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By Jeannie Ewing, Catholic Exchange, November 14, 2018
“Mary speeds up the hour of grace.” – Fr. Jacques Philippe
I always loved hearing about the wedding feast at Cana in scripture, but when Jesus said to His mother, “Woman, my hour has not yet come,” it perplexed me. Why would He say something like that, especially to His own mom? But then Mary replies to the worker at the wedding, “Do whatever He tells you.” And the miracle unfolds.
In recent months, it seems God has been nudging me to understand Jesus’ first public miracle in more depth. After reading Fr. Jacques Philippe’s newest book, The Eight Doors to the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes, I learned in seven simple words the profundity of this event: “Mary speeds up the hour of grace.”
Think about that in your own life for a moment. If ever my confidence in the Blessed Mother’s intercession has failed, these words instantly revitalize it. She expedites moments of grace, perhaps even before God has ordained them to happen. Her presence and prayers are perfectly answered, because God cannot refuse her requests.
What can we learn from Jesus’ first miracle, the one that was not supposed to happen so soon? Here is hidden wisdom from the wedding feast at Cana:
Ask for Mary’s Help in Difficult and Impossible Situations
“If Mary, unasked, is so prompt to help the needy, how much more so will she be to help those who call upon her and ask for her help?”
– Luigi Novarini
Think about the above quote in terms of the wedding feast. No one asked Mary to intercede. She just noticed something very important when everyone else was distracted with celebrating the occasion. The jars were empty, and she didn’t want the couple to be embarrassed by not having enough to serve their guests.
Our Lady’s influence is like that in our lives, too. I think about the times when she may have been more on the periphery than the forefront of my mind, but she still noticed the details that I often overlooked. I live a frenzied life like most people, but there are moments when I know she recognizes what I need in that moment, even if I don’t ask her.
Not long ago, I was concerned about an article I had written months ago that still had not been published. I had contacted the editor and did not receive a reply. Frustrated, I thought about the entire month I had spent doing research for this article and what a waste it might have been.
I didn’t turn to Mary, but she heard the cry of my heart, anyway. That same day I received a reply from the editor, giving me instructions on how to polish the article and submit it for publication.
How much more does she give us when we deliberately turn to her with our specific needs?
Go to Her With an Empty Heart
Like the empty jars with no wine, our hearts must also be empty in order for us to receive the graces God has in store for us. The Blessed Mother is the one who sees what is hidden. Most people walked by the empty jugs without a second thought. It’s like that for each of us: there is only so much of ourselves that we can, and should, share with the world. But Mary knows the rest of what remains in the recesses of our hearts.
When we come to her empty and hand her our nothingness, she turns to her Son on our behalf. And then He transforms us into the finest wine, saved for last. Imagine how much more you could be if you allow God to drain the cheap wine of your life – excessive worry, overspending, lax prayer life, materialism, etc. — so that He could fill you with Himself and make of your life a true masterpiece.
Expect Miracles to Happen in Your Life
“St. Thomas Aquinas says that by the words, ‘My hour has not yet come,’ Jesus Christ intended to show that, had the request come from anyone else, he would not then have complied with it. But because it came to him from his mother, he could not refuse it.”
– St. Alphonsus Liguori
Here we learn the answer to my initial question: Why would Jesus say, “Woman, my hour has not yet come”? St. Alphonsus offers a simple, but reasonable, explanation. It was necessary for Jesus to verbalize this in order to make clear that no one else, except His Mother, could ask Him to do what He had not yet intended to do.
Is there something in your life that needs Mary’s intercession? Ask her to expedite the hour of grace for you.
Prayer to Expedite the Hour of Grace
Here is a final prayer on the wedding feast at Cana to help you meditate on what Mary’s speedy intercession means in your own life:
“Lord Jesus, I must confess that in some areas of my life, I ‘have no wine.’ I am empty, thirsty, dry. Through your Blessed Mother’s intercession, fill the stone jar of my heart to overflowing with your life-giving water, and turn the water into the wine of gladness in your love.”
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