My Hierarchy of First Things

Nautilus Shell

By Charlie Johnston

Everyone knows that we have entered uncharted waters that are very choppy – both in the Church and in the world. My whole life has been a journey through choppy, uncharted waters. The choices I made led me to the Catholic Church, animated by an unshakeable faith in the existence and providence of God. It is, in many ways, the genesis of my philosophy of the next right step. But if uncharted waters are my natural habitat, I know it is new and often scary, confusing territory for most of my friends. I thought it might be helpful to some of you if I went through, in some detail, how and why I make my decisions on what is the right step at every moment. So here is my process, my hierarchy of values, how I decide what is normative in determining how to live obedience to God.

A) The great commandment is that you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, mind and soul. Yet how do we do that? We can say that we hear the voice of God, and I am certain that all of us do…a thousand times a day in little whispers that we often miss. We also hear the voice of satan tempting us. If we are seriously rigorous about loving God, the voice of satan mimics that of God and says many pious things in an effort to lull us into a false sense of security that we may be more easily deceived at a critical moment. What we feel or sense, then, is not sufficient, for both lunatics and murderous idolaters often blame their dysfunction on what they felt about God or voices that they sensed or heard. We need an objective source guaranteed by God.

B) I turn then to Scripture. For most, this requires an initial leap of faith. I had many reasons why I believed Scripture to be the inspired Word of God from the beginning, and I firmly believe that anyone who studies it honestly, seriously and with depth will come to believe it to be so, as well. On the other hand, superficial examination of Scripture is a good way to lose faith. Even so, Scripture is hard – often confusing.

When I was yet a boy, I began relentlessly reading and re-reading the Bible, trying to make sense of it, trying to see it with “fresh eyes” rather than through a prevailing cultural gloss. I began to study history hard, understanding that the times in which these books were written were very different from our own. If all we had was a 20th Century filter to consider these things, we would completely misunderstand many passages entirely. It was important to me to understand not just what it said, but what it meant to its first audiences. It was important to define terms well. The Bible is inerrant, no doubt about it. That does not mean that in both scientific and historical terms it does not frequently contradict itself. That troubled me for a very long time, mainly because I misunderstood the deeper meaning of “inerrant.” It all snapped into place while reading St. Augustine’s “Confessions” in the summer of 1990. At one point early on, he chided some readers for abusing Scripture as mere history or mere science (and in 400 A.D. when he wrote it, there was a lot less history and science than there is now). It is the inerrant word of God written for our benefit to draw us all to salvation, he said.

This set off a whole series of lights in my head. I contemplated that Jesus IS God, so in His Incarnation we had all that we needed to dig deeper into the authentic personality of God. Sometimes He spoke literally, sometimes He spoke metaphorically, but everything He spoke illustrated the large truths that would draw us to Him and to heaven. Sadly, people often took his metaphors literally (Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again – John 2:19) and His literal teaching metaphorically (…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you – John 6:53). Much of what He said was initially obscure and impenetrable to those who first heard it. It was pretty clear that Jesus demanded that you must trust first and understand later. It should give us all a large dose of humility, yet many act as if seeking the Kingdom of Heaven is a contest to see who can fully penetrate the mind of God first. It is foolishness, like a contest to see who can contain all the oceans in a gallon jar first – an exercise in futility that distracts you from what God calls you to. After reading St. Augustine’s passage, I went back and read the whole Bible again, working from that template. Oh, there were still mysteries aplenty, but now it cohered for me in a way it never had previously.

Through the ages, though, many fine minds had studied Scripture – and come up with thousands of competing interpretations for various passages. Even if you have the finest mind in history, that is no guarantee that you are going to interpret accurately. We are closer to an objective approach to lawful obedience, but we are not there yet.

C) I considered that when any New Testament figure, including Jesus, spoke of “Scripture,” they spoke exclusively about the Old Testament, for the New had not yet been written. What was binding on adherents of this newly minted Christianity were the oral teachings of the Apostles –  All were encouraged to study Scripture, but the only people given authority by Jesus to interpret Scripture and Tradition were those He chose. Those He sent were Apostles, to whom He said, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16). At John 20:23 Jesus goes on to give the Apostles the authority to forgive or retain sins. Everyone who listened to Jesus was encouraged to contemplate what He said and to love and forgive one another. But the only people given final authority to interpret Scripture and to govern the flock were those He commissioned as Apostles. Thus, it was clear to me that it was Jesus, Himself, who established a Hierarchy for His Church and gave it binding Apostolic Authority. Even so, Judas Iscariot was one of those Jesus initially sent. From the very beginning, we have had people with authority in the Church who betrayed Christ and His people. We hold these treasures in earthen vessels (see 2 Corinthians 4:7) and when one of those vessels cracks we are not called to crack with it. Clearly, Jesus intends for none of us to follow the Judases who pop up among us into perdition. How to discern in a way that is truly obedient to God? We now have a solid foundation, but it is not yet complete.

D) Various saints and, especially, those formally recognized as Doctors of the Church, have done much to augment our understanding of Scripture and doctrine. It can be a little unsettling to get deeply into the history of various saints and find that there are often disagreements on specific points. Some saints who were contemporaries even found themselves on opposing sides in great controversies. If you dig really deep, you will find that some saints held positions that were later declared heretical (they were NOT heretical because you cannot be guilty of heresy until an authoritative decision has been made). The understanding and development of doctrine has involved far more conflict and is messier than most Christians know. There have been many worldly Bishops throughout history who have betrayed their call badly – and more than a few Popes. The Bishops do have genuine day-to-day authority in the governance of the Church, but that spiritual authority is limited to matters of faith and morals. Ultimately, the authentic Tradition of the Church is definitively expressed through Scripture and the Universal Magisterium. Those men who transiently hold the offices that Christ created for the governance of His Church are appointed guardians, not masters, of the faith. A Pope and the Bishops may – and should – develop doctrine as our study and prayer leads to deeper understanding, but that development never includes contradiction of settled doctrine.

For a Bishop’s order to be binding on the faithful, it must satisfy two criteria: it must fall under the purview of his actual authority over faith and morals (he has no authority over temporal matters, except to the extent that he is a public actor, such as a landowner or public official. Even then, that authority is not spiritual and only applies to the normal duties inherent to that role) and it must be a lawful order. A Bishop may not lawfully command you to commit adultery or cavort with strange gods.

There is no formula which excuses us from exercising our own moral agency – and being held to account for the decisions we make by our God. If someone says they will just do what their Bishop or Pope says in all things, if the one they follow falls into perdition, so will they. On the other hand, if they defy a lawful order that is within the purview of their Bishop’s authority, they offend (and defy) God. We will be held accountable for every decision we make. The path of our earthly pilgrimage is not for the faint of heart.

I spend a lot of time trying to discern what God intends for me and for me to do. I am grateful for Scripture which has been the most important resource for me – even as I know that my interpretation, at times, may be wrong, for I am given no guarantee that my interpretation will be accurate. I am grateful for the Magisterium for the same reasons and with the same caveat. I am profoundly grateful for the Bishops and the Pope, for collectively, they have been given authority to authentically interpret these things.

When I am given direction by my Bishop, whether publicly or privately (and I have been given both – and, over time, by more than one Bishop), my question is NOT whether his judgement is better or worse than mine. That is utterly irrelevant. My questions are whether it is within the sphere of his legitimate authority and whether it is a lawful order. If it satisfies both conditions, I obey, for in doing so I know that I am being obedient to God by my obedience to the hierarchy He set up. If I have serious and weighty concerns over a lawful order, I certainly have the right to discuss it with the authority over me, but it is a right I use very sparingly so as not to be merely willful (although my director Priests might dispute that on occasion. Thanks be to God, we developed such a good, warm relationship that our visits were usually a mutual search for what was right and true – and were mutually rewarding.) To be entirely candid, often when I have gotten lawful direction, I have been relieved because that is, at least, one decision I don’t have to make, knowing that even if it is temporarily errant, the obedience itself is pleasing to God.

Understand that, in Christianity, obedience is not a matter of the lesser submitting to the greater. Rather, it is a means of opening up channels of grace. Both disobedience and thoughtless direction clog the channels of grace. If I have been disobedient, the thoughtfulness of my superior’s direction helps open the clog. If my superior has been thoughtless, my obedience helps open the clog.

Obviously, I will not obey any command to intentionally violate the commandments or settled doctrine. Even if authority over me told me it was acceptable in the eyes of God to commit adultery or to integrate pagan idols into Christian worship, I would be held accountable for doing so in clear defiance of Scripture and the Magisterium. If the case is doubtful, though, I obey the command of legitimate authority over me, for if I reduced such things to a mere battle of wills over everything, I would be condemned by God as disobedient to the authority He set over me. I have little confidence in our current Pope. Even so, if he gave me a lawful order, I would obey it.

It is a tricky business requiring prayer, thought and discernment every step of the way every day. The Next Right Step.

It may surprise some, but at the very bottom of my tools of discernment is private revelation, including my own. It is exceedingly rare that I have looked to private revelation as a tool to decide what to do. There are too many frauds and delusions in the mix for it to be reliable. Even when it is authentic, it is unbelievably hard to interpret accurately – and often even partially so. The best of it is far more useful as a terrain map. Revelation was fully completed with Jesus Christ. Private revelation adds nothing to it, but can be useful in helping us assess particular times and situations in salvation history. If we use the best of it as a sort of terrain map to gauge the challenges we face, it can be useful in helping to apply Scripture and the Magisterium to those particular circumstances. But if you ground your discernment and decisions on private revelation, you build your house on sand. It is easy to get enthused into thinking you know God’s secret plan by letting private revelation become your magisterium, but to do so requires that you ignore almost all of Scripture and the experience of the authentic Old Testament prophets who rarely knew more than the next right step ahead of them, even when they were prophesying about things hundreds of years in the future. However straightforward it sounds, it almost never is. Without the benefit of hindsight, who could have understood what Jesus meant by His assertion that if the temple were torn down, he would re-build it in three days? Or his insistence that we must eat His body and drink His blood to have life within us? God does not so much disclose Himself to us as He unveils His presence – and the final veil does not fall until the end of time. As St. Paul says, so long as we are here, we see as if through a glass, darkly. (see 1 Corinthians 13:12) The best of private revelation is like a weather report, useful in determining how to outfit ourselves. But when it comes to action, we must stick to the hard bedrock of the land and roads as expressed by Scripture and the Magisterium through obedience to the lawful orders of legitimate authority set over us by God.

This is why, when I was speaking publicly of such things, I was stung, but not daunted by my errors. You will make errors in the normal course of things, no matter how careful you are. Those errors do not relieve you of your duty to proclaim the Kingdom – just as King David’s egregious offenses did not relieve him of his duty as King. (see 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12). We prove ourselves as faithful servants by doing our best, knowing that we will sometimes fall. Then when we do fall, get back up and do our best again until the next fall. Keep repeating this process and we will bear fruit that will last.

This is how I think, the process that goes into my decisions. I hope it may be useful to you in all the decisions that lay ahead of us.

*********

I almost posted a bulletin yesterday. A Texas hospital was going to do a forced euthanasia on a nine-month-old baby girl from Ft. Worth, not because her health problems were life-threatening, but because the hospital decided her quality of life was not worth living. Thankfully, Texas Right-to-Life sprang into action and obtained a temporary restraining order signed by Judge Alex Kim. It buys time to get this into either federal court or before the Texas Supreme Court to, hopefully, strike down the hideous law that enables such things.

On his Twitter account, Ft. Worth Bishop Michael Olson reaffirmed “the Church’s teaching on the dignity of every human life and the immorality of euthanasia…” He did not note that he was the driving factor behind getting the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops to support this immoral forced euthanasia law that is entirely contradictory to Catholic doctrine. I will be watching to see whether he actually has a change of heart and supports overturning it, or whether he continues to both support the law while mouthing pious platitudes to hide that he is a major reason why Texas has it in the first place.

I will do a piece in the next week covering this battle here more fully and giving you some info on what is happening in David Daleiden’s civil trial in San Francisco. I sat in for a few days and it is going very well for Daleiden. But you knew that: if things were going well for Planned Parenthood, it would be front-page news every day. Instead the establishment media has done its best to black it out.

*********

I will be speaking in Houston at 7 p.m. this Thursday. It will be at 18222 Vinland Dr., Houston, Texas. This is in south Houston, near NASA headquarters. For information, contact Ed at tnrs.houston@yahoo.com. If you live in eastern Texas or even western Louisiana, come on by. We’ll leave a light on for you.

154 thoughts on “My Hierarchy of First Things

  1. This is excellent counsel, Charlie. Thank you. Especially noteworthy to me is your advice concerning following the directives of spiritual authority: “My questions are whether it is within the sphere of his legitimate authority and whether it is a lawful order. If it satisfies both conditions, I obey, for in doing so I know that I am being obedient to God by my obedience to the hierarchy He set up.”

    And how I love this new way of encouraging us to treat private revelation with good discernment: “The best of it is far more useful as a terrain map… However straightforward it sounds, it almost never is…” I just imagine we’ll be as surprisingly amazed – as were the Apostles and disciples of Jesus when He walked the earth – when we are living in the Era of Peace and looking in hindsight, discussing all that actually transpired as we made the journey though this Storm.

    Prayers aplenty for continued safe travels and fruitful visits.

    Liked by 12 people

      1. @Charlie, your observation that “It was pretty clear that Jesus demanded that you must trust first and understand later” is what was the clincher for God’s gift of Faith to finally penetrate deeply into my heart and soul almost thirty years ago now. But as you know, I’ve previously given my ‘testimony’ about that here on your blog. It’s good to be reminded of that grace. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think of those downcast fellas on the road to Emmaus… how strange –– probably even insane and hostile–– the world must have appeared to them at that time. Surely they were groping for something to cling to in THAT storm, trying to find something, anything, in the course of walking and conversation.

      And then there’s suddenly that completely unruffled Fellow in their midst asking them a strange question (strange from our current perspective because He is God and knows all things). “What are you discussing together as you walk along.” Ahh, a simple opening question, but another one of countless transformations had begun from doubt to belief.

      He was always right there with them of course –- and is with us –– though we often seem to have the same tough time recognizing Him.

      Anecdote for a strange world: hearts burning within us for Our Lord and His interests.

      Liked by 15 people

      1. MP, Clopas aka Cleopas identified as one of the two men on the road to Emmaus is identified by the Catholic Church as the brother of Saint Joseph. The unidentfied other on the road was probably a member of Jesus’s immediate family too. All the more poignant that they didn’t recognize Jesus until He performed Eucharist (broke bread) with them at their invite to rest with them at the end of the day. Mary of Clopas/Cleopas was either his wife or daughter but was one of the woman at the foot of the cross. She helped with his burial. She was either Mary’s sister or her cousin and therefore another member of Jesus’s immediate family. She is remembered as Saint Mary Salome. Google her for additional info. Just be careful to access only the Catholic approved history of her. There are Protestant versions too.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Nope, CrewDog; I often tell my children that the US as it exists now is nothing at all like the one in which I grew up. I never could’ve imagined that things in this country would get this bad ever, let alone within my lifetime. God help us all.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. My words often over the years, Mick, to my children also! I sound like a broken record when I keep saying I’ve seen “before and after”. May we have a world of goodness and peace some day! Who knows when it will come, but we continue to pray!

        Liked by 5 people

    3. Nah, man. You’re not alone. Boy I feel like a foreigner sometimes, even among friends.

      Couple times a week I go to the VFW for a free coffee or soda as a break from studying (haven’t touched EtOH for months til my exam is over). Surrounded by old vets, all wearing something patriotic or a military-themed baseball cap. I was overtired, and feeling especially cantankerous today (just weened off an SNRI – perhaps too abruptly🤨). Next thing I know I’m getting into it with a couple of guys about Democrats. Vets who like Democrats don’t make no sense to me. (uh, Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, Hillary and Bengazi, Obama, remember?) And man, I just let the lot of them have it today for attacking the President 😡 ….turned a lot of heads because I’m normally mild-mannered. Accomplished nothing but to clear the bar, but it felt good.

      Had a Rapid City police auxiliary meeting the other day. After the meeting, we were havin fun bagging on Dems, then the Captain, a young Christian Tom-Brady-look-alike said that overused comment of how Trump shouldn’t talk the way he does. What? It’s his right. “Yeah, but still, he should….”. 😡 He’s the most pro-cop President ever right? “Definitely.” He’s rebuilding our military, right? “Yeah.” He’s standing up to NATO and making them pay for their own damn defense, right?! And China? “Right. But I don’t like the way he says stuff. He should stop tweeting so much or be more presidential….”

      THAT DOES IT! I’m sick and tired of conservatives making that qualifying statement every single time they talk about President Trump. Everyone does it, like guests on “conservative” Fox, and I think they look foolish for saying it.

      This remarkable man has been lied about and attacked for 3 straight years. Even our very own U.S. federal government is working and scheming to undermine his efforts and destroy him personally. His entire family has been bad-mouthed, attacked, mocked, and ridiculed for everything they do. What would you do if people attack your family and cause them to suffer? 😡 Democrats and Republicans in that rotten murky swamp have relentlessly, incessantly abused the First Amendment to attack this poor man — yes, he has my sympathies for what he and his decent family is enduring.

      As far as I’m concerned, CITIZEN Donald Trump can say whatever he wants, however he wants, to whomever he wants. Let it out, brother Don! Say it! Show it! Let em have it! Mock them back! Make those funny videos! Point at the Fake Media in your rallies! Sock it to them! Call them out! Tell it like it is! Expose their lies and hypocrisy! Hit them hard and hit them over, and over, and over! FIGHT BACK!

      It is his RIGHT to speak how he pleases…and his brusk, unconventional approach is actually getting stuff done, angering even more those who deserve to be angered. It is his GOD-GIVEN right to speak as a citizen of the United States of America, and as I concluded with one particularly courageous vet today who was willing to engage me, “He can say whatever the (expletive) he wants cuz he’s the President of the United States.”

      Whew! Typing that was like a 20-minute workout! I need some water!

      Yeah, pretty much my entire family on my mom’s side is liberal. And even people I’d think would reject leftist thinking sometimes disappoint. Even Catholics that are anti-Trump are annoying. I sometimes feel like I’m the only conservative for miles and miles, even in South Dakota. Sigh.

      Thanks for reading my rant — I know I’m totally preaching to an angelic choir here.
      God save all here. ❤️

      Liked by 4 people

      1. The political divide has grown so painfully pronounced, here and elsewhere, that many are wondering what can possibly bridge it. More pontificating? More clever arguments? More activism? Another rant?

        As with all things, we really need look no further than The Gospels for the answer, wherein Jesus spent zero time Doing and Saying with the least whiff of a political filter and virtually all of His time manifesting the virtues in order to sow and cultivate Himself in His children.

        Want deaf folks to hear the voice of reason? Be the voice of reason… via the virtues.

        As for all many wicked things that have gone into our environment (and worse, those things that assault souls), He had this to say:

        And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. — Matt 15 (KJV)

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Appropriate Wisdom, MP, given today’s reading. I completely agree with you.

          You here at ASOH have my sincere apology for lying to you. I consciously misrepresented myself in the post above: I felt AWFUL for raising hell in the VFW like that. Totally uncool, made myself look like an ass, and every word was absorbed only by the walls. Blindsiding people with rapid-fire, loud-mouthed rhetoric. And the smart ones who perhaps could have debated picked up their beers and moved away. I literally cleared the bar in under 60 seconds and stormed out. Quite unusual behavior for me, but there it is.

          But I’m glad the Lord allowed this to unfold as He works with us even when we are bad. I came home somber, a bit perplexed, but very introspective: What is there at the VFW (and other such places of entertainment) for me?

          Asking in the third person: Why do you go there? What do you expect to find?

          The reasons all proved worthless:

          * Free soda? – a ridiculous notion as I don’t drink sodas other than maybe 10 times a year.
          * Pretty bartenders? – for the ego and an unnecessary temptation to peek. The other unnecessary temptation is to drink alcohol – a subtle arrogance on my part going to a bar with drunks and demonstrating how I’m able to overcome that need. It makes them uncomfortable, and I know this.
          * Veterans? – ah, my brothers in arms. Obviously we are not of like mind, plus some served heroically, while some it was just a brief desk job, so collectively what do we all really share? Nov 11.
          * Food? – the food is lousy. Cheap, but lousy.
          * Conversation? – It’s either nonsensical drunk talk, salacious talk, or painfully superficial sports talk.

          So what is there for you? What is it you seek?

          Is that the place to tell people about the Good News of Jesus Christ? Not really.
          Is that the place to instruct the ignorant and admonish sinners? No.
          Can you perform a corporal work of mercy there? No. (Give drink to the thirsty does not apply).
          Do temptations to sin in thought and deed await? Yes.

          I thanked Jesus for allowing this moment to happen. Just the day before on Nov 12, he permitted unusually harsh physical pain like I haven’t felt before – I was quite miserable; Next day on Nov 13, the severe pain was gone but I was hit with deep rage, anger, and a tongue full of accusations.

          I told him that I much preferred the day of great pain to the day of great anger.

          ❤️ The yearning to socialize with others is the restless yearning in our hearts for Heaven. It is a monstrous challenge being a single Catholic man in this world. As my spiritual director pointed out, I won’t have the benefits of comradeship of consecrated religious like priests or sisters in a community, and I don’t have the benefits of a spouse and family and the mutual support it can provide. He instructed me: “You must have a personal relationship with Jesus.”

          I would also add to that, “….and his Blessed Mother.” ❤️

          Liked by 4 people

          1. About midway through a deployment, the Master Chief decided he wanted me running the midshift at the hangar. What hours? 11pm – 7am. Great, how big is my crew? Uh, actually just you, said he.

            I’m a social guy, PD, so he might as well have sent me to one of the uninhabited islands nearby to fend for myself.

            So what’s a fella to do with all that quiet time in the wee hours by himself? Well, the birds coming indoors from the arctic cold were pretty chirpy all night… and there were other things moving about that large, cold, and mostly dark hangar. One night I was startled to find a rat the size of a loaf of bread nuzzling my leg as I dozed at the desk. So… I hunted indoors with a pellet gun for a bit after that, until it dawned on me that I was only contributing to the quiet and isolation. After that, I started leaving bread crumbs here and there. That’s also about the same time I gave up outdoor hunting for good and picked up a camera. It probably won’t surprise you, but I also started giving names to those critters as we got more familiar. That first rat was Big Willy.

            Most importantly, my relationship with Jesus came to the forefront one night, and thank God.

            Later on, the transient squadron finally swapped out with another from Moffett Field. Turns out that first squadron must have been pretty lazy, because the second squadron kept me on my toes with endless activity moving forward. I was most definitely glad to get back in the social saddle, more so to stretch my work legs, but can’t help but think it was a different kind of social after that. Not a big leap forward, to be sure, but one of those incremental steps that has you pause to say… hm.

            Pondering your thoughts above reminded me of that, and the benefit of hindsight makes me smile at the thought of sitting in that cold hangar with Jesus and Our Mother. Our Mother untying all the knots, so Jesus could detach my grip from stuff. Not to leave me to myself, but sort of in that way dad used to handle things when he showed me how to grip a tool properly, or take it away altogether and replace it with a better tool for the work at hand.

            Your SD gave great advice. Fact is, I’ve never found anyone or anything to fill the hole like only God can. Nor has anyone else.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. MP, “…untying of all the knots.”..reminded me that there is an actual devotion to Mary Untier/Undoer of Knots. When the Pope came to Philadelphia in 2015 they erected a grotto to this devotion near the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. It was the first I heard of it but in reality it is a very old devotion. It was started in Germany on September 28th, 1615. There is a papal devotion connection to the devotion and that is why it appeared during his visit in 2015. http://www.theholyrosary.org/maryundoerknots.html
              https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/The-Knotted-Grotto-Prayer-Intention-Philadelphia-WMOF-Pope-Francis-328832771.html
              https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/u/untier-of-knots.php
              If you scroll through the second link, you will see some beautiful pictures.
              Hope the links work, tripled checked them. If not, you can google the subject.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Thank you for posting the links, Joanne1950. I attribute much credit to Our Lady under this title and through this devotion for in part this is how financial struggles and the sale of a house were finally “undone”.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. That Nautilus shell sent me on a search with some pondering of its symbolism as renewal and expansion, a metaphor for spiritual growth.

    Stella Maris, Star of the Sea, come to us and s-t-r-e-t-c-h us as only a Loving Mother can do, making of us new wine skins to hold the outpouring of God’s abundant Grace in these times that we may be agents of lavishing His Grace within us upon those around us.

    Liked by 15 people

    1. Beckita I’ve sent so many messages to my bro in atlantic with greetings of stella Maris and prayers to St Brendan, Patron Saint of Sailors and voyagers at sea…love the title Stella Maris!!! BTW, they are nearly to Antigua. .prob exhausted I’m sure..yikes …since Nov 2 in ocean, day n night..thanks all for ur prayers🤗😇😘

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Very comprehensive & excellently explained. I appreciate the method of discernment for carefully obeying our Church’s authorities.

    I look at the concepts & lessons in a form of hierarchy:
    1) Jesus Christ is the cornerstone that the builders rejected.
    2) “Take on my yoke for I am meek & humble of heart.” Meekness & humility are a prerequisite to interpreting God’s will & words correctly.
    3) The gospel “Great Commandment” & Corinthians “Ways of Love” define God’s Love as Humble & NOT restricted to emotions, in fact love can be angry, sad, & sorrowful. Love is a “choice”.
    4) Absolutes are often used to define God’s truths.
    5) Jesus didn’t come to bring peace to a world that denies God, because to do so would mean that God gave up on trying to save our souls from the devil & hell.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Two comments. First. It struck me that this observation by Charlie is really a guide for living our mortal life in which God is not seen by normal eyesight:

    ” God does not so much disclose Himself to us as He unveils His presence – and the final veil does not fall until the end of time. As St. Paul says, so long as we are here, we see as if through a glass, darkly. ”
    However, for us to see, we must look. In our moment to moment, and day to day meanderings, we may forget or be deterred from looking for meaningful purpose. Life is lived in the slow traffic of sectarian activities, but that is where our lives play out.

    Second, if we accept that it is God who decides on gifting a child with life, how can anyone assume the authority to end it. One of the insights I believe I have gained from extensive reading of the NDE reports is that what appears to us as observers as horrible suffering, may be an illusion– the wounded are spared from the torture of their traumatized bodies as their soul may depart before any blow is struck. When we saw the horrible picture of the Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a cage by ISIS, it was helpful to expect that his soul had escaped that torture. There are the reports from those who jumped from the Twin Towers as they were burning that they did not fall to the ground, but left their bodies and were greeted by angels as they jumped. It is incredibly wrong, a wild conceit, for individuals or sectarian law to assume it knows better than God.

    Liked by 9 people

  5. Charlie: Thank you for sharing your discernment process with us. Your clear review of the steps you follow has me reviewing my own ways of attempting to hear God’s word and to follow Him. I think that the Lord will use your words to help me make some necessary adjustments to my efforts to see the next right step.

    JT

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Colossians 1:9
    Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/the-urgency-of-religious-freedom

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/cardinal-sarah-marshals-the-church-militant

    https://stream.org/holdshe-loves-out-loud-a-deep-deep-peace-and-a-strange-wonderful-joy/

    I’m thinking that Old & New World Christendom needs a combo of St Martin & Charles Martel of Tours:
    https://buildingcatholicculture.com/st-martins-day-the-feast-that-began-the-fast/

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2013/10/battle-tours-raymond-ibrahim/

    https://stream.org/trump-prophecies-true/

    Interesting piece on MILINET today. The author does not point-out the “People of Faith Factor” of those Tea Bagger Types ….. hated by SPLC, Media Global left and Democrat Party. I, most folks here I suspect, would consider Faith a critical part of Our, USA, Christendom’s Survival in any Unpleasantness ahead.
    I’ll Say-Again. If Civil War II is inevitable, the sooner the better ’cause we ain’t got ten more years to “Kick de Can Down de Road”!!
    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2019/11/10/neither-private-armies-nor-foreign-forces-are-heading-up-the-potomac/

    https://www.axios.com/axios-hbo-poll-politics-democrats-mad-c78f29c5-4c79-448e-8c7c-7d648f88a832.html

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/rich-noyes/2019/11/12/impeachment-frenzy-nets-aim-destroy-trump-96-negative-news

    https://townhall.com/columnists/sheriffdavidclarkeret/2019/11/12/dear-gop-in-congress-put-up-or-shut-up-n2556251

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    PS: I’m not anti-social, Gang. For some reason WordPress does not let me “Like” anybody. Apparently it’s a common Queer-Tron in the program. Some crappy cold day I’ll figure it out.

    Liked by 13 people

      1. Mick, and Crew Dog, Being computer illiterate, this may sound stupid, and I don’t know how this works, but it does. I was on Firefox when I signed on to “Word Press”, then for some reason my son switched me over to Google Chrome, but I made them leave my favorites in the tool bar. Soooo, I pull up this site on firefox and can’t “like” but the box to get on word press comes up. So I get onto word press from firefox, then I close that, pull up Google Chrome, go onto this site, click “like”, and it works. I’m able to “like”. Can’t figure it out, but just by dumb luck one day tried it and it worked. I hope you can understand what I tried to explain, and even more, I hope it works somehow for you.

        Liked by 5 people

  7. But the only people given final authority to interpret Scripture and to govern the flock were those He commissioned as Apostles. Thus, it was clear to me that it was Jesus, Himself, who established a Hierarchy for His Church and gave it binding Apostolic Authority.

    Is this the Protestant/Catholic split?

    Also, if it is, then the Catholic denotation of Protestantism has Heresy makes sense in that it is an usurpation of God’s authority.

    No need to answer in depth, just curious if I have the 3000 foot view of the matter.

    thx.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. It is not all, but you are on target. It is at the heart of the matter. Ever since I understood Christian history well enough to understand that it was the Catholic Church which decided authoritatively which books were to be included in the canon of the New Testament, it has puzzled me how Protestants could implicitly say that the Church had authority to compile the New Testament that all of us consider binding but no other authority. But the decision that all had actual interpretive authority has led to the splintering of Christinaty, as first the Lutherans split with the Catholics, and then other split from the Lutherans and the denominations that arose with each serious disagreement.

      Liked by 11 people

      1. Ironically, it was Sola Scriptora and reading scripture that brought me to understand the Catholic Church is legitimate. I was never brought up in any church. So I did not have any denominational bias. I saw it mostly for what it is.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Kind of funny, Doug…I used to say I came to Rome via the King James Highway. It was the relentless reading and re-reading of Scripture that led me to the doorstep of the Catholic Church – and St. Augustine ushered me in.

          Liked by 2 people

  8. Sort of expanding a little on points C & D, when we speak of “Universal Magisterium” we are speaking of something that extends through time. Chesterton wrote that “Tradition is the democracy of the dead.” I have found further clarification in the following quotation from Roberto de Mattei in his book Apologia for Tradition. “…in the unhappy event of a conflict…between the “living Magisterium” and Tradition, the primacy can be attributed to Tradition alone, for one simple reason: Tradition, which is the “living” Magisterium considered in its universality and continuity, is infallible in itself, whereas the so-called “living Magisterium”, understood as the current preaching of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, is infallible only under certain conditions” Roberto de Mattei
    Pax,
    Matthew

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Matthew Hill Thank you for this explanation.. There is so much conflict in my local church. Not with the Bishop, I would say he is young but very much traditional. The conflict stems from people within that have very Secular ideas about what being Catholic is.. Primacy goes to tradition alone when when there is a dispute with the Living magisterium. I agree.
      I was very proud of the Bishops conference standing up and pronouncing Abortion as our top priority.

      Like

  9. I like & support Charlie’s viewpoint of viewing prophecies as a events roadmap, a roadmap is useful for being aware of any potential difficulties (resistance to God’s will) durring the trip keeping in the eventual destination (God’s victory over the obstacles). The Book of Revelations is a book of warnings (spiritual dangers that should gaurd against) and a book of hope (God will win in the end). The Book of Revelations is NOT a tool for evangelization, evangelization based on prophecy & fear of the future is a poor foundation for faith that will eventually fall apart when things don’t happen as expected.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Oh my gosh Al..I’m reading mine currently. .always do b4 bed…it’s amazing. .it’s called trials, tribulation and triumph before during and after the coming of the antichrist. ..I think I got mone amazon..Vatican library has a copy I understand too…I’m learning so much

          Like

  10. Oh my goodness Charlie thank you sooooo much for this new piece today😄

    I like especially this part: “You will make errors in the normal course of things, no matter how careful you are. Those errors do not relieve you of your duty to proclaim the Kingdom – just as King David’s egregious offenses did not relieve him of his duty as King. (see 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12). We prove ourselves as faithful servants by doing our best, knowing that we will sometimes fall. Then when we do fall, get back up and do our best again until the next fall. Keep repeating this process and we will bear fruit that will last.”

    I really don’t know how I stand before God, for my whole life has been full of mostly rebellion and I’ve made some really dumb mistakes. I take hope in the Magesterium of the church and of what Charlie told me in Jackson MI, That “God can draw good out of great evils.” I knew he was reading my soul…lol

    But I had an encounter today that I am pretty sure was a legit TNRS ASOH monent…it was really cool…

    So I was cleaning house for a neighbor friend…yep, Kreg (the addicted drug addictionary Kreg), we’ll Kreg was having a bad day..he came home and I was pretty sure he did something bad in the bathroom. I was scared to clean it and I told kregs mom so. I think she was upset with me then proceeded to tell me she was at wits end and couldn’t take much more aND just wanted…peace.

    I felt God telling me not to fear but to cheer.

    So, I sat down and asked her plain, “Juli, what can give you peace??? You know what gives me peace? I pulled out my rosary aND said, “This is what gives me peace…I’m never far from my rosary and when I’m scared, I pray.”

    Then she blew me away by reciting from beginning to end Psalm 22 or 23…The Lord is my shepherd. …etc etc etc. ..she recited the whole psalm BY HEART. ..like I said, she blew me away….

    Pls say a prayer for Kreg n mom…it was a real Tnrs asoh moment. .just surreal

    Liked by 13 people

    1. What a beautiful sharing, Linda. I love your courage and the way you honor Juli’s faith. Surely praying for Kreg and his mom.

      PS Welcome to the Reformed Rebellious and Dumb Mistake-makers Club. 🙂 Seriously, once we confess, it’s important to take God at His Word: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) and I love Psalm 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Isn’t confession glorious? And remember the Father’s ways in the Parable of the Prodigal Son? That’s us, Linda, and every repentant and confessing sinner. We’re redeemed and made new!

      Look at the Father’s face… those eyes… that embrace… and He watched and waited, most likely day and night, for his child’s return…

      Liked by 8 people

      1. So beautiful Beckita…I wish u could see the smile on my face right now🤓I just love this:

        “PS Welcome to the Reformed Rebellious and Dumb Mistake-makers Club.  Seriously, once we confess, it’s important to take God at His Word: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) and I love Psalm 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Isn’t confession glorious? And remember the Father’s ways in the Parable of the Prodigal Son? That’s us, Linda, and every repentant and confessing sinner. We’re redeemed and made new!”Our Beckita🤗😇

        As dumb as I’ve been, which is hard…I think the hardest part is watching others struggle, because of OUR deficiencies, trying to figure out their life and salvation…ugh…Michael has taught me direction for truly the first time in my life, but that direction came very late…there again it fits in just right…”God can draw out good over great evils!” Cj🤗😇😘

        Liked by 6 people

      1. Thank you jlynnbyrd. ..I just knew it was one of those tnrs asoh moments…the world is such a mess…btw, she told me afterwards she is drawn to watching ewtn often too with all the disorder in her life…she’s just such a dear person. Surely, only good can come of this eventually 🙇🙇🙇🙏🙏🙏

        Liked by 3 people

  11. It was psalm 23 she recited to me…she is not catholic buy I tell you it made me cry

    23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

    2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

    3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

    4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

    5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

    6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Yesssssss, Timothy! St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. The same St. Nicholas who lost his cool at the Council of Nicaea when Arius was forcefully arguing his teaching that Jesus was not equal to the Father. St. Nicholas walked across the room and slapped Arius across the face. (It’s a great story found here.) May the prayers and sacrifices of thousands, if not millions, reach the Throne of the Father, making reparation for the Pachamama idol worship practiced at the Amazon Synod. (If anyone missed Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s strong rebuke of this idolatry, be sure to have a listen here.) Too, may our prayers and sacrifices bring conversion to those in the Church who need our aid.

        Liked by 6 people

        1. Prayers and reparation for this also…..

          Liked by 4 people

  12. Not much to cheer about but, perhaps, Cdl Pell might get a fair hearing … for a change!
    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/australian-high-court-allows-cardinal-pell-to-appeal-sex-abuse-conviction

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/11/the-first-time-ive-ever-seen-a-liberal-get-mad-about-chopping-up-a-baby-alabama-man-who-popped-baby-trump-balloon-raises-44000-in-donations-says-hes-do-it-again/

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/11/why_should_we_keep_our_guns.html

    https://www.liveaction.org/news/abortion-umbilical-cord-cardiac-arrest/

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/pro-abortion-rockefeller-foundation-sponsors-vatican-gabfest

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/lgbt-group-pushes-for-20-percent-of-all-television-characters-be-lgbt-by-2025.html

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/11/12/the-silence-of-the-shams-some-witness-reviews-still-being-negotiated/

    https://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2019/11/13/young-people-ignorant-of-history-n2556294

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/11/how_the_deep_state_media_operate.html

    https://www.bizpacreview.com/2019/11/12/joy-reid-trashes-thanksgiving-mocks-your-dumb-pro-trump-family-members-celebrating-american-food-holiday-851648

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/school-passes-out-flyer-to-seven-year-olds-discussing-implants-pills-condoms-and-more?

    THE WASHINGTON POST Headline: “Republicans shouldn’t blindly protect Trump during impeachment hearings”. By Editorial Board
    Yeah … Right!! …. but it’s REQUIRED for ALL Democrats to Blindly Follow ALL The Rainbow & Freak Show Agendas of Democrat Party, LeftStream Media and Global Left.

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 6 people

  13. I woke up today reading a horrific article by LifeSite News which states that 1 out of 3 Bishops at the USCCB fall meeting this week voted AGAINST abortion as being our “pre-eminent issue” of the Catholic Church. It should be 100%. An undeniable fact. An undeniable Truth. Abortion should be 100% the Catholic Church’s and humanity’s pre-eminent issue. The smoke of satan has definitely entered Holy Mother Church…
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/1-in-3-us-bishops-at-fall-meeting-vote-against-calling-abortion-pre-eminent-issue

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Very sad that our bishop spoke against abortion being called this pre-eminent issue. (Now you see what goes on in our large diocese.) God bless Chaput for speaking the truth courageously.

      Liked by 8 people

  14. Awesome Charlie!

    And today’s reading so appropriate!

    Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin
    Lectionary: 493
    Reading 1WIS 6:1-11
    Hear, O kings, and understand;
    learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse!
    Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude
    and lord it over throngs of peoples!
    Because authority was given you by the Lord
    and sovereignty by the Most High,
    who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels.
    Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly,
    and did not keep the law,
    nor walk according to the will of God,
    Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you,
    because judgment is stern for the exalted–
    For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy
    but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.
    For the Lord of all shows no partiality,
    nor does he fear greatness,
    Because he himself made the great as well as the small,
    and he provides for all alike;
    but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
    To you, therefore, O princes, are my words addressed
    that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin.
    For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy,
    and those learned in them will have ready a response.
    Desire therefore my words;
    long for them and you shall be instructed.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. LittleOne, I have a second class relic of St. Frances Cabrini that one of my brothers gave to us. A piece of her veil. She’s the patron saint of immigrants. My wife is an immigrant and I prayed to Mother Cabrini today on this her feast day. My wife – let’s call her Tanya – needs prayers for some physical healing so I appeal to everyone here to please ‘put in a word’ for her sometime.
      Thanks and I love you all!

      Liked by 7 people

          1. Linda, PMT is an acronym for the Prayer of Miraculous Trust. You can find it here by clicking on the Menu bar at the top right hand side of this page and then you’ll see the prayer listed in the lineup of options.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Actually I was just kidding ya, Beckita, cuz it sort of ran together with the 90’s…lol..I actually keep that prayer card everywhere..I bought a bunch and even behind my phone. It’s a really great prayer and I like the way Charlie has taught us to pray to the Saints for their intercession. ..I think it’s all I use now when people ask for prayers..or HM or to Jesus at communion ..🤗😇😘

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Amen, Linda. Anne a lay apostle – whose messages have her Bishop’s Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur – has received many inspirational thoughts from the saints. Again and again, these Holy Ones reiterate the constant wisdom gems of our faith. Among the countless treasures is this truth: “We need only ask for the assistance of the Saints and Angels and they will respond.” I readily imagine each Saint stands in solidarity with the words of St. Thérèse who said she wanted to spend her Heaven doing good upon earth. It’s real and so heartening. The veil is thin and the Saints and Angels are more alive than are we.

                Liked by 6 people

                1. Oh yes..amen amen i believe n love Anne too…sort of cool, I was thinking of Charlie n the group meeting today ,(our tnrs family )i looked out window where I am n there was a squirrel. ..lol…cold here…hopefully warmer in texas🌞

                  Liked by 2 people

                1. Wow…really cool Beckita. ..millenial pmt…that really is very interesting. ..I feel quite lucky and honored Our Sweet Saviour has willed it so that I know about it…just surreal. ..and we are family…I can just see Our Charlie TNRS ASOH abode someday up there…it will be so fun (hoping, not presuming for me😆)

                  Like

  15. The brave bishops need to be supported in their rebuke of the nonsense and bullying . To my knowledge it seems Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Strickland have spoken out against the ridiculous claim that listing abortion as a preeminent issue is going against Pope Francis’ agenda. Lord have mercy! This is the most looming human rights issue out there and paramount to our constitutional rights to life first, then liberty, then pursuit of happiness. Last year they voted down the McCarrick investigation and this year, that killing of innocents is not the major priority (how long, Oh Lord?!). They may not realize they just voted themselves a vote of NO CONFIDENCE! Please send a note of thanks and support and offer prayers of thanksgiving and strengthening for Chaput and Strickland if you’re able. It’s so crucial we stand with the good shepherds at this pivotal point I believe (there’s nothing like playing your heart out if the home crowd is cheering you on). And then, please add mavericks extraordinaire Bishop McElroy and Cardinal Cupich to your list of intentions in that rosary of reparation.

    This passage fell into my lap as I was looking for something else…(it foretells the Assyrian invasion, which it kind of feels like that right now and a judgement day for our peoples….)
    Isaiah 8:
    “…8It will pour into Judah, swirling and sweeping over it, reaching up to the neck; its spreading streams will cover your entire land, O Immanuel! 9Huddle together, O peoples, and be shattered; pay attention, all you distant lands; prepare for battle, and be broken; prepare for battle, and be dismayed. 10Devise a plan, but it will be thwarted; state a proposal, but it will not happen. For God is with us. 11For this is what the LORD spoke to me with a strong hand, instructing me not to walk in the way of this people: 12“Do not call conspiracy everything these people regard as conspiracy. Do not fear what they fear; do not live in dread. 13The LORD of Hosts is the One you shall regard as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be dreaded.…”

    Christus Vincit

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Chaput is my archbishop, but for how long? 😦

      I’m thinking of sending McElroy a Christmas card with a picture of my four cute kids with a headline like, “what a joy it is to be pro-life.”

      Liked by 4 people

  16. Hi, friends ~

    Just checking in. I’ve been on the road a bit, preparing for a presentation, reading many pages for a meeting, and getting stove wood to enhance my winter supply. 🙂

    Charlie, I appreciate your “hierarchy.” Also, I look forward to your news about David’s case.

    Safe and happy trails to you, Charlie, and to all ~
    Sister Bear

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Wise counsel from Charlie on how to navigate the rapids. We have definitely entered the rapids.

    Reminds me a bit of an NFL quarterback running through his receiver option checkoffs as a passing play unfolds. Deep, crossing in the middle, dump off to the running back. All in 2 seconds or less or find yourself on your back trying to clear the stars out of your brain. Now we know how Charlie executes his checkoff in the rapids. A technique worth emulating for all those following down the river.

    I might add one additional checkoff to his list. Believe and trust your own lyin’ eyes.

    As in be very, very careful of being Gaslighted by friends, foes and those just trying to sell you something. Or, by those who are merely seriously deluded. “Don’t believe what your lyin’ eyes tell you believe what I tell you. Trust me. Your lyin’ eyes are playing tricks on you.”

    Can your own lyin’ eyes deceive or mislead you? I think so. Charlie wrote something awhile back about trusting your instruments. Pilots when flying through a fog can be disoriented and led to fatal decisions by their own lyin’ eyes. It takes a discipline to trust your instruments instead of your own senses.

    It’s a tricky balance.

    In my case the danger of believing my own lyin’ eyes is that I tend to pessimism, cynicism and a kind of despair about the outcome. As in there is no way I am going to make it down these rapids alive. This is what a friend of mine calls “stinkin’ thinkin'”.

    I ran into an example of “stinkin’ thinkin” just yesterday. I saw a link to Jim Quinn at theburningplatform which I will not link directly because it includes some unpleasant language that might offend some. But you can find it yourself if you want to see a fine example of “stinkin’ thinkin'” of the type which I am drawn to like a moth to flame. The article, which might sound familiar, is entitled “Stranger in a Strange Land.” It is a somewhat depressing litany of the rocks, shoals and sandbars that our society is now confronted with seemingly without a hope of getting down these rapids alive. It’s what Jim Quinn’s lyin’ eyes are showing him. He sees the only source of Hope to survive our current circumstances this way:

    “I still feel like a stranger in a strange land. But, based on my interactions with good people with hard, cold wisdom over the last ten years, I believe there is still hope for our nation. I think there are enough good people with common sense, critical thinking skills, and the courage and fortitude to stand up to the Deep State and defeat the evil permeating the current social order. Conflict against fellow Americans looms. Allying yourself with good people is essential. Maybe I’m being naïve believing good can win over evil, but it’s better than throwing in the towel and accepting our fate.

    Epstein didn’t kill himself.”

    Jim Quinn addresses his cynicism by turning to “good people” to solve the problem of our time. Me? I think it is going to take more than that.

    So where’s the HOPE? The Hope that keeps one from despairing about the outcome?

    Perhaps not coincidentally I was separately led to another link this one about Exorcism. Exorcism? Seems like we are hearing more and more about Exorcism these days. In this case it was the true account of the exorcism of Robbie Mannheim, aka, the real subject of the classic movie The Exorcist.

    https://www.returntoorder.org/2019/03/this-is-how-saint-michael-cast-out-satan-from-robbie-mannheim/

    It dawned on me as I was resisting the urge to despair contemplating Jim Quinn’s article that the story of Robbie Mannheim is something of a metaphor for the possession of our Society by Evil that Quinn describes. The resolution of Robbie’s demonic possession was never made known by the movie. This article is the first I have ever heard of it. The exorcism took 38 days. It was a terrible battle. The exorcist began the battle to save Robbie’s soul by invoking Our Lady of Fatima, putting rosary beads in the hands of the possessed and praying the rosary all the while educating the Lutheran family of Robbie about the power of Our Lady. Hope in the face of evil. It ended when St Michael The Archangel entered Robbie and took on the evil spirit directly. Read it. It will inspire you and give you some Hope that the rapids can be traversed safely in the end with Our Lady and St. Michael confronting the seemingly hopeless evil situation confronting us individually, in our country and in our Church. Call it the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with St Michael as the instrument of that Triumph in direct confrontation with the evil that besets us. Real Hope. Ask Robbie Mannheim.

    Trust your instruments. Trust your lyin’ eyes. But above all Trust in Our Lady and St Michael and the Love of God. Pray the Rosary. Pray the St Michael Prayer. Hope.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Here’s a passage from Holy Scripture that has served me well:

      Then, too, heed your own heart’s counsel; for what have you that you can depend on more? A man’s conscience can tell him his situation better than seven watchmen in a lofty tower. — Sirach 37:13-14

      And now the rest of the story…

      Most important of all, pray to God to set your feet in the path of truth. — Sirach 37:15and

      Liked by 6 people

  18. I just read Pope Leo XIII encyclical on free Masons. It was written in the 1800s. As I read it, I thought, this is the democrats play book. It could have been written last week.

    Ben hiding for a while. Just finished hosting a week long iconography retreat at our house for 7 ladies. Amazing it was.

    Liked by 8 people

  19. My waking thoughts…first off, can’t wait to hear how our town hall went in Huston last night…hahahahaha I could just imagine Charlie saying…”Huston, we have a problem. ..!!!😂😂😂

    Second of all….sort of cool…Browns beat Stealers!!!😊😊😊 Michael was estatic, every time I woke him up that is…😂😂😂

    Thirdly…can’t put Desmond’s TTT down…read last night how he feels or rather others; namely, Mother Theresa told the author (Desmond is so humble) That we will never have era of peace with abortion in our land. Desmond also says, we can do more to usher in the era of peace by living our state in life, saying our daily rosaries and devotion to first Saturdays than “they”can do in Moscow or The white house…just imagine, Little ole us…quiet, obscure and unknown by most….think of all our beautiful nuns in constant prayer!!! Sister Bear😇

    Keep going Charlie and David Daleiden.and President Trump.Fr Frank Pavone and SO MANY OTHERS!!!…all the new conservative judges…whoa!!!..all making great progress..such scary yet wonderful times! Can’t wait to get update on David, Charlie!!!

    Have a great Fiday ya’ll. .This is the day He died for us…His love for us puts tears in our eyes…Dear Jesus, set the world ablaze with your love…let the whole world love and console you this day…Jesus we trust in You🤗😇😘

    Ave Maria! Stella Maris! !!💞

    Liked by 5 people

  20. You know guys, I’m not one to make excuses for my behavior. If I make a mistake, I swallow my pride, ‘fess-up, and apologize if need be. I’m also not prone to lying. That said, I may have an explanation for my recent odd behavior, which I’m sure some have noticed. 😯

    In January, I started a medication to help me finish my masters. This med is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor with twofold benefits: it diminishes nerve pain and has mood elevating effects. I need help in both departments. Some providers aren’t particularly fond of this med, but I’ve had good success with it, with few side effects.

    The last dose was on Nov 11 after tapering for about one and a half weeks. Abruptly stopping could have some hefty repercussions, however I tapered more quickly and steeply than recommended. Looking back, i notice a corresponding change in tone and language in my posts — more edgy and provocative.

    The first day without the med was November 12, and my pain was ridiculously bad: through the roof (tho I didn’t actually make a connection with the cessation, just thought it was a bad day). My dreams too have become increasingly violent, and the one that evening was particularly mortifying. Then November 13, I stunned myself and my buds at the VFW by exploding, literally, in a fit of rage. I went from quietly drinking a ginger ale, keeping to myself (watching the impeachment hearing), to kaboom! 🤬 Heads turned, eyes looked at me in disbelief. People were speechless — unfortunately I was not. I was raring for a fight. This was not the guy they had come to know.

    That’s why I was perplexed when I came home. “What the hell was that, man?!” 😧

    But, yes, I might say it *is* me to some extent, obviously within my potential. These emotions haven’t seen much of the light of day in a while, and they all came rushing out at once.

    Again, I feel a need to apologize. I am sorry. “A Sign of Hope” is not the place for venting biting anger about politics or writing of anger directed toward others — it is not useful to you or me. Unfortunately, I lack the wisdom to keep quiet when all I’ve got is negativity: You know the old saying, “If you don’t have something nice to say………” With all the violence, anger, division, and injustice in the world, the last place we need to hear of anger toward neighbor is here in our community.

    Thank you for your understanding.
    ❤️ Yours in Christ,
    Patrick 😬

    (This is a funny P.S.: I just saw the vet that said the magic words that inadvertently kicked the whole thing off at the VFW. He was with his Korean wife at the Millstone for Fish Fry Friday. They were leaving and we said hi to each other and he just smiled ever so kindly at me. How gracious!! Boy, do I feel like a jackass….Rapid City is a small town! 🙂 Lesson learned: Be nice….always.)

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you, Marie! Well, the fireworks were really just a one-man show. A Roman candle went off unexpectedly….but I think the fire’s pretty much out now and shouldn’t happen again now that I’m watching for it. Singed my eyebrows, but they’ll grow back. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey, bro… we’re all screw-ups at some time or another. God, in His love and mercy, is pleased with your repentance and humility; he is pleased with YOU. 🙂

      A long time ago, I heard something that has been a great comfort to me over the years: It doesn’t matter if we fall a 1,000 times, as long as we get up and repent 1,001 times.

      Asking Mother Mary, St. Joseph, Padre Pio, and all the Dominican saints and blessed to pray for you and obtain God’s choicest blessings for you. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you, my dear friend. I will never stop picking myself up and continuing on this narrow path. It is nice to have friends who help me back up just as I try to do the same for them. Onward we go.

        Today, my heart is joyful and that storm has quieted dramatically, and I feel it is because of 1.) prayer and 2.) talking through it with friends.

        Thank you for your prayers, and God bless you and your family, Micki!

        Liked by 3 people

    2. You are forgiven dear. The vivid dreams when weaning off these meds are frightening. I was praying to St. Michael and Jesus, Mary and Joseph in order to sleep through the night. They came to my aid in almost an instance too. Praise be to God and our Heavenly Advocates!
      I am glad you’ve lived and learned from this experience and are doing better now. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I was on prednisone for a couple of weeks back in 2007 and I was ready to bite someone’s head off. I was so glad to be off of it. Patrick, don’t be afraid to apologise to the folks for your out burst. You can say your response was unbecoming, but you can still stick to your opinion.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Meds can really be useful, even life-savers, but so many carry side effects. Steroids can amplify mood as you’ve seen. Certainly SSRI/SNRIs affect emotions by tapping into and modifying the neurotransmitter signaling pathways, no less. As I’m still “coming down” off the effects (Duloxetine 60mg QD), the symptoms of lightheadedness is still pronounced and anger flashes up still, now and again. It served its purpose, but I’m glad to be off it because my baseline cognition is more visible once again. Now I’m better able to address the root cause of some issues (through counseling).

          Regarding opinions, oh ho ho! I’ve got plenty of them, Doug: chatter, chatter, yap-yap-yap in the old noggin’ all the live-long day❗️My opinions ain’t worth so much straw or, as Big Joe Flanigan would say, “They ain’t worth the powder to blow them up.” 🔥

          I’m trying to be childlike, as recommended in the book “Forgiving Mother.” And to quote Our Blessed Lord: “….unless you enter the Kingdom of Heaven as a little child, you will never enter it at all”

          So what kinds of opinions do little children carry around? Well, opinions aren’t being formed and compiled and kicking up dust in the front of the mind as they are with adults. They are more like:

          🌺 “That is a pretty flower.” or
          🍦“I like ice cream.” or, best yet,
          ❤️ “I love my mommy.” ❤️⚜️

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ha!  Well Patrick, I kinda was referring about principals, but I was not sure the details of the blow up.  Principals should never be compromised.  So no apology for them.  Un becoming behavior, different story. Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

            Liked by 1 person

            1. True dat. Never waver on the principals….or is that waiver on the principles? Ach! I think I got it.

              Speaking of, I’m still waiting to hear back from the Thomas More Society AND Alliance Defending Freedom about laws regarding conscience protection for government healthcare providers over contraception. The Becket Fund (who defended the Little Sisters) flatly refused to help guide me in any way regarding my straightforward questions. They sent a very cold, legalistic reply. Just wanted to know where I can find the laws that would apply to this situation: Catholic docs and oral contraceptives.

              May have to call the National Catholic Bioethics center back; they were the ones who recommended those 3 organizations thinking they might be able to help a Catholic brother out with his ethical concerns.

              Waiting…….

              Liked by 2 people

        1. Having spent a great deal of my adult life in healthcare, I recognized that somewhere along the way, it became trendy to have a long list of medications, as well a have a psychiatrist for a time. How can we forget that period of time when most Hollywood A and B actresses were skin and bones and now we have plus size sports illustrated bathing suit front covers and underwear models for Dove soap. I won’t even get in to the gender confusion that looms over us now. I shudder at the conditioning that takes place and how we miss and or dismiss it. Being a natural born rebel, I laugh at trends and created my own paths which at times was a blessing and other times a curse. We are not in control was the lesson here for me, finally. I’m am still learning to fully accept that! 😉

          We try to “live” up to so many “other” worldly standards. I DO NOT like to text. However I do text my two adult children daily. Often, and I think perhaps by design, my android cell phones spell check likes to turn my word “love” into “live”. I end up texting my children about how much I live them. Sigh.

          So upon reflection of this, and it applies to all things really, my wish was and sill is, why can’t it/we just default to “love”? ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah, Jen, every other sentence inspired a tangential comment from me, but I refrain. I’ll just say Amen.

            We *should* default to love, but it is too often the last resort. Sometimes we only turn to love after making a mess of everything and finally feeling sorry for what happened. In our fallen nature, it’s curious how love is so evasive, especially when it brings so much joy to the heart of the giver and often the receiver as well.

            Liked by 1 person

    3. Dear Patrick,

      Thank you for being so humble about what happened. So sorry you were faced with this cross but very thankful for your witness. True humility is beautiful and a real sign of hope in a world that seems to only reward perfection and strength. Humility is refreshing. Thank you!

      Like

  21. I just read that the David Daleiden / Planned Parenthood case went fully for PP and against David. I am in absolute SHOCK! I truly did not expect this. Even with the judge who was favorable to PP, I thought the jury would see through the lies. Heaven help us!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  22. How long before God finally decides that a MAJOR house cleaning is due in our world and in our country? May it begin soon. I do fear that the battle lines are drawn and we need God to act on behalf of basic truth and goodness. We have tried ourselves and as in the verdict today we are hitting brick walls far too often. God what part do you want us to play to aid in tearing these walls down?

    Liked by 5 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.