Joseph begins to Levitate
Joseph returned to the Monastery at Grotella after his ordination. As soon as he entered, he ran to the Image of Our Lady to thank her for intervening for him, worthless and least of all her sons. During his first Mass, at the moment of consecration, when he touched Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, he was so overcome with his unworthiness that he begged the Lord to purify his heart and cleanse his hands of all impurity. Each day, after his work was done, Joseph would steal away to a tiny room or remote hideaway. As he meditated on the Lord and the real world above, he would become engulfed in ecstasy and find himself levitating in mid-air. The brothers later testified at his Beatification, his ecstasies and levitations recurred so frequently, Father Joseph was not allowed to take part in spiritual exercises with the other brothers or walk in processions, lest he disturb the proceedings.
Father Joseph's life, through his own design, became more and more austere, as he deprived himself of all eating utensils and all but one poor garment. Throwing himself before the Crucifix, he cried, "Look upon me, Lord; I am divested of all things; Thou art my only good; I regard all else as a danger and ruin to my soul." The Lord's response was to take away all His consolation from Father Joseph, plunging him into the Dark Night of the Soul. His agony became so unbearable one day, he cried out in anguish, the cry of his Savior before him, "My Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?" A religious appeared to Joseph, someone he had never seen before. He handed him a new habit. Upon donning it, suddenly Joseph was no longer alone; he could feel the presence of his heavenly companions. Who was this stranger? Was he an Angel? Father Joseph believed so.
Father Joseph chastised his body through means of mortification to tame and empty it of all earthly consolation, so he could be free to accept the graces poured down upon him by the Holy Spirit. During his priesthood, he felt so keenly the responsibility and the privilege of his vocation that he ate no bread for five years, drank no wine for ten years, and subsisted on herbs, dried fruits and beans flavored with the most bitter powder. One of the brothers tasting it, later testified that he got so sick to his stomach, for days all food made him nauseous. Joseph fasted almost unceasingly, observing 7 fasts of 40 days each (280 days), the same fast observed by his founder Saint Francis before him, eating no food on Thursdays and Sundays. Living solely on the Eucharist, after receiving his Lord, color would return to his face and renewed strength to his weakened body.
Saint Joseph soared with the Angels
One time the Lord would come and rest in Fr. Joseph's arms. Another time the Saints would come and share the awe and wonder of Paradise. Angels would appear to him, and bring him comfort and consolation from Heaven. But wherever the Heavenly Army of Angels is, the fallen angels are close by, ready to do mischief. One day when a religious was placing a girdle, blessed by Fr. Joseph, around a possessed man in an attempt to exorcise Satan from him, he heard the evil one say, "If you knew the virtue of this friar (Father Joseph) and how pleasing his soul is to God, you would be astonished. I must acknowledge this because God forces me to speak. Friar Joseph is the worst foe we have."
The enemy attacked Fr. Joseph relentlessly. He was praying before the Tomb of Saint Francis in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi, when the devil blew out all the candles in the church and proceeded to beat Joseph. All of a sudden, the demon saw Saint Francis emerging from his tomb carrying a candle, and needless to say, he fled! The devil never stopped trying to do Father Joseph in. He tried everything; he tried to drown him; he tried to kill him by running him through with a sword; he tried to destroy him by gossip. But the Lord Who is Almighty is far mightier than that sucker.
Saint Joseph the Miracle Worker
Whenever there was a need for food, the cupboard quite bare, Fr. Joseph would pray, place his hands upon what little there was to eat, and what came about was the multiplication of honey, bread, wine and whatever food there was before him. At other times he simply called upon his Lady to intercede and behold, food miraculously increased. He would place his cap on a blind man's head and his sight was restored. The lame and the crippled walked after they kissed the Crucifix Joseph held out to them. During the plague which claimed many lives, he blessed a poor soul burning up with fever, making the sign of the Cross on his forehead; the fever immediately dropped, and his temperature returned to normal. With the sign of the Cross, St. Joseph brought the dead back to life.
An arrogant nobleman contemptuously challenged Fr. Joseph: "Impious hypocrite, it is not you, but the religious habit you wear that I respect and because of it, I trust that if you make the sign of the Cross on my wound, it will heal." Cheerfully, Joseph humbly agreed with the nobleman that what he said was absolutely true and wise. Then he blessed the nobleman's wound, whereupon it was completely healed.
Bob and Penny Lord are renowned Catholic authors and television hosts on EWTN, Global Catholic television. They are prolific writers about the Catholic faith, especially the Saints. Read more about Saint Joseph of Cupertino at http://bobandpennylord.com/St_Joseph_of_Cupertino.htm.
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