The Wedding Feast at Cana and the Gift of Counsel

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s excerpt, from Fr. Cameron’s article:

The Wedding Feast at Cana and the Gift of Counsel

In the Gospel of John, the first miracle of Jesus’ ministry is the changing of water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana (cf. John 2:1–12). This divine sign inaugurates and signals the impact of God’s transforming presence and power in our midst. What happens to that water is meant to happen to us—and even more! Therefore, it is of paramount importance for us to take note of how the Lord changes water into wine. At the center of the transformation is Mary, the Mother of God. It is Mary who takes notice that the wine has run out. It is Mary who informs her Son of the situation. And, especially, it is Mary who instructs those waiting on table: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the story is that the waiters actually listen to Mary. They follow her counsel. The divine Gift of Counsel is the way the Holy Spirit quickens and instructs our minds to do whatever contributes to our spiritual welfare.

Counsel is reasoned inquiry that leads us to deliberate action. But in the process, the Holy Spirit safeguards our freedom, our ability to reason things out for ourselves, and our willpower. Notice that the waiters don’t heed the Blessed Mother like either tyrannized or obsequious slaves. Rather, they listen intently, intelligently: and they make a choice. We get the sense that there was reflection and sound deliberation at work in the minds and hearts of these servants who were surely impressed by the confidence, the prudence, and the soundness of this remarkable dinner guest—whom they, in turn, decided to obey. Mary’s words of counsel lead the waiters to her Son, and the Gift of Counsel leads us, as well, to Jesus. In our searching for the Lord we need the very guidance of God which the Gift of Counsel supplies. For in this gift we are given God’s own advice to make us holy. Everyone who is a friend of God by grace is blessed with God’s counsel to advise us what we need to do in matters necessary for our salvation

There is a risk involved in following the Spirit’s counsel. For Counsel might instruct us to do things that, in the eyes of the world, seem to make not much sense—like filling water jars and drawing out water for head waiters to taste! Therefore, a profound level of trust is required in order to benefit fully from the Gift of Counsel, the kind of trust that compelled professional waiters to listen to the counsel of a “perfect” stranger and to do whatever her Son told them. We are asked to do no less. And if we do, we can expect to be transformed from waiters into wedding guests who are the first to taste the choice wine that was saved for last. To benefit from this Gift, we must surrender any stubborn self- reliance that would prevent us from taking God’s advice. Saint Augustine writes that even the angels consult God about things beneath them. It is a hallmark of the Church to rely on Counsel as a healthy, vital, life-giving dynamic of our life of faith.

The Holy Spirit’s Gift of Counsel pertains to everything leading to eternal life. Counsel quickens and instructs our minds to tend to the miraculous Jesus at a wedding feast; at the Feast of his Last Supper where he turns wine into his Blood; and to keep on tending him until we aretransformed with him at the Wedding Feast of heaven. The counsel and maternal mediation of Mary keeps us headed in Jesus’ direction, especially when she sees something empty or unsatisfied in ourselves that the love of her Son is guaranteed to transform. (Underlining is mine)

May the Holy Spirit enlighten our minds and strengthen our wills to do the truth we hear, through Mary.

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