FOR YOUR DISCERNMENT: this story contains private revelation
A few weeks ago I was at an event held in a Catholic church, waiting for an unrelated business meeting with one of the speakers. I was standing at the back of the room taking everything in when a gentleman approached me.
“I met Padre Pio,” he said by way of introduction.
“You did?” I asked.
“Yes. I was eight years old, visiting Italy with my family. I went into his confessional.” He nodded encouragingly and said. “Padre Pio only said one word to me.”
“What was that? “ I inquired.
“He came out of the confessional, took my hands and said 'Bella', then walked away. Another priest came over and explained that Padre Pio didn’t hear confessions in English.”
“Wow,” I said, smiling. “I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who personally met Padre Pio. What a wonderful blessing for you.”
He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a holy card protected by plastic. Suspended between the card and the plastic was a small amount of hair.
He said “This is from Padre Pio’s beard.”
At this point I really didn’t know what to make of everything. His story seemed perfectly plausible, even delightful, until this point. Maybe because the hair suspended in the plastic case closely resembled the man’s own beard, I became suspicious.
I said “Wow, that’s great” and then excused myself to go get a drink while I waited for my meeting.
I returned to the room a little while later and the man again approached. He said “Jesus appeared to me in a dream.”
I said a half-hearted “Wow.” followed by another “That’s great.” and began plotting my exit.
He said “Do you want to know what Jesus said?
“Sure,” I sighed.
“He appeared as the Sacred Heart, and told me ‘You know to honor my Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of my mother’. Then He asked me ‘ But what about the heart of Saint Joseph?' ”
At this point the rest of the room faded away and I was aware only of the very loud beating of my heart. I have no idea why, but everything in my being was telling me to pay attention to this man from whom only moments earlier I had been trying to escape. Keep in mind that I was there on non-Catholic business, waiting for a meeting with another man who just happened to be speaking at this church, and this stranger had approached me without solicitation.
Two bits of information before I proceed. First, I have a very big devotion to St. Joseph, and I devour everything that I can get my hands on about his life. I love how he loved Our Lady and I love how he loved Our Lord. Secondly, I am incredibly wary of private revelation, so I submit what the man said next for your discernment.
The man continued “Jesus showed me an image and said ‘Behold the Humble Heart of St. Joseph’”.
Again, private revelation is a very sticky wicket, and even many saints were fooled by their own imaginations and the Enemy. That being said, it does make sense to my lay Catholic-self (with not an ounce of ecclesiastical authority) that St. Joseph’s holy, loving and obedient heart could absolutely be called The Humble Heart. It also would not surprise me that Our Lord would wish the world to honor The Humble Heart of his beloved foster father.
The man explained that he asked someone to draw a picture of the image Jesus had shown him. He promised to mail it to me, but I have yet to receive it. If he does send it to me, I will post it here.
The man continued. “A few years later Padre Pio appeared to me in a dream and said Jesus revealed to you the Humble Heart of St. Joseph. Why haven’t you done anything with this information? "
The man was visibly frustrated. “I don’t know what I can do. I’ve told people, but don’t know what else I can do.”
So, here his story for your discernment.
Good night and God Bless.
PS Anyone wishing to make a pilgrimage or submit prayers to the National Shrine of St. Joseph (located in Green Bay, WI) can find information here.