Day Seven: Patron of Workers
Saint Joseph, you devoted your time at Nazareth to the work of a carpenter. It was the will of God that you and your foster-son should spend your days together in manual labor. What a beautiful example you set for the working classes!
It was especially for the poor, who compose the greater part of mankind, that Jesus came upon earth, for in the synagogue of Nazareth, He read the words of Isaiah and referred them to himself: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor…” (Luke 4:18). It was God’s will that you should be occupied with work common to poor people, that in this way Jesus himself might ennoble it by inheriting it from you, his foster-father, and by freely embracing it. Thus our Lord teaches us that for the humbler class of workmen, he has in store his richest graces, provided they live content in the place God’s providence has assigned them, and remain poor in spirit for he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3).
The kind of work to which you devoted your time in the workshop of Nazareth offered you many occasions of practicing humility. You were privileged to see each day the example of humility which Jesus practiced — a virtue most pleasing to him. He chose for his earthly surroundings not the courts of princes nor the halls of the learned, but a little workshop of Nazareth. Here you shared for many years the humble and hidden toiling of the God-man. What a touching example for the worker of today!
The Way, Truth and Life
While your hands were occupied with manual work, your mind was turned to God in prayer. From the divine master, who worked along with you, you learned to work in the presence of God in the spirit of prayer, for as he worked he adored his father and recommended the welfare of the world to him, Jesus also instructed you in the wonderful truths of grace and virtue, for you were in close contact with him who said of himself, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” As you were working at your trade, you were reminded of the greatness and majesty of God, who, as a most wise Architect, formed this vast universe with wonderful skill and limitless power.
The light of divine faith that filled your mind, did not grow dim when you saw Jesus working as a carpenter. You firmly believed that the saintly Youth working beside you was truly God’s own son.
Saint Joseph, I thank God for your privilege of being able to work side by side with Jesus in the carpenter shop of Nazareth. As a token of your own gratitude to God, obtain for me the grace to respect the dignity of labor and ever to be content with the position in life, however lowly, in which it may please divine providence to place me. Teach me to work for God and with God in the spirit of humility and prayer, as you did, so that I may offer my toil in union with the sacrifice of Jesus in the Mass as a reparation for my sins, and gain rich merit for heaven.
Saint Joseph… Pray for us.