Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Why was I created?

Sometimes when I have time to myself and can really get into prayer, I start on one thing and then I am led down a road and end up someplace entirely different from where I started.  That happened to me the other night.

I was praying for a grace.  In the spirit of St. Ignatius, I asked God what grace he thought I needed.  To my surprise, he responded that I need to pray for patience.  Now this is very interesting because, for the most part, I am quite a patient person.  I simply did not see how that was what I needed to pray for, but who am I to argue with God? 

Anyway, this led me down a strange road to contemplate conception.  Don't ask me how I got there, I have no idea, but, it certainly led me to contemplate why I got here!  

Isn't it amazing that in the blink of an eye, God created us through two other human beings whom he brought together?  You might think it happens coincidentally, by luck, but that is not the case.

You and I are here because God created us, and in just a split second, he made it happen.  Of course, in the snap of a finger, I could just as easily not be here.  I know that is a frightening thought to some of you ;-)

Anyway, all of this leaves us with the age old question, "Why did God create me?"  That is a very deep question, the answer to which will lead us to the conclusion that God created us for more than work and busyness.  There has to be more to life, right?

Also amazing to me is that God allows us to share in his work of creation by procreating. People, make more people, through the hand of God.  Awesome, right?

Each of us can wrestle with that big question about why God created us as an individual, and the best place to begin is with love.  God, who is love, created us out of love, to love. We are not his puppets; he has not abandoned us; he continues to call us closer to him every day.  He is intimately connected to us.

I'll leave the rest for you to think about in terms of your own life, but be sure to begin there, with love. Just remember, you were intentionally created, in a moment in time, for a purpose.  If you have not yet figured out why, don't worry, it will be revealed to you if you ask the one who created you!

Of course, now that you and I have been created and are hopefully maturing in our faith, we can face life with great expectation, for the God who created us always knows what he is doing!

Let's be thankful for life this Thanksgiving (and continue to pray for the unborn).  May you be free from sickness and loneliness and have all that you need.

I welcome your thoughts.

Janet Cassidy



Thursday, November 17, 2022

Pizza, pizza, pizza!



                                                                                          Sicily Pizzeria, Flint, Michigan                                         

Most days I drive past a favorite pizza place of ours that went out of business during the pandemic.  It had those nice little "cupped" pepperonis on a thin crust, and it came wrapped in paper, the way we used to get pizzas when we were kids.  There's something about ripping open that paper and watching the steam rise, carrying a wonderful smell with it.  It was an experience.  Opening a box like we do today doesn't even come close.  

I keep hoping against hope that it will come back.  

I always wondered how this little hole-in-the-wall pizzeria could pass a health inspection, but apparently it did for almost 60 years!  You see, to pick up your order, you had to walk in the backdoor and down a tiny little hallway past the kitchen.  You could actually see the guy working in the kitchen around a big, old, pizza oven as you walked past the open doorway.

I often wonder if something happened to him, or if he just got tired of making pizza, but his pizza was the best!

When we first moved into our community, there was a huge piece of land known as "deer park."  By the time we moved in, most of the deer were quite scraggly and decidedly unhealthy.  I used to like to park near the woods where the deer roamed as it was a little piece of woodsy heaven in the center of the city.

Today, the deer are gone, as well as the woods, replaced by some grocery stores and lots of parking.  It reminds me of the old Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi:

Don't it always seem to goThat you don't know what you got 'til it's goneThey paved paradise put up a parking lot
Interestingly, at the time I did have a sense of what we were losing.  I did feel sorry for the deer, but I knew our community would be changing forever--which it has (and continues to do.)  I remember driving by the corner where the huge dealership now sits, seeing a little girl playing in her scant backyard.  Today, there is no evidence of her existence.

It's not just our community, I know.  Our drive out to see our grandparents in the country when I was a kid took us by a big, old, stone house, which I always thought was neat.  Today, more grocery stores and parking lots.  By the way, the fields are gone, too.

I guess my point to this little trip down memory lane is to remind you just how meaningful ordinary memories can be.  Cherish them.  Each and every one of them.  Work through the not-so-good ones and make new ones to replace them, thanking God for the opportunity to do so.

Janet Cassidy


Monday, November 14, 2022

Living Large

I was very uplifted by the love and condolences poured out by so many on the occasion of the passing of Father Bill Wegher.

It occurred to me that he was one of those people that everyone claimed as a friend and spiritual guide.  Some people were inspired by his teaching, others by his humor, and still others by his love of nature.  Just when you thought you knew him, a new story would pop up that revealed how multi-faceted his life was.

I've always thought that the people who attend your funeral are a reflection of the wideness of your reach, of your life, of your love.  I sat in the back of the crowded church and happened to look down the side aisle in front of me.  In that little space I saw two walkers leaning against the brick wall, a young man, and a few older ladies.  I saw a priest in tears over his casket, friends sharing nervous laughter, and a huge turnout of his brother priests and deacons.

Clearly, he lived and served in a wide circle, one that did not have limits.  I remember him telling me one time when he was serving on a college campus, he had some guy stop him in a parking garage and ask him to hear his confession.  There weren't really any boundaries to his priesthood.  He certainly did not limit himself to within the walls of a church.  Nor did he limit himself to Catholicism.  He had a very ecumenical heart and, although wholeheartedly devoted to his priesthood, he recognized God working in others outside the Church.

I only mention this because I hope that you, too, find a way to live large.  I'm not talking about living recklessly, but living free of criticism, rigidity, unencumbered by preconceived ideas about what life as a Christian should look like.  I am hoping that you do not try to force your way of practicing your faith on others, restricting or burdening them by your ways.

We just have one job, and that is to love others.  That can be hard enough.  Leave the rest to God.   In doing so, you will find true freedom.

Janet Cassidy