Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Devotion for today: feast of St. Joseph the worker

Scripture for meditation: Matthew 13:55
Is not this the carpenter’s son?

Scripture for reflection: Matthew 1:24
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.

Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D. tells us: In an address to the Catholic Association of Italian Workers, May 1, 1955, Pope Pius XII proclaimed May 1 (May Day) the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker. He thus imparted special religious significance to an observation that had been strictly secular – the proper feast of labor throughout the world – and one that had been used by the enemies of the Church to further their evil designs. Henceforth, May Day is to be “a day of rejoicing for the concrete and progressive triumph of the Christian ideals of the great family of labor. Acclaimed in this way by Christian workers and having received as it were a Christian baptism, the first of May, far from being a stimulus for discord, hate and violence, is and will be a recurring invitation to modern society to accomplish that which is still lacking for social peace.” Thus the humble carpenter of Nazareth, who was the support and guardian of the Divine Child and His Virgin Mother on earth, is now honored above all other men as the personification of the dignity of the manual laborer and the provident guardian of the worker’s family. (Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1977)

Prayer: Lord God, You have created all things and imposed on man the necessity of work. Grant that, following St. Joseph’s example, and under his protection, we may accomplish the works You give us and obtain the rewards You promise. Amen.

My thoughts: St. Joseph was a good father and provider. We know little of him from the Bible, but what is written speaks volumes. He was quickly obedient to the messengers God sent him surrounding the birth of his Son; he was a carpenter, a laborer who used his hands to provide for his family. He was honest and upright, and God-fearing. For all these reasons, he is the model for all of us to follow as we spend our days in work and toil. Being obedient to God is hard work; using our gifts and talents to make the world a better place is hard work. Yet when the going gets rough and we feel we can’t go on, let us look to St. Joseph for help and inspiration. By doing his job quietly and well, he provided a safe home for the redeemer of the world. Our work is just as valuable to God. Let us dedicate every day spent in labor to Our Father’s will, so that one day we may hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Now enter into my kingdom.”

Our prayer to God: Preface of Joseph, husband of Mary (from the Mass for St. Joseph the Worker)
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks as we honor St. Joseph. He is that just man, that wise and loyal servant, whom you placed at the head of your family. With a husband’s love he cherished Mary, the virgin Mother of God. With fatherly care he watched over Jesus Christ your Son, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ the choir of angels and all the powers of heaven praise and worship your glory. May our voices join with theirs as we proclaim: Holy, holy holy...

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