The prologue to St. John’s gospel introduces God’s Son as the Word. This life-giving Word—spoken down through the ages—became flesh and lived in our midst. For all of Christian history, the Word is intimately connected with all of human life. It is the purpose of TWIL (“The Word Is Life”) to bring the gospel to life and to bring life to the gospel. This blog will feature reflections on the Sunday Scriptures from contemporary Catholic writers, words of wisdom for our Spiritual journey from saints and blessed, and thoughtful reflections on masterpieces of sacred art. We at Living with Christ hope that they will help you grow in your spiritual life and deepen your relationship with the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Working it out with St. Joseph

Categories: The Word Is Life

One of our Catholic Social Teachings is the dignity of work. People ought to be able to use their skills and knowledge to accomplish a purpose and to have self-worth and self-esteem. The work may not be perfect in the earliest stages of a career or vocation but with mentoring and skill development, the work gives the worker a sense of accomplishment. When the work is valued, the worker can feel satisfaction for a job well done. We have not always appreciated the work of tradespeople. At the end of high school, I was coached by guidance counselors to go to university to get a degree. Some of my friends attended community college. I remember feeling badly that these friends were selling themselves short. My attitude has changed drastically as I realized the need for skilled laborers and trades. There is much grace in using your hands and the sweat of your brow to make contributions to the community.

Joseph provided for Mary and Jesus through the work of his hands as a carpenter. Mary would have likewise kept their home clean, done the lion’s share of the childrearing, gathered water from a well, and prepared food for meals. Jesus would have learned the value of work at Joseph’s side; he would have apprenticed as a carpenter’s helper. He likely had household chores that were his contribution to his family’s life. I have appreciated seeing holy cards with Joseph and Jesus working side-by-side in the carpentry shop—quality time spent together learning how to make useful tools and furniture. When I see children working alongside their parents, it is heartwarming.

On this memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, let us take time to reflect on the work that we do each day. Does it bring joy? Does it provide a creative outlet? Does it have dignity? Are we growing as we use our knowledge and skills to assist others or to provide a service?

Let us pray:

Loving God, creator of the universe,

it is your desire that we work to build

your kingdom here on earth.

You have created us with talents, skills, and desires.

Like St. Joseph, guide us to use our work as a way

to witness to you,

to provide for our family, and

to serve the greater good. 

When we feel frustrated,

nudge us to humbly ask for help from others.


Pat Carter, C.S.J.

Pat Carter, C.S.J. is a disciple, a teacher, and an advocate for the poor. She has been a Sister of St. Joseph for more than half of her life and loves to use words to inspire faith and laughter. She is a cantor at her parish of St. Jerome’s in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada.

Author: Living with Christ

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