Husbands and wives are called to love each other as God loves us. Last week
I asked if this is even possible. We spoke about the story of the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-12) and the story of Tobias and Sarah from the Book of Tobit, both popular Wedding readings. Both these stories teach us a little about how married couples can love each other totally and make sure they don’t run out of wine.
First, we must invite Jesus. Jesus is at the wedding of Cana because he was invited. Just as you or I would not crash a wedding, Jesus is not going to be in your marriage if you don’t invite him. Make sure you invite Jesus into your Marriage every day – not just as you pray on your wedding day, but every day, for the rest of your lives.
Second, we must pay attention. I don’t think that Mary notices that they’ve run out of wine because she’s been going to the bar every half an hour for another drink. She notices because she’s paying attention. In a Marriage, you have to pay attention. Not just to each other – I hope you do – but pay attention to everything. What makes her happy? What annoys him? What can I do to put her needs before mine every time? What can she do to put my needs before hers every time? That’s total love.
Third, we must pray. Mary didn’t try to solve the problem by herself; she went straight to Jesus. And at the beginning of Tobias and Sarah’s story we see them both praying (In fact Sarah is in a bad state, she’s considering suicide; instead she prays). Then when they meet and get married, what do they do on their wedding night? They pray (Totit 8:4-8). How many couples on their wedding night, when they get to the hotel room kneel down and pray? Pray. Invite Jesus into your Marriage and pray apart and together. Marriage is not going to be a sign of our relationship with God if we are not in a relationship with God.
And don’t be afraid of intercessory prayer. It’s OK to go straight to Jesus and it’s ok to ask Mary to intercede for us. Jesus won’t say no to his mother and Mary won’t take no from Jesus.
Sometimes we are afraid to ask for things that we think are not important or that God definitely has more important things to attend to than to worry about our little, petty, insignificant needs. Mary asked Jesus for wine, for crying out loud! Jesus cares about our little, insignificant needs. And he definitely cares that we don’t run out of wine. Don’t be afraid to pray for little things and don’t be afraid to ask Mary for help.
Fourth, we must act. Love is not a feeling. Love is action; it is an act of your will. We must always do – and when we do, we must do whatever He tells us to. That’s why we need to be marriages of prayer. We need to be people of prayer so that we know what Jesus is asking us to do – no matter how ridiculous it might seem: fill those jars with water... might not make any sense. No matter, do whatever He tells you.
And if you’re not sure, ask for help. That’s why marriage ceremonies are public. We surround ourselves with family and friends because a Marriage is a community event. We need support and help from our family and friends. We need to help married couples if they are to succeed at loving each other totally.
Last, we must enjoy. Enjoy the good wine. Wine is a symbol of love, life and joy. Jesus wants you to have his joy in you and that your joy be made full (John 15:11). That’s Heaven.
The Catholic Church teaches that Marriage is a Sacrament
. A Sacrament is a visible sign of invisible Grace. Marriage points to an invisible reality; to a greater reality. But Sacraments are Sacraments because they make Christ present. We learn that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that’s a very real, physical presence, but every Sacrament makes Christ present.
Marriage makes Christ present, not just on the day of your wedding as you exchange your wedding vows, but every day of your married life as you administer the Sacrament of Marriage to each other. Every time a wife and a husband look to each other and they say “I am going to put this man’s needs, this woman’s needs before mine,” they will be making Christ present. And their Marriage will become a sign of God’s love for all.
The Church also teaches that Marriage is a Vocation
. That’s because for people who are called to Married Life, Marriage is how they are going to get to Heaven; Marriage is the ordinary way to holiness. Think about that: God gave you your husband; God gave you your wife to help you get to Heaven. A wife’s job is to help her husband get to Heaven and a husband’s job is to help his wife get to Heaven. How beautiful and amazing and scary that is!
But we can do that; we can live Marriage as a Sacrament and we can live Marriage as a Vocation if we keep our eyes on the wine: Invite Jesus, pay attention, pray, pray, pray, (and ask Mary for help), and then always do whatever He tells you to do. Then you’ll be able to enjoy the new wine and His joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. That is Heaven!
As always, email [Write to me
] me your comments and come back next week
. We looked at wine, so let's look at what Marriage has to do with the Eucharist.
Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching: