Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Superman Got it wrong

Superman burst on the stage in 1938; well if not the stage, into the consciousness of the American people, and those of us in Canada as well, in comic book stories about "The never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way."

Or so we were told.  The reality is that truth and justice are subservient to "the American way", and not necessary for the American way to prevail, and that's how WE roll both in the USA, and in Canada.

Contrast that with the quote on the left side of this blog from Blaise Pascal a 17th century philosopher and mathematician who said:
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright."
If that does not get your attention then how about Father John Hardon, as quoted by Father Gordon MacRae at his latest posting at These Stone Walls
“Our duty as Catholics is to know the truth; to live the truth; to defend the truth; to share the truth with others; and to suffer for the truth.”.
For those of us who are Catholic or catholic, both quotes should be our guides in our daily lives.  

Our North American cultures are on a precipice today, waiting to fall into the sea.  Our economies are shaky, our morals are long over the cliff, and our hearts are along for the ride.

The American way (which is not limited in any sense to America) has become about expediency and me, and truth and justice have gone by the boards.

The trust that Americans (and Canadians as well, from my personal experience) now have in politicians and in the justice system to mete out truth and justice is at an all time low, and deservedly so.

We have politicians in Canada and the USA, proclaiming to be Catholic, while dispensing lies about abortion, same sex relationships, setting themselves above the Catholic Church, and bearing false witness to all who hear their words.  Our Catholic bishops have failed to speak out publicly about the lies put forward to us by the Nancy Pelosi's, Joe Biden's and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.

This is nothing new, of course.  In an article in October 2012, called Take Them to the Woodshed Bishops, I urged Canadian Catholic bishops to speak out to our Ontario Catholic politicians, who were in grave error, in that instance in the Provincial political sphere.

But, what I have mentioned above is life at the macro level, and it impacts the lives of people like you and me at the micro level, the personal level.

This is becoming more evident in legal cases we are seeing of prosecutorial misconduct that are coming forward with greater frequency as investigative methods and availability of information make them more easily detectable.

The truth behind the disgusting trials and incarceration of Father Charles Englehardt and Monsignor William Lynn, and the ultimate tragic death of Father Charles were uncovered by journalist Ralph Cipriano, who has finally had his take on the unraveling of injustice in an article published very recently in Newsweek entitled Catholic Guilt? The Lying Scheming Altar Boy Behind a Lurid Rape Case.  But, this case and others where truth is taking a back seat, was described in some detail previously in My Cipriano's Big Trial Blog.

After Father Gordon first wrote about this in January 2015, in A Rolling Stone Gathers No Facts, Just Dirt I added my own take with Ringing True and Tickling Ears, though I did not publish my piece until December 22, 2015.

Father Gordon has had more to say, including urging us to follow the words of Father Hardon quoted above in The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy on the Cover of Newsweek, published on February 24, 2016.
As Father Gordon's own case attests, the Englehardt/Lynn cases are not isolated incidents, but are exemplars of availability bias, particularly availability bias manipulated by those in power, with the main stream media as their shills.

We are in the season of Lent, a time for Catholics and people of goodwill to contemplate the saving actions of Jesus Christ, and what it means for us in our own lives.

One thing we are undoubtedly called to is truth.  In this year declared by Pope Francis as the Year of Mercy, he has let us know clearly that mercy depends on truth to be authentic.  It is not sufficient to follow what tickles our ears, nor to subject ourselves to availability bias.  The truth is often much deeper, and requires discernment.  To grasp at whatever passes our eyes is to be slothful.

May our eyes be opened to all injustice that comes to our attention, and may we seek to know how we are to respond to bring mercy to those in need.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Lightning Rod

In His day, Jesus was a lightning rod for the people.  Today, we have Pope Francis.  And today we have the Internet, so when lightning strikes it spreads like wild fire.  The problem with lightning spreading like wildfire is that it breaks containment and covers the earth in excrement.

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem heralded as the Messiah, the people were elated.  At least that was so, until the gossip and rumor mill kicked in to full swing.  Political correctness reigned even then, though not with such a high sounding name.  Jesus died as the victim of gossip.  The people were too lazy to see through the lies that were perpetrated against Him and that fomented the mini rebellion that led to His crucifixion.

Not much has changed, except today we have the Internet, so lies and gossip spread at Internet speed around the world.  And as each lie compounds its predecessor, it becomes a spiritual tsunami.

Is there help for our addiction to needing to be right and being contentious to prove our rightness?

To answer that I turned to two philosophers of the 20th century, one fictitious, and one who would never believe himself to have been philosophical, just pragmatic.

The fictitious philosopher is Pollyanna Whittier from the book and more from the subsequent Disney film "Pollyanna".  When Pollyanna was living with her aunt, she encountered the pastor by the river one day.  The pastor was a fire and brimstone preacher and was practicing a sermon by the river that particular day.  In the exchange between them Pollyanna noted: "If you look for the bad in people you're sure to find it, so look for the good in them instead."

The real philosopher I refer to above is my long deceased father Alvin Brandon.  My Dad was a very good man, who flew Spitfires in WWII, courtesy of the RCAF, and returned home physically damaged with their courtesy as well.  He was a humble man, and though well schooled for his time, was largely educated by the school of hard knocks, and was humble enough to learn the lessons taught in that school.

When I was about 16 years old, I knew everything.  Of this I have been subsequently disavowed. But, then I was all that and a bag of chips, or so I thought.  I was on the verge of that time period that many teens enter into where they discover that their parents know nothing, or at least barely enough to know how and when to breathe.  The piece of advice I am about to share from him was the tipping point that led me to several years of certainty in my own brilliance, which ultimately was knocked out of me both literally and figuratively.  But those are other stories, some of which I have shared already.

I was having a particularly difficult time with my mother over some MAJOR thing or another for a 16 year old that was really a mere triviality in the scheme of life in our family.  My father taught me a lesson that I rejected out of hand, and wish I could have gotten.  It was so fundamental to successful relationships that I would love to go back to that moment, receive it again, and thank him for it.

I was in our den complaining to my dad about my mom over this catastrophe, and he interrupted my self righteous indignation.  He then said: "Your mother may be wrong, but she is your mother, and therefor she is right."

I could not grasp the nuance of what he said.  I was too angry to do anything but parse the words to fit what I wanted them to fit.  My dad was not only right, he was correct in his assessment of the situation, and the remedy for it.  That his son behaved like an idiot was not his responsibility.

And this is how it is with the lightning rod that is Our Holy Father, Pope Francis.

One writer intent on justifying his own piling on of Pope Francis reminded readers that St. Paul had upbraided St. Peter over matters in the early Church where he witnessed that St. Peter was in the wrong.  He was anointed to do so.  He also had first hand knowledge of the particular situation, which is referenced in Galatians Chapter 2.

When Pope Francis spoke on his plane ride back to Rome from Mexico recently,  he responded to a spate of questions, and at least one particular question that has begotten so much controversy for some.  The particular one was about a theoretical wall across the Mexican border, and a statement alleged to be from Presidential candidate Donald Trump.  Our Holy Father spoke in Spanish.  It has been translated to English, which is a degree of separation from the original to begin with.  The context of preceding and following questions is not present, and if it were they too were translated from the original language. Yet another degree of separation.

But, much of the brouhaha over the original statement occurred because those intent on being right left out the key words "if" and "only".  This is less a degree of separation than it is a total misconstruction of the words and probable intent of Our Holy Father, to serve their own purposes.

So, I return to Pollyanna, and my father.

Our Holy Father is our parent in the Church of Jesus Christ.  As such, he like my own parents is anointed to be in the position that he is in.  The meaning in my father's statement restated as "Your Holy Father may be wrong, but he is your Holy Father and therefor he is right,"  is that Our Holy Father warrants our respect for his position, and our love.  Unless you have lived in his shoes or been around him you have no real idea of what is behind whatever he says, or does.

So, then you should take Pollyanna's advice and look for the good in Pope Francis.  Whatever you look for you will find.  The problem is that what you will likely find is support for your own presumptions, not for the truth.

We might be wise to take the words of Blaise Pascal to heart that I have on the left side of this blog as a reminder.  He said:“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright."

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pope Francis in Persona Christi

I have given much thought to things said by Our Holy Father, Pope Francis these last 3 years, and things purported to have been said by him.  There is actually little difference between what people think they heard him say and how they report it.  There is however a great difference often times between that and what he actually said.

In light of the comments he made on the flight from Mexico recently, this came home for me this morning as my wife and I prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries in the Scriptural Rosary.

Francis speaks in nuanced language, much like Jesus did in say, Mark Chapter 14, which is meditated on in the second mystery, The Scourging at the Pillar:
60 The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?”
61 But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?”
62 Then Jesus answered, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
63 At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses?
64 You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as deserving to die.
After I had read verse 62 above for the 4th Hail Mary, my dear wife stopped me and asked me a question.  Her question was "What would you think if somebody walked up to you on the street and made the statement Jesus made?"  It is a good question, and my response to her, less in answer but as a clarification, was that these were the same people who had known that He preached in their synagogues, performed miracles, and walked and lived among them for 3 years.  Though that might have made it easier for them to anticipate His answer, it did not make the truth of the answer any easier to absorb and believe.

Before the verses above people came forward to testify against Him, and lied through their teeth. But, when the high priest, Annas asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, he was not prepared for Jesus' answer.  It did not line up with what he believed about the coming Messiah, and so he considered it blasphemy.  It also did not line up with the fear that they all lived in of disturbing the status quo with their Roman conquerors.

Annas and the Sanhedrin were intent on being right, and protecting themselves, and so they let the truth slip right by them, with nary a nod of the head to it.

The correct answer for the high priest to the question: "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?" would have been: "No, not me, everybody knows I am just the son of the carpenter." And, of course, for levity, he could have followed that up with: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46)

It appears that Annas was flabbergasted because he tore his robes when Jesus said "I am." 

Pope Francis has been anointed by God to be the leader of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, to act in persona christi as earthly shepherd of the flock. John Chapter 15 warns us about what will happen to those anointed by God and acting on His behalf:
So, whether Jesus responds "I am" to a question, or Francis says: "…if he wants to address illegal immigration only by building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border" the answer is not the answer the survey says was the (politically) correct answer.  Interestingly enough since we are all family, this is a form of Family Feud, but not the oft watched television show by that name.

Remember Matthew Chapter 10, where Jesus is preparing the twelve for ministry:
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
35 For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’

Monday, February 15, 2016

We Are Plan B People. We Must Stop it!

God is the God of The Plan, one plan, His Plan for the Salvation of the World.

"No Battle Plan Survives Contact with the Enemy" - Helmuth von Moltke

We, mere mortals, are Plan B people.  We know that von Moltke spoke a general truth, and though we might be irritated by it, we generally expect it.  If, for example, you are doing some renovation of your basement, you will undoubtedly come across something you did not expect.  Then you have to move from Plan A to Plan B.

God is not like that.  Because God is omniscient and all seeing He does not need a Plan B.  God is not bound by time or space.

So, when Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin, the Father did not call Jesus, and the Holy Spirit together and have a family conference to figure out what to do next.  The Father was in no way shocked or surprised that Adam and Eve bit into that juicy apple.  He knew they would, and The Plan had already factored that in.

Also, when God the Father sent the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he did not have the Angel Rafael in reserve to go down the street and ask Betty Lou in case Mary said no.  The Plan had already factored in what God already knew was about to happen.

God has known every little detail of all of the world and all of humanity since before there was time, and He did it anyway, all of it.  He knew that we would sin against Him before He created us, and He also knew that He would send His Divine Son Jesus to redeem us, and knew that we would still reject Him and continue to do so.

But, from before time began Mary was a part of The Plan.

Mark Mallett has laid out for us simply how Mary is a part not only of the original Incarnation of Jesus but of His incarnation in each one of us in today's Lenten Meditation.  The part that Mary plays in God's plan of salvation is critical to its success.  You could say it is pivotal to success.  You could also say, and it is important that you say it, not only with your lips, but with your heart, that Mary is an instrument in any part you have to play in The Plan, by her example and by her motherly love.

When, by the Middle Ages, many Catholic leaders had gotten off God's Plan by lies, cheating, and gross negligence of the responsibilities they were given, Luther and others, in their frustration, came up with a new plan.  They called their plan The Reformation.  So, they countered disobedience by ramping up disobedience to a higher level.  Neither of these were The Plan, but bastardizations of The Plan, which, by the way, in no way have ever diminished God's Plan for Our Salvation.

But, now we find ourselves in dire times that have been prophesied,   It is evident that we are teetering on the brink of chaos, of a magnitude and depth that we have never seen, and cannot imagine.

So, what are we to do?  You may say to me that if you knew what was coming you would prepare.  In response, I say to you that the signs of what is coming have been in front of your very nose for a long time, and yet you have done nothing, expect party on.

Many of you want to know if when whatever happens happens, whether you will lose access to your medications, clean water, electricity, that nice car in your driveway, and your home, and internet service.  Well, God knows.  It is part of His Plan, and you will find out when you need to know.

We are in the midst of the wonderful Season of Lent.  It is a time for us to draw closer to Our Lord. It is a time to listen for His voice and to set aside the voices that do not lead us to Him.

Charlie Johnston produced a new article today entitled The Way of the Cross is the Path to Victory. In it he makes mention of a number of the things that have been part of the rupture of our society, some of which will probably come as news to you.  Yes, it is getting that bad. THAT BAD!!

But, that is good.

Pope Francis was raked over the coals by many well meaning individuals for appointing folks to positions that were not on the "right" side of many issues, and for allowing voices to be heard at the two halves of the recent Synod.  I refused to get my knickers in a twist over it.  I was certain in my heart that God was guiding Our Holy Father to bring the wolves out of the darkness into the open so we could all see them and what they stand for.

The evil one is having to come out of hiding as he ramps up his plans to take as many with him to eternal damnation as he can.  This too is all part of God's Plan.

Bear in mind and heart these words from 2 Chronicles Chapter 7:14
if then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land.
But, to  put it more simply, Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and Be a Sign of Hope for Others.  Be like Mary, and say yes, moment by moment, step by step.

Hell breaking loose does not change God's Plan one iota.  There is no plan B.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Give Sight to the Blind

Many years ago, Vassula Ryden, a woman baptized in the Greek Orthodox Church, was touched by God, first through an angel He had sent to her, and then was drawn into a loving relationship with Our Beloved Saviour.  Her relationship with Jesus, and the fruit that it has borne in her and then in others was not the original purpose of this article.  It is believed by many that she has received private revelation, taken under dictation from Jesus, and others which began in the Fall of 1986.  These revelations up to February 2003 are published in the book True Life In God, and came with the recommendation of Bishop Felix Toppo, who has been the bishop of Jamshedpur, India since 1997.

I recommend that you look at the web site True Life in God if learning about the conversion of a soul and what it could mean for the rest of us is of interest to you.  As well, the messages are wonderful and speak of God's great love for us, His Mercy, and His Justice.

What follows immediately is a prayer that I first came across through the writings of True Life in God.  This prayer was alleged to have been given to Vassula by Our Holy Mother on May 15, 1990:
Father all Merciful,
let those who hear and hear again
yet never understand,
hear Your Voice this time
and understand that it is You, the Holy of Holies;
open the eyes of those who see and see, yet never perceive, to see with their eyes this time Your Holy Face and Your Glory,
place Your Finger on their heart so that their heart may open and understand Your Faithfulness, I pray and ask you all these things, Righteous Father,
so that all the nations be converted and be healed through the Wounds of Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ;

This prayer, in my personal opinion is an important prayer and contains within itself much worthy of meditation.

But, my focus at the moment is on the bolded line that begins "open the eyes of those who see and see, yet never perceive".

Seeing but not perceiving is one of the serious maladies of our times. To perceive is defined as: to become aware or conscious of (something); come to realize or understand.

Recently, I was drawn to Proverb 29:18 which in my New Jerusalem translation reads: "Where there is no vision the people get out of hand. . ."

But then, this morning Mark Mallett released his Lenten Retreat meditation for Day 4.  It began with the following:
It says in Proverbs, 
Without a vision the people lose restraint. (Prov 29:18)
Mark Mallett's daily meditations for Lent are worthy of your prayerful consideration.  God has anointed him to bring good news to set the captives free, and we are all captives in one way or another.

The word "vision" in this verse comes from a particular Hebrew word "chazon", that means revelation or sight, but not as much physical as mental.

Mark concludes with this summary of the meditation:
We must deny the passions of the flesh and repent from sin in order to find the happiness God desires for us: His life living in us.
This is indeed meaty, and for those who are seeking to live an intentional life in Jesus Christ, it may all well make perfect sense.

But, brothers and sisters, what about those who are not seeking to live as Christians?  These times we are living in are desperate times, and the devil has blinded many.

In essence, they see and see, but do not perceive.  In other words, they do not have a vision, and so lose restraint.

Jesus brought sight to the blind and today He brings sight to the blind, but He will not impose His sight upon them.  That is where you and I come in.  Our friends and our families are in dire risk of losing their very souls in the storm that is raging in our times.

It is quite possible that they will not listen to you or me when we try to speak to them of higher things, and so we must take the recourse that Our Blessed Mother has given to us and call upon the Lord to open their ears, their eyes and touch their hearts.

Before Mary gave the above prayer to Vassula, she spoke these words:
I, your Holy Mother, am preparing you to meet the Lord; I am educating you in your spiritual growth; I am covering you with graces to help you and encourage you; realise that these are special days you are living in your times, these are the days preceding the Lord's Coming, they are the opening of the path where the Lord will come; these days are a preparation for the descent of your King; pray so that everybody will be ready; pray, My little children, fervently for those souls who refuse to hear and refuse to see, pray to your Father who is in Heaven in this way: (followed by the prayer above)
But, there is more, not as in if you call now, we will double your order type of more, but a brand new profound message from Our Lord to Vassula today.  I have copied this message in its entirety and provided a link to the original as well, because it is a very important message and speaks to the urgency of Jesus call to us.  Time is running out quickly.

Today He said to her:
February 13, 2016 
My peace I give to you; will you pen down My Words? 
Yes Lord... 
this generation is hard to bend; enfeebled by their sins they lay their confidence in Satan, building their hope in him; although I have been standing before everyone to see Me, few have taken notice; their leaders have grown cruel, and death awaits many nations through their hand; how much have I wept over you, creation! You whose life now will be streaming down in death; then when flames will lick like tongues your inhabitants, bursting in the air, I will ask this generation: where will you find relief? and in whom? in Satan? in your ego and self? 
the time has come to execute My Justice for the punishment of this faithless generation is at your doors; I will carry out My orders to the letter; when you will hear a thunderclap, My Voice will be heard, thundering in your ears, resounding to the very ends of the earth; then know that the world and all who live in it will hear the Voice of Justice: evil will bring death to many nations... ruin will creep up in every city; 
have you heard that 'the Angel of Yahweh will encircle cities and nations' calling everyone to repent? these are the things that will take place in the days to come;
therefore, you who have entered My Courts and believed in My sayings, pray and do not dread or fear, but you who have jeered for endless years on My sayings, striking with your tongue My prophets, beware! for you have used lies to justify your lies, you have indeed buried My Words in your own tomb; yes, indeed, you have been twisting My Words; but your sins have created a gulf between you and Me; and now Justice will not be withheld; I tell you, bitter will be your coming days when I will confront you... pray and do not allow your eyelids to close down in sleep! 
here is how you should pray: 
"Yahweh, my God, let my prayer reach you,hear our cry of mercy and for help,forgive those who have no faith in You, my God,and no trust either in your power to save us;
do not blast the lights out of our days,withering with it in a flash the earth;but in Your Fatherly Compassion,pity us, and forgive us;
do not allow the evil one to shed our blood like water;forgive our guilt, repress Your anger,remembering our weakness;
hold back Your angels of disaster,giving us one more chance to prove ourselvesworthy of Your Kindness;
I put my trust in You; amen"
how gladly will I then receive this prayer; this prayer that will make Me relent! daughter, I will bless all those who will sincerely pray this prayer; let this prophecy be heard; 'the day and hour belong to Me, your God,' this is what you will tell to those who will ask you the time and hour of My Justice! Love loves you;

I beg you to take these prayers to heart, and to your lips.

Friday, February 12, 2016

God's Leash

Recently, in correspondence with Charlie Johnston, who writes wisely at The Next Right Step,  he referred to neurological difficulties that he had, and which are somewhat similar to ones that I deal with daily, as God's Leash.

I had commented to him, complained really, that often I have had the beginning of a post in mind, usually as I am praying, and as I go to write it, it all just disappears, and I am unable to write what seemed so clear moments before. Though I have found this frustrating, I was of the opinion that if God wanted me to complete a particular article He would have to give me the grace to do so.

What never came to my mind was that this could in fact be a leash from God, so after a word of encouragement from Charlie I began to meditate on this.

My next door neighbor has a beautiful, young dog.  But, it has never been on a leash, as near as I can tell, and when it is allowed to go into his yard, it barks at every one and everything it sees or imagines it sees.  As another dog passes in the park behind our house, on a leash with its owner, the neighbor dog puts up a howl, and the park dog goes about its business, without a peep, or even serious acknowledgement of the neighbor dog.

I have lived more of my life like the neighbor dog than the park dog.  I set out on my own from my parent's loving home in the late 60's to make my way in the world.  I abandoned my faith for many years, until I heard a voice I could not mistake, and slowly started to return to the faith of my youth, a journey that has been long, difficult at times, and filled with my own continuing disobedience.

Even after I heard a call to return to my faith, much of my return was on my own terms.  I lacked discipline in both my prayer life, and in my daily life.

But, one day I had a vision of a corral, and of a cowboy saddling a horse that was not interested in taking a saddle on.  How I knew that this bucolic image was a vision and not just a cool picture, was that I knew that the horse was me, and that the cowboy was Jesus.  By the way, Jesus looks pretty cool in chaps and a ten gallon hat.

So, for many years, even though I was trying to live the life of a Catholic Christian, I was a lot like the neighbor's dog.  I was regularly lacking in self discipline, and proper boundaries.  That, of itself, does not make me much unlike many people walking on the face of the earth. However I had been committing myself daily to do as God wanted in my life and in the life of my loved ones, so it really couldn't fly.

Since my prayer was to do God's will, God was in the midst of answering it.  But, unbeknownst to me at the time, my Mother, seeing what a rascal her son continued to be, had been praying as well.  But, her prayer was that God would, in her words, literally hit me over the head with a baseball bat.

Our God is an awesome God, as the song goes, and also has a sense of humor.  God killed two birds with one stone, actually with a Ford Aerostar van.

Life was pretty good at the time, at least from a career perspective.  I was working on a new venture with my employer, one of the largest information technology companies in the world. Okay, so my wife and I were separated and had been for a few months.  But, we were trying to work things out. Of course, now 12 years later, I can see that I did not have a clue what WORKING things out really would mean and involve.

So, one day I was driving home from work.  It was near New Year's, and I was rear ended by the baseball bat, disguised as an Aerostar van.  I sustained a concussion in the event, and lost a few moments of time.  It was not of itself a big deal, but I had sustained about 9 previous concussions in my years of playing sports.  Within days, I lost the ability to function mentally except at a basic level. It took years for cognitive functions to return to a useful, if not consistent level.

I never returned to work.  It would have been pointless, since I had no idea particularly who I worked for, or what I did there.

Life as I would have remembered it, if I could remember it, changed drastically, and over many years I learned to adapt to it.  By the grace of God, my wife and I were able to build a deep love and commitment to each other that I marvel at daily.  We have separate and joint prayer lives, and depend on God for everything.  At least I would depend on God for everything if I were not a sinner, and prone to hearing Frank Sinatra in my head singing "My Way", and sometimes believing it.

Where I was like the neighbor's dog, running all over the place, barking at shadows, I am ssslllooowwwlllyyy learning to be trained to a leash.  Now that I know that is what God is doing to me, I think I might be able to engage in it more intentionally.

The leash has been pretty tight at times, particularly in the early years after my accident.  But, God lets me off leash for a while oftentimes.  Sometimes I am obedient off leash, particularly if I have been to confession in the last couple of weeks.  Other times, I bark and run around like an idiot, at least figuratively, but definitely sinfully.  I can certainly take to heart Mark Mallett's teaching today On Being Faithful.

I have often complained about this leash, and tried to fight it.  Now that I know what it is and that it is for my own good, and that of my loved ones and others I encounter, I might ask for a matching muzzle to go with it.  But, in that many times when I want to write something I am unable, maybe God is ahead of me on that one.  MAYBE??  OK, He is ahead of me on that, as always.

I do not know if God has given you a leash with or without a matching muzzle in your daily life, to help you be more obedient to Him. But, I am grateful that He loves me so much and does not want to lose me, or any of those I have reason to influence for Him.

Knowing what I have learned recently about this leash, I can now not be distracted by its presence, but can commit myself more to focusing on the Next Right Step.  And that is the real point of it all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Political Correctness Is an Oxymoron

Our society has been caught up in the storm clouds, rains and winds of political correctness, as they grow stronger and more malevolent day to day.  The effects have been devastating and we have stood by and watched, in awe of its power.  We have failed to see that political correctness is not correct, but fraught with destructive lies that have crippled us, as they have intruded into our lives.

From Wikipedia comes a definition of Political Correctness as follows:
Political correctness (or PC for short) means using words or behavior which will not offend any group of people. Most people think it is important for everyone to be treated equally, fairly and with dignity. Some words have been used for a long time that are unkind to some people. Sometimes these words have now been replaced by other words that are not offensive. Such words are described as politically correct. The term is often used in a mocking sense when attempts at avoiding offense are seen to go too far.
Political correctness has run its course.  It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.  But to be really insane you must not only repeat previous failures, you must ramp them up even more each time, and that is what we have seen with political correctness.

The real purpose of PC is to overpower dissent.  It is impossible to behave and speak in ways that are inoffensive to everyone.  So, the politically correct pick their poison and pile it on.

Political correctness has morphed from the definition above to a range between lying outright through telling people what they want to hear, instead of telling the truth in love.  In this Year of Mercy, that dog will no longer hunt.

In the last couple of years two valiant young folks and their teams have used investigative journalism techniques to expose lies and deceptions relative to the abortion industry.  Lila Rose of Live Action and David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress are both 20 somethings, in their cases 27 to be exact.  They have exposed the abortion racket of Planned Parenthood to the world, and the world is not thanking them for it.

Meanwhile, well meaning Christians have tut tutted calling their approach deceitful and sinful.  After all, they did lie about their credentials to gain access to those they were investigating.  While Lila Rose and David Daleiden are doing the heavy lifting for us all, many of us want to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.  That is somewhat akin to calling Jesus a liar for telling parables, since they were not true stories, and then walking away looking for something better.

If you are one who has criticized Lila and David for their methods, get down off your high horse, and thank God that "a little child shall lead them".  Either get out of the way, or form a line because we are marching into battle.

I am 65 years old, and the people of my generation are the major culprits in the sexual revolution. We were there at the beginning and either stood by, or participated in it, lo these many years.

I participated in this revolution, to my great shame.  I knew people who I could claim were deeper into it than I.  Like President Clinton I can say "I didn't inhale."  Really, can you believe this?  My sexual sin has caused great pain to loved ones, and terrible witness to others.

But, I am not alone, and many of you were there right beside me, and if you were not beside me you kept your mouths shut, as political correctness took hold early on.

Political correctness is so intrusive that many are twisting the words of Our Holy Father and the meaning of the Year of Mercy to provide cover for themselves and their friends and families.

Mercy without Truth is not really mercy, just political correctness with a new hairdo and makeup.

When people like our presidents and presidential hopefuls, and prime ministers hide behind a convenient Christian faith while promoting abortion, and shouting down any dissent, the Church has a responsibility to stand up and tell them that the "Emperor has no clothes."

We have spent too much time hiding from the Truth about sexual sin, and its fruits.  Pope Paul VI wrote a beautiful and prophetic encyclical letter Humane Vitae,  It was very prophetic and where we are at as a society is the fruit of us not reading it and listening to it in the depths of our hearts, for what he feared would come to pass, did in fact visit us, and it visits us still.

Now, as I look back with eyes that are more open than every before I see that we have been duped by many in Church leadership, politicians and the media.

How in God's little green earth could the bishops of the Canadian Catholic Church ever put forward the Winnipeg Statement in measured, carefully worded defiance of the spirit and measure of Humanae Vitae?  In essence Canadian bishops told adherents to the faith to follow their consciences, without catechizing them to have properly formed consciences.

In Canada, we have something we affectionately call lawfare.  It is a form of welfare where if you believe and can make a case that I have offended you by something I have done, said or written, even if it is true, you can haul me up before a human rights (really human lefts) organisation either at the provincial or federal level and get free legal support from the organisation itself.  I, in turn, become a hapless stooge and must hire my own legal defense, at my cost, pretty much regardless of the outcome.  As Ezra Levant, a Canadian lawyer and political commentator, who was himself beaten upon by two levels of human rights pariahs said: "The punishment is the process."

The problem here in Canada is compounded by the fact that these organisations are all political appointments, and a change in government is no guarantee that they will be put in their place, as we have seen over the last decade.  However, that does not make it right, and where there is injustice we must stand against it.

In America there have blatant political cover for those who support the status quo, and can use the legal system to break down dissent, not unlike our lawfare.

But, unlike in Canada, our American brothers and sisters can work in any electoral cycle, to remove and replace many of the politically correct folks because they are elected officials.

Charlie Johnston, who brings hope to the faithful at his The Next Right Step blog urged readers to communicate with legislators and others of import last week, after the absolutely ridiculous indictment of David Daleiden and Susan Merritt for exposing Planned Parenthood in Houston We Have a Problem.  

But, in his latest post Storming the Gates of Hell, Charlie reminds us that the battle is on, that it is not ours, but the Lord's and we are to man our battle stations, and join in:
For too long, we Christians have acted in a defensive manner, worried that satan might successfully storm the gates of heaven. We are to take the offense – take the battle to the satanic strongholds, call things by their proper names. Good is not evil: evil is. Evil is not good: good is. Call things by their proper names. Executing infants is not good, it is evil. Harvesting executed babies for their organs is not good, it is evil. Using the justice system to persecute whistle-blowers and protect evil-doers is not good, it is evil. The Lord said the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. That is a call to bring the fight to the satan, not merely to defend against his assaults against us. It is time to storm the gates of hell with confidence and vigor – for our Master has already told us they will not prevail against our assault. That is how the Rescue commences.
This paragraph summarizes things very well. In summary of his summary, Evil is Evil, not Good, and we must call it what it is, in season and out.

Our primary weapons are our Faith, faithful reception of the Sacraments, our Rosaries and other devotions to Our Dear Lord, and His Blessed Mother. In all these, we must love our neighbors, and show them Mercy.

Who is our neighbor that is in need of our love? Why, it is the most unlovable of them all, the liars, cheats, worst sinners we come across, including the one we see in the mirror each day.

We must no longer equivocate, but we must speak truth to falsehood, charity to hatred, faith to disbelief, and hope to the hopeless.

Many years ago, I heard Kenneth Copeland, a Christian prosperity preacher say something that got my attention. He said: "The success of every Christian endeavor is a prayer success."

The Next Right Step is to engage the battle that is right before our eyes, with humility and prayer, trusting God to guide us to the following Next Right Step.

The Storm has arrived. In fact, it has been upon us for some time. We can no longer marvel at the clouds, the rains and the winds. We must move out and rescue our brothers and sisters before they drown and are lost for eternity.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

If Jesus Spoke Would You Listen?

Though this should be a rhetorical question, it actually unfortunately is not.  A lot of it has to do with our perception, the subject of another article in the hopper.

If Jesus suddenly appeared in front of us, as happened to a couple of friends of mine over the years, it would be hard not to listen to Him.  If He spoke to you directly, so that you were aware of His voice, even if you only heard it in your heart, again it would be hard not to listen to Him.  In both of these instances, our senses would sharpen, and we would know that we know that it is Him.

Though Jesus can present Himself in either of these ways, He seldom does.  Instead He uses those who trust Him, and even periodically some who don't, to speak His words for Him.

Two excellent examples of this are Charlie Johnston from the southern USA, and Mark Mallett from Western Canada.  Both are modern day prophets, who have through prayer and fasting and frequent reception of the sacraments, attuned themselves to hear what Jesus is saying today, and have offered themselves up for the body of Christ to discern what they believe they are hearing and then share it, as it is appropriate to do, to those who have ears to hear. Both are under spiritual direction to priests, who have been given the Wisdom to assist them in the discernment process.

But, many contend that Jesus speaks prophetically, directly and succinctly as well, though he uses an intermediary as a scribe to communicate his words.  In Ridgetown, in southern Ontario Canada, there is a person, under the spiritual direction of Father Sam Johnston, a retired priest of the Diocese of London Ontario, who regularly receives communications that she and Father Sam believe comes from the heart and mouth of Jesus.

But always, we must be aware that the public revelation of Jesus ended with His ministry on earth and the faithful are neither required to believe nor receive any alleged prophecy, no matter the source.

For a couple of years there were alleged prophecies coming forward at a now disappeared site called Locutions to the World.  The words became more specific, promising certain things at certain dates. These did not materialize, and the bandwagon which had gathered such steam came to a grinding halt.

After LttW disappeared, Charlie Johnston gave readers an object lesson in what prophecy is and is not, which is a useful guide to discerning the veracity of what writers purport to come from the Lord, or His Blessed Mother.  Here is a quote from that article:
But then I was given to know that it is not God’s will that we share in His secret plans; rather that we trust in Him. So prophecy is usually just a sort of spiritual landmark; a sign that we should look for the deeper spiritual significance behind certain temporal events. It is an invitation to watch and wait, to be still and know that He is God. Because we are blind but arrogant little moles it is, in fact, dangerous for us to know too many details. We think if we just had enough information, we could devise our own plan without the need to trust radically in Him. That thinking is what has gotten us to this pass. If any private revelation is to be of use, it must tamp down rather than ramp up this sort of thinking. Trust God. Live fidelity through your obedience to the Scriptural and Magisterial authority of His holy Church. Jesus, I trust in You. Mean it and He will navigate these turbulent waters for you. Try to take the wheel, yourself, and you will founder.
I personally have taken the article to heart, and have discovered that the words coming from Ridgetown might fit the bill, for they guide us to trust Him, and to empty ourselves of things that prevent us from trusting in Him.

Here are the titles, first lines and links to a number of the recent prophecies from Ridgetown.  You may discern for yourself if they are helpful to you on your journey of faith.

Dependence on God - February 4, 2016

"My people, you are not aware, or conscious of My great strength or power and ability to restore you to your former sanctity."

Living in the Present Moment - January 28, 2016

"Transformation of the heart is your life's mission, not of anyone else, for it is only one's own heart that you may change."

From Here to Eternity - January 20, 2016

"Baptism has made you a new creation, freedom has been given to you to be made whole."

Say to Me I Want Love - January 13, 2016

"Every moral decision that you make in the here and now, will have eternal consequences, that will determine where your eternity will be."

It's All About the Joy  - January 7, 2016

"The true and infallible sign of My presence is Joy."

With Hearts on Fire - December 30, 2015

"What I desire is to set the world on fire with the Holy Spirit's love, burning in every heart."

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rallying Around Huston

I have been cogitating further on the recent article I wrote about Living 3D in a 2D World.  Though I am no scientist, I am well aware that in actual point of fact, we do not live in a 2 dimensional world, but in one that at least has 4 dimensions.  The primary 4 dimensions are length, width, depth and time.  But, my point is that most inhabitants of planet earth live their lives shallowly and without regard to time as it marches on.

Further mulling over what I referred to as the Third dimension and which roughly translates to the dimension of depth, I concluded that depth is not so much about physical depth as it is about spiritual depth, and that the Wisdom we are receiving from the many ways that God is communicating with us in these times is what takes us into the depths.

As Psalm 42:7 says:
Deep is calling to deep
by the roar of your cataracts (waterfalls)
all your waves and breakers
have rolled over me.
Though God is evident in the first and second dimension, He resides fully in the 3rd dimension, the dimension of depth, the dimension of the heart.  He calls us to join Him in the depth, to let Him roll over us, cleanse us, for from the heart of Jesus "flow streams of living water." Jn 7:38

So, today as we read in Charlie Johnston's article at The Next Right Step entitled "Houston We Have a Problem", we are called to action, but we are also called to further contemplate the call to Depth.

When we read about what has transpired in Houston, where a Grand Jury apparently goes searching for breaches of the law, and rather than indicting those they were allegedly investigating, indicts the whistle blowers who brought the matter forward in the first place, we must know that something is afoot.

Of course, the Harris County DA, Devon Anderson stated that they just followed the evidence.  Not everyone is in thrall to this statement, though it was delivered with sincerity.  The DA seems to have taken to heart a quote often attributed to comic stars George Burns and Groucho Marx: "Sincerity is the key to success.  When you can fake that you've got it made."

But the real truth of the matter is more likely found elsewhere.  While in his position as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeal, Judge Sol Wachtler stated in 1985: "Any good prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich."  Judge Wachtler found this out personally several years later when he was indicted himself.

However, 1985 was a different time, and DA Anderson was able to bypass indicting the ham sandwich on her plate, while going after baloney.

Charlie Johnston has called readers to action in defense of David Daleiden, and his partner "in imaginary crime" Susan Merritt.  When the videos were first released and then more came to light, of the sale of aborted baby bodies and parts by Planned Parenthood, we should have been disgusted, and rallied behind the inhumanity being presented to us by workers from Planned Parenthood.  Many wept.  Many were suitably appalled, and many have stepped up to stand against this evil.

Yet, for as disgusting as the video evidence is, "There's a kind of hush all over the world" that has nothing to do with lovers in love, but lovers of self, ignoring truth and the beauty of mercy.

Lyrics from the Song "Adam, Where are You" by Christian singer Don Francisco ring out:

And though the curse has long been broken
Adams' sons are still the prisoners of their fears
Rushing helter skelter to destruction with their fingers in their ears.
While the Fathers voice is calling with an urgency I've never heard before
"Won't you come in from the darkness now before it's time to finally close the door?"
The call to action today by Charlie is totally consistent with the deeper call he has given us to Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and be a Sign of Hope to Others.

We live in a very shallow world, but we are called to the depth.  Yes, we should take action against injustice that we see, and Charlie has laid out for us injustice in Harris County, Texas that should not go unnoticed, and unanswered.

But, Huston is merely one of many signs of the times, most of which we have ignored for far too long.  If the injustice in Huston becomes a tipping point for believers to come to the aid of their fellows then this is a good thing.

But, this is just the beginning!

Adam, Where Are You? - Don Francisco

Monday, February 1, 2016

Living 3D in a 2D World

Last night at The Next Right Step, the blog of prophet Charlie Johnston, he reissued an article from August 2014, under the general headline Tempering Our Expectations. The reprinted article is actually called Fractured Expectations, and in essence Charlie articulated how our expectations of this prophecy or that one, or this person of God or that one get in our way of seeing the real picture.

I find reading Charlie's blog The Next Right Step, the writings of Canadian prophet Mark Mallett at The Now Word, the writings from prison of falsely imprisoned Catholic Priest Father Gordon MacRae at These Stone Walls, and also prophecies without commentary from a person under the direction of retired Catholic priest of the London Ontario Diocese Father Sam Johnston at Life in the Spirit very helpful for grounding me in my faith, and above all in Love.

The opening line of the most recent prophecy at Life in the Spirit, "Living in the Present Moment" seems to me to be providential in light of all that is going on in our world, and in the words being presented to us by the above men.
Transformation of the heart is your life's mission, not of anyone else, for it is only one's own heart that you may change.
My heart needs lots of work, and often times I have no idea how to go about it, though, oftentimes, I find that I have no idea that I really need it.

But, last night at Sunday Mass at Holy Family Parish in London Ontario, Father Ben Huyge delivered an interesting homily that when I read Charlie's article above later in the evening started to coalesce for me.

Father Ben spoke about accompanying the youth of the parish to see the new Star Wars movie. As a Star Trek fan himself, he was prepared to be underwhelmed. But, the use of 3D in the film grabbed him, and so as he said it led to a homily. Father Ben can see a homily in a John Deere tractor, so a blockbuster movie is a step down for him.

As I pondered his words, it came to me. Believers in the lordship of Jesus Christ are called to live in a third dimension in a world that is actually only two dimensional. Hence the title of this article.

The Next Right Step is current and prophetic writings that are not for the faint of heart. Charlie, in his own inimitable style is trying to prepare those who embrace Christ to live today and every day simply, seeking to always take the Next Right Step. He has warned us repeatedly that we are embarking on a Storm, the proportions of which are beyond any type of storm we can imagine, and the repercussions of which will be catastrophic for many, but which are meant to draw all back to the arms of God.

God draws straight with crooked lines, and so he uses people like Charlie, Mark Mallett, Father Sam, you and me, the crooked lines, to get to and take others to the foot of the Cross, to enter into the loving outstretched arms of Our Dear Saviour Jesus Christ.

I imagine that it is often exasperating for Charlie and for anyone who has a prophetic mission that we just don't get it, and so he, Mark and others keep presenting it over and over again, with different nuance in hopes that we will have the aha moments required.

Proverbs 29:18 says: "Where there is no vision the people get out of hand; happy are they who keep the law."

It seems to me that difficulties we face in our daily lives are because of the narrowness of our vision, and this can be seen from time to time in comments that pop up on The Next Right Step.

As much of what Charlie writes on TNRS is about the Storm, and an ultimate Rescue, some comments ask about when and what specifically is going to happen. When is it going to happen, end, get really going, or whatever? When will it end? Can I still get my meds, access my cash, eat chocolate etc.?

These are all two dimensional questions, and typical of the questions we would ask in our daily lives. 

We, as Christians, are called to live in the world, not to be of it. We are called to be disinterested in much of what goes on, not in the people to whom things are happening, but in the things themselves. Our home is not here. It is, in fact, in another dimension, heaven. So, we are being called to live in that third dimension of heaven. Matthew presents the words of John the Baptist in 3:2: "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand."

So, we do not by our experience, know how to live in 3D. And that is where Charlie, Mark and Father Gordon come in, and others who are trying to be bearers of the same or similar messages.

Charlie gives us three directions that are key to the third dimension. He has been trying to drill into us as a Drill Sergeant would the following: Acknowledge God. Take the Next Right Step. Be a Sign of Hope for others.

Acknowledging God is beyond our 2D world, because this 2D world is all about me (or you), even if we don’t think so. Acknowledging God takes us outside ourselves, and without doing so we cannot possible move on to taking the Next Right Step. But, acknowledging God is not meant to be like we acknowledge someone we pass on the street. That nod of the head, is in fact not real acknowledgement, and not what that word really means. Merriam Webster defines Acknowledge to mean:
:to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something)and, among others
:to recognize the rights, authority, or status of
Acknowledging God is not a trivial undertaking. It is serious business. To accept or recognize God we must enter into a relationship with Him, in His threefold personhood, and this cannot be done without effort on our part. Acknowledgement of God is about that transformation of the heart referenced above in the prophecy from Life in the Spirit.

If we try to take the Next Right Step (NRS) without acknowledging God, we will do so only in 2 dimensions. We might get the NRS, but if so, it will be by accident, or divine intervention. The Next Right Step we take, is not about us, and actually has very little to do with us. It is our individual step, all right, but taken properly, is ordered into the full 3D world, not just the 2D image we live in.

Some readers of TNRS are focused on what devotion to undertake, at what time of day, and where, and when and how things are going to happen. Devotions are a means of communing with Our God, but they are not a checklist, and there is no one checklist if they were on one. The many sacraments, devotions and practices of the faith that are available are to draw us deeper into relationship with the God we are to acknowledge. They are means of that acknowledgement.

But, to get overly focused on the particular practices, and not on the one for whom they are means of devotion is to be basically saying that one does not want to make the Next Wrong Step (NWS). If so, the point is missed.

If we are trying to avoid the NWS, then our acknowledgment of God is merely tacit, and there is no way to move to the next item and be a sign of hope for anyone. Trying to avoid wrong steps is a sign of fear of failure, and that is not helpful.

Pray the Rosary with your heart. Attend Mass with your heart. Go to Confession with your heart. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet with your heart. Spend time in an Adoration Chapel with your heart. But, do so when each, any or all of these are the Next Right Step to take.

Charlie has guided readers, after Acknowledging God and taking the Next Right Step, to be signs of hope for others. Being a sign of hope for others is actually an advanced Next Right Step and Acknowledgement of God, but cannot be taken by one who has not oriented themselves to Acknowledgement of God and taking the Next Right Step such that their life is by itself a sign of hope.

Today in the article linked above there was an interesting dialogue in the comments largely involving Charlie and a bishop of the Church, who uses the handle Yong Duk. They were mulling over respectfully a weighty matter involving the use of lies for a particular purpose, in this instance the case of the videos of Planned Parenthood and the selling of aborted baby parts. Of great interest is that they are somewhat apart on the matter, but carefully weighing the input of the other, and insertions from other readers as well. In the 2 dimensional world we inhabit, it is all ultimately about me or you, and so I have an interest in being right, and often have trouble laying that down to get to the truth. That is not what I have observed here, as I see 3 dimensional thinking and interaction, and that is a witness to the faith we are called to live. Wow!! It is a sign of hope for us.

There is in fact a Next Right Step for each of us relative to what has been written. The issue of “Truth” and “Lies” is a serious matter, and as our world (the 2D one) keeps unraveling, we will be faced with serious challenges to protect ourselves, our families and our friends in the face of persecution. If we do not contemplate how we will handle serious challenges in the future and prepare ourselves, we are likely to make mistakes that could be disastrous for loved ones, and others God is calling.

Part of taking the Next Right Step is taking right steps today that will set us up to take the Next Right Step again tomorrow when the going gets tougher.
If, and only if, we have acknowledged God, and taken the Next Right Step repeatedly, then and only then can we be a sign of hope to others. Being a sign of hope, though an extension of Acknowledging God and taking the Next Right Step is going to prove crucial to helping our loved ones, and those we have not had occasion to love yet to get to safe and holy ground in the coming days.