Gentle Guest

Come, Holy Spirit come! Is a silent mantra that finds me especially when gathering the dust of distraction.  Life continues to happily snowball my little attachments like magnetic balls rolling through a steel mill.  Soon I become what I love the most. Looking back through my rear-view mirror of past events, the hidden pursuit of the Holy Spirit becomes clearer. Unexpectedly, it is through the thoughtful observance of wasteful love cooperatively spent within the life of the Trinity that the Holy Spirit perseveringly offers to detach me from the sticky ‘needs’ of life. Yet, this gentle Creator must be invited into my single want of His better will. I find repentance to be a beautiful and satisfying way to empty a room for my new house guest. At first this somewhat selfish and desperate need for rescue slowly transforms as I learn to question everything about myself and how I see myself through the Beatitudes, the gospel of Mathew’s social love, the transcendent quality of St. John’s descriptions that lifts my soul, the unmistakable intimacy inked within the Pentateuch, Isaiah’s soul-wrenching experience, and the irresistible, awe-inspiring incarnate reality found in and through Jesus the Christ. Truly, I must decrease…

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Come to me my joy!
Baptize me! Be my drink!
Fill this blank page with Your ink.
Messiah’s Spirit,
Swollen dew in Your mist,
Saturate me with Your kiss.
Will of hidden food,
Sip of newfound freedom,
Rescue of souls east of Eden.
Whet my lips with this wine
True drink that cannot turn,
Teach me all so I may learn.
Give light to these eyes,
Let me see Your Glory,
Expand this heart’s territory.
O’ sweet and gentle Guest,
Invade this ore’s darkness,
Lift the dross and leave the precious.
by Chris Clody
6/23/17

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The Last Breath…

Into Mercy’s Hands

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My time draws ever near,
Into the Hand of Mercy,
His Love so clean and clear,
My trembling soul is thirsty,
With knees no longer sturdy.

I commend my Spirit,
As time fades beyond worry,
My breathing slow to quit,
I face what I inherit.

Grateful now forevermore,
To repent sins I admit,
Just to hold the hands I adore.

The days I suffered are soon forgotten,
Along with the memories that bore my sin.

Into Mercy’s Hands my new life begins…

By Chris Clody 4/40/14

The Beginning of Home

Home

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Has my heart slipped from my hands,
To drown in puddles of lost compassion.
My hourglass to love now drops its last sand,
Have I squandered my life to become…
The willing hands and feet of Christ to some,
Will my last meal be despair’s miserable crumb?

Save me Jesus from myself,
Carry me brother from my fall,
Lift me into your Father’s light,
Wash this sin that me crawl.

One last tear wiped from my face,
Kneeling before this Lamb of Light,
He cloaks me in mercy, love and grace,

I stand presented burning bright,
The name I’m given I see in myself,
Virtues like organs transparent within,
In a moments glance I see my true wealth,
Where prosperity of old was burned with sin,
I rejoice with the angels as my Lord walks in.

The whole of Heaven is lit by the One,
Who offered his life to live through our hope,
Praise You Jesus, blessed begotten Son,
Praise You Father, for sending Your loving Son.

Joy like Christ’s light fills the rooms,
Singing praise becomes our breathing,
Love of Three gathers us soon,
Before a banquet spread in blessing,
The lamb of honor, the beautiful Groom,
Welcomes His Bride by the song He sings

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By Chris Clody 3/28/14

Daring To Look Within…

images moses…Moses asked, “Now show me your glory.” Yet the Lord responded, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 33:18,20). How did the apostles survive the Transfiguration? If we choose to house the Trinity within our heart, that very glory requested by Moses, then what happens to us when we examine the sin that has corrupted our hearts? Jesus proclaimed not only to do the will of the One who sent Him, but even said He and the Father were one. Grasping the mystery that Jesus is fully human while choosing at times to dispossess His full divinity, is enough of a headache for contemplatives like myself. Furthermore, if Christ lit up that mountain during His Transfiguration, how did the apostles survive for Pete’s sake (literally!)? During His short thirty-three years, Christ not only revealed the Father to the curious by believing Him, He transfigured before selected apostles displaying that same glory asked for by Moses. In a single, dazzling moment, Jesus also unites for us the Old and New Testaments allowing Moses and Elijah representing the Law and the Prophets also a role in this current reign of grace and peace. Although Moses is silent, surely he mumbled, “Oh sure show Peter, James, and John your glory but not me…” But seriously, how did the apostles survive? Is there a difference between The Father’s glory and His only begotten? But… are not the Father and the Son one – or is there something protecting these apostles from sure death? Contemplation is fun…no?Transfigure

Although intrigued, I am not swayed by my apparent confusion; for I know this same light that flashed before these apostles will also light Heaven. I know it is the light of pure love and indestructible life fueling the joy of eternity. It is also the brilliant light of forgiveness that will one day rejoin body and soul by their friendship in Christ into sinless perfection before the Father. Since Christ came to save not judge, the three son-burned apostles were spared in this saving light of forgiveness that wrapped their devotion and trust while they stood in awe (- regardless of Peter’s babbling). Witnessing this mysterious and spectacular event infused within them the courageous seeds of Christianity. It also convinced the apostles there can only be one mediator to safely bring them into the Father’s light. I also believe that if we choose to accept the light of Christ into our hearts, we find new reason to confess sins against the Trinity we to house within. It is the very image of God, placed in all people, that craves this light like a black hole craving gravity. If Christ’s light of forgiveness is believed to be real, beyond some symbolic gesture for self-improvement, then repentance brings sin to a believer’s heart for discernment and judgment so behaviors not glorifying God are killed by the glory gifted within. Baptism becomes more than some figurative rite of passage, but a mysterious and real death and birth whether we understand it or not. I believe it is this very process of pruning that makes sense of our free will’s role to partake in a salvific process chosen by our trust in a merciful God. We cannot save ourselves…but we can surely can opt to be rescued through our actions. We must become less so Christ’s glory is magnified within us.  We are not here to judge…let me repeat that…we are not here to judge!  We are here as lamps, learning to grow in self-detachment of behaviors within ourselves that don’t glorify God.  We journey not towards a sense of apathy, but indifference to distractions that once held our gaze instead of the dazzling Transfiguration that holds our joy.  If Christ fulfills all then what remnant of symbolism can be left for us to hold? The mysteries of fasting, prayer, charity, proclamation of God’s word, communion, and intercession have profound realities far beyond reason and vision. Remember Jesus is not a simple bridge arching over a valley of unforgiveness – He is fill. Truly we can be of good cheer because the One who shines for and within us has overcome, overwhelmed, and overjoyed the fear that once bound man’s mortality.
Shine on,
Chris

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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Spiritual Things

Spiritual Things

How can one understand spiritual things,
When they fail to house the Spirit within.

The words they hear pelt them like sand that stings,
Threatened, they attack some concept called sin,
Desperately thrashing like fish without fins.

Furious doubts arise like wayward bubbles,
Spewed from darkened depths of their perdition.
Blind to the pride that conceals their troubles,
Their mind grows dim like a murky puddle.

Pride wars with the first love they never knew,
Even their soul they seek to uncouple,
Still – Love prays that humility breaks through.

Even though time grows old it’s still a gift,
To rudder their course from hopeless adrift,
Repentance awaits God’s Light that is swift,
If only humility would dare to exist.

©2012 by Chris Clody 5/8/2012

Please pray that rebellious hearts will become restless hearts for God.

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