“Do you want to see my river?”
The little girl was so excited, she was dancing in place. “Can I show you my river?”
Father was on a mission trip to Nicaragua, and he was standing in “the dump.” Literally a garbage dump, it was home to this girl and her family. She was so happy to have him visit her home, and so excited to show off her river. “Sure, let’s go.”
She skipped her way toward her river, proud to show it off to a visitor. Stepping through, over and around trash, Father followed. Soon they arrived at her river: “Look! Here it is!” Smiling in delight, she had no idea of Father’s horror as he gazed on the polluted, foaming and reeking water.
Attitude of Gratitude
In the lyrics of Sheryl Crow (Soak up the Sun): “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” That’s the essence of happiness: wanting what you’ve got. Instead of wanting what someone else has. Or what you definitely do NOT have now and probably never will.
It’s the attitude of gratitude.
Thanking God Ahead of Time
Barney Casey, now known as Venerable Solanus Casey, often gave this advice to those who sought him out as a prophet and healer. He believed that answered requests were due to confidence in God, praying with faith and making a promise. So he advised thanking God in advance for whatever He sends, and bolstering prayer with a sacrifice. His favorite form of alms was enrollment in the Seraphic Mass Association, which exists to help the holy souls in purgatory. http://www.spiritdaily.net/solanuspurgatory.htm
Barney Casey was born on November 25, 1870 in Wisconsin to Irish immigrant parents. He was the sixth of sixteen children: ten boys and six girls. The children shared a love of sports, hunting and fishing. There were enough brothers that they formed their own baseball team: the Casey Nine. The family not only played together, they prayed together. His habit of praying a daily rosary began in his parent’s home.
In 1883 Barney had his first thought of becoming a priest. It was before his thirteenth birthday, while receiving instruction for first Holy Communion. The idea continued to surface until at twenty-one he entered St. Francis High School Seminary in Milwaukee and studied for the diocesan priesthood. He had difficulty with the German instruction, however, and his superiors advised that he move to a religious order. Three different religious orders, the Franciscans, Jesuits and Capuchins, welcomed him. In an effort to discern his call, he invited his mother and sister to pray a novena before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. After Holy Communion on the novena’s last day, Barney heard the Blessed Mother tell him, “Go to Detroit.” He entered the Capuchin Order in Detroit in 1897, taking the name Solanus after Saint Francis Solanus. http://solanuscasey.org/who-is-father-solanus/call-to-priesthood
After his ordination in 1904, Father Solanus spent 20 years in New York, Harlem and Yonkers. He first served as sacristan, then director of altar servers, then porter at the monastery door. These lowly jobs were dictated by his ordination as a “simplex priest.” Because of his academic struggles in seminary, his superiors felt he shouldn’t receive the faculties to all priestly offices. So he could offer mass but neither preach publicly nor hear confessions. At his post at the monastery door, he took his job very seriously. He greeted those who entered, listening to everything they had to say and giving advice when prodded. Soon he became a much sought after counselor. During his lifetime visitors attributed miracles to his intercession.
For all who knew Father Solanus, the virtue that most distinguished him was humility. He always accepted his superiors’ orders, including the humiliating decision to make him a simplex priest. Think of it: when someone asked him for the sacrament of reconciliation, he had to run to get another priest. Two of his brothers were ordained with full faculties, as were his classmates. If anyone indicated to Father Solanus that to be a simplex priest was humiliating, he replied: “In order to practice humility we must experience humiliations.” He was convinced it was God’s plan that he remain a simplex priest, and he happily lived out his vocation. http://solanuscasey.org/who-is-father-solanus/the-positio
Thanking God Ahead of Time
Joyful Even While Suffering http://catholicexchange.com/finding-laughter-joy-suffering
Thanksgiving after Hurricane Irma http://wdtprs.com/blog/2017/09/in-the-wake-of-the-big-storms-prayers-of-thanksgiving/
The Littlest Blessings https://www.liveaction.org/news/these-4-micro-preemies-show-every-life-deserves-chance/
Can you imagine having fifteen brothers and sisters? And being happy about it? Having that many siblings is certainly one way to learn to how to share. Father Solanus learned from his family how to work hard, help others and listen. You don’t need siblings to learn selflessness, but they do help. Even if you’re an only child, you can grow in virtue. Let someone else go first, help a classmate with his homework, or really listen to your friends. These are all ways to make yourself into a better person.