Reflections on The Wedding at Cana or "Don't tell me what to do!"

Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto - Wedding at Cana

Growing up as a shy kid, I wasn't as eager to "show off" my talents as I am today. In fact, I can remember specific incidents where I felt pushed into doing something because my specific gift or talent was needed. I remember being at a family gathering around 16 when someone asked if I played guitar. I'd been playing for only a year, and without any instruction. In my mind I sounded like Carlos Santana, but in reality I sounded like a dying alpaca. Not wanting to embarrass myself, I quickly shook my head and found another conversation to join.

Almost immediately, my mom came up to me: "They want to hear you play the guitar. Why don't you want to play? You play at the house all the time?"

At age 16 a boy doesn't often articulate his feelings well, and my only argument was: "Because I don't want to!" It started a brief argument(which I quickly lost), and I ended up pouting as I strummed through a few songs.

Similar incidents have happened in my life since, most prominent of them being my discernment of religious life. Often times, just describing the difference between a friar and a monk can take 20 minutes. Explaining the depths of my vocation can be an hour long conversation...usually followed by the exact same talk with another person 10 minutes afterwards.

So when I had a chance to reflect on the Gospel this Sunday about the Wedding at Cana, I tried to look at this Gospel through a different lens than usual:

Jesus and his disciples are there at a celebration, having a good time. And in the midst of everything, Mary comes up to him and asks him to do something. He resists at first (for reasons he can only articulate in metaphor), but Mary knows her Son. Eventually he has the servers fill the jars, and the glory of God is shown in His first sign...after being pushed into it by his Mother.

Praying and reflecting on this image, I came up with two big points for personal reflection and challenge this week:

1. Sometimes I need a swift kick in the butt to get on the proper track. If you ask any of the novices or formators here, they'll tell you my favorite line is: "Don't tell me what to do!" (a sarcastic statement I use as we learn Obedience) It can be an issue of pride when someone corrects or tells me what I should be doing, but I've found that, like Jesus, Moms tend to be right. And if this story presents a model of Mary encouraging her Son, than it also provides a model for me to be humble and listen to those around me.

2. I don't always know what my gifts and talents are, or sometimes I want to be selfish or shy about them. Earlier I stated that discussing my vocation story can seem like a chore, but with reflecting and understanding I see that I'm not doing anything...rather The Spirit is working in others through me. So while I may be challenged to continue to talk about myself and my life conversion, the challenge is to remember that it's not about me! Perhaps something I say or write will challenge someone, or give another person the insiration to do something...things I could never know. I may not like being pushed into doing things, but my challenge is to remember there are more important things than my pride.

I think I need to go call my mom now. Peace!

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