The New Tower of Babel – Short Takes

The Birth of Light – Ule W. Ritgen

By Charlie Johnston

We are booked pretty solid through late June for my speaking tour this year – in the Midwest, New England, and New York. Come mid-July I have some stops in Florida. There is a little hole in the first half of July. I can use this to visit longer with family, but if any folks along the Atlantic seaboard want to host a visit during one of these holes, just contact my assistant, Mary Lapchak, at

A lot of people are planning “invitation-only” events. With what is before us, I think the intimacy of that will allow for more detailed discussions. BUT, there are many readers who want to be able to visit when I am in their area, so we will publish the general area we are going to be in along with the specific date – and a contact email so that interested readers can contact the host and garner an invitation. Keep in mind that I always have a separate private dinner with the hosts and whoever they invite for that smaller affair, so there always is both a private and a more open event.

The theme of my talk this year is, “A Pilgrim’s Lessons for the Pilgrimage Before Us.” I will share some anecdotes from the pilgrimage I took across the country beginning eight years ago, then sum up some of the key lessons that came out of that – and apply them to the situation that faces us today. I walked into the unknown almost every day for a year and a half. It was sometimes scary, but ultimately exhilarating and joyful. How wonderful it is to be called to be pilgrims for God – and to recruit others to join us!

Again, if you want to schedule a talk, contact Mary at


I love the painting at the top of this article. It strikes me that all of us are called to be midwives to the “re-birth” of light, so it seemed most appropriate to me. (I actually was looking for paintings entitled ‘The Birth of Light.’ I once owned one by the fabulous Mexican artist, Leonardo Nierman. (Nierman gave this title to several of his paintings. I was hoping to find mine, but since it had been mainly privately owned rather than in museums, it didn’t show up). I was tickled to see that this painting was done by Ule W. Ritgen, a Danish artist. Since about the fourth or fifth month after I started these websites, we have had an oddly large Danish readership. So I love the painting AND I get to give a shout-out to our friends in Denmark. I love two-fers.


When 9-11 came, though I lived in southern Illinois, I was in the Chicago area for an important conference. Whenever in the Chicago area in those days, I stayed with a dear friend who worked for the governor’s office. She had a house that had become too big for her. When I got up that morning, I headed for a gas station to get a large cup of coffee. On the way, I heard on the radio that a plane had flown into one of the towers. What a tragedy, I thought. On the way back, I heard that another plane had flown into the second tower. It was horrifying news – for what had seemed a tragedy was clearly an attack. When I got back to the house, I went and knocked on my friend’s bedroom door. (She was usually a late riser) so we could see what was going on on TV.

We watched in stunned and horrified wonder. What sticks in my mind is that a few minutes before the collapse of the first tower, I saw what looked to me like a subtle shudder of the entire building. I looked at my friend and said, “Oh my God, it’s going to collapse!” She thought that was a bit overwrought – but a few minutes later, down it came.

As the establishment media and Congressional Democrats continue their persecution of Donald Trump – and Christians and conservatives – even after the Russia Collusion narrative has been revealed as a hoax – and a criminal one, at that, I get the same feeling as I did when I saw what I thought was that shudder. Social media sites are busy shutting down “dangerous” conservatives and Christians for their opinions; high-ranking Democrats are almost hysterically projecting their own criminality onto their opponents; weird scientists are forming “chimeras,” combining human and animal genes; we have massacred three generations of children and now the advocates of that child-murder are calling for all to be proud of it, to celebrate it as a “woman’s right,” (kind of like sending Jews to death camps was a “German’s right” 70 years ago); we are frantically declaring gender to be a social, rather than a biological, construct – and threatening to jail or fine those who won’t go along with the gag.

I look at all this and see the edifice of elite modern culture. It is a defiant new Tower of Babel. I do not see strength or majesty. I see hysterical spasms signaling the onset of a fatal and catastrophic collapse. Most of the world, the ordinary people, are not participating in the hysterical instability, just gazing on in stunned and horrified wonder. But all will be caught in the fallout.

We cannot stop the collapse or the violent quakes coming from all of this. But we can assemble the ambulances and prepare for the clean-up. It falls to those of us who are willing to “pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization.”

I would not want anyone to think for a moment that the secular forces that wage war on the faith and the faithful, on society and its people, on reason and memory, are going to prevail. Many such assaults have been launched throughout history. All have failed. The difference in this one is that it is far broader than all those in the past – and perhaps more ignorantly and arrogantly conceived. But I also would not want anyone to think for a moment that things are going to be set right without great trials and tribulations – or without our active, sustained work. In her first examination before taking the lead of French forces, Priests asked St. Joan of Arc why God needed soldiers. “The soldiers will fight and God will give the victory,” she replied.

The clean-up, the rebuilding, is ours. Onward Christian soldiers!


Fyodor Dostoevsky, the Russian author, was one of the most profound of Christian thinkers. A layman, his novels deeply probed the implications and consequences of serious Christianity and of alternative philosophies. Like many truly gifted artists, he expressed himself far more clearly and profoundly in his stories than in his direct contemplation of either theology or philosophy. In his masterwork, “The Karamazov Brothers,” he foresaw the bleak and despairing totalitarianism that secular communism would wreak – and he did it well before a single nation had adopted the system. (I know it is usually translated as ‘The Brothers Karamazov,’ but that is just a pretentious mistranslation. In English, adjectives usually proceed the noun they modify. In Russian, it is the reverse. The title, as Dostoevsky wrote it, was in the usual, everyday Russian form – so should be properly translated in the usual, everyday English form.) If the world had hearkened to his warning of what enforced secularism leads to, we could have saved 100 million lives lost to the slaughterhouse of socialism in the last 100 or so years – more than five times as many in a single century as all the lives lost in Christian religious wars in the past 2,000 years. In most religious wars, it was opponents who were killed on the battlefield. Secularism has a habit of murdering, instead, its own citizens who hold dissident views. It baffles me why, when secularism kills at a rate of 100 people for every one killed by Christian conflict and always turns its greatest atrocities on its own people, that leading elite “thinkers” are pressing hard for secular socialism. But I do believe our elite classed are the dumbest and most unlearned of any in history.

In his stunning chapter on ‘The Grand Inquisitor,’ (The Karamazov Brothers, Book 5, Chapter 5), with the inquisitor speaking to Christ, Dostoevsky writes that, “…ages will pass and mankind will proclaim with its voice of wisdom and science that there is no crime and consequently no sin, but only starving people. ‘Feed them and then ask for virtue!’ That’s what they’ll write on their banner which they will raise against You and with which they will destroy your temple. A new edifice will arise in place of Your temple, the terrible Tower of Babel will arise anew…” After that, Dostoevsky posits, real misery will begin.

Near the end of this chapter, he evokes a startling and terrible insight, that “…man seeks not so much God as miracles.” It is a terrible indictment of Christians, the assertion that many of the most pious are merely pandering to God in hope of obtaining a miracle. He notes how Christ rejected the showiness of miracles to benefit Himself in both the temptations in the desert and on the road to His passion, choosing the way of trust and love. It is a hard road, but his insight gets to the heart of the matter. If you ‘trust’ God in the expectation of temporal benefits and immunity from suffering, your hope is not in God so much as in the hope that He will put His finger on the scales to your temporal benefit. It is a hard road, indeed. The only way you can prove your love for God is to feed His lambs (John 21:15-17), even unto death. It is a very hard road. We prove our love for God by our love for our fellows. So when we pray, we must ask ourselves if it is from love of God, or are we merely pandering to Him in hopes of temporal benefit? Our prayers for the good of others are the most pure and powerful contemplative prayers, I think.


The U.S. Army is introducing a new dress uniform. It hearkens back to the classic dress uniforms of the World War II era. Perhaps thinking the modern dress uniforms are a bit

Army Dress Uniforms - new
New Army Dress Uniform

too sterile, the Army reached back to a rich, traditional look that intimately emphasizes its commitment to duty, honor and country. I am a fan of the new (old) look.

The Knights of Columbus are also adopting new regalia. Gone will be the old, rich, colorful traditional garb that said, “Catholic heroes” at a glance. In is prosaic, lifeless, colorless garb that says “globalist U.N. drones.”

I love what the Knights of Columbus do. They are the mainstays of providing expensive ultrasound equipment for struggling crisis pregnancy

knights of columbus uniforms
New Knights of Columbus Uniform

centers throughout America. More than any other organization I am aware of, they have taken the lead in helping Christians suffering persecution and martyrdom in the Middle East this last decade. Many in the pews know them primarily for their pancake breakfasts, fish fries, and color guards at formal Catholic ceremonies. Behind their congenial fellowship, though, lies real commitment to human dignity and charity.

I asked some friends in the Knights how they could have actually favored these hideous and lifeless new uniforms. To a man, they told me they got no say in it – that it was a top-down decision imposed on them. So even the Knights have a clueless elite imposing its will on the more sensible people in the ranks. Some have told me they will surreptitiously use the old regalia instead of the new garb even though the top bosses of the Knights have said they will punish any council which defies this imperial order from the top after June 30.

It saddens me, but I suspect that the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and the Knights of Malta are going to be getting a lot more requests to provide color guards in preference to the new colorless guards the Knights of Columbus are imposing on its soldiers in the trenches. This, too, will pass – and the Knights of Columbus will ultimately get a new generation of leadership because of it – a generation that objects both to the drab drone uniforms AND to existing leadership imposing its will in contradiction to the will of the Knights in the Parishes.


Seven years ago today, my Mother passed on from this earth. In 2012, May 12 was the day before Mother’s Day. Today, when it is simultaneously Mother’s Day and the anniversary of her death, it is a hard thing.

For most of my adult life, my relationship with my Mom was a rocky one, filled with misunderstandings and tension. She was a sensitive sort. While I got comic birthday cards for other family members, I always got flowery ones for her, not wanting to unintentionally offend her. One year she complained that all the people I liked got funny cards while she always got sappy ones. I finally found the perfect card. It had multiple folds. It started out by saying I wanted to wish her a happy birthday. The next fold said, “But I don’t want you to think I think you’re old.” The fold after that said, “But I don’t want you to think I forgot, either.” The next fold said, “What I’m trying to say is…” – and the last panel said, “I don’t want any trouble.” Ma loved it so much she framed it.

In the year before my pilgrimage, I stayed downstairs from Mom and Dad. What a gift that was! All the tension between Mom and I seemed to melt away. We would have long talks with each other – especially when Dad had gone off to his part-time job. Mom was never a gifted story-teller. She would lose her train of thought, go chasing after ancillary thoughts. While often enthusiastic, she would go off on puzzling tangents in which the

Johnstons, last family photo
Our last family photo when we were all together. Dad and Mom are seated. In the back, from left are me, Jerry, David, Steve, Kim and Ron. It was just a few years before my pilgrimage.

point she was making was completely lost. A medical condition late in life complicated this penchant. One day, she started off telling me a story as we sat in the cool of her sitting room. After turning off into the fourth tangent, she suddenly went quiet…and I realized she had started crying. I asked with alarm what was wrong. She said she had no clue what she had wanted to say and hated that she couldn’t keep track of a story to save her life anymore – and must seem a total fool to everyone. I told her, “Ma, it’s okay. Actually, I kind of like it. When you begin a story, it’s like a rabbit running into a thicket. I know where it went in, but I have no clue where it’s going to come out. It can be kind of fun.” She looked at me and, honest to goodness, started giggling. “It’s just like that for me, too,” she said. After that, we entered many storied thickets together – but she was not at all self-conscious about it anymore. In fact, when she got lost, we both laughed…and would find our way out of the thicket together.

At Christmas of 2015, I was missing her a lot. I was looking through her Mother’s Bible (which had been handed down to me at the instructions of my maternal grandmother, Mamo Rider). Mamo loved to stuff precious notes in her Bible. I still stumble on a new one now and then. On this Christmas Day, when I was feeling terribly lonesome for my Mom (who ALWAYS made Christmas a fabulously joyful celebration) the note I stumbled on, in my Mother’s distinctive handwriting, said, “Merry Christmas. Even though we are apart at Christmas time this year, we still can share the day in heart, for thought will keep us near.” I burst into tears. Shoot, I got pretty misty just writing this.

I am sure that this is a note Mom wrote to her Mom long ago – and that her Mom cherished it enough to save in her Bible. I am also sure that God intended, at the prompting of some saints and angels, that I stumble on that particular note on that particular day. And so I say on this Mother’s Day, “Happy Mother’s Day. Even though we are apart on Mother’s Day this year, we still can share the day in heart, for thought will keep us near.”

90 thoughts on “The New Tower of Babel – Short Takes

    1. I enjoyed Charlie’s stories and photo too, Beckita. It’s a beautiful thing to read about a son’s love for his mother, especially on Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers here!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Ditto! what a precious photo, Charlie, of your mom still smiling and beautiful after raising 5 sons(and a daughter), -all of you must have toe’d the line. 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Thank you very much to Charlie for the link to the article on Cardinal George’s quote, especially including the last part about rebuilding society. God’s blessings on tomorrow’s 102nd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Along with the important feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, who implored penance and prayers for sinners’ conversion, it’s also the 38th anniversary of the attempted assassination of Pope St.JPII who echoed her with this quote: “Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history.”

        Liked by 9 people

  1. Word on the street is that the new Knights of Columbus uniforms are supposed to attract young people to join. A priest I know quipped “They look like something a 60 year old thinks a 20 year old would want to wear.” 🙂

    Liked by 12 people

    1. Now that is downright hilarious, Victura! Both my son and my godson are Knights – and they are not amused (by the uniforms…but I will be passing this quote on to both of them).

      Liked by 8 people

    2. Father, my husband is a Fourth Degree Knight and a member of the Color Corps. So is my 22-year-old son. They are both refusing to buy the new “uniform” (it’s too ugly to be called “regalia”) and are both resigning from the Color Corps when the regalia becomes forbidden at the end of June. It’s so sad that the decision to switch to the new garb was forced upon the rank and file. Not only were they not consulted, they weren’t even informed that a change was being considered until after the decision had been made. In my state, there are many, many men who are leaving the Color Corps rather than knuckle under; and there is one Assembly in which every member has refused to buy the new garb. I guess they’ll all be leaving the Color Corps, too.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I agree too. As a pastor, I don’t see the need to ask for a color corps anymore. If there’s no more colors, what’s the point?

        Liked by 2 people

  2. New Knights of Columbus attire:

    It is a despicable act by the upper management of the K of C to replace the uniforms. At no time, did the management ask the members nor their feedback. It was pushed onto us without hesitation.

    Many Knights have stated they do not care for the uniforms, namely those in the Military. The Beret holds a certain significance (respect) amongst those who wear it… as it was earned thru blood, sweat and too often, tears. Beyond the price for the new Blazer $500. ordered through one Italian manufacturer, a soft coup is taking place.

    My K of C Assembly has stated as of next month we shall remove ourselves from the official 4th degree Aseembly duties in the new Uniform. We shall gather together as we have in the past but without the official presentation of the Knights. Locally, at a Pastors request we shall present ourselves in the old ‘Pirate’ uniform. I say this with humor as the children during Memorial day parades often shout “the Pirates are coming…”

    Lastly, my Assemby has thought of a slogan: “Tradition has Value”. These old uniforms look gawdy, yet noticable. I have not worn but do admire the representation to older, dignified times. Those who do wear… display the uniform with love, honor and pride.

    Overall, the Knights do wonderful work but the organization is TOP Heavy. I believe they have lost Fr. Michael McGivney’s focus on caring for the widows and orphans. The greatest worry of our present age is Health Care Insurance, yet the Knights refuse to venture in. Life Insurance is the number one issue discussed in the family but they do not change with the times. They are missing an opportunity for new revenue, not to mention a significant loss of evangelization opportunities.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Thank you again, Charlie!! Thinking of you and your dear mom today, Charlie. What an amazing story about her! Just beautiful.

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Thank you Charlie, for another excellent bit of writing. I especially loved your stories about your dear Mom and helping her to laugh when she lost her way as the two of you sat down to visit. I’d say you were an awesome son! God Bless You.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. Charlie,

    I enjoy your posts but I don’t share your enthusiasm for the Knights of Columbus. This organization allows pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians to be Knights in good standing. And the head of this “charity” really brings home the bacon. From what I found on the internet:

    “According to federal tax filings, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, the organization’s head, earned more than $2.2 million in 2014 and more than $1.2 million in 2015.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marge. I assume you are referring to the National Catholic Reporter article which did make some unsettling assertions. The overall slant of the article, though, was to criticize the Knights for remaining orthodox and for being too solid in their pro-life activism. Over at Catholic Culture, Phil Lawler did a balanced piece on the Knights leadership warning local councils not to expel members for taking a public pro-abortion stance. These are troubling things, but if the Knights were not there, it would leave a big hole in providing expensive ultrasound machines to pro-life crisis pregnancy centers. Just this year, the Knights donated the 1000th such machine. There would also be a big hole in the relief efforts for persecuted Christians relief efforts for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

      I noted in my piece above that there has grown some divisions between top leadership in the Knights and the rank and file in the Parishes. You should note that no rank-and-file Knights are gaining exorbitant salaries – most are donating their time at some sacrifice. It is also true that the effort to formally ban politicians who publicly espouse abortion came from the rank-and-file…and was over-ruled by top leadership. I think that accentuates, rather than refutes, my point.

      In these terribly corrupted times, it is no surprise that almost all agencies have some deep flaws. Despite theirs, the Knights do so much good work that I think what they need are some reforms – and the rank-and-file seem to largely agree. They are most assuredly not, I believe, an organization that should be dismantled. Their good work goes to help organizations and people that few other entities are helping at all.

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Marge,
      I found this link on the web describing the Knights of Columbus. It provides a succint analysis and at the end does not recommend as it is members only.

      The membership requires a man 18yrs of age or greater to be in good standing with the Church. How many Catholics believe abortion is OK? How many use contraceptives? Go to confession, regulary or once per years as requested by the Church?

      My local council donates to local charities, has donated $ to an ultrasound machine, sponsored several fortydaystolife prayer campaigns f/o an abortion clinic. Which I might add closed their doors and relocated to another neighboring town 😦

      Carl Andersons salary is an enormous figure, and consistent with the Industry. I don’t agre with it but I am not a Knight for the life insurance. I joined for the fellas I volunteered with at Church.

      Liked by 9 people

  6. Ah Charlie,

    I know your pain. I am sorry for the loss of your mother. Though she is not here, she is with you in spirit. A mother’s love, or any true love, never, ever dies. And the time apart will vanish in the reality of eternity.

    God is so loving that I do not doubt at all that He gave you this note as a balm to your heart. The wondrous thing is that this old note likely gave solace to the intended and to you as well. There are no coincidences and Our God is an Awesome God!!

    I realized when reading your blog that my troubled cousin also died on this day. A troubled soul addicted to heroine and died of his own hand. A reminder that our loved ones need our continued prayers.

    Thank you Charlie for sharing. As an amateur genealogist and family historian, I believe you, Jerry and Ron strongly resemble your mother about the eyes and perhaps nose. David has your momma’s jaw and Steve looks totally like your dad! Your dad looks like my uncle! How cool it would be to be related. But in the end we are all relate by our love for Our Lord and Our Lady.

    My prayer is that somehow I will see you on your tour. You wouldn’t by chance know Dave Abel ( Starbarn Controversy because of no same sex marriages) , from Elizabethtown PA? (Also friend of Archbishop Chapet?)
    If so, With his help we can host you, God willing. I find no like minded folks among my parish -enough to host such an event. It is in God’s hands. I live to watch things come together under God’s Will.

    Thinking and praying for you and the soul of your precious mother!

    Peace be with you!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Prayers for your dear cousin, Little One. I am so sorry! The challenges those with addictions face are so enormous. I remember a priest one time telling the true story of a man who struggled daily with alcoholism. He came to church often and asked Jesus to come to him every day. Still he continued to alcohol. What a desperate circumstance. Then one day, when going to church as usual, Jesus Himself told him “Come to me.” Then shortly afterward, this man died. Jesus’ mercy is so great and seems to be even greater now because he knows the extreme challenges of this day and time. God bless and keep your cousin and may he be in God’s hands soon.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. I am so touched about what you wrote about your mom, Charlie, probably because I am missing mine, too. She’s been gone since 2006. It’s hard to believe I haven’t felt her hugs or heard her voice for that long. I have a great relationship with my daughter, and it’s because of all my mom taught me. On Mother’s Day people on my Facebook feed are saying that their moms are the greatest. I beg to differ. The actual greatest mom ever (not counting Mary, of course) is the woman who raised me.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I am sorry for your loss of your mom. But So happy you had such a beautiful experience with her. What a blessing! from Heaven, May your mom continue to teach us all how to be good mothers and daughters.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. There’s also a growing desperation in the media & governments to force the “climate” agenda onto the population. There’s definitely an increase in tension & severity of events in the world in comparison to last year around the same time…

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Meh! We have to entertain the young to attract them into a Holy organization? We have lost if that is the case. It makes it no different than a secular organization.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. They’ve tried that stunt with the Holy Mass since the 60s, Doug, and the results have been in plain view for quite some time now. Well, in plain view for anyone with a functioning brain. Not to mention a functioning aesthetic sense 😒

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Very interesting, Doug – as one would expect form Msgr. Pope. And challenging. Thanks for the link.

          Reading my comment again, I should also say that I wasn’t making any facile connection as regards the V2 reforms or the Novus Ordo and the failure to attract/keep young people. What I meant was the silly attempts to be cool and down with the kids, or to adapt to passing fashions (and boy, don’t some of ’em pass pretty quickly – in most cases, thankfully!), which have been so catastrophically unsuccessful. And yet that ethos of cheap popularity-seeking still seems to drive so many in authority. I’m sure there’s a psychiatric term for it!

          Liked by 2 people

  10. I saw this: “Near the end of this chapter, he evokes a startling and terrible insight, that “…man seeks not so much God as miracles.” It is a terrible indictment of Christians, the assertion that many of the most pious are merely pandering to God in hope of obtaining a miracle.” I immediately thought of how easy it is to misunderstand and even mistreat prophecy, something Charlie has tried to teach us not to do. How many times for me before now might I apply a paraphrase of that to my own attitude: “Steve seeks not so much Prophecy but predictions.” Thank you, Charlie, for spending time to educate us on this point. It has been invaluable in turning me to the task at hand and with some real trust in God.

    My near-95 year old mother rarely went into thickets before, but nowadays it can happen. I haven’t known how to handle that new kind of conversation, although we’ve laughed about playing 20 questions. Maybe your response to your mom might help my mother and me. 🙂

    Liked by 11 people

    1. It might, Steve, and I hope it does. Mom had a penchant for sometimes speaking in a way that offended others – even cut them to the quick – and then she would be befuddled about what the problem was. It was hard to tell her, because she was so sensitive and quick to take offense, herself. After that episode (and things had already warmed to a very affectionate and mellow point between us), she started asking me what had happened when she stepped into something that set off fireworks. Even better, she listened and responded with no self-consciousness at all as I would walk her through it. Somehow, that episode reassured her of my love for her in a very deep way – and so when I laid out what had set an encounter off and what part she had played in it, she did not suspect me of going after her at all, but trusted that I was genuinely trying to help her avoid the same problem going forward. It was a joy to behold – and sometimes her whole face would light up with understanding from a new perspective. I really enjoyed being such a trusted confidante to my Mom that she willingly, even eagerly, came to share her vulnerabilities with me, confident I would help her make those place less vulnerable. It came late, though, and we only had one really great year – but how glad it was for both of us to have it! Ha! Who would have thought you can strengthen bonds with those you love by exploring mental thickets with each other. Of course, you have the advantage of having a long-standing affectionate relationship with your Mom, so I think both of you can adjust quite comfortably and turn little awkwardnesses into BINGs that help release a few more souls from purgatory.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. Thank you so much for this, Charlie. It gives me hope that my mother and I can continue to work on this kind of difficult stuff in a spirit of love. May I be up to the task.

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        1. Steve, you are such an amazing man in the ways that you have nurtured so many to breakthrough in their lives when faced with new challenges. I certainly have been the blessed recipient of your love and care, your wisdom and all the practical probing questions you presented which prompted me to dig deeper and ponder anew when I embarked on the uncharted waters of stepping into leadership at this site in CJ’s absence. A pearl of great price to many are you. And I have every confidence in you for this new challenge. Praying a PMT and sending St. Anne, the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus to remain with you and your dear mother as you navigate these challenges in your lives.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I’m unexpectedly humbled by your words, Beckita, especially after I have seen how much good you have done for so many here. I also thank you for your prayers.

            It turns out that my mother has always had a small statue of Saint Anne with her, usually on her office desk. I’m not much of a packrat and may not choose to hold much of her possessions when she goes Home, but I may ask my siblings if I might have that statue to remember her by. I think it would be good to have with me in remembrance and as a spiritual aid in my own life.

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  11. Charlie….I miss my mom so much And I miss my mom in law & I can’t wait to meet your mom someday too…she sounds, heavenly…thanks for sharing…misty eyed over here in Ohio🤗😇😘😢😄 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY EVERYONE AND ESPECIALLY OUR BEAUTIFUL MOTHER MARY🤗

    Liked by 10 people

  12. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 13 May
    The New Primitives

    What Not to Say in Theological Debate

    I’d like to think Voris is wrong but ……. sadly….. ;-(
    The whole Global LGBTQ Agenda (like Abortion Agenda) is very well funded, organized and politically powerful and has infiltrated all levels of Gubermint and Public/Private/”Catholic” ;-( “Education”.


    LGBTQ: Forcing Us to Embrace Evil, Destructive Lies–Lloyd Marcus



    Washington Post Defends Rashida Tlaib’s Holocaust Comments, Attacks Republicans

    Study: Sanctuary Cities Stop Deportation of Illegal Aliens from Terrorist-Sponsored Nations

    Burkina Faso church attack: Priest among six killed

    The Modern Mass Killers’ Five Worldviews

    Speaking of “Modern” Day Killers:

    Planned Parenthood President: ‘There Is No Such Thing as Abortion Up Until Birth’

    Stop Hijacking Students’ Grief after School Shootings–KYLE KASHUV

    Sri Lanka blocks social media after worst anti-Muslim unrest since Easter bombings

    Four Rhode Island Towns Declare 2nd Amendment Sanctuary

    What will The Deep State do to protect Their Secrets and High Crimes?? ….. I’m expecting unpleasant Fireworks ’cause Deep State has many Rich-n-Powerful people/entities afraid of “DayLight”!!

    Finally! President Trump BLASTS FBI Director Chris Wray for Protecting the Mueller and DNC Deep State Swamp

    BREAKING: Obama State Department’s Jonathan Winer – Long Time Kerry Associate – Involved in Sinister Actions Pushing Fake Russia Dossier

    Corrupt FBI Agent Strzok Laughed at the Bogus Pee-Pee Reports in the Liberal Media At Same Time Corrupt FISA App Was Sent to Court

    When the Vatican faces a major sex-abuse scandal, he’s the man the pope sends in [Archbishop Charles Scicluna]
    TANKERS ATTACKED Saudi oil tankers including one bound for US hit by ‘sabotage attack’ amid Iran standoff
    Why all of the Boston Red Sox should have gone to the White House ceremony–Fay Vincent
    Liberals’ failure to win majority support for marquee legislation reveals Democrat divisions: ‘Green New Deal,’ ‘Medicare for All,’ Trump impeachment faced resounding defeat in House


    Liked by 9 people

  13. My CD how do you maintain sanity reading through so much garbage a day? I told a confessor last week that I need to read less of it due to the discouragement it can cause in me.

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    1. Bob & Gang,

      Yes!! ….. it may be “Garbage” and “Bad News” for non-believers but Good-News for believers that Hope-Trust that The Lord is Near!!! …… The Lord is always near thru good-n-garbage-n-thick or thin …… or when ye be pushin’ Three Score & Ten like ….. CrewDog!


      Liked by 10 people

  14. Your post about your sweet mom is so very touching, Charlie. Gosh.

    I do want to acknowledge those here who may be estranged from their mothers. Perhaps she suffered from mental illness or substance abuse, or was physically or psychologically abusive. For whatever reason she did not provide the nurturing love and respect all children need, and the pain can linger into adulthood. This holiday can be difficult for many of us.

    For some, the only way we can show our love for our mothers is to pray earnestly for them and offer small sacrifices to Jesus. This also may involve praying for oneself to reach a point of genuine forgiveness and love for the past transgressions we may have endured.

    I am truly grateful for Our Blessed Mother who loves us beyond measure and prays for us every moment of every day. She also loves and prays for our mothers who are God’s children. Mary fills the void, that need for maternal love, that may be causing pain in our wounded hearts. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us Mary to be our mother.

    The music director and I are going to record a CD to help raise money for the ambitious renovations of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral. It will be dedicated to our Mother Mary.

    If you have a favorite Marian hymn or song that you think would be nice to add, let me know. My choices are “Salve Regina,” “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” and an “Ave Maria” (Gounod, Schubert, or Patrick Daniel). We hope to legally record that Ave Maria we arranged by offering this CD for donations.

    Here is one of my absolute favorite musicians whose talent is truly miraculous, performing one of my favorite songs:

    Oy vey! What a gift!

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    1. Thanks for the wondrous Ave Maria, Patrick.

      And Amen to your introduction. May all who have mother wounds find healing. The foundational first step is through forgiveness, yet, a general act of the will to forgive, most often, doesn’t bring complete forgiveness. An outstanding process was presented four months ago by Fr. John Burns and Sr. Miriam James Heidland. It takes a brave heart to stay the course and it is so worth the effort, for the final result is true freedom and peace.

      The Presentation

      The Process Outlined

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        1. What I love most about the process, Patrick, is that it really opens wide the door to complete healing AND to every other blessing God intends for us.

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          1. I’m sure it’s evident that I wrote the above based on my own struggles as an adult the result of an upbringing with a profoundly unwell mother.

            This “Journey of Forgiveness” process — and it is a slow journey that takes time — complements other things I’m doing to achieve healing. I believe true forgiveness is possible. Somehow, I sense that overcoming this painful situation is key to my sainthood. Yes, the person who has wounded me the most has become an integral part in my reaching holiness. No small mountain to climb!

            #5 mirrors a common theme with advice from counselors and clergy: I am valued and I am loved. The devil takes advantage of the fact that I believe his lies about me that stemmed from the childhood abuse. He is constantly nudging or badgering me that I have little worth, that I deserve the worst and not the best. He calls me a liar and a phony. In a way, believing his lies pushes me to ignore God’s love by not loving myself as I should and rejecting the beauty and worth in me that He created.

            I am only just now learning to forgive and to love, and this happens to coincide with finishing my degree (none too soon).

            Thanks, B.

            Liked by 6 people

            1. Awesome insight, Patrick: “Yes, the person who has wounded me the most has become an integral part in my reaching holiness.” I’ll bet you’d love the movie about the life of St. Josephine Bakhita. Her wounds were not only emotional; her back was covered with scars caused by the whippings and beatings. A student once asked Bakhita what she would do if she met her former captors. She responded, “If I were to meet those who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss their hands. For, if these things had not happened, I would not have been a Christian and a religious today.”

              Praying for you, Patrick.

              Liked by 4 people

              1. I just returned from a 9 day trip to Ohio to see my eldest grandson Ethan be confirmed by the Bishop at the St Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati. I was quite overwhelmed by all the pageantry and upon hearing the large congregation answering prayers in unison and thier one voice booming through the great hall, I felt a kind of foretaste of the ” great multitude that no one could count” (Rev. 7:9) all speaking in unison of the great glory of God.
                A very “thunderous” whisper!
                Later, we celebrated mothers day at, above all places, St Ann Catholic Church. The pastor gave a rousing sermon on motherhood with many points on how mothers are very influential in the faith building of most of the priests he knew and with many a faithful catholic in general. My wife looked over at me and grabbed my hand after a litany of virtues he commended to mothers and I realized she was thinking of how much this reminded her of my mother too. (I can’t help but recognise them in my wife as well!)

                Patrick, I sympathize with you but my difficulty was with my father and not my mom.
                He was a good role model as far as being home and working for his family, paying the bills and being involved with his children. But having been raised in the Bronx by a ridged German father with no affection, he was all sergeant and no pal most of his life. I didn’t have trouble loving him since my mother was a well balanced southern bell and I was given a virtuous sensibility through her example. I tried doubly hard not to alienate my son’s because of this since my big loss was a real relationship with him even though the respect and love I had for him was full (at least in my heart).
                I know that there was a tremendous amount of grace in my life keeping me sane and whole as I see other people who have been through similar trials as mine who have been left lost and devastated.

                I guess I must have enough trust to allow faith and hope to do it’s work in me?

                Liked by 3 people

                1. Thanks, PF. I had a real sweetheart of a father, very affectionate and funny. It seems like my parent’s roles were reversed: dad was nurturing and mom was the cold disciplinarian. During one session, my counselor pointed out that I seem to have a disproportionate resentment toward my mom. He was right: my father so often stood silently by while mom went on her unpredictable rampages, and only rarely would stop her when she was blatantly unreasonable. It turns out that I need to forgive both of them for their faults that ended up hurting me and my siblings (we’re all a little broken, I see now).

                  But like you I trust that my faith will do its work in my soul. I really do trust in Jesus to heal me. I’m getting there, one day, one prayer at a time. Jesus knows that this I want in my heart.

                  I’ve been to St Peter in Chains cathedral several times for some high Masses. What a fascinating structure! How did they make that ceiling? Cincinnati is actually full of interesting architecture. My main church is Old Saint Mary’s/ Just look at this gem….the oldest church in Cinci. My spiritual director, Father Lawrence Juarez, started the Congregation of Saint Philip Neri Oratory.



                  Liked by 3 people

    2. Patrick, please let us know when the CDs are ready. I would certainly like to get one, and I bet I’m not the only ASOH’er who’d like a copy.

      Along with the three Ave Maria versions that you already mentioned, would you consider the Ave Maria by Marco Columbro? I heard it for the first time when our parish choir performed it on Sunday, and it was sublime.

      Liked by 6 people

    3. Patrick, greetings from Buffalo! My favorite Marian song is Holy Is His Name by John Michael Talbot. Hail Mary, Gentle Woman is a close second! Blessings, Cathy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, the Magnificat! Very good call. I will add it to our growing list. Thanks, Cathy.

        I’ll be in Buffalo hopeful in July to visit my grandma Honey. Looking forward to a Beef on Weck WITH horseradish, some wings, Troyer Farms pretzels, and a Molson Canadian!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Man seeks not so much God as miracles.

    That sentence reflects a sense that God owes us something. It’s insidious in its suggestion that we don’t have to work to build His kingdom. It also raises the profound question: Do I want to be God’s asset or liability?

    Kevin Williamson has a fabulous article on NRO called “The Case for Being Born” in which he rebukes radical feminists and environmentalists arguing that children are liabilities rather than assets. Of course we know that children are assets. We know that because they make their parents better people, just as Charlie showed in his story. Bonds of mutual and sacrificial love across the generations are what create a just society. Any social order or institution that comes to regard its children as liabilities is guaranteeing its own destruction. No one works to protect, preserve, or grow their liabilities. A liability is meant to be prevented or diminished by its very nature. This mentality has created the rampant sense of entitlement we see in our society today and has left adults too stunted to make the necessary transition from taker to giver.

    My oldest child, who’s 7, gave me a Mother’s Day card he made in school. On it, he answered what makes me special. His answer: my mother is special because she made me, my brothers, and my sister. That absolutely melted my heart. I am only doing what my mother was willing to do for me.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Golden, this comment is marvelously insightful and hits right at the heart of themes that are critically important to me. Thank you for sending it – and God bless you and your children.

      Liked by 6 people

  16. Charlie, you wrote:

    “…Christ rejected the showiness of miracles to benefit Himself in both the temptations in the desert and on the road to His passion, choosing the way of TRUST and love. It is a hard road, but his insight gets to the heart of the matter. If you ‘trust’ God in the expectation of temporal benefits and immunity from suffering, your hope is not in God so much as in the hope that He will put His finger on the scales to your temporal benefit.”

    But as I recently heard a priest express it, “Is TRUST more like a light switch – either on or off? Or is it more like a dimmer switch – a matter of degree?”

    If when I suffer some disappointment – I am calm and resigned to God’s will – does that mean if really have Trust? How big a disappointment is it?

    When I read from the Book of Job, do I shudder inside … or can I read it with calm ‘engagement’ – rather than calm due to disinterest?

    Do I – can I – really get involved in Job’s story, when his spouse reviles and disrespects him, sneers at him, when his children die, his herds [livelihood] disappears. How about when his best yet fair weather Pharisaic friends cast false accusation of guilt against him, judge him as guilty of things he never said or did – and mock him.

    Does it really mean I have real TRUST when I can remain faithful in the small things? WHAT ABOUT THE BIG THINGS?

    God will push us to new levels throughout all of our life – new levels requiring greater degrees of trust as the Trials and Tribulations grow in intensity?

    If I do not peacefully say ‘Yes’ to God’s will in my life throughout my harsher trials, what could make me think I will not despair on my deathbed as Satan comes at me with the horror of the sins of my past life???

    There is an old saying in Spiritual Theology: “No one stands still in the Spiritual Life, I am either ‘growing’ forward, or regressing backwards. THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE.

    If my trust in the Lord is not growing – I am NOT standing still. I am going backwards.

    If you have a question in this regard — find a darn good Confessor and or Spiritual Director to discuss it with.

    All my love in Christ


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    1. I love this, Desmond. Trust really IS a dimmer switch – and all our lives are a pilgrimage to greater trust. This is simple, deep and brilliant. Thank you for completing my thought on it (well, actually, it’s original to you – but is one of those things I read and think, “Man, I wish I would have said that!)

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      1. Thanks, I’d love to take credit for the dimmer switch part of it, but that much of it came via a Fr. Matt homily a few days ago. Job, etc, probably came from my guardian angel.

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    2. The story of Job is a sad one that challenges our concept & understanding of God’s way; I feel for Job’s hardships. Many of us can relate to Job on some level, we are living Job’s experiences (at varying levels) as individuals and as a The Church (in crisis). I guess from a certain point of view, we are kind of the “Job generation”…

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      1. The story of Job is only sad for a while. Because of Job’s ‘trust’ – he is ultimately rewarded with more love and possessions than he had before the sad time.

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        1. That’s definitely one level of analysis of Job’s story.

          It’s a little risky to face hardships just for reward(s), as this could lead to self-entitlement, vanity, and pride… From a Christian perspective, forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and Christ as our king should be reward enough.

          We definitely need trust in God and his goodness. When true evil attacks, it definitely feels like your life is ending, the only recourse available to us is to cry out to Jesus and his mother in prayer to help us get through those hard times.

          Job is relevant for our day & age, as evil is relentless, and will keep on testing us in hope of misleading us & destroy our relationship with God. We must be vigilant, evil won’t rest nor leave us alone, because the evil spirits know their time is short and they will be defeated & imprisoned at the end of this age…


    3. Wow- God give us the strength and courage and trust that you speak of, Desmond! My weakness is great and this requires a great miracle. Trust is so easy to say but so hard to do. I can only imagine how hard it is to believe in God in the face of great misfortunes if it is this hard to do when we do believe in God. But for the grace of God go I. So many lessons here and they all keep coming at us like rapid gunfire it seems. Prayers for more trust, more love, more wisdom to think with God’s heart and to do what he does.

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      1. Thankful, I think it’s hardest to trust when we try to do so on our own. By an act of the will, we can proclaim to Jesus our trust in Him and then open up our hearts in supplication, telling Him we know our poverty and need for His intervention to build us up by healing and reconciling our emotions. (Sometimes the biggest trust buster is our own sin history. I say this not aimed at you in particular, Thankful, but as something for all to reflect upon as we each have a sin history. SO often, self-forgiveness opens the way to greater trust and every good blessing from the Lord. That video I shared yesterday on forgiveness can also be a tool for the process of self-forgiveness.) Your blessed moniker, Thankful, says so much. As we ask, we can also thank Jesus for what He is doing in answer to our prayer. As He told St. Faustina: I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls (1074). How’s that for power-packed and blessed assurance?! As we continue making the choice to trust, Jesus readily fills in what we may be lacking.

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        1. Thank you, Beckita! Very true. Without His mercy I can do nothing. Prayers for all you mentioned here. Hugs, love and blessings!

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      2. Hear, hear thankful4mercy! I just came across this blog article from Brother David Steindl-Rast’s, (a dear friend of the late Thomas Merton), site that I’d like to share for a contemplative POV about trusting God, titled “Deepening Our Comfort with Uncertainty’, by Kristi Nelson, Executive Director.

        “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.” ~ Thomas Merton …

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Without the first you listed, the other two cannot amount to much. My level of trust – is an accurate measure of my actual love for God. the degree to which we possess those two circumscribes our access to wisdom.

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  17. To the best of my understanding, we live for the purpose of “serving” God. The gospels give many “hints & parables” about the slaves & the servants as being the greatest in Heaven, and that Humility & selflessness are essential…

    It is mind boggling on how insignificant creatures like people can be of any practical usefulness to the creator of all…

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  18. Re the Knights new gear. I am a 3rd Degree Knight and I think the new uniform is pretty lame compared to the sword and cape and the white gloves and the feathered chapeau.

    I never became a 4th degree knight because I never had the time to do the ceremonial duties especially at the funerals.

    I think it’s a shame for all those guys devoted to the 4th Degree and its public representation of the Order and the Church as a statement of faith. Frankly, its a ministry and pretty important to the guys who are called to it. A pretty special group.

    To me it is perhaps one of the final steps toward the complete secularization of the public face of the Catholic Church. The trend has been a long time forming. First the nuns gave up their habits. Then the Brothers. The priests are rarely seen in the cassock or the clerical shirts or the white collar except on very formal occasions anymore. All seem interested in “blending in” with the secular society and not standing out in any significant way drawing attention to what it is they do and emphasizing their particular calling in life.

    The 4th Degree Knights have finally caved in to the trend. There is nothing noteworthy about the new gear at all. Prediction: The calling to and ministry of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus is going to nosedive like the calling to a whole lot of the secularized orders of nuns and religious.

    I’m guessing the last ones to give it up will be the Hierarchy. They love their little red hats, waist bands croziers, rings and especially those pointy decorated Mitre hats. Signs of dignity and authority.

    Don’t know why the clerical and religious have shrunk from striking a distinctive place in society reflecting their total commitment to Christ in a very special way. Curious don’t you think?

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    1. It pleases me that those who have been and are my Director Priests NEVER appear in public without the cassock. When my son was a teenager, he came with me to a visit with Fr. Babyface (a pseudonym). The two loved to tease each other – and so my son challenged the good Fr. to a quick basketball game on the court outside the residence. Ever game, Fr. Babyface took him up on the challenge. I was amused at watching him gamely go at it despite the limited mobility his cassock imposed on him – and told my son to go easy on the crowing unless he was willing to put on a cassock to even the odds.

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  19. NEWS & MILINET: Articles for Christians – 14 May
    Alabama Senate heads toward vote on abortion ban measure

    Regina Coeli Address: On Good Shepherd Sunday

    Exorcist: Temptation — Not Possession — Is the Most Significant Demonic Activity


    New Orthodox schism stalls ecumenical dialogue, official says

    Thoughts on populism, liability and unfinished business on abuse norms

    Do Pro-Lifers Owe Rep. Brian Sims a Note of Thanks?

    Would the ‘Equality Act’ Outlaw Christianity?

    HAMMER: House Democrats’ ‘Equality Act’ Is Both Unnecessary And Unacceptable For Religious Liberty

    Catholicism and White Guilt

    Cardinal rebukes Farrakhan, priest over speech


    Fear, Loathing, Intolerance – and Worse–and-worse-n2546254

    Meet the Prosecutor Touted to BRING DOWN THE DEMOCRATS

    FBI spies are toast

    Can Doctors Refuse to Treat a Patient? The Trump administration says they may, if treatment would violate their religious views–Dr Sandeep Jauhar
    Is Roe in Danger? Liberal Justices Seem to Think So–Leah Litman


    Liked by 2 people

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