laughing, Diane. I’ve had many an unidentifiable or new-to-me meal in my travels as well. Biggest recent mistake were the thousand year egg and the pigeon meat served at a gathering of Chinese people.

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          2. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

            In my family, we have sometimes been like a UN conference because of the different nationalities and ethnicities of some spouses. A few years back at a holiday gathering, I solemnly announced that I am a multi-cultural guy, but don’t anyone ever try to persuade me to eat a Thanksgiving Eel: that is where I draw the line. It drew a hearty laugh – but one in-law solemnly assured me of what a delicious dish eel can be. I told her that is fine, but not for Thanksgiving.

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            1. Aww- Beckita! You are doing such good work here. Do some here feel the need to retreat more into prayer? Not sure what is right or wrong in that aspect. There may be some here who feel like they have to hermit themselves a bit in order to pray because the challenges require it. Is that ok? I understand that and find myself only doing the necessary stuff except when someone needs me. I know laypeople aren’t called as much to the monastic life but often actually a more quiet existence gives me strength to fight the necessary battles. The more extroverted ones thrive and do wonderfully in the more outward life. Any ideas on whether one is wrong or right? Please forgive my ramblings. The spiritual battle has gotten quite thick lately. Much love and appreciation.

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              1. Thank you for your kind ways and words, Thankful. After retirement from teaching, my lots of travels and lots of activity days simmered down to semi-hermit times. I still remain active in tending to my grandchildren in the hours before and after school. Father and I are either called out or receive at home people who need a listening ear and/or some prayerful intervention. It’s all good. I think the key in discerning how to spend time, whether in active deeds, much contemplation or other prayer time, is to simply ask God what He wants. He lets us know. Whether we’re introverts or extroverts, He’ll guide us as He opens and closes doors. God bless you, Thankful!

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            2. Beckita: so sorry but didn’t see this comment until today. Thank you for your prayers. David has had a series of unfortunate health and financial missteps. The horrendous teeth mess just one of them. As a family we have taken steps to help. Ever so often a whole series of events seems to hit all at once. I find myself holding my breath and looking over my shoulder looking wondering if another crisis will hit. It seems to clear with a Rosary Novena. He doesn’t make much and his Type One diabetes is hugely expensive but we soldier on. He works for restaurants and so he is responsible for all his meds and Insurance. Thanks for remembering him in your prayers and if you would pray for him ever so often I would be eternally grateful. Love you all.

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              1. Thanks for this update on David, Joanne. Keeping him, you and all here in prayer that we are securely nestled among the angelic hosts under Our Lady Queen of Angel’s Mantle of Mercy, Love and Joy!

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      2. I just finished watching “Called to Communion with Dr. David Anders”, EWTN. The last question posed dealt with ‘titles’; how fitting the subject was our prayer to Mother Mary known as the Hail Mary. I reflected on this post and thought it would be most suitable for us to recall:

        Hail Mary (Title),
        Full of Grace (Title),
        The Lord is with thee (Title).
        Blessed art thou among women (Title),
        and blessed is the fruit
        of thy womb, Jesus (Title).
        Holy Mary (Title),
        Mother of God (Title),
        pray for us sinners now,
        and at the hour of our death.

        https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/mary3.htm

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      3. Very true Charlie. A sweet family from Nigeria call me Mother……it took me awhile to understand that women my age, out of respect and honor, are called “Mother”. It’s very sweet and endearing.

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      4. I love this title for you, Daddy, man of God, even though we are contemporaries. I really enjoyed this reflection Charlie and have not lost faith with your experiences as told to us here. I’d be more
        concerned if you were %100 all the time. I know that I am in a storm but God reassures me and we carry on. I wish everyone the Best of God’s blessing this New Year. Prayers for all!

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  10. The image of the Mother of Good Counsel is so beautiful Charlie. Our Lady’s lowered eyes and inclined head remind me of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe/Tepeyec. Sr Emmanuel mentions in her latest Report (https://sremmanuel.org/newsletter/december-2018-report/) that a replica of latter image has changed colour. Please forgive me for being off topic but Sister has also offered a beautiful prayer for Jesus to visit babes in the womb, especially those who are at risk of imminent death:

    4. Let me share with you my prayer to baby Jesus hidden in the womb of Mary

    “O dear Baby Jesus, nestled in the womb of your Immaculate Mother, I have come to see you. I need to talk to you. To tell you first of all how much I marvel at the fact that God himself took our flesh, which is so fragile and vulnerable. You made a mystifying leap from the splendor of Heaven where you lived with the Father in order to unite with our wretched race and take all kinds of risks with us… this thought makes me fling myself into adoration!

    How could I not love you? How could we not cherish you infinitely in this stage where you are a zygote, an embryo, an unborn child, before even showing your face in that miserable stable of Bethlehem!

    Yes, I love you, Jesus, because you did so out of pure love for me, for my family, for all humanity. You came into our muck and sludge to save us, to lift us up, and enable us to share with you the delights of an eternal life in your presence. Only you, Jesus, could have imagined something so crazy! But you’re not finished surprising us!

    O sweet Jesus, you know that I am coming to you with an agenda… I have a request, please don’t be surprised! At the present time, many millions of tiny beings like you are hidden in their mother’s womb. They are your treasures, Jesus! Their angels in heaven ceaselessly behold the face of your Father who is in heaven. There is nothing more innocent than these unborn babies on this Earth.

    Let me tell you about them. They have all received the gift of life, but have not all received the gift of love. Some float joyfully as they feel the love of their mother, but others wonder what on earth they are doing there, because they feel rejected.

    O adorable Jesus, you are both Life and Love! Please visit every one of these little ones, those who rejoice to know that they are loved, and also those who are suffering from rejection. You’re so tiny that your approach will not frighten them, on the contrary! Come see them wherever they are, in these fragile tabernacles of human life where they slowly grow. You are the same size as they are, be their divine twin!

    Thanks to the extremely sensitive antennae that their innocence gives them, they all listen to the soul of their mother, and also to their Creator. This is the moment, Jesus! Tell them how infinitely precious they are to you! Don’t you recognize your own image in them? Tell them that you can’t wait to see them grow up and reach in its fullness what they ought to be in your loving plan for them!

    And if, unfortunately, they are ripped out from their humble hiding place, whether naturally or with violence, O tender Jesus, listen to their cry of anguish and spread your immense love in them! Heal their wounds!

    Please, be it done unto them according to your Word, Jesus, “Father, where I am, may they also be with me!” May the flow of your divine love also flood the heart of those who have chosen to lose them! Please, enable them to throw themselves into your merciful arms!

    O my little Jesus hidden in Mary, how can I thank you enough for having visited me from the moment I was conceived in my mother’s womb, when she and dad consecrated me to your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Please let all parents take to heart to do the same and keep away from them the wolves who want to steal and devour the children of men!

    O tiny Jesus hidden in Mary, listen to my poor prayer for your own kind! And on Christmas night, please be born in my heart! I am yearning for your coming! I am longing to see your face! My heart awaits to hear your voice in the night, like a watchman waiting for the dawn! Maranatha! Come, my Little Jesus!

    Liked by 10 people

  11. Matthew 11:1-30

    I have pondered this Bible verse of Jesus Yoke and is the reason I try to gain a Plenary Indulgence each day. Today, I plan on offerring for Bre Payton. Todays Divine office psalms are poignant also.

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/bre-payton-conservative-writer-and-television-guest-dies-at-26-after-sudden-illness

    Catholic Study Bible

    Matthew 11:28-30

    28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

    30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    *******

    We have so many opportunities to remit the punnishment for our sins and to offer the same to the souls in Purgatory. Lately, I have asked to offer the Body and Blood of Jesus for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory. I figure there are present, all those good people we knew who never received and who now desire, most ardently.

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  12. The trouble with all this critical thinking and self-examination that you are suggesting, Charlie, is that it sure sounds like it’s a lot of work.
    Couldn’t we just do a multiple choice quiz?

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      1. I guess most days I pass, but I’m still working on it everyday.

        But I see now if I see Charlie standing by St.Peter when I approach the gates of Heaven, I better ask if SteveBC or CrewDog would happen to be in the neighbourhood.

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    1. Well, Andy,

      I take heart in the Words of Jesus. “Come to Me” … “Trust in Me” … without any qualifiers … like …. Come to Me after Ya have memorized The Bible or The Magisterium … or Trust in Me along with those Guys in robes with a PhD in Theology and small engine repair or …. Just come as You are!! …. like little children 😉

      GOD SAVE ALL HERE ….. and Merry 5th Day of Christmas!!!

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  13. Thank you so much for this Charlie, I had recently just listened to a cd put out by Christopher West titled “Pope Francis & the Fragrance of the Gospel”… I had agreed with a lot of it until he [the Pope] started to take a very hard line against what I thought was a healthy appetite for our traditional ways in the Catholic Church (a precursor to what was to come in some respects from him). He discusses focusing on love and not creating a worldly pride in “knowing” the law of the gospel. I believe this CD was put out almost immediately after our pope was elected, so I don’t know if Christophers assessment has changed at all, but your piece today puts it all into perspective for me. I will start the 12th book of Confessions immediately!

    Thanks Charlie! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all! God bless us all!

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  14. Good mix of admonitions Charlie.
    As a fallen nature, I always need to be reminded of personal failings whether here, from Scripture, from the pulpit, from my ever clear-headed wife or just a self examination.
    I like your explain about fact checking our Pontifs reasoning. I’ve always contended that if done in a spirit of charity one can usually get the clearer meaning from someone of virtue. I don’t think our Pope has an evil bone in his body but his lack of vocal eloquence has led to a lot of ambiguity -just sayin.(never happens to me!).
    What you say about seeking the higher ground is a Christian norm and well documented and charity covers a multitude of sin.
    Aquinas’ leading thought back to Scripture is a master stroke. I was telling my brother about how NASA researchers had concluded that the image of our Lady of Guadalupe was “alive” because of certain living characteristics it held. I told him that in some mysterious way Our Lady and Our Lord are actually present there and that is why it is found so. I then went on to Scripture. I contended that it too is alive, the Living Word of God. This is why it has such *power* because the word of God is God truley present. Other forms of truth are but a witness but Scripture is the actual “presence” of God. This is “how something sublime and profound could be expressed in such seemingly simple terms” for the infinite dwells in these pages and all manner of truth is found therein with the express purpose of love towards every individual soul who gazes upon His letter to them.

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  15. Dolordee…. May your family be saturated in Gods Love. may the Holy Spirit overflow in all of your hearts and may Our Lady soothe and heal. Gentle Jesus hold you all.

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  16. Thank you Charlie for the encouraging words for the coming new year as we strive to reason things out and give the benefit of the doubt and leave the broad paint brush behind . We must knock, seek, and find His footprint in the most unlikely places and expect His miraculous presence to surprise us as we rise in love to greater service for Him. Yesterday while at the local P.P. abortion mill , on the feast of the Holy Innocence , I showed up. For the past 10 years or so , you would think it would become easier to stand in the cracks at the sidewalk and be a sign of hope . Nope. I too struggle with excuses , do it later ,it’s too cold , my signs will blow down , but I show up anyway . Almost every spot was full. I strategically place my loving signs of hope , hang my baby clothes and pray as I walk and approach incoming cars . This one particular couple , stopped ever so briefly . I quickly accessed the situation . She was a bit uncomfortable but listened to me anyway . Good morning ! I have help for you and your child. Why don’t you turn the car around , we can chat , across the street. For a brief moment , he seemed willing , and then she gave him the look . I continued to share from my heart ,”abortion doesn’t take away your motherhood or fatherhood.” I eagerly gave him a brand newborn baby outfit for his unborn child and pleaded… “God has plans for this beautiful child , we can help. Follow me over to our pro life clinic around the corner . We have amazing free resources to help you choose life!”

    Just as I finished sharing , My eye caught a familiar postage stamp size image of Saint Jude hanging from the rear view mirror ! I pleaded interiorly , St . Jude please help this couple choose life! I boldly stated , “dear St Jude is hanging from your rear view mirror , all of heaven is weeping.” They paused and for a brief moment , they were startled by this truth and were willing to reconsider until the guard caught the eye of the boyfriend and motioned him to move on with his frantic hand gesture. Indeed , they seemingly made the next wrong step and all the holy innocence weeps. Who knows , maybe they came out after I left. Saint Jude is indeed the patron Saint of the impossible . Yes , it was another day at the mill, with flying fingers from angry women not happy I was there being light and love, with gun Toting security guards taking copious notes about my interaction. with each car I stopped to share with. In the midst of the chaos , God showed up and whispered to my ear through a UPS driver’s broad smile as he delivered a package, God bless you he whispered as he walked into the mill.

    In the midst of these raging storms in this coming year , let us not forget to hear the still small voice within echo the truth, “Be still and know that I am God.” Saint Jude pray for us. May we all have much holy laughter in the new year while keeping it simple in the words of Saint John: “He must increase , I must decrease.”

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    1. Beautiful witness, Vanessa… even with not knowing, at the end of the day, how this particular couple chose. Prayers for them and prayers anew for you and your courageous, faithful witness to life as you daily strive to overcome the tempter’s efforts to sway you from what you have done so well for so long. Without meaning to embarrass, I want you to know you are a quiet hero of these times, a sure and certain light shining in the darkness, a sign of hope rippling through the Mystical Body, proclaiming that God’s Kingdom is more fully coming in a time when HE, again, shall rule.

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      1. I know Vanessa well and once stood with her at a PP clinic. She is the most amazing sidewalk counselor I have ever encountered. She keeps in contact with the parents of the babies she has been involved in saving (and she has a lot of them) and sometimes shares pictures with me. She speaks a little of discouragement here, but she is an absolutely amazing woman who does not let the discouragement show at the clinics. She and her husband are a marvelous team. I am proud that she is my friend. (Heads up, Vanessa, you are one of the people I plan to do a profile on in the New Year).

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        1. Thank you Charlie for your encouraging words. I am here to hear His gentle promptings and By His grace take the next right step , even if it often feels like one step forward and 3 back !😂😬😊🙏👍🏼

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        2. Cant wait to read about Vanessa!

          Just by her brief synopsis of her day I can tell that she listens ti the Good Shepherds voice closely. She must have amazing God stories!

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    2. God bless your wonderful and important work Vanessa! May you and your husband be protected by the mantle of Our dear Mother and all the Angels and Saints. You are the “salt” of the earth. Thank you!

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    3. Vanessa: my husband and I support the Legacy of Life Foundation. The gal who runs it is Marie Joseph who I call a modern day apostle. She runs two centers that advocate for the unborn. They save many, many babies from abortion but their work and support begins with the births. They stick with the mothers and babies up to 5 years and offer them support through baby items and education and job search. Heroic work but maybe the hard work that Christ expects of all Christians. Certainly at the very least Legacy of Life Foundation is a sign of hope and a right next step in the command to love thy neighbor.

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  17. Thanks Charlie,

    As you may have guessed, I am not an intellectual so your translations and councel help me greatly.

    One thing I learned this year is dont go by emotions as the evil one is capable of manipulating us with our emotions. We need to think logically or totally depend on God to understand and respond to things.

    So whenever I get annoyed or my anger flares…I pause real quick and say a prayer.

    I read about a saint once who did not show any reaction to any food that was set before him. He ate it gratefully. He figured that was the daily bread that God was giving to him so who was he to reject it?

    With that mindset and the Holy Spirit prayer, whatever happens, it is good to accept the situation as God given and rely on God to respond the most appropriate way. God is funny and amazing too. What may look as bad turns out awesome!

    Keep low to the ground so when you fall you dont get hurt so much. 😀

    Happy New Year!!

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    1. During my pilgrimage, I walked through the Los Padres National Forest (and mountains) in southern California. It was secluded; I saw maybe two cars a day pass through. It took nearly two weeks and food was painfully scarce. One day I had found a delightful spot to make camp at, maybe 75 yards down a gentle embankment where sat several little streams (keeping close to water was a priority for me when I could). There was a marvelous little sheltered alcove at the bottom. So I made camp. Shortly afterwards, a fella in a small pick-up truck pulled down there. I thought I had been caught! Turns out he was a nature photographer. We chatted a bit about what I was doing – and it occurred to him to ask me if I was hungry. You better believe I said yes. All he had were two little juice boxes and a can of mixed vegetables, but he gave it to me. Fortunately, I had my handy little boy scout can opener, so I was able to get the can open. Though largely indifferent to canned, mixed vegetables, that can was like a banquet. I greedily drank down every drop of juice from it. The two juice boxes were nirvana…felt like I was getting away with something naughty. Nothing quite hones your gratitude and relish like a little deprivation and hardship. I reckon if I had no food for three days, even oysters would seem delicious to me.

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    2. Oh Littleone, I feel that you know me. I hope to control my “anger” this year, which is borne out of frustration and fear. And, if I stay “low to the ground” it won’t hurt as much when I fall on my face. I pray that Our Lord teaches me to be kind and gentle in all the events of life, in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied. I hope to put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my pains and heartaches so that I may be the only one to suffer from them. I pray that I profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Jesus I Trust in YOU.

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    1. Indeed, Gary, *and* the very purpose of the Storm is to call us back to God, to the Covenant. May we choose to focus on and plead for an ever deepening, ever strengthening faith… the kind that moves mountains, as we cry out: “For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the *whole* world!”

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  18. Wow…can’t wait to dig into this one deeper…I read it to Rooty Tooty devil gets the booty Michael (exorcist hubby) on way to Mansfield to purchase some high dollar premium fillet mignon for New year’s eve (Christmas gift to Michael from moi😄) and he was like…”wow..that person can write!!!” I said, “Michael. ..it’s Charlie😇!!!”hahaha

    This is what really struck me:If there is a case to be made, the actions and words of your opponent will make it soon enough for you – and you will not incur the wrath of God for calumny in the process. If it turns out you have misjudged your opponent, he may well become your ally. Many will be ensnared by the devil because of the heat of their rhetoric as things continue to degenerate. Don’t become one of them.

    What’s up with Joe Crozier too btw??? Merry Christmas back to Joe

    Xoxoxoxoxoxo TNRS ASOH

    Back again tomorrow folks💖💖💖

    Liked by 5 people

  19. To state the obvious, Lincoln’s Second inaugural was addressed to a nation at war and conflict. How appropriate. I also reread your piece On the sign of Our Lord’s presence in the world where you stated your belief that the culture is largely lost, especially as shown by the last election. My only hope is that some of this seeming loss is due to Trump’s combative and attacking style and that if another leader had both the backbone to defend truth and a more charitable style, things could have been a bit different. That is, there are still many good people who don’t have the cultural reins of power who could again rise up given the right setting. We will see.

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  20. I think I mentioned to my friends here that I thought that this Christmastide would be bringing some “Unpleasant Revelations” our way …. the below tell me that the **** is fixin’ to roll down hill and The Usual Suspects that have infested Our Church these past 50 years will be stabbing each other in the back whilst tying to cover their own butts ;-(
    NOT really Bad News Gang ’cause it’s Time for The Great Cleansing!! … and we can’t have that till the TRUTH is Exposed and The Great Come to Jesus Moment arrives!!
    JESUS WE TRUST IN YOU!!

    BREAKING: O’MALLEY TURNS IN DOLAN FOR ABUSE COVER-UP
    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/breaking-omalley-turns-in-dolan-for-abuse-cover-up?utm_source=CM.com+Email+Subscribers&utm_campaign=2c6825bc9b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_06_29_05_39_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6225e731a9-2c6825bc9b-62396957

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

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    1. Whoa, Crew Dog! Praying for this situation and the prelates. Joseph Sciambra has been reporting about multiple problems with the Archdiocese of New York’s treatment of those who promote LGBT agendas and activities in the Archdiocese. I wonder what it will take for the Bishops to cease from allowing Fr. James Martin to peddle his homosexual activism in their dioceses.

      Praying, too, for us all. In pondering this latest piece from Charlie, the biggest take-away for me is its charitable call for serious self-reflection concerning humility, a virtue which takes us on a journey – for more and more – which never ends until we die.

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  21. Thank you, Charlie. Excellent, as usual. My 15 yo grandson is in Steamboat, CO on a youth group trip. He has a compound fracture of the clavicle from a skiing accident today. My daughter and son in law are on a flight to Denver now and will get in at midnight, then a 3 hr. drive to Steamboat. Drew will have surgery at 8am tomorrow. Keep them in your prayers. Charlie, is that near you?

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    1. Praying for your grandson’s healing and for safety in travel for your daughter and son-in-law, Kim. My son and his family live in Denver. Steamboat is 155 miles west of Denver and, just as you say, it’s about a 3 hour driving distance between the two cities.

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        1. Oh I’m sure, Kim. It’s gotta be hard. Please let us know how things develop and for what to pray. Surrounding your grandson and his parents with our Love, the very Love of God infused in ASOH. May Jesus imbue you, Kim, with His Peace

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          1. You have a heart of gold. Prayers of Thanksgiving that his lung was not punctured. Prayers for the doc who will be doing surgery. Prayers for quick healing, and most of all for God’s Will to be done. Thanks! Awesome place, here, of mighty prayer warriors!

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            1. You got ’em, Sister! Father and I are headed out for a private Mass (with all the saints, angels and holy souls 🙂 ) and will lift your intentions, Kim, and all the intentions of our family of faith here.

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      1. Thanks, Mick! Sunday morning surgery went well. They drove to Denver yesterday and will get a flight home today. Drew is their 3rd child– 15. Their 17 yo was also on the trip. I have their 4th while they’ve been gone. He’s 4–the big age gap is attributed to my daughter’s several miscarriages and female difficulties– he’s been missing them since they’ve been gone 4 nights. We’ve kept busy with his cousin, though…roller skating rink a couple times, playing at the park, etc! He’s anxious to see his mommy, daddy and brothers!

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  22. I find myself with more questions than answers, and often more questions for the questions that are already there.

    This much can be said, God is the light & the truth, we find the truth by humbling ourselves. Wherever there is pride there error, and sometimes the worst errors are the small errors that look like truth, which cause people to go off course. I find it best to just ignore the proud people’s ramblings, unless they are proposing something dangerous.

    When I look at Pope Francis, I see a worldly man, not a monster nor a saint; this is what makes him difficult to condemn or follow. He needs prayers that he will do & say better things, I don’t know what else to say about him.

    This coming year also has the Canadian federal election, it will no doubt be a interesting shakeup for Canada as many are angry at Trudeau.

    China is starting to show its real colors. And it’s a “no brainer” that fake news & the political left will turn up the heat for Trump as 2020 approaches. Can Trump pull off a 2nd term as president? Or will everything fall apart before or after that election? One thing is for sure, humanity won’t know peace until it is God that appoints who will lead us, not the people choosing by votes.

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  23. Another good reflection as 2018 winds-down:

    HeartLight Daily Verse – 30 Dec

    John 16:33
    [Jesus said,] “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

    Thoughts on today’s verse:
    This world is a place of struggle. Yes, we can live above the struggle for awhile or can find a way to simply ignore or re-label the struggle for a time. But in the end, the struggle will find us. But in the midst of struggle, we can remind ourselves that our victory is secure. Jesus has won! We will share in his great triumph. In case you didn’t know, the final outcome is already determined and Christians win big through Jesus.

    Prayer:
    Thank you, God, for giving me the victory through Jesus Christ my Lord. I greet the future with anticipation because I know that each day brings me closer to you and the glorious future you have planned for all of your children. Until then I pray that I may never lose sight of that victory and I yearn for the day of its arrival! Through Jesus, the triumphant Rider on the white horse, I pray. Amen.
    Visit heartlight.org for more

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 5 people

  24. From Fr. Heilman at Roman Catholic Man, 12-29-18

    Fr. Carlos Martins Could Not Have Said it Better

    This comes from a December 29 social media post by my very good friend, Fr. Carlos Martins. Fr. Martins has many wonderful gifts and, here, he demonstrates his great gift of articulating what comes from his heart. I could not agree more with him. In fact, and I have stated this before, I believe we are in a period of purification that was triggered in the centennial year of Our Lady of Fatima. God has focused His purifying light on evil, possibly more than any other time.

    From Fr. Carlos Martins …

    This is a good summary of the debacle that was 2018 for the Catholic Church (CNN article: “How 2018 became the Catholic Church’s year from hell“). I say this even though it is written by the Religion Editor of CNN. Actually, things are even worse than what he says. The article did not include the high number of priests that were removed from ministry after being credibly accused of committing abuse.

    Reading through this summary is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

    To me, the only bright spot in the year was Archbishop Viganò. He was the only one screaming, “Fire!,” as the building was burning. It took him to expose the filth.

    Notice how it’s been months since any confusing statements have been issued by Vatican officials? You know, bone-headed comments that lack reason, or logic, or that appear to challenge the basic content of the Divine and Catholic Faith? And notice how no one in the Holy See dares to say any longer, “Everything is O.k. It’s all under control. We are taking care of things. Don’t worry.”? The reason why, friends, is because Archbishop Viganò is immensely feared. No one knows what else he knows. And no one knows what he is capable of doing with it. That’s why. That is the only reason why. An idiotic comment today could mean 10,000 news cameras in the speaker’s face tomorrow, should Viganò open his mouth.

    It does not take a genius to conclude that Archbishop Viganò IS the wrath of God. What he exposed hurts like hell. But I am so thankful he exposed it. He had the courage and will to speak and act for the truth when so many Vatican officials–many who will probably never see heaven–were silent. Archbishop Viganò brought us the hurt that heals. “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1).

    Doubtless, there are some of you who will criticize my affirmation of Archbishop Viganò. You will call him a traitor and a vigilante. And you will have some choice words for me too (you always have in the past). Let me save you the trouble. I am not interested in your comments. I wear a collar around my neck. I do so because I gave my life for the Church. My gift to Her was my life. Whole and entire. My commitment to the Church included surrendering my freedom, my time, my right to marriage and a family, my professional career, and my wealth. My concern for Her is not a passing interest. It is my life. It is deeply personal. So personal that only another person with a collar around his neck can understand.

    But, there is one thing that I did not surrender when I became a priest: my integrity. I refuse to stand politely silent and watch the damned crucify the Lord anew by raping His Church. I married the Church. An attack against Her, is an attack against me.

    Thus, when scoundrels who also wear collars abuse children, prey upon seminarians, form “gay mafias” that control who is promoted to the episcopacy, stand silent while a serial predator is promoted to the rank of Cardinal, pay-off their boyfriends with the Church’s money, bankrupt dioceses, make the civil authorities believe the Church can no longer be trusted to police itself, I will always stand next to the man who is exposing the serpent. The clerical sex abuse problem has been a long time in the making. If the current structure could be trusted, then we wouldn’t be here. Period.

    It is your right to disagree with this. But if you do, rather than criticize me, please go do something productive, like evangelize and convert McCarrick.

    Liked by 12 people

  25. BIG week coming up… For our consideration…

    PRESS RELEASE

    MANTLE OF PRAYER Campaign for the U.S. Bishop’s Retreat

    Seven days of intercessory prayer and sacrifice for the U.S. Bishops Retreat, January 2-8, 2019.

    Invitation: to all the faithful, clergy, laity, consecrated, individuals, prayer groups, apostolates, parishes, and dioceses.

    Re: The Bishop’s Retreat
    The U.S. Bishops will gather for a retreat January 2nd to 8th, at Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, IL. Pope Francis suggested the bishops hold the retreat and offered the services of Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, who has served as preacher of the papal household since 1980.

    The theme of the bishop’s retreat will be “the mission of the apostles and of their successors” and will draw from Mark 3:14, which says Jesus “appointed twelve – whom he also named apostles – that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach.”

    Commitment: 7 days of intercessory prayer and sacrifice for the bishops retreat

    Re: Intercessory prayer (CCC 281-283)
    The Catechism defines intercessory prayer as “a prayer of petition which leads us to pray as Jesus did.” Though he is the “one intercessor with the father on behalf of all men,” we can be united to him in this form of prayer.

    For a concrete example of intercessory prayer, the Holy Father points us to St. Paul, who tells the Philippians, “I constantly pray with you in every one of my prayers for all of you…because I hold you in my heart” (Phil 1:4, 7). “When evengelizers rise from prayer, their hearts are more open; freed from self-absorption…desirous of doing good and sharing their lives with others”. When we intercede for others, “God’s heart is touched” – our prayer has true power – and “yet, in reality, he is always there first.”

    Suggested Practices (one or more of the following)
    Eucharistic Adoration
    Eucharistic Holy Hour
    The Holy Rosary
    The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
    Prayer of protection: St. Michael the Archangel prayer
    Fasting/sacrifice
    Offering up your suffering
    Acts of reparation

    Scripture Reflection: Hebrews 4:14, For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

    Suggested Daily Reflections
    (Based on the acronym ACTS: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication)

    January 2, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops will take ample time to pray, letting the Lord speak to them in adoration. Grant them listening hearts that hear in the silence of divine love.

    January 3, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops express contrition for mistakes they and/or brother bishops, past and present, may have made. Graciously lead them into the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross.

    January 4, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops thank the Lord for their vocation, remembering why they believed they were called to the priesthood; enlighten their memory; enkindle their hearts with joy for service.

    January 5, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops ardently pray for the victims/survivors of sexual abuse. Graciously grant them renewed compassion, and inspiration on how to promote healing.

    January 6, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops pray for the holiness of life of bishops, priests, and deacons. Confirm them in the evangelical counsels.

    January 7, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops pray fervently for the protection of the Church in the United States and in the world. Grant them a renewed spirit of wisdom and discernment.

    January 8, 2019: Eternal Father, grant that bishops pray for all the presidents of conferences of bishops throughout the world who are preparing for the late February gathering in Rome to discuss the Church’s response to the abuse of minors. Graciously strengthen bishops for the task set before them.

    Daily Prayer: Pope Benedict XVI
    Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest, you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the cross and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.

    Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests. Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood may be ever more conformed to you, the Divine Master. May they preach the Gospel with a pure heart and a clear conscience. Let them be shepherds according to your own heart, single-minded in service to you and to the Church, and shining examples of a holy, simple, and joyful life.

    Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

    Register

    Email:info@foundationforpriests.organd type, “I’ll join the Mantle of PrayerCampaign.” In the email, please feel free to share the “spiritual bouquet” that you or your group will offer for bishops.
    You may also register by visiting the website: http://www.foundationforpriests.organd “subscribe” on the homepage.

    More Resources

    http://www.foundationforpriests.org
    Inquiries: email: info@foundationforpriests.org
    Book: Praying for Priests: An Urgent Call for the Salvation of Souls, pgs. 139-147: rosary reflections for priests, abuse victims, reparation; and reflections for Eucharistic adoration.
    Rosary of Reparation: https://catholicexchange.com/sorrowful-mysteries-prayerful-response-clergy-scandals

    The wisdom of St. John Vianney, Patron of Priests
    On Priesthood: When people want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest; for where there is no priest, there is no sacrifice: and when there is no sacrifice, there is no religion.

    On Priesthood: Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption here on earth…What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of His goods…Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest and they will end by worshiping the beasts there…The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.

    On Temptation: So, you will ask me, who then are the people most tempted? They are these, my friends; note them carefully. The people most tempted are those who are ready, with the grace of God, to sacrifice everything for the salvation of their poor souls, who renounce all those things which most people eagerly seek. It is not one devil only who tempts them, but millions seek to entrap them.

    On The Virgin Mary: Jesus Christ, after having given us all he could give, that is to say, the merit of his toils, his sufferings, and bitter death; after having given us his adorable body and blood to be the food of our souls, willed also to give us the most precious thing he had let, which was his holy Mother

    On the Eucharist: Without the Holy Eucharist, there would be no happiness in this world; life would be insupportable. When we receive Holy Communion, we receive our joy and our happiness. The good God, wishing to give Himself to us in the Sacrament of His Love, gave us a vast and great desire, which He alone can satisfy. In the presence of this beautiful Sacrament, we are like a person dying of thirst by the side of a river — he would only need to bend his head; like a person still remaining poor, close to a great treasure — he need only stretch out his hand. He who communicates loses himself in God like a drop of water in the ocean. They can no more be separated

    On Suffering: I tell you that you have less to suffer in following the cross than in serving the world and its pleasures.

    The Rosary is a Spiritual Weapon
    “The Rosary is an effective spiritual weapon against the evils affecting society. The grave challenges confronting the world at the start of the new millennium lead us to think that only an intervention from on High, capable of guiding the hearts of those living in situations of conflict and those governing the destinies of nations, can give reason to hope for a brighter future.” -Pope Saint John Paul II, Apostolic Letter on the Rosary

    The wisdom of St. John Paul II

    Every Holy Thursday, Pope John Paul II would address all priests of the universal Church by letter. In his message dated 17 March 2002, the Saintly Pontiff wrote the following:

    At this time, as priests, we are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our brothers who have betrayed the grace of Ordination in succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mysterium iniquitatis at work in the world. Grave scandal is caused, with the result that a dark shadow of suspicion is cast over all the other fine priests who perform their ministry with honesty and integrity and often with heroic self-sacrifice. As the Church shows her concern for the victims and strives to respond in truth and justice to each of these painful situations, all of us — conscious of human weakness, but trusting in the healing power of divine grace — are called to embrace the “mysterium Crucis” and to commit ourselves more fully to the search for holiness. We must beg God in his Providence to prompt a whole-hearted reawakening of those ideals of total self-giving to Christ which are the very foundation of the priestly ministry. (no. 11)”

    On the subject of scandal, the Catechism teaches, “Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death” (no. 2284).

    ADORATION THURSDAYS FOR PRIESTS

    Commemorating the institution of the Eucharist and Priesthood, people in many nations unite to offer an hour of Adoration for the holiness of priests.

    ADORATION THURSDAYS is a growing, popular program promoted by the Foundation of Prayer for Priests according to the “Congregation for the Clergy” request: “to bring about a movement of prayer, placing Eucharistic Adoration at the center” (Mauro Cardinal Piacenza). Individuals, parishes, dioceses, and FPP Vianney Cenacles are invited to consider one hour of Eucharistic Adoration for the Sanctification of Clergy on Thursdays. Please fill out the ADORATION THURSDAYS form: https://www.foundationforpriests.org/adoration-thursdays-for-priests

    SPIRITUAL ADOPTION OF PRIESTS
    https://www.foundationforpriests.org/adopt-a-priest-form

    VIANNEY CENACLE REGISTRATION
    https://www.foundationforpriests.org/vianney-form

    Liked by 4 people

  26. Thanks for prayers for my grandson. He is out of surgery and did well. My daughter said Colorado is absolutely beautiful. None of us has been there– maybe we can make it out there for a visit some day. God bless you all!

    Liked by 8 people

  27. “Try to make the most innocent construction you can of any statement made, either by your allies or your opponents, for as long as you can. (I do not, by this, suggest that you ignore what they do: if the witness of their actions contradicts the witness of their lips, follow the evidence there, too, in making your assessments). Human nature often seeks to impute ill intent on everything an opponent says or does. Do not do that. If there is a case to be made, the actions and words of your opponent will make it soon enough for you – and you will not incur the wrath of God for calumny in the process.”

    And how hard it is for many of us to “make the most innocent construction” in a sacramental marriage relationship. Is what your spouse really said what you heard your spouse say?

    Liked by 7 people

    1. People will tend to see things in the way that justifies their thoughts & actions; it’s our fallen human nature that keeps us in denial of our sins.

      Many on the political left seem themselves as good despite the harm they do which is why they hate the Bible, God, Jesus, & Christianity so much. Only God is good, therefore we go by God’ standard not our own standard.

      We are all sinners, we must always be mindful of our missteps in thoughts & deeds when we stray from the graces humility & charity.

      Many Marriages have suffered greatly, because there’s too many assumptions on the spouse’s intentions, and the graces of humility, charity, & forgiveness are not practiced by both spouses.

      Liked by 6 people

  28. One question for my ASOH peeps. How did you people get so smart? I read through these comments and just shake my head.

    If anybody needs me I’ll be over here in the corner with my “Dunce” patron St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

    Happy New Year to everyone here! Be assured of my continued prayers.
    I love you all.

    Liked by 11 people

  29. Another Good-One for this Last Day of 18!

    HeartLight Verse – 31 December

    Isaiah 43:16 and Isaiah 43:18-19
    This is what the Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

    Thoughts on today’s verse:
    The year is gone, finished, past. We cannot reclaim it or undo it. We cannot rest on the things it has brought us. If tomorrow dawns, it will be another day, a new opportunity, and the time to show our faith in Jesus as Lord. Let’s journey forward, knowing that God already inhabits the future and promises to provide us refreshment.

    Prayer:
    Lord of all eternity, please help me to learn from my mistakes but not dwell on them. Please help me not rest on my accomplishments in this past year, but use them to further your work in me and through me. Please help me not quarrel with those who injured me yesterday, or last month. Instead, O Father, lead me in your paths and help me see your mighty works this next year. In Jesus name and by his power I ask it. Amen.
    Visit heartlight.org for more

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE ……. Merry 7th Day of Christmas & Happy 2019!! 😉

    Liked by 7 people

      1. Let US ALL PRAY, Beckita!! ….. that it’s only cans of beans I’m breaking out and not cans of ammo!!!

        Sissel Kyrkjebø – Auld Lang Syne

        GOD SAVE ALL HERE ….. and MERRY 2019!!

        Liked by 5 people

  30. Merry Christmas to everyone here! Yes, very late to say that but so glad we have a few more days to celebrate the Christmas feast. Wanted to share a couple of things. We were visiting with extended family over Christmas and initially put on a kids’ movie from online that took us right to a scene that didn’t bring too much hope at all so we looked for something else. We ended up watching a beautiful movie from the 1940’s. It was “Going My Way.” Amazing to think we’ve coming so far from this beautiful movie which was awarded several Academy Awards. The hope continues several days after simply watching it. Highly recommend this for it’s treatment of the Church, holy priests, the interaction of family members, etc. My mom thinks its the best movie she has ever watched in her life. I hope this gives others hope too. A little bit of hope in a bad storm sure goes a long way.

    Liked by 7 people

  31. Well T4M 😉

    If you want to become a real Old Time High Church Purist, you may celebrate Christmastide all the way to The Feast of Candlemas on 2 February.

    https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=527

    It is my tradition to wait until 7 Jan to take down my Christmas Decorations so that they may be displayed until after The Wise Men show on 6 Jan …. which itself is now, usually, the old fashioned date …. thanks to all the post Vatican II changes ;-( ….. Anyway!! ….. This year I’m thinking of leaving out my Lil’ People Nativity Scene until Candlemas as well as my lighted Christmas Cross that I made with a cut-n-half foam beach noodle, painted gold, and wraped in red, green and white mini Tree lights.
    …….. and don’t forget to buy, while ya can, enough Madonna-n-Child postage stamps to last all year …. just to annoy The Usual Suspects if for nothing else 😉
    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Yes, we leave our tree up ‘til Candlemas Day, February 2. In our part of Chicago, one can tell the parishes with large Polish populations by the Christmas trees/Nativity Crèches that are left up through the entire month of January.

      Merry Eighth Day of Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all! (And thank you for all the wisdom and prayers that the ASOH community provides.)

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Ha, CrewDog! That would be me. I’m definitely the oddball in my family: I maintain that Christmas goes through February 2, and my husband and kids all think I’m batty. But twice in the past decade, I have convinced my husband to leave our tree up until Feb 2 (we don’t put it up until Christmas Eve night, so it was only up a bit over a month). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I now take down my decorations on Feb. 3…but I have you beat, Mick. When my kids were little, one year they absolutely INSISTED that I take the Christmas tree down by Independence Day – and be more reasonable in the future. (But they still let me listen to Christmas music whenever I wanted, no matter how sweltering the summer heat got).

        Liked by 1 person

  32. “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.”

    Isaiah 58:9-11

    Liked by 8 people

  33. HAPPY EARLY NEW YEAR, CHARLIE, BECKITA AND ALL steppers on this site! Seems sort of strange lately…like we are waiting for something??? I guess that would be Acknowledging God, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope for those whom God puts in our paths! 😉 As Crew Dog says, God save all here! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

  34. This is sort of cool…Monsignor Ken (my priest..poor dear who hears my confession ev 2 weeks…living SAINT) Said in his homily tonight..every night, stretch out you arms, or not, but say 5 things you are grateful for…he said you can not be grateful & unhappy at same time…then he said let peace begin with me…let THIS be the moment now! Wow…born stepper..love this Holy Priest of God

    Liked by 5 people

  35. Well, it’s getting later on New Year’s Eve so I just want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy and most Blessed New Year. Whatever it brings, may we all join together to take those next right steps, and be signs of hope, even glowing, sparkling lighthouses to all those in our path. God is so good, let’s let Him shine through us in 2019! I love you all. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 5 people

  36. Happy New Year everyone. It was a perfect New Year’s Day. It started off with mass at 8 a.m., and then lunch with a friend . Linda thanks for sharing what Monsignor Ken said. Be grateful for five things and let peace begin with each one of us. God bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Anyone here feel like the battle is getting very thick? It seems like ten sucker punches followed by one hug and an encouraging word of love, then the cycle of 10 sucker punches again. I can’t possibly express to all here how much you mean to me. I want to “like” so many beautiful comments here but my computer and phone have gone rebel on me and won’t budge when I click “like”. Love, prayers and many thanks to you all.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. “Throughout the world, we are not what we once were. Whatever we will be after the existential agonies of these times have past, it will be something new. Whether sublimely good or horribly bad, it will not be what we have ever been before.” (Charlie, 1st paragraph 🙂

    This article (below) infuriates me. Everything has gone ‘screwy’ people are defending positions of sexual intimacy (trans, etc) while five years ago would have causd a sensation of “look at this guy”… if a decade ago… they would have been sent to a mental institution for evaluation.

    Today’s homily was ‘how to evangalize this generation?”
    => Dunno.

    I keep ever closer to the Sacraments and hopefully others will follow.

    Cheers!
    Sean

    https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicago-seizes-and-sells-cars-over-tickets-sticking-drivers-with-debt/1d73d0c1-0ed2-4939-a5b2-1431c4cbf1dd

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Signs of the times…

    Today, January 12, Parashat Bo, commemorates the Exodus:

    “In this Torah portion, God sends the eighth and ninth plagues, locusts and darkness, but Pharaoh still refuses to free the Israelite slaves. God tells Moses that the 10th plague will be killing all the firstborn Egyptians. ”

    https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/parashat-bo/

    “God said to Moses, “Go again to the Pharaoh for I have hardened his heart so I may display My signs to the people. It is these signs which will enable you and the generations after you to recognize Me as your God. This is the story parents will pass down to their children and their children’s children. I will be known as the God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

    “Moses,” God continued, “this time tell the Pharaoh that if he doesn’t let My people go, I will bring locusts to swarm the land.” Moses warned the Pharaoh of the coming locust plague. His staff urged him to let the Hebrews go but Pharaoh would only relent enough to let the men go and not the women and children. Soon God sent so many locusts that the land was black with them.”

    *******

    “The holiest site in Islam, the Grand Mosque in Saudia Arabia’s sacred city of Mecca, has been bombarded by a swarm of insects, and local authorities are struggling to clean up the mess…”

    https://www.newsweek.com/mecca-grand-mosque-holiest-muslim-site-attack-locusts-swarm-1288391

    Liked by 2 people

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