HomedotMagisReflections“Cletus, Come Out”

“Cletus, Come Out”

Perhaps because I feel as if I have been brought back to life after a 12-day siege with the flu, I have been thinking a lot about Lazarus.  It’s such a deep and wonderful Gospel with Jesus standing at the end of the tomb, peering into the darkness and calling us back to life: “Lazarus, Come out!”

It’s that kind of summoning back to life, the invitation to unbind ourselves from the things that tie us up that gives such power to our relationship with God.  Lent is a time of becoming aware of how much God longs for a deeper relationship with us, one where we realize that God is not in our minds, but deeply settled in our hearts, just waiting for us to notice.  It’s a gift of faith that I deeply wish for those I love the most.

My dad, who died about 9 years ago, was always terrified of death.  He actually dwelled on it a lot, but it was often in kind of a maudlin way and it was clear he was afraid of it.

Now, when I think back on his life, I can also see that he was raised to be terrified of God.  He knew that at the end, he was going to be punished for his bad life.

My dad was a hard man in many ways but finally, toward end of his life, I had the grace to see him with new eyes, maybe looking at him as Jesus does. He had lived a good life, raised six children and did his best. In his faith life, he never missed Mass. He read a number of Catholic magazines and lots of books and in retirement often had long conversations with his pastor about Church issues, Church politics, and reform.

But perhaps he could never move his relationship with God from his head to his heart.  It was rare for him to talk about his relationship with God, but when he did, it was clearly one of fear with God as a judge.  It didn’t seem to be a warm relationship but more cautious and leery.

He never had the sense that at the end, he would be falling into the arms of a loving God.

He didn’t know he would hear Jesus saying, “Cletus, come out!”

Maureen McCann Waldron
Maureen McCann Waldron
Maureen McCann Waldron graduated from Creighton University with a degree in journalism and then spent 22 years in corporate public relations. After receiving her master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton, she joined Andy Alexander, SJ, in Creighton’s Collaborative Ministry Office.


  1. Thank you for this – I needed to read it.
    In my case I think it is me that needs to remember a merciful loving and forgiving God.

  2. WE were taught to Fear the Lord. When I became an adult I took the word FEAR to mean not actually to FEAR as being afraid but it to mean to be respectful. In the old Testament there was so much about being punished by God, it just didn’t seem to me that it could be so. Jesus, was not someone to FEAR but told us to love one another and to forgive. It is hard sometimes to believe some of those passages in the OLD Testament. God help me ,maybe I will be punished for that//

  3. Maureen, it was startling to see the name Cletus, as that was my father’s name. He died 23 years ago this Easter Sunday! I believe his story might be very similar to your father’s as well! What a good and loving Father who loves our fathers!

  4. Thanks Maureen for sharing your Dad’s story. I think your dad and mine went to the same catechism classes, though 12,000 miles away from each other. I was in the USA when my father passed away in India. Before I left for the USA I was able to spend a month with him. As a Jesuit priest I was able to see the deep spirituality and intimacy with God that had sustained him through a very difficult life. I came to admire and love him all the more.
    Lenten Blessings
    Donald Miranda, SJ (Bihar, India)

  5. Thank you. What a beautiful sharing. From the “old school” he and many others were taught about “fearing God,” and that never left him. I’m sure he got the biggest surprise of his life when Jesus was waiting for him! Sounds like he did an excellent job and the job here on earth he was given to do.
    God Bless,

    • Bob, Thanks. He was a good man and I love to think of the wonderful surprise he got when he was so warmly received into the arms of a loving God.


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