I have often lived in big houses with several sisters older than I. I personally marked May 1, the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, as the beginning of spring cleaning not only for my assigned areas of the house, but also for the many rooms for which older sisters were responsible. I would come home from a day of teaching, change clothes, and tackle a job for a couple hours—maybe baseboards and door frames. Then on Saturday I would spend the morning on windows. I aimed to be finished by the end of the month. With persistence and determination—and perhaps a lot of holy elbow grease from Saint Joseph and a desire to meet my goal–I succeeded.
Even as a child, I loved to clean. Then and now working with my hands is my chance to daydream without guilt. At his carpenter’s bench, did Saint Joseph daydream about his precious Jesus? Did he wonder, “What will this child be?” Did he recall with pride the day Jesus said “Abba” for the first time? Did he feel confident that Jesus could take over the carpentry trade as he felt himself growing weaker? Did he smile slightly in the knowledge that Jesus would take care of Mary? Did he gauge his strength, determined to repair a few things in the house and finish his last contracts while he still could? Did Joseph set aside these thoughts to pray some psalms from memory? And did the lines of psalms direct his musing back to his son who seemed so like his God?