10,000 Islands of Faith

Islands of Faith

By Charlie Johnston

I am saddened by the trajectory of the world. Throughout my life, I have struggled to find ways of mitigating the consequences of the ever-growing disorder and malice that engulfs us. In some ways, I feel like the patriarch, Abraham, who kept pleading and bargaining with God to spare Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33). I keep praying that a certain evil may not come to pass, then when it does, I revise my prayer that if just this next evil can be stopped, then the rising storm might pass us over. These days, I ponder how, in the end, Sodom was destroyed. Neither the Lord nor Abraham could find as many as 10 righteous men there.

There is a substantial minority (I hope it is a minority) who persist in calling evil good and good, evil. Many of them are even ensconced in the top ranks of the Church’s hierarchy.

The latest call to impeachment is sheer, demonstrable madness. No longer can I posit that some of the leaders of this effort are misled. They are lying shamelessly, spinning furiously even when the documentation proving their allegations to be false are laid out right before them. The Democrats seem bent on proving that they can impeach a ham sandwich – and treat the real thing as equally inconsequential. Nothing matters but the pursuit of mere temporal power, freedom and fairness be damned.

More than this, I worry about the damage already done to our culture. Some partisans, inflamed with rage, don’t care about facts or evidence at all – just any narrative that will get them what they think they want. Other, more decent people do care, but are completely bamboozled by the narrative barrage – and so default to what their normal setting is. If they are Democrat, they parrot the leftist line. If Republican, they go to the right. Only a few examine the hard evidence. Many of those that do are horrified to see this is not just a partisan assault, but an assault on facts, evidence, the rule of law, and truth, itself. Untouched by the actual existential hardships and challenges that people throughout history have faced, moderns make up imaginary hardships to furiously rail against. God forbid that moderns ever face a challenge that can’t be solved by a Facebook petition!

I find it harder and harder to see a way forward that does not lead into catastrophic collapse throughout the world. I do not underestimate Donald Trump in America, but those Republican officials who are really willing to fight for the traditional American values of faith, family and freedom can be counted on two hands. That is not enough. I also find it harder and harder to see a way to recovery after collapse that does not involve visible, Divine intervention. I suspect that this is what God has intended all along. He always knew how far most people had drifted from Him, how badly most people had been seduced by the pursuit of power. I did not. I was frankly shocked when the rise of ultrasound technology in the late 70’s and early 80’s did not end abortion. I thought those who supported abortion were honestly misled and that, when they saw proof that this is a living human being, they would step back from the abyss. We only draw closer to it, perhaps thinking that if God won’t punish us for willfully tearing our own children to pieces, He won’t punish us for anything, that perhaps He isn’t there at all and so, the only thing with any meaning is the mad scrabble for power, riches and influence.

Since the Confirmation Name I chose is Abraham, I think a lot about the Abraham stories in the Bible. There is always more than meets the eye in these rich narratives.

In the tale of Abraham’s bargaining with God over Sodom, God knew from the beginning just how many righteous men were in that city. Why, then, did He indulge Abraham’s pleas? It seems to me God wanted to encourage Abraham to intercede for even the very worst – to share a portion of the heart of God and His mercy. God also wanted to reveal to Abraham the depth of depravity that had taken hold of that city, to open his eyes. Through this process, God expanded approvingly Abraham’s own instinct for mercy while simultaneously showing the extent of His own mercy and the need for His justice. And He showed us all how seriously He hearkens to our own calls for intercession, encouraging us to call on Him in all things.

I find myself seeking to find a few righteous people to offer to the Lord, praying that I may be counted among them. Thanks be to God, over these last few years, I have found many islands of deep and serious faith in action all across this great land. While I don’t think it is enough to hold back a great chastisement, I do believe it is already MORE than enough to help give spiritual refuge to many during a time of trial, bring many who are confused back to the hope that is in Christ and to play the vital role in rebuilding a healthy society, under God, truly devoted to faith, family and freedom. Let me tell you of a few I have visited these last couple of weeks.

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Texas Right to Life (TRTL) held its annual Celebration of Life on Saturday, Sept. 28. It is the most effective Right-to-Life group in the country, by far. Once again, it drew a thousand supporters from across the state and raised over a million dollars. President Jim Graham announced that the board had decided that it would henceforth be an

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President Jim Graham, me and Vice-President Elizabeth Graham at TRTL headquarters

 

overtly Christian organization. It still welcomes all fellow travelers, but its organizing principle is to call upon the Lord and seek to follow Him in everything it does. Graham said that, from now on, they are “all in” in the spiritual battle before us – and that their strategy for the next legislative session is to abolish abortion in Texas entirely. A great roar of approval went up from the crowd upon this proclamation. TRTL will not settle for being an uncertain trumpet in the battles before us.

The size of the crowd and the amount raised were particularly striking because many of the Texas officials and politicians who normally attend were not there this year. The Texas legislature had what, from a pro-life standpoint, was a do-nothing session – and TRTL called them out on it. Politicians hate groups which call them out when their performance does not match their rhetoric. Many (actually most) groups who start out with a principled stance get progressively sucked into mere influence peddling. Not TRTL. This crowd was largely the faithful – and those faithful were delighted that at least one group speaks on their behalf with fidelity.

Sadly, after the collapse of the suburbs nationwide for Republicans – including in Texas – many GOP officials are trying to be lighter versions of leftist Democrats. It’s a stupid strategy I have watched many Republican careers founder on in my 45 years in the political game. It just alienates your base while the opposition continues to vote for their home team. I never suggest doubling down on message priorities that have proven to be losers. Rather, I always look for specific ways to appeal to particular demographics in messaging that will resonate while holding fast to core principles. So does TRTL.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the program was when Vice-President Elizabeth Graham invited up four women to tell their stories. Each had been diagnosed with a critical problem with their pregnancies at about 20 weeks in – and each had been advised by their doctors to end their pregnancies with an abortion. Knowing that their children were unlikely to live as long as a week after birth, each of these women chose to have their child – and shared photos of the brief time they had with their little ones. They shared their stories of what a joy it was to have the time they did with these little people – and the hope they have that those children are now advocates for them in heaven.

As usual, TRTL focused on what it does, where the money goes. The new Joseph Graham Fellows were introduced. These are college-aged students who are given extensive formal training during the summer and then coordinate pro-life advocacy through campus organizations across the state. Almost 100 students participate in the program.

As a sporadic outside consultant to TRTL, I sit in and participate in their staff meetings when I am in town. These are amazing. The meetings start with a Scripture reading, after which each staff member offers their thoughts on the reading. Then staffers talk about accomplishments, both great and small. In the business portion, reviews are made of the people and organizations being helped by TRTL. The organization has become the go-to for people who are condemned by Texas’ forced euthanasia law, called the Texas Advanced Directive Act (TADA). General Counsel Emily Cook is practically on 24-hour call, ready to spring into legal action when anyone calls to let TRTL know that a hospital has condemned a loved one to death. Hideously, the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops (TCCB) has been one of the strongest advocates of forced euthanasia, twisting themselves into knots trying to reconcile it with actual Catholic Doctrine. It saves hospitals a chunk of money – and both the Bishops and squishy Republican legislators love to curry favor with the powerful medical associations. Support by the TCCB for this hideous contradiction of Catholic doctrine is why I do not fully trust the otherwise admirable Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas. He has spoken boldly and courageously on the scandals in the Church. Yet he has been largely silent on TADA, which he could have a profound effect on – though at the expense of offending the other Bishops in Texas who prefer the approval of the world to fidelity to the Gospels and Magisterium. He is so fearless and orthodox otherwise, though, that I suspect he is somehow working quietly to put an end to this horror.

TRTL is the premiere defender of life, both at the beginning and at the end, in the world. There is no need too small for them to care about, nor any so big that they are afraid to get into the trenches and fight for both life and the Gospels. For these, they are attacked by squishy legislators and even squishier clerics. These clerics and legislators have their reward. TRTL is laying up their treasure in heaven.

Staffers are almost equally Catholic and Protestant, working together for life and for Christ. I noted admiringly at the Monday recap meeting following the Celebration of Life dinner, that their open advocacy of Christian values highlights the true divide in the faith today: it is not primarily between Catholics and Protestants, but between those who treat their faith as an ancillary cultural artifact and those who believe that God IS – and that whatever differences they might have, that the Divine Word is true and binding on us all. At TRTL, all the staff knows that God IS – and work to serve Him. I am both proud and grateful to be an ally and associate of this glorious organization that puts fidelity to faith – and action defending the defenseless – above all else.

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The keynote speech at the dinner was given by Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The senator introduced his Dad. The elder Cruz gave a barn-burner of a speech. He cited extensive specific examples of how Christian Pastors led the charge in the American Revolution, determined to fight for freedom, faith and family. He contrasted this with modern pastors who, he said, have largely hidden behind their pulpits, seeking to curry favor with the government and the world rather than boldly proclaiming the Gospel. He said he largely blames silent and cowardly pastors for letting us slip to the level of dysfunction we have in this country.

Pastors might be offended at his calling them out, but they should be terrified at how it electrified the crowd and led to a prolonged standing ovation. The pastoral practice of going along with whatever pernicious nonsense has cachet at the moment is not working out as well as some of these clerics believe, I don’t think.

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I was delighted when I first walked into TRTL’s new office suite to find this beautiful picture of the Archangel Gabriel in the most prominent spot at the entrance to greet everyone who enters there. Of course, I have a special devotion to Gabriel, but the reason is even more personal than that. Last year, as I prepared to leave Texas, I

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With the image of the Archangel Gabriel at the entrance to the offices

presented this image to TRTL at my final staff meeting, recalling that Gabriel is the Messenger of God, carrying God’s Holy Word to the world in times of both crisis and of opportunity. I said that God called this organization to carry God’s Word to the world, to share in Gabriel’s mission to be God’s messenger of life.

I had gotten the beautiful image at a conference in Dallas at which Cardinal Raymond Burke was the key speaker (the owner of the booth recognized me – and gave me a nice little discount – otherwise I could not have afforded it). It touched me deeply to see it at the entrance, recruiting all who enter to share in the mission of carrying God’s message to a world that badly needs it.

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I started this leg of my journey this fall with a visit to Minneapolis/St. Paul. My hosts were Kris and Blake Rehfeld. They had previously hosted me when they lived in South Dakota, along with Kris’ dear friend, Nancy Davidson. Nancy passed away from cancer on Sept. 23, 2017, the date of the Revelation 12 sign in the sky. Nancy and Kris were inseparable. Amazingly, they once drove 700 miles in each direction to come to a prayer

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To my immediate right are Kris Rehfeld and the late Nancy Davidson from my visit to South Dakota a few years back

meeting in Denver I was at. I was both astonished and touched – and told them I would not have done it. But they were what Thelma and Louise would have been if they had found God. Kris was the sober, dutiful partner in this magnificent team. Nancy always bubbled over with spontaneous enthusiasm. It delighted me when I was able to go spend time with them in South Dakota for a presentation a few years ago. While I was there, I had the best freshwater fish I have ever had, a Walleye dinner prepared by Blake – a dinner which made Walleye my absolute favorite freshwater fish.

When I headed out to Minnesota, where Kris now lives, I was a bit somber and wary. It was hard for me to imagine either one of these dear women without the other nearby. Ah, but Kris and her family were, once again, a delight – and I had a reprise of the Walleye dinner. Kris also gave me a supply of the Elderberry syrup she makes – which really did help relieve my cold symptoms when I was there the first time and which I have been taking (religiously, you might say) as I go along. We had a lovely and very lively presentation at the community center – one of the best discussion sessions after the presentation I have ever had. Everyone there was solid and serious and focused on how to keep faith in perilous times. Kris was a bit different this time. Somehow, Nancy’s spirit lives on in this lovely woman who always enjoyed being the sidekick to Nancy’s vibrant spirit. Kris remains sturdy and sober, but is somehow more vibrant and forceful. What a glorious friendship they still have!

When I first got to Minneapolis, I went to a festival right next to the Vikings’ stadium put on by People of Praise, an exuberant charismatic group that runs a private elementary school there. I went at the invitation of my friend, Kati Richey, one of the most gifted and prolific iconographers in America. She gave me a tour of her little studio, where I got to see many Icons in all states of development.

After the charismatic festival moved inside for a prayer service, one of the organizers grinned and asked me if I had ever seen something quite like it. I chuckled and said this

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Iconographer Kati Richey in her St. Paul studio with works in various stages of development

was rather sedate – that my great-grandfather had been a snake-handling Protestant fundamentalist preacher – so they were going to have to up their game dramatically if they expected to startle me. I appreciated the largely orthodox focus of the group. Though there was some speaking in tongues during prayer time, they did not make it the focus of their worship. I always worry when a group makes speaking in tongues, which St. Paul says is the least of the gifts, into their most intense focus. I was also delighted that the folks here focused on the prayer of doing good work rather than just flamboyant worship.

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It was a delight to be in Kansas City again for several reasons. My coordinators, Joe and Connie Brickner, have become dear friends over the years. Joe still teaches part-time at Benedictine College and was once the basketball coach there. We have some Christian, conservative, and political activist friends there, so it was nice to wear all my hats for a

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Connie and Joe Brickner atop the WWI Museum looking out over Kansas City

little while. The Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas is Joseph Naumann, a very orthodox prelate who is, perhaps, the most boldly and consistently pro-life Bishop in the country. He is, in fact, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops committee on life.

The only problem was that Connie was on a mission from God to make sure no corner of my stomach remained unfilled. I began the first diet of my life when I departed. At one point she made what she called “tiny sandwiches,” seeking both to feed Joe and me while making it seem like not so much. The first time she asked us if we would like a “tiny sandwich” we busted out laughing – and had one. They were excellent.

It was a relatively small group at my presentation, which allowed us to get into deep and wide-ranging discussions of events in the Church and in the world, and how to hold steady in faith as both are increasingly volatile.

The Brickners actually live in Shawnee, Kansas. As we were driving to an event, we passed through the bordering town of Mission. I mentioned that someone had asked me whether I would be speaking in Shawnee or in Shawnee Mission. They chuckled and said there is no Shawnee Mission, just the separate towns of Shawnee and of Mission. In an anomalous situation, there is one zip code that encompasses portions of both Shawnee and of Mission, so the Post Office started labeling mail to and from that zip code as Shawnee Mission, which has led some people to think it a real town apart from either Shawnee or Mission. I laughed and reminded them of the scene in “Miracle on 34th Street” where the delivery of mail addressed merely to Santa Clause to the protagonist of the story became the decisive evidence that there was a Santa Clause and that it was the hero of the movie, Kris Kringle. I had a mental image of the young Natalie Wood with her eyes closed saying intently, “I DO believe in Shawnee Mission, I DO believe in Shawnee Mission…”

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The civil trial of Planned Parenthood against David Daleiden began last Wednesday and will continue for the next five or six weeks. It was an auspicious beginning – and jury selection was almost miraculous. The jury that was seated there in San Francisco is not the typical San Francisco jury. While it is not quite a Texas jury either, it is a good, solid Ohio jury. The opening days have been good for Daleiden and, once again, bad for PP – so bad, in fact that presiding Judge William Orrick is being very restrictive in the testimony he allows from Daleiden’s team while very permissive in what he allows the PP team. As you may recall, Orrick has extensive ties to PP.

He would not let Daleiden’s attorneys show clips from the videos that PP is suing over, though he did allow PP to show their favored clips. This is the central evidence of the whole case, but Orrick seems more interested in preventing anything damaging to PP to be shown or heard at all than anything else. When Daleiden’s attorney Paul Jonna sought to question a witness about the bonus structure in StemExpress organ procurement program, Orrick shut down the line of questioning by sustaining an objection from PP attorneys before any objection had been made. He also shut down any questioning over how the plaintiffs manage to keep a heart beating if the child is already dead. His rules are simply, if the facts portray PP in an unfavorable light, don’t allow them to come out at all. I don’t think it is working the way he intends it to. I suspect the jury is noticing the same pattern I have. Bottom line, Daleiden is set up, in the best case, for a huge win over the PP Goliath and, in the worst case, for a deep stack of appealable issues.

Over these last four years, Daleiden has been both patient and implacable, never weakening his case in exchange for a flamboyant bit of transient fireworks, but never backing off of the central issues at stake – that PP has been illegally selling baby body parts for profit. In sworn testimony in open court, that and other atrocities have already been established under oath in the preliminary hearing of the criminal case. Orrick is clear that that is not the issue in his mind. The only issue is whether Daleiden was acting within his legal rights by exposing the mendacity of the organization. Thank God Orrick was not a judge at Nuremberg! All the Nazis would have gone free and the Allies might well have been held in contempt of court for revealing what the fascists had done.

I have been praying that this trial will be turned into an instrument to topple the culture of death. Due to the obtuseness of PP, which does not understand that staying focused on narrow procedural issues while conceding the actual illegal and hideous practices does

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Gorgeous stained glass window at Mary Immaculate Church in Farmers Branch, Texas

not play well with most Americans, probably will not play well with even this San Francisco jury, and is helping to bring them into deeper and deeper disrepute.

Rarely do I speak with Daleiden that he does not ask me to pray for people he encountered on the PP side – while grabbing hold of the spark of humanity he finds in them, even in the midst of their inhumane obsession. He is the right man at the right time, relentlessly taking the next right step.

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The stained glass window at the left at Mary Immaculate Church in Farmers Branch, Texas, is one of the most gorgeous I have ever seen. Besides the amazing water-color style, it creates the illusion of depth in person. The starry night sky looks like it is on a separate pane of glass behind the image of the Madonna and Child. I love praying before it when I am in the Dallas area.

 

 

 

 

 

203 thoughts on “10,000 Islands of Faith

  1. Awesome!!! What a beautiful, hope-filled and promising piece, Charlie! I loved hearing highlights about the people you’ve met and/or revisited as well as the interactions you’re having along the way of your travels. This leads me to remember how many hearts Our Lady has touched and called into her Army for these times. Because of this, I’m confident there surely are islands of faith are all over this country… and all over the world.

    I appreciate your inspiring insights on the relationship between God and Abraham. I have often felt we who have answered Our Lady’s call for intercession and reparation are as so many mini-Abrahams, all over the planet, holding this world up via intercession in prayer as God’s Plan continues to unfold before us amidst the end game furiously being played out by the enemy and his minions.

    Too, the many who selflessly entered the ranks of our Mother’s Army have been praying, unbeknownst to most others in the Army, right alongside you for many years, yearning for mitigation – mitigation born of people who would make a return to the Lord. And, Yes!, to the need for Divine Intervention. This current state of affairs, both in and out of the Church, bespeaks our absolute need for relying completely on God.

    Final thought for now: I am eternally grateful for this island of faith, ASOH rooted in TNRS. It’s an island which affects every island on which each of us lives and moves and has our being in Christ the Lord Who IS the Victor over all that is currently troubling us and our world. May we ever decrease and He increase as we respond to His nudges for our next right steps.

    Liked by 15 people

  2. Lots to take in, focusing on the beginning portion:
    It was why I freaked out before, I could always get sense of what general direction life was going, but now there’s a majority of people choosing destruction instead life within God’s plan.

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    1. Are you in Lubbock? I lived there off West Loop 289 in 1986 while assigned to Reese, AFB. My wife and I were members of St. John Neumann. It was providential as my wife’s family were from Philadelphia and had often visited St. John Neumann’s shrine over the years. We are back in South Jersey these days.

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      1. I was near enough to Lubbock to listen to one of its radio stations yesterday. I’m in New Mexico right now. I was in three cities that I spent substantial time in during my pilgrimage yesterday – Dallas, Wichita Falls and Amarillo. As I looked at the distances I walked every day with 75 pounds on my back, even in the towns just to get food and stuff, I was startled and impressed.

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      2. Ah …. Lubbock & Reese Air Patch …. I remember them well. The High Plains of West Texas where you could stand on a beer can and see the North Pole. Reese is where I went to Pilot School (UPT) … many Moons ago. We called it the Fishing Capitol of the World. Drive 500 miles in any direction for good fishing holes. I remember the first Fall Dust Storm when the Tumble Weeds came rolling in. I remember thinking…… Tumble Weeds!? ……. I thought those damn things were only in John Wayne Westerns 😉
        I went to a reunion of my UPT Class a few years ago … the place was full of Old Farts ;-(
        Reese Air Patch …. and several of my classmates are are “Gone With the Wind”.
        RIP Comrades of mine.

        GOD SAVE ALL HERE!

        Liked by 7 people

  3. Great post! It’s hard to not be tempted into despair or despondency in the current age – from secular politics to the trials and tribulations in religion to the growing asininity of modern society and culture to the lack of procedure and following the law that pervades all three branches of government, but at times, most especially, the judiciary. There are days I wonder what on earth it’s all for – speaking most specifically about the pro-life battle in Texas – but what else can we do, really? We cannot give up even if we cannot get any help at the moment from those who should be forces for good – and, even worse – have to battle those that should be with us on basic things but who say that what is not pro-life is and vice versa. You know of what – and of whom – I speak.

    Many say we’ve been in worse places in history (e.g., “there have been bad popes before” or “we’ve had bad presidents before” or “the country has been divided a long time” or “the Roman empire was immoral, too…..”). Despite not living in those times, I still don’t think so. I do think these are unprecedented times in many, many ways; perhaps in all ways. So much is hitting at once and it is unrelenting.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that we are all going to be sorely tested in every way imaginable and probably in even more that we will not have imagined before it’s upon us. Let us all pray that we have the strength to do the right things especially as it gets harder and that no one loses their faith.

    Continued prayers for you, your community, and so many more! Safe travels!

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  4. I so badly want to stand with Trump as as the number of deserters rises each day. It’s hard for an ordinary housewife to march on Washington, but I stand with him in prayer. Thoughts from you all…how tangibly do we stand? It is painful to watch helplessly from the sidelines. I was a 20 something staffer on the Hill and know firsthand the futility of calls and letters received by 20 year olds and discarded. Feeling incredibly helpless beyond educating/forming my own children.

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    1. Hi Irish, I agree. I want to do something tangible. It seems its time for the people of this country who support Trump and what he is trying to accomplish to make a stand, or a march on Washington. But how to get that set up is something I don’t know how to start. For now, i’ll keep praying for my family, friends, co-workers, the people here and our country, everyone really.

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  5. Nice post, Charlie. Got quite a few chuckles out of it too!

    ASOH has become a rock, a refuge, for me. Here I can find sanity, reason, and especially solid Christian faith. These are in short supply in our culture. But when I come to this site, that is what I find consistently. Out in the world, you never know what you’ll get.

    Do any of you sometimes desire to become a hermit? I do when seeing the pain held by those around me. This can cause me sadness and suffering, sometimes even hopelessness. There is a lot of pain out there, and terrors as well.

    Here’s a snapshot of what I mean:
    Brandy, pretty, skinny next-door neighbor. Has small children, no husband. Many visitors at all hours. She came over one day to borrow my WiFi. She had those classic welts on her face and arm indicative of meth. The other night, her SUV was towed out of her driveway. I leave open my windows and heard, for about one hour, horrific, guttural screams from little Brandy. It was surreal and hair-raising. Please pray for her and her kids.

    Sean, an American Indian and alcoholic, a very nice fellow. He nearly died a few weeks ago due to diabetes. Out of the hospital, he’s back in his friend’s house, sleeping on the floor. He is their slave pack-mule, staggering weakly to the store to get alcohol and food, when he should be resting. He can barely walk, but they make him do this anyway. In his eyes, I see an expression of near-fear, as if he senses his time is very short. Please pray for Sean.

    Mary, a very attractive cook at the VFW. I caught her eyes one evening enjoying a vino, and something really bothered me about them, despite their beauty. Her boyfriend, John, a heavy drinker, said she complains of a second personality that surfaces, a female spirit named “Marie.” (Succubus?) I impressed on John (who claims love for Jesus) that this is a deadly serious matter that I’m not qualified to address, and that he should seek a priest. Please pray for Mary and John.

    Eric, Scott, and Chuck, three morbidly obese atheist friends in their 30s. Their profoundly selfish lives are solely dedicated to video games, fast food, Dungeons and Dragons, and working easy jobs. Soon they will be in their 40s and their collective weight will exceed 1200 pounds if it hasn’t already. Eric steals from his Catholic mother, Pam, who unfortunately permits it and simply shows him “mercy.” Pray for these immature, typical American boys and for Pam who may be doing more harm than good.

    Elizabeth, the hairdresser. She has 5 beautiful daughters from 3 to 18 with the same husband. She has preached tolerance, open mindedness, and free love. The oldest daughter is “transitioning” to a “man.” For the past year, she has been helping her husband to transition into a “woman.” She gives him weekly hormone injections, and he is now developing breasts and wears dresses around the house. His daughters refer to him as “mom.” Please pray for Elizabeth, John…er, Jen, and their misguided daughters.

    My cousin, Melissa, a free-spirit and mid-wife in New Zealand. She started to try to tell me that there were multiple truths, though didn’t get too far. She was raised Catholic but rejects the faith today. She is sweet as pie and does loving and beautiful work, but she plainly rejects Jesus. I acknowledged that believing and understanding that Jesus is God is difficult. Please pray for Melissa.

    Yes, I’ve met some interesting non-Christian folk, but I see psychoses, spiritual blindness, and profound problems among Catholics as well.

    I could go on and on and on……just as you could too. I am by NO MEANS above or better than these people because I have many pains, hang-ups, blind-spots, and problems, too….heck, I’m a train wreck! But at least I can come to Jesus in adoration to touch base, to reorient myself to heavenly things, to ask forgiveness, to be reminded of what is important and eternal, and to pull away from self-absorbed thinking.

    ….and I likewise come here to ASOH, for refreshment, to be heard and acknowledged, to learn, to ponder, and to be LOVED! Yes, that’s what many people are missing….love….and hope….and seeing this void can sometimes cause me pain. Thus the occasional desire to shield myself and become a hermit.

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    1. Absolutely see what you see, Patrick, with different names, yet, with the common aches: weary, often isolated and lonely, depressed and/or anxious, hurting, running or using substances to mask pain… And, yes, these people are missing love and hope and, ultimately, need to be connected to the visible God in someone so that they can be ignited in reaching back to God Who also aches. He aches for a relationship with each of us. It’s why I love my experiences with Encounter Ministries. The talks and strategies discussed have nurtured a new skill set for evangelizing and tending to others. I had approached the leaders asking for more interactive online exchanges but they are a ministry which focuses on teaching at the home base and then establishing satellite schools and putting on workshops all over the country. Then, in August, I received an invitation to join an online group which is filling my hunger to be better activated so that I’m brimming with new hope and honing skills which, I believe, allow greater hope to flow through me. Greater JOY as well. It’s an awesome dynamism between paying attention to the needs of people while keeping one ear listening to how it seems God wants me to reach out to the other. And THIS is the little I can do which ripples and ripples and ripples, redounding to the hope for a New Beginning in the world, one person at a time.

      Praying for these people you’ve named, Patrick. May God send just the right people to tend to each one.

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      1. Ha, Beckita! You’re brimming with hope through your work in Encounter Ministries, and I just want to run and hide! 😏Not really….my venue will mostly be the one-on-one clinic setting.

        God does ache for us. He yearns. And we, his sons and daughters were created to desire love and beauty. But because of the secular humanistic culture we live in, many people haven’t learned yet that the painful yearning in their hearts is for God. They look everywhere else but up toward Him. Without Him, very little about life on earth makes sense.

        Thank you for your prayers, B.
        (say, how’s the snow? we got a little storm on the way here.)

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        1. Hey, Patrick. The group with whom I’m now praying and studying is “The Anointed Life” – the leader was the producer of the Fearless documentary which told the story of the beginnings of Encounter Ministries – and I love the people who gather to support each other, give testimonies and intercede for needs.

          I heard you lamenting about the many who are hurting and lost and I think lamenting is being real. I’m sure you’ll be a light in the clinic setting and I love how you expanded on God’s ache for us.

          Browning, Montana got 4 feet of snow when Missoula got only 1.6 inches. Are you still considering a move?

          Liked by 8 people

      2. It’s all in a day’s work for us “unprofitable servants”, Patrick.
        “Though He constrains Himself against compelling our will, God manages the divine economy so that every event, every chance encounter, calls us to Him.” (Charlie Johnston quote).
        Being a sign of hope is to be that chance encounter with someone who needs a chance. As wheat among the weeds we are growing alongside the fallen and we learn to love and care for them despite their sinfulness and if they don’t pray, we can pray in their stead. They, in turn, learn to love and care for us… and soon they recognize God dwelling in us.
        St. Faustina, in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, captures this relationship importance. “Although a sinful person is at the point of death, the merciful God gives the soul that interior vivid moment, so that if the soul is willing, it has the possibility of returning to God thus making use of [all the prayers that other souls offer to God for them).”
        God places the fallen among those who will expiate for them. It hurts to see them so miserable and lost but this is a sign to us that we are really loving them as we should.
        Mother Teresa said of love: “Love to be real, it must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self.”
        And there ya go…..

        Liked by 12 people

    2. Yep, bud, so many names and just imagine all the ones we can’t see. A fella at the gas station this morning came up while I was pumping gas with a tale of woe. Only in town two hours with the last of his funds to help his crack-addict sister and kids. Looking to get the kids some groceries and feeling terribly self-conscious about having to ask for help. Begging. I promptly let him know we’re all beggars, and persisted until I was sure he understood and his smile returned.

      There’s been a time or two in the wilderness when I could have easily kept right on going for the ultimate peace and quite, but God has this habit of plopping me in situations I feel ill-suited for… then having the audacity to give me what’s necessary to get’er done.

      Good gravy, I’m hard-wired as a contemplative and artist. I love the quiet! Where’d all these crowds of people come from in my life?! Heck, why do you think I’m grinnin’ all the time? It’s so absurd that I think it’s amusing.

      Just do your best, PD, and know it’s o.k. to be discriminating sometimes in what you take on, how, and if you even need to address it.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. Yes, MP, God’s got some mighty huevos! 🥚🥚

        I too love quiet and contemplation immensely. I drive without music on…. and I’m a musician. Give me total silence any day. The wind through the pines, the birds…. But God also gave me a strong desire to participate in social settings, to touch and laugh with people, though this can quickly fatigue my heart and spirit.

        I consider myself an introverted-extrovert (or extroverted-introvert). You know that Myers-Briggs personality test? I took the same test 10 years apart and incredibly got the same result (supporting its validity), but the trait that was least definitive and could have gone either way was Extroversion versus Introversion. I squeaked by with an E both times.

        Thanks for your encouragement, MP. In most situations, there is nothing we can do but listen and let the other person know their struggles are genuine and that they are not alone. I always look for that opportunity to talk about Jesus, but such opportunities are rarer than I’d like.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. Ah, Myers-Briggs and the like. Corporate America ‘loves’ that sort of thing because it chooses to think in terms of optimizing ‘resources’, ‘consumer’ considerations and the like, but I loathe that sort of thinking. Personalities aside, we were made in the image and likeness of God –– terms that we would do well to contemplate both in the silence and as we make our way through the world among our fellows.

          Participated in those exercises no less than half a dozen times with the same results. Most interesting was seeing how many people were surprised by those results, because I think they had come to accept a set of more or less good and bad habits as personality. It may be that personality traits play a role in a person’s propensity to develop certain habits, but I don’t know to what extent if at all. Seems free will is the reigning factor, and oh, how free will bespeaks of God’s power beyond reckoning.

          Yes, to The Silence, where we seek to know… only plunging ever further into the great unknowing. An emptying. A beautiful, but painful process, wherein I think the dross is burned away to reveal the heart of the matter. Love. A fullness.

          God gives us every grace to complete that process here, yet we have it on good authority that most complete that process on the other side. I’d just as soon complete that process here, considering how scary it is to even look at such a thought. ‘Course that free will gift… so I’m really the only one that can scare myself if I choose that route.

          And we have it on Good Authority that God is not the source of fear… nor negativity, nor despondency, nor hopelessness, nor despair… nor any of those other things He is not.

          Liked by 7 people

          1. Ha, on the Myers-Brigg, I am an INFP, an idealist. It is pretty close, but almost completely misses my activist side – and my relentless resolve in pushing strategic ways of accomplishing those goals and motivating a team. From my earliest days in the workforce as a supervisor, people often mistook my good nature to mean I was a pushover – until folks noticed that, while I rarely shouted, if I had a correctional meeting with an employee and the employee didn’t make any effort to correct, he was suddenly gone. I always figured my duty to those on my team was to ALL my team. I had the empathy to want to give someone a chance, but if he didn’t take it, I figured I was cheating the rest of the team if I forced them to carry his dead weight. My son occasionally tells me that everyone thinks I am a sweetheart of a guy – and they are right, but miss that I am also the most remorseless and determined man he has ever known.

            Such tests can give valuable insights, but in the end we are all “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” as Winston Churchill once said. God makes each of us into a unique and unrepeatable character, our true name written indelibly on a white stone by God, Himself (Rev. 2:17)

            Liked by 8 people

            1. Ha, CJ. Reminds of of a first impression of a certain fella sitting in a chair across a living room. Peaceful, yes. Strategically mindful, certainly. Didn’t get so much as a hint of “pushover.”

              Is there a tidy label on Myers-Brigg like SHB (sweetheart and huevos buster)? Probably not, but the only test that truly matters is the one God is administering. And I’m told it’s crunch time.

              Liked by 5 people

          2. You’ve got a nice little poem as your third paragraph.

            Into the Silence, by Michael Patrick.

            Into the Silence,
            where we seek to know…..
            only plunging ever further
            into the great unknowing.
            An emptying.
            A beautiful, but painful process,
            wherein the dross is burned away
            to reveal the heart of the matter:
            Love.

            It is curious how stepping into the silence is, especially at first, a painful process. That letting go and letting God can be very unsettling.

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            1. I thought your list of people and observations was artful. After all, what is art if not an expression of humanity. Seems we’re not always aware of how we slip in and out of expressions of poetry and other art forms.

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                1. I wore that pin in honor of Crew Dog, and it was a providential bonus to find him that bull. Just couldn’t seem to ever find him a suitable mustang because it’s as if he’s in a class all by himself. Prayers now going up for CD every time I see his bull out there.

                  Liked by 3 people

          3. I always think the fact of our acting- moving- actually acting out or doing what we think is most important, is most important. Think of St John Paul 2’s “ The Acting Person”. That implies That what we intellectually think is equally or more important.
            Fits in with free will choice certainly, but is different.
            Now I’m recalling the biblical ‘ to whom much is given, much is required’. Little scary; good thing love covers much. But like Charlie conveyed ( at least to my mind), a firm ( almost “tough love”) love is needed…

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            1. I’ve always emphasized HOW we think as the key thing in the equation, because I think if that’s sound, then it follows that we’re disposed to acting properly. TNRS.

              If the repeated warnings from Heaven are any gauge, then I would say that you agree with God on love. Certainly there are repercussions to bad behavior and I would say that in these times humanity is carrying out the sentence on itself… by our own hands. God will intervene with Heavenly justice. Can we look towards Heaven with love in these circumstances, challenging as they are and will be, as real testimony of our trust?

              Yes to being loving, charitable and forgiving, but I will not accept what the world has made of simply being ‘nice.’ Nice is for losers. Our Lord, The Eternal Victor, never promised a leisurely picnic in a peaceful meadow here. In fact He took His beloved followers all over place covering miles and miles and miles, relieving them of many useless comforts (primarily ways of thinking I would say), in order to prepare them for the a great trial and for the growth of flourishing of His Church.

              And what does the Gospel have to say about those who came around merely looking for some coddling, enabling, and/or justification for their bad behavior (habitually bad ways of thinking about and acting on things)? Many went away disappointed, while some were able to overcome themselves and find the true path.

              I much prefer to seek out/be around the faithful who know how to challenge out of love, because there’s nothing to be gained from the easy path. If they’re graced with unyielding determination and remorselessness, in the best of terms, all the better.

              As I said earlier, I’m a Lombardi man.

              Liked by 4 people

    3. Patrick Daniel, I have offered a prayer for all of your intentions.

      Dear Lord, redemptive suffering is a mystery,
      and we may not always know the good and gracious purpose in things You allow,
      please have mercy on us and receive these agonies that we offer up,
      and bring us closer to You in the goodness of Your Sacred Heart.

      Liked by 5 people

    4. I’m with you on the hermit desire PD. I’m seeing alot of the same things , different names, much pain and suffering and yet determination to avoid the very medicine needed which is an openess to Christ. Days of being around people that no longer find how bizarre or absurd the world is around them. Adoration definitely helps as well as getting the sacraments as often as possible. But always the call of the hermit beckons,… I don’t think that it is directed from God,at least for myself, but my own selfishness that seeks it.
      Thank you Lord, thank ypu Charlie, Becks and all that make this site a balm for these times!

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      1. Maybe the call to be a hermit is what Catherine Doughtery means when she has each person who comes to the farm visit the hermitage for a time. Maybe we just need a hermitage. Or time spent in Adoration. Time. I need more, I need at least 26 hours in each day. 😊 But then I read that the satan has until 2030, and I cry. I do not see how I can stand 10 more years of this.Then I dry my tears, and take the next (hopefully) right step. Is there anything ELSE to do?

        BTW, FIVE baby saves Tuesday!!! And your truly sent TWO of them to the bus! BTW2, Everything Charlie says about TRTL is so right-on!

        Liked by 7 people

        1. At morning mass yesterday I contemplated how the mundane can be profitable. Time spent alone can even occur when your not alone doing a mundane task that requires little thought to perform while your thoughts will soon be wandering in ways and where’s intended or unintended.
          My youngest daughter and her four children came to the morning mass because it was intended for her sister, Monica, who needs prayers for a difficult marriage. The regular crowd was there and I thought how the slow, regular style of the morning mass must have lost its “mundane feel” with the addition of little voices echoing, slightly behind, the responces. At one point, the crowd said ” God bless you”, in responce to a comment made by the presiding African missionary priest and my 5 year old grandson echoed the “God bless you” loud and clear which made the priest say “very good” in responce to this little man’s blessing. I’m sure some of the attendees were loving and hating the distractions brought about by these little personalities.
          As for the African Missionary, he was undaunted by the hullabaloo of chirping babies and high-pitched sweet voices, he not having a “cry room ” in his remote African village church these sounds were, for him, mundane to one who is bathed in such sweetness as a matter of course.
          God bless him, his village, my grandson, Monica, and all those who assisted at one of the least mundane masses I’ve ever experienced!

          Liked by 8 people

    5. Patrick, I will pray for all of these individuals and for their needs. God bless you for doing what you can to help them (and especiallly for bringing them to the TNRS-ASOH family so that we can all pray for them).

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            1. When I got the book of the story of her life, I added her to my list of intercessors. She died in 1973 and is already beatified. She established Parish Nursing in Krakow with the encouragement of a young Father Wojtyla who would, as Cardinal, say her funeral Mass. She is the first lay registered nurse to be beatified.

              Liked by 3 people

                  1. Well, my daughter is one of the best I know.  Think I am a bit biased?  Yup.  I am.  But really, she is very good and has a high degree of integrity.  She was recently asked to be trained to present NFP for the church.  My dear daughter preserved herself for when she got married.  I could not be more proud of her!…..Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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          1. That is so sweet, joyfulhope20!

            I will invoke Blessed Hanna to intercede on behalf of my goddaughter who is struggling with a year four college psych course and needs to pass her final exam next Wednesday in order to get her credits. Please keep Hayley in your prayers. She is smart and dedicated, and has the patience of a saint, but has a few learning hurdles which she overcomes with the help of her loving family, teachers, counselors and God’s grace. Thank you.

            May God bless all devoted nurses in their lives and in their selfless vocations. ❤

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            1. My darling goddaughter Hayley, retained the information she studied and overcame her written test anxiety and went on to pass her test and the course! Thanks be to God. Thank you for your prayers. I am so pleased with her diligence. ❤

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      1. HOW do you pray for particular intentions, when all our prayers and intentions go to Mary? When I made my consecation to Mary about 4 -5 years ago, I promised all my prayer, good works, etc to her. Then all sorts of folks ask me to pray for them, and I am never quite sure how to do this. I usually offer everything for Mary’s intentions and for… but somehow feel I might be cheating Mary.

        TNRS, how do y’all do this? I know most of us have made our Marian Consecration.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I wondered and felt similarly, Nance. I remembered to make a special note in the consecration manual this year. In the 33 Days to Morning Glory, Louis De Montfort’s Day 5, titled, “Should We Really Give Mary Everything? (Part One) answers this question. Here is a link to Day 5 along with the closing excerpt as a summary. ❤

          https://www.thedivinemercy.org/articles/33-days-morning-glory-day-5

          "Remember, Mary is not outdone in generosity. She especially hears the prayers of those of us who have given her everything – including the value of all our good works – and she wants us to tell her of the people and intentions we hold in our hearts. If we've given her everything, is there any doubt that she'll be generous in giving whatever good we ask for to those who are dear to us?"

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Jumping in a little late here, Nance.

            Excellent resource, Jen! I love the ways Fr. Michael Gaitley expounds on this topic. There’s also Day 6, which, as Part Two of his insights on this theme, builds on the Day 5 reflection: https://www.thedivinemercy.org/articles/33-days-morning-glory-day-6

            I actually take great heart in realizing that as “we give up the right to distribute the grace of our prayers and merits to others” we actually can continuie lifting all the prayers and intentions for which and for whom Holy Spirit prompts us to pray, knowing that Our Mother has right to tap into the Treasury of Grace to tend to our own intentions by applying the fruit of the prayers and penances offered by others. SO awesome are her ways which are God’s Ways!

            I love this St. Louis de Montfort quote and embrace the reality by echoing our Holy Mama – as we each can do – to proclaim that my soul, too, magnifies the Lord!:
            “The most holy Virgin … who never lets herself be outdone in love and liberality, seeing that we give ourselves entirely to her … meets us in the same spirit. She also gives her whole self, and gives it in an unspeakable manner, to him who gives all to her. She causes him to be engulfed in the abyss of her graces. She adorns him with her merits; she supports him with her power; she illuminates him with her light; she inflames him with her love; she communicates to him her virtues: her humility, her faith, her purity, and the rest. … In a word, as that consecrated person is all Mary’s, so Mary is all his.”

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        2. Remember, her “soul magnifies the Lord.” When you pray for her intercession, how lovely to think her soul magnifies your request back to the Lord. If you were a kid and your Mom offered you ice cream, you might ask her for some for the buddy you were heading out to see, too. If you truly see Mary as your Mother, have no fear of pouring your heart and your requests to her, just as you would to your Mother on earth.

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        3. I believe Pope St JPII added an intention to each bead as he prayed the rosary, Nance.
          We can add a petition to the Divine Mercy Chaplet when we ask for mercy with each bead.
          I too pray for Our Lady’s intentions during the rosary in the same way we pray for the Pope’s intentions.
          Scripture tells us, like the persistent neighbor (Luke 11:5-13) to continue to ask and “because of his persistence” he will receive his intentions.
          So even if you have asked already, God delights in our supplications and they help us to recognise our dependence on God for everything.

          Liked by 6 people

        4. Nance, what a great question. I myself figure that since Our Lady has always existed in the Divine Will, she only ever and always does God’s Will. Thus she does the best thing with every little nuanced gift of prayer or act of reparation or indulgence that I intend for good and have given to her through my consecration of Total Devotion to her. As St Louis de Montfort explains, she takes out any “bruise” of selfish impurity contained within the good that I intend before presenting it to Jesus. In other words, Mother knows best and does best even more generously than I can ever fathom for intentions that I place into her capable and loving hands–whatever those intentions might be. I hope that helps.

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        5. Nance, I’ll share with you how I envision offering my prayers to God through Mary.

          My morning offering starts with “Oh Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of thy Most Sacred Heart….”

          When I say “Immaculate Heart of Mary” I reverently kiss and don my brown scapular.

          Then, as an example, when in adoration I think about my physical heart and visualize moving my thoughts and prayers from my mind to my heart. As I look upon our Blessed Lord in adoration, I imagine his Sacred Heart. As I pray, I imagine my heart’s imperfect prayers passing through Mary’s perfect Immaculate Heart — represented by the scapular on my breast — to Jesus’ heart.

          Mary takes my faulty, distracted prayers and puts them in a beautiful golden box with a silver bow and gives them to her Divine Son. If I’m saying a Rosary and I notice I was not attentive to a decade, I refocus and worry not – because my prayers were offered through Mary. 🙂

          ASIDE: If any of you have an image of Our Lady of Tepeyac, look at the area of her heart just behind her hands. You can see what looks like a radiograph — an X-ray — of her heart. You can see the apex, what looks like coronary arteries, and the aortic knob. Ah, this miraculous image……

          Liked by 6 people

          1. Gee, thanks, Patrick! Some beautiful insights here. (I’ll keep my decade intentions then, if even St JP II did that.) but as I went to look for the heart on our Lady of Guadalupe, I was earwigged with the Christmas song, “Do you see what I see?” A heart, a heart, lying in her breast…ARGGG

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          2. Patrick Daniel: thanks for that excellent insight. I use that daily offering as well, and I’ll start doing it the way you do, as with me it can often become a bit “mechanical” i.e. not really thinking about what it should truly mean.

            Liked by 2 people

    6. “Yes, that’s what many people are missing…love…and hope…and seeing this void can sometimes cause me pain”

      It causes Jesus pain too.
      Below is what Jesus felt in the 9th hour of The 24 Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ’

      “My child, do you want to know what it is that torments Me more than the very executioners? Rather, those are nothing compared to this! It is the Eternal Love, which, wanting primacy in everything, is making Me suffer, all at once and in the most intimate parts, what the executioners will make Me suffer little by little. Ah, my child, it is Love which prevails in everything, over Me and within Me. Love is nail for Me, Love is scourge, Love is crown of thorns – Love is everything for Me. Love is my perennial passion, while that of men is in time. Ah, my child, enter into my Heart, come to be dissolved in my love, and only in my love will you comprehend how much I suffered and how much I loved you, and you will learn to love Me and to suffer only out of love.”
      http://www.passioiesus.org/en/horasdelapasion/hp07_9a10pm.htm

      Liked by 7 people

        1. “One of her confessors and main promoter of the Divine Will (the doctrine that Jesus taught Luisa) was Saint Hannibal Maria Di Francia, who was the Ecclesiastical Censor of her writings (he put the “Nihil Obstat” to 19 of 36 volumes), and first apostle of the Kingdom of the Divine Fiat (as Jesus named him on Volume 20 of the Divine Will Writings, November 6, 1926).”
          http://www.passioiesus.org/en/luisa/biografia_luisa.htm

          Liked by 3 people

    7. Patrick, When I read your prayer requests, I have to think that these needs are common throughout the country. (And may God forgive me, I laughed at Dungeons and Dragons and the combined 1,200 pounds.) I also can’t help but think that God has been so good to me and has blessed me beyond what I deserve. I seem to cope okay with the disorder in the Church knowing that the Lord will have the final say and His words will not pass away. I really struggle with how our culture has become an abomination, especially the unspeakable evils directed at children. And it seems to get worse week by week. I hope you keep feeling the love here. This is my little oasis too since giving up social media.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Hi Golden Sun. This is an oasis here. I did just last month set up a FaceBookaccount to connect with family, but I find posts from them to be depressing, confusing, or a complete waste of time. There is too much to sift through, often for naught. Here at ASoH, my time is never ever wasted!

        Yeah, the D&D and obesity would be funny if it wasn’t so doggone tragic. It’s been painful to witness, particularly them taking advantage of gracious Pam who is now in the late stages of Multiple Sclerosis and showing marked cognitive impairment. My tone was a little different in that paragraph as I am filled with righteous anger. But I take comfort that the Lord will judge the world with justice (PS 9)

        After living several years in Europe, I was able to see a significant difference in the maturity of Americans after coming back home. It’s a much harder life in socialist Europe — people don’t have the disposable cash we do here. Children often stay at home into their 20s for financial reasons, until they get married and cautiously step out into the costly world. People necessarily grow up faster there. A 16-year-old German girl is typically more mature than an American girl at 23 (and vastly more mature than those three boys).

        I’m coping well with the chaos within our Holy Church, too. Just praying and watching, knowing it will all work out in the end as God’s will WILL be done.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. God bless and you’re probably right about the difference in maturity levels in the US compared with other countries, partly due to prosperity versus economic hardship. Of course it’s hard to define the typical American as there is a big divide between the pampered classes and those living a harder life in rough urban areas and rural America.

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      2. Goldensun, I am the same way…. though I go back and forth at times…. from feeling like I should despair – to feeling almost carefree as a child (knowing God wins!)…. most of the time I tend toward middle of the road between the two… I find myself praying for everyone it seems these days, and when I can offer a good word or work, I try not to miss the opportunity! I know about 3 years ago when I was introduced to TNRS, I was ready to build a bunker and start prepping big time! My eyes and heart had just been made aware of why TNRS existed and really the storm overall. Exposure was almost by accident, but then again, I don’t believe in accidents or coincidence – my Guardian Angel is crafty…. Today I more scenario plan on the “what if” and “when it…” items so that I know how I can help others and who I can get help from… I try to be calculated and infrequent in posting the most impactful social media posts I can (so as not to be the one guy on social media that others just end up minimizing or ignoring – because then all effectiveness of the messages are lost) – but I can say that ASOH has helped me to feel like I can channel the right message better for the given opportunity (without worry on offending someone). This site is a blessing along with everyone here! We find all personalities here and that is what makes it so dang awesome to be part of… thanks everyone, and keep posting because everything is read often on this site – I know it!

        For thos of you in Mid-Michigan – hope to see you at 4pm in Westphalia for Rosary Coast to Coast!!!

        God bless all!
        Bill

        Liked by 9 people

        1. I wish you well from here in Pennsylvania! Do you happen to listen to Al Kresta? I used to live on the west coast and his show was on my local Catholic radio station. I now have Relevant Radio, which I love, but I do miss Al. Thank goodness for Stitcher.

          Liked by 1 person

    8. Patrick, I the aches are palpable. I was clearing family pictures out of my old office and emotionally broke down. I had a good cry on Lambzies shoulder that night. The interior pain of strayed loved ones caught up to me. Lord Jesus, we hurt ourselves. Lord Jesus, please bring all our wayward children back!

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          1. Thank you, Dear Doug. Yes, Lambzie is a treasure as you are to her and your marriage is a LIGHT for all to see and emulate. Thanking the Father that your personal Easter Sunday is, even now, in ways you cannot yet see, following your Good Friday angst of yesterday.

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        1. Thank you Patrick! Doing better now. Lambzie and I pray every day for our wayward children. It just caught up to me. I can imagine how much the Blessed Mother yearns for the return of all her children. It is a cross for all of us parents with strayed children.

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  6. I would have liked to see you in KC Charlie but my wife had her 50th High school reunion that weekend. Yes we all need to pray for God’s help while we try to do the little that we can ourselves.

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  7. “I also find it harder and harder to see a way to recovery after collapse that does not involve visible, Divine intervention. I suspect that this is what God has intended all along.”
    Reminds me of how God allowed the hardened heart of Pharo to continue to deny Moses which finally lead to the death of his son and his whole army and, as God so aptly put in scripture, gave Him glory.
    In the movie, The Ten Commandment. Moses tells his Egyptian father that it would take a God to free the Hebrews so your feelings about needing a divine intervention is not a new one. Neat thing is, once He chooses to intervene, it will be a glorious event to behold!

    Liked by 12 people

  8. Gosh, Charlie, it’s so uplifting to hear about Texas! Almost makes me want to move there, but I do find myself longing to be part of a loving, Spirit filled group. I keep wondering, but wait patiently for the Lord to show me concrete things. At this point I consider myself a prayer warrior and look forward to my prayer time each morning which I jealously guard. Writing those words reminds me of hearing a story Sr. Briege McKenna told once at a conference. She normally went to Adoration, i believe it was, when she tried fitting someone in to her schedlule instead of Adoration. The Lord told her, she said, “You just gave away My time!” Wow, He loves our time with Him.

    Beckita, you’re right about Our Lady’s army all over the world. I signed up years ago with the worldwide Living Rosary where we each offer up a decade of the Rosary each day for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. You should see what goes on in places like Africa, such devotion to Our Lady where they wait for rosaries and books, etc. to arrive. The stories are awesome!

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  9. So we seem to be oppressed by a lot of adversity these days. Coming from every direction. Not used to this level of dysfunction everywhere we look. So what’s up with that?

    Personally, I feel like the adversity I encounter is ramping up in frequency and intensity. To what purpose? It feels like training. It feels like I am being prepared for something. To learn how to cope.
    To learn how to react and respond. To sail through rough weather and come out the other side.

    I have been meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries. The Virtues. Christ’s journey to Calvary. What a journey through adversity that was. Sorrow for sin; Purity; Courage; Patience in Adversity; Perseverance.

    Carrying the Cross along the Via Dolorosa. Falling three times. Patience in Adversity. I have walked that road in Jerusalem. I even carried a wooden cross. It was dark, cold and rainy the day I did it. What you might call adverse conditions.

    Bottom line is that I am getting the spidey sense that we are all being trained up in adversity. Why? I am believing it is because we have got a whole boatload of adversity coming our way in the not too distant future. For real. Patience will be a key virtue and skill to sail through it successfully. Got to be trained up in Patience. At least I do.

    I ran across this on the internet the other day.

    I ASKED GOD

    I asked God to take away my pain.
    God said, No.
    It is not for me to take away,
    but for you to give it up.
    I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
    God said, No.
    Her spirit was whole,
    her body was only temporary.
    I asked God to grant me patience.
    God said, No.
    Patience is a by-product of tribulations;
    it isn’t granted, it is earned.
    I asked God to give me happiness.
    God said, No.
    I give you blessings.
    Happiness is up to you.
    I asked God to spare me pain.
    God said, No.
    Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
    and brings you closer to me.
    I asked God to make my spirit grow.
    God said, No.
    You must grow on your own,
    but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
    I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
    God said, No.
    I will give you life
    so that you may enjoy all things.
    I asked God to help me love others, as much as he loves me.
    And God said… Ah, finally you have the idea.

    Liked by 14 people

  10. When Cardinal Sarah speaks, the faithful remnant listen…
    “Cardinal Sarah called the proposal of combating priest shortages in the Amazon by ordaining married, respected men — so-called viri probati — “theologically absurd” and said it was implying “a functionalist concession of the priesthood.”
    “He added that he was “shocked and indignant that the spiritual distress of the poor in the Amazon was used as an excuse to support typical projects of bourgeois and worldly Christianity. It is abominable.”
    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/cardinal-sarah-ideological-push-in-amazon-synod-is-an-insult-to-god

    Liked by 7 people

    1. I love Cardinal Sarah, Maggie. Such insanity going on and thank God he and a few others speak the truth. Just read about that 95 yo atheist journalist who talks to the Pope and then writes stuff that he says the Pope said–latest thing–that the Pope doesn’t believe in the Divinity of Christ. The Vatican’s response to that was a bit weak–good grief!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. “But they were what Thelma and Louise would have been if they had found God. ” 😂😁😏😇 I bet Nancy is laughing along with the angels and Saints about that one! You sure know how to paint a word picture, Charlie. We sure did have some adventures. I’m happy and humbled to know you observed some of Nancy’s influence in me. Stop in for a Walleye dinner anytime. Blake should be doing his fall fishing soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Stopping society’s fall never a option for our generation, the point of “no return” was crossed a long time ago. (well over a 100 years.)

    The only option we ever had is how we fall, do we fall in a controlled manner to avoid injury, or in a reckless manner causing maximum damage & loss of lives (like the globalist/socialist/liberal left wants us to do.)

    The devil’s time must be very short, there’s unrest everywhere, with the anti-God

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    1. left attempting to seize power by any means necessary for some terrible purpose. (The globalist agenda is mass extermination of the majority of humanity. It’s on their websites & literature.)

      Will the anti-God keep fumbling or will they regain power? I don’t know, God have mercy on us all…

      Liked by 7 people

  13. I am glad you posted re Trump. I could not really understand what is going on. I figured that the media was gleefully spinning. But what is the real truth? ….. I find it interesting that you truly did not like Trump, and were willing to say so, but now you say “do not count him out.” I hope that is true because the alternative is socialism, which I will never accept. That is the map for total control. Of course, the darkness going on behind the scenes is the real story.,,,May God have mercy on us all. The world is in a terrible way. And getting worse every single day.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. What I don’t get, isn’t the impeachment of Trump a bit hypocritical? The Democrats did a bunch of similar stunts against Trump before & after he became president. It’s fair game for Trump to investigate his opponents after all the investigations & witch-hunts used against Trump, in fact, it’s only fair the Democrats get back a taste of their own medicine since that’s how they treat others.

      That how things look to me, from up here in Canada.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I am very surprised that Trump’s DOJ did not pursue charges against Democratic operatives and corrupt FBI people. They need to be held accountable. ….I have not sorted out what Trump (allegedly) did yet. I think the main stream media will always portray him in the worst possible terms….Charlie seems to think there is not grounds for impeachment….The truth of the matter is that the Democrats have been searching for anything to impeach since election day (and looking for /manufacturing dirt way before then) and now that the election is looming they are ramping things up. They have been stating “impeach, impeach!” even before they can get and examine all the facts. …. HRC broke the law, destroyed evidence, and mishandled classified materials….all of which would have required another person to serve time in prison. The Clinton Foundation is highly suspicious as far as where the contributions came from, especially while she was Sec. of State. There is definitely a double standard here. It disgusts me.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. We’re facing a similar double standard up here in Canada with our Liberals. Trudeau is corrupt & scandalized enough to take down over a dozen politicians, and yet he’s still running to be Prime Minister, and leading in the polls. (Many people are way too needy/comfortable/lazy to care about morality & ethics) Trudeau is a globalist on the Clinton & Soros teams, he did a lot of damage to the country in the past 4 years, and if he gets back in we’ll probably become the next Venezuela sometime before the next election in 2023. There’s something wrong when refugees get voting cards. Our major news agencies have become “fake news” to control the public thinking & opinions.

          There’s no stopping The Storm that’s happening in the world right now, if people think they can vote-in a life of ease, they will be in shock of their lives when the societal infrastructure falls apart. People shouldn’t depend on government services & handouts as much as they do today, politics has taken the place of God in many people’s lives literally placing the morality & deeds of men above those of the one true God.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Mystic Maria Esperanza of Venezuela said that “things would start here.” That was at a time when Venezuela was far, far from what it is now. I truly shudder when I remember her words. May Christ have mercy!

            Liked by 3 people

              1. In the totality of what the Servant of God Maria Esperanza was given, Al, she also said a time of Great Light was coming. I think the evil one tempts us to despair when we focus more heavily on the dangers and evil all around us. While those dangers and evils are real, we can, Intentionally, shift the greater focus to God’s Plan and the kinds of stories such as Charlie has shored in this very piece. we do have a future full of hope which rises even now, in this current darkness and the difficulties which lie ahead.

                Liked by 3 people

              2. Al, Maria Esperanza’s messages were given in the 80’s. In the end, all the messengers tell us to pray, repent, fast, take the Eucharist, draw closer to Jesus. She said that there will be great hardship followed by a great moment of light, and we will be better Christian people because of it. It will not be the end of the world. Much like Charlie, Maria Esperanza was often shown images. …..It was probably me who quoted Maria Esperanza re that things were to begin in Venezuela. I remember it vividly because I was so surprised. I was once offered a chance to go live and work in Venezuela. I am so glad that I did not. But I would have liked to have been with Maria Esperanza on the mountains of Betania.

                Liked by 1 person

  14. God bless and keep all here!

    Thank you, Charlie, for the honest assessment of the situation in our government and the Church.

    I was heartened by the update on your travels and the Islands of Faith that become Islands of Hope for us. God bless David Daleiden for his courageous witness.

    I think the dominoes are beginning to fall. We’ve been blessed to have President Trump holding back the tide for the last 3 years. He reminds me of the little boy with his fingers in the dike, trying to prevent the flood. Well now it’s like he has fingers, toes, and he is twisted up like a pretzel, and the leaks are getting worse.

    God has this, but it may feel like we are watching it car accident in slow motion. No way to stop it, just hang on, and PRAY!

    God’s Grace’s, blessings, and gifts to all here. Prayers for you, your families, and your intentions.

    On Sunday, we will celebrate October 13th, the 102nd Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. The Triumph is coming! Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, the Reign of the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, and the Era of Peace. It’s coming! See the hint of light of the new dawn on the horizon …

    Liked by 12 people

      1. How cool, Charlie. I’ll think of you on Sunday. Our youngest was born at Port Hueneme Naval Base while my husband was flying C-130s in the Antarctic! God bless your travels!

        Liked by 4 people

          1. Gosh, fires rage around Oxnard and smoke is very hazardous. I guess we’ll stay home. Hope all goes well for you Charlie and your hosts in Oxnard. Praying for folks in So. Cal.

            Liked by 1 person

  15. Need some help on this.

    The Amazon Synod and Syncretism.

    What is Syncretism?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_syncretism

    “Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions. It is contrasted by the idea of multiple religious belonging and polytheism, respectively.

    This can occur for many reasons, and the latter scenario happens quite commonly in areas where multiple religious traditions exist in proximity and function actively in the culture, or when a culture is conquered, and the conquerors bring their religious beliefs with them, but do not succeed in entirely eradicating the old beliefs or, especially, practices.

    Religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems often frown on applying the label, especially adherents who belong to “revealed” religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist approach. Such adherents sometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth. By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true. Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word “syncretism” as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system actually distort the original faith. The consequence, according to Keith Ferdinando, is a fatal compromise of the dominant religion’s integrity.[1] Non-exclusivist systems of belief, on the other hand, may feel quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own.

    In modern secular society, religious innovators sometimes create new religions syncretically as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity, often with the effect of offending the original religions in question. Such religions, however, do maintain some appeal to a less exclusivist audience.”

    Ummmm. Ok. Seems to me that blending Indigenous South American tom-toming and rattle shaking and feather waving into the Catholic Church’s DOGMA is a serious form of Syncretism. And the Synodalists appear to be headed that way.

    So what I need help on. Is Syncretism a heresy in the Catholic Church? How do we know it when we see it?

    More on Syncretism:

    “Catholicism in Central and South America has been integrated with a number of elements derived from indigenous and slave cultures in those areas (see the Caribbean and modern sections); while many African Initiated Churches demonstrate an integration of Protestant and traditional African beliefs. The Catholic Church allows some symbols and traditions to be carried over from older belief systems, so long as they are remade to fit into a Christian worldview; syncretism of other religions with Catholicism, such as Voudun or Santería, is condemned by the Roman Catholic Church. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the subsequent devotion to her are seen as assimilating some elements of native Mexican culture into Christianity.

    Some Andean areas, such as in Peru, have a strong influence of Inca-originated Quechua culture into catholicism. This results in catholic holidays being combined with Quechua dances and figures, such as the Assumption of Mary celebration in Chinchaypujio, or the fertility celebrations for Pachamama in the mostly catholic Callalli.”

    Ok. Ummm. Contextualization Integration. Symbols and traditions. Syncretism. Heresy.

    When does Contextualization — a comprehensive horough blending of symbols and traditions — morph into Heresy worthy of condemnation?

    Need a little help on this. Some Syncretism in low doses good? Some Syncretism in high doses bad?

    Wither are we tending, as Abe Lincoln wanted to know?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Syncretism is a problem when the element trying to be incorporated has been condemned by the Church. Such a decision could come from the local Bishop or it may be issued by the Holy See. An earlier story to which I linked wherein a tribal chief bemoaned the works of some missionaries who “prevent development in the region, thus keeping indigenous people in poverty and misery” causes me to shake my head, as the ideology of primitivism is peddled. As Thomas Ascik notes in this piece: There are six main themes in the document: colonialism, ecology and environmentalism, the South American Church’s decades-long involvement in liberation theology, syncretism of Catholicism with indigenous religions, the possibility of married priests, and the role of women in the Church. The synod fathers’ declarations on any and each of these issues may have implications for the global Church.

      And: “The Instrumentum is long on advocacy and accusations but tells us almost nothing substantive.”

      Keeping a prayer vigil, reading the statements of prelates faithful-to-Church-orthodoxy and observing to see what, in the end, will actually be adopted and promulgated.

      Liked by 8 people

    2. Hi Storm Tracker Ed,

      Regarding “syncretism”, an example of it from the Gospel is the woman at the well in Samaria in the Gospel of John 4:4-42. Some of the Jews of the northern tribes intermarried with the local pagans. The result was a syncretized religion that combined both judaism and pagan practices, not appropriate, but historical. Since they were no longer faithful to Judaism, they could not worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. But they still wanted to worship in a holy place, so they did it on a local mountain.

      See the dialog between the woman and Jesus in Ch 4 verses 19-22:
      The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;* but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. …”

      Syncretism mixes up elements of different faiths in an effort to get people to buy in to the new combined faith. This is different from Christianity because we believe in “inculturation”, see CCC 854, 856, and 1252. There is also a Church Document called, “Faith and Inculturation” (1988) from the International Theological Commission on the Vatican website, which teaches about how we are to look at bringing elements of a culture or local faith into the context of the Church and her teachings. Here is a link to the document:

      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_1988_fede-inculturazione_en.html

      A lay person’s example applying this teaching would be in native faiths in Africa. Many native (pre-Christian) beliefs include Ancestral Worship. As Catholics we would reframe this into the context that worship or adoration belongs to God alone. However, we have the Communion of Saints. We reverence and pray for intercession to the Saints who have gone before us. This is where our ancestors would fit in to the Christian teaching.

      Your question about syncretism and the Church’s teaching in this document are interestingly linked in this time of the Amazonian Synod. We need to look at how native culture and faiths are to be looked at in light of the Church and her long history of evangelizing cultures. Jesus gave us the Great Commission. The Church knows how to do it!

      I hope this is of some help.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. DEON, I just finished reading the excellent “INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION – FAITH AND INCULTURATION – (1988) referenced in your above posting very carefully and it gave me a depth of understanding of how we must understand and properly deal with other cultures. My concern with what I have read about the Amazon synod is that they seem to be pushing for syncretism of indigenous cultures straight away, making it primary. We will have to wait and see what comes out of the synod.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I am no scripture scholar, nor have I studied Greek or Hebrew but something in John’s gospel has always left me unsettled–of Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” specifically that Jesus did not offer an answer to him, when it seemed so sorely needed at the time. But, in my naivety, as I look at all the translations, it seems as if he is not really asking so much as speaking rhetorically. He doesn’t expect nor want an answer, made apparent by the next verse, “when he said this, he went out again to the Jews.” But still, part of me wishes he was really wanting to know.

    There will always be those who ask it with a period and those with an actual question mark. Now it seems this age proffers the same statement, not seeking the truth but scoffing at it. The answer of so many these days is “Truth is whatever I want it to be.” But Jesus does provide an answer, in the very preceding verse, “Every one that is of the truth, hears my voice.” And in another time and place, He tells us that HE is the way, the truth and the life. Those actually seeking the truth should well be drawn to the authentic Jesus, not offended by Him. Woe to those teachers then that misrepresent Jesus’ words and disseminate misinterpretation of them. May we be taught heartily the Jesus who actually fed the 5,000, walked on the water, quieted the storm, healed the sick and rose from the dead, He who feeds the billions even now with the Truth Himself.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Amen, Cjoy. Pope Emeritus Benedict coined this phrase, the antithesis of truth, well: “the dictatorship of relativism which serves to satisfy the desires of one’s ego.” In teaching and fighting for Truth, Wisdom, too, must be sought. I’m contemplating in these days Lady Wisdom, Sophia, and her manifold benefits which are well described in the book of Wisdom, Chapters 6-9. May Truth Himself send down His Holy Spirit to fill us all with new breadths and depths of Wisdom.

      Liked by 5 people

  17. Exactly Charlie! Regarding Abraham and Moses, when they boldly stepped before God and asked for Mercy for the people in their time, I have believed in my Heart it was a beautiful demonstration allowed and revealed by God of the kind of relationship He wants everyone to understand they can have with Him. The Relationship of the Father with His Children…ask your Father what you will, and if it is good, He will listen. If it comes from the compassion of the Heart for your fellow man, He will Hear and He will answer you! We are our brother’s keeper! But I get so livid when from a pulpit a Priest in His homily will state, and emphasize and stress, even 4 times within that homily, “God changed His mind!” It is gross arrogance, audacity and ignorance that such priests make statements like this! Statements like those are the demon’s work to detract from the Glory of God. And such a priest gets to carry the title of Biblical Scholar! It makes angry righteous indignation rise up in my heart for God’s Glory! (And then I have to figure out how to calm down to make a Holy Communion. Such men seem to understand nothing of the Message of Christ about the Father! They have read and studied the Bible and have dismissed the Tradition and writings of the Apostles and Apostolic Fathers for worthless writings of lost “theologians” of the last 120-150 years. This kind does not go out except by Prayer and fasting.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Perhaps it is the old American Protestant in me, but I think deep and extended contemplation of the Bible is the cornerstone of all wisdom. All theology comes from it. I get annoyed too at shallow contemplation of Scripture from the pulpit, though I generally am largely indulgent of it and often chat cheerily with the Priest or Deacon afterwards, which has resulted in some lovely encounters. Once, on the feast of Sts. Martha and Mary, a Priest gave a pretty good homily with some real depth on the two. Afterwards, I just wryly said to him that, “What people often forget in this story is that Mary and Martha are BOTH saints.” Oh, did he delight in that, saying that is exactly what he had been trying to get to. Another Priest and I became fast friends after he somewhat irritatedly noted in his homily about “mammon” that people should not make the common and pitiful mistake of confusing mammon with mere money – in the Scripture it represents attachment to all worldly things. I loved that he go it and got to the heart of the matter…and he does on many things.

      But last Christmas there was one homily by a Deacon that so set me off I could not dare to talk to him after Mass, for fear I would go off into a furious rant. He spoke of the Star of Bethlehem – and how all the people of the world must have been dazzled by this brilliant star, brighter than anything in the sky and what it portended. And they were all faced with a great decision…

      I was literally vibrating in my pew, trying not to think, “You yutz…it was ordinary, so ordinary that few beyond a few guys from another country recognized it for what it actually was. God speaks in little whispers…and as many are lost because they pay no attention at all, do not even notice that something big is come, as do because they openly defy truth. I think this sort of thinking is deadly dangerous, as it artificially encourages people to think God will speak in the thunder if it is important and causes us not to listen for the little whispers at all – or to look with discernment at the ordinary, mundane little star, in an unusual position, that heralds the greatest event in human history…the Incarnation, the moment when God made us more than servants, but adopted us wholly into His family.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Dear Charlie, thanks for the elucidation; on the subject of luminaries, do you have any commentary on the pillar of cloud and fire that went before the people in Exodus, particularly as it applies to all of humanity for generations to come? I have always wondered about it and the deeper significance, as I’m sure there are many levels of understanding it.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Yes. Sort of like Russia building 30,000 + churches and one in particular in sts petersburg dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. ..someone this past week (patrick madrid? ? Oh my poor memory ) said hardly anyone has noticed. .lol

        Liked by 5 people

      3. Charlie when I read this first time…it was like I could just see you explain this and getting all riled up like you do…lol… I love your spirit, Charlie and you made me smile…🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I imagine the world flooded with graces and subtle miracles in nature as all the universe celebrated the long in coming incarnation. Subtle in that they would be easily recognized by folks of deep faith yet dismissed by those who do not believe. I see this reflected today in Medjugorje as our Lady has been appearing there for the past 37 years. I have experienced these subtle yet profound external miracles. Yet, the biggest miracle of all is the profound and deep interior healing I experienced. I cannot imagine a life without God now.

        Liked by 7 people

    2. I’m tired of hearing that Catholics don’t know the Bible. Tired because of Catholics who don’t put in the work, but even more tired of the Catholic critics who make such ridiculous generalizations without even realizing they’re mangling The Word as they say it.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. My day, before work, is not complete without reading the scripture. Heck, just read Luke chapter 12 yesterday about worrying. Right on target as I am undergoing a major change at work. Scripture is a love letter from God to me. I would not be complete without it.

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        1. Prayers as always for you, DP. We’re all one step closer to Heaven this morning, so there’s that. Having worn out stacks of Bibles over the years, read some St. John of the Cross last night in the wee hours for some additional perspective. Nothing like some St. John of the Cross for that… I feel like I’m starting as fresh as a shaky, crying babe fresh out of the birth canal, with the commensurate knowledge. Thus I started the day with prayers for you and lit a great bonfire with yesterday’s thoughts… so much straw.

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          1. I would love to sit around a bond fire and share stories with you MP. I think it will be more like I will be listening to your stories.  All of our lives are stories in the making.  I think when we get to heaven and have that red wagon trip, we will all be enthralled by each other’s stories.  We will be on the edge of our seats as we hear the suspense of being trapped by the evil one and experiencing the daring rescue unto salvation.  These will be our war stories.  Bond fire, marshmallows and lots of pop corn for Lambzie.  Thank you for your prayers!…..Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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            1. Oh, I much prefer hearing someone else’s story, DP. Especially a good, fluid, firsthand story. Nothing worse than hearing the same stiff anecdote, over and over and over, from the same tired perspective. Especially if it’s a misguided perspective.

              Looking forward to the red wagon ride after just finishing a long run this morning. For a number of reasons I haven’t been able to run in the past year and just got back at it. Looked both ways from the starting corner of Wild Horse Way, with all uphill to the left and all downhill to the right. Went left, because I wanted to get the honest physical assessment out of the way first thing. Oh… ain’t getting any younger.

              Passed two grannies coming the other way at intervals, and drank in those beautiful smiles. Smiles that simply said, “overcome.” And maybe a, “God bless, youngin”.” Don’t ya just love grannies!?

              Liked by 2 people

              1. It will be old home day on the wagon train. We will all cherish each other with pure love and as such, yours and everyone else’s story will be intriguing. I will bring some intersteller marshmallows for toasting.

                Liked by 1 person

      2. One of my passions is to get Catholics to read the Scriptures. I encounter people in various ministries I’m involved in whose attitude toward the Bible runs from indifference to thinly veiled antipathy. I encouraged a woman who said she never reads the Bible to start now — it’s never too late. She flat out refused saying, “I get spiritually fed by reading Commonweal.” When I sited Jesus’ proclamation of His divinity in John 8:58, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”, a Deacon said to me that Jesus “was only kidding”. When my friend shared from the Scriptures at a ministry meeting, a religious sister whispered disparagingly to the person next to her, “Bible Study”. When I gave a witness about my sordid past and followed it up with a reflection on the Scripture that we had just read, I was told that I should have ended my remarks with the witness. Plus, I frequently encounter the unattributable quote from St. Francis “Proclaim the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” Francis of Assisi never said this and Scot Hahn and Bishop Barron have both asserted that it is a false quote. It is not in the Rule of St. Francis. Bishop Barron calls it intellectual reductionism. According to Peter Heberck, St. Francis was a fiery preacher who preached in up to five villages a day. See Herbeck’s pamphlet, “St. Francis Used Words” from Renewal Ministries.

        Then I have to deal with priests saying “Jesus never said to worship Him, but to follow Him.” Ironically this is a form of inverted fundamentalism that can in no way be supported by Scripture. I confronted one of these priests who backed off of HisremarksOr I hear “Jesus didn’t go around saying He was God.” People who think this way need to read “A Case for Jesus” by Brant Pitre who argues that Jesus not only makes his Divinity known in John’s Gospel but in the Synoptic Gospels as well. Why does Jesus constantly call Himself the “Son of Man”? The answer is in Daniel 17:

        “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

        The Son of Man is a preexistent heavenly being who, for Brant Pitre, represents the Word of God who will become incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ.

        Fortunately, I have a holy, orthodox pastor who knows the Scriptures and always preaches from them.

        The Vatican II document, Dei Verbum, quoting St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ”.

        God’s peace to all.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. That a person prefers the opinions of Commonweal over Holy Scripture –– as spiritual food no less –– doesn’t surprise either one of us, since we’ve been warned of the times, and the attendant nonsense, on the pages of Holy Scripture!

          Good grief, don’t light a match anywhere near a person like that, lest the dry tinder ignite and go up in a puff of smoke. What miracle of grace does God have planned to bring the Vital Fluids back to so many dried out set of bones?

          More Bibles and Rosaries!

          Liked by 2 people

  18. Just no words for what I witnessed last night after Trump Rally 1000 protestor antifa. ..throwing rocks at cops on horses, surrounding trumpstets in their cars with vulgarities..no one protecting trump supporters…very alarming. .Jesus says be not afraid..there’s another rally tonight 😲

    Liked by 4 people

  19. I was praying at mass yesterday about some of the disorders we are all aware of and asking God and Mary “How long…” . asking how long before God would act. And at communion I had a sense that God was reminding me of those hidden signs of God’s victory and grace we so often forget to remember or to think of, and how we need to take time to praise and thank God for the graces we are already receiving.

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    1. Note carefully what Cdl. Sarah actually said. Contrary to the inartful conclusion of this article, Sarah did NOT say that to criticize the Pope is to be outside the Church, but rather that to oppose the Pope is to be outside the Church. To criticize the Pope when he veers from Scripture and the Magisterium is to support him in defending the faith. Obviously, if Sarah meant that to criticize the Pope would put one outside the Church, this would mean that Sarah was outside the Church, for he does criticize and disagree with the Pope’s statements frequently. So the only two things this can mean is that either Cdl. Sarah has left the Church or that to criticize error in a brother is not to oppose him, but to fraternally support him. The latter interpretation is the only one that makes sense. Cdl. Sarah has long parsed his words very precisely.

      Liked by 10 people

      1. I found this last night:

        Maria Esperanza does not foresee the end of the world. She sees a coming purification. “The moment has arrived in which mankind must awaken”, says Esperanza, “we must awaken to the love of God. In the coming years a new light from heaven will illuminate hearts, but before it does there will be hardship”. She forsees war, societal problems, and natural disasters. But she also sees a cleansing that will restore humankind.

        However, it seems that much of what will happen depends on mankind’s reaction (or lack of reaction) to the events that God disposes. In other words, a portion of what is to come is “conditional” based on humanities reaction to the events that God will put into place.“Difficult times will arrive, but in the end, it will make us better people” says Esperanza.

        It kind of makes me hope for the collapse of all politics, government, and all societal structures of God-lessness, so God can do his work unimpeded by people’s rejection of God…

        Liked by 6 people

        1. Yes, Al. My spiritual Mama Maria ever focused people on the idea that we CAN traverse the purification and, through, with and in God, become His agents of change and hope as we rebuild what must crumble in order to get our attention and bring us back to Him. How often, our Charlie has reminded us that we will experience joy amidst the suffering. Why, the entire TNRS blog and, now, ASOH here is replete with his consistent reminders to us about stoking and spreading Hope in the Darkness. Too, one patron of our site is St. Thérèse of Lisieux who had complete confidence in God no matter what was happening exteriorly in her life and another patron is Pope St. John Paul II whose constant message was: “Be not afraid.” Charlie chose these patrons precisely well for just what we need, didn’t he?

          Liked by 7 people

      2. Well Paul did Criticize Peter when Peter wasn’t acting rightly, so we too can ask this Pope to be consistant with the faith in his words and especially in his episcopal appointments.

        Liked by 3 people

  20. HeartLight Daily Verse -12 Oct [Today’s Good-News]
    Proverbs 3:5-6
    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”. Visit heartlight.org for more

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/walsh-planned-parenthood-is-a-money-laundering-operation-for-the-democratic-party-and-republicans-refuse-to-do-anything-about-it

    https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20191011/facebook-suspends-arlington-heights-based-churchs-page

    https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/10/11/Nurse-sues-university-alleging-she-didnt-get-job-because-of-abortion-views/6161570808838/?sl=5

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/california-newsom-abortion-pill-college-campus-students-for-life-america-lawsuit

    https://videos.whatfinger.com/2019/10/11/election-2020-gingrich-were-close-to-a-cultural-civil-war/

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/10/guns_and_cannabis_the_insidious_creep_of_tyranny.html

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/10/will_we_ever_prosecute.html

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/walsh-planned-parenthood-is-a-money-laundering-operation-for-the-democratic-party-and-republicans-refuse-to-do-anything-about-it

    https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/trump-did-not-betray-the-kurds/

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/middle-east-watch/christian-communities-northeast-syria-are-target-turkish-attack-first-time

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-religion/at-evangelical-conference-concerns-about-syria-but-cheers-for-trump-idUSKBN1WQ2QM

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 4 people

  21. I have a real concern for the Amazon synod’s apparent attempt to place Amazonian indigeonous naturalism even ahead of the teachings and revelations of Jesus Christ. God in His revelations to us through the prophets and His incarnate Son taught us His basic nature which can not include a Ghia or divine Earth Mother along with the deliberate killing of deformed or otherwise unacceptable children by burying alive or any other such brutal method. Glorification of natural wisdom over divine revelation makes no sense whatsoever. Incorporating any of this into the Catholic teachings makes no sense whatsoever. Respect for their persons and ancient culture gone amuck. If this is what the synod ends up endorsing, it will indeed result in a very serious schism. Pope Francis’ apparent endorsement of these proceedings is incomprehensible. I watched Pope Francis’ participation in the worship ceremony of the planting of the tree in the Vatican in honor and worship of Mother Earth was to me, unbelievable. Where is Pope Francis heading? Lord save us lest we all perish. These are scary times indeed.
    May God continue to guide and bless all here and especially all participators in the Amazon synod.

    Liked by 5 people

  22. Charlie I have a request. You have in the past commented that one of your habits in your role as political activist is what we might call “sitting around the local watering hole/diner and taking in the candid conversations around you.” To get a feel for what average ordinary people are really thinking and what their concerns, fears and hopes really are. Paid for polls can never be expected to reflect this kind of research in the trenches so to speak.

    I am wondering if you are doing any of this during your travels these days and if so could you give us your analysis of what’s happening under the pollster/media propaganda radar at the moment down at the Drop In Diner on Main St.

    I ask you this because I try to do a little bit of the same thing during my limited travels around the mid-atlantic region. I call the habit “believing your own eyes”. Often what you see with your own eyes contradicts what the media is telling you. I try to connect the dots. Often times I get some connecting dots that seem to affirm what I am seeing with my own eyes.

    So recently I spent several days in the Lehigh Valley region of Pa near the Allentown area. I was struck by the robustness and energy in the economy there. My “believe your own eyes” barometer was the almost unbelievable amount of trucking activity at all hours moving through the Lehigh Valley combined with a lot of new industrial facilities being thrown up in cornfields here and there. My overall impression …. times are very, very good in the Lehigh Valley. In fact, I’d say business is … well … booming.

    https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/business/2019/07/see-how-new-business-growth-is-exploding-across-pa-nj-and-the-us.html

    We here a lot of gloom and doom about the future of the economy and the likelihood of recession prior to the election and what a bad thing this is going to be for Trump.

    Frankly, I’m not buying it.

    There’s a lot of fear about China and the so-called Trade War. Seems quite overblown. Trump has not started a trade war with China. China started it about 30 years ago and has been winning it ever since with its successful mercantilist economic model that combines Western financial and industrial technology (often stolen) with good old fashioned Communist terror. Marvelously effective in generating an export based economy at the expense of its own workers who earn slave wages and the expense of American workers who see their manufacturing plants sucked up by China.

    My spidey sense is that Trump’s approach with China and the rest of the world …. tariffs on Irish butter??? …. are beginning to kick in to America’s benefit … Lehigh Valley.

    My connecting dot today to affirm my own “believe what your lyin’ eyes tell you” experience wherever I go these days comes in this remarkable analysis of the effect of a 25% tariff on all Chinese goods if made permanent through 2024.

    https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/prosperousamerica/pages/5267/attachments/original/1565876160/190815_China_PATB-25_Updated_Article-Working_Paper_format.pdf?1565876160

    It’s an econometric model. Models can be tricky as witnessed by all these phony climate models. But this analysis incorporates some dynamics that seem to be bearing out at least to my lyin’ eyes.

    “The results of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) model show that tariffs will have a sustained, positive impact on the US economy, including jobs, output, and investment. Our results differ markedly from other economic modeling efforts regarding tariffs which found negative impacts. The differences result primarily from different assumptions about how businesses and consumers react to tariffs. Other models reflect a pro-free-trade bias and assume that (a) no production returns to the US as a result of tariffs (b) prices of US imports always rise when imports move from China to third countries and (c) US consumers react very negatively to higher prices, leading to reduced sales and output in the US economy. A close study of the available empirical evidence shows these assumptions are unwarranted.

    A permanent, across-the-board tariff of 25% on all US imports from China would deliver significant, immediate benefits to the US economy through a) the price effects of US-bound production moving out of China and b) the income and employment effects of a portion of that production re-shoring to the US. Retaliation by China against US exports to China reduces the benefits, but only modestly. The federal program to support the agricultural community has the effect of offsetting the macroeconomic impact of China’s retaliation, which is primarily aimed at US agriculture. Finally, a program to spend all
    tariff revenue linked to US imports from China provides an additional boost to the economy. The job creation forecast by our model varies between 642,000 and 1.05 million additional jobs. ….

    ….. forecasters who have found that tariffs depress US GDP often assume that all or most of the tariff price is passed onto consumers, and that spending on these goods falls substantially as a result of price increases. These assumptions are unwarranted, noting the evidence from the tariffs of 2018-2019, where we have seen minimal price increases from Section 201 and China tariffs. Equally important, trade models are designed with a bias towards “free trade,” i.e. they exclude the growth in
    domestic output and employment caused by trade actions such as tariffs. Our model has been modified to capture these effects and thus provide a more balanced view of the effects of actions to
    manage foreign trade.”

    It seems to me that these two economists are making a good stab at formalizing and explaining what our lying eyes are telling us at the moment. The media/pollsters/political propaganda machine is telling us to believe their negative spin on the economy rather than our own lyin’ eyes.

    I think this goes a long way to explaining why the Democrat Party is in full panic mode to remove Trump from office one way or another. On the other hand, I think that this trend also explains why the Impeachment hysteria will fizzle and backfire on the Democrats even if they succeed in getting sufficient votes to Impeach Trump in the Democrat House but fail to remove him in the Republican Senate.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/trump_approval_index_history

    It is madness to consider impeaching a President with those numbers. On the basis of a phone call with a foreign President? Madness. I’m guessing Pelosi is thinking the same thing right about now. She’s also undoubtedly thinking about her place in history if this kind of Constitutional recklessness , not to mention the catastrophic effects on the political cohesion and stability of the country, is brought about under her watch.

    We have been discussing Truth here at ASOH. “What is Truth?”

    We live in a material age. What is troubling is that the moral and cultural rot that is pandemic in society is having a real effect on our society’s relationship to God. Spiritual poverty bordering on self-inflicted eternal suicide for millions in the face of unreported but real Material well being. Albeit maldistributed throughout society. The Nones now outnumber the Catholics in America.

    Anti-God forces are moving in the world today. No doubt about it. Satan is on the attack. Where is God? God is moving quietly through The Truth in mysterious, unappreciated and largely unobservable ways. For our benefit and not for our woe. Like Pilate, many have a hard time hearing or seeing The Truth. Satan is working overtime to harden hearts to be blind or even hostile to The Truth.

    “More than this, I worry about the damage already done to our culture. Some partisans, inflamed with rage, don’t care about facts or evidence at all – just any narrative that will get them what they think they want. Other, more decent people do care, but are completely bamboozled by the narrative barrage – and so default to what their normal setting is. If they are Democrat, they parrot the leftist line. If Republican, they go to the right. Only a few examine the hard evidence. Many of those that do are horrified to see this is not just a partisan assault, but an assault on facts, evidence, the rule of law, and truth, itself. Untouched by the actual existential hardships and challenges that people throughout history have faced, moderns make up imaginary hardships to furiously rail against. God forbid that moderns ever face a challenge that can’t be solved by a Facebook petition! ….

    I find it harder and harder to see a way forward that does not lead into catastrophic collapse throughout the world. ….. I also find it harder and harder to see a way to recovery after collapse that does not involve visible, Divine intervention. I suspect that this is what God has intended all along.”

    Me too Charlie. Archbishop Chaput points out that Opinion has replaced Objective Fact as the determiner of Truth in our society. If a majority of people believe that something is The Truth then it becomes The Truth irrespective of objective fact. A dangerous state of affairs. A state of affairs that could lead us to and result in ” catastrophic collapse throughout the world”.

    The narrative and who controls the narrative. Opinion and who controls opinion.

    But the Truth is a stubborn thing. Facts are stubborn things.

    “You can have your own opinions but you can’t have the facts.”

    We have to care about the facts. We have to teach not only our children but increasingly our millennials and the post-boomer generations that facts matter. The Truth matters.

    So, Charlie, I’m wondering what is the Opinion in the Do Drop Inn Diner on Main St these days?
    What is The Truth in the real world today? Me? I’m guessing your average American is gauging the Truth, the facts, the objective reality not by what the political pollster/media/propaganda spin du jour is telling him but what he perceives with his own lyin’ eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Ihavefinished sending angels to Cardinal Hummes, leader of the Amazon synod this week and willl send angels to William Orrick, the judge at David Daleiden trial next week. It is very important that God is the winner at least in the long term. May God continue to guide and bless all here as we head ever deeper into the Storm. jas

    Liked by 2 people

  24. That’s wonderful, Annie! My three oldest kids and I are also members of the Universal Living Rosary Association. And like you, I love St. Philomena. In fact, we named our second daughter after her (Philomena Marie Therese). 🙂

    Like

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