“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” [And] Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:1-5)
There are many lessons to take from Christ’s first sign at Cana. But there is one particular part that I think should be addressed. Notice that the first miracle that Jesus performed was not one of healing or one of glorious light like the Transfiguration.
Jesus made more booze.
Would the world have ended if they ran out of wine? No. Would someone have died or lost their soul if they didn’t have any more adult beverages? Again, no.
So why does Jesus go out of His way to help out with, what was essentially, was just a big party?
I think it is to remind us that the little things must also be given to the Lord.
I remember speaking to a teacher who was also a football coach who told his students that they should never pray for victory on the field because it was inappropriate. He was a very pious man and I completely understood his thinking. There are so many more important things to worry about than football. There’s war, sickness, oppression, the erosion of our culture, the stranglehold of our vices on our souls, our futures, our finances, our eternal destinies…
In the grand scheme of things, does God really care about a football game?
The story of Cana tells us that the answer is yes. He cares about it because we care about it.
The danger, I think, is holding back what is truly in our hearts. Yes, there are more important things to worry about than this game or that. But if it is important to us, we would be dishonest to avoid it. Sometimes I think we can develop a false piety where we stop asking God for the little (or even the big) things of life because we say that we don’t need anything and we trust in God.
That is a beautiful disposition that the saints possess: a complete abandonment to the will of God. Now I don’t know about you, but I am nowhere near that level yet. One day, I hope to be. But right now if I am honest, I still worry about finding a close parking space, getting home in time to see the premiere of The Walking Dead, finding my Justice League #12 that I know I had two minutes ago when I walked up from my basement and I didn’t go anywhere else between there and here…. But I digress.
We have to learn to crawl before we can run. I shouldn’t pretend that these things in life aren’t important to me. I eventually want to get to a place of saintly serene surrender. But I don’t want to be inflated with pride and think myself better than I am.
One of the ways to progress is not to withhold the little things from prayer, but to bring everything, large and small, to prayer.
When my wife and I go out and pull into a parking lot, we always pray “St. Anthony and guardian angels, if it be the will of the Father, help us to find a close parking spot. If not, we offer up our frustrations and exertions up to you.” Now, I know that might sound weird. But we take a very common human point of frustration and instead of circling around getting more and more agitated, we ask God for what we need because we know that He can provide it. And when a close parking space opens up, we offer a prayer of thanksgiving. When it doesn’t we accept the tiny cross.
Now, of course we could forgo praying altogether. But in that case we would still want the parking space and circle around looking. The only difference is that we would not have invited God into that moment.
Of course the smaller things should not be raised up above the larger things. If I only pray for victory and football and nothing else, that is a problem. If I concentrate only on the little annoyances of this world and ignore the deeper needs of my soul, then I shall never progress to where God wants me.
But this is not an either/or situation. We should pray for the big things along with the little things. The main point is that you don’t want to cut off any part of your life from being shared with God. Real and true union with God is about sharing all aspects of who you are. If I only look to God for emergencies, I might end up only looking to him as my Divine safety net. If only turn to God for small things, I may never mature in my spirituality where I can get on the road to sainthood, the road I am called to take.
I need to do both. Every inch of my life should be saturated by God. St. Therese of the Child Jesus said that the big things were too big for her. So she said she would enter heaven through smallness. She had a small life, but God was in every single moment of that small life. And in that she found holiness.
Mary saw that the hosts of the wedding party had a need. She asked her Son to help with this need. She cared about their lives and so did her Son.
There may be prayers to which God says no. There may be prayer requests that are too inappropriate or too immature or too self-centered.
But in the eyes of God, there is no prayer too small.
Copyright 2014, W.L. Grayson