33-Day Consecration to St. Joseph
May 1, or “May Day,” was celebrated throughout the Communist world as a way of supposedly honoring the role and importance of laborers in Marxist countries. The Communist conception of work, as almost an end in itself was, of course, very different from the Christian understanding, and in 1955, to highlight this difference, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
St. Joseph spent a lifetime laboring as a carpenter. His primary motivation for working was not a quest for riches or status, but a desire to serve God and to care for his family in a loving way. Joseph never worked any miracles; he never made any important speeches; he wasn’t a public figure, but was known only as a humble carpenter. Joseph labored in obscurity, but was nonetheless given an important part in God’s plan.
Work is not intended to be an end in itself or a path to earthly riches; rather, it’s meant to glorify God and to help us prepare for eternity. As Jesus said,
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Matthew 6:20-21).[xi]
No matter our jobs, whether in the home or outside the home, we spend many of our waking hours working. If we view our daily tasks as meaningless unpleasantries, then doubtless we will become bitter and fail to cultivate any virtue. On the contrary, if we resolve to be sanctified through our jobs, we will develop an honorable Christian character.
We should also guard against working too much. The vast majority of people who work too much do so for unhealthy reasons: avoiding home, getting unmet needs met, the need for approval, avoiding grief, etc. Workaholics are of no benefit to themselves, the family, or society. St. Joseph is an able aide at achieving a proper work-life balance. Consider that St. Joseph was willing to leave his work behind when he fled to Egypt to protect Christ.
St. Joseph also serves as the model workman for the imitation of those who work for the salvation of souls, especially deacons, priests, bishops, and religious. Consecrated souls are to work diligently and faithfully in God’s vineyard. This work, too, can be difficult and burdensome.[xii]
St. Joseph, Model of Workmen, help me to make Christ known through the way I carry myself at work. Pray that I may work diligently and faithfully, and help me to make time for God, family, and rest. Pray the Litany of St. Joseph.
Take a few moments to prayerfully examine your work/life balance, and ask the Holy Spirit along with St. Joseph to inspire your thoughts, desires, and decisions as to what might need to be adjusted to reflect God’s priorities. Share this with your spouse. Ask for God’s grace to adjust.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Noble Offspring of David, pray for us.
Light of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Spouse of the Mother of God, pray for us.
Chaste Guardian of the Virgin, pray for us.
Foster-Father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Zealous Defender of Christ, pray for us.
Head of the Holy Family, pray for us.
Joseph Most Just, pray for us.
Joseph Most Chaste, pray for us.
Joseph Most Prudent, pray for us.
Joseph Most Courageous, pray for us.
Joseph Most Obedient, pray for us.
Joseph Most Faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of Patience, pray for us.
Lover of Poverty, pray for us.
Model of Workmen, pray for us.
Glory of Domestic Life, pray for us.
Guardian of Virgins, pray for us.
Pillar of Families, pray for us.
Comfort of the Afflicted, pray for us.
Hope of the Sick, pray for us.
Patron of the Dying, pray for us.
Terror of Demons, pray for us.
Protector of the Holy Church, pray for us.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
He has made him lord of his household,
And prince over all his possessions.
Let us pray. O God, who, in your loving providence, chose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most Holy Mother, grant us the favor of having him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our protector. You, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.