The Blessed Virgin Mary, a model of how to pray

The Blessed Virgin Mary, a model of how to pray. When the wine ran out at that memorable wedding feast, what did Mary want Jesus to do exactly? Every preacher I have ever heard, and every piece of literature I have read commenting on that wedding in Cana of Galilee (see John 2:1-11) – except one I read fifty years ago! – assumed that Mary was requesting her son to produce a miracle.

But the text indicates that it is most unlikely that she ever expected one, because John very clearly refers to the turning of water into wine as ‘this the first of his signs Jesus did at Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory’ (John 2:11).

What, after all, does any mother suggest her family should do when, as honoured guests at a social event, the hosts run out of resources? ‘I think we ought to slip off home now to save their blushes.’ After all, in the initial invitation, customarily issued months in advance, only she and her son would have been named. Since then, he had been down south for at least six weeks (for his baptism and forty days of testing in the wilderness (Matthew 4:12 – 5:2; John 1:29-51). He had just returned with several male adherents who were now added to the more recent ‘reminder’ invitation (John 2:2).

When he answered his mother’s hint, ‘They have no wine’ (John 2:3), he replied, ‘My hour has not yet come’ (John 2:4). What hour did he have in mind? That’s the essential question, surely? Was he referring to his hour of miracle working? Hardly, for that hour had most certainly arrived, although no one was expecting one.

However, throughout John’s Gospel, the phase ‘my hour’ always refers to his departure (via the cross, resurrection and ascension to the Father; see John 7:30; 8:20; 13:1).

It is always wise to read the text closely – all of it – in this case, the entire Gospel of John! So, politely he was telling his mother, ‘I am not leaving yet!’

So, how did the Blessed Virgin Mary pray?

[] She informed Jesus what was wrong (‘they have no wine,’ John 2:3);

[] and left the matter with him, without advising him in one-hundred-and-one ways how to solve the crisis!

[] She then advised the servants to listen to him for his answer;

[] and act on his instructions (‘Do whatever he tells you’, John 2:5).

I would say, that is best practice for any follower of his, Catholic or Protestant! Wouldn’t you agree?

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