“It kind of doesn’t seem fair that St. Joseph should have to let his wife get all the attention on his feast day!” At Mass this morning, Fr. La Rue made a comment in similar words, indicating that the beautiful procession of First Communicants and Eighth Graders dressed in their finest, everyone in the school bringing forward a flower for Mary, and Marian hymns being sung seemed just a little out of place on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, which we celebrate today. It’s like putting him in second place.
However, he went on to remind us that Mary and Joseph are saints in heaven – there is no competition or rivalry there – where everyone rejoices in the good of one another. With God’s grace we are called to do the same here on earth.
Healthy competition is still a good thing for us, and for our children. To try your hardest, do your best, tests your limits, it can be helpful to have others there to challenge you. But in the end, the glory goes to God for His gifts and the abilities that He gives to us and to others. The key – and this is the hard part – is not to find our identity in what we can do, but rather in who we are as God’s beloved sons and daughters. When that is solidly in place, we can actually rejoice when others “win” or are acknowledged for something that they have accomplished.
Yesterday, we had the Science Fair for students in grades 6-8. There were many categories and many ribbons for first and second place, along with overall winners of the whole competition. We rejoice with those students! At the same time, we acknowledge the fun, the learning and the beauty that made up each project and the gifts of each student.
The virtue of humility recognizes the truth of who we are before God. Like Mary, may we each proclaim in our own way, “The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is His name!” And like St. Joseph, may we also rejoice in how the Almighty has done great things for others.
God bless you in this beautiful month of Our Lady!