St. Joseph, the Worker
Mark Twain once said that the two most important days in your life are, the day you are born and the day you find out why!. Right from the moment, that the divine purpose was revealed to St. Joseph in a dream, St. Joseph’s every act was towards enabling that divine purpose of being a part of God’s plan of divine mercy, for all of creation.
May 1st is celebrated as the feast day of St. Joseph, the Worker. The most venerable of all saints, alongside Mother Mary, intercedes for us, as we collectively battle uncertainty, unemployment, poverty, confusion, and fear.
O glorious Patriarch, Saint Joseph,
humble and just artisan of Nazareth,
Thou hast given to all Christians and particularly to us,
an example of a perfect life, through diligent labor,
and admirable union with Jesus and Mary.
Pope Pius XII, who established May 1st as the feast of St.Joseph the Worker.
Saint Joseph was a just man,
a tireless worker,
the upright guardian of those entrusted to his care.
May he always guard,
Pope John Paul II
Humble Providence around a Divine Surrender
When Jesus came into this world, he entrusted himself into the hands of St. Joseph and Mother Mary. The Creator entrusted himself to his creation!
Every act of St. Joseph from that moment on, was to safeguard and make God’s mission come true and nurture and provide for the Holy Family and bring joy to God, through hard work and care, patiently, lovingly.
At the Cathedral of our Lady of Angels, on one of the side aisles, there is this beautiful sculpture of St. Joseph, at his workbench, holding Jesus. The harmony and joy of the scene almost magically draws you in for a moment. It is something that all of us can relate to, as children & parents.
God our Creator wants us to be happy in the work that we do for and with him, just as he is happy in us, the work of his creation. Our work is the bond that connects and fulfills God’s purpose for us in this world and St. Joseph models this best, alongside Mother Mary.
Our Human Way of Thinking
Should we also think of this slightly differently, and model work conceptually as a mathematical equation say,
Change in our Joy (from our work), is a function of the work that we do, driven by the purpose, energy, effort & commitment from us at that time.
Work can be anything that we do during our lifetime as we learn & create, to provide for our families, pursue our dreams, or our actions towards improving our/others’ well-being.
Assuming low entropy and negligible chaos (though some moments in our lives are anything but…), our work equation could be,
W (t) = ƒ (Purpose (t), Projected Impact (t), Energy (t), Effort (t), Commitment (t))
where t denotes time & projected impact also includes our bias from previous actuals versus past projected outcomes.
And say, the rate of change of Joy, Joy ‘(t)= g (W(t)), expressed as a function of our work.
Our joy can be represented as the integral,
Our joy depends on the outcomes (how it affects others & our lives) and the joys derived when performing the work.
Positive outcomes from our work, over time, collectively or as individuals, can become a perpetual source of energy that we tap into and that influences our next action as it inspires us to put more energy and efforts into our next act of work.
Then again, we could have that eclipsing and defining moment of our lives, which eclipses all the joy we may have experienced until then and defines the entirety of our lives. Those will stand out as stronger joys in the equation.
We could look upon St. Joseph, as the ideal person, who models this equation perfectly, through his work for the Holy Family and for all of us. He models this for all of us, silently, yet patiently with unwavering endurance and effort. He inspires us to persevere with kindness towards all, no matter how hard the struggles we may face as individuals or collectively.
The key may be to figure out (with God’s help) what our final joy & work equation should be at the end of our life and then working backwards to achieve that in smaller steps. Easier said than done and for most of us, including me, that is incredibly difficult, because we have our struggles in the moment, which blind us from the purposeful work that the Creator sent us in the world for, packed with the Joy that it was meant to bring us and others.
The Word of God, Modelled for Us
How is this possible? It is only possible with Jesus at our side and with St. Joseph as the strongest link and our intercessor before Jesus. We need Jesus with us as we work, to know the will of God so that everything that we do, can become a blessing for us. As in Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
St. Joseph models this word of God, perfectly for us, through his work and endurance.
Prayer to Saint Joseph the Worker
Glorious Saint Joseph, patron of all who are devoted to toil,
Obtain for me the grace to toil in the spirit of penance,
In order thereby to atone for my many sins,
To toil conscientiously, putting devotion to duty before my own inclinations.
To labor with thankfulness and joy,
Deeming it an honor to employ and to develop, by my labor,
The gifts I have received from Almighty God.
To work with order, peace, moderation, and patience,
Without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties,
To work above all with a pure intention and with detachment from self,
Having always before my eyes, the hour of death and the accounting.
Which I must then render of time ill spent, of talents unemployed,
Of good undone and of my empty pride in success,
Which is so fatal to the work of God.
All for Jesus, all through Mary,all in imitation of thee, O Patriarch Joseph!
This shall be my motto in life and in death.
A Reflection with St. Joseph
Should we go back to the Cathedral workbench scene and picture St. Joseph, working at his workbench, with Jesus, while we say the St. Patrick’s prayer?
This scene comes to life, as we say the St. Patrick’s prayer.
St. Patrick’s Prayer (short version)
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
I arise today through a mighty strength
and the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness,
Of the Creator of creation.
Dwelling on St. Patrick’s prayer, with St. Joseph, is also incredibly important as we reflect on the purpose and impact of work, as we advance, and scale work in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, stem cell research, artificial neural intercepts & neural implants, & artificial genetic mutation. Some of these, when done right, hold the promise of amazing outcomes, even visible today, while some may only be visible in retrospect later, and harder to predict or overcome.
Our actions today and the compass and controls that we pivot to, may influence action-based outcomes for humanity, for years to come.
For the opportunities and problems that surround the world and other intentions, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, places his intentions every night under the statue of The Sleeping St. Joseph in his room, before he goes to sleep, praying that his prayers are answered at dawn.
Continuing in prayer, here’s a song that came from within me, as I was reflecting on this theme.
I invite you to reflect and sing with me.
St. Joseph, our helper, lead us to the Lord, through the work that we do,
Every day, today, in more ways that only you and the Lord can do.
Each day, today, we come to offer, in the Lord’s presence, while we work here, to belong,
Teach us to be strong, lead us to Jesus, every moment with Jesus, every breath whispers, we belong!
Shower your grace, every moment to feel blessed and endure,
Every morning and dawn, as we watch the Lord’s work in creation, together in awe.
The ideas that radiate, the brightness that finds us, the lives that we touch,
The smiles that blind us, the love that surrounds us,
The blessings we seek, the steps that we take,
The peace that rises within us, as we pray for the Lord to stand beside us!
A voice that whispers, and a hand that holds us, as we walk and as we run,
Is that you Jesus walking beside us, each day that we work here, to belong?
When the battles seem tough, when the strength in hope is hard to find,
When the joys seem so near, yet far and sublime,
When our sweat fills the clouds and the tears of rain overflow and can’t seem to hide.
Fill us with the Lord’s grace, before they empty us from a resolve to never give up.
Lead us to conquer, with failures behind us, to praise God,
While we work here, to belong.
We open our eyes to a wonder that awaits us,
Fresh from a grace that now overflows!
As we toil in the sun that shines bright in the valleys,
We can’t stop smiling, as we now see through the forests and deserts that surround us!
Each day, we pray, show us the way, offering our work, with praise & worship,
I hear the Lord whispering; can you wait any longer, to belong?
A new day is beckoning, new graces and blessings to share,
Why should we wait to work and build on only the Lord’s will and care?
We sing and we shout, with St. Joseph and Mother Mary, walking us to Jesus,
Bring us to the Lord’s home, we pray, where we wait in hope, to belong!
Journeying Together, In Faith
Wishing us all, a lifetime of success and joy in our work, towards the purpose that God brought us into this world for. Let us unite in prayers for the universal access of opportunity, freedom and just work conditions that enable the dignity & fruits of labor and share in a lifetime of Joy @ ∫Work (Purpose, Impact, Energy, Effort, Commitment).
May God’s divine purpose guide us all and may St. Joseph be our shining light, during our journey of discovery and creation.