Bride and Joy

“There was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there” (John 2:1).

It’s May, Mary’s month, and the month when I am “giving away” my daughter in marriage. It’s hard for a dad, especially the dad of such a daughter, because I know no one deserves her. But Ben comes close.

Hannah is the third of my children to walk the aisle, but she’s my only daughter, and the preparation is different this time—more intense, more involved. I think I’ve come to understand yet another reason why St. John’s Gospel never reveals the names of the couple who got married at Cana. It’s a providential consolation for parents, even two millennia later, as we prepare to accompany our children to the altar. We remember: “There was a wedding … and the mother of Jesus was there.”

The Blessed Mother was there when Jesus took something that was very good, the natural institution of the family, and elevated it to something supernatural: a sacrament of the Church, Holy Matrimony.

There’s so much to think about—rehearsals and purchases and reservations and invitations. My wife, Kimberly, is doing much of the work in our household, but I still feel overwhelmed. It’s such a relief to know that, when there is a wedding, the mother of Jesus is there. If we run out of wine, so what? There is a wedding. It’s May. And Mary is there.

I know how much I want the best for my Hannah—that day and ever after. But I know that Mary wants it even more, and she is in the best position to get the best the bride and groom could wish for. Why? Because “Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding” (John 2:2).

It was in Cana, through the sign of long-ago nuptials, that Jesus “revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him” (John 2:11).

This is the story of every Catholic wedding, or it should be. Lord, open our eyes to see the sign, and beyond it to the truth.

With Hannah’s wedding so close, October seems as far away as the next millennium, but I know it will be here before I’m well prepared for it. If you can manage it, please consider joining us for the St. Paul Center’s Mediterranean Cruise and Pilgrimage, “In the Footsteps of St. Paul,” October 25 to November 3. With stops in Greece, Turkey, and Italy, we’ll retrace the journeys of our apostolic patron. We’ll stand in the very places where he preached the Gospel to the Gentiles. We’ll venerate the sites of his martyrdom and burial.

And all this will happen just as the world’s bishops are wrapping up the Church’s synod on the New Evangelization — and Pope Benedict launches the Year of Faith. How good it will be for us to start anew in the places where it all began, so many years ago, where Paul announced a new Evangel and a perpetual year of favor and faith.

It will be so much better if you’re there with us — in Mary’s other month, the month of the Rosary.

In the meantime, I am, as always, a beggar. I beg your prayers for our work in a challenging year. I treasure your encouragement and all the contributions you’ve made and will make.