In Cana of Galilee


The yes of Mary, the yes of Anthony, the commitment of the Families of Cana

On Monday the Church celebrated the Solemnity of the Annunciation, transferred from March 25th, Palm Sunday. And so, as we usually do on solemnities, we went to evening mass. Anthony was anxious:

“Mum, do you think I should serve at the altar, even though it’s a weekday?”

“Of course! Father Taveira will be delighted.”

“Ah good. Like that I’ll be the first to receive Holy Communion. And I loved having communion yesterday! I want to have communion today and every day. I think I’ll start counting my communions.”

Lucia joined in the conversation. “When I made my first communion, I said I was going to count my communions too, but I forgot.”

With all the hurry to get to mass, Anthony didn’t remember to change his old sneakers and put on his new ones, so the altar boy at that particular mass was a little scruffy. Nonetheless, he was keen to do his best. On the way home after mass he whispered in my ear:

“Mum, I think Jesus traded my heart for a new one. I think he came and took out my heart of … how is it in the Bible? My heart of stone…”

“…and he put there a heart of flesh instead…”

“That’s it! Have you noticed?”

“Noticed what?”

“That now I don’t always say “no” when you tell me to take a shower or tell me not to tease Sara, or to do my homework or put on my jacket…”

“Well yes, I suppose I have noticed it, I mean, I’ve noticed that you say “no” maybe once, and then if I ask you a second time you say “yes” straight away”, You don’t insist on “no” until I lose my patience…”

“That’s it. When I made my First Communion, I asked Jesus to teach me to say “yes” always.

“Like Our Lady, right António? It’s what we heard today in the Gospel:

I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your Word (Lk 1:38)

Our dialog has continued these past few days, and Anthony’s no’s are being converted to yes’s although not quite as quickly as he would have hoped. And I remembered a line from Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus:

“Let us not refuse Jesus anything. One day it will be He who says to us: “Now it’s my turn!””

The day when we will make our commitment, or renew our commitment (to being Families of Cana), is approaching fast. I know there are many families throughout Portugal who are feeling challenged by our charism, trying to drink from the Six Clay Jars of Cana. Everywhere we’ve travelled we’ve been surprised by the Lord, who puts us in contact with families that, even never having met us, were already putting into practice the family prayer life we propose. For many families, all that’s missing is take the simplest step: write to our e-mail address, come visit us, and before the Bishop, on the 28th, commit yourselves. God doesn’t care for half measures – have you read this month’s teaching?

As Anthony rightly said, it’s time to stop saying “no” and learn to say “yes”. Let us pray to the Lord, at our next Communion, that He will change our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. And we ask Mary, the Lady of the Annunciation, to teach us to do everything that Jesus tells us…

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