Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"They Have No Wine": Mary's example of prayer

I don't know about you, but I have this weird habit, in prayer, to add the solution.

As in:

"Jesus, please do this, that, and the other thing, in order to fix this, that, and the other thing."

To be more specific:

"Jesus, here's the thing. What I want you to do is somehow arrange that so-and-so be appointed to the Supreme Court. This'll help in the fight against abortion."


"Hey Jesus, my husband's cold will go away if you just CONVINCE him to use Vick's Vapo Rub, thanks so much!"


"Jesus, please make that idiot who sat next to me on the bus today stop with the profanity already, okay?"


"Jesus. Here's what we've gotta do here. Really, this will work! Just make so-and-so pro-life!"


"Look Jesus. You let So-and-so win this election and hey, we'll all be just fine, thank-you-very-much, Amen."

These are pretty sucky prayers.

Now don't get me wrong. The Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, gives us many intercessory prayers. At Mass, for example, we're encouraged to pray for the Church, the Holy Father, the sick, the dead, for faith, hope, and love.

Prayers of intercession are not wrong. Prescribing the solution is dumb.

At the wedding bash in Cana, the embarrassed groom and his bride had one of those "uh-oh" moments...the wine was running 'way short. Or maybe they weren't troubled by it, but somebody was. The parents, maybe? I don't know. I do know that our loving Mom, Mary, felt somebody's pain.

Now what did she do? She prayed! And how did she pray?

Did she say: "Hey Son, here's the thing. Snap your fingers and create some wine. Now!" Or, "Jesus, Love, make a miracle...DO something!" Or even: "Kid, look water, wine, both liquid, right? Do Mama a favor and change that water into wine, okay, that's a good boy."

Nope. She just said four words:

"They have no wine."

That was it. She didn't tell Him the solution. She told Him the problem.

And so confident was she (despite the rather droll exchange...or rather Jesus' response to her about "not being His time) that she told the wine guys: "do whatever He tells you." (A rather terrific motto of Boston's Cardinal Archbishop, by the way.)

Badda-bing. We know what happened next.

What can we learn from our Mother?

Well, we can learn how to ask for help from Jesus. We can tell Him the problem, and leave the answer to Him.

We can tell Jesus, for example:

"Jesus, my spouse is sick."

"Jesus, unborn children are dying."

"Jesus, when people take your Name in vain, it hurts me."

"Jesus, I'm lonely."

"Jesus, I'm sick."

"Jesus, my child is in trouble."

You get what I mean. Besides saving a lot of words and time, prayer like Mary's underscores the confidence you and I have in Jesus' love for us. And His Divinity!

Jesus doesn't need the answers. He actually doesn't even need the prayers.

But we do. Let's let Him do His work...without our advice.

May He continue to bless you!