Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1: St. Joseph the Worker (Ascension transferred to Sunday)

Georges de La Tour. St. Joseph, the Carpenter. 1640s. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France

With Ascension transferred to Sunday in the US, we celebrate today the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. There is an excellent post made last year by Terry Nelson on this feast day at Abbey Roads 2. I'll start you out here and then follow the link to read the entire post.

To develop and use our gifts for the good of others.

In 1955 Pius XII established this feast to promote the dignity of labor and workers. On some level, the feast was instituted to counter the Communist influence throughout the world, exalted each May Day in celebration of the worker’s movement with parades and rallies, which took place each May 1st in various cities throughout the world.

This feast is greater than that however, recognizing the God given right for all men to labor for the Kingdom of God rather than mere temporal goods and success. Earning one’s living by the work of one’s hands and sharing the fruit of one’s labor with one’s fellow man is a Christian principle, often distorted by communist ideology as well as our good old Yankee work ethic.

Men often define themselves by what they do for a living and how much they earn, absorbing themselves in the acquisition of wealth, material goods and luxuries, ignoring those oppressed by poverty, exploitation, repressive regimes, and all the other evils that work together to rob the disadvantaged from earning a living through honest labor.

Labor and leisure.

Last year the Holy Father spoke about the excessive busyness of modern man, especially in the developed countries. It is an interesting address, and something we might ponder on this the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. In the United States work has become a sort of idol for many. One’s leisure time is often a time of intense activity as well, only to be interrupted with business related cell phone exchanges, blackberry intrusions, or email correspondence, thereby causing a person to always be on the job as it were, continuously connected to one’s work. This ethic is often admired and promoted as a virtue.

Conitnue reading St. Joseph the Worker at Abbey Roads 2...

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