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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Tuesday

“Go to Joseph”

“Do you have the keys to the car, your time card, switch key, watch, your light, your lunch, and your money?”

 
These words are ingrained into my brain as my mother recited this litany to my father every morning on his way to work. He would be rushing, of course. It would be early, probably still dark. His four children would be in their pajamas. He worked for the railroad on the Boston and Maine Line and the train would not wait. He was young and had mouths to feed. He took his responsibilities seriously and he never let us down. 
 
This small example from my life comes to mind as we remember St. Joseph the Worker. Joseph, too, went off to work every morning. I wonder if Mary recited a similar litany: “Joseph, do you have your nails, mallet, measuring cord, awl, your plane, your lunch, and your money?”
 
Joseph had responsibilities and he did not shirk his duties. I’m sure that Joseph’s example was a huge factor in Jesus’ march to Jerusalem.  Jesus learned his sense of duty at home.  Not even the torture and death awaiting Jesus at the end of his journey could sway him from the mission at hand. 
 
Finally, we cannot speak about St. Joseph without mentioning faith. His whole life is an example of faith in action. In opposition to popular opinion and advice, he invited Mary and her unborn child into his home to share his life and his love. He did not let his family — nor God — down. He shouldered his responsibilities when it would have been much easier to go it alone.
 
So what lesson do we learn from St. Joseph? Quite simply — work hard. No matter what our age, position, gender, or health; God asks us to contribute to the building up of God’s Kingdom. There will be moments when we are tempted to give up and give in to the pressures of the day. When these stressful times occur, we can "Go to Joseph" for help and guidance. Just as we have learned from those who have gone before us, so through St. Joseph’s intercession, we can help those who will carry on after us.
 
One final question before you head out the door: "Do you have the keys to the car, your time card, switch key, watch, your light, your lunch, and your money?"
 
Go to Joseph in thy joys, thou wilt rejoice the more.
Go to Joseph in thy grief, when death knocks at thy door.
Go to Joseph no matter when, thy refuge he will be.
He holds the key to Jesus’ Heart, Its treasures are for thee!
 
(Originally published in the Catholic Chronicle of St. Lucia)
 
Fr. Kevin MacDonald professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1987 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. He is a mission preacher stationed at St. Patrick’s Parish in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.