Parents know the bittersweet intensity of the emotions that come with a child starting off or finishing up a new stage of school or another milestone.
Whether it’s the little 3-year-old toddling off to her first few hours of preschool, the 5-year-old suddenly in kindergarten, or the how-did-we-get-here-so-fast college freshman who really can’t be this old already, can he? On the other side, there’s the caps and gowns, the last concerts, the honors dinners and the wedding dresses.
It can be really hard, even as it’s exciting. We know they have to grow up, and that a promising future awaits them. It’s exhilarating to think of the plans God has in store for them.
But it’s so hard!
This is a good moment to turn to Our Lady of Cana for comfort.
It’s difficult to imagine how Mary thought of her future, or her Son’s future. Steeped in Scripture, and ever-aware of Simeon’s prophecy, she must have anticipated how things would go. And yet, 30 full years of delighting at her Son’s side had been day-in-and-day-out wonderful.
So her gentle (well, actually, quite insistent) nudging at Cana is pretty amazing. Heroic even.
She knew he could fix the problem those unfortunate lovers were facing, and she knew he just had to do it. Even if somehow she also knew she was starting him off on the end of life as they’d lived it, intimate and together.
Maybe the most comforting thing about Our Lady of Cana is the utter simplicity of her prayer.
She doesn’t actually ask her Son for anything. She simply states a reality.
They have no wine.
They have no wine. Nothing more. That’s all she says to him.
It is, perhaps, a particularly motherly, exquisitely feminine form of prayer. There’s no need for an actual petition. It’s simply a statement of fact, a fact that she is perhaps almost the first to notice, being, of course, a mom first and always.
A fact presented to the Creator-of-all-things, whose steadfast love extends to the heavens, his faithfulness to the clouds … who gives drink from the river of his delights (cf. Psalm 36).
And he works his first miracle and life will never be the same again.
But oh the plans God has in mind for him!
This presenting of the facts and leaving it all to him is a type of prayer that other women in the Gospel use, namely Martha and Mary when Lazarus is sick, and it’s one that women saints have learned to use.
Whenever St. Elizabeth of the Trinity was asked for prayers, she would immediately reach into Scripture, and place herself with Martha and Mary. With them, she would petition Christ, beginning, “Lord, the one you love is sick…”
Let us pray …
Dear Mother in Cana,
Thank you for always being present to me.
Thank you for noticing my needs and presenting them to your Son, even before I do. Better than I ever could.
Thank you for understanding me as only a Mother can, and consoling me as only a Mother can.
Turn your eyes upon me, but most especially, wrap my child in your protective mantle. Bless this child entrusted to me by God. Keep him safe. Surround him by people who love him and will care for him. Guide each of his steps so that he is ever closer to your Son. Keep him from every danger of body or soul. Thank you for loving him even more than I do.