“There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their lives is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
-William Shakespeare (from Julius Caesar)
(While on the road, I am going to try adding a dateline to my articles, so you can travel along vicariously with me – CJ)
Ft. Myers, Florida – These last few weeks I have heard from many because of my variations in interpreting prophecy and events as they do. While all I said is what I believe, I confess that I have been a bit intentionally provocative. The point I want to bring out is that, once the battle has begun and is fully engaged, the time to analyze the schematic of a tank is over – and is, in fact, a good way to get your head shot off. While many are still trying to divine the secret of what God is going to do, the reality is that God is intently watching to see what WE do.
Right now there is utter chaos in both the world and in the hierarchy of the Church. Everybody is desperately grasping for some explanation that will make it all make sense and give them some sense of control. Lord have mercy! There are a whole lot of such explanations right now and they mostly contradict each other. Before an initially wary crowd of almost all Protestants last year, a fellow asked in the Q and A session (after they had already decided I was okay) how he was supposed to deal with all the “prophetic” pronouncements that were rising and contradicting each other. “I want to do God’s will,” he said, “but how can I possibly know?” I told him that the Holy Spirit is NOT the author of confusion – and that if anyone told him what he must do in order to follow Christ (with the exception of what Scripture teaches), ignore them. The simple truth is that Christ is close to you, right at hand, and ready to help guide you with the next right step if you seek Him. That answer got rather lively applause.
What I am trying to convey is that you should not ignore important things in order to argue over things you have little or no control over. If, thirty years from now, it turns out that, contrary to what I believe, Benedict was Pope all along, I will not lose any sleep over it (Of course, I will be in my late 90’s then, so I reckon I won’t lose much sleep over anything.) If it turns out that the Illumination of Conscience is a one-day spectacular event rather than the subtle revelation ongoing right now – as I believe – I will not lose any sleep over it. What I would lose sleep over is if I had been so busy arguing and parsing that I failed to do the little I can right in front of me. That is what God’s will is for me – and for you.
My first spiritual director (God rest his soul!), the towering intellectual, told me some five or six months after I had revealed the fullness of my interior life to him that he had come to believe I had a particular mission, but that was NOT where my salvation lay. Instead, he said my salvation lay in how I cared for the little souls that God put in my care for a time. It was one of the most powerful things anyone ever said to me. It is as true today as when he said it, nearly 28 years ago. Doing the multitude of little things that bring life and light are far more mundane than exciting fireworks shows – but those mundane little things are what bring life, joy and peace, even in difficult times. If you are looking for a fireworks show, this is probably not the place for you (which is not to say there are never any fireworks here). But for practical wisdom of the mundane next right step variety, this is a good place to be.
To that end, let me tell you a bit about what the major focus of CORAC is in this New Year.
I will be pushing hard the concept of “Be the Benefit.” As things unravel around us in the world, we are about the business of knitting the frayed social fabric anew. CORAC has now amassed a whole host of resources for our members – and we will be amassing more. But I want to drill down deeply at the local level. I want regions to focus on getting action squads moving in every town where we have CORAC members.
The squads would focus on seeking out the simple needs in their own community – and meeting them. If an elderly couple has a porch crumbling, get a crew together and help fix it. If a shut-in needs a ride to the store once or twice a week, get it done. Talk to every local Priest, Pastor and Rabbi and get them to help identify simple needs in the community and people who could use a little help. Then get the crew together and help. Make a joyful holiday of it – as the scene of the departure from Egypt was in the Ten Commandments.
This can be done if there is only one CORAC member within a hundred miles. Just recruit a crew from among friends and neighbors. This will help build bonds of community and friendship while amassing a sense of shared accomplishment among those friends – both the old friends that start it going and the newly-formed friends from the various projects themselves. This would obviously add to the membership of CORAC, but most importantly would strengthen neighborliness and get people used to working together to help each other. That will stand people in good stead as things get tougher as the year goes on.
The federal government has been grinding down badly for years now. On Wednesday all flights in the entire country were grounded for several hours after the failure of a critical FAA system. I don’t believe it will be the last failure this year of basic systems – nor will it be anywhere near the worst. The leadership class has knowingly adopted bad policy after bad policy. The systematic adoption of bad policy leads to catastrophic failure. Much of the failure just confounds basic common sense.
Do you know what the single greatest factor is in how clean a country’s environmental policies are? It is how highly developed it is. The more primitive a country is, the more it pollutes. You can check it out easily, yourself. So what is the policy our leaders peddle to make us more green? Make us more primitive. On energy the American grid is so stressed that, already in the last few months, we have seen rolling blackouts both in California and in the heartland. So what is the ruling class approach to solving this? Add massive new electric cars and ban gas stoves so as to double or triple the stress on an already overstressed electrical grid. These are not things you need a science background to understand – just basic common sense. But common sense is a quality that is dead in a leadership class so drunk on its own willful determination to rule everyone it doesn’t even bother to ask whether its decrees will make things better or worse.
America was founded on a concept of very limited government, following the principle that the primary role of a central government is to provide for the common defense. The secondary role is to help with those things the people and the states could not do efficiently on their own. Otherwise, it was to keep out of the people’s way – and leave providing common benefits to the states and, more prudently, to voluntary associations of those people. Somewhere along the way (I could go into the history of that, but I’ll save that for another time) the leadership class in America decided its primary purpose was to distribute benefits and redistribute income. From there it quickly devolved into deciding it should rule its populace, not serve them. Now, even many conservatives argue about how people should be ruled rather than how best to get out of the way and serve when needed.
Command economies always produce poverty. Dull-witted people cannot understand how an actual marketplace can possibly work more efficiently than their imperious schemes. Somehow, their will to power makes them more stupid than they were when they began. Josef Stalin actually believed that destroying the small farms of Ukraine, the breadbasket of the Soviet Union, and replacing their owners with government functionaries doing what he told them, would be more efficient. And widespread famine was the result. Command polities always produce misery and enslavement. How can they do otherwise? At heart, they are all about destroying your free will and replacing it with the sovereign will of the rulers.
The gears of American government are grinding down and seizing up. That will not stop this year, only speed up. Some of the states are making tentative efforts at reclaiming some of their actual Constitutional authority and defending their citizens against the depredations of a federal government drunk with power and incompetence. Such states may provide a defense against a crumbling society. But the bulwark of freedom is a commitment to faith and family by a sovereign people determined to work together collectively in voluntary association with each other.
CORAC was intentionally designed to facilitate that work, to respect the sovereignty of, first, God, and second, a free people, freely associating with each other. These first couple of years we have worked to build tools you will need to live your duty before God and neighbor. Last year I embarked upon a frustrating effort to give you another tool – the means to build effective local and regional currencies to facilitate exchange and bartering as the federal system’s cancer metastasized. I had a lot of false starts there – and university inquiries were not much help (they don’t do much good on anything anymore. A few decades from now, Harvard may be the archetype of unforced failure rather than an icon of educational excellence. It has already long since ceased to be the latter, but has not yet been publicly recognized as the former.) Thank heavens that, over the holidays, I stumbled upon an obscure, decades old book that is chock full of practical advice on how to lay out such a system of exchange. So I have started anew and believe that, before the first quarter of the year is over, I will have a primer on how to make such a thing happen without leaving you in the lurch. It is the last critical tool I currently see that you will need to be effective tools, yourselves, for the renewal of the faith and face of the world.
Over these last 10 years I have described with deadly accuracy the trajectory and the magnitude of the tide in our modern affairs. I made some significant errors in describing how the more mercurial and volatile waves would break. Waves, though flashy, lack the elemental power of the tide. I am not interested in trying to prove to you that I am less prone to error in predicting the waves than most people, though that is true. I am trying to convince you that such activity, while the battle rises around us, is futile and damaging. Do not think I despise prophecy. During great crises, approved prophecy can be very useful in understanding the spiritual significance of events as they happen. But when it degenerates into navel-gazing at a time when action is called for, it hinders rather than facilitates that action.
Sometimes God tells us to contemplate and see. Other times, He tells us to do. When He tells us to do, He rarely illuminates much more than what is right in front of us. It is then that we must trust – as Abraham did when he set off for a far country, as Moses did when he stood at the bank of the Red Sea, as Gideon did when he took on over 10,000 hostile enemies with a mere 300 men. We will both see the goodness of the Lord in real time and better understand the unfathomable depth of His providence in hindsight. But now we must trust and do.
I am not interested in describing the waves of prophecy, for even if I was the best in the world I would sometimes err in interpretation. In the midst of pitched battle such errors can be deadly. But I know that even as the tide of government and institutional competence is nearing its low ebb, the tide of God’s grace is rising to the flood. If we would be His people, our call is to do the little right in front of us, trusting Him to cover what we lack while He guides us safely to harbor through the Storm.
These are glorious times, the time of heroes if we choose to do the humble work He has laid before us. I will leave it to others to interpret the waves. I will ride the rising tide of God’s grace to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart – and the renewal of the faith and face of the world. Join me. It is humble work. It is hard work. It is mundane work. But it is God’s work – and He invites you to become heralds of the Triumph by that work.
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 Twitter at @Charlie62394802