by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
Recently, Mike Scherschligt devoted one of his Holy Family School of Faith daily rosary meditations to the spirituality and example of Blessed Solanus Casey, a Capuchin Franciscan friar who lived from 1870-1957.
Solanus Casey was ordained a priest but given very restricted faculties (not allowed to preach or hear confessions) because of the judgment by his religious superiors of his limited intellectual ability. Father Solanus served as a porter (door keeper) for the friaries where he was assigned.
People came to the friaries with many problems and prayer requests. Father Solanus always received visitors with great respect and compassion. He promised to pray for their intentions but also urged them to thank God ahead of time.
There are many miracles attributed to the prayers of Father Solanus. Blessed Solanus Casey was convinced that God hears and answers every prayer, but not always with the immediate outcome that we hoped and desired.
St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans counsels: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God ” (8:28). His confidence that God makes all things work for the good for those who love him was the reason why Blessed Solanus encouraged visitors of the friary to thank God ahead of time. We need not wait to see how God answers our prayer, if we believe that God is always orchestrating events for our good.
It is amazing how many miracles (physical, emotional and spiritual healings) are attributed to the intercession of Blessed Solanus.
However, whether the specific prayer request was granted or not, people who heeded Father Solanus’ encouragement to entrust their burdens to God, confident in Our Lord’s love for them, received an incredible peace.
If “all things work for good for those who love God,” then no matter what happens we will have the peace that comes from trusting in God’s protective and caring love. Even when we do not receive what we hoped for, we will experience the serenity that comes from trusting that God desires to work some greater good from what appears to us to be an adversity.
Jesus provides us with a great example of confident trust in our heavenly Father with his institution of the Eucharist on Holy Thursday night, the eve of his passion and death. Jesus gave thanks to the Father, even though he was keenly aware of the great suffering that was imminent. From his passion and crucifixion, God drew forth the greatest good — our redemption from sin and death.
As we enter into our culture’s great time of Thanksgiving, let us recall all of God’s blessings in our lives, all of the miracles of his grace that we have already experienced.
However, at the same time let us entrust to God all of our personal worries and needs, all of our concerns for family and friends, all of our anxieties over the problems and struggles in our nation and world. Let us thank God ahead of time, confident that he hears our prayer and that he makes all things work for the good for those who love him.
In his Letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, St. Paul poses the questions: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not give us everything else along with him? What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?” (8: 31-32, 35).
This Thanksgiving, let us thank God in advance!