A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Master Tradesman.

by Fr John Rea sm

by Fr John Rea sm

Years ago, when I was on my way to a renewal course, I spent a few days at the Marist General House.  My cabin bag was damaged and when one of the brothers saw it he offered to repair it.  In less than an hour he gave the bag back far better fitted to withstand the buffeting of travel than it had been before it had been damaged. The man was a qualified carpenter, not a saddler or an upholsterer but he showed me, as many have, that someone who is qualified in one trade can acquit himself or herself well in others as well.  Tradesmen and tradeswomen are practical people who can turn their hands to all kinds of skilled work over and above their own specific trade.

So it is with St Joseph.  The great St Teresa alluded to this when she wrote that God has given us other saints to help us with particular needs but that this great saint helps us in every way.

The great vocation God gave St Joseph was that he should be father to his Son in time and he qualified him uniquely for the work. Fathering Jesus on the Father’s behalf during the Son’s earthly life was Joseph’s mission. St Teresa also writes that our Lord wants us to know that as he, Jesus, always did what Joseph asked him to do when he was on earth so he continues to do so now that they are both in heaven.  This means, amongst much else, that St Joseph is a powerful intercessor.

I have found that he is as good at interceding for temporary accommodation today as he was at finding it in times gone by.

The Appearance of an  Angel to St Joseph Georges del Latour, c 1593

The Appearance of an
Angel to St Joseph
Georges del Latour, c 1593

St Joseph found interim lodgings in a Bethlehem stable at the time of the census and within forty days of the Child’s birth he moved the Holy Family to Jerusalem for Our Lady’s Purification and Our Lord’s Presentation in the Temple.  Then the three shifted into a house in Bethlehem and that was where the Magi caught up with them.   Soon after that, warned by an angel, they travelled to Egypt where they stayed in lodgings for at least two years.  After Herod’s death the Holy Family returned to Israel, most likely to Bethlehem, but rather than settle there they transferred to Nazareth where they found permanent residence.

I frequently seek St Joseph’s intercession for temporary accommodation of a particular kind.  I invoke him when I need a car park and he never lets me down.  The street may be busy and all the parking places occupied but he always finds a lawful space for me. Often it is right outside the building I want to visit.  That he is as exact as that is an aspect of his exquisite courtesy.

St Joseph Worker and Tradesman, pray for us.   

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