Whilst Standing On One Foot…

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“Hillel, if not now when?”
To every man an answer,
Whilst he stands on one foot.
Are the ligaments of religion,
tighter than the Lord’s love and mercy?
This very One who helps us with the Spirit’s grace,
Who frees us from sin,
Save us,
To rise again?
Yea, is not even the holy Sabbath,
Not subject to the merciful works of Passover?
Dare we unbind the burial wrappings,
That suffocate the oppressed,
Blessing the poor, mournful, and meek,
Those thirsting to drink righteousness,
The patient peacemakers,
The compassion of the merciful,
Giving blinding light to the hidden merciful lamps,
and salve for those persecuted stripes?
Have we forgotten Shema,
Or fallen within the choking thorns?
Have we neglected to slowly chew our portion;
Neglecting study for Sunday’s fast food?
When did the narrow door widen?
O’ where dear friend is your restlessness?
Has the Flame that sets fire to this world,
Been doused to smoking embers of blind satisfaction?
Are we ready to give up our Ghost?
Will the water and blood pouring from our sides be tepid?
Will we walk the shame of contradiction,
Lifting high a cross our Lord adores,
or become unmarked graves men walk upon?
Therefore,
Let us be bold to anoint another with our joy,
Leaving behind faith’s thumbprints,
Drenching our love with true oil of gladness.
Let us become strong towers,
Founded upon a disregarded cornerstone,
Placing atop the light of Spirit and Truth,
As a beacon of the Lord’s love and mercy!
Truly, truly we hear the whisper within us,
“Hillel, if not now when?”
Become Mercy dear friend,
A new channel of love.

Peace I leave. Chris

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By Chris Clody
8/11/2017

**Title and poem inspired by Hillel: If Not Now, When? (Jewish Encounters Series) Hardcover – September 14, 2010
by Joseph Telushkin

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Just One Question?

I find no greater peace than walking my dogs before the dawn and praying the Rosary. Today, as I entered into the imagery of Jesus carrying his cross, I was further silenced in the symbolism of the cross and its shape of a “t“. As I surrendered to the last mystery of his crucifixion, a horror and beauty only G-d could hold, I was given this question:
Was Jesus nailed to :
theology
or
the poor,
*  they who mourn,
*  the meek,
*  they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
*  the merciful,
*  the pure of heart,
*  the peacemakers,
*  they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness?

Shouldn’t each plight of the latter be considered?
Who are these people? …before you answer that consider the following quote:

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”
– Dorothy Day

 

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Become Peace,

Chris

A Baby. A Manger. Our Continued Stupidity.

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Left to deliver humanity’s solution, a unwed, fourteen year old Miriam pushes and strains to relieve the weight of her conscience. A small fire dances off her furrowed brow as the crisp, shriek of an infant cuts the stench of sleeping animals. Quickly she wraps little, desperate cries in rags before pressing quivering lips to her breast to suck.  Yet something is not normal as Miram’s wide, brown eyes capture the glow of a star stream.  The night sky is aflight with wings, singing, and… Angels! Yes!! Angels!!! Armies of choirs and music thicken the air that tremble her bones as her newborn warms and feeds as one again with her.

In five days, those pushed to the margins will still to just survive by whatever strips of life they can grab in hope of adding some normalcy to a life far removed from you and I. Oppression is the very hand that pushes the “great unwashed” to the half-lit caves of society.  The sub-existence of a life truly loved by neighbor scrapes by in both the physical and mental realms of forced martyrdom. Yes, in five shopping days churches will gorge on unworthy amounts of praise and monies by some that darken their doors but twice a year. Money for a priest’s three-bedroom house, or a ridiculous addition to the a McMansion of the likes of Joel Osteen, or bonuses for the talented but truly ‘passionate’ motivational ring leaders providing amid streaming confetti-like snow and a wondrous, laser-light show.  Quietly money will find its usual course to some promised charity while other towards legal fees intent on “settling” and silencing their latest sexual or financial scandal.  Money will find hidden pockets and obscurity and before suburban streets are adorned green and tan by orphaned fir trees amid strewn cardboard boxes. Aaaaahhhh, the magic of consumeri…..Christmas!

Maybe you have another word other than stupidity-  if so, please insert here _______.  At what point does the ‘faithful’ grow up and begin wondering what took place 2000 years ago during the virgin birth of an unwed mother.  You know we have a word for that… More importantly, outside the colossal, bureaucratic, orthodox governance or entrepreneurial marketing grabs of soul-selling Christianity, the curious outsider must wonder if the ‘faithful’ ever dared their vanity enough to lose their faith in order to find that reason spoken to Miriam?  Has a priest or pastor ever lifted their voice against the comforts of job security to stop this deliberate anesthetic-doping of Christian movement gobbled up by our pill-popping, consumers?

That first shriek of a shivering infant will end with a painful, final gasp of an innocent life of the man called Jesus. Consider that cost and our opportunity to partake and explore the humanity of this man. Imagine if we missed this coming Sunday and hand-delivered our biannual contribution to a local mission?  Maybe, for once in our adult ‘journey’ we will come just a bit closer to understanding why an impoverished birth crowded the sky with undefined awe and otherworldly wonder.  Instead of the same old, same old overfeeding the wealth management staples of ‘Christianity’ how about doing something one of Christ’s disciples would do by seeking their brother, their master, their Lord, in the lonely and forgotten?  Imagine that.

Maybe that other word is “surreal”… Seriously, who are we fooling? Certainly not Jesus.

Run to Him for He is cold, He is hungry, He is naked, He is sick, He is poor, He is in prison, He has a single mom, He has been wrongfully accused and shamed because who we say He is…yet when you find Him you will find an immeasurable kind of love that explains why He came, why He died, and why we no longer need to fear oppression.

Emmanuel.

Chris

 

COMPELLED – Seeing Through The Eyes Of St. Matthew

It seems, the gospel of Matthew, at least to me, is slowly stripping away the full range of liberties presented to my free will.  I wonder if I will lose the gift of free will all together, like the man described in the following passage of Matthew 27:32 that states, “Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross.   Here an innocent men, forced to labor and share the burden of Christ’s punishment.  Without warning and certainly without invitation, some are forced to submit to uncommon hardship whether it is disease or falsely accused and imprisoned, leaving the crumbs of their free will to choose between despair or hope.  Not only do I believe the Beatitudes somehow clothe the suffering with a special grace despite their outlook of their hardship, they also invite the carefree souls far removed from the trials and tribulations shared willingly by Jesus to understand their judgment found in Matthew 25:31-46.  If you have questions of Christianity and how God judges us, it is worth the weight of your soul to truly contemplate Matthew 25:31-46:

The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Reading this sobering passage from Matthew 25 for the first time or with a new depth is as troubling as it is inspiring.  The noble Christian process of “dying to oneself” begins when one relinquishes their freedom of indulgence so as to minister to the suffering, or according to St. Matthew, Christ.  It’s worth mentioning that “ministering” is self-giving, the definition of true love, and is meant to glorify God – not ourselves.   If each small “yes” said in silence by those seeking Christ in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned, then a “no” is whispered to obtaining the distractions to the Divine promoted by this world.  Those fortunate to say “yes” to the wants and needs of Christ’s commandmants experience a new beginning.  Those submissive to the will of the Father empathetically seeking to minister to His Son Jesus compelled by the conviction of their lowly status by the Holy Spirit, slowly transform into the aspiring faithful in a “willing” death and a grateful respondent to the merits won for all by Christ at Calvary.  This free infusion of God’s grace reveals our good purpose promising a hopeful future.  Grace propels the prideful to confidently seek humility to further grow and reflect the goodness of God’s light in Truth.  Although I may passionately believe that my Christian expression offers lavish helps for the humble mind along with a richness of religious externals that narrows my path, it ultimately comes down to my willingness to open and freely offer my presence into situations where Jesus abides because of my trusting response to God’s incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection.  The path to Christianity did not begin on a “Roman Road” but rather from a sermon on a mount. It is a narrow path seeking true love defined only by and through the Holy One of God.   It is recognizing the blessed that are promised final comfort by the One called Messiah.  The very author of Salvation instructs eager souls how to pray.  It is exchanging selfishness in a chance to cooperate, not earn, with the will of the One who sent Jesus.  It leads followers with cross-in-tow seeking the Way, the Truth, and the Life to the very places He abides.  And yes “He”, that is Jesus, is the One and only who can offer the opportunity to ever-lasting re-union with the Trinity.  Why? Because His love is perfect and His sacrifice was complete. The Gospel is a response to life – not a book we throw at each other.  Christian hope is not making a presumptuous reservation in Heaven, rather it bathes the convicted of sin in the authority of Christ’s forgiveness while allowing faithful vision to the Kingdom at hand and to come.   So take a look around  – Jesus isn’t hiding…He’s waiting.  Let Him in.

His Peace,
Chris

The Will

Here I stand within your midst,
Yet still you pass me by.
Blind to life of my distress,
Growing deaf to my cries.

“Lord! Lord!” They’re just empty words –
Fallen sounds of pride.
Like life lived by a sword,
Alone… you will die.

Love God and your neighbors,
Do the Father’s will,
Forgive all your trespassers,
Come to Calv’ry’s Hill.

Your sins I promise to erase,
Raise you from the dead.
So why’s church a marketplace,
Leaving sheep unfed?

Remember…
I’m the Alpha and Omega,
I AM
Holy One of God,
I’ve come to set the captives free,
I’m the power in Aaron’s rod.

Lift all sufferings to my cross,
Share the pain of my victory.
Yes, discipleship has its cost,
But how will you end your story?

You gained the world but lost your soul?
Or… sought forgiveness instead of control?

©2012 by Chris Clody 3/16/2012

Do you have any difficulty in accepting the Beatitudes, especially when the “Blessed” are not mentioned by Jesus to be even His followers?  Is modern Christianity moving away from the message of the Beatitudes or the blessing/warning found in Matthew 25:31-46?   Let me know your thoughts!

For more Christian encouragement check out my ebook by clicking the following link: Thoughts2Share