May is the month of Our Lady. But on the first day of May we celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, holy Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Foster Father of the Child Jesus, a feast which was established in 1955 by Pope Pius XII.
Pope Pius XI had already decreed in 1937:
"To hasten the advent of that 'peace of Christ in the kingdom of Christ' so ardently desired by all, We place the vast campaign of the Church against world Communism under the standard of St. Joseph, her mighty Protector. He belongs to the working-class, and he bore the burdens of poverty for himself and the Holy Family, whose tender and vigilant head he was. To him was entrusted the Divine Child when Herod loosed his assassins against Him. In a life of faithful performance of everyday duties, he left an example for all those who must gain their bread by the toil of their hands. He won for himself the title of 'The Just,' serving thus as a living model of that Christian justice which should reign in social life" (Divini Redemptoris, On Atheistic Communism, March 19, 1937).
St. Joseph takes his name from the patriarch Joseph, son of Jacob (Israel), who was sold as a slave into Egypt by his envious brothers, and became the administrator of the land of Egypt under the pharaoh. "He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions," says the psalm (104:21), words which would later be applied by the Church to St. Joseph.
When seven years of famine struck, the Egyptians were told by the pharaoh: "Go to Joseph and do what he tells you" (Gen.41:55). Joseph had stored grain during the seven years of plenty, and oversaw the apportioning of food to the people, so that when his brothers came to him with their father, Jacob, he became a savior to them. "Of old," says St. Bernard, "the Patriarch Joseph stored up food not only for himself but for all the people. Saint Joseph received the living bread come down from Heaven and guarded it, both for himself and for the whole world."
In times of trouble, "Go to Joseph," says Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical, Quamquam Pluries, On Devotion to St. Joseph (Aug. 15, 1889), lamenting the evils of his time:
"We see faith, the root of all the Christian virtues, lessening in many souls; we see charity growing cold; the young generation daily growing in depravity of morals and views; the Church of Jesus Christ attacked on every side by open force or by craft; a relentless war waged against the Sovereign Pontiff; and the very foundations of religion undermined with a boldness which waxes daily in intensity… In circumstances so unhappy and troublous, human remedies are insufficient, and it becomes necessary, as a sole resource, to beg for assistance from the Divine power."
His words are for us, in these times more "unhappy and troublous" than ever. And if we must talk about work, we must ask the question: what is the purpose of human work? We could talk forever about the dignity of human labor and the dignity of the human person, as the conciliar church does ad nauseam, but if it just leaves people smack in the middle of this world, what have we accomplished?
Some work to get rich. Others work so they can retire early and enjoy life. In the main, people work to survive, and to support their families. But looking at it from the perspective of eternity, our work, indeed all our activities in this life, must be directed towards saving our souls. We must find our way to Heaven, as St. Joseph did.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where rust and moth consume, and where thieves break in and steal," says Our Lord, "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves break in and steal. For where thy treasure is, there also will thy heart be" (Matthew 6: 19-21).
But as we look around we find that most people are missing the whole point of life. They give little thought to Heaven, and are in a mad rush towards the precipice of Hell. And this is mostly because they have been given a false assurance of salvation by the conciliar church, which canonizes them already at their funerals, assuring them that "Hell is probably empty."
And what good does it do to have a phony "respect" for the Jews, and the Muslims, and the atheists, if we allow them to slide into Hell by failing to point out to them the way to Heaven, which is through Jesus Christ, "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life"? (John 14:1-6).
Again we are hearing: "Be not afraid!" What? No fear of sin? No fear of judgment? No fear of Hell? We need a good dose of healthy fear - fear of the Lord. Be afraid! Fear for your eternal salvation! Save your soul from Hell! "Work our your salvation with fear and trembling!" as St. Paul says (Philippians 2:12).
Our Savior says: "But I say to you, my friends: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will show you whom you shall be afraid of; be afraid of him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell. Yes, I say to you, be afraid of him" (Luke 12:4-6).
St. Peter speaks of the God-fearing: "The Lord knows how to deliver the God-fearing from temptation and to reserve the wicked for torment on the day of judgment… For God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but dragged them down by infernal ropes to Tartarus, and delivered them to be tortured and kept in custody for judgment" (2 Peter 2:9;4).
So that we do not lose our way, we go to St. Joseph, of whom St. Teresa of Avila says:
"It seems that to other saints our Lord has given power to help us in only one kind of necessity; but this glorious saint, I know by my own experience, assists us in all kinds of necessities... I only request, for the love of God, that whoever will not believe me will test the truth of what I say, for he will see by experience how great a blessing it is to recommend oneself to this glorious Patriarch and to be devout to him... Whoever wants a master to instruct him how to pray, let him choose this glorious saint for his guide, and he will not lose his way" (St. Teresa of Avila, Autobiography).