Joseph, The Laborer

Celebrating St. Joseph

One of the ongoing concerns of the modern age has been providing education as a way of making a better society. For this reason, every young person born in America today is told from their youngest age and into their twenties that their lot in life will be school, which will make them better citizens. In fact, those who do not succeed in school, as determined by receiving a college degree, are often said to have fallen short and are looked down upon as being less of a person. Beyond a shadow of doubt, everyone can agree that education is important and has been one of the single most important reasons why Man has been able to achieve so much today.

Now, because both parents are working longer hours (after a life of being educated comes a life of being at a desk), children are beginning school earlier and earlier. In the background of it all have been the social engineers that are trying to build a better society by insisting that a better educated person is a better person. The tools of construction have become smart boards and text books. Every person must be engineered into a better person through this educational model.

Lost in much of the rhetoric today has been the value of labor and the fact that laborers are good persons. Yes, education is important. Yes, people need to be prepared to face the challenges of the world today. But in the evolution of the educational system many have forgotten that one model does not fit all and everyone cannot be an engineer or professor. Everyone needs to grow in knowledge and wisdom but not everyone does so on the same path. In this regard, it is not what someone knows that makes him or her good but that someone is known by God.

As a Church, we have always celebrated the goodness of labor and affirmed that those who learn a trade should be just as esteemed as the nuclear physicist. In celebrating St. Joseph, we also recall that it is God Who "laid down for the human race the law of work." Thus, we must remember that it is not the work we do that makes us human but that as humans we work according to God's design in order to flourish in our humanity.