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Photo: Marten de Vos, 1597
'What a Wonderful Image of Hope'
The Second Luminous Mystery: The Wedding at Cana
by Fr. Leszek Czelusniak, MIC (August 18, 2014)
Seventh of a 20-part series on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Next week: The Proclamation of the Gospel.
As the first manifestation of our Lord's divinity, Cana fills our hearts with joy and hope.
The wedding at Cana is also an image of the Church. In the center is Jesus performing a miracle. Around Him are the disciples who are the pillars of the future Church. In this image of the Church, near Jesus and His disciples is Mary, the attentive mother. She participates in simple human joy, and she is the cause of it. She intercedes with her Son for the bridal couple at the wedding when they have run out of wine. Jesus hears her request and eventually answers it (see Jn 2:1-12). What a wonderful image of hope!
We have a mother who has vigilant and kind eyes like her Son. Her heart is compassionate like His. Her hands are open to help others like His — the hands that broke bread for hungry people and touched the sick to heal them. We can really rejoice in Mary's example of attentive service. We see that true Marian devotion is not based on fleeting feelings, rather, it is built on faith, hope, and love, in imitation of Mary's life. We imitate her by giving joy to others and especially, like her, by turning to Jesus with our requests for our needs and the needs of others.
A missionary working in South Africa told this story about striving to imitate Mary. One day, he was traveling on a train. He was praying his Breviary, and inside of the Breviary, he had an image of Our Lady. An African next to him peered at this image. Very curious, he interrupted the missionary's prayer and asked him, "Who is this? Your sister?"
"No," the missionary replied.
"Fiancée?" the man asked.
"No," the missionary replied.
"Who is she?" the man finally asked.
"My mother," responded the missionary.
The African man looked at the image and with conviction said, "You do not resemble her at all."
The missionary pondered those words. What was he lacking to resemble Mary? Perhaps it was not putting his faith and prayer into action, following Mary's example.
At Cana, we receive a profound gift from Mary: that is, the call to resemble her by bringing others simple joy and comforting them in their needs and afflictions.
This is God's gift, the gift of Christ. Saint Paul said: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ" (2 Cor 1:3-5).
It is God who comforts us through Jesus Christ. In Mary, we see an example of how to comfort the afflicted. If we follow her in this way, we will see the affliction, grief, and problems of our neighbor, and we will respond with Christlike help. Lord, I pray that we can walk on this Marian way of attentive service and love.
How? During the year, we have important occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas when it is important to do some act of kindness, which doesn't have to be expensive but can give others a lot of joy.
Finally, the mystery of Cana challenges us to greater faith in God. Mary believed in Christ without signs and miracles, while the disciples believed after the sign. Faith that asks for miracles and signs is imperfect. Pope Benedict XVI gave us the Year of Faith.
Let us ask: Grant me, dear Jesus, the faith and the joy I truly desire. My mother, Mary Most Holy, help me to really believe and make me an apostle of heavenly joy.
Fr. Leszek Czelusniak, MIC, is the director of CANA, the Marian Divine Mercy Formation Center in Kibeho, Rwanda.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Gospel
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion and Death of Our Lord Jesus
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation