Wednesday, December 12, 2018

My Coat Dilemma

Kind of an odd thing . . . every day when I pull my winter coat out of our front closet, the hanger falls on the floor.  Now you would think that after doing this countless times, I would develop the habit of grabbing hold of the hanger and catching it before it falls, forcing me to bend over to pick it up.

I’m just sayin’.

But before you judge me, think about this.

Do you have a habit that you have allowed to continue that you know you should get a handle on?  Is there something in your life that you do ritually every day, that doesn’t make sense?  

Uh huh, I thought so.

While my little coat hanger problem doesn’t impact my health negatively (it maybe actually be helping me because I have to bend over), that is not true for other habits that we develop.

So what are we going to do about our problem?  Can I be retrained to grab my hanger to prevent it from dropping to the floor whenever I grab my coat?  Sure, if I stop doing it mindlessly.  And therein lies the problem.

So much of what we do, we do on autopilot.  For instance, driving can become dangerous if we do it automatically.  Eating can become unhealthy if we are not careful.  And even binge-watching our favorite show can turn into the sin of laziness.

But there’s another place we often function on auto pilot—our faith.  Spiritual apathy can be our undoing; it may be just as dangerous—or maybe even more so—than those other daily rituals we perform without thinking.

If we move through life uncommitted or not believing in the necessity of faith, we are placing ourselves in quite a precarious position.  Let’s look at the importance of baptism, for instance.

Why do we need baptism?  What does it actually do for us?

Well, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is the compendium of the Church’s teaching on faith and morals), baptism is the “basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to other sacraments.”

This isn’t some nice ritual that the Church made up in order to force people to become Christian.  It is pre-figured in the Old Testament and actually instituted by Jesus himself in the New Testament.

That is why it does not make sense for someone to believe in God and yet be unwilling to be baptized, or have their children baptized—if they consider themselves Christian.

Baptism is the path to eternal life with God, something that we can hope for.  When holy water is poured over the unbaptized, there are a few things to consider:

  • Water can be deadly or life-giving
  •  In baptism, we “die” to our old self and take on our new “life” in Christ
  • We are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  • We receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are active in us our entire life
  • We are given God’s grace as “all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.” (*CCC1263)
And the last thing I want to mention about baptism also comes from the Catechism whose clear and concise statements add clarity:

“Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal.”  (CCC1262)

You see, baptism is not simply about “joining” a church, but it is a saving act of God.  If you believe in God, why would you reject his gift?

If you have had a falling out with the Church, or if someone has said or done something that offended you, please do not let that prevent you from re-establishing your foundation in Christ in his church.

If you are new to this faith thing, it is easy to get started.  Just make a phone call to the church you are interested in and let them show you the steps to take.  You will never regret it.

Like my coat dilemma where I mindlessly reach for my coat and drop the hanger, mindlessly moving through life believing in God but allowing your faith to drop simply does not make any sense at all.

(Be sure to click on links inserted in this blog for further information or additional resources.) 

*CCC 1263 refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its paragraph number

God bless,
Janet Cassidy

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Thank you!

Thank you to those of you who were able to join me for my Advent talk last night at Holy Redeemer Church!

We had a fun night talking about how to prepare for Christmas without getting caught up in the buzz around us that too often stresses us out and leaves us exhausted by December 25th.

If you are one of those who have said to yourself (or others!) "I can't wait for Christmas to be over!" you may be "guilty" of skipping over these four weeks of Advent that offer us a time to quiet ourselves and focus on God.

One of the things we talked about last night was the fear that can come over us at this time of year as we struggle with our gift-giving.  Is my gift too cheap?  To expensive?  Wanted or needed? 

One of the highlights of the night was the question, "How can Christmas disappoint?"

When you think about it, everything pales in comparison to the coming of the Savior of the world, so it is literally impossible for Christmas to disappoint us, yet, that is something so many of us fear.

Will my children be disappointed?  What should I get for my boss?  What can I give the person who has everything?  (Maybe we should consider the gift of time, wrapped up in a nice visit.  Why can't that be enough?)

As we talked about Advent, we talked about how much more aware we become of the swirling around us when we step away from the craziness and begin to put everything into perspective.

Re-shaping family traditions and shifting our thoughts away from what Christmas has become and what it should be, can be a good start.

What do you expect your Christmas to look like?

As my understanding of Advent grew, so did our newly created traditions.  If you would like to know more about them, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment below. (As you begin planning for 2019, if you would like me to speak to your group or organization, please feel free to email me directly at

I hope you take time to enjoy this beautiful season of Advent so that you are READY, JOYFUL and EXCITED to BEGIN the celebration of the Christmas season on December 25th!

God bless,
Janet Cassidy

Monday, December 10, 2018

What Will Christmas Look Like in YOUR House?

What are you expecting your Christmas to look like? 

Please join me at Holy Redeemer Church (1227 E Bristol RdBurton, MI · (810) 742-9466) TONIGHT for my Advent talk.  I will share with you how embracing Advent can re-shape your Christmas celebration, allowing you to arrive on Christmas morning EXCITED and JOYFUL!

The talk begins at 6:30 p.m.  On the grounds of Holy Redeemer, we will meet in their hall.  The hall is at the opposite end of the parking lot from where the church sits.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

God bless,
Janet Cassidy