The Smell Of Fear

 

tumblr_n5mvwy56Ba1rrecxqo3_250.gifAaaaahhhh… such a sweet smell to the King of the Orcs, Azog the Defiler. Fear.  It is the the unholy sacrifice of our belief in the Lord who commands us not to fear.  When we bow to fear we choose enslavement.  Why do we choose to abandon our noble hope and faith just to settle for despair, doubt, and a path well-traveled?  In abject contrast to satisfying fragrance to a demagogue  of fear, like Azog, is the trusting prayers that waft up basting the Heavens with a fearless fragrance – irresistible to the One who makes all things new.  My thoughts today are really a request to engage your help to encourage these burdened under-shepherds of the cloth to remember those who previously carried this torch of the Gospel to their doorstep without regret or fear.  Presently, the message of the Gospel is  being crowded out by what people want and not so much what they need. Ironically, the “Good News” carries quite a shadow of hate.  If there is a timelessness to human culture it presides through the intoxicating effects of people praise.  Hence the success of Hollywood and even our latest president-elect. However, when Jesus mentioned He and G-d were one, well… yeah, a whole lot of that stuff hit the fan. As the fan coughs to a sputtering stop, we quickly surmise the cost of spreading this type of “good news.”  If this God-man, Christ wasn’t necessary then the Gospel would be a no-brainer and an absolute joy to contemplate every minute of the day. It would be like….incessant prayer. Unfortunately, the Father sent His only begotten to complete His will, His Torah for His chosen, who was unfortunately welcomed eventually by crucifixion.  Don’t be fooled that Christianity has no cost.  It actually costs as much as someone love without fear of any consequence.  No regrets.

Nevertheless, my soul feels a disturbing dread and an unwillingness of these priests and pastors to behave in the freedom of fearlessness.  I covet your prayers to lift those truly called to rise up. I am also praying that those seeking a comfortable career in the non-profit, business sector of motivational speaking to please step down.  Although the cost is everything to walk the path of discipleship, the yoke is light when inspired by love. For those who have found their niche in gospel entertainment there is a price to be paid; a wrath beyond our imaginations.  We must be active and gently encourage both those stepping up and stepping down through face to face conversation.  We must lovingly convince those called to teach please to remember scripture is a portion of God’s will to manifest in our reality. If fear is an option then the pulpit is not.

For the Catholic priests:  Passionately ordained to consecrate the paschal sacrifice, the summit of their sacramental Everest, do you truly believe in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine? Is there a wedge of fear that separates you from entering into this intimate Trinity completely naked?  Would there be any hesitation from protecting the very sheep you have been called to feed? When Christ inquires,”Do you love Me?” is your answer a fearless ‘yes’ to protect the sheep you see on Sunday.

For Pastors: Your passion for social justice finds the Christ in the oppressed and marginalized.  Have you forgotten the needful protest of your Protestant heritage? Would you seek out that one lost sheep?

Last year, 2016, was a year of silence.

When the humiliating parade of misogynistic commercials filled the ears of children, I stared at my Rosary in disbelief. I wept at the utter desolation at how her Son must have felt about those raising His body in consecration.  Surely her adoring son yells, “Flesh of my flesh!” –  yet somehow He is not surprised.  After all we’re humans . Right?  You allow yourself to be called ‘Father.”  I am a father to a daughter and a husband to a wife, both temples Christ is patiently rebuilding while their walls are vandalized in vitriol. What about the pedophilia scandal and its complete absence from every pulpit? What ‘Father” on this beautifully , blue orb would remain silent? Why has fear woven a cloak of complicity and secrecy of hiding predators feasting on innocent children? Pastors, what about your bride’s reaction as you talked quietly at night.  Furthermore, how could one not be consumed with zeal to protect one’s very spouse while trying to communicate the mysterious vision of a “Bride” for Christ?  If misogyny is met with silence then  what to make of the teaching on the mount where name calling is equal to murder? Why then was your voice not being raised outside of your safe, holy bubble on Sunday?  Do you hear now the words begged Simon; “Do you love  Me?”  Do you then feed your sheep by example or the slop of “mere Christianity?”

Let us pray to support our priests and pastors during these difficult times and gently encourage them to discern their meaning and application of leadership along with unhesitating protection of the flock.

 

His Peace,

Chris.

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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

 

To Glimpse Through Favored Eyes….

20120330-053906I have one resolution for the coming year … to truly ‘see’. No, I’m not blind – but certainly distracted.  My hope, is actually a singular prayer.  In my ever evolving perception of my faith, a Catholic by birth and now more so by choice. Yet, I am still a restless, stumbling pilgrim in the dusk of grasping the ‘whys’ of my God-Hero.  I’m quite sure I will never fully understand the definition of Divine love whether framed in compassion or pity, it simply is a mystery I choose to carry joyfully on my sleeve.   However, in regards to ‘seeing’, I want to see my Redeemer, through the eyes, ears, touch, heart and soul of His mother.  I realize this may be just…too…’Catholic’…for some of you that read my following prayer.  I get that…and expect that.  However your understanding plumbs the true intentions of my particular Christian expression, I want you to simply consider how Christ honored His mother, on earth and in Heaven.  My prayer to Mary, holds the same loving intentions I have for my own mom, the only person on the planet who knew me like know other…

Again, I cannot grasp the capacity of The Uncreated One I know as Messiah.  My dimness that attempts to focus on the ‘why’ He chose to enter our human history the way He did, especially through a favored a 14 year old virgin.  This same woman whom in all our written revelations of God was the only person greeted by an angel as being ‘full of grace’. Yep, that’s a lot of grace!

Certainly we all are beautiful puzzle pieces formed by God.  Not only are we lovingly designed to fit together, but add our beautiful uniqueness to create a masterpiece called community.  I pray I get to see the ‘why’ we all fit together in this new year.  However, today would you join me and consider a particular puzzle piece in our human history; Mary, the Mother of God.

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O Mary,
Mother of God
My Mystical Rose,
Help me, protect me, and come to my aid.
Mother of my hope and salvation,
Show me the Light you share,
Shining forth from the Holy fruit you bore.
O Sweet and Loving Virgin, hear my prayer.

Mother of Perpetual Help,
Console me in my time of need,
Let me see the joy through your eyes,
To gaze upon your Lord and Son,
With open eyes of renewed faith,
Let me see the victory He has won.

Gracious mirror of my justice,
Shining Morning Star,
Favored Gate of Heaven,
Endless is my debt to your humble ‘yes’,
For resplendent is my Lord’s Vessel of Honor,
Ever- immaculate are you, Gate of Heaven.
From which all generations are blessed.

Mother of Son and Sorrows,
Magnificent House of Gold,
Virgin Most Prudent,
Virgin Most Venerable,
Virgin Most Merciful,
Virgin Most Faithful,
Holy Mary,
Hear my prayer.

By Chris Clody 12/2714

Here’s to ‘seeing’ through the New Yea.

His Peace,

Chris

Headlights…

issnwGreetings!
This dark, cold, blustery morning reminds me of my gratitude for headlights. The passing thought of “why Catholicism” found a simple analogy of thankfully seeing two headlights cut through a snowstorm. The headlights, communion and suffering, both of which our sweet angels envy, both answer and question how this noble tradition found a home in my soul. We must embrace our suffering as the unique gift of “making up what is lacking” in the Passion of our Lord. This is our profound chance to partake in not just our own cross’s calling but our salvation. It is our acceptance of Heaven’s culture to choose humility and gratitude in facing our crucible. A new strength is found hidden in an unassuming wafer. We must compassionately support those that suffer and encourage their hope and lead them, regardless of their faith, to consider the Bread of Immortality. Console those warring against difficult odds that our eternity starts here on earth and ebbs ever closer with each Holy Communion we receive. Let agape be our shared knowledge so that the hurting may feel the heartbeat of Christ within.
Please remember to turn your headlights on.

His,
Chris

Note. For some reason I feel compelled to ask if you would share this thought with someone today.