Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Fact of Life

It's a fact of life:  good trees bear good fruit and rotten trees bear bad fruit.  If you want to know if a tree is good or bad, just look at its fruit.

In the language of scripture, Jesus was warning his disciples, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15-20)

Good things would not come from false prophets.  False prophets could deceive people.  They could dress up bad things and fool people into thinking they are good.  This happens all the time today.  It certainly isn't limited to the time of Christ. (Don't even get me started on the pro-abortion arguments which fool some people and are extremely deceptive and dangerous.)

Can you name three things you thought were good but turned out to be deceptive?  I'll bet most of us can.  In fact, sometimes we can talk ourselves into thinking something is good as rationale for our behavior.  It can be a horrifying self-discovery.

In situations where I justify my actions by my intentions, rather than the reality of the action, I can discover a genuine appreciation for God.  I can discover that even in my worst moments, God protects me and forgives me when I confess to him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Talk about life-giving!  Thank you God for saving me!

Without examining myself and coming to terms with who I am, how could I ever know the mercy of God?  Everyone talks about the person who is mean, or the work gossip.  But what if after an honest self-examination I discover I am that person?  What if I am the wolf? How alarming would that be? 

If I think I am "all that and a box of chocolates," I will not recognize my need for a savior. 

Makes sense, doesn't it?

Most of us manage to justify what we do, even though our rationale might be skewed. That is exactly what Jesus was warning us about.  How often do you pretend something is okay when you know deep down it is not?  (Think - pre-marital sex, immodest dress, skipping Mass, holding a grudge, "borrowing" time or things from work, etc., etc.)

The truth is, with the help of God (which we all need), we can, and should, strive for change.  We can do better.  We want to be a genuine sheep.

When Jesus speaks of fruit, he is talking about what comes out of us, what is produced by us. What are we putting into the world, what are we saying to others, when we are promiscuous, or ill-tempered, or unfaithful to God or others?  What does our behavior produce through these things?  Is your tree producing good fruits?

While we must be careful not to deceive ourselves, we must also be careful not to deceive others.  And furthermore, we must be careful not to let others deceive us.  We have been warned. Watch out for those wolves in sheep's clothing, and cling to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Janet Cassidy

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

What Scares You?

Some people are afraid of heights.  Others can't handle going up or down steps that have an open back.  I don't have either of those problems, but I do remember going down a very long stairway one time and after a lot of steps, I felt like I was going to freeze as I neared the bottom.  I think it's a visual thing.  After you have been looking down so long, it seems like your brain and your feet get out of sync.

Anyway, I read in the Gospel of Matthew today about the narrow gate.  I've never heard of anyone being afraid of gates like they are stairs, but the gate in Matthew 7, verse 12, is something that does make me a little nervous.

It goes like this:

“Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.”

Boy does that make me shiver!  Today, we easily understand this as a description of the path to heaven.  The question is always, "Exactly just how narrow is that gate?"

While I don't have the answer to that question, it is definitely worthy of our individual reflection as we examine our behavior, our attitudes, and even our life.

With any self-examination, it is good to keep in mind that we have a loving and merciful God.  But, that does not mean that we can live recklessly as if he doesn't exist, as if we will not face judgment one day. No doubt each of us wants to be on that road that leads to life.  

Socrates is quoted as saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living."  

Take a few minutes today and ponder the narrow gate and the broad road.  Examine your life. Consider where you are and where you want to be, and then ask God to show you the changes you need to make in your life so that you can be among the few on the road to life.

Janet Cassidy


Sunday, June 19, 2022

My Husband's Special Father's Day Gift

I've decided to give my wonderful husband an amazing Father's Day gift this year, but more about that in a minute.

I do want to put out there a Happy Father's Day!  It is wonderful that we have a day set aside to honor fathers, who play such an important role in the family.  Fathers help form their children.  They set examples of how to be faith-filled men.  The list goes on and on!

But one thing that isn't typically mentioned that fathers do that is so important, is they teach their children how to treat their mom.  Children learn about respect from observing their father's treatment of the primary woman in their life.

I know that not all father's do this, and that is really unfortunate, so I'll just move on.  I had a wonderful father, but he died of a heart attack when I was eight.  Fortunately, my three older brothers absolutely shined in his place as protector and defender of my mom and me.  Because of our situation, I always like to call to mind fathers who have gone before us.  They gave us life, something we should always treasure.

That brings me to the gift for my amazing husband.  Today, for one day only, I did not rant to him over the breakfast table about something I read.  You see--as you might imagine--I can get a little stirred up by the news.  Well, today, YOU get to read my rant so he doesn't have to listen to it (something he often, patiently does.)

So to him, I say, you're welcome. Happy Father's Day.

So here goes . . .

I was sickened to read that TODAYParents decided to celebrate Father's Day by highlighting eight dads who claim to be better dads because of abortion.  Basking in the glory of abortion, they continue to tout twisted claims such as, "I wouldn't be a father without abortion."  Huh?

One even tells the story of being arrested on charges of resisting arrest and misdemeanor assault after drinking too much and being obnoxious.  His wife decided unilaterally to have an abortion because she didn't know if she wanted to stay with him.

He put it this way:

"But I was very lucky. The abortion gave me the time and space to get myself regulated. And it allowed us to take the time we needed to heal our relationship and our family. Since then, we've added another member to our family. Now, we can parent the children we have with the focus and clarity they deserve."

So because he partied too much and his wife was afraid, a baby had to die.

Me, me, me.  That's the way it goes today.  Try to turn an evil into a good through bad logic.  Why are unborn babies never given any consideration?  

Oh this mom and dad, apparently afraid for the life they would give their child due to the father's inadequacies, and the mother's fears, decided it would be better for their child to not even be given the opportunity to live.

Note to future parents - just because your life is messed up, or your circumstances are not perfect, at least give your unborn baby a chance.

Bear with me for one last point, please.

"Peter from Massachusetts explained that he had two abortions, one with a previous partner and one with his current wife. Of the first, he claimed, 'I also would not have found my wife and be the more emotionally mature father that I am to my child,' and of the second, he claimed, 'The foreseeable  exhaustion and resentment and discord that would have come with a second child we weren’t ready for would have come at the detriment to not only me and my wife, but my existing child as well.'"

I guess Peter has a crystal ball.  But if he were to look closer, he would have realized that it isn't actually uncommon for parents to mature with their children!  Furthermore, exhaustion and a little bit of chaos comes with all parenting!

So many lives taken under the guise of concern for them.  It just doesn't make sense.

It is good for us to revisit 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

"For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths."

 If only we would start paying attention to God instead of our own, twisted logic.

(Now you see why this was a gift to my husband.  Can you imagine listening to this over breakfast?)

Janet Cassidy