I think back to my wedding day 21 years ago. I see myself – young, thin, wrinkle-free. I was at my most beautiful then, but it was more than a physical beauty.
I was radiant, glowing, hopeful. I had a man I loved by my side who said he loved me too. He was the only one I told my deepest, darkest secrets too, the one I counted on to be there in thick and thin, the one person I’d ever really Trusted.
That feeling loans itself to beauty, but that feeling is also one of innocence.
And innocence rarely lasts.
Looking back on my wedding day, I see a young woman entering Marriage with no clue what Marriage really means but with the innocent belief that we would make it work – somehow!
What does the man I married see when he looks back to that day? I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is that it’s not for me to question the past anymore but to look forward to see how I can strengthen future relationships and relationships my children those I Love may have, and this week’s Gospel, the Wedding at Cana, although it may be hard for the divorced to read, provides terrific insight into developing a lasting, eternal beauty, a beauty not built on fleeting innocence, but on experience and trust and unconditional, sacrificial Love in all circumstances.
In the Wedding at Cana, we see Jesus perform His first miracle at the request of Mary, His Virgin Mother. Coincidences don’t happen in God’s plan, and Jesus performing His first miracle at a wedding is certainly no coincidence. We know that, but look beyond the performance of the miracle to other aspects of the reading.
I see phrases like, “Do whatever he tells you,”
and “‘Fill the jars with water,‘ so they filled them to the brim.”
and “‘Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.’ So they took it.”
Do you see it? Even in the guests and the servants, there is nothing lukewarm about this wedding.
Mary doesn’t say, “You might want to try His suggestions, but hey…if they don’t work at least you tried!”
She says, “Do WHATEVER he tells you.” (my emphasis!)
This wasn’t a suggestion. It was a command to those serving to do whatever Jesus asks of them, without question, to follow what He says, even though it doesn’t make sense, even though there seems to be little reason for it, even though you see no return for your investment of time or effort. DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU.
And Christ has told us many times to Love!
Christ then says, “Fill the jars with water,” because He uses ordinary things, things that seem so inane to us, to create miracles. He changes water into wine and wine into Blood.
He never asks you to understand but to Trust and Believe and DO because Jesus uses your small, every day, ordinary actions to build a Home of Love as surely as Satan uses your ordinary actions to build a home of shallow, empty indifference.
But for Jesus to build Love, you have to do whatever He tells you. You have to fill yourself to the brim with His Word without doubt, like the waitstaff did to the jars.
Read again. The wait staff fills the jars. They FILL the Jars!
When I tell my kids to fill a container, they put about three drops in it and think it’s good enough, that they’ve done what they’ve been asked to do.
Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but they certainly don’t fill it to the brim, and what would happen if they did? They’d spill it. I’d yell at them for filling it too high. It would be a mess!
They assume when I say, “Fill it up,” that I don’t really mean “FILL it up – to the brim!”
And they’d be right, but Jesus isn’t me. When He says something, He means it!
How many times have I known I was supposed to do something and done it only halfway instead of filling it up, maxing it out to the brim? How many times have I made excuses or left a job half done or compared myself to the next sorry soul and patted myself on the back for being better than she? How many times have I figured no one would know if I did a half baked job?
How many times in my job, in home, in my relationships, in my parenting, in my marriage?
Fortunately, the wait staff listens better than I do and follow Jesus’ command. They are told to fill the jugs and they do – to the brim! There is no half way here. They accept what He tells them and they trust Him to clean up any mess their trust may result in. They fill their jugs to the brim. They must walk carefully to avoid reckless spillage, but they trust that, if some sloshes over the side, it will be taken care of.
And finally, what happens? Jesus does not test the water. He knows what has occurred and has no need to test his power, but amazingly, the wait staff does not test the water either. They bring it straight to the headmaster.
Imagine how they felt. How foolish they thought they’d look. Why would you bother the headmaster with a jug of water filled to the brim?
And yet, they did not pause to taste the water before offering it up. They did not stop to question the Lord. They did not ask, “What’s in it for me or what happens if…?” They simply did their jobs wholeheartedly.
And look at the payoff!
The best wine was saved for last!
Often times, we sell ourselves short. We don’t give 100% because we see no use or because we are the ones giving all the time or because we mistake our giving with our being a pushover and have yet to learn the difference between when giving is right and Good and when we are being used and taken advantage of. We ask how long we are expected to be the giver in a relationship, how long we are expected to live sacrificially. We place limits on time and service and sacrifice and our own ability to Love.
But we can do better.
For a divorced Catholic-Christian, weddings can be hard to witness, but we can also be a beacon for others, a light in the storm when we open ourselves up, when we reflect on the Wedding at Cana, on our own weddings, and on our own failing to fill ourselves to the brim with unconditional Love for others and for the Lord.
What is done is done. A door may be closed, but the Lord always opens another. Your earthly marriage may have ended, but the Marriage of Christ to the Church continues into eternity. God’s Love is unchanging, and you are part of the Communion of Saints, the Bride of Christ.
You are not abandoned in your relationship with the Lord. Be sure to not abandon Him. You have an important part in your relationship with Christ and with others!
If you are annulled and pursuing another relationship, you can enter it knowing you must make yourself like the waitstaff, filling yourself to the brim, offering without questioning, and only under the guidance of Jesus, not in ways you had in the past or to the same type of person you had in the past.
If you are single, you can use your singleness to offer yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord, to grow in Him, to fill yourself to the brim with His Love and to carry yourself carefully, walking slowly but deliberately and with purpose into the world to bring Christ’s Love to those who need to experience it.
Wherever you are now, your waters have already been tested. You do not need to test them again. You simply need to pray and do whatever He tells you, to trust and to continually seek your position as part of the Communion of Saints, as part of the Church, the Bride of Christ, as a beloved, worthy Child of The King.
Embrace your eternal bond to the Lord in all your relationships.
Embrace the unconditional Love and Forgiveness only He offers.
Embrace the Love You can have for Him and for others.
Embrace the Fire of the Holy Spirit. Fill yourself to the brim with His strength before another tries to test your waters again.
Embrace patience, respect, goodness, gentleness, joy, and love in its many forms.
Embrace whatever He tells you.
You are still a valued part of the Bride of Christ. Embrace that in all you do.
And, as always, thanks for commenting, liking, following, and sharing!
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