I’ve heard many say—and I’ve said myself—words in the general formula: “Oh, I don’t want to complain about [insert problem or concern], but compared to [insert wars, the latest shooting, natural disaster, famine, or other horrible thing], my problem is so small. I feel bad even mentioning it to God.”
So, the other night I was praying for all of my concerns and all those of my family, friends, and directees, as well as all the world’s problems. Then I started a Rosary. I fell asleep somewhere around the second decade.
But the prayer continued on as an Ignatian contemplation while I slept, because in my dream it was as if I were there, living and breathing in that place.
I was at a wedding. From the heat, the garb, and the dust on my tongue, I gathered I was in biblical times. There was a loud din of excited talking, laughing, and general merriment. The smell of perfectly roasted meat wafted through the warm air, accompanied by the smell of wine. As women and men pushed past, strong perfumes merged with the scent of perspiration. It was hot and stuffy in the tent. Despite the joyous atmosphere, I could feel intense worry coming from the side of the tent near me. I turned to see an older man and woman whispering with concerned looks on their faces. The woman had tears in her eyes. They were very worried about something.
My attention was pulled to the other side of the room where a little child had started crying. His mother attended to the scrape on his knee. Behind him was Mary, who was whispering to Jesus and subtly motioning with her head towards the concerned couple near me.
Jesus looked Mary in the eye, and his eyes mirrored her concern. He left quietly and went behind a curtain where the servers were running in and out.
At this point in the dream, I became aware of where I was. With my awareness I awoke to the light of the moon streaming into the bedroom.
I wondered why I had dreamed about the Wedding at Cana and what I was supposed to be taking from it. In my mind, the spotlight was on the faces of the concerned couple and the faces of Mary and Jesus. I couldn’t forget the looks as I witnessed Mary bringing their concern to Jesus.
That made me wonder how Mary knew Jesus could do something about it. What did she know? What had she experienced prior to that first public miracle?
I also pondered why she would be concerned over this situation. It was, in the scheme of things, really not that big of a deal. But to this family it was a big deal. To run out of wine so early in the reception would bring shame on them. There would be intense embarrassment and a drop in social status. People would whisper. The implications would affect this family deeply. Mary understood. Jesus understood. And he did something about it.
Every time we are heavy laden with concerns and don’t want to “bother” Jesus with them, we box in God. God has the capacity to care about all of it—big and small—at the same time. There’s no need to dole out our concerns so that we don’t overwhelm God or so that we can let him focus on bigger issues somewhere else. God cares to hear each of our concerns—big and small.
Image: “The Wedding at Cana” by Nicholás Correa, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons