The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 72.

I do not suppose that many persons at the present day will feel drawn to such a mystical explanation as this, which was thought out, in an age when mystical interpretations of Holy Scriptures were very numerous, as a means of dealing with a difficulty. The difficulty consists in the apparent contradiction involved in the fact that our Lord worked the miracle immediately after having stated that His hour had not yet come—His hour (as the context seems to me on the whole to suggest) for the working of miracles. If this be the true meaning of the expression Mine hour, it is impossible to accept such an interpretation of the passage as that, for example, of St. Augustine. 1

Still, the apparent contradiction undoubtedly exists and calls for an explanation. May it not be found in the fact that our Lord suggested to His Mother that, though His time would not have come had she not asked, yet, since she asked, He would certainly grant her prayer ? 2

I am aware that I have written somewhat differently in the past. Following in the footsteps of St. John Chrysostom (In Joannem, Hom. XXII. 1-2.) and St. Gaudentius, (Sermo IX., De Evangel. Led. Secund.) I have quoted the case of the woman of Canaan (whose request our Lord seemed to refuse in order that He might grant it, and thus be enabled to praise the faith exhibited in the face of refusal), and have suggested that in like manner at Cana our Lord would demonstrate His Mother's incomparable Virtue. (The Mustard Tree, pp. 311-316.) It may be so. There is no question of disparagement of our Lady. Quite the contrary. What can be more glowing than the words of St. Gaudentius. " Whereupon she too, that most Blessed One, knowing the profound mystery of His answer [its mystical meaning with regard to ' the wine of the Holy Ghost'], understood that the suggestion she had just made was not slighted or spurned, but in accordance with that spiritual reason, was for a time mysteriously delayed. Otherwise, she would never have said to the waiters, 'Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.' For indeed, full as she was of the Holy Ghost after her Divine Child Bearing, she not only knew the meaning of Christ's answer, but also foresaw the whole course of His making the water wine.

It should, however, be borne in mind that in every other passage in the New Testament where there is reference to the Hour of Christ ἡ ὥρα, Matt. xxvi. 45, Mark xiv. 41 ; ἡ ὥρα λοιπόν, John vii. 30, viii. 20, xiii. i) the reference is to the Passion. This fact makes me surmise that even though at Cana the primary reference of Mine hour ἡ ὥρα μοῦ was to the hour for the manifestation of our Lord's glory by Miracles, there was here also a further mystical reference to His Passion.

2 This is no more to ascribe a change of mind in our Lord on this occasion than on any other when He listens to the prayer of faith. Theologians tell us that in this matter we have to distinguish between the antecedent and the consequent Will of God.