What’s in That Prayer? Collect for Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office of Saint Joseph of Cupertino (September 18):

Deus, qui ad unigénitum Fílium tuum exaltátum a terra ómnia tráhere disposuísti: pérfice propítius; ut, méritis et exémplo seráphici Confessóris tui Ioséphi, supra terrénas omnes cupiditátes eleváti, ad eum perveníre mereámur: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus, per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum.

Here is my translation:

O God, who hast ordained to draw all things to Thy Only-begotten Son raised up from the earth: by the merits and example of Thy seraphic Confessor Joseph, mercifully bring it to pass that, being lifted up above all earthly desires, we may be worthy to attain to Him who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O God, Who art pleased that thine Only-begotten Son being lifted up from the earth should draw all things unto Him, be entreated for the sake of thy servant Joseph, whom Thou didst make like unto one of the Seraphim, and so effectually work in us, that even as he, we also may be drawn up above all earthly lusts, and worthily attain unto Him: Who with thee liveth and reigneth, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

I included the concluding formula in this prayer, something I have not yet done in these postings. The reason is that the oration points to “Him” at the end, and would end with strange abruptness if I did not include the concluding formula which makes it clear that the pronoun refers directly to Our Lord.

September 14 was the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, followed the next day by Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, then, two days later, by the Feast of the Stigmata of Saint Francis. All of these feasts pertain directly to the Mystery of the Holy Cross. Now, on the day following the stigmatization of his holy Founder, we meet with a Conventual Franciscan saint who was quite literally “raised above the earth” via his miraculous levitations, which marvels the Church does not blush to refer to in this prayer.

Let us not forget that the language about being lifted up and drawn to Jesus comes directly from Our Lord’s words in Saint John’s Gospel, words that the Evangelist attributes directly to the Crucifixion itself: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself. (Now this he said, signifying what death he should die)” (John 12:32-33; check the Latin to see how it matches the wording of the prayer). Would it shock you to learn that that passage from John 12 is part of the Gospel reading for the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross?

It is notable that on September 18 in the year 1663, this remarkable wonder-worker died in obscurity, the day after the feast of His Founder’s Stigmata, and the fourth day after the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross. He was so “lifted up above all earthly desires” during his final years that he could neither receive visitors nor write letters, yet his extraordinary favors only increased.

On this humble Friar’s feast, may we all be mindful of the things of Heaven and ardently seek to be so truly (if not literally) lifted above all earthly desires that we finally attain to our crucified, resurrected, and ascended Lord — here in this life, and for a blessed eternity.