Be strengthened by St. Joseph’s holy example

From Genesis, we learn of the goodness of work. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) God commanded man to work, and in work, there is great merit! While it may seem that prayer and work can be contradictory, our Lord shows us how daily labor can offer us opportunities to grow ever closer to the Divine. 

This eBook encourages you to unite with Christ as you perform your daily tasks. You will learn what Scripture, the Church, and our friends, the Saints, have said about manual labor and its dignity.

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Why is St. Joseph the Worker on May 1st?

Pope Pius XII instituted this memorial at the beginning of May, Mary’s month, because the dignity of work was being distorted by communism. The Soviet Union proclaimed itself the defender of the workers, utilizing “May Day” to exalt communism and parade its military might. There may even have been some motivation from the message of Fátima, since Our Lady spoke of the errors of Russia that would infect the world if not stopped, and both Mary and Joseph appeared to the children in the last apparition of October 13th, 1917. This purpose remains relevant today.

What was Joseph’s profession in the Bible?

St. Joseph was a carpenter, meaning that he would have made various items such as plows and other farm equipment, doors, chests, and furniture. He taught this trade to Our Lord.

How did St. Joseph serve God?

St. Joseph was unfailingly obedient to God’s commands. When the angel told St. Joseph to not be afraid to bring Mary his espoused wife into his home, he obeyed. When he was warned to escape to Egypt, he obeyed. He continually provided for his family and protected them—even in the face of great danger.

Even though he was not the father of Jesus biologically, St. Joseph was a devoted father to the Word Incarnate, taking the place on earth of His Father in heaven.

What does St. Joseph help with?

St. Padre Pio said, “Go to Joseph with extreme confidence, because I do not remember having asked anything from St. Joseph, without having obtained it readily.”

Since St. Joseph was the foster-father of Jesus, he was continually working for his family, the Holy Family. He provided for them, protected them, and was the head of the family.

Now that he is in Heaven, he is a powerful intercessor for us and the patron saint of many different people and places.

What can we learn from Saint Joseph?

We can learn about the importance of faith when we see how deeply he believed the message of the angel:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and his name shall be called Emmanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)

We understand courage when we hear about the flight into Egypt:

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. (Matthew 2:13-15)

We also learn about obedience. St. Joseph was obedient to Our Lord, even in the midst of great trials and danger.

Videos About St. Joseph the Worker

What is Saint Joseph known for?

We know Joseph was a man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he immediately left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited in Egypt without question until the angel told him it was safe to go back.

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Why is St. Joseph the sleeping saint?

St. Joseph is sometimes portrayed sleeping. It was, after all, while sleeping that an angel enlightened him regarding the Child Mary was carrying. The image of the sleeping Joseph, therefore, touches many, especially those with troubles.

Pope Francis has explained the personal significance of the image for himself, no doubt thinking of the biblical account.

I have a great love for St. Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table, I have an image of St. Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath St. Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words, I tell him: “Pray for this problem!” (Apostolic Journey to the Philippines, 2015).