Posted by: fvbcdm | May 1, 2013

Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker (1 May 2013)

Today is May Day, the first day of the month dedicated by Catholic devotion to the Mother of our Divine Lord.  Let us try to live this entire month for the honor and glory of God and in loving devotion to the woman he has given to us as our heavenly mother. Today is the commemoration of Saint Joseph the Worker, a very recently established feast and one which has an unusual cause.  It was established by Pope Pius XII in 1955—just [58] years ago, which is very recent as far as church history goes.  And the reason why he gave to the Christian world this new liturgical celebration is that during the dreadful days of atheistic communism in much of the world, the communists decided to celebrate an international communist labor day, on which they could glorify human labor and totally ignore the fact that without God, we would not exist, nor would there be a world which we could improve by our human intelligence and technology.  During the terrible years of 1917 until 1989 when communism held forth in half of our world, there were May Day demonstrations in all communist countries, usually marked by parades of guns and tanks and strutting soldiers and other death-dealing machinery and personnel.  To offset that concept of work-without-God, Pope Pius called the attention of the world to the fact that human work is a great blessing by which we can maintain ourselves and our families and improve the world in which we live.

The gospel tells us that Saint Joseph was a carpenter, and it is almost certain that Our Lord, during those approximately thirty years before he began his public life, worked with his guardian, Saint Joseph, in the carpentry trade. I have no doubt that over there in what is now Israel or Palestine, buried under the debris and dust and sand of twenty centuries, there are bits and pieces of tables, chairs, churns, carts, beds, plows, and other artifacts which Saint Joseph and Our Lord made with the primitive tools of their day. Imagine: the same divine intellect which fashioned the human brain and the galaxies which wheel over our heads day and night, made fairly simple furniture which would be improved upon by the cabinet-makers of a future generation.  And the busy hands of Our Lady, which so lovingly held the Incarnate Word in adoring joy and love and prayer, pulled many a bucket of water up from the village well and fashioned many a batch of dough into bread for her little family, one of whom was the Second Person of the Infinite Trinity.

Let us therefore do what we must do in the pursuit of our own vocation and profession as lovingly and as caringly as we can.  Saint Benedict instructed his monks to handle their shovels and spades and pick-axes as prayerfully as they handled the chalices and the patens and other sacred vessels in the chapel, since all of these things contribute to our worship of God. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

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