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

Sin Eaters…

One of my favorite movie lines is found in the Bourne Legacy:

sineaterByer: No, it’s not. Tune in to what I’m trying to say to you. Do you know what a sin eater is? [Aaron mouths no] Well, that’s what we are. We are the sin eaters. It means that we find the moral excrement that we find in this situation and we bury it down deep inside of us so that the rest of our cause can stay pure. That is the job. We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary. You understand?

I’m not sure how my mind makes connections, nevertheless, I will attempt to connect this concept with my gripe against Americanized Christianity and it’s approach to Lent/sin. Today’s comfortable, cotton candy words streaming from pulpits or open stages, whether priest or pastor, vestments to Hawaiian shirts, seem more concerned in soothing our egos to further advance job security and growth of their church.

Lent is facing the well hidden, completely defensible, sin buried deeply within us. Sin is very personal.  We know all its desires to keep it well fed. We actually believe this sin is our due, our self righteous reward, and sadly our strength.  Sin is alive to us, our self offering – but dead to God. Listen to Romans 6::13, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” Welcome to the purpose of Lent.  This has nothing to do with jokingly giving up ice cream but rather a focused death of personal sin.  Consider the remarkable failure of traditional Lent practices about giving up ice cream and think about how antibiotic resistant bacteria entered our lives.  If you have a bacterial infection and do not take the full course of antibiotic to kill the bug, guess what, ….it gets stronger.  How? If you only spoon feed yourself two of the prescribed five days of the yukky stuff and happily kill off eighty percent of the infection, then what happens to that remaining twenty percent of creepy crawlies? Despite feeling  a little better, you have now shown your enemy your war plan for next time giving them plenty of time to begin figuring out a way to become resistant.  Imagine what happens with ice cream! For the rest of the year, some of the remaining non-lactose intolerant will eat it with a vengeance, as if it couldn’t effect them.

Lent is clearly not about ice cream, cookies, chocolate, or chips. Lent is about maturing.

Lent is daring ourselves to look deep within, removing the moral excrement hidden under the facade of righteousness, and killing it over a prescribed regimen of forty days. Lent is not only for people, but all governing bodies spouting Christian grace through Christ. And yes…it is always time to houseclean.

Are you as tired as I am? Is this concept even new? When will Christians, in all positions, garner the courage to stand up and say enough!  When will the fear of job security of the preacher turn to God and not self comfort?  It amazes me that although I heard it preached many times that we will all stand naked under the clarifying light of God, yet… sin still seems to be the preferred offering instead of righteousness to God.

Oh yeah, as for sin eaters, there was and is and will be only One…

Pray for me since God has been more than patient, abundantly merciful, ever-loving, and unexpectedly forgiving with me!

His,

Chris

…and let God

Every soul has a story… a necessary one.  As I learn to listen more deeply and gratefully, it appears we all have a space to fill at a particular point(s) in our lives.  As I listen to the yin and yang of joy and sorrow, gratitude and regret, the story of each soul searching for their identity and home is more than worth the shared bubble of trusted discourse.  I accept without judgment the unfolding of one’s history since, especially for the elderly, it is what it is at this point.  However, I realize it is not luck that a soul finally finds its true identity and waiting home.  The true fruit of one’s successful journey is in the new found freedom offered to all yet not innate to us.  It is in the profound freedom in finally choosing to trust in our True Source; Our God.  Ironically, like finding true love when we willingly give it away, freedom is found when we finally let go.

Let Go

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Let go and fall into Me,
Let go and fall into Me,
Cast your cares upon Me,
Trust and fall into Me

Do you hear the song of mercy,
That calls you to forgiveness?
Accept this gift of charity,
True freedom when you confess,
Come and join my perpetual rest.

Let go and fall into Me,
Let go and fall into Me,
Cast your cares upon Me,
Trust and call unto Me.

Loving you before life begun,
More deeply than you’ll ever know,
Although your sins be like crimson,
I will wash them clean as driven snow,
As mercy reigns and joy overflows.

Come to Me and let Me love you,
I Am all you need –
The One who makes all things new,
For I Am the first love you never knew.

Let go and fall into Me,
Let go and fall into Me,
Cast your cares upon Me,
Trust and call unto Me.

tears

By Chris Clody 10/7/14

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

Holy Dwelling

the-doorLately, as I contemplate personal prayer, I feel I have stretched my understanding of my communication with the Giver of all good things. This ‘Holy Dwelling’ place is not just a subconscious, interior room in which we withdraw from the world… but rather we find this secret place by enclosing our surrender into the sacred heart of Jesus – the very heart of creation.  Be fearless and surrender my friends.  His Peace, Chris

Holy Dwelling

Holy dwelling
Hidden in Christ
Sacred refuge
Eternal light
Awaken my soul
From sin’s endless night

My Christ in God
My chosen temple
Hear my prayer
Ever faithful
Enclose me in You
Savior so gentle

Holy is the dwelling place you built for me
Precious is The Spirit that sets me free
Shepherd of God draw me within
Your sacred heart where all love begins

My God, My Lord
My strong tower
Redeemer King
Eternal flower
I surrender to
Your will and power.

By Chris Clody 11/13/2013

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 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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Safe Return

If I know where I came from and where I’ll return to, then the time I spend in between should reflect a fearless journey of gratitude.  God did not create death nor instill within us fear.  It is the indestructible peace of knowing that God chose to reveal Himself to all through His Son, Jesus, who freely offers eternal life and hope for our earthbound journey. Beyond admiration or reverence for Jesus, it is the indwelling gift of true faith that beckons the Holy Spirit to pour, in overabundance, that same love that proceeds from both the Father and the Son.  Without this infusion of Heaven’s love, we will never venture past the gates of admiration or reverence of the life of Christ. Dare we choose to wrap our shortcomings in humility and raise our voices to invite God’s Spirit into our transparency, the love we receive becomes our identity in Christ.  …Come Holy Spirit!

His,

Chris

Safe Return

Although my sins will sink within this grave,
Still my God will raise me up.
No longer drink for what the devil craves,
But wine for The Incorrupt –
For grace overflows this cup. 

Born of Heaven’s incorruptible seed,
This God-man lights the world,
The lamp of love from which compassion bleeds,
Salvation’s priceless pearl,
Christ has come – His plan unfurls. 

Prince of Peace,
Lord of Lords,
The Giver of True life,
Steal me from the grave’s selfish grasp,
And draw me to your side.

 Raise me Lord,
In Your love,
And guide my safe return,
Reveal the joy unspeakable,
Give me what I cannot earn. 

©2011 by Chris Clody 7/2/2012

Please “Leave a reply” and share your thoughts regarding Resurrection. Thanks!

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

                      

Sin Is Life’s Anesthetic

Sin Is Life’s Anesthetic

Truly, sin is life’s anesthetic,
That’s meant to block the pain of Truth.
Woeful regrets numb the life we pick,
While trapped within our déjà vu,
Unaware our soul’s becoming sick,
We slip upon Deceit’s oil slick.

As the flame within us smolders down,
Near the end of our hidden wick,
The God we deny hovers around,
Holding a flame once lost – now found.

Accepting His flame blisters the flesh,
As baptism cools as it drowns,
The Truth must crucify so it can bless,
Hearts set apart for God to possess.

Transformed and fearless new hearts soon shout,
Souls leap from sin’s sickening mess.
Faith becomes trust – replacing all doubt,
God lives through the life we dare live out.

The acceptance of our suffering,
Tests our minds to what life’s all about,
It reflects God’s gift of love we’re holding,
… and the sin we are considering.

Life burns down to a solitary choice,
To cover our ears or listen to Truth’s voice.

©2012 by Chris Clody 3/2/2012

His Peace,

Chris

Why do we suffer?  Does sin block truth like an anesthetic blocks pain? How does suffering, the Truth and sin balance in your life?  Also does our acceptance of suffering reflect the trust in the gift of God’s love we possess? Let me know your thoughts!!!

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