Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican May 1. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
delivered his weekly General Audience address today in St. Peter’s Square. As
today is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, as well as World Labor Day, the
Holy Father’s remarks highlighted the nature of human work. Below is the full text,
translated by Vatican Radio:
Dear brothers and sisters, Good Day!
Today, May 1st, we celebrate Saint Joseph the Worker
and begin the month traditionally dedicated to Our Lady. In our encounter this
morning, I want to focus on these two figures, so important in the life of
Jesus, the Church and in our lives, with two brief thoughts: the first on work,
the second on the contemplation of Jesus
1. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, in one of the moments
when Jesus returns to his town, to Nazareth, and speaks in the synagogue, the
amazement of his fellow townspeople at his wisdom is emphasized, and…they ask:
"Is not this the carpenter's son?" (13:55). Jesus comes into our
history among us, born of Mary by the power of God, but with the presence of
Saint Joseph, the legal father who cares for him and also teaches him his work.
Jesus is born and lives in a family, in the Holy Family, learning the craft of
carpenter from Saint Joseph in his workshop in Nazareth, sharing with him the
commitment, effort, satisfaction, and also the difficulties of every day.
This reminds us of the dignity and importance of work.
The book of Genesis tells us that God created man and woman entrusting them
with the task of filling the earth and subduing it, which does not mean
exploiting it, but nurturing and protecting it, caring for it through their
work (cf. Gen 1:28; 2 15). Work is part of God’s loving plan, we are called to
cultivate and care for all the goods of creation and in this way participate in
the work of creation! Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to
use an image, "anoints" us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes
us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts (cf. Jn
5:17); it gives you the ability to maintain ourselves, our family, to
contribute to the growth of our nation. And here I think of the difficulties
which, in various countries, today afflict the world of work and business; I
think of how many, and not just young people, are unemployed, many times due to
a purely economic conception of society, which seeks selfish profit, beyond the
parameters of social justice.
I wish to extend an invitation to solidarity to
everyone, and I would like to encourage those in public office to make every
effort to give new impetus to employmentthis means caring for the dignity of
the personbut above all I would say do not lose hope; St. Joseph also
experienced moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith and was able to
overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us.
And then I would like to speak especially to you young
people: be committed to your daily duties, your study, your work, to
relationships of friendship, to helping towards others; your future also
depends on how you live these precious years of your life. Do not be afraid of
commitment, of sacrifice, and do not look with fear towards the future; keep
your hope alive: there is always a light on the horizon.
I would like to add a word about another particular
work situation that concerns me: I am referring to what we could define as
"slave labor," the work that enslaves. How many people worldwide are
victims of this type of slavery, in which the person is at the service of his
or her work, while work should offer a service to people so they may have
dignity. I ask my brothers and sisters in faith and all men and women of good
will for a decisive choice to combat trafficking in persons, which includes
2. In reference to the second thought: in the silence
of daily events, St. Joseph, together with Mary, have one common center of
attention: Jesus. They accompany and nurture, with commitment and tenderness,
the growth of the Son of God made man for us, reflecting on everything that
happened. In the Gospels, St. Luke twice emphasizes the attitude of Mary, which
is also that of St. Joseph: "She kept all these things and pondered them in
her heart." To listen to the Lord, we must learn to contemplate, feel His
constant presence in our lives, and we must stop and converse with Him, give
him space in prayer. Each of us, even you boys and girls, young people, so many
of you here this morning, should ask: how much space do I give to the Lord? Do
I stop to talk with him? Ever since we were children, our parents have
accustomed us to start and end the day with a prayer, to teach us to feel that
the friendship and the love of God accompanies us. Let us remember the Lord
more in our daily life!
And in this month of May, I would like to recall the
importance and beauty of the prayer of the Holy Rosary. Reciting the Hail Mary,
we are led to contemplate the mysteries of Jesus, that is, to reflect on the
key moments of his life, so that, as with Mary and St. Joseph, He is the center
of our thoughts, of our attention and our actions . It would be nice if,
especially in this month of May, we could pray the Holy Rosary together in the
family, with friends, in the parish, or some prayer to Jesus and the Virgin
Mary! Praying together is a precious moment that further strengthens family
life, friendship! Let us learn to pray more in the family and as a family!
Dear brothers and sisters, we ask Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary, who
teach us to be faithful to our daily tasks, to live our faith in the actions of
everyday life and to give more space to the Lord in our lives, to stop to
contemplate His face.