Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which is a reminder that our daily work is a gift, a path to holiness and unity with Christ. St. Joseph’s daily work might have looked ordinary to an outsider, but his simple carpentry provided for God Incarnate. By his work he was able to feed the Lord Himself and protect the Holy Family. God bestowed a great honor upon Joseph, to allow him to take part in the salvific mission of Jesus through his everyday tasks.
We, too, can make an offering of our work to God. When we do so, the work itself, however mundane, becomes sanctified, holy, a path to eternal life. We can choose to see our work as a means to earthly food and goods that will perish, or we can strive for the food that endures. Our ordinary work can be elevated and united to a heavenly mission when we carry it out for the sake of Jesus. In this simple offering we will find our daily bread: the food that endures, which will sustain our souls for eternity.
Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker
O Glorious St. Joseph,
model of all those who are devoted to labor,
obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously,
putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations,
to work with gratitude and joy,
in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins,
considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor
the gifts received from God,
to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience,
without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties,
to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self,
having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render
of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success,
so fatal to the work of God.
All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example,
O Patriarch, St. Joseph.
Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.
Image: Georges de la Tour, Joseph the Carpenter / PD-US