In Memory of Pat Waldron
December 14, 2013

We often wonder why.  Why does God do as He does?  Why does God let an innocent child die while allowing evil men to walk the earth?  We perceive an injustice, and, unable to rectify it, out of the depth we cry out to heaven for help.  We temporarily forget that God is perfect justice and His ways are not our ways (Is 55:18). We do not have infinite wisdom so we are ignorant to all of the consequences of our actions, the ripples sent out from the pebble when it hits the water in the lake.

I often do my personal prayers, my consecration of the day to God, as I drift in and out of sleep in the early morning hours.  Over the past year I have been having flashbacks to long forgotten memories during that fuzzy part of the day when I am half-asleep and half-awake: memories of my misbehavior as a child, teen, or young adult. Incidents are vividly recalled, such as not being a good pet owner, failing to feed my fish, my dog on time, shoplifting some trinket, lying to my parents.  Little things, venial sins mostly.  I know that I don’t need to confess them because they had slipped from my memory decades ago.

But the God in my conscience has not forgotten, and He as deigned not to allow me to forget. These little pebbles are still causing ripples in the deep waters of my subconscious.  God leads people during their sleep, just ask Jacob or Joseph.

These memories tormented me at first, until a loving friend pointed out that this early morning recall was actually a blessing.  God was granting me the grace to remember some of my many imperfections.  He was allowing me to repent for them in this life., thus, hopefully shortening my incredibly long purgatory sentence. (If I may be so bold and lucky as to deserve heaven’s waiting room!). “Have mercy on me in your kindness, O Lord.”

I would like to relate one memory that returned to me last week.  Continue reading.

Congratulations, John!  

John received his Master of Arts degree in Theology from Catholic Distance University. Graduating summa cum laude, John’s achievement was a source of inspiration and encouragement to his brother inmates. Thank you to all who supported his studies. (Photo: John and some of his supporters at the Graduation ceremony at the prison. October 2013)

John responds to comments about his article in HPR:

November 10, 2013

John’s article: “The Power of the Religious Habit: A True Story” was published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review on October 22, 2013.   In the following post, John responds to the comments.

I would like to thank everyone for their comments and interest in my little article. I apologize for taking so long in responding, but I do not have access to the Internet. I would like to make the following responses to:

Phil Ferguson: yes, a religious who wears the habit is constantly approached by strangers on buses, trains, and planes. Some unburden their hearts or ask questions which may lead them to Christ’s Church.

Bishop Emanuel: thank you for your work for Christ as a successor to the Apostles. Although you are “retired,” you are always a shepherd in the order of Melchizedek.

Apollo F. Salle: thank you for providing an important fact regarding the Filipino revolution f 1986.

Nancy: yes, there is always hope, even in modern Sodom.  Continue reading.

12 Responses to Welcome

  1. Father Michael Roach says:

    Despite my holy fear of computers et alia, this is a very classy operation.
    God keep you well! So well done!

  2. Sr. Maria Basilea says:

    Hi John!
    Great blog, and I’m glad you are using your real name. Thank you and all the “flock” for the birthday card! I will try to write soon, but just wanted to check out your blog. It is beautiful, graphics and content. God bless you! Sr. Maria Basilea

  3. Happy Birthday, John!

    Today I am preparing a talk to give tomorrow evening for the Order of Malta who support our program of education for Catholic inmates. How providential that when I returned to your blog site so beautifully designed by Sister Mary Brendon, SND, I discovered that today is your birthday!

    Please pray for me tomorrow evening (Sept. 14) as I try to make present to the members of the Order, the joy of our long relationship with our incarcerated brothers and sisters who share our hunger to know the love of God.

  4. We love this web site. It makes us stop and think what Mother Teresa said about judgement, in the end it is between you and God. Think about it!

  5. John says:

    I would like to thank Drs. K. and G., two of the most orthodox writers of our time (in this present age?), for their kind comments concerning my site and “Unforeseen Dream.” I also wish to thank my “guardian angel” for such a beautiful site and such hard work.

  6. Dennis Riley says:

    John’s writings are always original, perceptive, and a joy to read. Under the most difficult circumstances, he continually shows his unwavering commitment to learning and expounding the truths of the Catholic Faith. If only more “cradle” Catholics showed as much spirit and spunk as this adult convert to the Faith. I am proud to know him.

  7. God is everywhere! John’s writings are inspirational and shows God’s grace on us all. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your experiences John!

  8. Rod Pead (Editor, Christian Order) says:

    Congratulations on a terrific site! Not just a catchy title, the dreamy photo and Johnny’s “I Hung My Head” lend a gentle melancholy to it all. And most importantly, of course, the excellent content, entirely faithful to Catholic tradition, will assist the salvation of many souls. In the end, that’s all that matters. Readers of “Christian Order” magazine have already enjoyed and profited from John’s inspirational conversion story, “Who Are You?”. I’ll be sure to let them know about “Thunder in the Cell”!

  9. Jack Miller says:

    There but for the grace of god go I

  10. Anne Barbeau Gardiner says:

    At last we have someone writing apologetics for prisoners with wit, style, and learning. His presentation of the Catholic Faith is completely orthodox. One hopes that John Ballentine’s work will soon be used in more than one prison. Besides his apologetics, Ballentine has written a short story (“Unforeseen Dream”) that provides a terrific antidote to our culture’s pervasive “pro-choice” propaganda.

  11. John says:

    A great idea! Let me get my guardian angel on this one. Watch this site for my Twitter account.

  12. John says:

    John’s Twitter (@JfBallentine) account has been launched. Click on the “Follow on Twitter” link in the sidebar to receive notices of new postings of John’s writings. Spread the word!