General Audience Jan 12
By Vatican News staff writer
Jan 13 2022
In his catechesis at the General Audience focusing on Saint Joseph, Pope Francis looks at Joseph’s life as a worker, and says the dignity of labour is essential for our human development and our growth in holiness.
In his catechesis, Pope Francis looked at how the evangelists Matthew and Mark refer to Joseph as a “carpenter”, from the Greek term tekton, which referred to a generic qualification of those working as woodworkers and craftsmen in construction. He pointed out how it was a hard job, requiring strength but not generating great earnings.
Looking at Saint Joseph helps remind us of all workers today, especially those who do gruelling work in mines and certain factories, the Pope pointed out.
He especially recalled those who are exploited and children who are “forced to work and those who rummage among the trash in search of something useful to trade.” This reality also brings to mind those who are out of a job and suffering greatly because of it, especially families struggling to survive, he added.
Sanctification in work
The Pope also underlined that work is an essential part of human life and even a “path of sanctification.”
The sad fact is that labour often becomes trapped in problems related to social injustice, rather than being protected to respect human dignity and guarantee livelihoods, the Pope observed.
He said it would be good to ask ourselves as well with what spirit we carry out our daily work, and how our work relates to others and our destiny.
Looking to Jesus as a model worker
Pope Francis pointed out it is also good to see how Jesus himself worked and learned his trade from St. Joseph.
In conclusion, the Pope invited everyone to recite a prayer that Saint Paul VI lifted up to Saint Joseph on 1 May 1969.
O Saint Joseph,
Patron of the Church!
you, who side by side with the Word made flesh,
worked each day to earn your bread,
drawing from Him the strength to live and to toil;
you who experienced the anxiety for the morrow,
the bitterness of poverty, the uncertainty of work:
you who today give the shining example,
humble in the eyes of men
but most exalted in the sight of God:
protect workers in their hard daily lives,
defending them from discouragement,
from negative revolt,
and from pleasure loving temptations;
and keep peace in the world,
that peace which alone can ensure the development of peoples
Amen. -Vatican News