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Friday, 22 June 2012

On the Wedding Feast at Cana and Midsummer Marriages

In the old days, Midsummer Eve was the traditional day for marriages. As the longest day, celebrations in England could go into the later hours. We have many examples of this custom in art and in literature, with Shakespeare's famous play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, being only one and The Midsummer Marriage by Tippet being another. I have been thinking of how and when Christ began His public ministry-with the changing of the water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Cana. The significance of this event is more than I could cover in a little post. The entire scene reminds one of the final day of the Coming of Christ for His Church, the New Jerusalem, us...

Catholics sometimes forget that Mary was married, even though she lived in celibacy. Mary was married and experienced what every bride does on her wedding day. The Jewish customs are not our Western ones, but we can imagine the shock and humiliation of running out of food and drink at the reception. Our Lady's love for the family of the bride and groom, and for that newly married couple was the compassion of the Immaculate Heart. She asked her Son to intercede, as she does daily, for us. He did, as He, Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary, would not refuse her anything.

Some Orthodox commentators claim that the groom was one of the followers of Christ. It does not matter to me whether the bride and groom were related to Christ and Mary, or were friends, or a disciple. We are all one in Christ.

Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride. This is our Faith. He gives us the Wine which is His Blood, as He died and rose again for us, His Church.

Mary intercedes for the Church as well as for us personally. I have friends who see me as an idolater because of my love and my honoring of Mary. Mary was answered by Christ at the Wedding Feast. He answered her call for compassion in the face of humiliation.

Go to Mary, our Mother and the Mother of the Church. She will not ignore your prayers.

Two other ideas came to my mind on this subject today. One was that the couple did not know that Mary had stepped in and helped them on their special day. The steward and the servants knew what had happened, but the Scriptures do not indicate who else knew. Mary intercedes for us without us knowing. She stands with Christ as our Co-Mediatrix of all graces. In Giotto's painting, Mary is with the steward and waits, like a servant, rather than a guest.

The other idea is that she is aware of our needs even before we are. She stands at the table and is aware, watching, waiting, kindness exuding from her innocence and purity.

How can we not go to Mary?

If a reader would like to identify the older man with the halo in this famous painting, that would be helpful...Is it Peter? And, here is Shakespeare's play done at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, my most favorite place in the whole world, I think....done by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

And, here is Chagall's Midsummer Marriage painting...happy thoughts to all my readers today just a bit after Midsummer's Eve. I have seen some of his art and love his birds...

And look at Midsummer here on this blog, the blog of some very special priests....