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17th Week in Ordinary Time
It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. (Matthew 13:32)
Solanus Casey (1870–1957) was what some would consider a “small seed.” The son of a farmer, he became a Capuchin priest. But because his grades weren’t all that good, he was ordained a “simplex” priest—he could celebrate Mass, but he was not permitted to preach dogmatic sermons or hear confessions. Still, Casey showed himself to be very intelligent and very good at dealing with other people. After several assignments, he was sent to a parish in Detroit, Michigan, where his main job was porter. He was, for all intents and purposes, a priest-doorman.
But what other priests might have considered a humiliation, Casey took in stride. During his twenty years in Detroit, Fr. Solanus Casey came to be revered as a humble, wise priest filled with spiritual insight. His position as porter was the perfect one for people to visit him—and thousands came as reports of healings and miracles began to spread. When he died, 20,000 people attended his funeral. This simple, unassuming man touched countless lives!
The key to Casey’s ministry was his “smallness,” his willingness to be planted in whatever ground God had chosen for him. Being a porter was certainly not what he had in mind for himself as a young man, but he accepted God’s vision, and the results were stupendous. Here was a living testament to Jesus’ promise: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24).
We can all follow Solanus Casey’s path to holiness because it is the path of the gospel. It’s only a matter of looking for Jesus in the “small” situations we already find ourselves in. Every moment can be holy. Every task can be filled with divine light. Welcome the Lord into those situations. Listen for the inspiration of his Spirit. No matter where you are or at what stage you are in your life, you can bear awesome fruit for his kingdom.
“Lord, I want to be your servant, so do with me as you will. Help me not to seek reputation or renown, only the satisfaction of doing your will.”
Jeremiah 13:1-11; (Psalm) Deuteronomy 32:18-21
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