Monday, September 17, 2018

Do Whatever You Can and it Will be Blessed

When I was homeschooling our kids, our oldest daughter and I listened to the Diane Rehm show on National Public Radio most days, during lunch.  She always had interesting guests and intelligent discussions, so it became part of our routine.

One day, in an effort to encourage the idea that our daughter could do anything she put her mind to, I said, in referencing the radio show, “I could do that!”
“You could!” she said, and the saga began.

So I called our local FM radio station, which led to a call to a local AM station and a conversation with the programming director.  All the while knowing this sort of thing doesn’t really work, I kept moving forward with the idea to show her how you do things and the importance of trying.

Before you knew it, I had a one hour radio show of my own called Faithworks with Janet Cassidy on the local AM station.

I guess I showed her.

Anyway, my show lasted a little over a year until I decided to leave it so I could spend more time with our growing family.  As I look back on that time, I must say, I absolutely loved working in radio.  Why?  Because I have a curious mind, and if there was anything I wanted to learn more about, I would just invite someone on to talk about it. I also liked the fact that doing live interviews did not require any editing!  

It is interesting to me, when I look back over the years, that God always seemed to open doors for me, even if I did not have the experience or education for the work I was doing. I did not realize this until I got a little older and it became apparent through conversations with other people.

For instance—and this is only one example of many—when I was working on my bachelor’s degree, I was writing for the Catholic Times.  The chairman of our religion department scratched his head when he learned that I had never taken a journalism class. I can still hear him saying, “How is it you can write for a paper?” I just shrugged an “I don’t know,” but now I do.

The point to this is not to lay out my autobiography, but to give testimony to the fact that we should trust in possibilities.  I believe God really wants each of us to use our gifts in a way that glorifies him and raises awareness of what salvation is all about.  He will work out the details as to how to make that happen.

Whatever it is you can do, do it in the name of Jesus, and it will surely be blessed.

To start considering YOUR own gifts, you may want to check out frequently asked questions at Called and Gifted or contact Bert (517-342-2521) at the Diocese of Lansing.  Then keep digging!

Janet Cassidy

Friday, September 14, 2018

Conversations in Faith--The Girl at the Door

Oh, the name game.  It drives me crazy.  It is so hard sometimes to sort through the tangled lines in my brain and come up with someone’s name that I should know.  I reach for the name as it floats around, elusively.  I really don’t think it is a memory thing, but the fact that my head is so full of stuff.

Years ago I was sitting in a math class and one of my peers could be heard commenting, “I don’t keep anything in my head that I am not going to need in the next few minutes.”

I think she spoke into the future as her philosophy has never been more fitting than it is today.  Why do I need to keep everything in my head when I can look it up?  Oh, and look it up I do.  It is a sickness really.  At my fingertips is the answer to every question that enters my head, not that I retain it for very long, once I get it.  

Want to know why our ears have to be so big and why they can’t just lay flatter against our heads?

Want to know whether that person on television is married or has a family?

Or the definition of swill bucket?

Yes, I am a questioner.  On our family trips, I am sure I drove my mother crazy with all my questions about farming.  Sometimes, I imagine hearing my husband sigh when he looks at me and says, “I really don’t know.”  (I am rightfully shocked as I truly believe that somehow he has the answers to all my questions.)

But having a curious mind is good, right?  You understand me, don’t you?  Okay, maybe your questions are more profound than mine, but we are kindred spirits in this, right?

You know what is really good to inquire about?  Your faith.  Find out what your church believes and why, if you don’t already know.  Dig deep, ask the hard questions, and don’t be afraid of the answers. 

I had a young girl come to my door one day, asking me to buy her religion textbooks to help her get into her dream (religious) college.  I tried to warn her, I really, did.  I told her I was pretty steeped in curriculum and really did not need more books.  To her own peril, she just couldn’t stop.  In my defense, I will say it once again, I did try to warn her.

So I asked her to tell me her story.  How did she come to know Jesus?  She said she was in her apartment at school, at a time when she was going through a terrible time and someone knocked on the door.  It was a person from this church she was involved in now.  As my curiosity peaked with genuine interest and, admittedly an evangelizing bent, we continued our conversation.  I asked so many questions, and kept her so long at my front door (unintentionally), that I saw the pick-up car for her driving slowly by.

After going a few times around the block, they eventually parked and came up to save her, I suppose.  We then continued the conversation until they both told me that they had to leave—kind of an odd twist to door evangelization visits.

Anyway, I did not end up buying any of her books. But I was able to spend some time with this nice young girl, hopefully leading her to delve deeper into her own faith so that she could really contemplate her faith-filled journey.  We talked about how God might start us in one place, only to lead us to another and the importance of being open to that.

But, even more strange, is that at the time of our conversation at the door, unbeknownst to me, we had a service technician listening from the kitchen, as he was finishing up talking with my husband.

When I finished at the door, he said his wife had just bought a bunch of books from them, and then we had another conversation about church, something he didn’t really “do” at the time, but had lots of questions about.

So, I guess having an inquisitive mind might not be so bad after all.  It leads to a lot of interesting conversations, from which I can learn a lot.

Now, if only I could remember what I learn.  That would really be something.

God bless,
Janet Cassidy

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Covenants & Contracts, Grace & Sacraments

Several years ago I was on television for a segment that highlighted an event I was promoting.  It was a very short segment at noon, but it was memorable to me.

An associate priest and myself were being interviewed by the local news anchor.  The thing I remember most was how hot it was under the glaring lights, as well as how “fake” it seemed.

Honestly, I do not know how those television people do it day in and day out without looking like their skin is melting.  I now know why sometimes I see them wearing sleeveless tops in the middle of winter!

When I was relating my experience to one of my brothers afterward, he acknowledged that he had heard that it seems fake when you are on a set like that.  He sure was right.

By fake, I mean, you are greeting people on-screen as if it is the first time you are meeting with them, when just prior to their “Good afternoon” you have already had a conversation with them.  It was a lot of fun, though, I must say.

Anyway, the other thing I remember most about that day was going out to lunch with our associate priest.  We were both hungry, so we settled into a local restaurant for a light conversation.  As a sort-of young wife and mother, I mentioned to him the priority I had for my children.  

“My children are most important, my focus,” I said, to which he replied,
“and . . . your husband.”  

“Well, of course,” I nodded in agreement, but in that instant, he casually shined a spotlight on a perspective I needed to reflect on.  You see, when you are busy raising kids, it is too easy to make them your priority, even over your spouse. I’m not sure I ever did that, but I think it is a danger.  Maybe it is because kids demand more time and attention than a spouse does, or so it may seem.  I think that was his point.

Spouses must come first.  Even before the children.  As my mother used to say, “Someday the kids will grow up and move out.”  (I can hear some of you with adult children still at home laughing at this moment, thinking, “Really? When does that happen exactly?”)

But the truth is, the *Sacrament of Matrimony is a covenant we make with our spouse before God.  As you may know, covenants are not the same as contracts.  Whereas contracts can be broken when one party walks away, a covenant cannot.  Lucky for us, our covenant with God stands strong, even when we forget about him, he does not forget about us.

But I digress.

It’s funny how conversations like that one with our associate can stick with you for years, when wisdom is spoken with such clarity.  Sometimes God speaks into situations, leaving us profoundly grateful and often surprised.  

For more information about sacraments, Catholic annulments or grace, check out the websites below.  I think you may find them helpful and informative.

Janet Cassidy

*Sacraments in the Catholic Church are a visible sign of grace at work in one’s life.  Sacraments are “instituted by Christ” and make us holy.  

Read more about the Sacrament of Matrimony

Read more about annulments

Read more about grace