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May 1, 2016  

(2Th 3:8-13) Neither did we eat any man's bread for nothing: but in labour and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you. Not as if we had not power: but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us. For also, when we were with you, this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat. For we have heard there are some among you who walk disorderly: working not at all, but curiously meddling. Now we charge them that are such and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ that, working with silence, they would eat their own bread. But you, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

SAINT POPE JOHN PAUL II: “Work is not only good in the sense that it is something to enjoy; it is also good in the sense of being something worthy…. Work is a good thing for man—a good thing for humanity—because through work not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and, indeed, becomes more a human being.”

LINK: The Chivalry of Saint Joseph

DADS.ORG: Go to Joseph: Six Reflections on St. Joseph by Fr. Francis Peffley

:  St. Joseph the Workman

1. On May 1, 1955, Pope Pius XII delivered a significant address before an assembly of representatives of the Catholic Association of Italian Workers. Toward the end of his speech, the Holy Father said: “We are happy to announce to you Our determination to institute—as we do now in fact institute –the liturgical feast of St. Joseph the Workman, assigning to it precisely the first day of May.” He had previously stated: “The world of labor has claimed [May 1] for, itself as its own proper feastday.” Now, he is instituting this feast, not as “a stimulus for discord, hate and violence,” but, to be “a recurring invitation to modern society to accomplish that which is still lacking for social peace. A Christian feast, therefore; that is, a day of rejoicing for the concrete and progressive triumph of the Christian ideals of the great family of labor” (cf. The Catholic Mind for Sept., 1955).

2. “. . . Jesus journeyed on, and came to his own countryside, where he taught them in their synagogue; so that they said in astonishment, How did he come by this wisdom, and these strange powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son?” (Matt. 13:53-54). St. Joseph was a carpenter in Nazareth, a man of the working-class. True, he was a descendant of the royal family of David; but this royalty no longer connoted glamor; its former magnificence and wealth were gone. Joseph was obliged to live by the labor of his hands. Far away from the royal palace in Jerusalem, he dwelt in the hidden, despised town of Nazareth in Galilee, and plied his trade there. The houses he knew were certainly unpretentious, even primitive, being mere mud huts with roofs supported by beams, and floors of packed clay. Carpenters fashioned the entire structure, as well as its furnishings. Tools and implements for home and farm came from local shops. Such was Joseph’s trade, his whole life long, in this community of simple, rural Galileans, and it brought him neither riches nor honors. Consequently, when the young carpenter married the Virgin Mary, he could have offered her only a very modest home, probably a house that he himself had built.

“It happened that a decree went out at this time from the emperor Augustus, enjoining that the whole world should be registered . . . and Joseph, being of David’s clan and family, came up . . . to David’s city, . . . the city called Bethlehem, to give in his name there. With him was his espoused wife Mary, who was then in her pregnancy . . . there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1-7). Here, Joseph was made painfully aware of the fact that he belonged to the poorer class, for he was compelled to house his bride in a stable. The months in Bethlehem were difficult ones, but it must have been even more difficult to live as a refugee and support a family in Egypt. Only after the death of Herod was it safe to return, and then, not to Bethlehem, as he would have desired, but to Nazareth, since the even more cruel Archelaus was now ruler of Judea. In Nazareth, Joseph was once more the humble carpenter.

“. . . Joseph, the husband of Mary; it was of her that Jesus was born, who is called Christ” (Matt 1:16). Thus did God honor the lowly worker, selecting him to become the husband of Mary, the Mother of God. Joseph knew the secret of his betrothed: an angel had enlightened him. The child in her womb was “of the Holy Spirit.” So Joseph took his wife to himself and became the Virgin-Protector of the Virgin-Mother. Indeed, he became in a true sense the father of the Child whom the Virgin conceived and later brought forth in Bethlehem. By virtue of the matrimonial bond, Mary’s Child is his child, too. He exercises paternal power and authority over the incarnate Son of God. The Lord of heaven and earth is subject to him (cf. Luke 2:51). He owes and renders obedience to Joseph “as His earthly father. Thus, again, does God honor the poor carpenter, making him head of the Holy Family. Mary, Mother of God, radiant with grace, virtue, and holiness, wants to be dependent on and directed by the will of St. Joseph in all matters. She serves him, loves him, entrusts herself and all her interests to him. He lives, night and day, under the same roof with her and Jesus in an intimate union of hearts, a close fellowship of interests in home and shop. With what greatness and dignity God honors Joseph the Workman! “The humble workman of Nazareth not only personifies before God and the Church the dignity of the manual laborer, but also he is always the provident guardian of you and your families” (Pius XII).

For centuries, St. Joseph succeeded in remaining in the background, just as he had done during his earthly life. Little by little, however, God brought him out of darkness into light, so that now one frequently sees pictures of him and altars or churches dedicated to his honor. Numerous religious institutions, monasteries, and convents have entrusted themselves to his fatherly care, bear his name, and honor him as their protector and their advocate at the throne of God. Indeed, at a time of great oppression, in the year 1870, Pope Pius IX named St. Joseph “Protector of the Universal Church” and approved the application of verses 20 and 21 of psalm 32 to him: “The Lord is our strength and our shield: in him our hearts will find refreshment, in his holy name we trust” (Introit of the former Mass of the Solemnity). And how many of the faithful, having taken refuge under his protection in time of distress and need, have experienced his help and the power of his intercession! In this way, again, the humble Workman of Nazareth personifies, in the eyes of the Church, the dignity of those who labor with their hands.

“Do not forget,” says our Holy Father to the Catholic Association of Italian Workers, “that your first care is to preserve and foster Christian living among workers. To this end it is not enough for you to fulfill, and urge others to fulfill, your religious duties; you must deepen your knowledge of the teachings of the Faith.”

Go to Joseph! He asserts that “no worker was ever more completely and profoundly penetrated by the spirit of Christ than the foster father of Jesus. . . . If you wish to be close to Christ, We again today repeat: ‘Ite ad Joseph’—Go to Joseph” (Gen. 41:55).

Collect: O God, Creator of the universe, by whose decree toil has become the common lot of mankind, grant us this boon, that by the example of St. Joseph, and under his protection, we may carry out the works which Thou dost command, and gain the rewards which Thou dost promise. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

3. Weak as I am, I heard that there was a certain powerful and strange way of life and humility for those living in a separate monastic establishment called 'The Prison' which was under the authority of the above-mentioned man, that light of lights. So when I was still staying there, I asked the good man to allow me to visit it. And the great man, never wishing to grieve a soul in any way, agreed to my request.
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