With all that’s been on Charlie’s plate in the last, nearly three, weeks, and with the continuing weightiness of what is happening around us – including the intensity many are experiencing with personal trials – it’s a good moment to revisit a piece filled with counsel which calls us to introspection and self-examination as we consider our relationship with God, particularly in the areas of expectations, obedience, prophetic discernment and interpretation, taking responsibility in exerting the awe-inspiring and precious gift of free will, abandonment to Divine Providence with complete reliance on Abba and unshakeable trust in Him and His Ways.
What I perceive in this piece is an invitation to live the paradox that John the Baptist presented in the Scriptures: “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30) We’re being called, via Charlie’s contemporary words and examples, to reject the temptations (some obvious, others more stealthily presented) to exalt ourselves above God and, instead, choose to be humble, for it is a mighty and essential way to reach the union with Him that our hearts desire and for which His Heart yearns beyond our own. In such an intimate union, we truly can rest in Him… not just physically rest, although that’s good, but to rest in Him in the totality of who we are with all of our emotions, thinking, and deeds. From this spiritual mindset, we become heartened, refreshed and focused on acknowledging God, ready to take all the next right steps that find us joyfully doing the little we can wherever we may be. (Beckita)
Drill Deep to Find What Trust Really Means
By Charlie Johnston
I am going to cover some important ground today. It is not new ground, but it is downright flinty in how hard it is. People are not usually ready for such until they have had some serious setbacks and reversals – and found things are not quite as they have confidently believed. I expect some blowback, but many of you are ready for this next level of wisdom. I know because I have been inundated of late with people seeking serious personal counsel – counsel because their most pious of expectations have been confounded.
Most genuinely pious people who say they trust God really think they do, but they do not. They think they have divined His will perfectly – and trust implicitly what are merely the interpretations they have made. Or they think that, like Jiminy Cricket, God has given them perfect knowledge down to the finest detail of what His plan for them is. Or that if you devote yourself to Him, He will never allow anything seriously temporally bad to beset you. Trusting God is knowing that you do not know the details and that you will regularly find yourself at the bank of the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit – and that God will open up a way or He won’t.
Though I make NO new prophecies here, I am going to share with you a few of the hard-won lessons from what I believe to be a lifetime worth of training.
First, interpretation is incredibly hard…and often it pleases heavenly beings to let you meander on in your misunderstanding in order that the lesson is remembered more deeply AND to cement in your mind that you will never contain the mind of God. It is like believing you can contain the ocean in a drinking glass. I said once that I was promised that I would live for several years beyond the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart – and so I was. But stupidly, even after many decades of training, I somehow forgot that if we follow God, we are eternal from the moment we are conceived. I understand better now that, so long as I cling to Him, so long as I am more useful here, He will keep me here, no matter how things seem in any given moment. If I am more useful to those here from the next world, He will take me. Either way, I will live. If He decides to give me some bonus years here after the Triumph, that will be nice, but is entirely His call. I wasn’t promised that I would live here, only that I would live. He told me true and I imposed my own gloss over it.
If you think your discernment is so perfect you cannot be fooled by the devil, he has already fooled you. Many of the greatest of saints have confessed to having been deceived by the devil for a time. If you think you are superior to all these saints in your immediate discernment, your vanity already marks you as a (hopefully) unwitting tool of the devil.
God insists on each of us exercising our free will and taking responsibility for it at every moment. If you are dubious about a potential course of action, it may be God warning you against it – or it may be the devil trying to prevent you from doing something especially fruitful. In the end, you must decide and take responsibility for the decision with humility before God. That means that you can NEVER be sure the course you choose is right, but you can ALWAYS be sure that so long as you call sincerely on the name of the Lord, He will look with favor on your efforts and steer you safely to His path, drawing graces even from your errors. Make a decision and live with it. Change it only if you genuinely see it to be errant, never because it gets you blowback from the world, including your friends.
Never justify your actions by saying, “the Lord told me to…” This rule applies whether your actions turn out good or bad. This is something that has been hammered into me from the earliest days of my understanding. You may think, as I once did, that you are stealing honor from God for the good things that come from you. Wrong. ALL good things come from God – as even beginners in the faith should know. When someone is constantly claiming that God told them to do such and such, they are rarely honoring God. Rather, they are trying to claim unwarranted authority for their own preferences. When someone disagrees with them, they are intimating that that person is actually disagreeing with God. Always seek counsel – from God and from good men – and always take responsibility for your actions and your words. If it flourishes, thanks be to God. If not, try again…but without having blamed God for your own misunderstandings or errors.
For at least seven years I was told things which, when they came, would match up precisely with what I was told, but in ways I had not expected at all. My interpretation was wrong every single time for at least seven years. I cried a lot of tears of frustration. My angel finally explained that I was NOT told anything so I would know the mind of God, but so that when certain temporal events happened I would look deeper to see the spiritual reality behind them. They were a form of road signs. Each of us are God’s servants if we choose. None of us are God’s mini-me’s. Take responsibility for everything you do and don’t blame any of it on God. If you think you can surely discern even the seemingly most simple straightforward directions from the Most High, you have deceived yourself. Frankly, I am most suspicious of those things that are seemingly the most straightforward. And frankly, my angel sometimes proves my fidelity by my determination that I cannot understand with certainty even the simplest of commands – but simply make a decision and offer it to God, taking full responsibility for it, trusting that He will amend my errors so long as I hold fast to Him.
When I was publicly speaking prophetically, I avoided speaking about what people should do other than cling closely to God. Rather, I spoke of what was coming. Even then, when I dug too far into details rather than sticking with the big picture, I made two big blunders. These days a lot of people tell me that I was right in a meta-sense. It does not matter. I erred badly in my interpretation. When I was adamant about noting the error, some thought it was humility. I suppose it was, but it was simply obeying the lifelong command to take full responsibility for what you say and do. Yeah, you can be combative (as all know I can be), but if you persist in trying to make error into not error, you may be serving someone, but it is not the Lord.
My understanding of my work from the earliest days was that I was called to help give people heart to get through what would be the greatest crisis yet in the history of the world; a crisis that would feel, in many ways, like the end but most emphatically was NOT the end. It was instead to be God’s renewal of the faith and the face of the world. If you only knew how many times I have misunderstood the details in the six decades since I had the first nascent understanding of what this all means! God lets you make your mistakes in hopes that you will persist despite your frailty and will become less stupid over time.
Contrary to popular belief, God does not play Jiminy Cricket and tell you in precise detail what to do (at least in my case). He gives you a broad picture, even if often detailed. Then you must do your research to determine if this is possible or reasonably plausible, then you must choose how best you can address it. Every step involves free will and discernment – all of which YOU must take responsibility for. This helps weed out demonic-inspired stuff – because you have to do your extensive homework – and prevents you from blaming God if you err. Yet it imposes a heavy discipline. Once you engage, you cannot know with certainty that you have got it right BUT you are not allowed not to act.
I was not directed to speak publicly about the Storm. I chose to do so as the best means I could think of to inoculate people. It was never about telling you about the coming Storm. That was coming whether I spoke or not. My thinking was that it did not matter that much whether people knew in advance: they would have to adapt to it with or without anything I said. So why did I speak? Very simply, I knew that by telling you this most improbable event which unfolded largely in the manner I said, it would give credibility to what I would later say: that this is NOT the end. And that would come at a time when people desperately needed to hear it credibly. But it wasn’t even that simple. Once I decided on that plan if things continued to play out (I came to this decision in 1993), my angel told me I would make at least one serious mistake he would not correct once I began speaking publicly – and that it would serve God’s purpose. I did NOT like that, but I was NOT allowed to not speak once I started. I tried to come up with a different plan, but the plan had to work as well to ultimately reassure people – not just to make it more comfortable for me. But this was the best way. I pray that my errors and the way I carried on after stepping back for a time will help others to do the same after they find that things they have been certain of turn out errant.
Today, I am profoundly thankful for the training I so often chafed under. Already I see people grasping at straws trying to maintain their balance and make sense of a world gone stark raving mad. Some try to grab hold of an imagined rigorous traditionalism and hold to it scrupulously. When they scream that every Pope since Pius X is a fraud what they are really doing is whistling frantically past the graveyard. Others grasp at any prophetic word they can find, including a host of those that are contradictory. Many, shaken at having what they thought were pious plans overturned, are fearful that God has abandoned them. Others (oddly the genuinely more theologically inclined) posit vast centuries of massive conspiracy theories. All of it is an effort to maintain some semblance of control in a disintegrating world. Now is when God is teaching you that the only answer is real trust. You are not in control. You never were. You never will be. And you will never know God’s mind on this side of the veil. Quit flailing about wildly and surrender to God. Trust Him.
I was still in my 20’s when I was told that the time would come when I would not be able to see more than a single step ahead of me – and sometimes not that much – and that it was then that I would have to learn what trust really is. Trust is to surrender to God…to just take that next step in front of you (and yes, that event was the genesis of my philosophy of the next right step) as best you can see it while trusting that God will guide each of your steps as they happen and correct them when, in your humanity, you misstep. That is where we are.
When someone tells me that God told them exactly what to do – or to inform me of what exactly I must do, I know they think this gives their command added authority. Actually, it immediately erodes their credibility in my eyes. God HAS given me guidance through others at times to see if I am paying attention, but it always comes cloaked in humility rather than hubris. Take responsibility for what you say and do, whether you believe it comes from God or not. A woman told me recently that she realized I was someone to take very seriously a few years ago when I told her to take what I say with a grain of salt because I never know with certainty – but work hard to give my very best counsel. She said she has since applied it to everyone and it has been a powerful tool for discernment. You don’t know the mind of God. Take responsibility for what you say and do and pray that He will continue to direct your steps.
When someone tells me they always know whether something comes from God or not I dismiss them as a dolt who would dismiss the words of the Apostle Paul, so immature in their faith that they think a little knowledge is the sum total of it all, or so vain that they think they have captured the mind of God. Stop it and truly work out your salvation in fear and trembling – knowing how easily you are deceived and how you must cling to Christ at every moment to avoid deception and recover from the deception that you will inevitably fall into, nonetheless. When you think like this, you do not trust God; you trust Him to execute what you have interpreted as being His plan in precise detail – which is to say, you trust yourself. Walk humbly with God without ceasing to speak boldly of Him.
For those who seek and confidently interpret coming signs and wonders, you should remember that they are almost always so subtle that all but a literal handful miss them altogether. As a species we are ever playful pups eagerly looking for the next fireworks show. Sometimes God does give us the fireworks show, as with the sun dancing at Fatima or the parting of the Red Sea, but most of the time He does not. The star of Bethlehem was not a particularly bright star; it did not dominate the sky. In fact, it was so subtle that only a couple of wise guys from the east understood it for what it was. I fully believe in both the Illumination of Conscience and the Warning. I frankly hope they both play out as the great majority think they will – in a big blaze of glory that no one could possibly misunderstand except through determined, willful, and malicious ignorance. If it happened that way, it would make what I have always perceived to be my job (to give people heart to endure the Storm) a LOT easier. But I know God rarely works that way. As everything is imploding right now, could that not satisfy the requirements for the illumination of conscience? When absurdities are taught as truth you must believe, the reality is that everyone knows. What everyone must choose is whether they are going to live by what they know to be lies or to stand, however forlornly, for what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Once again, free will is insisted upon by God. Everyone knows and everyone must choose. I know, I know, all the people who have not had to undergo the instruction of almost a decade of getting their interpretations wrong every time will tell me in great detail why their interpretation is the only possible right one. It’s why so many advocates of Garabandal insisted that the blind Joey Lomangino would live to see the miracle from this side of the veil – until he actually died. That did not faze me in the least. In fact, what they were told was almost a tautology: that Joey would see on the day of the miracle. This obviously did not mean he would not die before the miracle, only that he would see when it came…which could have very well meant he would already have passed on to the next world where all infirmities are healed. But enthusiasts insisted that he would be alive here. In thinking they had perfect interpretation, they dealt themselves and Garabandal an unnecessary blow. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity under the sun.
Some get so excited about having a mystical experience, thinking it makes them special, that they seek out mystical experiences and think it gives them leave to direct everyone. Don’t you know that the devil can create mystical experiences – and if that is what you desire he is glad to oblige you? If you have had some initial mystical experiences, you have graduated first grade. You do not show authority by telling others what they should do. You look ridiculous and you are in danger of being given to the devil for some serious sifting.
Others think that dutiful obedience to God and piety will exempt them from any serious temporal evil. Seriously?! Have you ever even read the Bible? God’s servants are rarely notable for their prosperity; they are notable for their fortitude and patient endurance under severe trials – and occasional martyrdom. I have known some who, when they have suffered some great setback, think God has failed them. What a poverty to call such thin gruel, “faith”!
I have been indulgent over the years when people boast of their preparations because I am not the sort who would snatch a teddy bear from a frightened child. Many people think “prophecy” is God giving them inside information so they can then kick Him to the curb and rely on their own plan. It is good to make prudent preparations, particularly with an eye to helping others, so long as you don’t rely on them. As it is written, God often intends that one man sows while another reaps. If you can make preparation and not lose your peace if all is taken from you in a blow, you are on the right track. But if your hope is in the stores you have laid up, your hope will be in vain, because it is in your cleverness rather than in God. Learn, with St. Paul, to be content in whatever state you find yourself, trusting that God has His reasons (Philippians 4:11); to have as if having not and to have not as if having. This is trust that does not depend on God executing your plan.
Right now, people inside and outside the Church are busily arguing that Christ is here and Christ is there – through rigid adherence to a supposed golden age of tradition that actually had its own severe challenges; through an unceasing multitude of prophetic words; and through novel and ersatz interpretations of salvation history. It all amounts to the same thing: do what I say and all will be well. Poppycock! When God is so insistent on free will that He will not interfere with it, why would you think He would want you to abrogate your free will to a mere earthly guru? Some will say, well, isn’t that what you do, Charlie? No. I give counsel – and my counsel consists of telling you that Christ is close TO YOU, right at hand and ready to help you if you ask Him. Added to that, I offer some counsel on how to listen effectively to Him and discern for yourself His call in your life.
Do not misunderstand obedience. Jesus set up a hierarchy and gave them authority on earth. Understand that in God’s economy, obedience does not signify what it does in man’s understanding. With man, obedience is a sort of submission of the lesser to the greater. With God, obedience to the legitimate authority He has ordained is a means of opening up channels of grace. This is why, when Jesus went up with His earthly parents after the temple, Scriptures record that He was obedient to them. Not that He pretended obedience, but that He WAS obedient. And He grew in goodness and grace. Some think I am obedient to my Bishop because I have the good fortune to have one over me who is solidly orthodox. But if I were in a Diocese with the most heterodox Bishop, I would be obedient to his authentic authority. Of course, a Bishop’s authority is not plenary: it is limited to faith and morals and cannot be obviously contradictory of Scripture or the Magisterium.
The disposition necessary to weather all this is abandonment to God. Understand that if you follow Him you ARE immortal, but He is the casting director. If he has use for you here, here you will remain. When He has better use for you in the next world, there you will go. Do your daily work with confidence that whatever happens to you, He either intends it for you or allows it for your good. Do not ask, “Why me, Lord.” when trials come; rather ask, “What do you intend for me in this, Lord?” Good times and bad times are variations on the same thing. It is like the weather: whether it is sunny and mild or storming ferociously, you are still responsible for your journey. Walk on in confident hope that you will see the Lord in the land of the living. The Lord will perfect your faith through your fortitude in season and out of season.
Do not assume you know His mind. Whatever your plans, He probably has something else in mind. This is why the only preparation I make is to carry a backpack and hiking boots with me wherever I go. It is also why I relentlessly keep doing what I am doing for as long as I can. I do not know when – or even if – all will collapse or where I will be when it comes. But I trust that, wherever I am and whatever I am doing, God will open up a new way forward for me in His service when it pleases Him. Until then, I will wait upon the Lord knowing that if I am of good courage, He will strengthen my heart. That is enough.
Remember who our God is. He is Jesus who, when His followers gave him a little fish and a few crusts of bread, fed a multitude. We will never be able to feed a multitude – and Jesus does not expect us to. But He DOES expect us to give Him the little fish or crust of bread we can come up with – and then the multitude will be fed. Do the little you can right in front of you. Do not be distracted by the winds and waves. Do not let the satan deceive you that you are master of the wind and waves. Trust God in complete abandonment.
In the end, the only thing that will sustain a noble purpose through all the seeming trials and triumphs of your life is love – love for God actively expressed in love for your fellows along your way. What is needful is what I have told you from the start: Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. Contemplate that deeply and you will be on the threshold of wisdom that will carry you through the Storm.
If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.
Find me on Gab at Charliej373 or at the CORAC group.
Find me on Twitter at @Charlie62394802