Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
Patron of workers
Now before you go all “Oh now you’re going to resume posting” on me, keep in mind that I have a life. No excuse, I know. Whatever…
You might also be thinking “Hey, didn’t we already celebrate St. Joseph?” or “Perhaps it’s a different St. Joseph. There are quite a few, you know.” Let me tell you that this saint is, in fact, the very same Joseph celebrated on March 19th, the husband of Mary and foster-father of Our Lord. So why does he get a second feast?
I am reminded of the 1980 comedy and perhaps second greatest film of all time, Airplane! Or was it Airplane 2: The Sequel? Either way, Stephen Stucker, who’s comedic genius is second to none, portraying control tower aide Johnny, is asked by Lloyd Bridges (upon hearing the distress call “Mayday, Mayday!”): “Mayday!? What the hell is that?” Stucker responds: “Why it’s the Russian New Year! We’ll have a cake, and balloons, and…”
He was half-right. It was a Russian celebration, well really a Soviet one. But it wasn’t the New Year. It was a celebration glorifying the communist ideal of the worker as a pawn of the state. Iconic images abound of tanks and missiles rolling through Red Square in a show of totalitarianist might.
In 1955, Pope Pius XII (that’s 12) created the feast of St. Joseph the Worker out of an older Eastertim Octave of the man and placed it squarely on the first of May in order to counteract the Soviet “feast”. For Christians, Joseph’s work, blessed and ordained by God, is a model of worker and Joseph, a model of workers. His labor serves the purpose of glorifying God in that he was not enslaved by it. His labor as a carpenter enabled him the grace of providing for others — namely the Virgin Mary and Christ Child, but also all those who ever benefitted from his skill with the lathe and plane. Can you imagine owning an original Joseph? Me neither. I’m sure the termites have gotten to it by now.
In short, when your day drags on and even the five hour energy drinks aren’t shaking you from that 2:00 feeling, stop and say a prayer to St. Joseph. Ask him to pray on your behalf that, like him, you might be blessed with a true appreciation of the work at hand. I especially like to think of Joseph’s hard labor during these tough economic times. I am blessed to have a job while many are not. May our work, our labor come from God alone and its fruits return to Him as an expression of His Providence in our lives.
Can I get an AMEN?!
That’s what I thought.