Man and Superman

Superman Logo

By Charlie Johnston

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved Superman comic books. How cool it was to imagine having superpowers – to fly, to be super-strong, invulnerable, faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. I spent many hours devising theories on how to make human flight a reality – and jumped off more shed roofs testing those theories than I can count.

In the end, as entertaining and admirable as Superman was (in those days, he really DID stand for truth, justice, and the American way), he was not useful as an inspirational role model. No matter how much I tried or trained, I was never going to have Superman’s powers. If that is what it would take to overcome evil, then evil would prevail despite any poor efforts on my part. Oh, I still like the old guy. He is entertaining and takes me back to some of my childhood enthusiasms, but he is not useful in figuring out how to can make a difference in the world.

In first and second grades, I was not all that enamored of history, either. It was all these incredibly noble men and women serenely doing incredibly noble things while everybody else swooned at their prowess and nobility. What did that have to do with me? I had enough trouble trying to keep my friends and I from veering into stupidly dangerous antics. Then, in third grade, I stumbled upon a book that charted the real warts of some American Civil War heroes and the real virtues of some of the villains in that contest. I was astonished to consider that some abolitionists were personally repulsive and that some slave-owners were otherwise kind and compassionate. I read of some of Lincoln and Grant’s flaws – and their pressing on in spite of those flaws and the setbacks they caused. Now I was hooked. If real people, struggling with their own worst tendencies, could transcend their flaws and accomplish really noble things by giving themselves over to something greater than themselves, by committing to be a sign of hope to those around them, I was in. You have no idea how this captured my imagination.

From these real people of history and their authentic stories, warts and all, I had MUCH to learn. How did they overcome their worst instincts and accomplish good things? How did many, even despite never quite conquering their worst instincts, manage to accomplish good and noble things despite these flaws? This was news I could use – and a worthy subject to immerse myself in.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;

When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

1 Corinthians 13:11

I was delighted that my piece on Jesus and Mary last week triggered an abundance of contemplation on the relationship between Jesus and Mary. Contemplation, to me, involves entering into the real-life challenges, sorrows, and obstacles faced by the genuine flesh and blood people who populate the Scriptures. Too often, with false piety, people imbue Biblical heroes with superpowers and act as if that is the way God accomplishes His will in the world. If that is the case, what hope is there? Which of us has superpowers? If that is what it takes to defeat evil, then evil will prevail. Rather, God accomplishes His will through ordinary people with ordinary limitations and, often, striking flaws. Other than Christ, Himself, there is no man on a white horse coming to rescue us. It is just us, committing to stumble forward in His service despite our infirmities. That is the mud and the blood in which His rescue is writ.

There is, of course, one superpower that all, from the greatest to the least, are given access to: the superpower of abiding faith. Alas, few take the time and live the sacrifice necessary to develop this supreme power, for it requires denying oneself and the temptation to vanity. Jesus said that if we had the faith of even a mustard seed, we could move mountains (Matthew 17:20). So why don’t we see mountains hopping about driving mapmakers back to the drawing board on a routine basis? In part, because few actually believe it and, in part, because most of those who do want to move a mountain just want to show their prowess (a vanity) rather than for any genuinely needful or compassionate purpose.

Authentic faith requires not just that we believe, but also that we submit and commit. To submit means to acknowledge our desperate infirmity and complete reliance on God, to recognize vanity for the painted seductress she is and, to the best of our capability, abandon her altogether. It is to know that we will never fully understand God’s plan – and will often misunderstand it entirely – but to relentlessly take the next right step as we understand it, knowing that we will take some wrong steps and trusting God to correct our course and draw useful things from our honest errors. (And committing ourselves to His mercy to draw useful things even from our dishonest ones when we repent of them) To commit does not mean to be a sunshine sailor (oh, how I loathe the ravishing error of the prosperity gospel!), but to press forward to death, even when you are filled with fear and don’t understand why it should be so. Faith, most assuredly, is not for the faint of heart.

Certainly, God sometimes entrusts a supernatural gift to a man’s own discretion. How else could Moses have drawn water from the rock when he was angered by the Israelites’ rebellion? Yet these gifts, which so many covet and think would solve all their problems, are a demanding and terrifying burden for those to whom God grants them. When the Israelites had rebelled again in the desert because of their thirst, God commanded Moses to speak to the rock before the whole assembly, commanding it to yield water. In his anger, Moses told the people, “Hear now, you rebels, shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20) Then he struck the rock twice. Water came forth, but Moses had not done as God had instructed him. Even worse, he intimated that the power to draw water from it was his. Moses did not do this out of any over-arching vanity, but out of anger at the complaints and disbelief of those who had already been the beneficiaries of so many miracles. Even so, the price God exacted from Moses for this act of disobedience was to deny him entry into the Promised Land. Real power is a deadly dangerous thing that carries with it almost unbearable responsibility. Most who covet it think it will solve all their problems. In reality, God knows that whenever He entrusts such a gift to even the greatest of His servants, it is like sending a 12-year-old to drive a V-8 Mustang in the middle of an ice storm. Covet faith, not gifts, and God will give you what you can handle for HIS purposes and to edify HIS people. You will never be the Master, only the servant.

When He speaks and acts, God tends to do so in layers. For every decisive event He foretells, there are a multitude of types of that event, that foretell some aspect of the event. Adam is a type of Christ, as is King David – as, for that matter, is King Hezekiah.

When Isaiah gave his prophecy of the virgin birth, it was to King Ahaz. That king, with ostentatious humility, refused to ask a sign of God. So Isaiah, after chiding Ahaz for his ostentation, said, “…the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:10-17) And so it was that one of Ahaz’ young wives conceived and bore Ahaz his son, Hezekiah. Describing this royal child a couple chapters later, Isaiah added that, “The government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) These prophecies and that of the suffering servant fit the reign of Hezekiah, who succeeded his father Ahaz, to whom the prophecies were given by Isaiah. Of course, they did not fit completely, as Hezekiah was not the mighty God nor the everlasting Father. But it is almost certain that Israel and Isaiah saw this prophecy fulfilled in Hezekiah.

You are probably saying (at least I hope you are) that these prophecies of Isaiah apply to Jesus Christ. You are right. If you want to delve deeply and completely into Christology, you must begin with the Book of Isaiah. Yet, just as Old Testament prophets often did some symbolic action to signify the import of their words, so is the fulfillment of authentic prophecies almost always preceded by imperfect types of what the prophecy intends. When people get into hot disputes about the particular meaning of prophecies, I often roll my eyes and think that if only those people could learn to say, “Yes, and” instead of just “But” they would approach the truth so much better. In the early Fifth Century, St. Cyril of Alexandria, speaking specifically to interpreters of Isaiah in the Introduction to his Commentary on Isaiah, wrote, “First, the interpreter must determine the historical meaning and then interpret the spiritual meaning, in order for readers to derive benefit from every part of the text. The exposition must be clearly seen to be complete in every way.” Clearly, St. Cyril was not amused by the “either, or” school that so permeates amateur interpretation.

This foreshadowing, showing the shape of the definitive event in miniatures that proceed it, suffuses God’s entire universe. You might call it His signature move. Look at a jagged rock. It replicates, in miniature, what a mountain looks like. Take a tiny chip of that same rock and put it under a microscope and it replicates both the larger rock and the great mountain. God speaks in layers, that point to greater layers, which point to the fullness of His truth. This is why, in speaking of prophecy, I usually say I understand part of what something means, rather than that I understand it in its fullness. I do this that I do not unwittingly impoverish God’s rich, thrumming Word into some stick figure parody of His majesty.

God also seems to delight in embedding things in His authentic prophecies that those who doubt Him can hang their hats on. If you just want to show how clever you are rather than discern what God intends, He gives you ample opportunity to deceive yourself. In the very prophecy of the virgin birth, Isaiah does not use the ancient Hebrew word for virgin (bethulah), but instead a word designating a young woman (‘almah). That has inflamed a sad number of exegetes to claim that Isaiah made no prophecy of a virgin birth, at all. And yet, throughout the Hebrew Old Testament, whenever ‘almah is used it is to describe an unmarried young woman. Most tellingly, it is the sign given to Ahaz. Such a sign must be strikingly out of the ordinary to be an authentic sign. If the sign were just that some unnamed young woman would give birth in the kingdom, that would be no sign at all – like saying your sign is that it will get dark tonight. The preponderance of the prophecy clearly indicates a virgin birth – and intimates His divinity hundreds of years before it was definitively fulfilled.

Do not think that by my skepticism over imbuing Biblical heroes with superpowers I reject the supernatural. Quite the contrary. I think promiscuously adding supernatural qualities to ordinary events ultimately causes potential believers to dismiss the faith as an amalgam of superstitions, which is precisely why I am rigorous. I want to preserve the persuasive power of actual supernatural events by acknowledging that God set up the laws of the universe for our good – and usually acts within those confines. When He acts outside of them, it should snap our heads all the more. I find no persuasive natural explanation for the Shroud of Turin or the Tilma of St. Juan Diego, but I am persuaded that the devil has made it easy for unbelievers not to seriously grapple with these things by sparking so many Christians, in the name of piety, to imbue perfectly ordinary events with supernatural import, thus discrediting Christian teaching on the supernatural altogether.

I was delighted that so many of you DID enter into deep contemplation over the relationship between Mary and Jesus. While I gently prodded some of the commenters who suggested that the birth could not have been accomplished in the normal way consistent with their idea of what piety requires, I do actually agree with those of you who said it was without pain. After all, Isaiah foretold it: “Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she was delivered of a son.” (Isaiah 66:7) Rigorously follow the evidence, rather than making it up as you go along; challenge all your own suppositions; then when you come upon a solution that fits, understand that like the blind man holding the elephant’s trunk, you have come upon an aspect of what God intends, not the fullness of it.

God loves the ordinary – and so do I. Enter into deep contemplation of how the many broken, flawed, but very holy men and women before us confronted the evils of their times and the dire challenges in their lives with the only superpower that God assures us of: faith in Him. This very act of serious, deep contemplation will deliver you from pious platitudes into resolute faith.

It is critical now, for the challenges all around us are coming to a head. When you resolve to be faithful unto death, you begin to attain the only superpower you will ever need.

Up, up and away!

 

84 thoughts on “Man and Superman

  1. Love this, Charlie. All of it. And this is my favorite, with its wonderful challenge for each one:

    Enter into deep contemplation of how the many broken, flawed, but very holy men and women before us confronted the evils of their times and the dire challenges in their lives with the only superpower that God assures us of: faith in Him. This very act of serious, deep contemplation will deliver you from pious platitudes into resolute faith.

    Oh the glory of God’s Mercy that He has and does use willing instruments who are broken and flawed, yet holy men and women with an everlasting love for Him as they persist in faith… ironclad faith in HIM.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. Great post. After what Beckita quoted, this was a close second favorite; “To submit means to acknowledge our desperate infirmity and complete reliance on God, to recognize vanity for the painted seductress she is and, to the best of our capability, abandon her altogether.”

      I gotta ask, is the Up, up and away a superman reference? I can’t get that 70’s song out of my head now “Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon.”

      Liked by 7 people

        1. Sort of cool Charlie we watched the news last night b4 fox news and Lester Holt was reporting on these new ubers that are like little hover helicopters and he said, they go “…up, up and away!!!” 😂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Charlie…
    I have been so confused the past few years.
    I want to comment more but am so tired right now.
    I just want you to know how grateful I am to know that however deeply flawed I am and how confused and fearful I am there is still hope.

    What you write feels REAL to me…I am weeping with relief that God hasn’t given up on me and on all of us.
    I have been wrong about so many things…

    The “Yes…And” interpretation makes things clear to me…I am feeling lost…AND
    I am found.

    …so discouraged…AND there is hope.
    I remember you writing about how much Psalm 27 meant to you…it has become my Psalm every evening…
    .I do feel like my enemies are about to get me and I am just hanging onto God for dear life.
    Be stouthearted and WAIT for the Lord. WAIT I say for the Lord.
    Now I am waiting with confidence because what you have written above.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 14 people

    1. I love praying the Stations of the Cross and do so daily prior to mass as my means of gaining a Plenary Indulgence. I try to relate ‘our time’ with that of Jesus during His way of the cross. For the past few months, I have pondered the First Station: Jesus is condemed. Just prior He was proclaimed innocent by two world powers yet condemed to death because of mob influence. Pilates refusal to go against the Political Correctness of the time.

      This past week, I have focused on the Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross. For the past few days, I have contemplated the first words Jesus heard after he died… and went to Sheol / Purgatory.

      Q: “Son, how is your Mother?”

      Liked by 11 people

    2. Oh dearest Arwen Evenstar, join the crowd…lol..I bet Ive got u beat! God loves a humbled spirit…for such as us He came to earth🤗😇😘 God bless you always and forever. May He fill you with His love and peace🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the day Charlie will get even wiser is on the feast day eve of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows? I vaguely remembered b/c I posted that silly/sweet vid. of our mascot imposters singing. h.b. to the one and only. (Another hint: it’s in the post entitled ‘Mary and the Saints for Protestants.)

    Liked by 4 people

  4. So true & inspiring…

    At a time when the world is sinking deeper into madness, we can use all the insights on how we as human beings fall short, and what to do get back on course. A pleasant read to get my mind off the current news.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. What would we do without Our Charlie, who said “yes” to God, to help us ordinary folksies find our way in this darkening storm!!! Once again, thank you, Charlie…will read, re-read, post, re-post hoping to help anyone else out there too!!! God bless you, dear friend of God.😇

    “God loves the ordinary – and so do I. Enter into deep contemplation of how the many broken, flawed, but very holy men and women before us confronted the evils of their times and the dire challenges in their lives with the only superpower that God assures us of: faith in Him. This very act of serious, deep contemplation will deliver you from pious platitudes into resolute faith.

    It is critical now, for the challenges all around us are coming to a head. When you resolve to be faithful unto death, you begin to attain the only superpower you will ever need.

    Up, up and away!” CJ

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Ha! A friend once suggested I try a higher structure. Luckily, my native prudence prevailed – as I noted I wanted to be high enough to give my theories a chance to work but low enough that I would easily survive my many failed theories.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. The genius of flight is when you realize that to go up you go into the wind, not with the flow. Counter intuitive but that’s how it works. Kind of like faith – you have to go into the wind and then God lifts you.

        Liked by 12 people

    2. I was thinking that is why Charlie has a bad back…I would have scolded him really bad🤗😇😘 I scold him too much already actually (vaping) lol hey, a man can never have too many mommies😆

      Like

    1. Hi Joyful Hope
      Thanks for that encouragement!
      I wish I could comment and “like” posts more but word press has made it incredibly difficult for me to sign in each time.
      I don’t have my desk top with me (just moved out to Colorado) which was a lot easier.
      🌷

      Liked by 7 people

  6. Great stuff Charlie! If you think about it, what we consider “ordinary” is quite EXTRAordinary! After all, God created it all – every ordinary part of it!

    Also, where you say above “This foreshadowing, showing the shape of the definitive event in miniatures that proceed it, suffuses God’s entire universe. You might call it His signature move.” Has just started to hit home with me and your discussion above drives it home and solidifies it. For anyone who has read “Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church” by Emmett O’Regan (a book I got after seeing him on one of Fr. Heilman’s USGraceforce podcasts), you would have seen a lot of what Charlie is saying about how this might be called God’s signature move! This book was really the first time I realized that the books of Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zephaniah, Zechariah, James, John’s Gospel, and Revelation (and really throughout the bible, historical Greek writings, etc) all have either repetitive messages/stories or build off of each other. I have to be honest…. I had always been told how the Old Testament and the New Testament were tied together (and there are more obvious store lines than others), however I was forced to deeply contemplate some of the “times, times in a half”, the two witnesses, Pope Leo XIII’s vision… type information – stuff I just never paid attention to as a fairly typical cradle Catholic who had regular CCD classes growing up. I am rereading the book now and am going to stop and take notes along the way. O’Regan’s take on much of Revelation seems well researched, but I just don’t know enough about eschatology and how much is to be believed and how much is conjecture. Now. O’Regan does state clearly when he is guessing as he pieces items together, but I just found it so fascinating how placing passages from Isaiah, Daniel, John, and Revelation side by side you can see the similar and repetive messages!

    Then, then this Charlie…. you are what I consider a trusted source…. you mention similarly above and wow…

    God bless!
    Bill

    Liked by 9 people

    1. As I remember a comment from a priest lately, Jesus lived approximately 90% of his life as a carpenter’s son. Only 3 years of Jesus’ time on earth was spent preaching the good news, that when he returned to Nazareth, most of his hometown couldn’t believe he was the messiah.

      Liked by 6 people

  7. “Covet faith, not gifts, and God will give you what you can handle for HIS purposes and to edify HIS people. You will never be the Master, only the servant.”

    Spot on and very wise. I keep pushing myself to stay small, “like a child”, and it helps greatly 🙂

    Liked by 9 people

  8. You know Charlie, I sense we’re living in times where more than the average amount of prophecy is happening around us. I can make out the potential players & teams in the battle between good & evil, but not much more than that. I agree that to apply specific meanings & interpretations to entire prophecies is to chase after shadows & images; it leaves open a lot of room for errors. Back to the roadmap analogy, I sense this month we’re reaching another milestone in our journey towards the end of this age, although I’m not sure what it is or how things will turn out.

    Liked by 9 people

  9. I was never much of a Superman fan. More of a preference for Batman in the DC universe, but DC really struggled to keep up with Marvel since the best writers and artists gravitated there. The artwork was really the thing for me, since the storylines and dialog was pretty silly, devolving with the times as can be expected.

    If you really dug into comics in childhood, did you happen to notice how flawed, human and sometimes (oftentimes) weak the super heroes really were? And I’m not just talking ‘kryptonite.’ Could any of them keep an honest relationship? Oh, even Superman with the on-again-off-again relationship with Louis. And don’t even get me started with alternate universes… good-superman-bad-superman…

    Fortunately, Brother G got me interested in Edgar Rice Burroughs, specifically the Tarzan series… and what adventures we had in the great outdoors growing up!

    “When I was a child…” Oh, what do you say about a couple of guys still up in a tree every now and again, walking/talking amongst the critters and whatnot?!

    So much of how we view things comes from gifts, wiring, experiences, people we’re around, etc.

    Doesn’t matter a wit to me whether we can all agree on different topics. Different perspectives are welcome and good. Only thing that matters to me is that we can all keep steppin’ along. Lighter spirits. Less human baggage.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I was waiting for someone to “Bing” me on that. Meant “Lois” as in Lois Lane. Give them enough time on this current trajectory and Louis will be part of his storyline at some point. Sends me into a rage. Hulk smash!

        Liked by 6 people

  10. When Donald J Trump was elected President and became a defender of the unborn, fairness and even prudence I realized how the Lord can work deeply in and with flawed people. Then I realized that there’s hope for me yet if I stay the course

    Liked by 12 people

  11. You all seem to be having more success controlling your anger than I am currently. I’m just so darn mad at what the left is intent on raining down on my children’s future. I sense many here have moved past that stage into serenity, acceptance and focus on service to God. Thank you for this much needed witness. And thanks Charlie for the encouragement that God can use me in these times despite my present battle with deep anger and resentment.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Not always, Irish7; articles like this can be infuriating and I have to seek peace with more fortitude to increase fasting and prayer.
      This is VERY disappointing re PP$ , +uptick in abortions, (excerpt):
      “The organization still received $616.8 million in government funding in 2018-19—a rise of more than eight percent from the $563.8 million it received in 2017-18.
      The government funding comes from federal, state and local health grants, contracts, and Medicaid reimbursements. According to the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, the organization’s taxpayer funding has increased nearly 27% since 2010.
      Despite previous House Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, the necessary votes to do so never accumulated in the Senate. The organization and its affiliates receive federal dollars in the form of Medicaid reimbursements.
      According to the Hyde Amendment, federal tax dollars cannot directly pay for elective abortions. And while Planned Parenthood says that it uses no federal dollars for abortion services, critics say that the funding it receives as the nation’s largest abortion provider is fungible—freeing up other resources within the organization for abortions.”
      According to its latest report, Planned Parenthood affiliates around the country performed 345,672 abortions in the 2018-19 fiscal year ending June 30, a three percent increase from 332,757 abortions in the previous fiscal year. The organization performed 321,384 abortions in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
      remainder: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/planned-parenthoods-annual-report-more-abortions-and-government-money

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Actually Irish, controlling my anger and remembering that God calls all to salvation is a daily struggle, I would guess just about everybody on this site gets angered regularly by what’s passing. Sometimes I have to “time out” to rest and regain an inner peace becuse it can be overwhelming. Adoration and the rosary are the crutches that keep me moving.

      Liked by 8 people

    3. @Irish7: Have you heard of Christopher John Waters, Keith Woods, or a podcaster named Rowan Croft? They had an encouraging discussion in early December that struck me in several points to run parallel to the Ordinary Man theme that Charlie speaks to. You might find encouragement closer to home in what they are saying and doing.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. I wouldn’t say there is acceptance to the Left’s agenda. More like acceptance to God’s plan and to focus in each of our respective lives to bring light and love to a very dark world. The Left will NOT Succeed.

      Good triumphs over evil.

      We are to learn to Trust God and to surrender our will to His will to change the world for good.

      At some point it will be so dark and it will seem that all is lost… and that is when The Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph.

      We need to keep the flame of faith alive to give hope to others and to lead them to Jesus Christ.

      Loving your enemies is a very hard thing to do. Easier when you know they are under the influence of the evil one.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Excellent writing! Your comment, “ God works in layers,” really hit home with me. I keep wondering when the layers will be complete. I have faith in God & that keeps me going & sane. I try to keep my eyes on God, but I fail miserably…it seems a great deal of the time. God continue to bless you & your family❣️❣️❣️ Thank you for giving me hope!!

    Liked by 6 people

  13. This may be a good year to develop a relationship with St Michael!

    https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/the-medal-of-honor-winner-with-a-devotion-to-st-michael-68274

    https://www.lifenews.com/2020/01/03/president-trump-asks-supreme-court-to-uphold-pro-life-law-saving-babies-from-abortion/

    https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/07/al-sisi-as-long-as-we-are-united-no-one-can-hurt-us/

    https://www.foxnews.com/world/china-imposes-harsh-new-rules-governing-religious-groups-in-2020

    https://dailyvoice.com/new-york/mountpleasant/news/state-police-investigate-bias-crime-after-large-cross-on-mountain-is-destroyed-in-area/781384/

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/12/12_27_2019_16_54.html#ixzz6A65jNRIl

    https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2020/01/06/the-trump-doctrine-humiliates-both-foreign-enemies-and-domestic-liberals-n2558968

    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/thanks-obama-iran-can-pay-80-million-bounty-on-trump-with-their-obama-cash/

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/01/hey_att_flagrant_racism_and_sexism_are_not_ok.html#ixzz6AFArJ9CR

    How Obama Impacted the Military
    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/iranian-analytics/

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/01/04/englands-muslim-population-3-million-tops-populations-wales-ni/

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/01/04/no-go-paris-suburbs-now-second-most-populated-department-in-paris-region/

    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/01/04/no-go-paris-suburbs-now-second-most-populated-department-in-paris-region/

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 8 people

  14. The parallel between Superman and Jesus Christ are obvious, and perhaps that’s why Superman was so popular. The reboot was pretty good. That last vid with him in flight, effortlessly breaking the sound barrier and reentering the atmosphere, was pretty impressive:

    “It stands for ‘Hope’.”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. My twin and I were big Superman comic fans as kids, and I’ve watched all of the movies. Like you, Patrick, I see “Man of Steel” as a Christian allegory. I watched it twice on transatlantic flights in 2013 ~ to and fro.

      Liked by 3 people

  15. “It is urgent to rediscover and to set forth once more the authentic reality of the Christian faith, which is not simply a set of propositions to be accepted with intellectual assent. Rather, *faith is a lived knowledge of Christ, a living remembrance of his commandments, and a truth to be lived out.* A word, in any event, is not truly received until it passes into action, until it is put into practice. Faith is a decision involving one’s whole existence. It is an encounter, a dialogue, a communion of love and of life between the believer and Jesus Christ, the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6). It entails an act of trusting abandonment to Christ, which enables us to live as he lived (cf. Gal 2:20), in profound love of God and of our brothers and sisters”(Pope JPll: Veritatis Splendor.)
    Pope JPll tells us of the difference between what Charlie called “pious platitudes” and the “living” example we are supposed to be. If our faith is but a logical conclusion to “Jesus is Lord” but we don’t actually believe this by our daily actions, what Jesus referred to as being”hypocrites” we do not truly have faith because JP says it is not truly received until we “act” upon these beliefs.
    I find myself guilty of this all the time. It is hard to live an outwardly faithful life in a world of evidence based thought where science, reason and “fact checking” are so demanded. Google has become our faith- what we believe in. Faith in Christ is an ascent to “love”, an openness to accept the “unseen” as well as the seen aspects of reality. To trust something you can’t see with your eyes but, through grace, with your heart .

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Malachi, in his book Hostage to the Devil has a section entitled “Dr. Bones and Mr.Natch”. in it, the Priest, Dr. Bones suffered from what you describe.

      Reading the section nearly killed me as I too suffered from that “intellectual delusion” of the nature of the faith. The Holy Spirit definitely got my attention with that one.

      Grace and peace

      Liked by 1 person

    2. In this current climate, I think people really are struggling with the process AND respecting the process in others. Too much of the capital sins and not enough of the cardinal virtues. What a tall order to wade through this stinking morass and remain squeaky clean. All are messy.

      At times like this, best to constantly refocus on keeping it simple.

      There’s been a great outpouring of words and thoughts on Faith matters, but doesn’t our Good Lord remind us of the simplicity? Love God. Love your neighbor.

      Pray, fast and all the other simple things prescribed for The Faithful. I put a particular emphasis on prayerful fasting, as it lightens the spirit and helps us detach from the flesh and worldly concerns. A lighter spirit finds it increasingly easy to look up, well above the stinking morass. Isn’t it obvious that there are no answers… no solutions in the stinking morass that transfixes and paralyzes too many?

      Hands will get dirty, but hands given over to the service of Love for His purposes are always a beautiful thing, capable of raising the dead if one can truly believe such a thing.

      Liked by 6 people

  16. You know, in the past when “faith moving mountains” was explained, it was always about overcoming our own I interior mountains of sin & weakness.

    From a more literal action, some saints performed miracles with their faith which were more practical than moving mountains. If moving mountains would serve to bring people closer to God, we’d probably see more mountains being moved. Even if a person had perfect faith, I doubt moving mountains would be pleasing to God. Could Christ simply of used that example of moving mountains to illustrate or conceptualize the power of faith?

    There’s some days, that moving mountains with faith seems like a easier challenge than trying to sense & reason into some people.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Rev 12 describes the Woman in travail of birth crying out.
    Mary certainly suffered incredibly in her life.
    I think Our Lord did not remove the curse of original sin. Rather He transformed suffering as our path of salvation.
    As I contemplate the Stations, I think the Church, His Body, will recapitulate those sufferings in some way before the end.
    Mary is present at it all – even after His death as the central figure. Will our faith persevere even if all seems lost? Do we trust in the resurrection?
    May she help us every step.

    Liked by 6 people

  18. While reading this I was reminded of several things, the first is the now infamous case of the woman in the early 2000’s who claimed she had seen Jesus’ face in a taco shell [this was for real, and not a gag], Then there are several passages from the Book of James, which clearly spell out what you were talking about in your discussion of taking the next right step – TAKING ACTION [works] BASED UPON OUR BELIEFS OF FAITH:

    Book of Jame 1:14-17 RSVCE: “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 18 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. EVEN THE DEMONS BELIEVE–AND SHUDDER.”

    All my love in Christ

    Desmond

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Friends!

    I will be in D.C for the March For Life on the 24th. If it’s God’s will it would be great to meet some of you. I will trust the Lord to make it happen.

    I am so excited to finally go! It has been on my bucket list for so long. Thank you God for the opportunity to go!

    Please pray for all marchers. I have a feeling that the evil one will want to cause trouble.

    Mass, Prayer, fasting, and rosary to prepare. Your comments above remind me to do this.

    Peace to all!

    Like

  20. Thank you Charlie. This spoke to me because I look at my wretchedness and how He has granted me torrents of mercy. I could never boast. I would be a liar if I did. My faith is real because of the mercy I have been shown. I deserve nothing and I know that. I am loved and I know that too. Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me! How could I not try over and over again to show my brothers and sisters the great treasure of our faith. I’ve seen more than once, His Spirit move in people when His truth is proclaimed. It often brings me to tears. Every person is a child of God. I can’t look at them any other way. I truly appreciate your direction; “Acknowledge God, take the next right step… you know the rest. No other way makes sense to me.
    A few years ago I said “Lord, you know the things that are coming and what it will be like here on earth. What is it you expect of us?” I distinctly felt His reply; “Comfort My people.” For me, that pretty much sums it up.
    God bless you and your loved ones Charlie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure what happened on your end, Pat. Charlie put up 2 posts after which I put up an article of my own and Charlie, in this piece, acknowledged he’s working on two meaty pieces right now. You can click on the MENU bar and reread how to “follow” A Sign of Hope so you receive new posts in your email inbox. If you’re still stuck let us know.

      Like

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