Yesterday, Tuesday, May 1, was the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, the less well known of St. Joseph’s two feast days, the first being the Solemnity of St. Joseph the Husband of Mary. It reminded me of a talk I heard given by Mike Rowe who was the host of the TB V show “Dirty Jobs.” The talk was titled, “Don’t Follow Your Passion.” The common advice given to young people who are heading to college or looking for their future careers is to “follow your passion” and “if you love what you do you won’t work a day in your life.” Mike Rowe helps bring us back to the real world. Every job or career will have things that you love and things that you hate, parts of it will be tedious and parts exciting, some of it will be boring and some will be interesting. Plus, what you’re passionate about might not make a good career. Mike Rowe encourages people to find something that needs to be done, that’s in demand, and that no one else is doing, and become passionate about that.
We encourage people to find a job that they love, but the reality is that most people in the US and in the world have to take any job they can get so they can put bread on the table. So, how do we become passionate about what we’re doing and what does this have to do with St. Joseph? The Church takes the opportunity of the memorial of St. Joseph the Worker to remind us that work isn’t just a burden that we must bear but is also a gift from God. Through the work that we do we build up our community, we build up our families, and we build up our selves. As Jesus says, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (Jn 5:17). God is at work, and God invites us to participate in His work. Find what is good in your work and thank God for letting you contribute something good to the world. As Dr. Martin Luther King said in one of his speeches, “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. Even if it does not fall in the category of one of the so-called big professions, do it well. As one college president said, ‘A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.’ If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, like Shakespeare wrote poetry, like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets so well that all the host of Heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.’”
Fr. Bryan became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes on July 3, 2017. Read his bio here.