Lockdown Ruminations

The Thinking Tree - Greg Olsen
The Thinking Tree – by Greg Olsen

By Charlie Johnston

Sometimes I am glad people know so little about history. Quite frankly, it is horrifying – mostly an unending tale of brutality, cruelty and strife. Thomas Hobbes was just being frank when he said, in his Leviathanthat life is “nasty, brutish and short.” At other times, it pains me, for if people knew history a little better they would appreciate how much of a rare holiday from history modern western civilization, in general, and America, in particular, is. I often say that the freedom and security we take for granted is akin to a half a postage stamp of safety on a football field of mayhem and misery.

In modern America, people seek to draw attention to themselves, to be noticed. Throughout most of history, common people sought to avoid notice, for nothing good – and much bad – could come of it. To get just a little idea of how things ‘normally’ are, study the history of the English Civil War, the Terror in the French Revolution. I don’t even touch on the Holocaust – for most moderns are, at least, aware of it. In modern times the most brutally cruel are those who posture as the most enlightened and compassionate. Read Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago to get a taste of the ugliness of the Russian Revolution; Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities to get a sense of the horror of the Terror in Paris; Nien Cheng’s Life and Death in Shanghai for a first person survivor’s gripping account of the brutal madness of Mao Tzetung’s ‘idealism; and the introduction to Malachi Martin’s chilling Hostage to the Devil for a taste of the horror of the rape of Nanking. Two of what I suggest are historical novels and one just an introduction to a larger work – to make your task easier. If you want to make your study broader or deeper, you had best have a strong constitution. The casual and gleeful random murder of innocents – including children – abound. For anyone who has a competent grasp of history, the bleatings of those who posit micro-aggressions and identity politics and such are not comical; they are infuriating. Western Civilization, the robust progeny of Christianity, is -like its Founder – the liberator of humanity, not its slave-master. What is most horrifying is that, if you drill down hard, you discover that the most vicious and accomplished mass murderers of history sound a lot like those bleating today about micro-aggressions and identity politics. We have been cavorting along the cliff’s edge of a terrifying new dark ages for over half a century now. I pray this vast global disruption sobers us enough to pull back from the edge rather than pushing us over.


Dr. Anthony Fauci is now estimating that we could see 100-200,000 deaths in the U.S. from the Wuhan Virus before it all burns out. That means that, at the low end, it could be like an extremely bad flu season (an average of between 30-60,000 people in America die each year of the flu. In the worst seasons, the number can gravitate up to 80,000) and at the high end, it could be a miniature of the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed 500,000 Americans from 1917 to 1921 – and 50 million worldwide. At 200,000 deaths, the Wuhan Flu would have about a seventh of the impact the Spanish Flu did in America (after adjusting for population). As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Fauci’s medical opinions. One of my team members forwarded (with permission) the clinical description of the course of the disease and some comments from a doctor who is a relative and working in a very stressed hospital. (I think it inappropriate to mention which hospital or even which state here). It seems, if I understand correctly, that the biggest dangers are that, while early on, it resembles a flu, it does not respond to the normal treatments for flu and, in fact, some of those treatments can make it worse. It gears up to a sort of storm of symptoms attacking many organs on the 10th day of symptoms presenting. If you get past this, which a little over 80% do easily, you are out of the woods. But the ones who don’t are in real trouble. In some ways, this was comforting, for I could see from the doctor’s comments and those medical people who commented on his private site, that the medical professionals are puzzled about many things on how this virus behaves and reacts, too. And I deeply appreciated their obvious concern to find their way through this for their patients.

One country is taking an entirely different approach than most of the rest of the world. Sweden is largely leaving people to make their own decisions, refusing to shut down anything except in several targeted cases, while urging the most vulnerable to self-isolate. It believes that establishing “herd immunity” will, in the long run, produce the best results. The idea behind herd immunity is that as each person gets infected, he becomes immune. Most immunologists say that once the immunity level reaches 80 percent, it gets very difficult for a virus to cause extensive damage to a population. Some of you are old enough that, when you were kids, parents often used this strategy with their kids on the common childhood diseases – chicken pox, the mumps, and measles. Certainly, the curve is bending up swiftly in Sweden – but that is what they intend. The bet is that if you urge vulnerable populations to isolate themselves that the virus will be relatively innocuous with most other people – and the “herd” immunity will protect the nation from any second waves in the fall. It has worried me that all this isolation is preventing any herd immunity from developing – which would make the quarantined nations very vulnerable to a second wave. The Spanish Flu began its greatest damage during its second wave in 1918. The bet on the quarantine technique being used in most of the world is that we will buy enough time to develop more effective treatments and a vaccination (which, itself, creates a herd immunity) and that then it will not be as bad because we will have established a partial immunity in the general population. I have had one serious commenter tell me that you would need almost 100% infection for herd immunity to work in this case. I did not really understand why this is different than the 80% threshold almost all others recommend. It’s a hard thing to figure. I call some of these things “Black Swan” events. Matt Shapiro of the American Spectator amusingly calls this a “Zebra Swan” event.

Right now we have designated some businesses as “essential” and kept them humming. As we continually extend out the length of a nationwide quarantine, I can’t help but wonder whether those “essential” businesses, will be able to get the parts they need to continue to make the medical equipment and other essential things. There are a lot of consequences we have not yet thought through – and they will get magnified as this goes along.

Some state and local officials have gleefully unleashed their authoritarian spirits. People who exercise arbitrary power in a crisis often end up exercising more of it for the fun of it – for the frisson of telling people what they must do and seeing those people do it. I do not understand why some localities have decreed that abortion is essential, but church services are not. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio threatens to shut down houses of religion permanently if people go there now. Of course, a lot of these threats – $5,000 fines and a year in jail for being out for anything non-essential in some venues (even as the same venues are releasing real criminals back onto the streets because of the virus) are clearly improper exercises of power in normal times and, one expects, the electorate will punish those officials whose authoritarian spirits got too bold and arbitrary during this crisis. I would not want to be either of those governors who banned chloroquine, the most promising treatment for the Wuhan Virus to date, simply because Trump spoke well of it. Political extinction is in their future. Even as central authority is being exercised to contain the crisis, centralization itself is being largely discredited. The nations which comprise the European Union are closing their borders to each other. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been such a propagandizing toady of Communist China that its reputation is probably permanently shot. A few leftists impotently argue that socialized health care is what we need to deal with emergencies such as this – whistling past the graveyard of the disastrous performance of most socialized systems during this crisis. They also have to ignore such performances as these hospital administrators who fantasized about denying care to Trump supporters.

I don’t know who we will be as a people going forward, but who we have been is being stripped away from us. God willing, we will get back to work and living, but we will not be the people we were. May we be a better people.


A distinction I have long made between Armageddon and the Apocalypse is that Armageddon is NOT the end. It is the decisive battle between good and evil – which is followed by the satan being chained for a thousand years. I have thought that we had entered the early stages of Armageddon about two decades ago, though the man who would become St. John Paul II spoke of it two decades before that, at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia in 1976 when he said:

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously.”

Like just about everyone, I have been baffled at the speed at which all this came upon us. On Monday, March 9, I was busy developing plans for a nascent SuperPac for people of faith targeting five key states. It was going to be a very busy year. And on Friday, March 13, I realized that everything was going to be shut down for a while – which seemed a dramatic over-reaction to me at the time. I’m still not sure it isn’t – a rifled approach protecting the truly vulnerable makes more sense to me – but there were enough unknowns about this virus at the time that justified this massive approach. Now, I agree with President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that we know enough that we can and should start rifling, rather than shotgunning, our defense against the Wuhan Virus in order to protect from a long and deep economic depression.

I am grateful for what this crisis has revealed, even as I am disappointed at much of our Christian reaction. I’m not talking about the suspension of Masses. A couple of weeks ago, authorities in one Diocese (not my own) asked me for my take on a potential shutdown of Masses. The Bishop involved hated the idea, but the governor of his state had ordered it. I said I hated it, too, but that to defy it would be to enter direct confrontation with civil authorities – and we have not prepared for that. Going off on a half-cocked charge could do permanent damage to our rights. But I had hoped that this time would be used, in part, to prepare contingency plans for another such confrontation in the future. Once civil authorities exercise power for just reasons, some fall in love with exercising the same power for unjust reasons. I had several such conversations with authorities in other Dioceses that were not so direct.

There has been an enormous surge in televised Masses – and I appreciate that, though I think it might be a bit of a double-edged sword. What I have watched for is how individual Dioceses handle such things as Confession, Anointing of the sick and such individual approaches to ministry. Some have made absolutely heroic efforts. But I have seen a lot more who refused these, as well as Mass – except for those in genuine mortal danger. I cannot help but think, for heavens sakes, we Christians are historically the people who go forth to comfort the lepers. What happened to us?

There has been very little practical application of Christian principles in contemplating this crisis from officials and secular commentators. Even from the Christian press there has been more of an emphasis on “signs and wonders” than on how to live our faith well in a world in crisis. I think an ugly form of materialism has taken hold of the culture, even among the faithful – where we worry hysterically about our own mortality rather than how to minister to those around us while prudently protecting our loved ones.

I have been contemplating it in light of my pilgrimage nine years ago. For the first month and a half, I was scared of many things – perhaps most especially of being injured far from help. I prayed for my safety frequently. I had a little Facebook Page (that is Abraham’s Journey) that I updated at libraries and where there was internet service. Usually just a few lines every couple of days. My son, at one point early on, told me he thought the page had a lot more silent watchers than we knew. It didn’t even have a thousand people following, so I thought my son’s observation was more filial affection than anything else. But at that time, when you reached a certain level, Facebook gave you access to an administrator’s page where you could see statistics. about the page. I was stunned to see that it was getting an average of 50,000 hits per week – and even more stunned when, shortly after, it went up to over 100,000 per week. It would become a turning point in my attitude.

It was amazing to me how enthused people were upon finding out what I was doing. Walking mainly through rural areas of Alabama and Mississippi in the early days, I would wander into a little cafe and find that all the people around had been watching and talking about me for days – and were eager to hear what I was doing. It baffled me, for at the time I could not see what all the excitement was about. I was just an old man walking. I told everyone who asked that I thought the world was in a lot of trouble and that this time we were not going to get out of it without a terrible reckoning. I said people worried about the things they might lose – and they had good cause to worry…but that we had forgotten that our only reliable source of security is in God. So I walked in prayer for our poor, bleeding world and to throw myself into radical dependency on Him for a time. Some would ask me what group I was walking for – and when I would tell them I was walking for no group, just walking to see who I would meet along the way and praying for all, the enthusiasm would get even greater. I really didn’t understand the almost universal excitement and enthusiasm of the many people I met along the way. But before I began I had started praying that this pilgrimage could, in its little way, be a sign of hope to those I encountered. I was thankful that it had, in a small way – but already much bigger than I ever imagined – become a sign of hope and joy to a lot of people.

It was in Louisiana where my prayers changed. So many people were following me on Facebook and were so inspired, that I came to fear that if I was injured in a way that prevented me from completing my journey, it could crush the nascent hope and faith my journey seemed to be sparking. So I began praying that if I were injured, please let it be such that it would not stop me from finishing my walk. My prayers ceased to be inwardly focused and got much more outwardly focused. I delighted more and more in the people I met along the way.

There was a lot more danger and hardship than I ever let on. I figured my purpose in all this was to spark confidence in God and joy in His creation – not to scare or impress people with how hard it was. Truth is, I was threatened by two men with knives and one with a pistol along the way. Without skipping a cheery beat, I made it clear to the two men with knives that they were in for more than they bargained for if they did not back off and pretend it was all in jest. The fellow with the pistol simply ambushed me – and I was rescued by what I am convinced were supernatural means. The fellow went from threatening me menacingly in the woods which he had followed me into to suddenly looking wide-eyed with fear over my left shoulder and turning and running from the woods in raw panic. I looked to see what was behind me and there was nothing there – but I did have the wit to say “Thanks” to my unseen guardian.

Animals mostly treated me as if I belonged there and were not shy of me when I was alone. At the little Hattiesburg Zoo there is a platform you can climb above the tiger enclosure, surrounded by various trees. It feels a little like you are in a jungle. The weirdness of animals towards me was underlined when, after I sat down on the bench at the top, a brightly colored little bird landed on the rail next to me and starting chirping cheerily, after which two of his duller-colored friends joined him. I was tickled by this impromptu concert, and then the star bird looked at me with bright alarm and they all took off. Just a moment later a woman and her two daughters arrived at the top. Birds and squirrels liked to play with me. Foxes stalked me many nights – wandering in half moon circles as if to ask, “What ARE you doing?” The first time a cougar came into my camp at night it unnerved me, but I discovered the big cats are very shy of humans once they know what you are. I saw wolves, armadilloes, opossums (ugh), a LOT of deer and elk, wild turkeys – a family of rabbits made camp with me in Houston next to the Buffalo Bayou. Oddly, I never saw a coyote – which I see routinely when I am in civilization and never encountered a snake in the wild until I entered Colorado. The only animals that unnerved me were bears. They are not hostile to man, but they are also not at all afraid of him. Three once came into my camp and grunted around while I was helpless in my tent. Oddly, while they sniffed the food I had hung up from a tree branch, they took none of it.

All in all, I was in mortal peril six or seven times and in great hardship or hunger a lot more than that. But I didn’t care to talk or dwell on that. On the other hand, when I was in Pearl, Mississippi, I was chatting with three ladies who worked in a little shop (come walking off the street with a smile and a heavy pack on your back and it is a GREAT conversation starter). I was delighting them with the joyful tales of my journey, but one kept looking at me with a knowing smirk. As I prepared to leave, she told me that her 21-year-old nephew had set out to hike the Appalachian Trail a year before. I asked her enthusiastically how he had liked it. With that knowing smirk she told me he didn’t last a week before deciding it was too hard. A little red-faced I conceded that it was tougher than I let on – but the joys really were incredible and well worth it. She patted my shoulder and then hugged me. It moved me. There is something wonderfully comforting in a person who sees deeper into you without being told.

Because I believed this journey was appointed by God, I took nothing to protect myself with. Oh, I had a knife, but had it in a place in the pack that was not quickly accessible. I was convinced that if I was called to throw myself on a radical dependence on God, I had to trust in Him completely – but without presumption. I had a fellow in Jasper, Alabama, with whose family I stayed a few days, absolutely in tears when I firmly – but gratefully – refused his offer of a 22-pistol for my protection. I routinely drank from streams and rivers – and never used any filter or purification. It was much in my mind that we are the sons and daughters of the pioneers. When the pioneers saw water, they thought, “Life!” and gave thanks to God. When we contemplate drinking water from the wild we think, “Death!” What happened to us? Sometimes there were little ironies. Once, coming out of several days of wilderness in California, I came upon a little primitive camp with a hand-crank water spout. “Ah, civilization,” I thought. And then I laughed as it dawned me that almost everyone else who came to this site thought, “Ah, wilderness!”

I am a prudent man. I have no desire to be a martyr. I want to live joyfully and hopefully die quietly in my bed decades from now. But what I most want is to spark new hope in those I meet along my pilgrim way. I want to live, but I would gladly accept death rather than knowingly crush the hope of one of my innocent fellows. Oh yeah, I can be combative with some naysayers, those who think they advance their status by attacking me, but I don’t pay them much mind. Truth be told, I usually think of them, with amusement, as the “Knights Who Say Ni.” They add a little comic zest to my journey, but they aren’t going to impede it in any significant way. But basically, I pray a lot to be a sign of hope – and get aggravated when my occasional crabbiness and sometimes blundering nature impedes that. Perhaps my outlook is a matter of faith, perhaps a matter of hubris – probably more than a bit of both. But everything I do is through a focus, maybe bordering on obsession, to defend the faith, hearten the faithful and defend the faithful.

We are all on pilgrimage. In the end, there are only two sorts: a pilgrimage to heaven or a pilgrimage towards hell. I have often said that I expected that in times of trial, we should expect that any whose prime source of security is in anything but God should expect it to be stripped away from them. I think of different sayings I cherish and think how appropriate for these times, such as, “What you desire most is most effective against you. Desire God and all shall be added.” I think if you substituted the word “fear” for “desire” in that saying, it would be almost equally effective.

I think we have begun a time when we must choose God or perish. If you have hold of God as your lodestone, however clumsily or stumbling, you will go forward, even if it is only stumbling forward. If you hold on to all the little pretties of this world that are already passing away, you will perish. Alexander the Great, who conquered the known world before he was 30 lies a-mouldring in his grave just like the wino who died in the gutter. If this life is all there is, what a miserable jest all nobility is. But it is not. It is our prelude to eternity; our audition, before God, for heaven. Why then, do we spend so much time clutching at what will perish anyway?

Apropos of nothing, it occurs to me that the Spanish Flu began in 1917 – the same year as the Fatima Apparitions – and raged in waves for the next four years. What If these pandemics are bookends of a sort? I am mainly grateful for this trial – thinking that God is giving us a taste so that we can assess where we are, whether we truly trust Him and are devoted to our neighbors or whether we just give Him lip service in hope of weaseling our way into heaven without any Calvary being involved.

We have all entered a stage in our pilgrimage where we enter the wilderness for a time. Do not fail to be prudent, to avoid rash presumption. But at all times, remember to focus your prayer outward, to be a sign of hope to those you meet along your way, to trust in God and get on with it. It is we, who are Christian in deed as well as word, who can keep this from becoming a return to the desperate and brutal strife that is history. Acting prudently and faithfully, let us worry less and get on with the business of proclaiming the Kingdom to a world grown more weary by the day.

395 thoughts on “Lockdown Ruminations

  1. I can’t help myself here. With all of the shutdowns and lockins and whatnots, I have been having laugh attacks. Yes, laugh attacks! Odd I know, must be my way of handling the seriousness of this whole mess. So, tonight, after texting back and forth with my 4 daughters and talking about all of this coming down on us I had to send them this song. Why, I don’t know but I was called to do so so I did. I will share this song for all, many of you have heard I am sure, but have to get this out The Sounds of Silence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdVjVtpr55M

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    I’m betting a C-Note that when the 2020 Dust Settles, we will find that The Usual Suspects have plotted, distorted and conspired with there Never Trump “fellow travelers” within the political realm but within enemy countries, multinational industry, academia, “healthcare” and ALL agencies of local, State National Gubermint.
    The proverbial Bull in the China Shop, Donald Trump, has so enraged the godless Socialist &/or Globalists within the above that they are willing to destroy the economy of the USA, destroy peoples livelihoods and even sacrifice human lives to attain their evil goals. People who think nothing of murder in the womb have ……. ;-(





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    1. President Trump does not dance to the tune of the globalists.  It would not suprise me if there was a plot against President Trump’s life.  With him having all these rallies in arenas with typically more than 10,000 in attendance, it makes me a little concerned.  He is so despised by so many.  I and a few others are starting to pray regularly for his safety.—- Sent from Doug’s Back Pack

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      1. Every single day. Third decade of the glorious mysteries: Holy Spirit please surround President Trump and Vice President Pence with your care and give them the wisdom they need, today.

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      2. Doug, I’ve heard that more than a dozen assassination attempts have been made but of course can’t prove that.

        Prayers for DJT are a great idea, for at least two purposes. First, to protect him as he follows his path to help us all. Second, to keep him safe from the temptations of power so he can stay on his path.

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  3. I wanted to share some thoughts. Take them for whatever the say or don’t say to you. Even with what I share below, I believe that the virus is only the beginning of the changes that are coming. In the face of that reality God is still encouraging us to not be afraid, to stay close to Him and to take the next right step.

    Since the bishops of the United States and Canada have suspended all public Masses I have had an image in my head of one of those views of the earth from out in space. The earth was turned so that North America was visible at night with all the lights of the cities shining brightly. As I am watching the lights begin to go out until all of the United States and Canada are dark. This image has been in my mind for the past three weeks and would come up whenever I thought about the closing of the Mass to the public.

    Yesterday I was praying the Rosary, and particularly I was praying the decades that I have dedicated to praying against the virus. I began thinking about, for the first time in my life, not being able to attend Mass on Palm Sunday. My mind wandered to the view of North America. This time, instead of seeing lights go out I saw what I thought to be water rolling back as if it were a wave retreating into the sea. The retreating water left a bare ragged landscape revealing much chaos and wreckage under what had seemed to be a beautiful, tranquil, surface of water. I under stood that I was watching a tsunami. I immediately presumed that the withdrawing water was something bad, that it was just the first step, the warning, before the massive wave would come crashing in as phase two and overwhelm us all. I was afraid. Oh, God, I thought, far worse is yet to come. These thoughts stayed with me all evening into this morning.

    As we were watching a live stream of the Passion Sunday Mass, I sensed God saying to me that the withdrawing of the water was not an act of the evil one. It was God withdrawing some of His grace. It was Him revealing and exposing so much of the evil that has permeated our society and even the Church. The Tsunami to come is not one of further destruction. It is to be His grace in its full and massive power. I thanked (and thank) God. I am praying for that wave to come.

    Let us hold on to Hope. Our God comes to save.


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    1. Thank you for this reflection and your insights, JT. It deeply resonates with me, especially your insight that God is revealing, exposing evil. And I LOVE that image of the Tsunami of God’s grace flowing over all. Your dynamic closing pierces the heart: Let us hold on to Hope. Our God comes to save.

      What is further evoked in me as I ponder your vision: I sense that the chaos and wreckage will actually increase for a period of time before God is able to enter in again with that wondrous Tsunami of His grace. (How glorious it shall be!) For now, as He finishes revealing all that had been hidden, hearts continue to be revealed. Sadly, some hearts are hardened and will remain hardened and these hearts belong to those who have firmly chosen evil over good. (Can’t really fathom it but I know this to be true.) In these days of the greatest historical confrontation in salvation history, those hard-hearted ones (and I pray daily for a change of heart for them and deeper conversion for us all) will rise up and, just as Jesus experienced the period when it looked like satan had won, a heavier darkness will fall across the whole world in which it will look like evil has won. We know, in faith, Jesus is Victor; He’s already won over every evil, including death itself, yet, just as it looked like evil had won when Jesus embraced His Passion and Crucifixion, it will seem in the near future that evil has won in our day. Hence, Charlie has given his all to prepare us to hold on in Faith and Trust, for then we will not be far from shore in this Storm now cresting to its heights and we know in sure and certain Hope that our Mother, Stella Maris, who accompanies us now, will remain with us throughout and WILL Rescue us.

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    2. JT, the image of lights going out is so appropriate. I had the words in my head, that without the Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus, Scripture says we have no life in us. However, I believe Jesus honors the Spiritual Communion we make, even watching Mass on the internet.
      Stay with us, dear Jesus, we believe!

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    Very Interesting:
    New U.S. Marine Corps Force Design Initiatives


    I’m more convinced than ever that China Plague has become part of an International Op to Take-Out the USA/NATO …. &, of course, USA First Trump!
    China does not Give a **** if millions of it’s citizens die-off nor does it care if the survivors exist in abject squalor/misery for extended time. Tyranny, squalor and misery has been China’s History for centuries. Nor do the Multi-nationalist entities (& Media) who have supped at the China Ca$h Trough care about anything but their own coin purses &/or the next Election Cycle!
    We are at War … Civil & International ….. and most here never figured that the US & Christendom would be Taken-Out by Chinese Militant Microbes at churches, airports and malls!






    From Fringe-Left Media Matters. The comments byLeftie Rush (thee & me) haters are telling. Rush is Right … there is much Out-There that does not add up … unless…. ;-(


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    1. This explains a lot. (Edit: deleted the link because the video is too long to vet completely. Those interested can go to You Tube and search with these words: XX22Report This Event Was A Coordinated Last Ditch Effort By The DS, Moves CountermovesDr Shiva ~BH)

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      1. Not only that, but the author of this site does not identify himself (except as “Dave”) and specifically gives the disclaimer that ALL material on his site is one man’s opinion. We are going to get a lot more people making claims – such things explode in troubled times. I won’t go through all that I do to vet information, but I will say that if a purveyor will NOT identify himself and makes disclaimers that he does NOT stand behind the factual assertions on his site, I do not waste time with it.

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    2. CD, the lifsite article about priests and demonic activity unleashed now, is very informative and shows how we should be praying for our priests a great deal! Seems that those loyal and Marian priests are probably hit the hardest, I’m afraid some who already had the tendency to be lazy and lax, are being even more lazy. As many have said and felt, this is a physical as well as spiritual attack on all.
      God bless you for your research, CD.

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  5. I didn’t see anything in my diocesan paper about RICA candidates; is their entry into the Church delayed/ tbd? That they’re disappointed is prob an understatement.

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  6. Ok fellow TNRS/ASOH’ers, I need some help. My middle son (self proclaimed agnostic maybe even atheist) sent me this article to read. It is awful but this is what is being written. I don’t agree with it at all. I don’t even know what to say to him. My heart breaks because I know he believes this junk. Near tears here.

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    1. Does your son really believe it if he’s agnostic, HTTP, or does he dislike Trump so much he’s trying to trigger you with a “prophetic utterance/analysis?” I quickly read some other pieces at this site and looked at some background on the writer and see that he is involved in the “Emergent Church Movement” and “Progressive Christianity.” Not knowing if your son would be open to your viewpoint, perhaps the best response is to continue praying for him. The greatest hope for those who are confused by so many incorrect theological ideas is to remember that we will all eventually know that God IS and in that knowing, I believe, we’ll know with clarity His Law which is written on every human heart. That will cut through confusion in short order. God bless you, HTTP.

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      1. Thank you, Beckita, Charlie, and Annie W. for you very helpful responses. The article my son sent threw me for a loop. It caught me off guard and rattled me. Those closest and do the most damage.
        Directions: Acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope.
        Even though I do bind them(family) to my rosary sometimes I don’t trust.
        Thank you again for your help.

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    2. Don’t worry, HttP. This sort of smug assumption has been around since the beginning. Many Christians have helped it along by giving detailed descriptions of what they think the Anti-Christ must be, thus tacitly agreeing that man can figure it out on his own without the help of God in each moment. A major point is that few will recognize the Anti-Christ because they will rely on their own cleverness. I would just tell your son that you put your confidence in God – and rather than restlessly trying to figure it all out, you count on Him to show you what to do in the moment that it is needed. That you choose to acknowledge God, take the next right step to the best of your ability, and be a sign of hope to those around you – and you’ll leave the smart-aleck stuff to those captured by a religious mania and atheists, as both of those extremes have all the paranoid and goofy bases covered quite well on their own.

      And remember, God is specifically allowing this Storm to separate people from their smug assumptions. It is nothing out of the ordinary that people hold on all the tighter in the early stages.

      Liked by 6 people

    3. I know your pain, HTTP. We have one of those also 😢. I am associated with the MMP and the BVM’s advice to Father Gobbi was to chain our family member to Mama with every Rosary we pray. I have made that intention in the past for all my family and trust Mama to honor it, even when I don’t think to do it with each Rosary. She will not let our children/loved ones be lost when we pray so hard for them! Love and prayers to you!

      Liked by 5 people

    4. I have read many thoughts on the mystery of the antichrist and this long winded screed may be the worst I’ve ever seen. As my grandma would say: malarkey.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. http – I have two children and they are both self-professed unbelievers. I know and trust that God loves them far more than I can comprehend. Here is our Blessed Mother’s latest message from Medjugorje that I believe reassures all loving parents that pray for their prodigal children. ❤

      Message for March 25, 2020
      “Dear children! I am with you all these years to lead you to the way of salvation. Return to my Son; return to prayer and fasting. Little children, permit for God to speak to your heart, because Satan is reigning and wants to destroy your lives and the earth on which you walk. Be courageous and decide for holiness. You will see conversion in your hearts and families; prayer will be heard; God will hear your cries and give you peace. I am with you and am blessing you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jlynnbyrd, I will assume that your children, even though now unbelievers, are otherwise intelligent like their Mom. My text, explaining how the Near Death Experience provides an authentic glimpse of the other world with its afterlife, and quotes reports from the Out of Body Experiences that God is apprehended, and Jesus Himself visits some to instruct for their return to life, was written to inform the agnostics and atheists what is true– based on good evidence. The book is only about a hundred pages, so no great investment of time is needed to read it. If they would have any questions, I would be fully available to respond, too.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. jlynnbyrd, This is a link to the info website for the International Association of Near Death Studies ( https://www.near-death.com/science/articles/nde-of-space-time-and-consciousness.html ), that provides an introduction about my credentials and the book itself. A click on the book cover brings up the Amazon web site for the Ebook that I have priced at a hamberger. I think that this intro may be helpful for interesting your boys to take a look. I believe the evidence for God and Jesus being real, more real than how we experience life here, is overwhelming. I am pleased to be available for any questions you or they might have.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Jlbd for including the BVM message. It reminds me of a miracle from the early years of the messages. I was pregnant with my third son and started bleeding at 2 months. The doctors said for sure I was going to lose him. My mother told me what the BVM had told in her latest message. It was for all who were pregnant and having difficulties. They were to relax and trust God. Somehow, I was able to do that. I was confined to bed for 2 months. Each week I had to have an ultrasound. After the first week the doctor said he would be profoundly “retarded”. Made it through that week. The next week’s ultrasound showed he was still there. The doctors downgraded the profoundly to “retarded” but he would be physically handicapped. Each week it was downgraded. That kid came out with a 10 apgar! He had delayed speech but that was it. He was born on Our Lady of Lourdes feast day. Thank you Lord. (Who said, Lord I believe, help my unbelief or something like that?)

        Thank you to all who picked me up out of the mud and got me going on the right path again

        With my second son I was confined to bed for 3 months. Maybe that is why I don’t find staying at home that big of a deal. I have an entire house to putter in, a yard to pick up dog poo in and a neighborhood to roam around in for our daily walks. Sometimes it slips my mind why we are having to do this and I’m brought up short. People are sick and dying. Lord have mercy on their souls.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Dear HTTP

    I’m sorry my gut reaction is a little strong and you were asking for help. I will pray for your son and ask that you pray for my own little rascals who occasionally get outside the corral. In general they are not fond of the “Donald.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LM, I didn’t take your gut reaction as strong. Thank you for replying. Your grandmother was quite right. You’ve got a deal I will pray for yours. However, mine isn’t so little, 34 years old next Thursday.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes HTTP,
        This is some of those “itching ears” stuff scriptures speaks of. Interestingly, my sister-in-law posted a curious comment from another “expert” about Divine Mercy and it’s “errors”. Most of these people just have an ax to grind, not recognising the imperfection of human error in all things human.
        Charlie is right, many people are comming up with all kinds of confusion ideas these days even though most have no credentials of any consequence but thier own arrogance.
        We must remember that the Church has the authority to interpret these things, not us. If one wants to understand prophecy, they need to read the Church’s take on these things and not try to divine some “new” look at them based on our own limited, unauthorative opinion.
        When we are asked to “test” all things we must use what the Church teaches as the “litmus” to test it against. Desmond has clarified a lot of “old wives tales” and the like here, helping us understand how often mere human precepts are used to describe deeper things the Church has already defined, sometimes for millennium.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Not fond of the Donald?

      Watch this Larry King interview on Donald Trump, September 2, 1987. Full interview 19:21 minute. A few minutes in Trump speaks on America, losing 200 Million per year to Japan, Saudia Arabia, Kuwait.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Charlie, I thank God for you and your wisdom as we navigate these rough waters. I eagerly look forward to your insights on things happening now and in the past, even though I always seem to be late to the party, lol. You always give us much to ponder, even if there are some things politically I don’t understand. I am grateful that you were directed to begin this blog. On another note, I agree with CindyJ about you writing a book about your pilgrimage. I would be one of the first in line for an autographed copy! Please pray for me as I pray for you, all here, and all intentions. ~juls

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the reference to Pope John Paul II, his words outline our current struggle. Thanks for the reference Charlie, if people wont listen to reason to me, then maybe they’ll sober up to the words of one of our former Popes…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not a medical expert by any means, but I’m a trained scholar who can do research, analyze data, etc. I did some research on the flu, because the numbers didn’t match what the experience on the ground seemed to be. In the early 2000s the CDC created a new category, “flu-related” deaths, which is the number that everyone is using without anyone thinking to check what the numbers actually mean. It turns out that only about 1000 people die of the flu (pneumonia) in the U.S. each year, not 36,000 (averages). The rest of the deaths are “flu-related”, meaning estimated deaths from cancer, heart attack, etc. that wouldn’t have happened (as soon?) without the person having been weakened by the flu maybe months earlier. Directly caused deaths from the flu are only about .003%, not the .1% that is misleadingly being thrown around. *In other words, COVID19 is about 30-40 times deadlier than the flu.*

    A couple links:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are some very interesting documents, Ben. The kicker is that our info on Covid is a LOT less reliable and differentiated than our info on the flu. How many deaths are merely “Covid-related” versus Covid-caused? Right now, several regions, like New York, are arbitrarily assigning deaths to Covid where there was never any diagnosis in the first place (New York added 3,700 just last week). Meantime, as you know, I am sure, the chief scientific advisor to the Minister of Health in Italy said weeks ago that only 12% of the deaths attributed to Covid in his country could actually be attributed to Covid.

      I am curious whether any of the doctors and scientists here could take a look at these and comment. Is the flu really that benign or do these papers just reflect a reduction to the ridiculous (in terms of making micro-distinctions)? I think your comment here offers much insight into authentic areas of inquiry, but does not yet justify your sweeping conclusion – particularly until we have gotten Covid numbers that are neither wild guesses or politically driven. Thanks for offering this perspective. I was not previously aware of these reports.

      Liked by 2 people

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