Warm Memories of Peace
Blessed Solanus Casey
May the Lord give you peace!
Looking back on January, it must have been a month that left Father Solanus very grateful and warm with many memories. It was on January 14, 1897 that he was invested with the Capuchin habit at St. Bonaventure Chapel in Detroit. In his diary, he wrote of the 13th of January: “Dark indeed,” and for the 14th he wrote: “Invested (after a day of anxiety) Deo Gratias”. Fr. Solanus had a very dark day of anxiety before he was invested in the Capuchin habit. That was his entry into the Capuchin Order. But then, for everything he gave thanks to God: “Deo Gratias”.
I am reminded of the Bible verse “Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap” (Ps. 126:5). Though he was not in tears, when he started his life as a Capuchin, he was certainly shaken and anxious to the point of describing the day as “dark indeed”. Fifty years later, on the same day, Father Solanus would come back to St. Bonaventure from Huntington, Indiana to celebrate his golden jubilee of entry into religious life and, though sickly by this point, he would return later for his sixtieth anniversary as well to celebrate with a renewal of vows during a Mass on January 14, 1957. Again, “Deo Gratias”.
Father Solanus’ trust and confidence in the Lord was admirable. His first words in his Novitiate diary were: “Ask, Seek, Knock.” He kept knocking and asking with childlike confidence and he received what he asked for. He was ever grateful too. He believed in Jesus’ words: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” (Jn 16:23).
Father Gerald Walker, a man with great admiration for Solanus, was the Provincial Minister who brought him back to Detroit in 1956. Faced with what seemed to him would be a tragedy, Fr. Gerald once requested that Fr. Solanus would pray for him and Solanus obliged. A week later, when the situation seemed to become even more threatening, he went to Fr. Solanus’ room, asking whether he was praying as he had promised. Solanus said that he was. Fr. Gerald went back to his room and soon there was a knock at his door. There was Fr. Solanus with tears pouring down his cheeks. He said, “Gerald, I am so disappointed in you”. Pained to hear such words from Solanus, he asked “Why?” Fr. Solanus said, “Because I thought you had more faith than that. Remember that Jesus said, if you ask, you shall receive.” Remembering fondly this episode, Fr. Gerald said that he later received what he asked for.
You and I presently may not be having such deep confidence and trust in the promises of the Lord, but I think that we should pray for it. We should thank Him ahead of time and begin practicing the confidence we are already given. May Father Solanus be our inspiration and intercessor.
“Blessed be God in all His designs”
George Kooran, OFM. Cap.
Director, Father Solanus Guild