Tag Archives: Saint Joseph the Worker

Saints: Even More Reasons to Celebrate

28 Jul

Minnesota loves to party. As soon as the our frigid winters disappear, we look for any reason to be out of doors. Even the palest Scandinavian will risk sunburn to enjoy all the beautiful things our state offers. Perhaps it’s the length of the cold which drives us to have a good time like there’s no tomorrow. (Honestly, who really knows what the weather forecast will bring?) From Grand Old Day to the Minnesota State Fair, from the Basilica Block party to weekends at the cabin, each weekend has something unique and something to celebrate. We get together with friends, drink great beer, listen to extraordinary music, and do that which brings us out of ourselves and into the beauty of whatever we may be celebrating. We celebrate what means the most. We honor what has been sacrificed. We recognize accomplishments and we, through the sacramental and physical world, begin to meditate and experience what the Heavenly vision of God, our true home and ultimate goal, will be like.

Saint Norbert by Martin Pepijn

Saint Norbert by Martin Pepijn

Earlier this month, I was able to create my own celebration for what I value deeply in my life. The Catholic Church, in her diversity, recognizes those whom she elevates to sainthood with recognition on a particular day of the year. If a parish or ethnic group holds the values of a saint or feast in high honor, they are permitted to celebrate the saint’s day with greater festivity than other members of the Church. They host a celebration proudly showing what makes their community special and how God speaks to them while still coming together to create the whole Church on the highest festivals like Easter or Christmas. For instance, in Catholic Mexico, May 1 is the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker and is celebrated widely. The Irish celebrate St. Patrick on March 17. Native Americans may celebrate St. Kateri Tekakwitha on July 14. Individually, people celebrate their namesake’s feast day, or their confirmation saint’s feast.

I have a particular devotion to St. Norbert. When I celebrated my saint’s day it felt to me like a great holiday! I was able to mark the day not only with special prayer but also shared my joy with friends who celebrated with me (whether they expected to or not) at the Muddy Pig. God spoke to me. He knew the day meant a lot to me and He showed me His love in a very deep and personal way. This love must be tried and experienced. No description could ever do skydiving justice: how much greater the experience of the love of God!

All God created is good and it ought to be celebrated! Explore the great festivals of the Church and learn all the reasons to raise a glass and party! There are many ways to become holy. You may find a saint or two who resonates with your spirituality. If so, toast to them!

Link to learn more about St. Norbert: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots181.htm

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Taking Care of Business and Working Overtime: A Christian Reflection on Work

25 Apr

Saint Joseph the Worker

A number of years ago a friend remarked at how excited he was to get a “real” job. He explained to me that he had been in college for four years and had been working towards a goal, and that goal was to get a job in his field. My response: “Well, if that’s what college is for, then I don’t want that!”

I was having too much of a good time as an 18-year old with little or no substantial responsibility and the world was my oyster. No way was I handing that over to the man to slave away for the rest of my life. I saw such work as joyless, tedious, and restrictive. In one word: toilsome. But at least I had someone to blame: Adam and Eve. That was one of the punishments from the Original Sin, was it not?

Well, yes and no. Yes, work is necessary, and isn’t always candy and nuts. But work need not be toilsome, especially since Christ redeemed man. Instead, we can, by His grace, regain what was lost by that Original Sin. In this case, to work in imitation of God himself: to use our God-given creative abilities to build up this world into the Kingdom here and now.

That’s why the Church celebrates the feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1. “May Day” had been a secular day to celebrate workers, and still is a national holiday in dozens of countries worldwide. However, without this sense of work being a participation in God’s work on earth, it easily deteriorates into toil.

St. Joseph, of course, worked as a carpenter in order to provide for his wife Mary and their son Jesus. Not necessarily glamorous work, but that’s not the point. The point is that he built things not for himself or even just to pay the bills, but instead to glorify God and to provide an example to us and even to Jesus as to how a man ought to use his talents and abilities to do good. In doing so, he worked to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Since that conversation with my friend, I have one of those 9-5’s of my own. And I’ll be the first to admit I enjoy my time off as much as ever. But I’ll also say there’s something about relaxing after a long workday or a happy hour on Friday afternoon that is more satisfying because of the work I’ve already accomplished. It’s a sense that I’ve done something good, I’ve accomplished something, and I’ve used my talents to contribute to the good of others, and in the process, the good of myself.

That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned, by experience, since those lazy days of youth: that I am built up by the work that I do. Which I think was God’s plan in the first place.

-Isaac Huss