Saint Joseph, Protector And Guide
A religious in the monastery of Montserrat, in Spain, was remarkable for a great devotion to St. Joseph, and, among the inexhaustible subjects of meditation on the life of the holy patriarch, there was not one that served to animate his fervor more than his flight into Egypt with Mary and the Divine Infant.
One day, when this good religious was returning to his convent, he lost his way, and wandered into the mountains. Night was coming on, and he became seriously alarmed at the danger to which he was exposed of being devoured by wild beasts, or falling into the hands of the bandits who dwelt in these wild lonely districts. In this dangerous situation, he had just recommended himself into the hands of Providence, when he suddenly perceived a stranger leading and ass, upon which rode a lady with a child in her arms.
The religious, having inquired of the stranger the direction of the road which he had missed, the latter kindly invited him to follow them, saying that though the way was dangerous, and the darkness increasing, yet he was acquainted with the place, and would safely conduct him to his destination. They continued their journey together, and so saintly was the conversation of the Lady and Her guide, that the religious felt his heart inflamed with a great love of heavenly things, and experienced an inward peace. At last the little party reached the direct road to the monastery, and the stranger and the Lady took leave of the monk, and instantly disappeared. He was convinced that these mysterious travelers were no other than the Holy Family, to which he had such a devotion.
Among the probationary exercises practiced by the novices of the Society of Jesus, was that of going on pilgrimages in order to make an essay of the apostolic life. On these occasions they took neither money nor provisions of any kind, and were thus exposed to all probable inconveniences which naturally result from such a life of fatigue, hunger, thirst and other similar privations. Three novices on one of these pilgrimages found themselves one day in the midst of a vast plain, far from any human habitation, and exhausted with hunger and thirst, without even so much as a morsel of bread or a drop of water, but being full of fervor, they consoled each other, hoping that as it was vain to expect any relief from earth, heaven would soon provide for their wants.
They suddenly beheld in the plain a man accompanied by a lady, who carried an infant in her arms. The strangers approached the novices, and, with a gracious salutation, placed before them the most exquisite meats. This delicious food, so miraculously provided for them, did not excite their pleasure and astonishment more than the angelic sweetness and courtesy of these mysterious strangers, whose name they were most anxious to learn, in order to be able to testify their gratitude for a favor which seemed supernatural. However, they were too timid to ask. Their curiosity however, was fully satisfied when they heard the following words pronounced: "We are the founders of the Society of Jesus", after which their kind hosts instantly disappeared! It is not difficult to imagine what joy the novices felt when they discovered they had the happiness of being served by the Holy Family.
The Ven. Sister Jane Rodriguez, of the third order of St. Francis, was also rewarded by St. Joseph's visible assistance for her great devotion to him. She once was traveling on foot with a companion, when suddenly the horizon was obscured be dark clouds, which showed a great storm was about to come upon them. They looked around for some place of shelter, but without success. At the same moment a stranger made his appearance, and graciously offered to accompany them, assuring them that on this occasion they should not suffer the slightest inconvenience from the storm.
Soon after the rain began to fall in torrents, and the heavens seemed to burst over their heads, but nevertheless not one drop of rain reached even the feet of the travelers. On witnessing so great a miracle, Jane approached nearer to the elderly stranger, and on examination, recognized St. Joseph, her blessed protector. He completed their happiness by conversing with them on the vanity of the world and its false advantages, on the value of Divine grace, and on the love of God above all things, until Jane and her companion had reached their destination. Then St. Joseph quickly vanished from their sight.
Saint Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus, Protect and Guide us. Amen.
Source: Fr. Patrignani, S.J.