Thursday, September 19, 2019

Pardon Me

I was reading about the pardoning of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36 +) recently. 

Are you familiar with it?

This story attributed to Jesus is so applicable to us today. Jesus describes a situation where there are two people who were in debt; one owed $500 and the other $50. The creditor to whom they were indebted forgave both of their debts; then Jesus asked Simon a question:

“Which of them will love him [the creditor] more?”  Meaning, “Which will be most grateful?” 

Simon responds, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven” and Jesus tells him, “You have judged rightly.”

How is this story meaningful for us today?

Well, don’t think of it as a story about paying a financial debt, but a story that refers to the degree of gratitude one has for a kindness extended.

In our case, in particular, it raises the question, “How grateful am I that Jesus died so that my sins can be forgiven?”

If you do not realize that you sin, it is very likely that you are not especially grateful, but if you have considerable self-awareness and recognize your sins, it will change your life.

Have you ever done anything that you know you shouldn’t have?  Maybe treated someone badly, or criticized or insulted someone?  Have you ever intentionally acted in a way you knew you shouldn’t?

In this story, Jesus points out that the Pharisee who invited him to eat with him didn’t even provide water for his feet (those roads Jesus walked were probably very dusty!), but the sinful woman bathed his feet with her tears, kissed them, and anointed them with ointment.

In other words, she showed great love and her great sins were forgiven. He told her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

That’s something we would all love to hear!

But, she would have missed that altogether had she not come to Jesus in humility.  Think about it.  If she wasn’t aware of her need for forgiveness and if she had just continued on in her life, doing the same things she had always done, she would have missed a tremendous opportunity.

When Jesus died on the cross, he bore our sins. They were offered up to the Father in his personal sacrifice.  

Our sins are redeemed by his great love.

Are you the Pharisee or the sinful woman?  Keep that in mind as you ask yourself, “How grateful am I?” or, maybe more importantly, “How grateful might I become?”

Janet Cassidy

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Living without Regret and Guilt

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your warm comments, expressions of love, and condolences on the passing of our mom. Our whole family was really lifted up this weekend by your prayers, support and visits. 

Don’t ever think the online condolences just disappear and nobody reads them, because we do. They are very comforting.

I have a few takeaways that I would like to share with you, as I try to get back into my writing.

One day I was sitting with my mom at the nursing home and the head of dietary was standing there talking to us about her mom who had passed years before. She said she still thinks, “I have to tell my mom . . .” until she remembers she is gone.

Moms are carried in our hearts and minds forever. It is good for us to continue conversing with them. I’ve already started talking to my mom, and I am really comforted when I do.

I know we often apply sainthood to those who have passed, but something I have come to realize is how truly selfless my mom was.  What a beautiful character trait.

Probably the reason I never realized it, was because we were both so focused on ME!  

Even after my dad died at 38, she never missed a beat, as far as I can remember. I really don’t recall her ever feeling sorry for herself or turning inward.  She never sought attention.  How did I not notice that before?

It has occurred to me that although the tears come uninvited and spontaneously now (like standing in the grocery store parking lot!), it is so very helpful to be able to live without regret or guilt. 

It was a prompting from God that helped me to be able to finally focus on our mom, and throughout her illness I was acutely aware that our only job was to “pour love out on her.”  This can look different for everyone, but I learned the importance of putting other things aside, whenever possible, and putting her first.  

God takes what we think of as sacrifice and transforms it, and us, into his gift. A gift for our loved one and a gift for ourselves. He knows something about this!

I have learned a lot that will eventually come to the surface, I am sure, but for now I hope that some of these things that I am just now realizing will help you when you have the privilege to walk with someone on their way to eternal life. Don’t ever miss the opportunity to do so.

--Love freely, without holding back

--Notice, really notice the beauty in others, while they are with you

--With total dependence on God you can do what you think you can’t


--Try to live so that regret and guilt will not become your companions

If you act on the knowledge that God is with you and divine grace is sustaining you, regret and guilt will not become a problem.

If time has passed and you are burdened by either of them, do for others what you wish you would have done for your loved one and offer it up in their name. 

God will bless it.

There is still a great need for us to “pour love out” on others, so let’s get moving!

(Please feel free to share your own experiences here, for the benefit of others.)

God bless,
Janet Cassidy

Friday, September 13, 2019

Rest in Peace, Mom

Hi Everyone!

Thank you for following my writing and podcasts.

Today I have something else to write about. My mom, Vera Hale, passed away Thursday morning, September 12th after a long battle with advanced COPD. She was able to join in many activities and truly enjoyed her family, right up to the very end. She was a loving, fun, faith-filled mom who continued to teach me so much!

God blessed me with the opportunity to spend time with her nearly every day for the past 7 months. Trust me when I say it is important to follow God's promptings! What a gift it is to accompany a loved one on this journey. If you ever have the opportunity to do so, do not be afraid of what it entails, because it is truly God's gift.

We had many days where we were able to pray together and she loved listening to scripture. We laughed and cried and frustrated each other throughout this time! From this experience I became more dependent on God as I learned to listen and follow the Holy Spirit and just let go when necessary.

This time with Mom provided me with life and faith lessons that will take me a long time to unpack. I am deeply and profoundly changed.

I am feeling so grateful to my family for their patience with me and support throughout this time and I truly am one of the lucky ones to have three incredible brothers with whom I shared this journey. A team in every aspect of the word, we were able to stay connected as we jointly watched over Mom. God is so good!

And let me tell you one of the most beautiful things about this is the ability for Mom to receive the sacraments, both Holy Communion and the Sacrament of the Sick. Through this sacrament she was anointed many times (please don't wait if you have a loved one in need of this!) and she received it the night before she died as well.

I have taught for years the importance of walking the journey with others (rather than rushing through it with Euthanasia) and now I can testify personally to its blessings.

Many of you who know Mom and have been praying for her and us. I am so grateful for your support and want to thank you from the heart for your continuously support.

Eternal rest, grant unto Mom/Vera O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace. Amen.

May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.