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Thank God Ahead of Time: A Lesson from Solanus Casey

“Thank God ahead of time, right?” My friend Michael said this to me as we were entering (for the first time) a house that my husband and I were looking at to possibly purchase. ‘What an interesting expression,’ I thought to myself. I didn’t think much more about what he said because I was too busy being nervous about seeing the inside of this house. Nervous because I knew it was over a hundred years old and in need of repairs and serious cosmetic work. I also knew we were in need of finding a home to purchase and this would probably be the easiest house for us to buy. I wasn’t thrilled with the circumstances, to say the least.

As I apprehensively looked through the rooms, mentally noting all the money, work, and time this place was going to need, my friend Michael excitedly came up to me with a relic in his hand. “Look what I found, it’s a relic of Solanus Casey, he is the man who said we should thank God ahead of time.”  A few months later, once we did purchase the house, I noticed that there were a few more relics of  Solanus Casey in the windows throughout the house.

I definitely needed the words, “Thank God ahead of time.” when making the final decisions to purchase the house. I carried that relic in my pocket for months repeating the prayer of gratitude to God, and letting it sink into my head and heart. Everything pointed to this house being for us, Providence was at work and God’s hand was seen everywhere but I had my own ideas about how things should be and wasn’t happy that the situation and house were not ideal. Solanus Casey’s advice helped me to say, “Okay I see this is your will God even if things aren’t as I would hope, so I thank you ahead of time that everything will turn out fine.”

I’m sure my friend shared with me some details about Solanus Casey though I honestly don’t remember them. I know few details of his life but, Venerable Solanus Casey has become one of my go-to saints. Those simple words of his that my friend shared, have stayed with me and have been a great source of comfort, and reason for much reflection. The Saints are amazing like that–they are family to us. We don’t need to study them but simply talk to them and they will love and guide us.

Though I am by no means an expert on Venerable Solanus Casey I do know he was a man of great faith, humility, and gratitude.  Born in 1870 on a farm along the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, he was one of sixteen kids born to Irish immigrants. His family prayed together daily and Solanus continued the tradition of praying a daily rosary his entire life. He felt called to be a priest when he was a young teenager and entered seminary at twenty-one, hoping to be a diocesan priest.

Though he loved studying, he was not the best student (partly due to the lessons being given only in German and Latin) and was told he should become a religious. None of the three orders he was invited to visit seemed like an attractive way of life to him. So he asked his sister and mother to pray a novena with him for an answer on which order to join. On the last day, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Barney (as he was then known) heard Mary’s voice telling him to go to Detroit where the Capuchins were.

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