By Charlie Johnston
I am very sick. I do not believe it is to death, but I am very sick.
Everything is off. Perception is skewed, expectation is uncertain, analysis is almost impossible because almost nothing makes any sense at all anymore.
I am not sure what will heal me. I am better than I was two days ago, but it is a marginal thing. To go to the washroom, I have to make a plan, gather up my strength, do it, disengage, get back to bed, then hyperventilate for 10 or fifteen minutes to recover. To those who don’t know this kind of sick, it sounds like some ridiculous exaggeration. To those who understand the understatement behind it, you have both my rheumy solace and my respect for your painfully earned wisdom.
I talk to friends who call – or I don’t, depending on how I feel in the moment. It’s nice. It’s nice that if I have to tell them I have to quit talking, they know I literally mean it and let me go.
It’s nice to know with what genuine fondness many you hold dear hold you. The thousands of prayers going up for me daily constitute a great treasury I gladly ask the Lord to direct as needed and as He will. I haven’t felt this much the spiritual philanthropist since my pilgrimage days.
Now we know that a simple nod from God is sufficient to blow any disease completely away. He has chosen to let this one play its course through me – and draw forth a large bank of prayers through it. My theory is that something huge is brewing, something unanticipated by me or anyone else. That is consonant with God: Among other things He is the consummate showman – the original Drama King, you might say. And He loves to surprise and delight even His favorites with things they never could have even imagined, much less have the wit to want.
My prayers feel absolutely impotent these last few days. Yeah, I know we say that – and it is good – for a prayer should be offered out of love and then left to the Lord to deploy in strength and effect. Yet truth, I can sometimes, even often hear the mountain shift before my prayer is finished. This week, no mustard seed has nothing to worry from me. So, this is entirely God’s project, and He busies Himself about it with the glee of a proud father about to don the Santa suit to top everything off.
So I ask you, today and tomorrow, do what I have come to believe is the most powerful form of invocatory prayer on my behalf. Light a candle for me. You can do it from home. You can do it at your local Church. You can do it from your favorite shrine. You go before a bank of candles, say your prayer, light the candle, spiritually and mentally attach the prayer to it, put it in the hole before the angel or saint who will carry it, then pray that so long as the candle is lit, it continuously carries the prayer before it to the seat of God. It is time for God to make all things new and to renew the faith of the world. The face of the world is ugly and mutilated, celebrating what is false and artificial, what offends God and defenestrates man, what brings bareness and cold rather than life and light.
Now begins the renewal. Light a candle for me. I accept what is needed and delight in giving Christ the rest for this great project. It is just, not arrogant for me to benefit from the prayers that build this bank of renewal. My feet have borne the burden all my life, even as no one else knew there was a burden to be borne. Our Lord has sometimes affectionately called me the little boy who is willing, for that is what I have been – when it has been against every temporal interest I have, I am willing. When I have been believed to be a delusional fool (including privately, by myself), I am willing. When it hurts so hard my feet bleed and I can’t catch any breath, I am willing. I may be a fool, but I am the archetype of the true believer: I love the Lord with all my heart, will, and soul – and I love His people and want us all to banquet joyfully together in heaven. The joy of this vision is worth a world of suffering…and I have willingly done much of that in the Lord’s service. Truthfully, I haven’t suffered much these last few decades. The meetings and visits are more like a foreshadowing of the joy of the fellowship of the family of God. So now I get an invitation to a little late-in-the game votive suffering. Don’t want to miss that honor, for whenever God wraps a package that gruesomely, He’s got a doozy of a present inside.
So join me. Go forth and light a candle for me. What we are doing, I believe, is boldly proclaiming the Kingdom of Christ here on earth – that they may keep peddling their cheap kingdom of lives, but it has no power over us anymore and we are sent to proclaim it need have no power over anyone anymore. The Lord is sending us out to proclaim His great day: Good news for the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, release from darkness for the prisoners and the restoration of sight for all those who have been spiritually blinded, lo, these 30 years.
I am told to be cautious because in my infirmity, I am given to going in and out of delirious states. But this is what I believe; that the hour of darkness is now in decline for them – their hour of power is over. They will decrease as Christ increases. That this year with the Feast to the Immaculate Conception will begin the year of Our Lord’s favor over all who call to Him through our Lady and a time of vengeance of the Lord on all who oppress these little ones in faith, including any who oppress from the pulpit or mitre.
I could be jumping the gun on a fantasy of faith. If so, it wouldn’t be the first or probably the last time I’ll ever do it – and when will I have a better excuse than organically going into and out of fugue states of delirium? I can live with that. But what if I’m getting in on the ground floor of one of the greatest miracles of salvation history, the renewal of the faith and the face of the world; the driving out of the smoke of satan from the Church by the renewal already beginning in the hierarchy; the anti-Gospel being driven to heel by the fresh power of the Gospel truly proclaimed, truly believed, truly lived? After a glorious year of this, war breaks out briefly and the satan and his minions, and all who continue to count on his and man’s guidance will perish and be whisked away like so much dross.
Ah, I’m going to make like St. Padre Pio and pray, hope and don’t worry.
Light a candle for me – and watch the world take off.