Aiming for Holy and Finding your Sweet Spot

Aiming for Holy and Finding your Sweet Spot

Thursday, 1 December 2016  | Karissa - Assistant Principal - Secondary
When you think about ‘Holy People’, who comes to mind? Mother Theresa? Jesus? Yourself? It’s easy to look at people like Mother Theresa and come to the conclusion that some people are just born holy. They seem to just have it all together and meanwhile the rest of us struggle to know where we sit with our faith and commitment to God, or to know what it truly means to live a saintly or holy life. The chance of us being recognised by others as ‘holy’ is about as likely as our becoming astronauts.

But what if the situations and circumstances of our daily lives (the boring, mundane parts of our lives) could actually become very real opportunities to encounter God and become saints? (By saint, I mean someone who discovers their deepest potential and happiness in knowing God, loving people and serving the needs of the world).
Our daily work takes on a much higher value when it is done for God – that is finding our ‘sweet spot’.

The definition of ‘SWEET SPOT’: The place on a bat, that engineers have designed, to produce the best forward motion for a ball that makes contact. It’s the spot that helps you hit a home run, hit a ‘hole in one’, hit a ‘6’, … Its that place on the bat that makes you go ‘sweet’ when you hit it. … In life, it’s the place that you dwell that makes you feel that all is right with the world – where you are using the things that make you, you; the things you enjoy, to bless others and bring glory to God…

Let me tell you about Solanus Casey. Actually born Barney Casey, in Wisconsin in the late 19th Century, Solanus was one of 16 children. He was a less than average student and spent years of his life experiencing academic failure and career confusion. He failed school and pretty much had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. He ended up working as a lumberjack, handyman, prison guard and finally a bus conductor. Feeling that there was still more to life, he eventually tried to enter a monastery, but with classes in German and textbooks in Latin he bombed out again and was sent home.

Next Solanus approached the Franciscan order, and after ten years of failing exams and trying again and again, he was finally granted special permission to become a ‘simple priest’. This meant that he was seen as so unspectacular that he was only allowed to do the most basic of tasks. His superiors felt that he was so unimpressive that he was only suited to being a mere doorkeeper. His job was to open the door and greet people when they rung the doorbell. And that is what he did, day after day, for 21 years!

He did it with such amazing joy and grace that he made people feel incredibly welcome. He also had a gift of patience and the ability to deeply listen to people. As time passed he also began to experience the ability to have insights into people’s needs and when he prayed for people, those prayers seemed to get answered, and often in miraculous and surprising ways. 

Solanus Casey was so important and impacted so many lives not because he raised the dead, started a church movement, healed lepers or fed the poor. He just opened the door for people… for 21 years, but he did it with the love of God and it changed people.
Solanus had found his sweet spot.

This example shows that you can find God in the hiddenness and smallness of your daily tasks and encounters with other people. You don’t have to climb Mount Everest to find solitude and ‘find God’. You can find Him in the reality of exactly where you are right now. Like Solanus Casey, the smallest things you do, if done with the love of God in your heart and a desire to care for others, can achieve amazing things.

Think now of all the people in your school, work, church or home community who are feeling lonely or rejected... What if you simply gave yourself to the task of greeting them each day with warmth and sincerity, or maybe just got to know them better? What if you approached that one task in the same way that Solanus Casey approached the opening of a door? Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you can only change the world by being part of some great historical event or movement. It is the hidden and simple tasks of right now and doing them with joy and love that can create real change.

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours
No feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world.
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good.
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.“
       St Teresa of Avila

This was the speech/devotion shared with the Year 11 students at our recent Year 11 Formal. Exerts taken from  “The Curious Case of Solanus Casey”. Road Ahead Magazine, 2016.

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