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Appointed by the Vatican as the “External Collaborator to the Relator” for the cause of canonization of Capuchin Father Solanus Casey, the first man...
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Appointed by the Vatican as the “External Collaborator to the Relator” for the cause of canonization of Capuchin Father Solanus Casey, the first man born in the United States to be declared “Venerable” by the Catholic church, Michael Crosby gives us an inspiring and insightful story of one person’s unswerving faith in God’s abiding presence throughout the universe.
“For Solanus,” Crosby writes, “knowing God demanded a threefold response: appreciation, love, and service. Solanus wrote that everyone’s ‘purpose as a rational creature is to recognize and to know his Creator, so as to be able, intelligently to love him, confidently to hope in him, and gratefully to serve him.’”
Besides the gift of healing which brought happiness to many, Solanus Casey also used his gift of prophecy to encourage and challenge and to bring back hope to others. But the humble Capuchin’s greatest gift was charity—charity that not only characterized his happy relationship with God but that overflowed in the warm, caring, fraternal and even humorous way he related to his neighbor.
Posted July 12, 2009
In this new biography, Fr. Crosby writes that Solanus Casey "evidenced a wonderful way of going beyond externals to get to the core of people and their basic needs." In one instance a woman called Solanus to ask if she might bring her critically ill baby to him for a blessing. The priest vetoed the idea, saying that the child was too sick to travel and the trip would be expensive. Ignoring canon law, which forbade this kind of "transmittal," Fr. Casey gave his blessing over the phone. He then urged the mother to donate the saved travel funds to the poor. The little girl recovered.
This incident occurred some 20 years after Casey's 1904 ordination, which afforded him only limited powers. He was not permitted to hear confessions or to deliver homilies because his superiors deemed him "not smart enough." The author does a good job of explaining the reasons behind Casey's lifelong designation as a "Simplex" priest and its effect on his ministry. Before he entered the seminary, Casey worked as a logger, hospital orderly, street car operator, and prison guard. After ordination he was assigned administrative tasks including that of monastery "doorkeeper," first under the supervision of a friar. As he accepted these assignments with humility and good grace, his personal magnetism and gift for healing became evident.
Crosby explains Solanus's theory that God's response to petitions was related, in part, to the petitioner's generosity to God in ways such as supporting the missions. Not that Casey believed that the only "successful" petitions were those that produced the requested healing. All petitions are answered according to God's plan; therefore faith and thanksgiving for God's involvement are always appropriate.
Crosby reports that Solanus was "baffled' by suffering, but had a clear-cut perspective when it came to his own trials. In a letter to his sister, he mentioned his enormous workload and physical ailments as he advanced in years, then added, "What are fifty years of pain to the endless joys waiting us above?"