“Many are the rainbows, the sunbursts, the gentle breezes--and the hailstorms--we are liable to meet before, by the grace of God, we shall be able to tumble into our graves with the confidence of tired children into their places of peaceful slumber.” (Ven. Solanus Casey)
Fr. Solanus’ own death came on July 31, 1957, the same day on which he had celebrated his first Mass 53 years earlier. Although he suffered with his own hailstorm, an incurable and painful skin disease, he accepted it all as part and parcel of life on this earth. He also accepted, just as simply, that there would be a resurrection, and that he would awake from that gentle slumber in his Savior’s image.
Author E. B. White once wrote about his wife, Katherine, planting bulbs the autumn before her own death, and “her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection”.
No doubt Fr. Solanus would have understood her concentration and her efforts at continuing her work, her need to reinforce the resurrection in her own mind. Yet God's plan is greater than our own, and we are all a part of it; therefore we don’t need to fear death, but can face it unafraid. “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” (1Thess. 4:13-14)
As we end our month with Fr. Solanus, let’s remember that death can’t claim us eternally, but Christ can.
Ven. Solanus Casey, please continue to pray for us!