The Imitation of Saint Joseph

The Imitation of Saint Joseph

Matthew Kauth


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The Church is a city set on a hill and on that hill there is a lighthouse. The Church directs her light this way and that as occasion warrants. That we might not make a shipwreck of our faith (see 1 Tm 1:19), she illuminates dangerous crags and reefs when all the world would tell us the water is clear.

Each age has its heresies, and ours is a hatred of origin, of fatherhood. But if we come from somewhere and someone, we cannot be self-made. As an anchor against the wave of patricide, a light in the darkness of our age, the Church has been fixing her light, ever increasingly, on Saint Joseph. It is him to whom we look. He is who we must imitate.

But how can we imitate that which we do not know? How do we speak about one whose words are not recorded? How do we attempt to look like one whose visage has never been captured?

It will do no good to pin virtues onto Joseph as if he were no more than a mannequin. He was and is a fact and he was and is a man, a righteous man. How can we see him?

In this illuminating work, Fr. Matthew Kauth opens our eyes to what Joseph saw, so that we might imitate what he imitated.

  • Part I examines the teachings of Aquinas to help us understand the depths of our human nature and why we come to love some things more than others, and what it means to imitate that which we love, for better or for worse.
  • Part II looks back at Joseph's lineage, providing a sweeping tour of salvation history and the patriarchs of the Old Testament, showing how Joseph was their fulfillment.
  • Part III brings us inside the life of the Holy Family, taking us along for their harrowing journeys to Bethlehem and Egypt, and their daily life in Nazareth, to show us how growing closer to Joseph and imitating him binds us to the hearts of Jesus and Mary.
  • Part IV closes with a look at our lives today and the life of the Church, and the challenges we face to live a life of virtue in a fallen world, imploring us to turn to Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church.

In these pages, a true image of Joseph begins to emerge from obscurity. Silence itself begins to speak eloquently.

Go therefore to Joseph. Imitate what you see. And live without fear under the patronage of our just father.


Matthew Kauth:
Fr. Matthew Kauth is a priest of the Diocese of Charlotte, NC. Having completed his STB at Catholic University, Fr. Kauth was ordained in the Jubilee of our Lord 2000. He served as a parochial vicar, administrator, and pastor for a total of six years before being sent to Rome for a license and doctorate in Moral Theology. He obtained the doctorate in 2012 and was appointed chaplain of a high school while teaching at Belmont Abbey College. In 2014, he spearheaded a commission to study the possibility of starting a college seminary in the Charlotte Diocese in cooperation with the College. In 2016, St. Joseph College Seminary was established and Fr. Kauth became its first Rector, a position in which he continues to serve today.