St. Joseph From the Eyes of Our Lady

Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception was given the singular grace to become the Mother of God. Yet, God desired to bless his beloved daughter with another gift. In these excerpts from The Imitation of Saint Joseph, Fr. Matthew Kauth reflects on the profound gift Mary received in her betrothal to Saint Joseph. He describes St. Joseph as the best of men, chosen by God, and “the perfect gift” for Our Lady.

What Mary Saw

I must approach you now, my mother and my queen. I must dare to ask you what you saw? Saint Thérèse once said that you are more mother than queen. This fills me with confidence, and I will ask. I will ask about the one that was chosen for you, given to you, and then taken from you. I have no experience of what it is like to be without sin, even for a moment, much less from the moment of conception. Forgive me if I ask that which I would not understand or things too high for me. Yet, standing near the silent Joseph, you have scattered a few words like pearls before us. Let me inquire about them. Let me ask of their import in reference to your spouse. As Mother, you will smile at my attempts to understand and I pray happy with my desire, just as a mother does when presented with an incomprehensible drawing given to her by her children. Smile at me as you once smiled at Thérèse in her sickness or Bernadette when she asked questions too great for her. Smile upon me, and should you choose, show me what I seek to see.

The Best Of Men

When the angel was sent from God, to you, a virgin betrothed, he broke into your silence with such swiftness. His appearance was no swifter than his words, as if he had been longing for ages to speak. When they washed over you, this flood of words, you remained silent. You did not speak. You considered. And he spoke again. When you finally broke your silence, it was a question you uttered. The first words we have in history from your lips were: “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (Lk 1:34). Did you not? The text just told us that you were betrothed. ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω. It is true. You did not know man. Neither in the biblical sense of human generation nor what man had become. There is no stain in you. How could you know what was only broken, being yourself whole? The child shall not be derived from man. The Holy Spirit will overshadow you. Yet you will come to know man. You will come to know man in your womb. You will come to know man in all of his sublimity and in his base depravity. You will know the God-man and you will know the broken sinful man. The man you would come to know, however, as your husband, was not like other men. He stood out as a no other. He himself did not yet know it. But he was God’s gift to you. You would come to know the best of men.

Chosen By God

There was a time in which marriages were arranged. The modern world finds that contrary to the unfettered freedom of the human person. But it need not be contrary to freedom. Yours was an arranged marriage. I speak not simply of the one who had earthly charge of you, whose task it was to see that you were cared for. I am speaking of God the Father. He chose Joseph. He arranged this marriage. He guided that man’s steps. What father would not wish to choose the perfect husband for his beloved daughter? What father would have the power to do so? What father could be secure that his choice would fulfill his will of perfect husbandry? Only God the Father. Joseph was His chosen gift to you, His daughter, and you received that gift from His hand. He led you to Joseph as He once led the first Eve to Adam. He placed you in his care, knowing nothing else on earth more worthy of you, His beloved daughter.

The Perfect Gift

What happens when we receive a gift? We assess not only that which is given but the thought behind the gift. Does this person know me? Was it a simple and sudden purchase just to have something to offer? Or was it considered? Does the person giving the gift display knowledge of me, and do they want the gift genuinely for me? Is this the good they will to me? Does it fit? Joseph fit. The Father would give to you His most beloved gift: that of His Son. Yet before this, He proved to be a perfect gift giver in giving you Joseph. This man, above all men in the world, would understand. You must have seen such similitude in him. Unlike other men, you must have seen one that could in turn see you, who had the eyes to know you and the intelligence to appreciate what he knew. Joseph was the perfect gift.

This article is taken from a chapter in The Imitation of Saint Joseph by Fr. Matthew Kauth which is available from TAN Books

The Imitation of Saint Joseph



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