Today is Saint Joseph the Worker, a secondary celebration related to Saint Joseph, whose main feast is on March 19th.
The feast of Saint Joseph the Worker was established to celebrate the Christian understanding of work. The Church has always emphasized the importance of work being about people over profits. In other words, for Christians, work is something more than just doing your part to earn a living (or earn someone else one).
I strongly believe in freedom, including economic freedom. I don’t believe it is the government’s job to tell businesses what to do. Nonetheless, I believe it is time for people to start standing up for our right to have dignity in our work. Most Americans and Westerners hate their jobs. We are unfulfilled, stressed, over-worked, and (based on the expense of the average education) underpaid. In short, work is hardly a calling and more of a burden.
The problem with modern work, as I see it, is materialism. We work extra hours, avoid doing the things we love, lack time for family, and never have time for silent time with God, so that we can earn a little more money to buy things that don’t make us happy. In short, we shorten our lives and destroy our relationships and spirituality to buy things we will never have time to enjoy anyway.
If we weren’t tethered to material goods, we could tell employers that mistreat us to “take a hike” because we wouldn’t need the extra money to finance things that are too big and expensive for us.
I know this is a simple view, but just imagine if we didn’t need so much stuff. Work would probably regain more of its meaning as a spiritually and enriching vocation as opposed to a desperately needed means to an end.
Saint Joseph, pray for us!