Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Private Revelations & Patience

Over the past year, some of the best Catholics I know started to wonder at the apocalyptic prophecies of a Colorado man named Charlie Johnston.  When he came to Portland on a speaking tour, they were in attendance, and my contact in the archdiocese (for the street apostolate) even wrote of his private support in a circulated e-mail.  I opted not to attend (even though I had peeked in on Charlie's blog over the years), and instead watched his archived talk from Birmingham, Alabama.  I came away skeptical, and his home Archdiocese of Denver has recently released a letter "strongly" advising their caution.

While most Catholics simply ignore contemporary private revelations, and others have an understandable aversion to them, there is something afoot when prayerful, servants of Christ are pulled in that direction.  Fr. Mitch Pacwa attended the Birmingham talk, and Patrick Madrid later hosted Charlie Johnston on his radio show.  Neither offered their support, but it is remarkable that each thought it was worthwhile to give him a hearing.  It is clear that many faithful Catholics have begun to fear that the esalating rebellion from God has finally gone too far.  Like the ancient Israelites, they mourn the eclipse of God among their own people.  They fear that national disaster will follow sin (as it inevitably does in our individual lives), and yet they also hope for divine rescue.  Charlie Johnston's prophecies have piqued both their fear and their hope.  He has prophesied global civil wars and economic collapse by 2017, and the disruption of the upcoming electoral cycle.  Then in late 2017, he claims that God will reach down in mercy and rescue his weary people through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  There will follow a re-unification among Christians, as well as a lengthy period of peace and prosperity.

Charlie's prophecies seem too incredible to be true.  But then again, events like the Russian Revolution, the rise of the obscure Nazi party to near world domination, the mass killings of the Khmer Rouge etc. also defy our good judgment. Just listen to those who lived through those times--such events were unthinkable even a decade before.  While Charlie's political and economic predictions are highly improbable, where he really loses me is in his understanding of the action of God. Our God is meek and humble of heart, and unlike demons, he is reticent in displaying his power.  He favors being born in a stable, dying abandoned on the cross, and most of all, he takes pleasure in working through us.  He delights in seeing his glory manifested through us, especially the most humble, wretched and unknown of his people.  When we need rescuing, he sends us a St. Francis with his army of beggar-saints, or he soothes his wounded heart through the hidden sufferings of young nuns: St. Bernadette Soubirous, St. Therese of  Lisieux, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Blessed Marie-Celine of the Visitation, St. Faustina, St. Mariam Baouardy and more.  These holy women were near contemporaries of each other.  That's extraordinary!

Blessed Elizabeth will soon be canonized a saint.

In our own troubled days, God will send us our own saints.  In recent posts I have pointed to men that have been favored by the Holy Spirit, and some have even advanced along the road to sanctity.  Fr. Jacques Philippe has the wisdom and love of the Holy Spirit, and Cardinal Sarah will have a lengthy, consequential reign as our next pope.  He will bring clarity and unity of purpose even as the world prefers her false gods.  The Church will regain her spiritual strength and vision, birthing new saints and martyrs, amidst "The Long Defeat" (Tolkien's lovely phrase) leading to the Second Coming.  That's my prophecy anyway. It isn't sexy, it doesn't satisfy our outrage or our cry for God's stupendous intervention, but it is the way of the Lord.  Our task now is to simply follow Him in patience, and grow in faith, hope and love.

The Catholic Herald tweets his "unstoppable rise" :-)

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