New Year Thanks – 2018

Thank God Ahead of Time

This past November 18, over 71,000 people attended the Beautification of Fr. Solanus Casey, who was a Capuchin Franciscan, at Ford Field in Detroit.  But the attendance far exceeded that.  For this meek and “holy priest” had touched the lives of so many in the Detroit   area.  Each of these could share their own story of how his prayers brought about miracles in their lives.  Each of whom attended in spirit with  hearts of thanks.

Fr. Solanus Casey was the porter, who stood at the door of St Bonaventure Monastery on Mt Elliot St. in Detroit.  During his ministry, 150 to 200 people a day would seek his healing, advice or simply his blessing, which many considered instrumental in their cure.  He would respond with his typical simple wisdom, “Thank God Ahead of Time!”  His spiritual counsel was “to not let sadness and worry frustrate the designs of the God of mercy.  Instead, they should thank God now for the good He will certainly do for them in the future.”  During the Great Depression the city’s poorest and hungriest came to be fed.  At times the line grew to more than 2,000 waiting for their first meal of the day.  Even then, Fr. Solanus never lost faith in the goodness of God to meet their needs, and so God did!  He died on July 31, 1957.

My own ‘Thanks’ began with my volunteering at the soup kitchen at St Bonaventure.  The Capuchin Order’s charism is to minister to the poor, the imprisoned, the sick and those in most need.  (Yes, they live the Acts of Mercy.)  As I served those in need at their soup kitchen, and assisted with the children’s summer program, and received my spiritual direction from one of the Capuchin Priests, I could always feel the holy presence of Fr. Solanus.  Even today, I keep a relic of Fr. Solanus Casey’s Capuchin hood(vestment) on me, and “Thank God Ahead of Time!”  This was the parting advice he gave to his visitors.  For them to still their hearts and to allow the sincere thanks to blossom forth for what God has and will do in their lives.

In the wisdom of our Catholic faith, the beautification of Fr. Solanus Casey is meant to be a profound revelation in our lives.  It is our personal revelation that ‘God is with us.’  That through Blessed Solanus, in a very profound and holy way, he allowed the Light of Christ to burn so brilliantly.  And there are a great multitude of followers that also follow in Christ’s footsteps on this journey to holiness.  We are all on this journey, asked to renew our vows to serve Him, to bring light into this darkness, and to care with an open heart.

Why?  As Blessed Solanus reminds us, “God made me to know Him.  Oh, what a blessed day.  God bless you all.”

My experience of caring with an open heart has in many ways made an outstanding journey in my life.  In the way that I thank God for my family.  In the way that I thank Him for the blessings of love shown in the lives of my children and relatives.  In the way that I thank Him for my visits to His children in need.  In the way that I thank God in my prayers of gratitude, by which I unite myself to Him.  In the way that I thank Him for his gift that “God made me to know Him.  Oh, what a blessed day.”

We begin this new year with endless possibilities, for all things are possible with God.  Imagine the difference we could make.  We could reach out to estranged members of our family.  We could refocus our children’s attention toward caring projects.  We could offer support in building up our church family with overflowing joy.  We could prevent the cold of winter from damping needy hearts.  We could be that positive reflection in our times.  We could be the Light of Christ, burning so brilliantly, as a Blessed one of God.

And why not?

Imagine us showing a constant posture of gratitude.

Oh, what a Blessed day!

Imagine us acknowledging that God made us to know his presence in our lives.

Oh, what a Blessed New day!

Imagine us starting each day by giving “Thanks to God ahead of time!”

OH, what a Blessed NEW YEAR!

Indeed, God blesses us all the time.  Let us give Thanks to the Lord our God.

Deacon Eric Sorensen

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.