Extract from CHRIST AND THE WORKERS By Stanley B. James
"HE grew up in the home of a
village carpenter and was Himself engaged for a number of years in that occupation. Day after day He taxed His body's strength to help supply the needs of that humble household and of the local community of
which He formed a part. His calling determined the character of His associates. If craft-guilds existed, as has been affirmed, then it may be surmised that He was a member of the local Carpenters Guild or Union. In appearance and manner He bore traces of Ills daily occupation. The ploughman does not walk like a sailor, the sailor does not behave or talk like a merchan.or lawyer. So, to the discerning eye. Jesus' manual toil had stamped itself on His bearing and even on His very features. It was not in any casual way that He was a carpenter. His hands were those of the craftsman. The observant eye would notice that He did not handle wood as other men but with a certain familiarity. He was a carpenter to the finger-tips.
"And what is true of His craft is true of His class. His plebian origin was not obscured by His majestic bearing; rather did that bearing glorify the physiognomy of the poor. As the sunshine brings out the rugged grandeur of the scarred mountain-side on which it falls, so did Jesus' divinity light up from within the face and figure of this Worker, not changing but Only sublimating their typical characteristics. It was among the lowly that He was most at home,they were, in a special sense, His people. He was one of themselves, not as a pose, but because He was, quite literally, ' to the manner born.'
"But though ' to the manner born,' it was not due to what we call the accident of birth that Jesus was a poor man and a manual worker. You and I are conscripts of life. Without any choice on our part, we were forced into the ranks or marching humanity. This village Carpenter was the only volunteer the world has known. It was of His own free will that He joined our dust-stained, war-worn battalions, and the same freedom marked His choice of the humble rank He occupied. Had it been otherwise we might find but little significance in the fact that He was a manual labourer. Those who reject the dogma of the Incarnation are at liberty to make light of Jesus' lowly station in life. For them it need not be considered more relevant to His mission than the plebian origin of an astronomer to his mathematical calculations. But for the orthodox Christian the fact is of vital significance. We who believe that the Son of God deliberately chose this particular entry to the world must agree as to the importance of its bearing on the work He came to do. its implication as to the class having strongest claims on the Catholic Church cannot be missed."
From Christ and the Workers, by Stanley B. James.
Readers of the CATHOLIC HERALD Who wish to support a petition to the Pope For the institution of the Feast of Christ the Worker are asked to send their names either to the CATHOLIC HERALD, Newspaper House, High Wycombe, Bucks, OF to the Headquarter!: of the Apostolate of Christ the Worker, 129 Malden.road, London, N.W.S.