Tuesday, May 01, 2007

St. Joseph the Worker

and today is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker! (St. Joseph has 2 feast days!) :)

He's great, as you will see in the post ;) Deo gratias et Mariae et Joseph!

Alone with God
By Father J. Heyrman, S.J.

May 1

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33)

1. The institution of the feast of St. Joseph the Worker was announced by Pope Pius XII on the 1st of May 1955, in an address to the Italian Catholic Labour Unions. The Father of all the faithful desired to give a proof of his deep concern for the lot of the Catholic workers. If they lose the faith, dark days are in store for the Church and for the world. So far the 1st of May had been “Labour Day” a purely secular festival. The institution of this feast has christened Labour Day, and placed it in the Church’s calendar. God grant that it may be not merely a day of liturgical ceremonies, but also a day of prayer for our brothers, on whose loyalty to Christ the future depends.

2. Petition: We behold Joseph in his workshop at Nazareth, in the sweat of his brow earning the daily bread of his family. We pray that we may recognize in this village carpenter the holiest labourer that ever bent over a tool-bench. May we imitate his virtues.

Hail mightiest of Saints,
To whom submissive bent
He, whose creator-hand
The starry firmament.

I. Joseph Had to Work

In Genesis, it is said that God made man “and put him in a paradise of pleasure, to dress it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). This was before the fall; but even then man had to use his mental and his physical faculties to discover, as it were, and to develop the riches of God’s creation, to perfect his own personality, and to give praise to the Creator.

After the fall, he himself, as well as nature, has lost this pristine integrity, and now labour becomes toil. “Thorns and thistles shall the earth bring forth … In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Gen. 3: 18,19). It is a law of nature, therefore of God, that man shall work, and every man must obey that law; he that does evade it thereby becomes a parasite, and a cause of disorder.

Joseph was a manual labourer, probably a carpenter, who with his daily earnings supported his family. It was rough, monotonous work, with fairly primitive tools. He was a village carpenter, not a cabinet-maker. Many years he stood alone in his shop; but later he taught the trade to his Son, and had His help. When Joseph died Jesus continued His father’s work, until He began His public ministry.

Therefore Joseph, and also Jesus, shared the lot of the vast majority of men, and lived by the labour of their hands. But the Patron of workers will be, not Jesus, who is “the way, the truth and the life”, but His foster father, St. Joseph, the bridegroom of the Virgin Mother of God.

II. Saint Joseph Happy in His Work

In those days there did not exist at Nazareth those crying, scandalous, social and economic maladjustments of our modern world.

The village carpenter at Nazareth was not a pauper, and managed to make both ends meet. But he was not rich, which is proved by the fact that, at the time of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, he offered two turtle doves. Surely all around him there were people that were more comfortable, people that worked less and earned more. Inequality has always existed and always will exist. It existed in the day of Cain; and then “shall sin forthwith be present at the door” of man’s heart as God told Cain before he slew his brother Abel (Gen. 4:7).

Joseph was perfectly happy in his humble avocation: did he not enjoy domestic happiness, hardly less intense than the bliss of heaven? To this healthy, wise, upright man it was an immense joy to labour for the support of such a family. He was about “his Father’s business”; He was the guardian of the Father’s only-begotten Son, and of that Son’s Mother.

Our Holy Father the Pope (Pope Pius XII), who declared St. Joseph patron and model of the modern workman, knew only too well that many workers today have to fulfill their Christian duties in conditions and surroundings far less favorable than those in which St. Joseph worker; he therefore exhorted all his children to bear a compassionate heart and, whenever possible, to contribute by prayer and sacrifice to a better understanding among men, and to the practice of brotherly love in our society.

III, Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God (Mt. 6:33)

Social, economic, political conditions are in perpetual flux. “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice” is one of the words of which Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass” (Mt. 24:35). St. Joseph, the just man, in all things sought to fulfill his duty perfectly, that is, to do the will of the Father. And in this manner did the carpenter of Nazareth contribute to the establishment of the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus, the carpenter’s Son, was to be the Founder and the King.

The Kingdom of Christ, the future of which so largely depends on the faith of the working classes, is a “kingdom of justice, love and peace”. First of all of justice: for God’s Kingdom cannot be based on injustice. But even justice is not supreme quality of God’s kingdom. “God is love” (Deus caritas est), and love which never runs counter to justice, goes far beyond it. Love never divides, it always unites, reconciles, spreads peace and harmony.

Let us strive to maintain in our religious communities Christ’s Kingdom of justice, love and peace, each “doing from the heart what he does”, content and happy to be permitted to serve God in the place and office which He has allotted to us. In this way we shall, like St. Joseph, help “to re-establish all things in Christ” (Eph. 2:10) (Instaurare Omnia in Christo! as also with Pope Saint Pius X).

Prayer: O God, Creator of all things, who hast laid the obligation to work upon the human race; mercifully grant that through the example and patronage of St. Joseph we may accomplish the works that Thou dost command, and obtain the rewards Thou dost promise. Through our Lord (Collect of the Feast).

Jesus, Mary, I Love Thee; Save Souls!

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Blogger Francis said...

Thanks for posting this! ^.^ I ran out of time yesterday and didn't get to put up anything on Saint Joseph. He is a very important saint, and I think a lot of people overlook him.

If you haven't had a chance, I really recommend that you read "Brother Andre: The Wonder Man of Mount Royal" by Fr. Henry-Paul Bergeron. It will give you insights into the simplicity of the spiritual life (as illustrated by Brother Andre) and the necessity of devotion to St. Joseph.

Okay, enough of the advertising, thanks again for the post. =)

6:52 AM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger rachelanne said...

Hello Francis,

Your welcome! =) Deo gratias et Mariae et Joseph!

Yes, Saint Joseph is very important ;)
The book, The Mystical City of God by Ven. Mary of Agreda has also very interesting facts of St. Joseph, how he died etc. Very important and very very powerful saint!

Thanks for recommending the book. I will try to find it :)

The Spiritual life is simple
and it is very beautiful, in a sense, unworldly, hard to describe.

Thanks for the comment!

God Bless.

8:56 PM, May 03, 2007  
Blogger Francis said...

I have not yet read "The Mystical City of God." If I'm thinking of the same text that you mentioned, doesn't TAN print an abridged version? I'll have to check it out. If that is the case, did you read the full text (REALLY BIG) or the abridged one?

Is there much about St. Joseph in there? I wouldn't have thought...

11:09 AM, May 04, 2007  
Blogger rachelanne said...

Hello again Francis,

Yups, that's the one I was writing about.

TAN does print an abridged version and that's the one that I'm reading. You can get it at this

For the unabridged version = 4 volumes, here's the link:

It has a few chapters on St. Joseph from a little before his resolve to leave Mother Mary before the Angel Gabriel appeared to him in a dream, all the events (the Birth of Jesus, journey to Egypt etc) all the way, until the Happy Death of St. Joseph (one chapter) - so stuff about St. Joseph is interspersed around book 3 to book 5 of the Mystical City of God.

But, more than just on St. Joseph, the Mystical City of God is the Divine History and Life of the Virgin Mother of God, manifested to Mary of Agreda for the Encouragement of Men. A real spiritual treasure - in my opinion. :)

"Just as I have told you that he who knows Me knows also My Father, so I now tell you that he who knows My Mother knows Me."
-The Mystical City of God, Vol. III, p.765.

3:42 PM, May 04, 2007  

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