These were the famous and often repeated words of an American who was recognized very publicly by the Catholic Church last November. His name was Solanus Casey, and he was a Franciscan Friar who, over the course of many years, especially in Detroit Michigan, made himself available to people of all backgrounds.
Solanus Casey was born in Wisconsin in 1870. He lived a life of serving people, and because widely known as “The Doorkeeper” because he was the porter of the house he lived in with other Franciscan Friars. He was always ready to listen to anyone who came to him, and more importantly, to encourage them to trust in God. That’s where his famous phrase “thank God ahead of time” because memorable. He was convinced that if we just have a solid faith and confidence in God, that all will be taken care of, and will turn out better than we could even hope.
As a follower of the famous St. Francis of Assisi, he showed great compassion to all who sought him out, Catholics, non-Catholics, and non-believers. He knew personally the love of God in his own life, and saw everyone who came to him as also loved by God and called to share in God’s life.
As we look around us, it is very easy to become overwhelmed by so many things that are not what they should be, Fr. Solanus’ message is one for everyone – let God take care of things, and thank God for doing so… ahead of even knowing the answer to it.
Last November, Fr. Solanus was beatified by the Catholic Church. That term is a recognition of his sanctity and that he is a model for others of how to live the Gospel, and brings him to the last step before being officially declared a “Saint” by the Church. He was described as “an ordinary person who lived an extraordinary life.” His message, and his whole life were a simple example of trust and faith in a world that is overwhelmed by so many things, so much noise, so many distractions, and such a lack of peace.
So, Father Solanus’ message, said over and over again until his death in 1957, is even more relevant today, “Thank God ahead of time…”