I’ve been reading Robert Barron’s book, The Priority of Christ: Toward a Postliberal Catholicism. I highly recommend the book. I just got through reading the fourth chapter and in it is one of the most beautiful descriptions of Mary.
Father Barron (a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago and professor of systematic theology) examines the meaning of the biblical narrative of The Wedding at Cana. Here’s the story:
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.” Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. (John 2:1-11)
Barron looks at the different symbols employed by John who uses the story as the first of Jesus’ public signs. I was struck by the symbolism and rich meaning of this story which Barron well articulates. Mary of course figures significantly in this story. I’ve heard, taught, prayed with, and encountered many images of Mary in my life. But something about Barron’s description of the symbolism of Mary in this story has just stayed with me. Who is Mary for you?