Communion’s Mystery

You were raised on the cross,
A Lamb led to slaughter,
Sacrificing to fill mankind’s loss,
A Son’s obedience to His Father.

Gone now are the days of sacrifice,
Undone is the curse of the Law,
Satisfied is God’s vision of glory,
That crushed the grip of Death’s claw.

Holy is the seed You plant in us,
That must die in hallowed ground,
Trampled beneath the feet of rejection,
That plows the new wheat’s burial ground.

Long the wheat suffers within the weeds,
Waiting and watching for harvest,
Flush golden fields reflecting the sun,
Eager to rise above chaff’s darkness.

You reap sown in fruits of Your mercy,
Crushed into the bread of Your charity,
Crumbs of hope plant seeds of faith,
Reborn anew into Communion’s mystery.

by Chris Clody
10/19/2018

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The Alien Within And Among Us…

“Where are you from?”File photo of displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walking towards the Syrian border
This questions seems innocuous enough and at the least a good conversation starter. Yet as immigration policy rages, what first seems like a harmless ice-breaker has devolved into an interrogation. The thought of one’s ‘legal’ status may soon infringe on inalienable rights inseparable from all humanity.
The quick answer to my inquiry could be, “from my mother’s womb. Duh.” Yet as phobias continue to grow from the little seeds of isolationism, it shows itself as the weed it truly is. Actually, the big picture of the garden of humanity draws another conclusion to that there is the only one answer to the query above: “We are from the mind and heart of God.” Let that sink in…
Immigration is a serious and difficult question living amongst the few with violent intentions. Violence is draining our attentions from the better ideals of man as resources towards protection seem to justify responses from the beat cop trolling gang territories to strong language tweeting provocations from the Oval office.
So is this a religious argument, secular, or both? If you think that question is as easy as the first producing the misunderstood “church and state debate”, then I hope these following words haunt us:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr., 1963.
So what does this have to do with immigration? Everything and nothing at all. It clearly sums up the ideals infused into man and has everything to do with the perspective towards immigration. It has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the treatment towards every citizen.
The question above dares us to plumb our very understanding of our nation’s creed, that equality, dignity, and justice belong to all. Although this statement was made about fifty-five years ago it isn’t novel but rather breathed into the American fabric embroidered by our founding fathers.
Fear has an insidious grip causing hesitation towards the things we might lose. Remember Lot and Abraham? Lot held to the weeds while Abraham was grateful to experience and peace of mind of God’s work in the garden.
I contend we therefore are all aliens becoming more forgetful of our immigrant history. We are learning to justify the selling of the soul of inalienable rights for the delusion of fearful isolation written as ‘rights’.
So what exactly is the alien within titling this post have to do with this writing? Everything and nothing at all. Before I answer consider the following scripture:
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”(Luke 1:41-42)
What (fetus?) or who (child?) were dwelling these two wombs? What is the big picture? The miracle of created life and treatment with dignity blessed by inalienable rights or the concern of our ‘rights’ drawn up by the hand of man?
The question, like our judgment, has no negotiation with the mind and heart of God. Maybe the words of Mother Teresa can help neatly tie these thoughts on immigration and abortion together when quoted as saying, “The so-called right to abortion has portrayed the greatest of gifts, a child, as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience.”

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Are aliens a competitor, an intrusion, and/or an inconvenience to the to life we now experience upon the roots of our alien ancestry? Are inalienable rights degraded by the rights of man? If equality, dignity, and justice destroyed for the most vulnerable then how can the mind and heart of God flow towards any neighbor blind to their personal identity that makes them grateful to be created? What phobias are we stubbornly housing that deny another human the right to experience true freedom?
Exactly who is our neighbor?
He (Jesus) replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50.
Can we contest that the will of God comes from His very mind and heart?

Is it not our grateful duty to welcome the stranger, feed the poor, cloth the naked, visit the sick, and care for the widows and orphan?

Have we forgotten that the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
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Become Love.

Peace,

Chris

Lifting The Wedding Veil

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So many questions arise from my morning rosary, particularly as I contemplate the Lord’s Passion and resurrection. These ‘questions’ are born from a personal prayer to help me see something new and beautiful as I pray.

Questions like:

What does it mean to lift and carry our cross?
What does it really mean to see through the glass fully?
Is the event at Mt. Sinai, Moses veiled face, the tearing of the veil before the Holy of Holies, , the Bride of Christ and ultimate wedding feast find cohesiveness and fulfillment in the New Testament writings?
Finally, is fearlessness attainable?

Certainly, those four questions provide enough awe and wonder for just a simple man with a rosary walking his little dogs before dawn! What the Spirit so generously avails to the seeker surely emboldens the fruitfulness of prayer.

All those questions gel together through what I can only perceive through one woman’s perspective; Mary, the mother of the Christ of G-d. A mother, a favored Jewess, who held so many things within hear humility that can be gleaned through the same glint of a soldier’s sword that pierced the heart of her crucified Jesus. Mary well knew the first five books and the authority and Laws of Moses he revealed etched upon stones by the finger of G-d. For it was atop Mt. Sinai that the Glory of G-d even transfigured Moses to glimmer so brightly that He veiled his face upon returning to proclaim the physical evidence of the Divine. Yet even the splendor of this moment, as St. Paul contends, is of no splendor at all when compared to the Incarnation of God as man. It is beyond our understanding of fulfillment or climax of the merging covenants, that we can only chance a glimpse towards this unfathomable wonder at the weakness inherited by Jesus and dare the touch the tassels of the eternal Christ. Moses hid his glow behind a veil, like the Holy of Holies, leaving the Jews with a seeking heart. Yet the Jewish culture of living the life of Torah who could not recognize this Messiah, continued with a spirit of blindness, incessant debate, and ever hesitant to lift the veil of Moses. The Transfiguration of Christ, illuminated the hearts of the three apostles yet not their faces as they descended from that mountain. In the genius of the Father, and the eventual tearing of the veil following the crucified Ransom’s giving up His Ghost upon Calvary, forever changed the perspective of Grace written upon flesh not stones. Faith in the resurrected Christ, a disciple’s extended baptism, is a foreshadow of the Christ lifting the veil of His forgiven bride. Forgiveness is analogous to the Father reaching down to mercifully scoop up those who bankrupted their will for a Heavenly culture.

So how does that command to those who seek to follow in the footsteps leading to Calvary after picking up their own cross transform us into something new? The slow transformation of dying daily, moment by moment in constant prayer to self-important priorities is strengthened by a gift of faith through grace. Hope is infused immediately when the circumcised heart reveals the Laws of G-d’s love. As stony hearts incarnate by honoring Christ’s teachings, His immaculate Torah, through a fearless love of G-d through neighbor. Are we not saved as a community that is incorporated into a mystical Bride? To the Jews, the life of Torah was a ‘going out’ and ‘returning’ in hopes of expanding not simply a community but also the faithful’s very mind, heart, strength, and soul. When dignity is offered without judgment to those in distress, the dark glass becomes less dim. The slow transformation of the washing through synagogue readings slowly made this glass more translucent, leaving only hope to wonder what illumination exists behind the vision of G-d’s clear view of them. The glow behind the veil awaits our faith in believing that Christ has lifted this veil to finally kiss the waiting cheek of His Chosen Bride. Everything Christ has done was a contradiction to our reasoning. Everything. The veil does not hide the Trinity from the onlooker, but hides the Temple restored by Mercy within the faithful. Do you now see that judgment of another is futile when the dim glass of judgment is meant for our very self-introspection? Is this not why we must simply be still and simply ‘know’ G-d? Faith is a fearless and reckless love that attracts every believer’s yearning hope gazing within this vast love. Necessity of weapons are the fruits of the fearful who fail to comprehend the orchestration of Divine Grace is just insufficient. Soon, when every jot and title of Torah is fulfilled, when weapons are smelted into plows and garden tools, when every enemy of fearless love is put asunder as footstools for a Rightful King, our veil will be lifted, our face dried of tears will be kissed, and a servant’s seat will await those hungry to finally feast on G-d’s Love alone.

Yes… there will be tribulation now and more in our futures, by take heart, be of good cheer, and lift your burden made lighter by faith, hope, and love.

nyfireman

Become Love,
Chris

To Hate Evil

I believe this is our greatest struggle, especially returning evil with good. I was moved by the following video:

I hoping against all hope that our culture is evolving towards redefining this word tolerance. As mentioned in this short clip, “Tolerance is a cold, dead term…even dismissive.” The video concludes that this ‘problem’ and resolution begins with each of us.
How does change for a better society happen? Leadership. Society needs brave voices both politically and spiritually. Faith promotes the most unlikely solution to this problem that seems to kick against the goads. Found within our human history, an enticing contradiction collided with our hearts and mind. From the revelation at Sinai to its climatic and mysterious fulfillment in an itinerant man, in a G-d, named Jesus. This single and profound thread of repaying evil with good seems to have no place to lay its weary head. Whether upon the Palestinian-Israeli border, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, or within the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort.Jason-Aldean-fans-flee-the-scene-after-Mandalay-Bay-shooting-in-Las-Vegas-670x454 What good can be considered tribute towards carnage in the hearts imprisoned by faith? Seriously, what would Jesus do? What could we do when killers have committed suicide? How in hell can parents explain this to kids fully informed and influenced by the rabid and biased social media? How can even the highest platform of leadership, the president of the United States, who is disregarded, discounted as ’45’, and devalued as a person by half the country as without virtue or character, inspire leadership? Where do our hearts and America turn from here?

Restrict guns or ‘weapons of war’? Maybe…but that argument, despite America’s heritage and fascination with guns, holds both little promise and very little water.
Promote Conceal and Carry? Maybe…but carrying a gun changes the human psyche for it weighs upon the soul to employ its use. Remember when you first learned to do the Heimlich maneuver or CPR how you felt somehow responsible to save a life in need? Imagine the burden of taking a life – something that is repulsive to our souls. Could one with proper training and attitude help in taking down a shooter at Orlando or Las Vegas, surely that possibility exists however slim. I can only assume adding more fire to the flames of gunplay would only add to the chaos adding only to the victim count as people run in all directions. I would hope our first reaction focused on attending to the wounded and dying.

To be clear, I don’t believe in passivism but cling to a nonviolent perspective; there’s a difference.

Maybe the answer lies unexpectedly between the Palestinian-Israeli culture. It is bred within both cultures to defend what is believed rightfully theirs. From Kindergarten, especially Palestine, the formation of a child’s will is forced to hate. Both sides kill each other without hesitation over a narrow strip of land. I honestly cannot fathom the sadness and regret if the a repentant conscious was awakened to the dignity inherent within both cultures. Unfortunately the violent legacy continues in throwing rocks, spewing lead,  and launching mortars as the genetics of hate and intolerance dictate.

Dare we see the other side of the coin with hope? This is what best depicts the contradiction found hidden in Jesus. First and foremost, is to trust that love has no equal. None. Prayer is also the flipside of distrust. Prayer is a power we cannot understand just like forgiveness. The combination of faith, hope, and love is irresistible to both the human psyche and heart. To trust this power that we cannot feel is the gift patiently waiting to be unveiled within us all. Although we may not understand its practicality, love that is experienced can embrace it. If we just submit to the courage to embrace love then we can begin to redefine tolerance from its cold, dead, dismissive state.

Life, in all forms, is precious. It helps me imagine that I would not exist is G-d stopped hoping for my priorities to return to His higher will. Consider how patient, hopeful, and compassionate this same perspective of Christ who promises to unveil this newness in each and everyone of us when we seek this higher will.

So America is racing towards or running from a new definition of tolerance. We are all patiently given time to reflect or distrust the possibilities of adopting this culture of Heaven.

Remember, the greatest authority we are given is forgiveness not slander, a rock, a mortar, a bullet, or worse. America was solely founded in the hope and trust that our forefathers seeded in community. Community can only come about when we love G-d through our neighbor.

I’m a reminded of the words of Dorothy Day:
We love G-d as much as we love those we love least.

Maybe… that’s how we should redefine tolerance.
Just maybe….that’s how would should also hate evil.

Become new.
Become change.
Become love.

Peace,
Chris

Broken Sidewalks

Just thought I’d share a song that’s been stuck to the sticky side of my soul. Today I hear His call.

sidewalk

Broken Sidewalks

If I walk,
These broken sidewalks,
To find
The Christ I see,
Will You Talk,
Talk,
Through Me

If I stand,
To face the powers,
That force,
Their poverty,
Will You send,
Send,
Send me

If this cross,
A gift given me,
To raise,
In front of me,
Will you walk,
Walk,
With me.

You’ve captured my heart to go where you will,
Fearless with joy and awestruck when still,
Your Kingdom appears when love is fulfilled,
Lord, make holy my Heart when bridges are built,
I’ll follow you Jesus, wherever you will.
I’ll follow you Jesus, wherever you will.

Give me strength,
Spirit rise in me,
And shine,
Your love through me,
Spread Your hope,
Hope,
Through me.

Now I see,
You’re all around me,
I am,
Your pierced hands and feet,
Your mercy,
Lord,
Inspires me.

By Chris Clody
8/24/2107

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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

mother-teresa-loving-saint-ch60_l

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

God Set Free

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Invitations rain from religious cattle cars,
Streaking by those deservingly scourged,
A hurricane awaits within the shamed,
Silent, patient, and longsuffering.

Outside the waiting storm,
Blind anxiety gorges upon popularity,
Another brick box to secure an ism,
Another wall.
Another reason.

Without vulnerability or need,
Love has no home,
Yet…freedom crouches,
Fearless of shame,
Unhesitant towards need,
Bounding walls of reason,
Rescuing saddened souls
from society’s jailer.

Love shares no vanity,
Hope warms the tummy,
Faith becomes visible,
Hidden flowers bloom,
Community erupts,
Realizing the Image within,
Is living in our midst.
Then, God is set free.

By Chris Clody
7/28/2017