Category Archives: Prophecy

Well, Charlie Johnston Was Wrong, so Now What?

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I have written of Charlie Johnston here in the past, and you can find those posts here.

I will not rehash everything I’ve previously written, but if you are not familiar with him it would be worth revisiting those posts.

So, Charlie always, first and foremost, said his message was about a broader, greater, and more general message than the simple act of prophecy (in the sense here, of predicting specifics of what is to come).   His message has been pretty simple at the base level:   trust God, don’t get all stressed out about what’s going on around you – just know that we’re in a Storm, and with that sense of awareness take the Next Right Step.   (hence, the acronym TNRS for his followers as a short summation of what it means to live in these times).

All of that is well and good.   But Charlie made a claim along the way that he has been visited by Angels since his youth, and along the way would receive visitations by others as well, including Jesus Himself.   According to his own words, he has had Spiritual Advisors who have not considered him or his messages inauthentic.    A review of his diocese did not fully embrace him, but neither did it pull the plug on him.    Basically, the results of the review showed that Charlie has not stated anything heretical or against Catholic teaching, but since the nature of the claim to supernatural insight was unknown, he was restricted from speaking on Church property.   He was careful to comply in obedience.

From all accounts, Charlie is a good and faithful man who did not profit from his ministry along the way, nor did he seem to indulge in self-aggrandizement.   He was careful to tell people not to make any preparations for the Storm beyond their means.   However prepared we thought we could be, it wouldn’t be enough anyway and may serve as a distraction.

So, anyway, it is clear that Charlie certainly had and has a good sense of where we’re headed, and how we’re trending as a culture, country, and world.    It is clear that his message is sound, and very good.   And it is also clear that he cares very much for the Church and is obedient.

The difficulty at the moment is determining what we should make of the inaccuracy of his one real prediction:   That Obama would not finish his term, and that a peaceful transition of power would not take place with respect to the Presidency.   Further, the specific prediction of a Rescue occurring at the end of 2017 is not yet proven wrong, but certainly seemed to depend upon the former prediction.

What first must be said about this is that Charlie stated before Inauguration Day that if his prediction did not come to pass that he would consider himself unreliable and would withdraw from the public.    Once the day passed, he was good to his word.   He said he was clearly deceived, that for whatever reason the deception was undetected by him and also for whatever reason his error was left uncorrected.    He is taking that as a sign that he is intended now to suffer that embarrassment, withdraw from what he was doing, and pass the torch of the general message on to others.    He has done so.    In my view, this is the proper thing to do and I think it actually bolsters his credibility.    Too many times we have seen people make predictions, and then when it doesn’t come to pass, they act as if it really did come to pass but in some vague way that defines logic.   Charlie said he has no taste for that and made no excuses.

I met Charlie in Green Bay.   He visited for a talk and my wife and I decided to go with some friends.    It was nice to see him and introduce myself.   There was little he said that I didn’t already get from his blog, but sort of like how it’s fun to see a band in concert even though you have their CDs, it’s nice to see someone talk in person what they’ve been writing about.

So, having established that Charlie was wrong and there are no excuses, there are some things worth musing about, that falls under the category of “how wrong was he?”    Think about it for a moment:   Two years ago Charlie started saying that there would be chaos and there wouldn’t be a peaceful Presidential transition.   While that didn’t come to pass, the last two years in politics in the US have been absolutely mind-numbing.   Everything that happened, the devolution of civil discourse, protests, claims of hacking and voting disruptions, calls for Electors to ignore their duty…   I saw article after article by even mainstream publications openly wondering what would happen if Trump were assassinated at the inauguration, or predicting mass chaos in the streets no matter who won…   On all levels, this was bizarre.   Good, reasonable, and not particularly out-there folks were stocking food, and wondering whether or not something really changed, or if there would be some sort of anarchist revolt.   I know I have never lived through an election that came with so many twists, turns, threats of violence, and outright uncertainty.

All of that falls short of Charlie’s prediction.   But the very fact that people were openly wondering what in the world was happening still gives one a sense that Charlie knew something we didn’t, and started seeing it before it was self-evident.

So, here’s my musings:  Is the miss here because he simply doesn’t get the messages he claims?    That’s entirely possible.   And if true, it either means he was making it up, or that he really believes it and is delusional.   It would seem an odd delusion, since much of what he says went down the directive path that he spoke about.   But, it could be that he is simply a perceptive man with gifts and talents in the area of foreseeing cultural trends, and then conflating a supernatural element on top of it.   In any case, I find it difficult to accept he was just lying about it all.   But really, only he knows.    So, suppose he really does receive these messages.   The question, then, is how was he wrong?   Well, the simple explanation is that Private Revelation does not hold the same guarantee of infallibility as Public Revelation.    The errors here could be one of not understanding that the prophecy was conditional.   This means that if people responded with sacrifice and prayer, then the prophecy could be mitigated, delayed, or reversed.   Normally, the seer would understand the conditional nature of it because a message would be delivered with the conditions required to change it.    Further, Private Revelation is dependent upon the understanding and communication of the seer, so it could simply mean that he misunderstood what was communicated.   Whether the message was meant to be allegorical, for example.

Charlie maintains that he does receive messages, but he was simply deceived by a dark spirit, and that this deception went uncorrected.   If this is true, one might wonder on two questions:  (1) why would the spirit deceive him in the first place, and (2) why would he not be corrected?

Only God truly knows the answers to all these questions, unless Charlie was simply deceiving us, in which case he too knows the answers.    But supposing there was a supernatural deception here, it could well be to drive a wedge between Charlie and his followers and get them thinking all is really well with the world.    Charlie has brought to light the Storm.   We can all see it around us, and Charlie simply articulated what we all saw and helped give meaning to it.    To the extent people became better because of it, the evil spirits would wish to counter that.   One possible explanation is that he was too close to right, so he was deceived on the details exactly for the purpose of destroying his credibility.   Perhaps many who were girding their loins and preparing not just materially, but spiritually, have renewed doubts and will now relax.    Perhaps this  deception was allowed to find out whose faith was dependent on Charlie’s success and accuracy as opposed to simply focusing on the Gospel message.   Perhaps.    It could well be that Charlie will ultimately be right about the greater prediction that the next stable leader will not come from this election, and that there will be a time of chaos for which we need a Rescue.    But now we’re a little less certain about all of that, aren’t we?   And maybe God’s OK with that.

What I will say is that I believe signs and/or prophetic accuracy are important.    Not as important as truth – for deceivers may be able to work signs and give accurate prophecy.   But given truth in the messages, the apparitions that the Church have accepted came with these things.   God knows that we are surrounded by deceivers, and it is important that we do see something to hang our hat on.    We did not get it in this case.

No sense getting down about it.   We can still keep Charlie’s message in mind as something solid to consider, and move on to loving God and neighbor the way we’re supposed to no matter what anyway.

Fatima 100

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With the passing of October 13, 2016 we have entered the 100th year of the final apparition of Fatima.

We humans like our round numbers.   We like to think there is something significant about round number anniversaries.

The question is, does God like round numbers?

I have no clue.

Here’s what I do know – looking at the world around us, how low can we go before there is a major correction that takes place?

I will watch this next year with great interest.  If nothing else, Fatima provides hope.   I highly recommend in the coming year, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the apparitions, that we all read the account of Fatima as a reminder of all it represents.

We Are Watching A Movie We Already Know the Ending To

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Those of you who have followed my blog know that I have followed Charlie Johnston.   I think I’ve been balanced in my assessment of his message and the prophetic aspect of what he says.  I trust, but verify (as Ronald Reagan once said).   In other words, he seems legit to me, I’m willing to trust, but if what he says doesn’t pan out I am not going to make excuses for him.   But as we move along this year, I must say that all he has warned that is coming is looking like it is coming to pass.   So it’s not all a slam dunk, but we’re working our way into a good scoring opportunity.

I’m going to write this post under the assumption that Charlie is absolutely correct in what he says is coming:   that the next stable leader of this country will not come from the election process.     Some have taken this to mean that the elections won’t happen.   Charlie hasn’t said that – he has said that the election might happen, but on inauguration day we will not see Obama peaceably hand the reins over to Donald or Hillary.   To be honest, I think this may even be too restrictive.    I could see a scenario in which chaos is erupting around us and we attempt to continue the government in normalcy, but it is not stable and is short-lived.

In any case, this all seemed like crazy talk just a year ago.   If you would have polled Americans as to whether or not it is likely that on Obama’s last day our country may be in a precarious situation and there would be a serious question about the future of the structure of government itself, I am guess the poll numbers would have registered near zero.     If you polled Americans on that now, I’m sure that most would still answer that the government will survive, but the difference is they’d actually consider the question a relevant and valid one.    And a lot can happen in the next three months that might change the answer.

I am not guaranteeing that Charlie is correct.   I am not rooting for chaos.   What I am rooting for is that America wakes up and reverses its current course.    And all of us prefer that this happen the right way.   But sometimes we humans cannot see the direction we’re going, and if God wants to save us, He’ll have to do it in a way that really sucks for us, because it’s the last remaining option.  If you abuse your body with drugs, alcohol, diet, lack of exercise, and so on then some day you may need to take unpleasant and drastic corrective action.   That action will always be unpleasant, but can also give you a brand new shot at life.    You can then go forward having learned a serious lesson.   The same is true of an entire culture’s spiritual state.   If you pile abuse upon abuse, at some point unpleasant correction is necessary.    If God is merciful to us he will correct us.   But it will not be pleasant.

So, let’s look ahead assuming Charlie’s correct:   the next stable leader won’t come from the election process.   Between now and the end of 2017, things will get so bad that we will all lose hope.   By the end of 2017 the Rescue comes in a Marian way.

Crazy?   Maybe, maybe not.   But I’ve been working under the assumption that his accuracy is likely.    I’ve actually been feeling that way for a number of months now.     And I must say, once I developed that mindset I have watched the world around me through a different lens.   It’s almost remarkable to see everything happening that is happening.   I actually don’t think most of us are even able to process how out of control everything is.   We’ve accepted escalating wackiness as a new normal and we now shrug at things and pay little attention to things that used to be major news items of the day.   As all of life devolves, we just seem to accept it and try to live a life of normalcy to the extent possible.   Not that I have an issue with that – it’s a defense mechanism of sorts.   Keep hoeing the row that is yours to hoe.

So, suppose you go to a movie and someone told you the ending.   As you watch the movie, you are watching it with an eye towards what you know is coming, and you look for signs throughout that helps you understand how the story line is getting you to that conclusion.    You watch it differently than if you have no clue.    In the first case, you know what ultimately happens, you just don’t know how.   So you watch to tune yourself into the how.   In some ways, you likely pick up on things you otherwise would have missed or not thought that much of.   In the latter case, you are less engaged and you’re just taking it in and not particularly concerned with the ending.

Even if you are not a complete buyer on Charlie, keep his predictions in mind as you watch the world unfolding around us.   You just may see things in a different light.   And at the very least, if it does come to pass, then you’ll know he was right and 2017 will be a rough year.   But you’ll also know that there’s a Rescue coming.   And that’s good to know.

Male and Female He Created Them

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It’s one of the most fundamental aspects of creation.   Aside from all the theology of it all, God created us to procreate.   The mechanism by which He did this was to create man and woman.   This is not just true of the human race, but of all living creation, save certain exceptions that are either single-cell organisms or random things God seems to have created just because He can and enjoys messing with us a little bit.

Yes, it’s true that certain elements of creation are either non-gender (bacteria, for example) and propagate through cell division, or are hermaphrodites (both male and female) and reproduce all by themselves through some sort of kinky process I don’t really care to dwell on.   But there is one common characteristic that every aspect of reproducing creation shares:  the way you reproduce is the way you’re designed, and the way it’s meant to be.

Man, of course, is our focus here.   We are made in the image and likeness of God.   It may seem strange that God the Father, a Spirit and neither solely masculine nor feminine, created us as male and female.   But we need to keep in mind that our image and likeness is our spiritual nature.  God has no body, so there can be no physical form at all that would be a perfect reflection of God.    Further, God is not just the Father, but the Son and the Holy Spirit.

It has long been theologically accepted that the family is a reflection of the Trinity.  While the Trinity’s oneness is spiritual and not physical, our humanity requires a way to commune with each other physically in order to physically propagate.  The Holy Spirit is the result of the love between Father and Son, while our children are the result of the love between mother and father.

One thing that has been apparent from the beginning of the first moment of man’s existence is that the devil realizes that the best way to undermine God, to mock God, to pull people away from God, is to attack humanity precisely where we most reflect God’s design for us, and most reflect His very essence.

People have often pointed to “End Times” study – such as in Revelation – and noted that there seems to be a false prophet (mockery of John the Baptist) who precedes the Antichrist (mockery of Christ).   The Family is, of course, attacked continuously throughout all of salvation history.

One thing that has also been easy to see throughout all of history is the attack on the procreative aspect of sexuality.   Whether we are talking about sex outside of marriage, or sex for pure pleasure, or contraception, or homosexuality – when the procreative act takes place without the procreative aspect of it willfully and purposefully in play, then this is an attack and a mockery of the very love between Father and Son that produces the third Person of the Trinity eternally.   It’s a mockery, then, of the Trinity itself.

This has always been a human struggle, and in different times these things ebb and flow and rise and fall.   It is probably worse in our time than it has ever been, but it is not a new attack.   The attack just seems to be more successful in its acceptance and effectiveness in drawing people into error and away from God.

However, we are now seeing an attack that I believe is unprecedented in all of world history.   It is an attack on the very existence of human being being male or female.    It is so absurd on its surface that it is easy to not take it seriously.   And quite frankly, we shouldn’t even be having a debate about it.   It’s is self-evident that we are male and female.   But it shows how easily duped we humans are, particularly among the supposed intellectual elite – that this is even something we are now discussing.

The deception is insanely diabolical.   Homosexuality is problematic, but it does not by its nature deny the gender of the person, whether male or female.    Even someone who feels like they are a man trapped in a woman’s body or vice-versa is recognizing that there is such a distinction – male and female.

I am talking about people who are now believing, and convincing others to believe, that they are neither male nor are they female.   They dismiss gender as “binary.”

This may at first be viewed with a bit of eye-rolling and easy to dismiss.  Quite honestly, I am not sure I even heard of the concept as non-binary genderism until a year or two ago. But we ignore this heresy at our peril.   This is more than an attack on family, it is more than a mockery of the Trinity, it is more than any of the previous confusions in the realm of human sexuality and family.  This is new, and it is an attack on the very nature of humanity itself.   It is the utmost mockery of the human person, and of God’s design, and of God.

It is already the case that Canada is considering the passage of – and very well may pass – a bill that will make it a criminal offense to address a person by the pronouns “he” or “she” in lieu of “they.”    I’m not making this up.     Within the last year or two – really as soon as the Supreme Court OK’d same-sex marriage – the entire issue of transgenderism reached a fever pitch, and transgenderism evolved in meaning from a man feeling like he needs to become a woman and going through some action or process to make that happen, to now being able to just say he’s a woman because he feels that way regardless of his biological design, to being no such thing as a man or a woman.   We are all just non-binary creatures who have no business calling ourselves one thing or another because it offends the sensibilities of those around us who don’t accept that we are one thing or another.

This is such a devious attack on human nature by the devil that I don’t think any one at any time ever saw it coming.    I have read countless accounts – fictional and predictive – of what the world would become as we near the End Times or Chastisement or whatever.    Most of those accounts properly foresaw a world falling away from God, becoming more selfish and violent, increases in sexual perversions, and so on.    I never recall seeing anyone accurately forecast that a good chunk of humanity would devolve to a state where we utterly ignore our physical attributes and refuse to recognize our gender, and further that this group would gain acceptance and relevance to the point where governments would promote this idea, outlaw opposing views, and completely turn the argument around and call all those who oppose it from the very simple arguments of observation, reason, and logic immoral bigots.

It’s quite mad, and it’s the world we live in.

We all know, in the end, that God has His ultimate victory over the Devil.   We may or may not see that in our lifetime, but one wonders how long we can sustain such a path of utter disregard for humanity.   The one remaining step to absolute perdition seems to be laws that criminalize the belief that humans are any different than plants or animals.   We’ve seen people argue this in the past, and they’ve been dismissed as the lunatics that they are.    But we may soon see the day where they are no longer dismissed, but accepted and celebrated, and their ideas legislated in some form or fashion.

If I were God, I likely would have wiped us out long ago.   Thankfully for all of us, I am not God (despite what the Relativists think).   But the only way for Him to gain the ultimate victory here on earth can’t be pretty for anyone.

 

Charlie Johnston

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A few days ago I once again revisited the idea of Catholic Prophecy.    If you did not read that post before reading this one, please do, so as to put everything in appropriate context as I move on to discussing Charlie Johnston.   In that post I also encourage you to read and review in Charlie’s own words what he claims to have experienced, and what his stated mission is.

I am mentioning him here because of all the current, modern-day “prophets” he has a very unique approach to it all.   His approach, I believe, allows someone to follow him and listen to what he has to say, even if skeptical, and having one’s faith and approach to things edified.   And I think this statement holds true regardless of whether or not you choose to believe the more remarkable claims he makes with respect to his personal experiences (visions, encounters with Angels, Mary, and Jesus, etc.).

So, allow me to explain.

One of my biggest issues I have, as I’ve already mentioned, are persons who claim to have visions or apparitions of the supernatural and proclaim messages to the world.   Nearly every modern day “prophet” follows the same formula:   Some supernatural or divine entity visits or speaks to them and asks them to share a message with the world.   This happens over and over and over and over again with the same or similar message over and over and over and over again.   People listen to or read the messages and cling to every word.   After a while, we get bored with whatever good message is communicated if that message isn’t about some remarkable event that is going to occur.   I could be entirely wrong, but I think that more than one of these people, even if they started off authentically receiving (or believing they were receiving) divine messages may feel the need to sensationalize things in order to placate a widening audience.   This is speculation on my part, but I’m sure it’s happened.

In many cases, I have to believe that – even if innocent – some of these people have entirely experienced a confabulation of the whole thing.   They are in quietude and want to have a conversation with God – all well and good – and in that silence (which they haven’t entirely learned to control properly) they believe they are receiving some sort of message or locution.   But it’s their own mind running wild, but emotionally they feel in tune with God, so it must be Him, right?    What starts off as good internal thoughts from a well-formed person can become a desire to feel that and continue that, and who knows where that can take a person.

I may sound like someone who can’t accept any of this.   That is not true and it’s not my intent.   I am just careful.   And so, it is actually with a bit of an effort against my nature that I find Charlie, overall, authentic.

For those who don’t know him and will be too lazy to fully research him or read my links, I will provide a general summary:   As mentioned above, Charlie claims to have been visited by supernatural or divine entities for most of his life.    He kept it to himself for a long time, and only as he matured did he embrace all of it.   The purpose of the visitations was to provide him visions, insights, and messages for the future which would occur during his lifetime.    However, unlike others, he has not shared every individual message with the world.    He has not even provided a whole lot of details of things he claims to know about, or has known about in the past.    Because the purpose of his visitors was to train him on the bigger, more important things:   why this is happening, a general course of what to expect, and to build up the flock so that they can better grasp the reality of what about to happen and what is, in fact, happening around us.

The entire purpose of Charlie’s ministry is not to predict exactly how, when, where, and why all the corresponding events that make up what is called “The Storm” are (even though he is in tune to many of those things).  The purpose is much more general – get people right with God and each other, and not worry about all these details.   Understand the overall course of The Storm so you’re mentally and spiritually ready for it.    But he also very clearly preaches that no one can effectively prepare for everything that is to come.   We will utterly need to rely on God.   While he welcomes the idea that people make preparations, it’s always in the context of prudence and with an eye towards preparing in such a way not so much for you, but to help others.

Charlie has a different personality than most of the other supposed seers I’ve researched.   He has a sense of humor, comes from the political arena and still follows politics, and is basically just a normal guy who happens to have a remarkable attribute that the rest of us don’t have.    It’s interesting to hear him talk about his visitors so casually, when all the rest of us would likely fail to sleep for a week after receiving a visit from a supernatural friend of any sort.    But this shouldn’t be surprising.   After all, how casually do we Catholics speak of the Eucharist?    We receive it without a huge show, and sometimes in our weaker moments are distracted by other things around us as the very Son of God becomes physically manifest on the altar.    The Eucharist is so remarkable as to be utterly unbelievable by non-Catholics.  And yet, we stroll up and receive Christ as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.     So, unlike us, Charlie has received these visitors his entire life.   It should not be a surprise that over time a natural comfort level and even a sense of the unremarkable comes across in his comments about them.

Whether he’s imagining it all, or whether it’s all real, or somewhere in between, there is no sense that I get from Charlie that there is any deception.   He is very clear on all of us, most of all himself, follows whatever instruction the Church gives.    He is not one of these anti-Francis folks – far from it.   He has called Francis the Pope of the Storm.   On the other hand, this does not keep him from offering opposing opinions with respect to purely temporal matters.

I would encourage anyone to look at Charlie’s posts and start the process of discernment.   To be clear, it is not substitute for Church teaching, Scripture, etc.   But nothing I see opposes any of those things.   Charlie is a full-throated supporter of daily mass, Catholic devotions, Adoration, Eucharistic processions, etc.   He is very stout on life and family issues.    He is fine if you don’t agree with him as long as all discussion on the board is well-intentioned and respectful.   In the end, the very worst that can happen is you don’t buy into all the remarkable stuff, but you’ll still see a good group of people trying to do their best in a world gone mad.

The one part of my skeptical nature on all this that I can’t completely rid myself of is the idea that one needs these visitors to warn of The Storm.   I have for years seen signs of ultimate disaster in our country and our world.   I think to anyone paying attention, it’s not a matter of “if” it’s a matter of “when.”   One does not need an angel to point out that a country that turns its back on God, holds up abortion as a blessing, makes same-sex marriage the law of the land, continues to grow in accepting euthanasia, becomes more atheistic, and so on that there will be a point where God turns us over to ourselves.    Now, Charlie claims that in his private writings to his Spiritual Director, he envisioned what we are clearly seeing today long before it became as readily apparent as it is, and he is now taking up the mantle of one who is now making it clear to everyone exactly what it is that is happening and how we need to react.

Charlie is also very open about the fact that over the years he has greatly misunderstood, misinterpreted, and even challenged the wisdom of the messaged he’s received.    This is one reason he doesn’t share them.    He has said that this was all part of the training he needed.   Whenever he went against his direction because he thought he could protect someone from something or another, he saw that worse things happened that originally envisioned.   So he has better learned to not question, and to trust.   And trust is a major theme here.   He promotes a Prayer of Miraculous Trust – say it once for a particular intention and then leave it.  Don’t repeat it again for that specific intention (sort of like Moses hitting the rock more than once).

There are a couple areas where Charlie has been more specific.   I only assume there are particular reasons why these items are necessary to share with us.   One is that our next stable leader will not come from the election process.   It is a bit unclear exactly what that means, but it’s safe to say that if Charlie is correct, then even if elections are held and a new President elected, by the time they would otherwise take office in the normal fashion, things will have changed dramatically so that this doesn’t happen in a way that anyone expects.    Second, there will be a necessary financial collapse.   Third, he has given a timeline of the end of 2017 for what is called the Rescue – where God allows Mary to intervene on our behalf and, in some way, make it clear to everyone on earth what the Truth of Christ is.   Because of this timeline, if Charlie is correct, then whatever is to happen will happen soon, happen swiftly, and will create a situation of such extreme confusion that without the Rescue everything would so utterly devolve so quickly that we would almost certainly destroy ourselves.    Charlie’s sense (I believe this is noncommittal) is that the Rescue will actually occur before there is an incredibly severe loss of life.    Not that millions of lives lost will not be horrible, but he’s not talking about half, a third, a quarter, or even a tenth of the world’s demise.

I could go on, but I believe this covers the general sense of it.   We are under no obligation at all to pay attention to or adhere to private revelation.   So it is not incumbent upon any of us to look into all of this.   But I do think Charlie’s message is helpful and encouraging during this time, and my own personal and unofficial opinion is that it is something that is worthy of looking at.

The Prophetic – What is a Normal Person (hey… stop laughing!) to Make of it All?

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Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I have always had an interest in prophecy, but also knows that I’ve taken a skeptic-first view towards a lot of it.  You would also know that I place much higher value on sources that are either approved by the Church, or who are somehow recognized by the Church as a holy individual – a Venerable, a Blessed, or a Saint.   I’ve mentioned before that I consider the work “Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph” by Desmond A Birch to be one of the best compilations of reliable prophecy that I’ve seen.   I admit that I haven’t recently searched to see if others may exist.

Along the way, I have read with interest many of the more popular modern day seers.   Through no fault of their own, since… well…  most aren’t dead yet, they are not Venerables, Blesseds, or Saints.   Further, while I may weigh things that are Church Approved, this does not mean that messages being received today are not legitimate.   After all, at the time any and all prophetic messages occurred they weren’t yet approved.   So I do like to see what’s being claimed out there today, though I usually start with the premise that it’s not legitimate or reliable and it needs to be proven otherwise to my satisfaction.   Finally, it should always be noted that even legitimate occurrences are subject to human error – improper understanding of the message, a misstatement or confusing recollection of the message, and so forth.

It is an odd thing, Prophecy.   As a guy who has studied mathematics, computer science, Physics, and Chemistry and who makes his living as an Actuary I am firmly grounded in logic and understanding.    It may seem odd that someone who gravitates to the realms of the tangible and the explainable would be interested in the strange, mystical, and mushy realm of the prophetic.    But I do not see them as incompatible.    What is incompatible is getting emotionally tied to any one person or message, particularly to the point where if the Church would ever rule against them, your allegiance goes to the person you are following rather than the Church.   One should always be prepared to make a hard break if needed, and that needs to be as unemotional and as calculated as possible.   Because that’s where the facts come in, as Augustine so famously pronounced – Rome has spoken, the matter is closed.   That takes humility, as well, at times.   But it is what we are called to do.

Over time, I have remained open, but admittedly skeptical, of the events at Medjugorje.   I am not saying I would ever try to convince anyone that they are not true (unless the Church rules it as such), nor am I saying that I am totally convinced that they are not true.   I just have some concerns that I think are valid to consider, and I find it a bit more “safe” to question rather than blindly accept it.    After all, Public Revelation is complete and must be first and foremost.   Private Revelation may help clarify the state of current times, or be otherwise edifying, but it is not incumbent on us to devote our time and energy to it.

I have also reviewed the messages of Pedro Regis.   I have some major discomfort with those, and I have stopped spending any time keeping up on those.   The same is true of a series of messages from an anonymous seer who had a website, supposedly under spiritual direction, called “Words From Jesus.”   Overall, these messages were somewhat general and it started off interesting enough, but whenever specifics were presented they were hit and miss.   The nature of the messages was extremely repetitive.  I never have fully decided if they have merit, but decided to not focus too much on them.  One of my big stumbling blocks with those who receive continued messages day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year is that I just don’t get it.    Why does Mary or Jesus or anyone else need to say the same basic thing over and over again?    It’s to the point where Spirit Daily will have a headline whenever there is a message at Medjugorje that is slightly different in word or tone from the plethora of other messages.    OK, that’s fine, but we’re basically not paying any attention any more to all the other messages because we’ve heard it all before.   So, what then is the point? Now, a confession before lightning strike me dead and my head lands on the keyboard and a string of random letters is produced ad infinitum…   I humbly submit that I’m a human being who can’t begin to appreciate and understand how God works.   So, despite my rambling paragraph above, I can accept that I’m the one who doesn’t get it, that this all does serve a salvific purpose, and that one day Jesus will say, “Yeah…  you were kind of thick-headed on that whole Medjugorje thing.”   So, take that as my own opinion and nothing more.

So, all of this brings me to a guy named Charlie Johnston.  I have spent a lot of time over the last year reading and studying his blog (which you can go to by clicking his name above), watching available video, and gaining an understanding of where he’s coming from.   I have offered some comments/questions on some of his posts along the way, and was taken enough by the overall concept of The Storm that I composed a song in relation to that.   I originally planned to provide a detailed version of what he is saying, but quite honestly that is not necessary.   His own site, and links to other places that have done this already, are in line with what I would have written on it myself, so I would encourage anyone interested to take a look at his blog and do some digging around.

This isn’t my last word on Charlie.   The entire concept of a Storm that we are in, and heading towards with even greater fury, need not be the product of divine private revelation.   It’s common sense.    I have been noting it for a number of years myself, and I make no claim to any supernatural experience (save one, which I may share someday) that has shown this to me.   It’s apparent for anyone with eyes to see.    Now, having said that, I am in no way saying Charlie is not what he says he is.   I am simply saying that – whatever the source – the words and observations of the world we are in ring true, and thus the song.

I’ll be following up with all my thoughts on Charlie in a later post.   For now, I offer my own musical summary, entitled “When The Storm Comes.”    (More music of mine can be found by clicking on “Links to My Music” on the top of the page.

Discerning Private Revelation – New and Old

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Those of you who have followed me in the past know that I am very interested in Catholic Prophecy.   It is fascinating to read some of the prophetic messages of past Saints, Marian Apparitions, and the like.    You will also know that I have a somewhat bi-polar relationship with prophecy.   I fully and embrace the reality of prophecy and prophetic messages, but am also pretty skeptical by nature.

In the past I have noted what I believe to be one of the seminal works on the subject, “Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph” by Desmond A. Birch.    The reason I am as fond as I am about this work is that he takes my own preferred approach to the subject.   There is not whimsical adherence to random prophetic utterances.   Instead, he starts with key statements about what private revelation is, rooted in the Catechism.   He then lays the groundwork for what he decided to consider in presenting different statements or writings:   if a Church approved apparition, or if the statement came from a venerable, blessed, or Saint then these statements carry more weight and are the focus of the book.

There is no statement for or against anyone else using this approach, but it is the safest approach to take.

Interestingly, and not surprisingly, there are many common themes that run throughout the book, and across the words of many Saints of many different times.    One might wonder if the writings are really their own revelations or if they were simply instructional teachings, learned from others.   I think it’s a fair question, but for the most part I believe the statements were from personal and private revelations of one type or another.

Perhaps more surprisingly (or not to some) is that there are many degrees of variations provided in prophetic messages that aren’t always easily reconciled.    And this is where things get murky.    First of all, Private Revelation can never rise to the level of Public Revelation.   There is no guarantee of protection from error on any number of fronts:   Did the seer hear or see something incorrectly?   Did the seer misinterpret what they saw?   Did the seer repeat the message properly?    Is there possible translation error into other languages, either explicitly or in a contextual sense?   Was the prophecy conditional (meaning the outcome has since changed based on our response to God’s warning embedded in a message?)      And, there is always the possibility that the person simply did not receive a real message of divine origin at all, or conflated a real message with some confabulation or other assumptions made.

Because of this, we need to both take seriously the prophetic, but also be very careful and discerning.

In the past, I’ve openly mused about Medjugorje.   I have never understood why it would be necessary for messages to be given/received over and over and over with very little differentiation in the message from day to day, week to week…   Having said that, I simply don’t know, and one can’t deny the stories about experiences at Medjugorje.    I’m completely open and uncommitted on that.    It simply doesn’t make sense to me, but I also know I’m a simple man and God doesn’t always make “sense” to me.   So I choose to await the Church on this one.

There are numerous other cases around the world of interest.   I am generally both interested, but skeptical, of most of them.    I choose not to spend too much of my time on them.

Every now and then you start to hear a lot about this person or that person.   Usually, in my opinion, as you look more closely at them you can’t help but be somewhat disappointed, at least in regards to the reliability of the people and their messages.    I don’t want to judge, but part of me thinks that some people receive very strong feelings or promptings that lead them to develop a message that seems divine or prophetic.   Perhaps it even is.   My sense is people have to guard against an almost addictive desire for this to continue, and move from a valid (or at least not invalid) experience to something they are forcing.   I think many of those who “receive messages” are really not, but honestly think they are.   The problem with this is that their overall message may be edifying, but the extraneous content – the more predictive elements – is nothing more than their own conjecture.

There was a series of messages that could be followed from a site called “Words From Jesus” some time ago.    It started off as somewhat intriguing, but as I checked in and tracked the messages and followed them, I personally felt strongly that this was not authentic.   Again, it was a case of message after message with not dissimilar warnings of a general nature, which may well have been something authentic.   But any time the visionary ventured into specifics about upcoming events or outcomes, or even some specific prophecies of the Pope, they never really happened.    One must be willing to walk away from something and not get too involved to the point that you can’t recognize error, whether in teaching or in more specific prophecy.   You can’t get too emotionally involved or you risk being misled.   Focus on the message and the character of the person and the rest wil take care of itself.

Another more pronounced example is a supposed seer in Brazil, named Pedro Regis.   A big deal was made some time ago because he accurately predicted some devastating circumstance in this place or that place.  It was compelling to me until I studied him further.    I went back to the beginning of his documented messages, and interestingly I found that his early messages were all very vague and unspecific.   There was very little actual “prophecy” in terms of forecasting future events.   As time went on, there seemed to me to be a distinct shift in message to more of a constant declaration of some bad thing happening somewhere at some point.    The issue I have is that he’s bound to get some right, and people made a big deal out of it when he did, but there are endless messages regarding different regions or countries or cities that nothing of the sort has happened.    Now, there’s usually not timeline, so I suppose it could all come to pass, but the next question is “what’s the point?”    OK, on a daily basis we’re told that some specific area of the world is going to suffer catastrophe.    Theoretically, I suppose it could all happen at the same time.   So why not just say “look, you’re all hosed unless you pray more.”

Now, again, I admit to being simple.   God has a plan.    He may be trying to reach others and this may all make perfect sense in the spiritual realm and doing what it’s supposed to do.   I have no authority whatever in making a judgment of authenticity one way or another.   I have my opinions, and will always state that opinion with the caveat that I will accept the truth whether that comes as a judgment from the Church or God someday whacking me upside the head and saying “How could you not figure out that good ol’ Pedro was my servant?”   I will have no good reply other than I’m human and thick-headed.

To end this post, I’ll start with this:   Be careful out there.   Take it slow, don’t get caught up in a single message or “direct hit,” but take your time to read up on anyone you might start to get interested in following (I use that term a bit loosely – I mean “follow” in the sense of keeping tabs on or learning more about, or even getting to know.   But never follow someone to the detriment of following Christ and His Church).

Now, having said all that, I plan on presenting my thoughts on a man named Charlie Johnston in some upcoming posts.    I have taken a number of months to read over his entire blog history, and try to figure out what he’s saying, where he’s coming from, and whether anything he says makes me uncomfortable in the context of Public Revelation, the Catechism, and what I would consider to be the more authentic messages of the Saints.   I can’t promise when I’ll be able to present my thoughts, but I’ll start putting those together.