Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph - The Worker
The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker
The feast of Saint Joseph the Worker is not a mere Catholic copying of the Communist First of May – any more than Christmas is a mere copy of the pagan feast of Saturnalia. The dates are taken over, for obvious reasons; but the content is radically different.
The Christian view of work is the opposite of the materialist view. A worker such as St Joseph is not a mere lump of labor – “1.00 human work units.” He is a person. He is created in God’s own image, and just as creation is an activity of God, so creation is an activity of the worker. The work we do echoes the glorious work that God has done. It may not be wasted; or abused; or improperly paid; or directed to wrong or pointless ends. To do any of these things is not oppression, it is sacrilege. The glory of the present economic system is when it gives so many, of whatever class, the chance to build and create something worthwhile, whether from their own resources, or in collaboration with others, or by attracting investment from others. But its shame is when that does not happen: when people are coerced, by greed or by poverty, into being “lumps of labor.” Whether the labor is arduous or not makes no difference; whether it is richly paid or not makes no difference.
Because she must combat the anti-humanist Communist heresy the Church is sometimes thought to be on the side of capital. Reading the successive Papal encyclicals on labor and society, from Rerum Novarum (1891) onwards, will soon dispel that illusion. The enemies of the Church have no reason to read them; all too often we feel too comfortable in our present economic state and refrain from reading them also.
Source credit: Universalis
Rerum Novarum - Pope Leo XIII
Rerum Novarum, a pivotal encyclical by Pope Leo XIII issued on May 15, 1891, addresses the social, political, and economic challenges stemming from the Industrial Revolution and the resulting inequalities. The document acknowledges the struggles faced by workers, upholds their dignity and rights, and asserts the right to private property alongside the responsibility of owners to contribute to the common good. It calls for just wages, supports the formation of trade unions, advocates for a limited government role in promoting social justice, and highlights the family as society's cornerstone. Rerum Novarum emphasizes the need for collaboration among the Church, state, employers, and workers to tackle social issues and foster a just society that balances individual rights with social responsibilities.
Today’s Mass Collect
O God, Creator of all things, who laid down for the human race the law of work, graciously grant that by the example of Saint Joseph and under his patronage we may complete the works you set us to do and attain the rewards you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,God, for ever and ever.
You can read Rerum Novarum at this link.