Saint Joseph the Worker by Ann Walker
Saint Joseph, help us to honor Jesus through the ways we live out our days
Saint Joseph has two feast days. On March 19, we celebrate Saint Joseph as the husband of Mary. Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in 1955. It is celebrated on May 1st.
There are many images of Saint Joseph that show him working. We may have seen different pictures of Saint Joseph standing at a work bench, teaching Jesus how to be a carpenter. As a worker, Saint Joseph taught Jesus the importance of putting in a good day's work. We can follow Saint Joseph's lead in doing meaningful work--which can take many different forms. Students work hard at learning new concepts and studying topics which will broaden their minds. Parents do many tasks that enable them to take care of family members. Family members may cooperate to help provide financial sustenance for other family members. Individuals might only need to provide for themselves--but it still might take a lot of effort. For those who aren't able to work, there are other ways to provide support--such as spiritually--to others. Reading the Bible or other inspirational religious books, offering prayers, and providing an open ear to someone who needs a sounding board can be a great way to use some talents for the good.
Saint Joseph was known as the silent listener. How many times do we take a brief moment to pause and observe what is going on around us? In these moments, we can be examples of God's love. Perhaps we have a gift of recognizing just the perfect thought to share with someone who is hurting. No matter how we use our skills, we try to honor God through our actions. When we are able to use the skills God has given us, we are participating in God's creativity. Our work can show that we are trying to be obedient to God's will for our lives and for those we care for.
We also may have seen images of the sleeping Saint Joseph. He must have understood the importance of getting a good night's sleep after working hard all day. Sleep gives the body a chance for renewal. Sleep also helped Saint Joseph in other ways--it allowed him to receive messages in the form of dreams. It was through dreams that Saint Joseph learned what he needed to do to protect his wife, Mary, which involved travel to safety. In a similar way, Saint Joseph can lead us away from harmful situations and can lead us to safety.
In the Litany of Saint Joseph, he is recognized as the terror of demons. Demons know how pure Saint Joseph is. They know how powerful he is! As a father, Saint Joseph responds to the call of protection for those who ask, and demons' efforts are then nullified.
In the Memorare to Saint Joseph, we pray:
Throughout our lives, we are often faced with challenging situations. It is comforting to know that we have such a powerful ally in Saint Joseph. Just as he protected Mary and Jesus, he makes sure to watch over us as well. As the Silent Saint--he never questioned what God asked of him, and he obediently followed God's directions. When we model our lives after Saint Joseph, we learn to accept God's will for our lives and do whatever we can to provide support to our loved ones and to work towards God's glory.
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-- By Ann Walker