According to the laws of physics, a man – should not be able to fly, at least without technological help. But are not the ‘laws of physics’, Chesterton posits, nothing but themselves miracles? Why should trees produce scrumptious apples, or water and the sky different shades of Marian blue? Why should lush apples grow on trees, and why should we able to think, write, pray and love?
We may hence call nature itself a ‘miracle’. But, then we also have miracles of the supernatural order, which cause even greater ‘wonder’, and these abounded in the life of today’s saint, the Franciscan Joseph of Cupertino, who would fly and hover as though gravity – whose origins we really know not – did not apply to him.
Amare nesciri, Saint Philip Neri would say, ‘love to be unknown’. With his father’s death while Joseph was still in utero, the Italian boy, born in 1603 – so poor his mother gave birth in a stable – whose hometown of Cupertino is found way down there on the ‘heel’ of the boot of Italy, had a difficult upbringing, often abused and neglected, and he himself was prone to outbursts of anger. But from childhood, Joseph, by the grace of God, maintained a joyful disposition, gifted with ecstatic visions. He was so rapt in the love of God that he would suddenly fall motionless while drying a dish or hoeing a field, a beatific smile on his face, mouth agape, imperturbable, always cheerful, practising a rather severe asceticism which flowed from the deep well of his charity.