Living Springs

By Charlie Johnston

For many years I puzzled over the enigma of Judas Iscariot. Why would he betray Christ and then hang himself when Christ was given up to the power of corrupted men? None of the forced pious explanations satisfied me. When I am contemplating a story from the Bible, I like to immerse myself in the story, to try to see it as the people there saw it, to find the internal logic that motivates the participants in each drama. When I was a kid, I liked to follow mountain streams up to their source. Contemplating the Bible in this manner is similar. For every tale, there is a coherent, internal logic that brings the lesson into crisper relief. Sometimes the point is not what we initially think it is. Of course, Scripture is like a precious stone with many facets. I don’t think we ever see them all, and so when someone says they know what a particular passage means, they actually have grasped a single facet of it. Scripture is rich, dense and deep. But there is always a fundamental internal logic to a story if we look at the characters as real people and contemplate it.

Finally, just after I was received into the Church, I contemplated an explanation that satisfied my objections – and brightly illuminated the story for me in a way I had not previously thought of. I think Judas firmly believed that Jesus was the Messiah. All of Israel had expected the Messiah to be a warrior king, including Judas. After traipsing around the desert for three years, I think Judas lost patience and decided to force Jesus’ hand. He thought that if he put Jesus in a desperate situation, it would force Him to reveal His mighty power. Things did not go the way Judas expected. When he saw Jesus handed over to the authorities to face the judgment of men, Judas despaired over two things. First, he had betrayed innocent blood – and since Jesus did not reveal His mighty power immediately, Judas stopped believing He was the Messiah. I don’t think Judas’ great sin was the betrayal of Jesus. Rather, I think it was threefold. First, he sought to supplant whatever Jesus’ plan was with his own. Second, He could not conceive of Jesus having a fundamentally different plan than his own. Finally, he despaired when his plan did not come to fruition as he had intended it. The fundamental sin was that Judas never had any real faith in Jesus except to be the strong instrument to carry out Judas’ plan – which he thought was the only possible plan. He didn’t wait long enough to see that Christ’s power extended even over death.

For over 40 years, my method of analysis has not been dependent on a particular scenario, whether dealing with temporal or spiritual things. I long ago lost the illusion that I can ever know what, precisely, is going to happen. Rather, I deal in contingencies. After getting intimately familiar with the lay of the land, I come up with potential scenarios and go into an “if-then” sequence for each of them. On critical matters, I usually come up with about a dozen potential scenarios in my mind. When dealing with a specific client, I will give two or three main potential scenarios and how to address them. In addressing them, I generally give the probable benefits and shortfalls of each approach, along with my recommended approach (and I candidly address the probable benefits and shortfalls of that one, too). Even with this method, a good 30-40 percent of the time the reality is significantly different from what I expected. Yet the effort in putting it together this way both prepares me better for the unexpected and prevents me from becoming wedded to a particular scenario. I am occasionally wrong in my expectations, but I am rarely ambushed by the unexpected. A big part of what my clients have most valued about me is that, whatever happens, I almost always have a ready approach. Sounds like a know-it-all, doesn’t it? But the reality is that a know-it-all could never do this, for they are too vested in believing in their own superior knowledge to plan for contingencies. They already know what is going to happen, so why bother with so much labor to prepare for things they know are not going to happen. One of the best things that ever happened to me was my candid abandonment of the illusion that I already knew what was actually contingent and, thus, could only be known by God. It doesn’t stop me from devising strategy and tactics, but keeps me from getting vested in any. It is a way to develop strong muscles that are also supple. And it helps prevent me from committing the sin of Judas.

People ask me sometimes if I am still receiving messages – and if so, why I do not reveal them. Even when I was speaking openly about such things, I said that it was only until the heavy sequence of events began, for when that happened, it was no longer time for me to tickle the ears with messages, but time to act – to humbly acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around us. What we think we know will avail us little; it is what we do under God that will be decisive. The fact is I have never seen my mission as propounding messages, though for a time it was necessary. I have always believed my mission is to help hearten people that we can make our stand under God, no matter how difficult things seemed, and become heralds of the great renewal to come with the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. To defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. I actually hated speaking of prophetic things. I much preferred giving good, but very fallible, counsel. Wisdom is its own justification – and if the counsel I gave was wise, it would find fertile ground because of that. I did not want to become one of the chorus of those who compel people by claiming a special pipeline to God. My message has always been that God is close to YOU – and accessible to you when you devote yourselves to acknowledging Him, taking the next right step and being a sign of hope. I can offer counsel, but I cannot be anyone’s guru – and too many seekers who put emphasis on such things are looking for a way to escape their humble moral responsibility for the choices they make before God. The primary (actually the only) reason that I spoke publicly about such spiritual things was that, by telling you true of what was to come and what it would look like, it would build credibility for when I told you that this was not the end – a message that would be critical when all the institutions we counted on had collapsed and all was in chaos and confusion. Even that, I did fumblingly. Oh, I got the landscape right – a global civil war fought on cultural lines and a collapse marked by the complete loss of confidence in our vital mediating institutions. But I fumbled on the timing and the details of how it would come about. That, too, was a blessing, for it helped prepare each of you who, like me, will be wrong about many things, to accept your errors, take responsibility for them, and forge ahead anyway. I have had both public and private direction from my Archbishop – and that, too, has been a blessing. On occasion, I have chafed a bit, but his occasional direction has been wise and well-considered. I am thankful for the fidelity and charity of Archbishop Aquila.

Knowing that I am going to be wrong about some things, but not knowing which, I am largely open to competing theories on what must come. If someone offers wise words and good counsel, whether they are the same as mine or not, I generally leave them here without comment. There are only a few things I get prickly about. I strongly reject any notion that this is the end. I get very sensitive to anything that would beguile people into thinking that they will not have to make their stand and both publicly and boldly declare themselves. I fear that is the sort of false hope that could lead many to despair or destruction. The fundamental things I live by are: “Be not afraid. God calls all men to salvation,” and “Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you.” I know people want more, but that is sufficient – the things I have developed over decades. Contemplate those deeply in light of the Lord and you have all you need to find your path forward – and I don’t see why you should have it any easier than I have all these years. But no, my interior life has not changed in any significant way.

It is not just in what I have said and written that I have tried to keep faith and prepare. In the late 90’s I told my Priests that my understanding was that if I accepted my mission, I would be quickly plunged into a prolonged period of intense suffering to prepare me for the vicissitudes that would come later. Whether it was imagination or not, just a few months after accepting it fully, I was plunged into five years of intense strife and struggle. I do not like to discuss it, but perhaps someday I will have to. (I would prefer that, on that, in the end one of the three witnesses who were there for the duration describe it). It took me once to the brink of despair. Sometimes, when things seemed too tough to bear, I would ask for relief and then catch myself, asking rather that God give me strength to bear it and more. It ended with my life-threatening neurological injury. I have not had a minute without significant pain since 9:03 a.m. Central Time on Good Friday in 2003. That was when something broke in me – and I could feel it when it happened. It was two months before I was able to receive the surgery that restored fluid to my spinal cord – and by that time, I was told that the best-case scenario would be that I would be, at least, partially paralyzed on my right side. Months after the surgery, wondering how long it would be until the pain subsided, my neurologist told me it might never subside – that his tests showed I should not be able to walk at all, so my system had unusual resilience but the pain might be a constant feature. So it has been. One of my Priests prayed intensely that I be healed of the pain. I asked him to stop. I noted I could still walk and do things – and the pain served as a sort of integrated hair shirt that I could always offer up for others and in penance for my own sins. The only thing I really hate about it is how easily I am fatigued. I don’t like to speak of the details of it, but it may come in handy sometime. If many are suffering, I may be able to hearten them with my own sufferings and how one can endure and even find joy in the midst of them – and I chose it.

There were many blessings from my pilgrimage, walking across the country. I left with $50 in my pocket and a laptop in my backpack on which I could write little pieces for a content studio at libraries on my way and get paid $15 a piece for them on a cash card. That and the generosity of the people I met along the way was mainly how I financed my walk. It occurred to me during that pilgrimage that, if the time came when some people were displaced from their homes, I could speak comfort to them as a fellow traveler who chose extended homelessness when it was not necessary – and that they, too, can both survive and thrive.

For a full  decade I have lived poverty – and often like to joke that I got fat in the process. When people lose much of the material things they have, I can assure them as a fellow traveler that the only reliable wealth any of us have is God, our family, and our friends.

If times get hard enough that I have to offer these reassurances, I will not be speaking as one who has lived great comfort to the poor and benighted. Rather, I will be talking as a brother who has long walked in the shoes they are in – and assure them all the more that they can endure and thrive under God.

If you come to me to find the detailed plan on how everything will unfold, I am not your guy. If you come to me in hopes that I will tell you that the scenario you have devised in your mind is the only possible one, I am not your guy. If you come to me in hopes that I can fortify you in your search for what God wants from you and for credible assurance that God has not and will never abandon His people, I may have something for you.

For almost all of my life, I have imagined my path as similar to a spring bursting forth at the top of a mountain, determined to find its way to the bottom and form a clear pool of refreshing water. Along my path, I will encounter many obstacles – sticks, rocks, dirt and dead leaves. I can go through all of them. Occasionally I will encounter an obstacle so big and solid that I can’t go through it. On those, I will well up against it and go around it. But I WILL find my way to the bottom to form that clear pool. And when I get there, I know I will realize that all those obstacles actually purified me on my way, filtering out the impurities and dirt that clung to me at the beginning. I may die a complete failure, but if I do, I won’t know it in this world, for I will press on to the end of my way. I pray – and I have been encouraging all of you these last eight years – that you do the same.


Today begins our end of the year fundraising drive for CORAC. Many of you will receive emails from me hitting you up for money for the organization. Now that we may have to mount a full-fledged resistance, it is more important than ever. The board of directors and I are calling people to secure the funds for matching grants of up to $15,000. The CORAC site will have a thermometer tracking how close we are coming to the goal.

Besides the committee of coordinators from around the country to run operations in their regions, we have set up national committees to deal with medical needs, sustainability (previously called home skills because of the lost basic arts in times of want – but it is not just for those who have an acreage to retreat to. We want everyone, whether they live in a village lot or a large farm to have the resources they need to sustain them and their families), communications, and prayer teams. Beyond that, we have people developing reproduceable pamphlets you can use to defend your rights and set up action teams for specific projects.

If you can spare a little extra, please send it our way. If you can spare a lot extra, send that, too. And whatever you do, if you have not signed up, please join us. We have a lot of wood to chop ahead of us.  

256 thoughts on “Living Springs

      1. The only time it will be visible down here near Houston is from dusk to 7:15 pm. At 7:15, it sinks below the horizon. I am surrounded by woods, I have not seen a horizon in ages! We will have to drive, and it is suppertime. I guess I will watch on computer later.

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    1. Hello! I expect everyone has been as busy as we have… it rained down in buckets last night (21st) after a lovely partly sunny day. We celebrated our annual decorate the tree with two of our grandchildren and right about 4:45 we stepped out on the front porch (oh, yes it was just pouring!) prayed the Our Father together. They are 5 & 9 and are not being raised in the Faith, but they are learning their prayers from us. They prayed loud and clear. So sweet 🥲💕

      Viewed the conjunction on the Griffith Observatory YouTube channel.

      I continue to pray for all here and for CORAC and our efforts to keep the Faith.

      We drove into Salem yesterday and were rerouted because of a “demonstration” at the capitol building. We heard later that it was “right wing” protestors who want the state reopened – evidently a window was broken. About 25 demonstrators… As always, we have no idea of the truth of the matter.

      Continued prayers and thank you all so much for praying for us~
      As Fr. Mark Goring says: viva Cristo Rey!
      And a very blessed Christmas to all,
      katey in Oregon. 🌲🙏🏽✝️💜🎄💕

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  1. Yep, I’m in! Got the email from our CORAC group and have sent to those who’ll pray it, I hope!
    COME HOLY SPIRIT!! On a side note, as I read through the Pater Noster in Latin, it just role out as though I said it every day 🙂 Love it!

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          1. Hi Annie . . . I have been traveling all over the country in about 37 different states.

            By the way Annie, why would your be wondering where I were? (Your wondering makes me feel missed.)


  2. Christmas Star Bright & Clear in my neck of woods. Yes! I said the Our Father about 6PM…….in English ’cause my 9th Grade Latin was forgotten Looong ago ….. tough to read in the dark …Ya Know! I’d bet that God does not care what language you try to talk to Him in ….. including Gibberish 😉


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    1. We had scattered clouds, but the Christmas star peaked through a couple of times. We were able to use our binoculars to See them separately. Played St. JPII singing the Our Father in Latin as we watched it. Very Special. Come Lord Jesus!

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  3. JESUS = GOOD NEWS.. 😉

    European Christmas—Rick Steves

    Crusader, like Militia, Vigilante and Patriot, has become a Bad Word in the PC Lexicon ….. but an honest reading of honest History will teach you that ALL of the above were Good-Guys except for the usual 5% “Bad-Apples” found in ANY Human Op.
    Pray for Our Christian Brothers/Sisters and Pray for US as it will be Our-Turn soon!
    Unlike Nigeria, WE, at present, have the means to resist as did Crusaders & Patriots of Old. Do we have the Will? ….. WE don’t have much Time!

    Fredo pontificates:

    If any doubt the anti-Christian Bigotry of the Left … watch video.
    It’s a Sign —

    As we enter a New Year in a Country that is “Operating Off the Charts” in a World where godless Marxist Socialism, seemingly, has allied itself with militant Islam to attack Our Values & Way of Life.
    It may do US well to remember what has gone before when godless Socialism (Marxist/Nazi/Fascist) prevailed and revisit the below quotes!

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
    ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago

    “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
    ― Winston S. Churchill

    My young sis sent me Twitter link. The Patriot Resistance is building ….With God ALL things are possible.
    Man in America – Seth Holehouse

    $$$$ Madness ….Satanic Forces is my only reasonable explanation ;-(


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  4. Re the vaccine: Just this last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a report that the mainstream media has virtually ignored. It shows that as of December 18th, 3150 people have had such adverse reactions to the new vaccines that they were “unable to perform normal daily activities, unable to work, [or] required care from [a] doctor or health care professional.”[11]

    Quote from today’s piece by Mallett.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. JESUS = GOOD NEWS.. Noon 😉

    Yes!! WE must nullify Evil but unlike Democrats, their Media Masters and “Victim” Groups, we will face SERIOUS BACKLASH …. and we must be prepared …… to engage!!

    Do you believe that Big Tech & Democrats are NOT “Taking Notes” on China and their Persecution of Christians? I would NOT be surprised to find out that China & Big Tech are working Hand-n-Hand of suppression if those who oppose The Agenda ;-(

    All part of the “Great” DeepState Election Fix


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  6. I just had time to read Mallett’s post before last (in my email inbox). It is about defeating a spirit of fear! A couple of quotes from Father Gobbi’s locutions from Blessed Mother are amazing! Quotes are from 1976 messages and mention consecration to BVM as a vaccine! Many other amazing words!

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  7. MP suggested back to the manger.
    This contemplation has led me to the mass. Particularly the Eucharist.
    Jesus, born in a stable, is placed in a ‘manna’ger – a feed trough. He, the true manna from heaven, ‘Manna’fests during every mass, the perpetual sacrafuce as the “bread that came down from heaven”. “For My Body is real food and My Blood real drink; Who ever eats my body and drinks my blood will live forever”.
    Back to the manger, yes.
    And forward to the Mass!

    Liked by 6 people

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