DISGUISES IN THE DARK NIGHT by Joseph Castorino

Gentle St. Mother Teresa

Said that Jesus came to her

In the distressing disguise

Of the poorest of the poor,

And, of course, she was right;

However, is it possible that

Jesus also comes to us

in the distressing disguise

Of the inconvenient,

Of the unexpected, 

Of the cross?

A CANTICLE OF CHEERFULNESS by Joseph Castorino

A Tribute to Three Saints and a Venerable

My spirit rejoices in God, my savior;

He had the divine sense of humor; 

If I did not become upset, there would be joy in this;

I will serve God cheerfully,

Be cheerful, always cheerful,

One needs to have smiling faces around,

Live a happy life, full of joy!

Today you laugh and sing and carry your smile,

Optimism? Yes, always! Break into song with a Gloria,

Happiness is a consequence of self-surrender.


THE SACRIFICE OF ISAAC by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Paolo Veronese’s masterpiece

Abraham simply can’t wait any longer:

His heavy heart thunderously thumps

Deep down inside his big broad chest, 

And his body trembles with terror.


He hesitates as if he is hopelessly lost,

As if wandering in a wasteland of worry,

Yet when he closes his weary eyes,

He finds God’s gift of faith in his heart.


Little Isaac gazes upward towards the sky,

Wondering why the clouds are so grey,

He completely trusts his good father,

And knows not his own impending doom.  


Abraham’s hopeful hand grips the knife,

Then very slowly, and ever so silently, 

He raises its bloodless blade in the air,

Preparing for the swift stroke of death. 


But an angel in white stops him and 

Abraham’s body crumbles to the ground,

Like fallen fragments of unleavened bread,

And Divine Mercy warmly smiles upon him.

SUSANNAH AND THE ELDERS by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Pompeo Batoni’s masterpiece



The lecherous elders saw her,

with eyes wanton and wicked

they saw the lovely Susannah

as she innocently bathed in the

warm water of the silent garden,

but when she rejected the lurid

scheme of these unjust judges,

their vicious vile hearts burned

with lust and anger, and so

they perniciously plotted to

melt down her golden reputation

in the fiery furnace of calumny;

but still, she trusted,

Susannah trusted in God --

then, the Spirit of the Lord rushed

upon a youth named Daniel

who, though very humble,

spoke with the authoritative

passion of the prophets of old,

and his wondrous wisdom

amazed the people who listened --

and, lo, in the twinkle of an eye,

Justice struck down the elders

like a holy hammer from Heaven.

THE ISRAELITES DRINKING THE MIRACULOUS WATER by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Jacopo Bassano’s masterpiece

Just a moment ago,

before I struck the rock,

the people used their mouths

to stone me with sarcasm,

to run me through with ridicule,

to crucify me with cruelty --

but if they would see You here,

the Holy One, the great I AM,

they would never do this to You;

yet now, with those same mouths,

they thirstily drink the water,

refreshing their parched throats,

strengthening their tired bodies --

but what they really need,

what they really and truly need,

to refresh and purify their souls,

is Your gracious gift of Living Water,

an endless ocean of Divine Mercy.

MOSES SAVED FROM THE WATERS by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto’s masterpiece



A lonely little baby in a basket

floats freely in the current of

the Nile River, his brown eyes

wandering to and fro, innocently

wondering where his mother is;

the Spirit delicately leads the

young one towards his new home,

and in a short time the babe feels

his journey come to a gentle halt;

when the basket opens, he looks up

and sees a pretty face, but unlike

any that he has seen before, painted,

but with a light, elegant touch;

then the Egyptian woman’s

eyes open wide in wonder,

and her beautiful lips curve

into a warm, sweet smile,

and for the first time in

her life, she is in love.

RANSOMED by Joseph Castorino

I really deserve to die,

for my sins are far, far more

multitudinous even than the

grains of sand in the Sahara.


On execution day, I stand

before the cross, terrified,

but then you ransom me and,

amazingly, you take my place.


Your holy blood rushes in a river

of Divine Mercy from the cross,

and, behold, you miraculously

make me new, and I’m born again.

OUR LORD'S PINCH HITTER IN THE DARK NIGHT by Joseph Castorino

I want to be an everyday starter

and have the freedom to play

and just do what I want,

but more and more,

the Divine Manager is

asking me to pinch hit,

very late in the game,

in the Dark Night;

so Our Lady explains

that my priority should be

to put the daily needs

of my family first;

then, and only then,

will I be ready to

focus on my own needs

as a pinch hitter;

she reminds me that

through the powerful

Prince of Patience

I will have the time

for whatever God wills --

then, when my time

finally comes, I’ll be ready:

as the opposing pitcher

fires a fastball right down

the middle of the plate,

I will steadily stride forward

with holy strength,

and with a swing that is

smooth and confident,

yet filled with humility,

I will line a single to right field;

I will look at Our Lady,

who will be cheering me on

from the dugout and

as I solidly stand on first base,

my heart will be rhyming

to the rhythm of the Spirit.

LA MADONNINA D'AMORE by Joseph Castorino

During the deep dark night,

I open the eyes of my soul,

and I see her before me,

glittering in glorious brilliance.


She smiles at me, softly, gently,

and reminds me that she rejoices

greatly when I meditate on the

Holy Passion of her sweet Son.


I listen to the magnificent music

of her most wonderful words,

and light shines in the darkness,

burning away the folly of fear.

THE TOWER OF BABEL by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Frans Francken II’s masterpiece



The people were far more

advanced in technology than

their predecessors, and they

built a tower soaring to the skies;

their minds were filled with

grand new dreams of progress,

and each of them envisioned

a great new world in which

their creative ingenuity

would supply all of their needs --

they no longer needed God.

The Spirit slowly circled overhead,

saddened that He had been

forgotten by the people,

so He sighed deeply, wishing

His children to know how much

they needed Him, wishing

them to know how greatly and

how passionately He loved them;

so He withdrew and gave them

what they wanted: independence --

and then they babbled like idiots.

Why are dust and ashes proud?

Why is it that we accomplish

great things, and then we

forget the One who gave us

the gifts in the first place?

Even stubborn donkeys

understand that although

they wear a very beautiful

diamond-studded saddle,

it has absolutely nothing

to do with them.

PROVERB 1 by Joseph Castorino

Mr. Patience is the peaceful and

  joyful friend of the Lord Jesus;

Mr. Rushing is the worried and

  troubled slave of the black devil.

THE DELUGE by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Francis Danby’s masterpiece


Far, far away,

on the stormy grey sea,

Noah’s grand wooden ark

slowly and gently bobs

up and down, up and down,

in the waves of Divine Mercy,

but as I turn to the right,

my heart stops when I see

dark cascades of rain all around,

pouring madly out of the turbulent

black clouds like cool liquid lava.


I stand atop what was once a tall

mountain, surrounded by the

devastating deluge and flood,

and clusters of screeching

men and women encircle me,

clinging like crabs to the wet rocks,

but many have already fallen

into the swirling sea below and

clutch desperately to the feeble

branches of submerged oak trees,

hoping the tempest will cease.


Only hours later, I’m the only

survivor, but I won’t last much

longer since the water is up to my

waist, and it is more and more

difficult to maintain my hold of the

wet boulder I’ve been sitting on all

day, and as I hopelessly look

around, I only see grey water and

black skies, and the relentless rain

that brings with it God’s justice.


OLD FAITHFUL by Joseph Castorino


I’m nothing more than

a hole in the ground,

and nobody notices me,

and I’m okay with that.

But when I receive the

Body of Christ, an invisible

spring of living water leaps

up out of my peaceful soul.

These crystal clear waters

of pure love surge upwards,

with unbounded freedom and joy,

praising the King of Heaven.

TO SANT' ANTONIO DI PADOVA by Joseph Castorino

They knew you as a Franciscan friar,

And your wise words lit in them a fire;

You preached to the fish when men wouldn’t hear,

They leaped from the water, filled with good cheer;

Then some envious men poisoned your cup,

They stared, aghast, when you drank it all up;

Before you heretics always cower,

Since through you God shows His mighty power;

When we really feel we have lost our mind,

Your passionate prayers help us Jesus find.

THE ANIMALS ENTERING Noah's ark by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Jacopo Bassano’s masterpiece

Old Noah and his family,

shunned and mocked by

their know-it-all neighbors,

diligently gather the animals

into the cozy confines of

the grand wooden ark;

when all are on board and

they lock up the vessel,

from very high in the sky

a peaceful dove looks down and

the ark looks like a giant oyster,

protecting its treasure from

the swiftly advancing storm.

PRAYER + SURRENDER = LOVE + MERCY by Joseph Castorino

This equation is like a golden key,

That will certainly set our spirits free;

Prayer prepares the soul for God’s holy gifts,

While surrender cleanses and also sifts;

These open the door to true heartfelt love,

Which only comes from the good God above;

When love is tested in the deep dark night,

In the morn it shines as mercy so bright.

ADAM AND EVE by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Tiziano Vecellio’s masterpiece



As the horned serpent

seductively smiles at

the foolish humans,

Eve dreams about

becoming a goddess,

and Adam hungers for

greatness and glory;

their teeth tear the flesh

of the juicy fruit -- and, oh!

the intense sweetness

and overwhelming delight!

but very suddenly they

shudder and convulse

in deadly disobedience,

and their souls are poisoned

by the black sugar of sin.

THE GARDEN OF EDEN by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Thomas Cole’s masterpiece

Adam and Eve gratefully gaze

in awe and wonder at the

beauty of God’s holy creation;

beyond the sublime peace

of the verdant meadow and

the fresh tropical fruit trees

that lovingly embrace it,

a whispering waterfall sparkles

like aquamarine crystal in

the warm welcoming sun

and gracefully pours into

the pristine lake below;

rising majestically behind it

is a towering mountain of rock

that stands in stately grandeur,

piercing the serene blue sky,

joyfully pointing to the realm

of the Heavenly Homeland.

THE CREATION OF ADAM by Joseph Castorino

Inspired by Michelangelo’s masterpiece

The Father of Freedom reaches

across the atmosphere,

accompanied by His angels

which are clustered closely

in the blessed bouquet

of His bountiful love;

Adam is awestruck by the

generosity of the good God,

grateful for the gift of life,

and his eyes fill with tears

as he beholds the beauty of

the Compassionate Creator.

THE VINE by Joseph Castorino

You are The Vine,

and I am a little branch.

When I am proud,

I stubbornly cut myself

off from the Vine,

and I remain in self-love,

and without your grace,

my branch dries out

and my fruit shrivels up,

as my soul slowly dies.


But when I am humble,

I remain in your love,

and your delicious grace

surges through me and

thus my fruit sweetens,

as I am born again.

I am just a little branch,

but you are The Vine.