In both Catholic and Protestant understandings there is much disagreement and consternation on how to regard Holy Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Surely all would agree she was and is the most remarkable woman who ever lived. What she knew about Him and carried in her heart is beyond our understanding.
Our Lord is the Lord of delight and warm-hearted pleasure. He attended a wedding in Cana, as a guest with His new disciples. And as guests they were not expected to serve or provide, but rather to receive and enjoy the feast. It’s His mother who notices the lack of wine. It’s His mother who intercedes for the host and all the guests. It’s His mother who tells the servants to do whatever He says to do.
It can seem that Jesus gave a harsh answer to His mother when she remarked that the hosts had run out of wine. “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” This isn’t so hard to understand. What did his reply mean? First of all, the word “woman” is not harsh in Hebrew the way it is in English, with our strange gender-obsessed language. It was a common term of address and not in any way pejorative. And it was not their place as guests to presume to act in the host’s place, which would be very disrespectful and embarrassing for the host and wedding couple.
So much is strongly implied here. To start with, Holy Mary obviously knows that her Son can create wine from water. She knows He has divine power to create from nothing, out of His pure intention, just like His creation of the worlds. He created that divine estate of marriage “instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency.”
She knows His heart and compassion for others. She knows He will do what He wills to do. “Thy will be done” is her guiding principle. She intervenes by bringing the concern to Her Son’s attention, and then she tells us all to do as He says. She knows her Son is the Son of God. Remember all that she has been keeping in her heart since the covering of the Holy Spirit until now at the wedding feast.
Her way is to be our way as well. (Our hearts full of knowing Who He really is.) We take our needs to Our Lord. And then in trusting faith, watch and accept that His will will be done. And we believe it’s fine and appropriate to ask her now to carry our concerns to her Son, as she did in Cana with such delightful results. This is not “extra-Biblical.” It is simply following the pattern from the Miracle at Cana.
But what is this “hour” which is not yet come? What period of time has yet to begin, and what is it? It is the beginning and fulfillment of Our Lord’s sacrificial and substitutionary gift of Himself for us; a giving which would shatter any mother’s heart. Somehow Mary carries this all in her heart, while knowing in her maternal intimacy with Him the outcome of the hour to come. It’s not a super power to fly and vanquish foes. It is the amazing depth and strength of heart that carries the love of the Son of God and knows His coming sacrifice. How could anyone bear the incredible love of your Son being the Son of God and knowing the “hour” coming He has chosen? And she did. And for that she deserves the highest respect we can offer to any human being.
No, she is not divine or a co-creator with her Son. She has no cosmic super powers. Hers is the power of example; the example of completely self-sacrificing love. It is a love which changes the world by piercing all our hearts. It is a love which reveals the true nature of our hearts and sends us rushing into the saving arms of her Son Jesus Christ.
When we stand with her and behold her Son with her, the cosmos is shaken and Satan and his darkness are defeated. And Christ’s light fills the world.