Joseph was the beloved husband of Mary and the beloved foster father of Jesus. The gospels describe Joseph as a tektōn. Traditionally, the word has been translated to mean “carpenter” although the Greek term suggests an artisan with wood in general, or an artisan in iron or stone. He is honored as the epitome of the dignity of workers and the guardian of their families.
He was always honest, conscientious, fair, and dependable. Joseph was an exemplary worker because he saw the process of working just as important as the result. All his work was done for his love of Jesus and Mary, which gave it the highest value.
Joseph teaches us that our work will be as great as our intentions are pure. This includes all the small tasks we normally consider insignificant.
[Adapted from a prayer by Pius X]
Dear St. Joseph, example for all who are engaged in toil, please pray with me so that I may work in the spirit of atonement for my sins; that I may work conscientiously, keeping devotion to duty before my personal feelings; that I may work with thankfulness and joy, holding it an honor to use and develop by my labor, the gifts I have received from almighty God.
Pray with me that I may work with order, peace, moderation, and patience—-and never shirk duty because of weariness or because of difficulties encountered; that I do my best, whether the task is easy or difficult, pleasant, or unpleasant; that I keep a good sense of humor.
Before all else, may I work with a right intention and with detachment from self, keeping in mind the hour of my death and the account I must give to God for misused time, for neglected talents, for good not done, and for any foolish pride in my success.
All for Jesus, all through Mary, all in imitation of you, Joseph, most faithful. Amen.