Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saint Joseph, the Worker

     May 1st has for many years and in many nations been a day set aside to honor laborers and the ethic of hard work.  In 1955 Pope Pius XII set that day aside to honor on a second day each year Saint Joseph, not on that day as the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, but in his role as a model and example of a worker, a craftsman, a home builder.  He is one of only a few who have two days set aside for honoring.

     We know very little of Saint Joseph, other than the fact that he was a good and loving husband and father, a hard worker who applied his craft and used his abilities to provide for his family, and that he is the patron of a happy death, since he was surrounded by those whom he loved when he died.  His craft was that of carpenter.  He was a builder.  He used his strength and creativity to help others.  It is no stretch to have him as a model for workers.

     I mentioned at Mass this morning that Saint Joseph also reminds us of the spirit and kind of person who takes justifiable pride in his work and his accomplishment.  He is a true craftsman.  We used to find those people more often.  Today, though, we get things done, we accomplish our task, we get through it and get by.  There was a time when we took our time to create, when our craft became the hallmark of our talent, when we took pride in things.  You do not find that very often these days.  I mentioned my daily Mass server who is a wood carver.  You can see the pride he takes in his work.  It is not mass produced, a commodity, but rather a unique work of art that reflects his passion and talent.  How better the world would be if we were to reconnect with that dynamic.

     For all of those who work, do so with dignity and pride.  To those who desire to work but are denied the ability, we pray for a better world.  And to all who share yourselves in your work, thank you.


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