Can You Hear Me Now?

Notre Dame Cross - Philippe Wojazer, Reuters
After the Fire Inside Notre Dame Cathedral – Photo by Philippe Wojazer, Reuters

By Charlie Johnston

The symbolism in the fire that destroyed much of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on the first day of Holy Week is so starkly obvious that almost everyone, including secular commentators, have opined about it. It is a metaphor both for the faithlessness that stalks the Church and for the precipitous decline of Western Civilization. I had an even greater shock as prelude to my Holy Week. I learned something about Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry that so shocked me it robbed me of sleep and peace for much of the weekend. It will become fully public knowledge sometime in the next few months. When it does, I think it will be a death knell for the industry. It certainly will facilitate criminal prosecution and cause even low-information observers to recoil in horror. If you think the left’s advocacy of infanticide was bad, you have only begun to scratch the surface. However bad you think Planned Parenthood is, it is worse than that.

Western Civilization was not a great culture because the people who built it were specially anointed, but because they adopted real prudence in making large policy decisions and because they recognized certain rights endowed to us by God, defended those rights, and gave their fealty to Christian principles, following the Lord in humble worship. Now we celebrate absurdities, mistaking willfulness for freedom, lust for love, and ‘spirituality’ for faith. We deny the objective reality of marriage, family life, sexuality and even gender, itself. Followers of a political and theological ideology are filled with a demonic zeal, determined to raze the temple, to bring it crashing down on all our heads. Once again, man has “lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from Him.” (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, #13)

That is why the picture above this article is so profound. The demonic zealots will probably succeed in leading us into intense and bloody strife for a time, destroying much of what many generations of faithful men and women have built over several millennia. Yet when you destroy the culture, when you rip society apart, when the temple is brought crashing down, the Cross of Christ remains. It is the instrument of our salvation.

The madness that has infected the globe bears down on us like an approaching comet bringing wreck and ruin in its wake. The only means of emerging from the rubble and rebuilding a just society is this same Cross of Christ that remains, amidst the ruins, as our hope.

Over the last decade, God has given us an abundance of signs in the sky, rumblings in the earth, tremors portending a great fall. We don’t listen.

God was willing to spare Sodom if Abraham could find as few as 10 righteous people in that benighted city (Genesis 18:16-33). I pray that all might repent, but increasingly I fear that some have given themselves entirely over to depravity, seduced by the satan’s false promises. It is not that they can’t hear God, but that they won’t hear Him. When the people of Moab revolted against the God of Israel, turning to strange gods and erecting profane altars, God sent Elijah to confront them – and sent fire from the heavens to consume both the profane altars and the soldiers who guarded them (2 Kings 1:1-16). Yet the last captain sent from the idolatrous king repented – and God spared him and his men.

In the Book of Esther, the evil Chancellor, Haman, erected a gallows on which he planned to hang Mordecai, elder of the Jews, as prelude to the murder of all the Jews in the kingdom of Persia. Haman forgot (if he ever knew) that all power flows from the hand of God. In the end, Haman was hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. The Jews were spared and those who plotted their doom, destroyed.

A desperate struggle, a real fight, is almost certainly ahead of us. If we fight on purely secular terms as though it were a political struggle, we will descend into an orgy of violence – becoming the flip side of the same secular coin that features the malevolent image of the anti-God left. If we simply engage in mental prayer, refusing to live the prayer of doing, we invite a holocaust against us. When she was being examined before ever going out to battle, St. Joan of Arc was asked by learned Churchmen why, if God intended France to survive, did she not just leave it to Him. She replied that it was for us to fight the battles and Him to grant the victory. So it has been with every noble soldier of God for eons. So it will be for us now.

We are called to be true soldiers in a great battle of purification, but are called to be evangelists in the midst of it. We seek not the destruction of those who would destroy us, but their reclamation. If they will not repent, or at least leave us be, then there can be no compromise, only victory. The faith and freedom of our children and of all the families to come depend on it. We will be judged a century hence by our descendants on where we stood in these great and decisive battle between good and evil – and whether we stood at all. Follow St. Joan’s lead and call our opponents to repent – or depart from us.

God is calling us ever more insistently. Will you hear Him now? Or will you wait for fire to fall from the heavens?





222 thoughts on “Can You Hear Me Now?

  1. Good Friday Articles – 19 April
    The Readings for Good Friday…

    9 Things You Need to Know About Good Friday

    Passiontide Chronology: Good Friday

    I Am Barabbas. And So Are You.

    12 Reasons Jesus’ Trial Was Illegal: Part 1–Gabriel N. Lischak

    12 Reasons Jesus’ Trial Was Illegal–Part 2–Gabriel N. Lischak

    The practice of crucifixion–Nigel Tan

    Jewish Burial Traditions and the Resurrection of Jesus–Craig A. Evans
    Download PDF Attachment


    The Easter Effect today

    A Revived Church Is America’s Only Hope

    The End of Cathedral Culture

    Fr. James Schall on Books and Teaching



    Liked by 4 people

  2. Hello Charlie and everyone. My family of seven and I just returned from a 10-day pilgrimage in the Holy Land. As I walked in the footsteps of Christ throughout this holy place, I prayed for you Charlie and for all the intentions of all in the TNRS family. I was blessed to spend an overnight in a prayer vigil in the Church of The Holy Sepulchre where Christ died and resurrected. I carried all your prayers with me. They were placed on the Rock of the Anointing and prayed over at Mass. I expected my prayer vigil to be full of peace and consolation, praying in the holiest place on earth.While there were holy moments at the tomb and calvary, overall my vigil was very difficult for it was cold, full of distractions (Orthodox and Armenians present), and uncomfortable, sitting on cold marble for 11 hours (no kneelers); I felt like I was doing penance. I prayed for you all, for our priests, and for our Catholic Church. Our pilgrimage culminated in a very joyful procession on Palm Sunday which followed the more than 2-mile long procession Christ made on the donkey. There was joyous singing the entire way. While praying at the Basilica of the Transfiguration, I was blessed with powerful consolations. Our beloved Church will be renewed and the Triumph of The Immaculate Heart of Mary has begun. Aslan is on the move! I pray that everyone has a blessed Holy week and a very joyous Easter for Christ Rose and death has been overcome. Viva Cristo Rey!

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    1. Amen to Viva Christo Rey!

      Notable is the year 1998. Priests were allowed to wear clerical garments in Public. 1998. The anti-clericalism movement, now in China and perhaps the USA.

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      1. Yes, we were truly blessed to celebrate daily Mass in all the very holy places where Christ and the Holy Family lived! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Blessings to you and yours Doug!

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  3. Dan Bongino nails the smokescreen of the Mueller report. It is an hour long and should be watched to see what we are in for the next two years. The video podcast was today Good Friday.

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  4. A poem for Good Friday/Holy Saturday:

    Limbo, by Sister Mary Ada:

    The ancient greyness shifted suddenly and thinned like mist upon the moors before a wind.

    An old, old prophet lifted a shining face and said:

    “He will be coming soon. The Son of God is dead; He died this afternoon.”

    A murmurous excitement stirred all souls. They wondered if they dreamed

    save one old man who seemed not even to have heard.

    And Moses, standing, hushed them all to ask if any had a welcome song prepared.

    If not, would David take the task?

    And if they cared could not the three young children sing the Benedicite,

    the canticle of praise they made when God kept them from perishing in the fiery blaze?

    A breath of spring surprised them, stilling Moses’ words.

    No one could speak, remembering the first fresh flowers, the little singing birds.

    Still others thought of fields new ploughed or apple trees all blossom-boughed.

    Or some, the way a dried bed fills with water laughing down green hills.

    The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam on bright blue seas.

    The one old man who had not stirred remembered home.

    And there He was, splendid as the morning sun and fair as only God is fair.

    And they, confused with joy, knelt to adore

    Seeing that He wore five crimson stars He never had before.

    No canticle at all was sung. None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,

    A silent man alone of all that throng found tongue — not any other.

    Close to His heart when the embrace was done, old Joseph said,

    “How is Your Mother, How is Your Mother, Son?”

    Blessed and joyful Easter to all!

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