To Magnify the Lord

Nierman - ship
Dynamic Forces – Leonardo Nierman

By Charlie Johnston

Thursday was the Feast Day of the Visitation. It was on this occasion that Mary spoke the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) to her cousin, Elizabeth. It is my favorite prayer. It resonates in the depths of my heart.

In most translations, it begins, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord…” In a large minority of translations, it starts with, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” Though both are moving, the latter has a special meaning for me.

That meaning snapped into place over the long period when I contemplated what was at the heart of St. Joan of Arc’s sanctity. I have always loved St. Joan, even in my early days as a Protestant. As I studied her more, contemplating ever deeper her personality and mission, I pondered over what was at the center of her sanctity – and what caused me to so deeply love and admire her. Though she was burned at the stake, she was not technically a martyr. Her life was suffused by mystical experiences. Certainly she was a prophet – but a prophet that got it wrong almost as often as she got it right The many things she was right on were so absurdly improbable that it could only have come from God. I loved that she was a very practical woman, that despite the mystical phenomenon that surrounded her, she was focused on the ordinary work right in front of her. While others were oo-ing and ah-ing over her charisms, she was very earthily exhorting all to put their shoulders to the plow with her and get to it. She was a saint made to order to be patron to me.

It was while praying the Magnificat that the heart of St. Joan’s sanctity came to me – and, in fact, the heart of all sanctity: her soul magnified the Lord. When she burst onto the scene, all the army of France – and all the leaders, as well, were completely dispirited and forlorn. None believed that they could revive the nation. They were just sullenly and sorrowfully waiting for France to become a mere province of England. Her presence revived the people of the nation, fortifying them with a joyful new heart and joyful new resolve along with an unshakeable new fortitude. Before she lifted the siege of Orleans, no one, English or French, thought that France could ultimately survive. After she lifted it no one, French or English, thought France could ever be conquered. Her soul magnified the Lord and everyone could feel it and draw strength from it.

But there was a flip side. While the simple and the straightforward took new heart at her presence and work, the self-servingly ambitious loathed her with furious hatred. It was not just the English. The pretenders in the French court hated her and schemed constantly against her – fearful that her success would dislodge them from their sinecures. Strange to realize that many men would rather remain captains of a dying organization than serve as soldiers in a winning one, but that is the reality. Even Charles VII, King of France, casually betrayed her after she had won and secured his throne for him. (It grates on me terribly that he shares my name. I have often vowed that I will be the Charles who keeps faith with her and Our Lord – and hope it is a little consolation to her). A brother of mine who once had frequent staggering insights, once explained such mindless hostility to me by saying, “Don’t you know that nothing so enrages a fraud as to be confronted by the real thing?” All the frauds hated Joan – and whatever piety they cloaked their malice in, they only ever wanted to destroy her to protect their pathetic little sinecures.

I started putting every saint I could think of to the “magnify the Lord” test. There are such a huge variety of authentic saints and authentic charisms…but at bottom, every saint is completely focused outwards on God and God’s people. There is a palpable joy in them as they discover new facets of how to serve the Lord – and share it with their fellows. They protect their personal prestige to the extent it is necessary for their work, but the work itself is entirely focused on loving the Lord and rallying His people. Perhaps the most brilliant theologian ever, St. Thomas Aquinas, was entirely so focused. When you read him, dense as his material often is, you can feel the delight bubbling up with each new insight – and the eager desire to share it with his fellows. His soul magnified the Lord. Any discipline can be perverted, made into a pale shadow of the real thing. I have read many religious writers, even some gifted theologians, whose insights are mutilated because their main message is that, “I’m smarter than you and my discernment is better than yours: just do what I say if you want to get to heaven.

For everyone who is the real thing, their soul magnifies the Lord. They both delight in sharing it with their fellows and their fellows can feel it. The soul of frauds, no matter how telling their occasional insights, invariably magnify themselves and are ultimately barren – and their fellows can feel that, too. If you want to be great, forget about greatness altogether and seek only to be good. As soon as your aspirations turn to greatness rather than simple goodness with your fellows, you will cease to be either good or great – and any notoriety you achieve will ultimately be infamy. Let your soul magnify the Lord without worry of yourself.

*******

Today is Ascension Sunday in most Dioceses. I say my private Rosary very slowly – sometimes only a single decade a day. But each of those decades involves invoking several saints, offering a multitude of specific intentions, and a deep meditation on the Mystery involved. I don’t like plastic piety, so as I meditate on a mystery, I like to ponder the real thoughts and feelings, the sorrows and joys, of the flesh and blood real people who are referenced in the mystery – men and women who are trying, usually stumblingly, to find their pilgrim way. Some of you have read some of those meditations in the little fictional stories I sometimes publish. I meditate, try to enter in and live with the people involved for a bit, to see what they see, hear what they hear, and feel what they feel. Sometimes I am surprised at what I find. After my meditations reach a certain critical mass, I start writing the story of my particular meditation.

The thing that dominates my thoughts when I contemplate the Ascension is the profound and unexpected joy the disciples and followers of Jesus must have felt. Just a few weeks earlier, witnessing the Crucifixion, they thought it was the end of their hopes. At the Ascension, it must have rammed home with staggering, joyful power that what they had so mournfully thought the ending just a few weeks before was actually the beginning. And so they rejoiced, put their shoulder to the plow, and began the work of sharing the Good News of the Gospel throughout the world.

Looking at the world, the culture, even the Church today, many see an ending of what once they cherished. I tell you, it is not an ending, but the beginning of a glorious new springtime of the Gospel. Let us rejoice as we put our shoulders to the plow together.

*******

Of course, as the old passes away to make way for the new, we can easily get distracted by the violence, the passion and the fury that accompanies the collapse of the old. In his disgraceful press conference last Wednesday that turned the concept of jurisprudence on its head in order to take down Donald Trump, Robert Mueller filled Democrats and the media with new resolve to seek impeachment despite the collapse of the Russia Collusion hoax.

I see the hand of God in everything. It is well-known by all serious persons now that most media, most Democrats, and some Republicans, have been intentionally and maliciously bearing false witness against Trump. This press conference actually provided an opportunity for malefactors to say, no…no more, to return to equal standards of law for all. But the malefactors just jumped on it like a hungry trout on a fly. All things are being revealed. When you intentionally bear false witness and continue after it has been revealed rather than repenting, it is your own destruction that you are chasing after – and you will catch it in the end.

*******

I was bemused when Pope Francis said last week that he would directly confront Pres. Trump over the evils of border walls. I wondered whether he would invite Trump inside the wall that completely surrounds Vatican City to deliver this jeremiad or whether he would venture outside those walls, himself, to explain the evils of border walls.

*******

On Thursday I toured the Obria clinic in Iowa City. It is a full-service women’s clinic that is committed to a culture of life. It provides breast and cervical cancer screening, referrals for adoption services, childbirth and parenting classes, pre-natal care, ultrasounds, referral for social services help (both private and public)….all the things that Planned Parenthood (in order to justify abortions) says it does but doesn’t. While the only “health care” option PP actually does regularly is abortion, that is the only procedure that Obria will not do.

Both Lila Rose and David Daleiden had spoken to me about Obria before, but I thought it was just a small California project – and something of a sophisticated crisis pregnancy center. That was not either of their fault, but my own, for I was focused on other aspects of the battle to rebuild a true culture of life. The reality is that Obria is a genuine full-service medical clinic for women that is truly and entirely focused on women’s health and the well-being of infants before and after their departure from the womb. Besides California, it now has clinics in Oregon, Washington, Iowa and Georgia – and it is growing.

I maintain that the evidence is already there that will, before this year is over, entangle Planned Parenthood in criminal charges that are likely to ultimately bring it down entirely. They got too greedy, too arrogant, and their efforts at bullying critics have finally revealed to the Justice Department and other investigators how hideous, evil, and apparently criminal many of their practices are. Sadly, abortion isn’t going to go away even when PP falls, but there will be a vacuum. How glorious it would be if that vacuum was filled by an operation that actually protected women’s and children’s health rather than making its money by killing babies. Obria is the model of how to fill that role.

This is the first time I have written about Obria, but it sure won’t be the last. I regard it as a new pillar in the growing pro-life foundation – and will be talking to all my friends and colleagues in the movement about how to help it grow as we rebuild a culture of life and hope.

*******

I am speaking in Wadena, Iowa today. Next Sunday, I will speak in Jackson, Michigan at Finley’s Grill and Smokehouse. Contact Mick at asoh.jackson@gmail.com for information and to secure a spot.

Click on the Menu button and the top right-hand of the site and then click on “Travels With Charlie” from the dropdown menu to get continually updated information on where I will be.

126 thoughts on “To Magnify the Lord

  1. Glorious piece, Charlie! Indeed, St. Joan is a made-in-heaven patron with whom you are connected in many ways… as are we, by association and in solidarity. Replete with wise counsel is this piece and I perceive this too: “I tell you, it is not an ending, but the beginning of a glorious new springtime of the Gospel.” Love how it unfolds smack dab in the midst of the ugliness all around us.

    Prayers rising that Obria will continue to flourish and multiply all over this land. Prayers for you, too, Charlie – and for all of us – as we each trek onward, bringing God’s Kingdom more fully to earth.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Yes, Beckita, I love the many connections St. Joan and Charlie have – especially the idea that “she was focused on the ordinary work right in front of her.” She definitely took The Next Right Step and was A Sign Of Hope.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Thank you, Charlie, for helping us see the example of St. Joan of Arc and other great saints, magnifying the Lord. Your mention of political discourse reminded me that Franklin Graham’s call for people to pray for President Trump today, Sun., June 2nd. Mike and I offered our Rosary for him this morning. We are praying for him, our country, and our leaders.
      Thank you for the good news about Obria. It is nice to hear about the hopeful good news going on around us.
      God’s blessings and safe travels.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. Obria. Thank you for bringing this life-nurturing organization to my attention. I will make its presence known to those I know. Safe journeying, Charlie.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Charlie, Your portrayal of the French establishment egos, as having been upset by Joan’s successes, is of course parallel to the Dimocrats and the Republican Establishment being further exacerbated by Trump’s successes. The failure of the liberal media and their allies, such as the ACLU, to denounce Mueller for asserting he had a responsibility to clear Trump which he could not do –as perverting Western jurisprudence –highlights how corrupt they have become. Even bystanders, the generally uninformed, ought be able to see how maliciously untruthful the Dims and their media friends have become.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Thank you again Charlie for a wonderful post which is as enlightening as it is edifying.

    The information about Obria is beautiful news.

    God bless you and all of the hard-working people who do the (often) thankless and (often) unrecognized toil to provide to a woman “with child” real women’s health options.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. Charlie.. hard to believe a week from today, Mike and I will be with you!!!! sooooo stoked!!! Hey, this pic at the top…it reminds me of St Bosco’s dream with the ship??? So amazing!!! TNRS ASOH

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Charlie, I was tickled to see that I do something like you when I say my piece of the Rosary each morning before proceeding to the rest of my day. I say just a decade on the Rosary and contemplate what it was like.

    My most powerful “view” occurs on the very first decade, where Gabriel arrives and says Mary will bear Jesus. First, I have to believe Mary had been visited many times before, because she did not do what I would do, which would have been to jump out of my skin.

    The moment where Mary takes up the decision Gabriel has asked her to make, pausing herself to consider, I visualize a wave of quiet spreading out from Mary as the rest of the world awaits her decision. People at the bazaar all stop and pause, the noise drops away. Soldiers in a battle all step back and take a breath as quiet descends on their battlefield. Birds fall silent across the world. Mice pause and sit up. Dolphins pause in their play and glide quietly through the water. Farmers stand up in their fields and look around. Whether pagan or Jewish, priests and holy men fall silent, thoughts calming. Women in their homes pause in their sewing or cooking. All over the world, every person and every animal quiets, pauses, and looks around for something, feeling a sense of awaiting, but for what?

    Then, as the whole world quiets and pauses into a deep anticipation of something unknown, Mary gives her fiat. And people have a sense that something unknown and unknowable has come and gone, properly settled. People and animals stir themselves, look back to what they had been doing and pick up with their lives. The world gradually returns to noise and activity, but this time with a slight inner sense that something good has just occurred, something hopeful.

    And I pause for a minute and contemplate this wave of calm, myself also calming for a moment, and then I finish my prayers and take up my activities for my day.

    Liked by 17 people

    1. Steve! My first inclination was to say Wow! That is such a beautiful contemplation. However, Becks and Charlie got there first and I feel like a copy cat. Ah, what the heck. Wow! That was beautiful. I find it very heart warming.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. wow that is profound bc. It was sort of surreal last sunday at Mass.. Fr Andrew was delivering his homily and all of a sudden all got so quiet u could hear a pin drop.. even all the babies.. I got the definite feeling the Holy Spirit was overshadowing our little St Paul Abode… then there was this gent there.. big..tearful.. so kind.. all by himself..wiping away tears after the peace of Christ shake…couldnt help wondering if he was an angel… maybe even Charlie’s angel…ya never know… crazier things have happened…crazy thought I know… but ya know… ya just never know.. he came in late btw

      Liked by 4 people

    3. Wow steve… really profound insight….I actually had that experience at Mass last sunday..it was sureal..Fr Andrew was giving his normal awesome homily and then all of a sudden you could hear a pin drop..no cough…no crying baby…no fidgiters….it was wierd….it lasted a long long time…I believe the Holy Spirit came in to check us all out…then this big gent…gentle weeping man…I did wonder if he was an angel in disguise. ..hmmm…he loved shaking hand at peace sign, then wiped away tears…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I request urgent prayers for my teenage daughter. She informed me last week that she is pregnant. This is quite the shock because we keep close tabs on her due to her mental illness. Sadly, she had been sneaking out her bedroom window in the middle of the night. She is 14 weeks pregnant and really wants an abortion. If she can get someone to take her, I think she would do it. I am trying to talk her out of it. My heart is breaking for her and my little grandchild. I booked an ultrasound for her tomorrow. Please pray that she will accept this baby when she sees the ultrasound image. I have a deep fear that if she has an abortion, she will be dead from suicide within the year. She already self-harms and suffers from suicide ideation. Please Jesus help!

    Liked by 15 people

    1. Keeping your daughter, you and your family in prayer, cdn, as Our Lord and Our Lady guide you through this personal storm. May They grant You great strength and peace amidst the intense emotions which rise at a time such as this. The Surrender Novena can be a spiritual rock. Fr. Spitzer’s book, The Light Shines on through the Darkness, has chapters filled with practical spiritual strategies and prayers which call down Christ’s Peace, consolation and strengthening. God bless you.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Thank you, Beckita and all who have prayed for my daughter. She had the ultrasound today and was amazed that “it’s a real baby!” She now wants to have the baby and we have booked an appointment with a midwife next week. My third grandchild should arrive around November 22nd. God is good! Please keep us in your prayers. I am sure there will be difficult times ahead. My daughter still has her mental health to contend with.

        Liked by 14 people

        1. This news of your daughter after the ultrasound gives my heart a smile.

          I immediately thought, before I read it in this same comment you posted, that the mental health issue is still an intention for prayer. I’m sure everyone here is of the same mind.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. Oh wow- just saw this after responding to your first post, CDN. Praise God! And so thankful for the life of your grandchild being protected. Thankful that your dear daughter won’t have an abortion to grieve over on top of her mental illness. So glad for your grandchild’s life and prayers for miracles for your dear daughters health.

          Liked by 4 people

        3. Be prepared for healing in more ways than one CDN! I’m late to read your post but I prayed that this baby would be a catalyst of healing for your daughter and your family a witness to your community. Your faith sounds strong and your heart sounds beautiful!

          Liked by 6 people

    2. Dear CDNSW, So sorry for all your sorrows…we are suffering thru mental illnesses in our family also…teenage girls also greatly in need of prayers. Please know your daughter will remain always in my and my daughter’s prayers.We do not understand why so many young girls are going thru such awful experiences..we truly believe Satan is the root cause. I may be wrong but this is getting way out of hand.
      I will pray daily for you, your daughter, and your sweet grandbaby.

      Liked by 8 people

    3. Mother most Holy, look upon this dear family and help them in their time of need. St. Michael defend them from all of the enemy’s attacks. Protect this unborn child and teenage mother from all harm.
      Dear Jesus, in Your name cast out all of the evil that threatens this family. Amen.

      Liked by 9 people

    4. CDN Stormwatcher: Hoping and praying that seeing the ultrasound has touched your daughter’s heart, mind, and will. I will continue to storm heaven on your family’s behalf.

      Liked by 7 people

    5. CDN, such sadness and concern. This is a long journey. I will pray so very hard for your situation. Our children are so afflicted in this time. As well as praying for your daughter, try also to purge your home and family skeletons. Get rid of any evil that may have become attached to your family and will not go away until told to through the Precious Blood of Christ. Seek out a good priest to assist you in this endeavor, and ask our Blessed Mother to call on St. Padre Pio to send extra angels to take care, guard and surround your family and daughter. May our Lord’s peace be with you. Stay strong and forgiving.

      Liked by 7 people

    6. CDN,
      Praying for your daughter, and commending her to the intercession of St. Dymphna, patron for those suffering from mental illness. May the Lord comfort and steady you as you speak words of life to your dear daughter. Hugs to you!

      Liked by 4 people

    7. Prayers going up StormWatcher. I think the ultrasound is a great idea. If you can get the 3-D ones, there the best. God’s blessings to all of you.

      Liked by 2 people

    8. I am so sorry CDN.

      Will offer and pray for her. God bless her. Poor sweet girl – praying for peace and clarity for her to choose for life.

      What a heavy heart- God comfort you as her parent. I am sorry for your pain, for her pain. Dear Lord bless her and comfort her and help her choose rightly for true freedom for her and her baby.

      Please keep us posted. Going to pray Divine Mercy Chaplet for her right now. Praying for miracles.

      Liked by 2 people

    9. CDN, my Lambzie’s (wife) mother was 16 when she was conceived. There is a lot to her story, but great good can come as we have been married for 34 “wonderful” years with 3 adult children and 3 grand children (one of 3 is in the way). Our God is gracious and merciful!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Great writing, Charlie! There are definitely parallels to the modern day.

    Have to share ONE MORE MIRACLE! I have been up against the wall…. not sleeping well, feeling alone, pressure of settling an estate, being cut off and rejected by my sibling, nieces, etc (over imaginings on their part), very tired and watching my house beginning to fall part. Very expensive fixes including heating system and plumbing, plus other things. It has been around since the late 1950’s. My mind has been spinning….As I said before, I opened a little book a meditations from re the Blessed Mother early in May. The page I opened said that there were many graces she could provide, but one had to ask…So I asked, and the miracles began the next day. I found the next day a buyer for a property, and soon after another buyer for a second property. These are not huge parcels and they will make no one rich, but they will help ease the financial problems and bring me much closer to settling the estate….But the last day of May, there was one final and incredible miracle. I won a jackpot of $22,000. I was stunned at my good fortune. It is not the only miracle I have had in my lifetime on the last day of May (after much sorrow and turmoil), but it was totally unexpected….I expect Our Blessed Mother might have said to Jesus, “You know, she already has several bottles of wine. I think she may need something more for all these pressing financial problems. ” 🙂 🙂 🙂 I asked Jesus to confirm that this was from Him and He did so in His usual was of communication to me. I am blessed and grateful. And I slept!!! All praise, honor and glory to Our Lord Jesus Christ, and much love and gratitude to my dear Blessed Mother, Mary!

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Great story, Judith! When the Lord gives us the extra blessing…He really gives the extra blessings, and this one you can spend! And relax some, pause to say Thanks, and take up that plow again.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Thank you for sharing this wonderful inspirational testimony. I loved, “You know, she already has several bottles of wine.” Best laugh of my whole day! God’s blessings as things unfold.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Charlie, I wonder if you have read “Personal recollections of Joan of Arc” by Mark Twain. He spent about a decade researching before writing it and it is one of those books you can’t put down. Written from the writings of Joan’s childhood friend who was present at the trials and most of her life. He points to the Angel Gabriel as the one who first revealed to Joan what her role was to be. I have done novenas to Saint Gabriel and Saint Joan to help save our country as they saved France. Aideen

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Hi Aideen, Charlie has previously recommended Mark Twain’s book about St. Joan of Arc to our readers. Since Charlie has shared that St. Joan is his patron, I have prayed to her to tend to Charlie in whatever his next right steps would be. Now, I join you in prayer for our country with Joan’s intercession.

      Liked by 6 people

  10. Dear Charlie, Your timing on this particular post has already had a special, tangible impact on me. Apart from the beautiful reflections on saints as ‘magnifiers’, the information you provided became a significant part of a conversation I had this morning with the director of a local pregnancy aid center. She had picked up my volunteer application from 2017 thinking it was only weeks old since it was on top of the pile on her desk. The organization is undergoing changes, and when she phoned me today to set up an appointment, I mentioned Obria. She and I will be meeting next week. God has a Plan!
    Godspeed as you cross the U.S.A. Hope to see you in WA,
    Laurie C.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Wonderful insights in this post and in the comments, too. We are a blessed community!

    Allow me to share something from my parish priest’s homily yesterday. (I should preface this by saying that in the Diocese of Harrisburg, yesterday was the 7th Sunday of Easter since the Solemnity of the Ascension is not transferred. It’s kinda nice to have the Scriptural 40 days from the Resurrection to the Ascension.)

    The First Reading was the account of the martyrdom of Stephen. Now, like you, I have heard and read this account many times but Father KC brought out a detail I had failed to notice before. He noted that, when Stephen looks up to heaven just before he is stoned to death, he sees Jesus at the right hand of the Father and Jesus is STANDING. Father KC mentioned that every other time that it is mentioned that Jesus is at the Father’s right hand, He is sitting (even in the Apostle’s Creed.) So why does St. Stephen see Jesus standing? Because Jesus, knowing what was about to occur, stands up for His son the way that Mary stood up for Her Son’s Passion. Wow. Just wow. It gave me chills and I thanked Father KC after Mass for that incredible moving insight.

    We all may, like St. Joan and St. Stephen face our own moment with a Standing Saviour. May His holy Mother be our comfort in our daily martyrdoms (dying to self to take up our crosses and follow Jesus) and offer her intercession for our salvation.

    P.S. I should also say that Father KC offers about 60 opportunities each month for confession. While he claimes he is nowhere close to the Cure de Ars, I know that he keeps a relic of St. John Vianney in his confessional space. Jesus, grant us more and more HOLY priests!

    Liked by 13 people

    1. Wow, Marisa! I was unaware that there were any US dioceses which still celebrated Ascension Thursday. I hope that after the Storm ends, we can get back to the sanity of celebrating feasts on their actual days (Epiphany, Ascension, Corpus Christi…).

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Chiming in to say that our diocese of Scranton, PA, also celebrates Ascension Thursday. My husband was out of town that week, and he searched in vain to find a Mass to attend on that day, only to find that there were no services and that the feast day was “transferred” to Sunday. However, on Sunday he was back home again and so he never had the opportunity to attend a Mass celebrating the Ascension!!

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Wow..sounds like my Fr Uri from sorrowful mother shrine Bellevue ohio…I told him today i likened him me to Padre pio…he got a great laugh at that as humble me
      Do😅 this man us a mystic FOR SURR

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you, Charlie for this great piece. Like you and many others here reflect on the beautiful lives of our Blessed Mother’s friends and relatives who accompanied her throughout her life, many days I will do the Seven Sorrows Rosary. However. recently I came upon a Seven Joys Rosary, I had not seen before by the Dominicans. It is beautiful! And filled me with a joy that was long in coming. It is difficult to be joyous in these times. However, when I am overcome with sadness – I just sit down with this beautiful Rosary and pray until I realize there is so much more and we have only just started. You take care Charlie, you won’t be in our part of the USA until Fall. It will be interesting to look back and see what happens at that time and how far we have gone down in this country. Everywhere you look; it just seems like people are folding. And then you come across the people who are helping the unborn, and you got to know, this is the final stand for our Lord! His precious Babes. Keep us going, Charlie. You are an immense instrument of our Lord’s proclamation to His Kingdom. We greatly appreciate all you do. Ave Maria!

    Liked by 5 people

  13. I’m totally printing this out tomorrow. ..Mike always says, “Linda, why are we always out of ink???” Ur fault, Charlie 😆

    This part really spoke to me today…

    For everyone who is the real thing, their soul magnifies the Lord. They both delight in sharing it with their fellows and their fellows can feel it. The soul of frauds, no matter how telling their occasional insights, invariably magnify themselves and are ultimately barren – and their fellows can feel that, too. If you want to be great, forget about greatness altogether and seek only to be good. As soon as your aspirations turn to greatness rather than simple goodness with your fellows, you will cease to be either good or great – and any notoriety you achieve will ultimately be infamy. Let your soul magnify the Lord without worry of yourself.

    Beckita, I feel close to you to ask for spiritual direction on this…. how do we achieve this quality???

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I love this passage too, Linda. I’m quite sure that those who remain with this community, walking side by side as we climb the mountain of holiness, have stories to tell and counsel to give about growing in these ways which Charlie names. To me, Charlie has given a wee compendium of the Gospel.

      It’s about knowing who we really are in relation to God and our fellows as we live the two great commandments of loving God above all else… and He asks us: How do we know we truly love Him? He says, if we keep His commandments… and love others AS we love self. (I’m amazed at how easy it is to overlook healthy self-love in the form of tending to our personal temple of the Holy Spirit and developing the virtues associated with personal resiliency, self-mastery and empathy for others.)

      It’s about claiming our gifts and putting them to use in service to others and the building of God’s Kingdom on earth… and r.e.j.o.i.c.i.n.g. over the many, varied and, sometimes, unusual gifts He gives to others so that the successes of our brothers and sisters not become a source of envy and playing one-upmanship or soaking ourselves in self-pity because we can’t do or don’t have what others do… rather, we can choose to praise God when someoneuses his/her gifts to bless us and/or those around us, for we are partnering with God and with one another to make this world a better place… besides, God loves each of us as.much.as.the.other., as.much.as. He loves His Only-begotten Son and God is so very delighted with our best efforts, even when we mess it up while trying.

      It’s good to remember what Jesus taught:
      “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

      So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

      So, we can forget about the rewards and focus on loving as we acknowledge God in prayer and in communion with Him, take those next right steps as best we discern them to be and let Him make of us a useful tool to bless others with His Hope, so needed in this world filled with the walking wounded, broken and despairing. And the coolest part, Linda: we get to grow in these virtues until the day we die! God bless us all as we carry on.

      I have heard this song is used in Catholic marriage retreats. Great! It also has great value in thinking about each person God has created, those we know and those we don’t.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Thank you, Beckita. .that was profound spiritual direction that I wI’ll read over and over…btw…went to confession today at Sorrowful mother shrine. .had Fr Uri…my penance was 4 Hail Mary’s to be offered up to St Joan of Arc… this Fr Uri is amazing. ..I told him about you, Charlie. He said he hadn’t heard of you yet but seemed happy to hear of you…lol…I said, Fr Uri, Charlie is real fond of St Joan of Arc and we will see Charlie sunday..he said..well I only said Joan of arc because we just had her feast day, and because you are french…somehow, Fr Uri knows things so often…amazing Priest…thank ypu God for Fr Uri 🤗😇 and thank you again dearest Beckita for all your spiritual direction 🤗😇😘

        Liked by 4 people

      2. besides, God loves each of us as.much.as.the.other., as.much.as. He loves His Only-begotten Son and God is so very delighted with our best efforts, even when we mess it up while trying….just wow, Beckita…this really spoke to me today🤗😇😘

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hey Beckita, I just read all this again😄 it is awesome advice. .but another funny thing is, you put that video up of the seekers…so heres the funny thing…not long ago, one of my fb hs friends shared with me a video of the seekers singing the song “Georgia girl”…my friend Sheila thought she (lead female singer) & me were dead ringees for each other when at that age group. .about 100 years ago….hahahaha….now I’m old & fat & happily so…but sort of funny you put that video up of my younger day look a like😄😅😆

        Liked by 1 person

  14. CDN Stormwatcher I will pray for your dear daughter and grandchild that the Holy Spirit enter into this moment in your families life and bring calmness, clarity and peace in a special way to your daughter. You once comforted me as I poured out my heart about my daughter and I felt some real peace. Be assured of my prayers.

    Liked by 8 people

  15. There is a HUGE development in the unfolding story about McCarrick. May this revelation bring about good. God bless and protect George Weigel and all who are courageous in speaking truth.

    Excerpt:
    “Famed Catholic author and Pope St. John Paul II biographer George Weigel revealed that Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Viganò informed him on three different occasions — the first time as early as 2013 — about telling Pope Francis about then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s reputation as an abuser of seminarians and priests.”

    Full story: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/jp-iis-biographer-vigano-told-me-6-years-ago-he-had-advised-pope-francis-on-mccarrick

    Liked by 6 people

      1. For me, Doug, it is significant to hear from the original source, George Weigel in this case, that he was told 6 years ago, directly by Archbishop Viganò, that Viganò had told “Pope Francis about then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s reputation as an abuser of seminarians and priests.” Viganò further relayed that he had spoken to the Holy Father about this grave problem two additional times.

        Also noteworthy is this Weigel observation: “Weigel declared that the thought of Viganò’s testimonies being concocted by a cabal of rich American conservatives is ‘absolute rubbish and poppycock,’ but it is ‘widely believed’ by people around Pope Francis and is even ‘being sold to other leaders of the world church.’” Again, from Weigel’s personal experience: “I ran into this during the Synod of 2018 last October,” he said. “I ran into it at the abuse summit in February.” Weigel goes on to warn: “This is a lie, and it’s being used both to undercut the Church in the United States and … it’s being used to frame the debate prior to the next conclave.”

        This thickening of the plot speaks loudly and clearly of the corruption in the Vatican… which has been a problem that has waxed and waned throughout Church history. Father just shared a Napolean era story about the great unrest and disarray amongst Vatican players at the time. The story goes, when Napolean declared he would destroy the Church, a Cardinal replied, in essence: It’ll never happen. How could you possibly do from the outside what we Cardinals have tried and failed to do from within?

        I do hope Weigel’s call out to the Bishops will be repeated throughout the Church in America:
        Weigel said this must stop and that the “American bishops need to push back on this because they know it’s a lie.”

        “This is the kind of rubbish that people who know they’re losing an argument engage in,” he added.

        “It is absolutely unbecoming to anyone who thinks of himself as a churchman.”

        ‘What we have here, I’m afraid, is a lack of disciplinary follow-up’

        We know there’s no magic ticket to quickly resolving what we have wrought. Looking at the corruption in the Vatican structure for Church governance brings to mind a government entity deeming a structure to be condemned as it is no longer safe to live in. Unless God has another plan to save the current structure of governing our Church in the halls of the Vatican, we just may be watching the current system crumble before our eyes. Best way forward, as ever, is via prayer, unshakeable trust in God’s Plan and NRSteps all the way.

        Liked by 8 people

  16. Charlie, in the past both parties despite their differences understood that we are “…one nation under God, indivisible, …” as is contained in the Pledge of Allegiance. Well today one party in essence believes man is over God. Secular humanism holds that man is in effect God and sets what is right and wrong. Most of our news media propagate this humanist way of thinking. Humanism is seen as enlightenment and progress. Persons holding traditional values are seen as “not with it.”, hateful or dinosaurs. Their time has passed. Trump is obviously a dinosaur. He must be put out of his misery(i.e. impeached). All his followers should just bow to the inevitable. They are the “deplorables” as Hillary Clinton called them and stated(2008) that they will have to change their “deep seated religious beliefs” concerning abortion and homosexuality.
    To battle this humanistic mindset, I believe the Holy Spirit inspired the Cardinals to choose Pope Francis on March 13, 2013. Pope Francis promptly dedicated his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima who appeared on the 13th of each month. At Fatima on July 13, 1917 Our Lady predicted that Russia would
    spread her errors throughout the world. Secular humanism is an offshoot of communism in that both believe man can live better without a belief in God. To battle humanism the pope is constantly stating in actions and words that it’s all about love. He dismisses and scorns some of the “bells and whistles” of Catholicism because they are often over emphasized. He goes to the marginalized, to the “lost sheep”, to those who don’t count and even the humanists understand that when he says abortion is another holocaust, he says so not because he is hatefully laying down rules and regulations but because he positively loves the unborn. If the pope seems like a lame duck, it’s because secular humanism in the West is ascending and a highly institutionalized Catholic Church is descending in influence. If he is unrealistically against a wall, he is being prophetic. Someday after the chastisement
    when true Christianity returns, a wall will not be necessary. Jesus, burning with love of us, set our hearts on fire for love of You.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. God bless you, vyto, for your respectful and thoughtful reflection. What you observe about Pope Francis going to the margins extending Christ’s Mercy is true. His love of Our Lady is evident and we are blessed that he invokes Her intercession for the world. It is also true that, in God’s Love, Mercy and Justice are ONE. When the fullness of Truth in Magisterial Teaching is upheld, reaffirmed and reviewed, that is a Charity beyond compare and the duty of every Pope. Unfortunately, as I observe what has unfolded, Pope Francis has overemphasized Mercy and this has led to nurturing misguided compassion and to the omission of his duty to correct the disobedient Bishops of the world who publicly go on record in advising their flocks to disregard Magisterial Teaching. Christ, Himself, gave us the measure that He uses as judgement in determining if we truly love Him: “If you love me, obey my commandments.” His commands include the unshakeable doctrine and dogmas contained in His teachings which have been studied by Churchmen with the expertise to do so, with understandings developed and explicated throughout the ages. God bless our Pope. God bless our Church. God bless us one and all.

      Liked by 6 people

  17. Re: The Visitation

    While on pilgrimage in the Holy Land last year we visited Ein Karem. Ein Karem is a small village located about 5 miles from downtown Jerusalem. It is the place where John the Baptist was born.
    We visited the Church of St John the Baptist in Ein Karem.

    We also visited the Pools of Bethesda where St Anne’s church is located and where Mary was born. Note the location of the Pools of Bethesda with respect to the Temple. It is butt up against the walls of the Temple. Also known as the Sheep Pools. It is where the sheep used in Temple sacrifice were pastured and watered. We know this is the pool where Jesus healed the lame man because it has 5 porticos as mentioned in the New Testament. There was an upper pool and a lower pool bisected by a portico in the middle creating two long lateral sides and two shorter end sides bisected in the middle by the fifth portico transiting between the two long lateral sides. This is the site of the miracle no doubt about it. Jesus was on his grandparents turf.

    It is about a 5 mile distance between the two sites.

    Our tour guide mentioned that Ein Karem which was rebuilt in 1946 after the war of Independence is the closest thing to what a village in Jesus’ time would have looked like.

    Luke 1: 39 – 56
    Mary set out
    and traveled to the hill country in haste
    to a town of Judah,
    where she entered the house of Zechariah
    and greeted Elizabeth.
    When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
    the infant leaped in her womb,
    and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
    cried out in a loud voice and said,
    “Most blessed are you among women,
    and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
    And how does this happen to me,
    that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
    For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
    the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
    Blessed are you who believed
    that what was spoken to you by the Lord
    would be fulfilled.”

    And Mary said:

    “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
    my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
    From this day all generations will call me blessed:
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.

    He has mercy on those who fear him
    in every generation.
    He has shown the strength of his arm,
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
    He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
    and has lifted up the lowly.
    He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
    He has come to the help of his servant Israel
    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
    the promise he made to our fathers,
    to Abraham and his children for ever.”

    Mary remained with her about three months
    and then returned to her home.

    The story of the Visitation raises some interesting issues. Mary woke up and made haste to Ein Karem.

    Bargil Pixner the famed Benedictine archeologist and Prior of the largest church in Jerusalem at the Dormition Abbey maintained that Mary was living in Jerusalem at her parents house at the Pools of Bethesda at the time. Not in Nazareth which is some 70 miles away and about a 4 or 5 day walk. So it is likely she made haste for about 5 miles. If she left at dawn as suggested in the text she probably reached Ein Karem in time for lunch.

    Pixner on the Annunciation and the Visitation:

    “If we follow the Lukan version, Mary experienced the Annunciation during her stay in Nazareth (1:26-37). According to Matthew (1:18) and the Protoevangelium, Mary was not in Nazareth at that time, but was occupied with her work on the Temple curtain, so she probably stayed at her home in Jerusalem (Pools of Bethesda) to which she had returned with her father. Wherever the Annunciation took place, it was a personal intervention of God in the story of salvation….

    Mary could not keep to herself the great secret that was confided to her in Nazareth or, more likely, perhaps, at her father’s house on the Bethesda Pools. She felt she had to talk to somebody about her thoughts. Now it became known to her in the Annunciation that her aunt Elizabeth had conceived at an advanced age and was already six months pregnant. Surely she would welcome her help. It was not very far from Jerusalem to the village of Ein Karem, in the Judean hills, where, according to ancient tradition, Elizabeth lived. She had re-treated to a country-house. [ They had two houses in Ein Karem. One in the valley and the other … their “country house” was located up the hill where it was cooler in the summer months.]

    What a joyful scene that must have been, when the two pregnant women met: young Mary and her older aunt. The two women got on very well. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months. At that time the Magnificat (Lk 1:69-79 was composed, which bears evidence of Mary’s thorough knowledge and poetic talent. The Magnificat and the Benedictus, which was composed shortly thereafter, certainly formed parts of the early community of prayers,which were included by Luke in his Gospel.

    It seems that Mary returned to her mother’s house before the birth of John. She surely anticipated the visit of her bridegroom with anxiety. How could she, how should she reveal her great secret to him?”

    Bargil Pixner ____ With Jesus in Jerusalem; His first and last days in Judea

    Mary and Elizabeth knew each other quite well. It is likely that both worked in the Temple as seamstresses working on different parts of the Temple Curtain. Mary is the real mystery woman of God’s plan for human salvation. Of interest is her time after the Crucifixion and Ascension. Pixner states rather emphatically that she and the Natzorean clan from Nazareth, including Jesus’ brother James the Just who assumed leadership of the Jewish Christian community did NOT return to Nazareth but remained in Jerusalem as the bedrock of the nascent Jewish Christian community along with Peter and John. They remained devout Jews worshipping quietly in the Temple as they sought to maintain a low profile in the immediate post-Jesus period. This young early church mysteriously evacuated Jerusalem en masse around the year AD 68 taking refuge in the Trans Jordan area known as the Decapolis. Two years later Jerusalem was burned to the ground in AD 70. It was the early Jewish Christian community that was the first to return to Jerusalem after the fall of Masada. The very first building rebuilt in the ruins was the Upper Room by this community which knew very well the location and the composition. The building standing today as the rebuilt site of the Last Supper is built on foundation rocks dragged from the ruins of the Temple dragged just down hill from their original site. The very first synagogue rebuilt after the return is attached to the Upper Room as the worship place of the Jewish Christians. It remains an active synagogue to this day known as the Tomb of David. David’s actual tomb is in some unknown location in Jerusalem that remains a mystery today. This synagogue is not pointed to the site of the Temple just uphill from it on Mt Zion but is pointed toward the site of the Church of The Ascension.

    Pixner was the Prior of the Dominican Dormition Abbey. Dormition meaning sleep. It is at this site that the early church believed Mary “fell asleep” and was buried in a tomb on the Mount of Olives which we visited in a crowded push of tourists. This tradition holds that her body was raised up from there. Pixner believed she died or “fell asleep” on the occasion of the Council of Jerusalem in AD 50 because it is reported that all the remaining Apostles were recalled to decide the issue of the Gentiles with Paul and Barnabas.

    Reading the New Testament you begin to ask yourself where did these stories about Jesus come from. Who was the third person in the room? Think Jesus’ encounter with the Devil during his 40 days in the desert. Those stories came from eye witnesses both in the Galilee and in Judea and Jerusalem. That would include especially Mary living in the shadow of the Temple near the Upper Room from roughly AD 33 to AD 50. She told the stories that only Jesus could have recounted to her because of course He was a participant. Mom got the story probably because she asked “What have you been up to lately Son? She held them in her heart. She passed those stories on to the community after the Crucifixion and Resurrection. That’s how Matthew, Mark, Luke and John got the story. Mary was the star witness. There were many others as well.

    It is amazing to me how the birth narratives of Mary, John the Baptist and Jesus are all so similar in that they reflect angelic visitations and divine intervention to bring them about. Active divine intervention into the affairs of humanity to facilitate our salvation. God had a plan.

    St Joachim and St Anne were not poor peasants. Joachim had the sheep franchise for the Temple. He had the prime pasturing and watering spot right next to the temple at the Pools of Bethesda where Jesus cured the paralyzed man. He was a successful businessman. Mary was dedicated by Joachim and Anne to temple service in thanksgiving for her birth. There it is probable that she received a then unprecedented education in the Torah and the Mishna. She could read and write and had a thorough background in the Pharisee school of interpreting the Law. She was Jesus’ guiding star in teaching him how to read and write and master the Torah and Mishna later in in Nazareth. She was no poor dummy of a woman. The original stage mother? Perhaps.

    My soul doth Magnify the Lord. As Bixner observed… poetic talent to spare.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. This is pretty interesting. Seems like I have heard somebody say before O wouldn’t leave, and somebody would be marching if so and so happened……….. A long, long time ago, when the concept sounded so strange. Hmmmm…:)

    https://ilovemyfreedom.org/get-ready-rush-limbaugh-reveals-the-obamas-potential-plan-to-bring-down-trump-in-2020/?utm_source=aa&utm_medium=email

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/47909/rolling-thunder-exec-director-well-ride-washington-hank-berrien?utm_medium=email&utm_content=060119-news&utm_campaign=Actengage

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes CONNIEB, we did hear that barry husatan would not leave. I never believed that, but I absolutely believe they are plotting still (in league with all the other leftist/socialist/communist anti-American liberals) to ruin this country. The sociopolitical upheaval in this country is only one of many storm cells in this world that is gaining strength.

      This would all be very frightening without our faith in God.

      Liked by 5 people

  19. Recently here in Canada, the findings of the missing & murdered indigenous women was “genocide”. It’s no surprise that the Liberal “culture of death” policies hit the most vulnerable populations the hardest. They made a mistake though, the socialist-globalist population reduction “genocide” isn’t aimed at just indigenous peoples, it’s aimed at all of us…

    With this evil exposed, will people look the other was like nothing ever happened? Or can this become a smoking gun to expose the hypocrisy of Liberal & socialists who are pretending at equality, when all they really do is “divide & conquer” society in order to freely legislate new evils, and project blame & prejudice against a majority mentality that could oppose them…

    Liked by 4 people

  20. I should have mentioned this a few days ago, but I forgot: I think the appeal for George Cardinal Pell begins today. As the time in Australia is about 15 hours ahead of me (in California), the proceedings are done for today.

    Pray, pray, pray . . . .

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Have been praying for Cardinal Pell, Patrick, along with thousands around the world. The proceedings have been live-streamed and I listened in for a while yesterday. The most helpful feedback came from a friend of Fr. Rick Heilman who offered this comment:
      Very briefly, Pell’s prosecution was iffy because of a bunch of evidentiary rulings early on that stacked the deck against him. Couple that with a 20+ year time lag. One of the alleged victims had already died! Aussie criminal law is much like US law. The accused has a right to confront his accusers and, under appropriate circumstances, impeach the credibility of the accuser; poke holes in his story; offer credible alibi evidence, etc. But the trial judge severely restricted Pell’s defense team in the evidence it could put in front of the jury. So the issue for the appeals court boils down to: Was Pell’s right to use admissible evidence so restricted that he was denied a fair defense? A second consideration is: Was the evidence that was produced sufficient to support conviction on the charges leveled. Not likely the charges will be dismissed. More likely he will be granted a new trial with more permissive evidentiary standards. The Crown must then decide to retry him or drop the charges.

      Liked by 4 people

  21. Hopefully the 70+ witnesses during the alleged assault will be able to testify in his defense. The trial judge severely restricted Pell’s defense team.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. I am praying that The National Review fires its writers and declares itself a Catholic magazine . It must return to the Root or it will continue to wither and die.

    There is currently a bare knuckled brawl going on within “respectable” conservativism started by this guy
    https://mobile.twitter.com/SohrabAhmari/status/1134765518072758279

    and, it appears he won hands down.

    imho it is Christendom declaring that The Enlightenment will no longer rule it and that we will fight them.

    Because Buckley was Catholic, I pray the magazine repents and flourishes again as a beacon of Christian thought.

    God has raised a generation of intellectual brawlers defending the Faith and , by extension, its fruits. it is a wonderful thing to behold.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Timothy . . . I gave up on NR (and the likes of Jonah Goldberg) a few years ago and quit renewing my subscription. I saw the gradual shift over a number of years after William F. Buckley’s death. It is sad that his legacy (in the form of his publication) has been shredded.

      I recall when I first happened across “Firing Line” as a young teen in the late 60s (when I was anti-everything with leftist seeds in my mind). I was fascinated by his demeanor and manner of speech and had to immediately get a dictionary to understand much of what he said. Even during the early years of my leftist thinking (until my mid 20s), I watched his show (with dictionary in hand) almost every week. I cannot think of another person who compares with him (or his vocabulary).

      Liked by 1 person

  23. In the face of this:” Illinois lawmakers pass sweeping abortion rights bill” courageous Pastor Corey Musgrave of the New Beginnings Church in Fairfield, Illinois led the Illinois House in prayer Friday, asking God to judge the state for its abortion policy:

    ” So, God, we have made our appeals to the leaders of Illinois this week on behalf of those innocent babies who do not yet have a voice. We have been a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves as You have commanded us. Those appeals were denied, but we have one final appeal left and that is to the courts of Heaven.

    God Almighty, I make an appeal to Heaven today, to You the perfect judge, the One who presides over Heaven’s court.

    I ask you to rise up, oh God, and judge Illinois for the sanctioned destruction of the innocent unborn. For when Your judgements are in this state, the inhabitants of Illinois learn righteousness. In this House I pray for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty river. In Your judgement I pray that You would remember mercy for we know that You, oh God, do not want anyone to be destroyed.

    I ask this in the name of Your son, the one who died for a sinner like me, the one who was appointed to judge the living and the dead. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.”

    Liked by 8 people

  24. Lest we forget…www.ncregister.com/daily-news/d-day-75-years-later-france-remains-grateful

    My Lord, thank you for all the brave, young soldiers who gave the last full measure 75 years ago for my freedom. May they and all their brothers-in-arms who fought and sacrificed their lives for the world, rest in peace.
    May our grateful nation always remember what we owe them and You. Amen

    Liked by 5 people

    1. LOVE Bishop Paprocki. He first caught my attention when he led his entire diocese in the 33 day prep for the Consecration of each person, family, and parish to Mary through Jesus. May this act encourage his fellow Bishops to act. Praying for the conversion of all who stubbornly remain on the pro-abortion death trail.

      Liked by 3 people

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