Spirituality


One of the keynotes of Fr. Solanus’ spirituality might be an Attitude of Gratitude which he called “the first sign of a thinking, rational creature.” The prayer of “Thanks be to God” poured continually from his lips. “Love for God and neighbor” is another recurring theme of his writings along with obedience, trust, humility, and patience.

During his time at Our Lady of Sorrows in Manhattan, Fr. Solanus had more time to spend on his own thoughts. He started a new notebook, writing about his favorite Biblical themes of resignation, patience, gratitude, injustice, the Eucharist, and the Blessed Virgin.

Fr. Michael Crosby in his book Thank God Ahead of Time writes, “Spirituality is the experience and expression of the nature and activity of a Supreme Reality. Spirituality encompasses how that experience and expression are communicated to others. The ‘science’ or study of that spirituality for Solanus was religion. Throughout his letters and statements, he continually returned to his definition of religion: The science of our happy relationship with and our providential dependence on God and our neighbor.”

Very early in his religious life he formed the practice of writing simple resolutions as reminders to guide him on the way of perfection. In the novitiate he began writing these resolutions in a little notebook which today is preserved among his own writings. A very important little writing that we find there is the following list of five points:

Means for Acquiring the Love of God:

I.    Detachment of oneself from earthly affections.
      Singleness of purpose.

II.   Meditation on the Passion of Jesus Christ.

III.  Uniformity with the Divine Will.

IV.  Mental Prayer – meditation and contemplation.

V.   Prayer – “Ask and it shall be given to you.”

After this he noted:

TO PRESERVE GOD’S PRESENCE:    

I.    Raise your heart to Him by frequent aspirations.

II.   Make a good intention at the beginning of each week
      and frequently during its execution.

All these simple admonitions form a very worthy program to help one advance along the way of holiness.  We can be sure that Fr. Solanus found them to be a reliable guide on his way to perfection. If one could take just a few of these points and follow them through perseveringly, one would surely grow in love for God, be able to live in His presence, and overcome all that could keep us from our true destiny, eternal life and happiness with God.