Tuesday, May 01, 2007

St. Joseph the Worker

Since today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, it seems fitting to point to Aquinas's account of manual labor in order to celebrate the memory of the humble carpenter in Nazareth.

Manual labor is directed to four things.

First and principally to obtain food; wherefore it was said to the first man (Genesis 3:19): "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," and it is written (Psalm 127:2): "For thou shalt eat the labors of thy hands."

Secondly, it is directed to the removal of idleness whence arise many evils; hence it is written (Sirach 33:28,29): "Send" thy slave "to work, that he be not idle, for idleness hath taught much evil."

Thirdly, it is directed to the curbing of concupiscence, inasmuch as it is a means of afflicting the body; hence it is written (2 Corinthians 6:5-6): "In labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity."

Fourthly, it is directed to almsgiving, wherefore it is written (Ephesians 4:28): "He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need."

[ST 2-2.187.3]

And with regard to that fourth end, you might consider sending a few dollars the way of Saint Joseph the Worker Job Services in Phoenix, Arizona. SJW is a small charitable organization devoted to helping the homeless find employment. It helps with resumes and with computer access for job postings, it lends decent outfits for interviews, it provides telephone and mailing services relevant to job hunting, it assists with transportation problems -- all these things are things you and I can afford to take for granted, but which the homeless cannot. I worked with some of the volunteers in the office there for a short period a number of years back, so I can attest to some of the excellent work they do.

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