When God Grieves

weptOy vey…

“Did Jesus make living Torah easier?” was asked by my pastor at a bible study last night.
**Warning:  If you are comfortable with the status quo of Christian theology then please exit out.**

Still here? Wooohooo! This question will lead you on an insatiable quest, reuniting the very living scope of the Old and New Covenant.  The moment will come when you realize the beauty of Jesus and a hijacked perspective morphing further and further from the totality of Jewish teaching, culture and practice fulfilled by this God-man called Jesus.  Ask yourself how the promise of freedom, hope, rest, and privilege could be truly understood and taught by those already at the top of the food chain?  Could someone write a book about birth without ever going through pregnancy, labor, and delivery? It may be technically correct but disingenuous.  Everyday is a new as I the present business of Christianity is peeled away, layer by layer, revealing new and more resplendent facets shimmering atop Mt. Sinai to even death upon a cross.  The writings of St. Paul have brighter meanings and not the ramblings of a zealous Jew refusing to use punctuation.  The Old Testament that once thought foreshadowed can now be seen through the lens of Sinai as a repetitive rubric that Jesus embraced perfectly.

Anywho, the question at hand: Did Jesus ever at He could make living the this life bound by Torah any easier?  As always, my answer awaits hidden in my morning Rosary.  Yep…I just said that.  You see the rosary is a discipline of seeing significant events of a son of Mary and Son of God through the unmatched intimacy of the eyes of a mother (a second class citizen).

My answer is “yes”.  Ultimately by what He said in John 14:26(NIV): “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  It is in the understanding that this Advocate is also described as a Comforter. I also enjoy pondering the ‘jealousy’ component of this hidden, Omniscient One.

Current Christianity prefers slippery and blurred concepts exposing a pitiful disconnect between salvation and the Kingdom at hand.  Salvation finds a post life existence further detached from Paul’s plea to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling“(Phil 2:12:NIV).  A life in Torah espousing a life and prayer and service leading to (a present) salvation awakens the Christian slumber to a Kingdom in our midst and our accountability to love God and our neighbor. Otherwise, to ignore the Comforter is to grieve God.

His Peace,
Chris

Get Dusty!

eyes-of-god

Love conquers as it crumbles

For every broken hope,
For those outside looking in,
For what the pure see
And the poor unknowingly wait,
A Way begins to break through.

Bit by bit,
Love conquers as its crumbles.
Like temple stones slipping loose,
Falling, one atop another,
Revealing, what we disregard.
Amidst the cloud of crashing stone,
A Dust Covenant takes shape,
Like salve for beaten hope,
A key for the city’s stranger,
Cleansing for all hearts,
As the poor’s Perfect comes.

He is the Keeper,
He holds all,
For He is all.
Yet, to gather the small,
He becomes small.
Forgettable, meek, and poor,
Doubted and scandalized,
Dirty and dusty,
Scourged and crucified,
He offers The All,
To reclaim the small.

As the dust settles,
Something emerges,
Deep within the small.
A New Temple,
An unseen Kingdom,
A forgotten Way.
As Law gives way to Grace and Peace,
An Image taken granted,
Finally chooses Likeness.

The flightless find wings,
The blind now see,
The poor heirs to a throne,
Whose reign is everlasting to everlasting.

For the Breath He promised,
Is the very air of mercy.
Abandoned stones of crumbled Love,
Find new mortar in faith and hope.
Unseen except by the pure,
Are the flowers that sing,
And rocks that cry out,
The dimension of color,
And the Word of joy unspeakable.

Choose The Life.

By Chris Clody
4/23/16

Outside Looking In

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Soulcrushed…

Soulcrushed…
&
Godshocked,
I glimpse sweet destiny
Flaming Swords cut quickly and severe
Eden’s Gate alive with fire chasing steel
Awaits my servant’s test or unreconciled fear
Suddenly,
Brightness explodes as flying steel disappears
Reaching arms followed this Brother of Love
released are my stains dissipation
That rise like smoke into clouds above

Together we stand outside of time,
Colors and sounds enjoy new dimension
We examine my life instantly
And His…without question.
For He…
This God-Christ born from time before
yet striped by our iniquities
A sacrifice I could never ignore,
Hearing Him scream, “Why have You forsaken me?!”

I feel Simeon’s sword pierce its mark
(Outside The Gardner replaces stolen fruit back onto a tree)
The ground shakes and day turns to dark
It is accomplished,” whispers a final gasp
A mother stands strong as others flee
This hem of a rabbi only she could grasp
(Outside a dragon snorts in victory)
Unaware perfect love finally set sinners free

By Chris Clody
3/6/16

Revealing Thoughts…

My Body

tears

What is this I am hearing?
I cannot comprehend?
The child, now man,
From which I gave my flesh,
Offers it to me back again?

Vivid mem’ries explode,
A lowly handmaiden,
A virgin, with child,
Wraps so holy a seed,
Flesh of my flesh,
Bread now offered as bread to me again?

Once child, my only son,
Now Savior, still knowing,
He is truly Son of God.
Echoes of an Angel,
Merge with this bread He holds,
Impossible, yet not with God.

What is this I am seeing?!!
Fear tortures flesh I bore,
My Jesus, crowned Christ,
Now hangs in front of me,
Offers John, a son as your’s.

Alone.

Standing in disbelief.
A lance draws blood and water,
Cuts as deeply within my soul.
Motherhood dies,
To be given away
Once that soldier drew a hole,
Opening hope to hearts that grief once stole.

Sweet John,
Now offers me bread…

By Chris Clody
1/30/2106

Sand Script

cross(3)While reciting the Sorrowful mysteries during a slow walk with my two dogs this morning, I realized in my contemplation of His dragging of His cross, Christ was once again writing in the sand. Unlike His previous finger scribbles in the sand to convince a self-righteous mob of their sins, He now uses a rugged beam to gouge a torturous line to Calvary’s hill of horror. To most affected by gravity, the second message can be seen mostly from above. My thought again is of one through His mother’s tender gaze. Her view is a laser to each tear, bruise, or sputum quickly covering His innocent skin. Her sight is also panoramic to the silent tears of followers joining a gauntlet of people who range from the curious to hateful. She follows the writing of God. He, the Word, writes unhesitatingly a single line, the “I”, seen only by His heavenly Father and now His earthly mother. Soon the very eyes that see this sand script will encourage generations now called blessed. Seeing Christ with such intense intimacy will soon reveal to disciples the spear of sorrow that pierces the soul.
Will you, could you, pick up your cross and follow this line…

His Peace,
Chris

The Gift

Sunday is comin’…

Sweet Repose

images cross

Your sacrifice is my only treasure,
That clothes me in priestly purple,
The crown You give inflames my endeavor,
Defining life’s endless circle,
By love; Holy and eternal.

O Redeemer, my sweet repose,
Ancient Love, so rich and fertile,
David’s Root blooms through a Mystical Rose,
Whose prickling thorns grow inward and painful,
Cut down for sin – yet still arose,
Fin’lly reaching Heaven for us below.

Sacred seed chooses a holy garden,
Incarnate blossom from a joyful rose,
Resurrection softens clay once hardened,
Fragrant is Your way to sinful pardon.

O Redeemer, my sweet repose,
Ancient Love, so rich and fertile,
David’s Root blooms through a Mystical Rose,
Whose prickling thorns grow inward and painful,
Cut down for sin – yet still arose,
Fin’lly reaching Heaven for us below.

O Spouse of my soul, how sweet is thy kiss,
Whilst begging our forgiveness hanging from your wrists,
Save your servant from the darkened Abyss,
And vouchsafe reunion within Trinity’s bliss.

by Chris Clody 3/15/15

Soon…very soon

images (5)A very long time ago Our Celestial Artist, One who’s name is sacred and indefinable to our limitations, clothed His creation called man with a fragile yet beautifully appointed canvas. His broad, brush-strokes of flesh colored pigment hid G_d‘s capacity while His smallest brush highlighted the sparkle in man’s eyes and invitation in man’s smile.  This masterpiece was intentionally delicate in the hues of free will which clung to immortality by friendship in The Painter’s ways.  Inevitably, seemingly expectantly, this fragile composition dared to live in its weakness instead of the glow of immortality’s obedience.

Still… despite the heartbreak of allowing the image of True Love’s design to exist in an increasing fragile state, all was not lost.  For His design was perfectly flawed and could never obtain complete independence from the very breath which gave it life.  Within the tangible artistry of man remained an eternal invisible soul.  The soul is our true piece of the Infinite Artist that yearns for it’s ways of profound love.  Guiding the souls to awake their sleeping pilots took time confused by its darkened priorities of pride and selfishness.

Still…there was hope.  Hope came on a cool, Bethlehem night when a star split the sky splashing brilliant colors on the hidden hillsides where shepherds rested with one eye opened. For its was deemed the perfect time to calm the watchful souls wrapped in selfish slumber.  Hope was clothed no differently in the tangible artistry and unremarkable to another…but within this soul it bound all souls to True Love’s discerning eye for detail.  As Hope’s story unfolded, it challenged all to embrace their true weakness and gratefully celebrate this flaw ironically designed to awake those sleeping in the warmth of their darkened ways. To galvanize that Hope truly walked among the sleeping, Our Benevolent Artist, framed His most indescribable masterpiece on blood-drenched wood for our future memory.

Still…many cannot see past the dark reds and horrendous tortured blues stilled in forever’s frame of human memory.  Not all have awakened – and to those it’s either laughable or shameful to parade this picture around in the general public.  Expressing True Love’s capacity hidden behind Calvary’s depiction has proven to be a well intentioned effort profoundly hampered at times by impatience and unforgiveness.  For hidden within the snapshot dressed in bruised blues, ashen flesh tones, and blood reds,  Hope lightly brushed the profound new colors of love, patience and forgiveness to the awakened hearts. These highlights of of Hope’s perseverance must be re-touched everyday for they are not self imposed or even possessed…they are a simply a daily gift.

Still…as the highlights of patience, forgiveness, and love sparkle and fade in today’s darkened hillsides; our souls still yearn for its sanctuary.  Soon…very soon, the sky will split again – not to awaken, but rather to judge both the awakened and the sleeping.

Dear friends, allow your brilliant colors of patience, forgiveness, and especially love to sparkle like Christmas lights today. If you realize you may still be sleeping – seek and you’ll find that true Christianity is beyond a strong cup of coffee.

In patience, forgiveness, and love,

Chris

Awakened

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Colors that bleed true surely never fade,
framed within a painting hard to describe.
Beyond the pale of blood reds and bruised blues,
Mounted on wood that challenges my pride.

As if abruptly awakened from bliss,
Sheltered under covers that cannot hide,
Forgiveness grants my heart new room so that,
Unexpected humility resides.

Yearning now replaces comfortable sleep,
Prayer becomes incessant with tears I weep,
Hope fills my days with colors that now bleed True,
With sacred reds and compassionate blues.

by Chris Clody 12/15/13

Mosaic Moments

pursuing-contemplationMoses, means to “draw out”, especially named by the Pharaoh’s daughter who pulled him from the river.   Like the cherished newborn pulled from its amniotic fluid, we’re soon brought through the waters of baptism in our exodus from death to life in the One who makes all things new.   We are a pilgrim people, dripping wet and restless in our exodus towards God.  Nomadic hearts bound only by the consequences that free will and its legacy of personal choices.  It is an intentional and difficult choice in approaching our Gethsemane either to accept or reject God’s olive press used to extract the love for Him as if gathering gold from its dross.  There is no regret worthy of a rational excuse to reject God’s Spirit whom leads us in ways everlasting.  It is the Advocate’s mission to release us through an internal exodus binding our hearts, souls, body and mind from crying out “Abba!’… at least before the rocks do.   We must choose to partake in our own salvation process by accepting we are but myrrh in need of crushing before our imprisoned perfume becomes a pleasing whiff to God. It is a comfort to know the Spirit is so jealous to lead us to the promises won at Calvary, yet… discomfort hardly describes our conviction into humility.  Humility must bring us to the flexible newborn state readying our pilgrim exodus from womb to daylight as the narrow birth passage squeezes the remaining fluid from our lungs to breathe new life.  Life is not fair in ways too brutal to mention – yet, life is a singular gift welling with endless opportunities to travel the unknown road of humility.  Often the road is silent, seemingly wandering while conflicted with pangs of self-doubt, challenging our hearts and souls jousting in monologues of desperate prayer.  Our only recourse to the believer’s untamed restlessness is found in its very own willingness to distribute love.  Soon the questions and want of answers to combat the external persecution grow less vociferous in the warmth of knew wisdom arising from love.   The mission of The Spirit and the promise of Christ to perfect us find all its answers in our love of God.   It is only through the this birth passage of forgiveness extracting the remaining sin and skin stretched by our own humility can we finally be clothed in the righteousness of God.  Yes, life may not be fair, but nothing compares to the gift of redemption.  When the faithful finally breathe the eternal nature of God and see all by the light of the Lamb, the humility sown in forgotten memories will have soon blossomed into extravagant bouquets that adorn the table as they dine with the King.  Life is short and for many cruel and unfair, but be of good cheer because forgiveness lasts forever.

His Peace,

Chris

Please “Leave a reply” and share your experiences that may help others through their personal exodus. His Peace…Chris
For more Christian encouragement check out my ebook by clicking the following link:

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The Image We Bear

thumbnailCA5K87RRIf we are image bearers and know that God IS love and therefore loves Himself – then he is uninhibited to love the image of love we bear. We ultimately become justified by partaking in the divinity of God’s love revealed in and through His son Jesus. Bearing God’s image impels our vague sense of exile and distance to an intangible spirituality to explore a true definition of love. It is the very image we bear that causes an unusual restlessness within us – like trying to see in the dark. It therefore seems fitting we rely on hearing to build a faith we cannot see. Ironically, we are surrounded by the bright lights of distractions that promise a false sense of fulfillment. We self-medicate ourselves in relativism in hopes of numbing the ache of this inescapable restlessness until indifference spills recklessly from our thoughts and actions. That ache is the thorn of the Holy Spirit allowing all a chance to suffer the unmistakable grace of God. The thorn yields to the repentant the very fruit of its love to endure our separation from the first love we never knew; Jesus. Slowly the self-pity, contempt, pride and selfishness are swallowed in our humility by a new gratitude of a salvation earned for us solely by the tears of the Father pouring through the Holy Spirit and ultimately shed by the blood of the Son at Calvary. It is seeing the beginnings of our true identity when humility opens our imprisoned souls to the majesty of the Holy Trinity that lifts us to reason that God does not just love – but IS love. If God is love  then there must be love that proceeds from the lover to the beloved. It is through this beloved Son of God that reveals the solution to our ache. It is Jesus who sends us the Holy Spirit, as promised by the Father, that comforts us with true, incorruptible light offering a glimpse of hope, faith, and especially the love we bear.isCAWPMQGS

His Peace,

Chris

The Afterglow Of Silence…

I’m reveling in the afterglow of finding true silence at a men’s retreat this weekend.  It’s the kind of silence that one can’t really remember now that I’m once again surrounded by the noise of my everyday reality.   Like trying to recall lyrics of an old song while the radio blasts another Christmas melody, I can only sit and smile knowing silence… deep, penetrating silence, really did happen.  I’m also grateful I was availed the opportunity to give the closing presentation, which I would love to post it all for you – but that would seem like twenty minutes stripped out of the context from the forty hours encompassing this retreat.  Still, I am compelled to share some portions that I pray you find encouraging – regardless if you are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc… you get the picture.  Although many of you may differ from my expression of Christianity, it is my greatest desire that you recognize the symptoms of my Catholicism as the proposal of God’s love should the mere admission of my Tradition push your mouse to surf elsewhere.  I’ll edit the following portion lightly and humbly invite your heart to read what I believe our souls crave …

A portion of this presentation, “Putting your faith into action”, is inspired by scriptures found in both Mark and James:

Mark 16:14-18    Go out to all the world and proclaim the good news

James 1:22-25     Be not merely hearers of the word, but also doers 

Maybe it’s more than putting your money where your mouth is, but rather sharing your heart where your treasure is.  Recently, I have wondered with a heavy heart if I have been growing rich in what is of value to God.  I continue to learn that my masculinity hinges on humility and a growing vulnerability that allows God’s quiet will for my life.  Although, through mentors, friends, and community have help me discern a faith-filled vision for my life, I have often run blind in my selfishness and regret.  I have learned I cannot serve two masters.  I cannot juggle between choices that either pull me towards or push me away from God.  Thankfully, I am not alone in this battle of wills knowing God provides all of us with helps.  However the Holy Spirit chooses to intercede in our lives, discerning and accepting through love will bring not just Glory to God but peace within the soul.  Faith-filled, unhesitating, compassionate action that propels the Christian towards charity does not become a priority in ones’ heart overnight.

Listen to the words of St. Francis De Sales:

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving.  All those who think to learn in another way deceive themselves.”

God’s love is our sacrament.  God’s love gives us our worth.  The grace of God’s love is found in the unexpected gift of faith which is our growing awareness of His omniscience.  Becoming still… allows us to contemplate the temple we hold within ourselves.  God lights this temple through the wounds of His Son’s glorified body – whose very wounds are an endless plea before the Father on our behalf.  The temple walls we freely and joyfully build to house this extraordinary light are mortared in humility, faith, and hope – but the bricks we stack, one upon another, are formed solely through the love of God and neighbor.  We must recognize love before we put our faith into action. 

Our first steps towards loving are encouraged by the very words of “follow me” gently spoken by Jesus, the God-man who lifts us up and invites you and I to The Way…of God.   It is in those two words whispered within new hearts for God that can be heard in the stillness we seek.  Listen…to the writer in Hebrews, “Today, if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”  

This retreat offers us an opportunity to be still and know God.  In those moments of clarity, when silence becomes the window pane to our soul, we begin to realize our own transparency in communicating to The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.  Although we may see ourselves dimly, we quickly realize that God sees us in a totality we cannot yet fathom.  It is in the beauty of silence that we also realize how God wants us to view ourselves in the unique will He made for us.  When we die a little each day to life’s distractions to simply live momentarily in divine communion, our “Time and Choices”  begin to fill with love.  A heart can only transform to respond to the Gospel when it first fills with love.

Love will move mountains…and climb them.

Love will conquer all.

Love has redeemed those willing to say “yes” to lifting their cross and following Christ.

And…love has and will continue to give courage to those martyred in their final walk of justice.

We must accept the full capacity of God’s love so we may fully trust in putting our faith into action.  My dear friend and mentor, Bob, continues to exemplify to me a trust resting in a love that casts out all fears – but again, that didn’t just happen to him overnight.

I have grown to adore the slow hand of God in my life.  It reminds me of His patience with me so my humility can be offered to another.  My immediate and greatest source of witnessing humility is watching our priest consecrate the sacrifice of the mass. To my awe – Holy Orders appears to distill down to this moment of profound Grace as our priest submits to becoming an instrument of God’s sublime charity.  Before you leave this retreat, we will celebrate the mass, during that moment our priest invokes the Holy Spirit to sanctify the bread and wine,… remember your transparency as you step forward to receive and become part of something extraordinary.   Upon the close of each mass we are “sent out” to become bread that is broken and shared and wine that is fearlessly poured out for others.  Ask God to show you injustice to the innate dignity of your brothers and sisters.  Whether it simply handing out a hot cup of coffee or a pair of warm, clean socks to the poor that gather on the corner of Michigan and Adams Streets every Saturday morning, or visiting a sick friend, or encouraging a prisoner with hope, or praying in vigilance in front of an abortion clinic – seek…and you will find the life of God’s will before you.  Remember the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “Where there is love, there is God.”  If love inspires then peace will follow.   Immeasurable peace, a type this world cannot sell you, comes on the hinge of humility when we open that door in trust to accept that invitation to follow Christ.  Let’s pray we allow this profound sense of trust to pass through us like a filter, removing all seeds of hesitation to follow the One who makes all things new.

Therefore…what we profess in faith we must live in fact.

St. James reminds us that we delude ourselves by simply being mere hearers and not doers of the word.   We must receive what God reveals to us and respond humbly and obediently – considering it all a joy knowing your faith produces perseverance. (Paraphrased from James 1:2-3)

Let us help each other to accept this challenge.  Let our bonds of fellowship encourage one another, especially when doing so becomes difficult.  As a Catholic community, I pray we are willing to stand strong for others who endure unkind reactions when responding publicly to our Lord’s will.  If we find ourselves ostracized, insulted or worse…then pray we find strength in the words of Jesus who says. 

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven”

(Matthew 5:11-12a).

 

Our lives offer us many opportunities to put our faith into action, to be doers of the word — treasure that “time” and spend it wisely.

Remember, God not only loved us…….

but He did something about it…

 



Lead Me Lord 

Love has ravaged this unexpected heart,
Love has stolen my selfishness and pride.
Love sculptures granite into works of art,
Love invites me to follow alongside,
Strengthened by a yoke that becomes my guide.

Lead me Lord and I will surely follow.
Knowing you patiently wait by my side.
For by your blood I fear no tomorrow,
The courage of martyrs leaves no sorrow,
Grief finds all – yet without despair’s shadow.

Yes, love has invaded this unwary heart,
A knife that cuts straight through the marrow,
Separated from Adam I depart,
Clinging to Christ whose blood sets me apart,
My love draws my faith, like a horse pulls a cart.

I hear your voice O’ Lord,
And respond to your call,
Help me live my faith,
Lift me from Adam’s fall.

The harvest has many,
Your disciples are few,
Add me to their comp’ny,
Lord make this old man new!

Extending from my church,
Turn faith into action,
An olive branch of hope,
A hand of Your compassion.

©2012 by Chris Clody 11/2/2012

Please “Leave a reply” and share your retreat experiences or your thoughts when we become still and get to know God. His Peace…

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

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