How can we not recognize then the great dignity of work, whatever kind it may be in its concrete expression? How can we not see the fundamental role that it fulfill in the life of the individual, of the family, of society? Unfortunately, greed and egoism have often pushed men to abuse the intellectual and physical talents of their fellow men and to impose upon them working services that are revealed in various ways to be harmful to their personal dignity. Against these deteriorations of labor relations unions justly arise to defend those whose legitimate rights they see trampled.
If this is just and merits approval, an attitude would be incomprehensible that would succeed in questioning work as such, not recognizing its providential role’ indicated in the first Biblical command: “Subdue the earth!” (cf. Gen 1:28). This role Saint Joseph recognized and accepted in his life, transmitting to the young Jesus who was growing at his side the spirit of joyful readiness with which he resumed his daily task every morning. For this too Saint Joseph stands before the Christian people as a shining model of life, to whom every father can and must look in the concrete choices that are imposed upon him by the responsibility of a family.
Novena Prayer to St Joseph the Worker
O glorious patriarch St Joseph, humble and just workman of Nazareth, who has given to all Christians but especially to us, the example of a perfect life of assiduous work and admirable union with Mary and Jesus, help us in our daily tasks, so that we Catholic workmen may also be able to find in them the efficacious means to glorify our Lord, to sanctify ourselves, and to be useful to the society in which we live – all as supreme ideals of our actions.
Obtain for us from our Lord, O beloved Protector, humility and simplicity of heart, love of work, and benevolence toward those who are our companions in it; conformity to the divine will in the inevitable sufferings of this life, and joy in bearing them; a consciousness of our specific social mission and a sense of our responsibility; a spirit of discipline and of prayer; docility and respect toward our superiors; brotherhood toward our equals; charity and indulgence for those who depend on us. Be with us in moments of success, when everything beckons us to taste the honest fruits of our fatigue; but sustain us in our hours of sadness, when heaven seems to be closed against us and the very instruments of labor seem to rebel in our hands.
We raise our hearts to you now, St Joseph, to implore your powerful intercession in obtaining for us from the divine Heart of Jesus these special graces and favors: (……)
Grant that according to your example we may keep our eyes fixed on our mother Mary, your most sweet spouse, who silently used to do her weaving in a corner of your modest workshop, with the sweetest smile playing on her lips. Grant that we may not lose sight of Jesus, who busied himself with you at your carpenter’s bench. Thus may we be able to lead a peaceful and holy life on earth, as a prelude to that eternally happy one which awaits us in heaven forever and ever. Amen.