The Great Pause

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Adversity. Restraint. Community. Three words that have absorbed new depths that challenge us during The Great Pause. Although independent in meaning they combine in an unfamiliar, or at best, forgotten triune mystery leading our hearts and/or minds to envision reality as it emerges from the paralyzing grip of the Covid19 pandemic. I say hearts and/or minds because it appears to me we are being led to a fork in the road opportunity.  To resume what history and science has deemed an impossible fight against limited resources or to continue by encouraging a new way of life afforded by the hidden grace imbued by this pandemic’s new normal. To resume disconnects the heart from the mind while to continue engages a childlike fellowship between the heart and mind. Like the tired argument against faith and works, transformation occurs when hearts housing an Image awaken to its divinely invested goodness and dignity that would better serve us as stewards of the human family and the gift of this planet we call Earth.

The Great Pause

A chorus of excitement filling misty air,
Cool and thick with joyous birdsong,
Awaiting the miracle of warmth and light,
Praising The Giver of sun to whom they belong.

The invisible assembly of unrivaled echoes,
Rise higher and pierce sharper than the day before,
Growing aware of newfound inheritance,
Grateful praise from feathered bodies increase in vigor.

The white dawn breaks quietly,
Piercing the horizon in glittering light,
The days pass by namelessly,
Whilst a vast solitude imposes its invisible fight.

This peculiar adversity,
Restraining exploitation into private Lent,
Yet the Earth breathes cleaner in respite,
The pillager fasts from consuming Natures willing ferment.

The predator grows lean and ever anxious,
Yearning to rejoin its hunt with the pack,
Still…Paralyzed in profound hesitation,
The sullen hunted awaits planning its counterattack.

Repentance drawn by contemplative breath,
Unwelcome at first by dawn’s first blush,
Yet the comforting sounds of Nature’s delight,
Awakened childhood memories replacing their scouring rush.

Like a shoot blossoming from a dry, dead limb,
Miraculous prospects haunt repentant minds within,
Hoarding gives away to communal needs,
Realizing less is more gazing upon Nature’s healing skin.

Childhood’s idealism seeds a new uprising,
Preparing for war against pedantic wants,
Thoughtful discussions fill conversation’s sandbox,
Proposing a new hope like a baptismal font.

A decision awaits the marauder’s fork in the road,
An ancient choice between an old and new will,
Submission beckons both to slavery,
One is kenotic… the other lonely and downhill.

The wondrous orb sinks quietly into dusk,
Returning with birdsong’s grateful delight,
Hoping tomorrow brings rise to new daylight,
Dreaming that the predator is gone from their sight,
Praising The Giver who changes hearts to contrite.

by Chris Clody
5/23/20

Seek and you’ll…

Contemplation treads atop the soup of reality. A chance to slowly adjust to the temperature of liquid thought. Yet, one must take courage and confidence in believing when you choose to sink deep down into your own soul space that you can breathe below the surface enjoying this gift of God.

 

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Within the moment outside of time,
My Master winks and beckons,
Infinity slides into the sublime,
Expanding each and every second.
Surrounding me with Abba’s affection.

His Presence reveals in me a deep awe,
Humbled by His Promise and each blessing,
As mercy triumph by lifting hearts not law,
Channeling grace through the cracks of my flaw.

Slowly squeezed, I emerge from frozen time –
Rested and grateful for this mountain I climbed.

The Kingdom at hand awaits the seeker to find.

By Chris Clody
7/23/16

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

Inner Sanctum

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My unsuppressible and irresistible need that shadows all what my soul craves coexists in my heart. There it lies, just a scratch below social formalities, waiting to ambush all my conversations or arguments. Like a propeller silently working below a silent blue surface moving water behind me towards some future nirvana leaving my soul and flesh wrestling at the ship’s helm. Despite my understood speed and progress, the horizon seems unchanged and unattainable. Years disolve like passing whitecaps as doubt lures my attention from ahead to an above darkening cloud. I’m getting old too fast and tired too soon.
Until…blue smoke and the motor quits.The propeller stops leaving me to drift in seemingly aimless silence. Despite the ebb and ever-rocking flow of want, I am drawn to a new horizon deeper within me. My implosion inward is effortless. I am disrobing the many layers that onced defined me. Skin’s secret pride is relinquished to vanity’s gravity. Letting go of life’s ‘needs’ never felt so freeing…so easy. I slowly reduce to the size of that seed God joyfully planted in hopes of great blooms within the potting soil of my reality. Finally I am small enough to trust whatever may come. I have no reason not to trust for now my very survival is beyond my control. Trust now to dive into a claustraphobic rabbit hole that wraps and zips me up in its undersized sleeping bag. I wiggle downwards guided by shards of glimmering light slicing through a zippered smile of metal teeth. Despite the dark, the heat, the exhaustion, and nauseous fight to control my shallow breathing, I plop out onto a soft landing. I am embraced by an extradinarary light as reality’s cocoon disintegrates immediatley around me. I breathe in the fresh, cool air. Still processing the visual extravagance before me. My breath catches as I stand thunderstruck, a gawking statue at this possible reality, this Kingdom at Hand, this Christ within our midst. This vast expanse of a limitless invitation that I somehow know expects me. Here I ponder within my garden, this spacious room in a mansion, the joy of peace in an unexpected pasture. Love, is the very oxygen and light of my contemplatived marvel lifts and holds my heart and head like the holy ground beneath me. Timeless as a memory, love redefines its insatiable quest to reconcile my soul to God and to others in my path. Its wonder and awe squinting through this childlike view radiates it’s kaleidoscopic possibilities and beauty. This newfound treasure that’s somehow expected yet not quite understood. Drawn by the ever magnetizing virtue of true beauty, my gaze is held as a willing prisoner. Still more beckons as my peripheral vision catches a mysterious glow of invitation lighting a narrow path leading to an ordinary yet rustic wooden door. Nearly weightless to the touch, I push, and it swings back open into my reality. Returning out through my in door, everything seems familiar yet something is different… very different. My thoughts give life to mercy, comfort, and gratitude more often then not. Sometimes an unwelcomed yet familiar voice breaks through and like muscle memory reacting to fire, I’m doing things I did not want to do! Reconciling through forgiveness of myself, others, and in all, back to God, banishes that unwanted voice back to its reptilian mindset so my soul my re-engage the hidden dignity and lost hope awaiting it. I expect anything and fear nothing  since I am not alone in my reality walking hopefully without tire nor shame. For grace nourishes my steps from hesitation. Grace is my soul whisperer to no longer choosing fight or flee but rather accept and help carry another’s weight as God accepted mine.

His,
Chris

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Our History of Wonder

Born To Please

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Unaware yet born to please,
Shedding blood in greed and fear,
Two wills, one selfish and one to appease,
Serving two masters is doubly clear
Divinity patiently waits to join us here.

Burning without destroying, man is drawn,
Confused by how this could appear,
Barefoot steps tremble on legs of a fawn,
The Irresistible orders Moses to lead on.
Ending man’s innate question with more to think upon.

Aware and finding reason to please,
A scapegoat is devised to lay their sins upon,
Yet power corrupts due to man’s disease
Laying law upon law, love is soon gone,
Replaced by our will serving our need,
Doubting even The Ten that convicts of our greed.

Undaunted and untamed, Emmanuel borrows skin,
Fragile and human, Jesus comes to feed,
Giving Himself as food for forgotten sin,
The Christ of God breaks Death’s final grin,
The grave once greedy cannot hold resurrection win.
Grace and peace, by loving God and neighbor begins.

Keys are given atop of a rock,
One day to surrender and led by an enemy’s whim,
Purity is from dross The Spirit continues the stock,
In spite of Power, soon time forgets and corruption begins,
Saints are sent while the encourage the true flock,
Laws upon laws, the slumbering are loyal yet God is mocked.

Still hope remains in the trusting souls,
Whose trust surrendered to their Redeemer’s knock,
Fearlessly led by the Anointed’s beatific goal,
Inexpressible joy is given when we relinquish control,
Loving God through our neighbor in forgiving revolt,
Until that Day of Wrath, when the Lamb pours out the bowls,

Yet, despite pious boast, regret will cover those who condemn,
Those unjustly shamed and discarded Christ collects from another fold,
For Heaven is not a room to secure to which we ascend,
But true community that weds a Groom who willingly descends.
The Bride’s “I do” is our present ‘Amen.”

By Chris Clody 5/9/15

The Gift

Sunday is comin’…

Sweet Repose

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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

Seen Through Mom’s Eyes

The greatest blight that deadens our souls continues as loneliness.  Loneliness is as insidious as it is unexpected in casting longer and longer shadows into our perspective. Life viewed through this suffocating dimness can be a debilitating challenge that slows our sacred journeys (religious or non-religious) to little more than a crawl.  Often our self-pessimism we slowly gather is far from the truth and I believe a possible remedy is closer than we think.  It is well worth our time to see our self through the eyes of our mother.  A mother’s love is beautifully stubborn, intimate, and meticulous in understanding what makes us tick. Our mothers therefore at least deserve the honor to describe to us our worth, that marvelous dignity, to maybe a face only she could love…  If we our honest and listen to what we our told then we stand more than a chance to re-calibrate our perspective free of the loneliness we don’t deserve.

Would you be willing to join me in a contemplative moment and talk a walk on a poetic journey?  If so, take a moment to clear your mind and see this son through His mother”s eyes.

Look To My Son

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Look at my newborn Son
This divine drop of innocence
This infinite ocean of hope
Sleeping quietly and content

Look at this carpenter’s son
Working to see His father pleased
Working wood with hardened hands
The ones we’ll pierce to set us free.

Look through my Savior’s wounds
See far beyond His suffering
See forgiveness framed on a cross
Unleashing love – embracing sin.

Kneel with me at the cross,
Feel the sorrow in my soul,
Son turns Savior before my eyes,
Grief impossible to console.
Stay with me at the cross,
Take my hand and heart awhile,
For only love held Him aloft,
Conquering our redemption’s trial.
Stay with me a little longer,
Hold your trembling Mother,
Share my love and my pain,
Flesh of my flesh now Redeemer.
Help me up from the ground,
Steady me while I stand,
Only grace can hold this heart,
Although my mind can’t understand.

Remember me when I’m gone,
Remember the victory that He won,
Remember whenever you say my name,
You’ll be looking at my Son.

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Ad Jesum per Mariam
Ad Jesum per Mariam
Ad Jesum per Mariam

By Chris Clody 8/13/13

The Latin phrase “Ad Jesum per Mariam” means “To Jesus Through Mary” and regardless of our preferred theology, I hope you found the empathy and profound intimacy to see the infant, the child, the man, the Redeemer and Savior, through the eyes of His mother.

His Peace,

Chris

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
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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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