I often wonder what St. Joseph had to say. At first, I found it somewhat sad that one of the three members of the Holy Family never had any of his words recorded, but after some time, I grew to appreciate how much he had to say through what we know of his life and actions.
There is a very limited amount of information that the tradition of the church reveals to us about the foster father of Jesus, but we do know that he was a very good, holy man and that he spent most of his life working as a carpenter.
I have a very high admiration for this very mysterious man that has such a large role in the lives of Jesus and Mary. Even though I have a high respect for Saint Joseph, I’ve had a very hard time relating to him on a spiritual level. Having our Lord and the Mother of God in your house would make it difficult not to live in holiness.
As with many of my religious works, I make them as an expression of my own desire to encounter the subject deeper in prayer. I painted this because I want to get to know his story better and learn to imitate his fidelity to Our Lord.
There is also much to be said about St. Joseph’s work ethic. The church thinks so highly of it that we celebrate a memorial of St. Joseph as a worker for greater encouragement of the faithful. It reminds us that there is dignity in the work we do to provide for our families, as St. Joseph’s work provided for his family.
“Now this holiness (of Jesus) became a reality in the most ordinary circumstances of life, those of work, of the family and the social life of a village, and this is an emphatic affirmation of the fact that the most obscure and humdrum human activities are entirely compatible with the perfection of the Son of God….this mystery involves the conviction that the evangelical holiness proper to a child of God is possible in the ordinary circumstances of someone who is poor and obliged to work for his living.”
– René Voillaume, Brothers of Men
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a creative professional, but sometimes I find it difficult to let my faith penetrate my work in secular design. When I think about him, I often think to myself, “I’m no Saint Joseph.” Even still, meditating upon this painting helps me remember that I can count on his powerful prayers of intercession and learn from his humility and obedience.
A Prayer to St. Joseph the Worker
O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God.
All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.
– Composed by St. Pius X
Saint Joseph, Ora Pro Nobis