While the Jubilee year turns our gaze to the mystery of the Incarnation, it invites us to reflect with particular intensity on the hidden life of Jesus in Nazareth. It was there that he spent most of his earthly life. With his silent diligence in Joseph’s workshop, Jesus gave the highest proof of the dignity of work. Today’s Gospel mentions how the residents of Nazareth, his fellow villagers, welcomed him with surprise, asking one another: “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son?” (Mt 13: 54-55).
The Son of God did not disdain being called a “carpenter” and did not want to be spared the normal condition of every human being. “The eloquence of the life of Christ is unequivocal: he belongs to the “working world’, he has appreciation and respect for human work. It can indeed be said that he looks with love upon human work and the different forms that it takes, seeing in each one of these forms a particular facet of man’s likeness with God, the Creator and Father” (Encyclical Laborem exercens, n. 26).
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.