Saturday, May 1, 2010



Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph, the Worker. In our Diocese of LaCrosse, it is a Solemnity because he is the primary patron of our Diocese. And, he is the Patron of our Public Association of the Faithful, the Institute of Saint Joseph.

This feast was instituted to combat the "Worker's Day" of the Communist Party in the 1950's by Pope Pius XII by emphasizing the Catholic understanding of the dignity of the human person and the dignity of work, not as an "end", but as a "means" of perfecting and sanctifying the human person, in the imitation of Saint Joseph, Guardian of the Redeemer and Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Fr. Marie-Dominique Phillipe, OP, founder of the Community of Saint John, in the recently released book,"The Mystery of Joseph" (Ignatius Press), has a beautiful meditation upon Saint Joseph, work, the monastic life and the lay life.

The great grace of the Second Vatican Council was perhaps to make us discover, or rediscover, the unity that exists between the Christian household and the monastic life, and to show us that there is no separation between the two. There is a distinction, obviously, but a distinction for the purpose of a much deeper unity, because we are all tending towards the same holiness, towards the same intimacy with Christ, with Mary, with Joseph. It is very important that the spirituality of the family today not be separated from monastic spirituality, and that there are profound exchanges in the order of charity (in the order of 'agape') between Christian households, which are in the world and have temporal responsibilities, and monastic households--spiritual and contemplative households which are totally consecrated to God. The latter remain linked to temporal households and families, and must help them to go further.

The monastic life, in its most classic and simplest features, is rooted in the life of Joseph, in the silent and hidden life of a worker who worships God and loves Him--a faithful worker, meek and poor...

'Poor' in the work that he did, Joseph accepted that he would not see immediate results. 'Faithful', he ceaselessly offered his work to God, working to the best of his ability yet doing so for God. 'Meek', he did his work without jealousy or rivalry. He worked as a man of poverty, to glorify God. Where did this unceasing concern for God's glory come from? From his faithfulness to adoration. The demands of adoration (which are 'interior' and not simply the forced carrying out of a legal recommendation) leave us completely stripped of everything. A man who truly adores considers his work as matter to be consumed in the interior fire of adoration, and he does not expect anything else. Far from being an opposition to prayer or the contemplative life, work that is lived in this way is a foundation for monastic life....

What we are talking about here is true for all Christians; for all Christians the fundamental requirement is to live by adoration,'in spirit and truth' and then, stemming from the adoration, to live by a thirst for contemplation...

3 comments:

Adoro said...

Father,

Can you explain the Icon a bit? Why is Joseph in green, for example? I know why Jesus is in Gold, although perhaps some do not...

Could you maybe, when you have time, do a series on iconography?

An Icon all alone, if understood, is a complete catechesis. I for one would LOVE to learn how to write icons, but for now, would be satisfied to learn more than the basics I know now.

On Saturday, I learned that a business I visit from time to time is owned by Coptic Orthodox. The young man behind the counter exclaimed over my keychain icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, started to explain it. He had such obvious devotion to Our Lady, and a desire to share the symbolism of icons!

It was a very cool experience and I think people are ripe to hear about them and learn from them.

:-)

I know you're busy, but do you have time to write a few posts on common symbolism in iconography?

nazareth priest said...

Adoro: I will do this. Thanks for your interest and request.
God bless!

Badger Catholic said...

Thank you for posting this Father