Friday, September 18, 2015


Saint Joseph of Cupertino, levitating during prayer
Feast day: September 18
Patron saint of aviators, flying, students and 
those with mental disabilities

Here we have another saint with a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He was a simple man, treated harshly by his parents, and suffered some mental problems as a result of it.  I can relate to this saint, as I had a brutal childhood. It occurs to me that most saints had difficult lives, so I find myself in good company, thanks be to God.

Evidently, Joseph was socially impaired to the extent that he just wandered around town with his mouth hanging open like a poor demented thing.  He was saddled with a bad temper, on top of everything else.  I wouldn't be surprised if Saint Joseph of Cupertino had post traumatic stress disorder!

Joseph tried to learn how to make shoes as a trade, but was unable to do it.  I don't know why.  It just didn't work out for him.  He attempted to join the Franciscans, but they would not have him.  The Capuchins took a chance on him, but booted him out less than a year later because he couldn't seem to do anything right.  He had broken things through gracelessness, such as the kitchen crockery, which the monastery could ill afford, and he wasn't good at following direction.

He was only 18 years old at this time, but his mother did not want him in her home, so she somehow convinced the Franciscans to take him in, and he was put in charge of the horses.  As anyone who has had horses can tell you, they are capable of being great healers through simple solid presence and ordinary companionship.  Joseph's intellect would never rise to great heights, but he began to be more careful and patient.  His anger lessened.  I think the horses had gentled him.  That is my guess, anyway.

Eventually, the Franciscans noted the change in St. Joseph and tutored him toward the priesthood. Study was not one of his strengths, and he struggled through his lessons as best he could.  From everything I have read about him, it sounds as if the monks were kind to him in a way he'd never experienced before, and it helped him greatly.  First, he became a deacon and, eventually, a priest.

Jesus loves the meek, the downtrodden, the least among us, and for this reason, I suppose, He gave Saint Joseph many spiritual consolations, granting him an ease in his prayer life that he did not possess in any other area.  Astonishing miracles began to occur through this simple soul.  More than 70 times, it was reported that he was seen to levitate or fly while saying mass or praying.

So close was he to the Lord, so fixed in his love, that the mere mention of God would be enough to send Joseph into a rapture that sometimes caused one of these episodes of levitation.  During one Christmas mass, he soared into the air and knelt in rapturous prayer before the high altar.

I am not a terribly gullible person, and not of the type to go running after so-called "seers" like the Medjugorje people or "Maria Divine Mercy."  I try to stay grounded and authentic and not become distracted by the fantastical, but there is something about St. Joseph of Cupertino that rings True for me.  I am very fond of him and have decided to install him in my "committee," the rather large group of saints and sainted ancestors to whom I turn when life gets ugly and I really need some intercession.

Life has been a bit ugly the last week or so, and I feel happy to be able to ask for the prayers and intercession of a Saint with whom I feel such empathy and simpatico! I would like to be like Saint Joseph of Cupertino, with my mind so occupied with the Lord that i cannot even HEAR the mocking of Satan's minions.  I pray for God to accomplish this in me today, because I am as damaged and broken as Saint Joseph of Cupertino was before the Lord began to work in him.

Today I pray for the intercession of Saint Joseph of Cupertino.  I ask him to pray for me to the Lord, as a fellow sufferer.  I pray that the Lord gift me with the consolation of being able to let my whole being reside Him, just as he did with Saint Joseph of Cupertino.

God bless us all.

Silver Rose Parnell
(c) 2015 All rights reserved.

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