Day 6: Novena to St Joseph the Worker
Work was the daily expression of love in the life of the Family of Nazareth. The Gospel specifies the kind of work Joseph did in order to support his family: he was a carpenter. This simple word sums up Joseph’s entire life. For Jesus, these were hidden years, the years to which Luke refers after recounting the episode that occurred in the Temple: “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them” (Lk 2:51). This “submission” or obedience of Jesus in the house of Nazareth should be understood as a sharing in the work of Joseph. Having learned the work of his presumed father, he was known as “the carpenter’s son.” If the Family of Nazareth is an example and model for human families, in the order of salvation and holiness, so too, by analogy, is Jesus’ work at the side of Joseph the carpenter. In our own day, the Church has emphasized this by instituting the liturgical memorial of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. Human work, and especially manual labor, receive special prominence in the Gospel. Along with the humanity of the Son of God, work too has been taken up in the mystery of the Incarnation, and has also been redeemed in a special way. At the workbench where he plied his trade together with Jesus, Joseph brought human work closer to the mystery of the Redemption.
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.