Tuesday 11 August 2015

The Fast of the Virgin Mary - II

It is significant that the Virgin Mary is present and active at the first miracle which our Lord Jesus Christ performed. We may remember the account of the Wedding at Cana. Jesus and his disciples were guests, and at some point in the event it was discovered that the host was running out of wine. What a disaster at a time and place when generous hospitality was everything!

We should make a careful note of the words which his mother, the Virgin Mary spoke. They are not accidentally recorded for us by St John. On the contrary they were filled with spiritual meaning which became clear as the ministry of the Lord unfolded. St John writes...

And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. John 2:3-5

There are some important lessons here. We see that there is a need, and it is the Virgin Mary who goes to our Lord and tells him that there is a problem. She is not oblivious to these practical concerns, and when the folk at the wedding realise that they are going to run out of wine it is the Theotokos who is included in their anxious conversation. We call her All-Holy and Ever-Virgin, but she is also seen to be found in the middle of ordinary events, and directing those in need to Christ, her Son.

She goes to the Lord Jesus and tells him that they have run out of wine, and he seems to respond in a resistant manner. It is not yet time to manifest his divine power in miracles. But in fact the Virgin Mary is already sure that he will act for blessing and to save the situation, and she tells the servants at the feast to do whatever the Lord Jesus says.

I learn some wonderful lessons from this. Firstly that the Virgin Mary is concerned about our needs. She is not God. We do not confuse her with God. She is human. But she has always been a caring and compassionate mother, and we should not hesitate to share our own needs with her, asking her intercession on our behalf.

We also see that she has influence with her Son. Not that we should imagine that he does not care, or is to terrible to approach in prayer. We do not believe that at all. But the Virgin Mary remains for all eternity the Mother of the Lord Jesus, and in this she has a unique relationship. The Fathers of the Church see in this occasion the force of the intercession of the Virgin Mary on our behalf. It is not that Christ needs to be convinced to act for us, but that he loves to be moved by his mother, and our mother, to respond to our prayers.

And we see in this event the faith of the Virgin Mary in her Son. Even though he seems to reject her request, she knows that he will do what is good and necessary. She tells the servants to be prepared to do whatever the Lord Jesus asks even when it seems he will do nothing. In this we also hear the teaching of the Virgin Mary, do whatever he says, and through her prayers on our behalf ask for the grace to do just this, all those things the Divine will asks of us.

In this season of the Fast of the Virgin Mary may we all offer ourselves to the will of God in such a manner, for our salvation, making her words our own.

At the moment I am waiting patiently to see what will be determined for me by the Church. I have followed this word, do whatever he says, and have transferred under the direct jurisdiction of His Holiness. Now I am waiting, and have been waiting, to discover how I am to continue my missionary service.

Please pray that the will of God will be made known and that I can serve again as Our Lord wishes in such obedience as the Virgin Mary displayed, and ask of the Virgin Mary that she will not cease to intercede for me. There are others also, those I have been caring for, and some I have led into our Orthodox Faith over the last months and years, who are also waiting patiently with me for the will of God to be revealed.

I'm without financial support at the moment, except from a few dear friends. The support some have given in their great kindness and generosity makes a real difference but is not yet enough. My household bills have not, unfortunately, gone away. Indeed they are mounting up and cannot be paid at present. So I am waiting, trusting in the Lord for his provision by your prayers. Please continue to pray for me and with me. I always need your prayers in every situation.

If you are able, and moved, to provide some support at this rather testing time, then your financial support is most gratefully received as if from God himself.

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