Published by Stephen Michael Leininger in Stephen Michael Leininger · 23 September 2021
Tags: Cana, Eucharist, Wedding
Tags: Cana, Eucharist, Wedding
The Wedding Feast at Cana
Jesus Foretells the Consequences of His Words on the Cross: “Now It Is Finished” (John 19:30)
Part 1 of 3
The Eucharist — the Mass — is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324).
It is the fulfillment of the Everlasting Covenant of Salt.
The Description of All other Sacraments can be rightly followed by the words: “so that we can receive the body, blood, soul, and Divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist.”
A Note Concerning the Real Presence and Transubstantiation
We now begin our examination of the justification for believing that: 1) Jesus’ resurrected body is the fulfillment of the Covenant of Salt that God made with Abraham; 2) Salvation comes only through a literal (though meta-sense-able) union of the whole man — soul and body (salt of DNA) — with the rebuilt Temple, i.e., the Resurrected Glorified body of Jesus Christ (Jn. 2:21) and; 3) Redemption of the Body (Rom. 8:23), which cannot be achieved without a nuptial one-flesh union with the New Covenant of Salt Temple, the Marriage of the Bride (the Church) with the Bridegroom (the Person of the Son of God, body, Blood, soul, and Divinity).
In our discussion of the Wedding Feast at Cana, we will begin to touch on the topic of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist — not a symbolic presence. It will continue in Part II of this blog series. It is a Dogma of the Catholic Church that the entire Jesus, in His humanity and Divinity, is truly, really, and substantially present in the Eucharist. Two Doctrines contribute to a fuller understanding of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
One explains the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The other is called Transubstantiation. The Science & Theology of Salt in Scripture (STOSS) rises or falls on the correct interpretation of this teaching. Whether or not the understanding of this Dogma includes a justifiable reliance on the belief that the words “truly, really, and substantially present [CCC, #1374]” teaches that Jesus’ living physical body (glorified, but not mortal) is present after the consecration of the Communion Host. Whether or not it contains his functioning cells, dynamic biological water, functioning DNA, beating heart, proteins, etc.
The Dogma of Transubstantiation informs us of the mode of his Real Presence. At the consecration of the species of bread and wine during the Mass, the entire substance (a term used in Philosophy) of the bread and wine are changed into the whole substance of man, i.e., Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. While the accidents (another term in Philosophy) of bread and wine are still visible, all that makes the bread be bread and the wine be wine (i.e., their substances) are gone and replaced by the whole and entire substance of Jesus in both his humanity and Divinity. The Real Presence is often referred to as the sacramental presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Some believe the body and Blood of Jesus are not physically present in the consecrated host; that the sacramental presence is not also the glorified, yet physical, presence. To keep (as much as possible) this post accessible to those who are not theologians, I have decided to address those who are more theologically inclined to Part II of this blog series.
Describing the Miracle at Cana
On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in
Galilee, and the Mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the Mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His Mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.” So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him (Jn. 2:1-11).
Let’s examine the different components of this miracle and how each contributes to a deeper understanding of its literal (not literalistic) meaning.
On the Third Day
“On the third day” are the very first words in the miracle story at Cana. They are pretty significant. On the first day of his public ministry in John’s narrative, Jesus is baptized in the waters of the Jordan, but it is not a baptism of water and the Spirit. It foreshadowed Baptism of water and the Spirit. Baptism is the rite of initiation into the Mystical Body of Christ. Baptism is the New Covenant of Salt’s replacement of the Mosaic sacrament of circumcision. Baptism is not the same as a nuptial one-flesh relationship, but it is a part of the preparation for that marital union.
On the third day of his public ministry, Jesus performs the miracle at
Cana. The timing of this event coincides with, and explicitly points to another very significant future event. An event that will also occur on the third day, i.e., the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The third day was Easter Day — the day after His death on the salt of DNA of the Wood of the Cross. Second, it was the day when his body was spiritualized and glorified. Finally, it was the day of the arrival of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. The day in which the outpouring of the Holy Spirit through the Person of Jesus Christ began.
The validity of the direct linkage between the two events is established by Jesus’ response to his Mother when asked to perform the miracle. He said, “My hour has not yet come” (Jn. 2:4). What does he mean by his hour? It is when Jesus dies and passes over to the Father. To my knowledge, nowhere else in Scripture are Jesus’ miracles directly linked to his coming hour — his death and Resurrection. When Jairus begged Jesus to come to heal his daughter (she died before Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house), did he respond — what has this to do with me? Don’t you know it is not yet my hour (Mt. 5:23-24 and 38-41)? No, he did not. We can characterize the significance of the third day thus:
· On the third day after the start of Jesus’ public ministry, he performed a miracle that directly foreshadowed and summarized the entire purpose of his mission on earth;
· His mission was the establishment and creation of His Church, which he would take as his Bride, who would be purified in the waters of Baptism, through which she becomes one Mystical Body with Christ, and;
· We become one flesh with him in the nuptial wedding banquet of the Lamb, the rebuilt Temple foretold in Ezekiel’s dream.
Cana: Foreshadowing the Purification of Man
As Scripture describes it, the water in the six stone jugs was meant for the Jewish rite of purification. It was a symbolic purification, not an actual purification. This fact informs us of the significance of this component of the miracle at Cana. The miracle is not only about purification but also about how this real purification would be accomplished.
The water in the stone jugs foreshadows Baptism, through which we are washed clean in preparation for the Marriage of the Bride (the Church) and Bridegroom (Jesus). Through Baptism, the guilt of our sins is washed away. However, Baptism doesn’t purify our hearts; we continue to struggle with our fleshly desires and attractions. In other words, Baptism doesn’t take away our concupiscence, just the physical effects that sin imposes on our body. So, if Baptism is not the actual Marriage, what is?
What then confects the Marriage? According to St. Augustine,
Every Celebration [of the Eucharist] is a celebration of Marriage; the Church’s nuptials are celebrated. The King’s Son is about to marry a wife, and the King’s Son [is] himself a King; and the guests frequenting the marriage are themselves the Bride. … For all the Church is Christ’s Bride, of which the beginning and first-fruits is the Flesh of Christ, because there was the Bride joined to the Bridegroom in the flesh [emphasis — SML]. (Augustine, Homilies on 1 John 2:12–17).
In other words, in the Eucharistic “marriage celebration” (Latin nuptiarum celebratio), Jesus the Bridegroom is united to the Church, not just in spirit, but in body as well. For while Jesus, as the divine Son of God, is spiritually present everywhere, in the Eucharist he is present bodily: it is the wedding banquet at which the Bridegroom Messiah is united to his bride in both body and spirit.
The Eternal Now of the Crucifixion
The wedding at Cana signifies the completion of Jesus’ mission on earth and the participation in the effects of said completion — the fulfillment of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Salt between God and man.
The Mass is a re–presentation of the Marriage that took place on the Tree of Life (the salt of DNA on the wood of the Cross) at Calvary — the Marriage through which we become one-flesh with Jesus on the Cross. Please note: it is not a recrucifixion of Jesus. It is our being made present at the one and only Crucifixion of Jesus in worldly history. We are made present at the Crucifixion because the Mystical Body of Christ, of which we are a member through Baptism, is present throughout all space and time.
In Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s book, The Mystical Body of Christ, we read:
Jesus can never be separated from his Mystical Body any more than his Divinity can be separated from his humanity. For the Mystical Body of Christ is Christ’s Incarnation, prolonged through space and time [emphasis SML]. Sheen explains that the Church “continues Christ, expresses Christ, develops all the virtualities, potentialities of Christ, makes it possible for Him to extend Himself beyond the space of Palestine and the space of thirty-three years to prolong his influence unto all times and to all men—in a word, it de-temporalizes and de-localizes Christ so that He belongs to all ages and all souls.”
Sheen tells us that Jesus’ body is an integral part of his true human nature, but without its own separate personhood. His entire human nature exists within the Eternal Person of the Son of God. What is the significance of that fact? Sheen writes:
His human nature is as entire and intact as any human nature; He is as perfectly human as any of us, being man in the truest sense of the term. And although the human nature in Christ is something new (for He assumed it in hypostatic union only at the Incarnation), nevertheless the personality [all emphasis SML] of that human nature is not new, but eternal. Such was the meaning of our Lord when answering the Jews concerning the death of Abraham and His comparative age: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made [past tense —SML] I am [present tense, the eternal now — SML]” (Jn 8:58). … Each of the actions of His human nature is to be attributed to His Person. But His Person is the Person of God—therefore, each and every action of His human nature had an infinite value because it was done by the Person of God. Hence, a sigh, a word, or a tear would have been sufficient to have redeemed the world, because it was the sigh, the word, or the tear of God.Similar explanations can help us to understand our Particular Judgement and our eschatological dwelling place after our resurrection and Last Judgement. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the ‘form’ of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul [possessing both higher (spiritual) and lower (sensitive) powers — SML] that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature [SML].”
To aid our comprehension of the profound significance of this fact, consider the following example. Imagine I want to have a custom bed sheet made as a gift for my wife. I choose to weave yellow-and purple-colored threads together (Yes! My wife helps me dress so that I don’t embarrass myself by wearing outlandishly mismatched clothes). Imagine the weave is very dense (let’s say 5,000 thread-count — if that’s even possible). The weave is so tight that you can’t distinguish between the individual-colored threads when looking at the sheet. In a sense, this bedsheet symbolizes a philosophically substantial sheet — a composite of two different colored threads forming one substance, i.e., the bedsheet. Is it possible to damage, burn, or stain a piece of that cloth without equally affecting both thread colors? No, it is not.
According to St. Hildegard, virtues work through the body and soul together; “a virtue is a divine quality that … [that] fully incarnates itself [SML].” What does this mean? As the inner heart is purified, so also is the body. The higher powers of the soul (the spirit, where the Holy Spirit dwells) are not fenced off from the lower powers of the soul, which control all the functions of the body. Why is this necessary? In its role as the mouth through which the overflow of the spiritual heart is sent out, the body must accurately express (both sense-ably and meta-sense-ably) virtuous acts which will bear good fruit. West tells us the body gives expression to the experiences of the heart; the spirit accurately expresses itself, doing so in the language of the body.
As was previously stated by Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, every action of the substance of a rational (see spiritual soul) human being is credited to the Person, not the individual composites (i.e., body and soul) that are part of the one substance of man. When we die, it is the Person that is judged, not the individual composites. St. Catherine of Siena tells us: at our resurrection on Judgment Day, our bodies will be imprinted with the fruits of the sufferings and labors endured by the body in partnership with the inner heart (i.e., the spirit, which is the upper powers of the soul) in the practice of virtue. This imprinted ornamentation will not occur through the body’s Power, but the Power of the glorified soul. Thus, in light of the philosophical understanding, it makes sense that the soul is the substantial form of the body. To help us understand the soul, body, and form concept, think of a hand and glove. The hand represents the soul, the leather glove represents the body. Without the hand inside of it, the glove has no form.
So also, it is with the two components of our single human nature. Every sacrament we receive, every exercise of virtue we undertake, every sin we commit, and every choice we make will move our body and our soul an equal distance toward greater perfection, on the one hand, or imperfection on the other. On this journey, there is never a time when the soul has to turn to the body and say — hurry up. You’re lagging behind. Each step forward or backward that the soul takes (one soul possessing both higher and lower powers), the body takes an equal step in the same direction, and vice versa.
God is an infinitely just Judge. We are judged by the fruits we bear. I’m pretty confident there will never be a situation in which God judges the soul to merit a higher place in Heaven than the body, or the body a lower place in hell than the soul, or any combination thereof. Therefore, at our death, in the Light of God’s Justice, our body and soul will be destined to reside in the same eternal resting place. Since we are a single nature with two composite parts, any grace that God gifts us will affect both soul and body equally. But with different kinds of impacts to each composite part of our nature. Any action the body takes is credited to the person. Thus, we see that the body, as the mouth of man, will accurately express the overflow of the spiritual heart. It cannot be otherwise.
The body speaks. The body, and it alone, can express the overflow of the heart — of expressing love. According to the tenets of the Theology of the Body, JP II tells us, “the most profound words of the spirit … demand an adequate language of the body.” The language of the spirit consists of words of love, giving, and fidelity expressed through the mouth of man — his body.
Please note!!! The Incarnate Jesus who existed in time identified himself as I Am in John 8:58. That is a term indicating the eternal now. It does not indicate Aeviternity (see endnote for explanation). The Person of the Word of God, which includes his created humanity, exists as the I Am (cf. Ex. 3:14). The doctrine of “Concomitance states that Christ is indivisible, so that his body cannot be separated from his blood, his human soul, his divine nature, and his divine personality [the Son of God — SML].” It would be a contradiction for the Person of the Son of God to be both eternal now and Aeviternal at the same time.
The Crucifixion is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb
In the Sacrament of Marriage, the two spouses are not only united (become one-flesh both sense-ably and meta-sense-ably) physically through the conjugal act, but they are joined together by the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. In a spiritual sense, each spouse is in the other through the Spirit. Such are the actions of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament, that the conjugal act brings graces to the spouses. Such is not the case in sexual acts outside of the Sacramental Marriage. In 1 Cor. 6:16, Paul tells us that when one engages in sexual relations with a prostitute, he becomes one-flesh with her. However, an important distinction must be made. The latter type of one-flesh act is purely physical, and the Holy Spirit plays no part in that joining together. Therefore, there is no spiritual union created. It is nothing more than bio-chemical “love/lust.”
As described in the title of this blog post, Jesus’ miracle at the wedding at Cana reveals the consequences resulting from the completion of his mission on earth … and beyond. The fulfillment of the eternal covenant of salt. In describing the Bride of Christ, the Mystical Body of Christ, Sheen writes:
St. Paul … used the analogy of marriage, reminding us that the union of the Church and Christ is more intimate than the union of husband and wife, for the latter are only in the flesh, but the Church and Christ are one in the unity of spirit [emphasis SML] (Eph 5:21-32). … The term “body” was used, therefore, merely to make it easier for the mind to grasp the unity existing between the head and members. A body is an organic whole, composed of an infinite number of cells and members, all directed by the head and all vivified by the soul and all directed to a common end, which is the conservation of the organism and its ultimate happiness. Now it happens that all these elements are in the Church in an eminent way. The analogy of the human body is, therefore, employed by St. Paul to aid in understanding the supernatural organism of the Church. There is a hidden, mysterious, non-human, divine unifying Power at work which is Charity poured in the souls of the Mystical Body by the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. A moral body is an organization, but the Church is an organism because of its Soul. [Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, Ave Maria Press, Kindle Edition, (p. 37-38, 41)].
Two events are necessary to bring about the eternal fulfillment of the Covenant of Salt. The first is Baptism. The second is the Crucifixion.
According to Dr. Brant Pitre:
If Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is his bride, then Christian baptism is more than just a sign of repentance, an ordinance, or a ritual of initiation; it is the bridal bath by which Jesus cleanses us from sin so that we can be united to God.Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25–27)
With these words, Paul is describing baptism in terms of an ancient Jewish wedding custom. As New Testament scholar Peter Williamson puts it: “In both Jewish and Greek cultures of that time, the immediate cosmetic preparation of the bride included a bath with fragrant oils so that she could be as clean and as beautiful as possible [for presentation to the Bridegroom — SML]. Baptism, Paul is saying, is the Church’s bridal bath that prepares her to be united to her bridegroom.” Notice one key difference between this Jewish custom and the mystery of baptism. In an ordinary Jewish nuptial bath it was the bride herself or her attendants who would wash and anoint her. When the Church is washed with water, however, it is the Bridegroom himself who bathes his bride in the waters of baptism, so that she might be “holy” (Greek hagios) and cleansed from sin. Strikingly, in later Jewish tradition the betrothal of a Jewish bridegroom and bride actually came to be known as “making holy” or “consecration” (Hebrew qiddushin)—because the bride was “made holy” or “set apart” (Hebrew qadosh) for her husband [Brant James Pitre PhD, Jesus the Bridegroom, The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, p. 138-139].
The parable of the Sons of the Bridechamber was given by Jesus in response to a question by the Pharisees. They asked Jesus why the followers of John the Baptist and the Pharisees themselves were fasting, but not His Apostles. In Jewish tradition, fasts are common. John and his disciples routinely fasted. Pharisees performed public fasts at least twice a week. Jesus responded to their question by saying:If Jesus is the Bridegroom Messiah and the sinful human race is his bride-to-be, then when exactly is his wedding day? And how is he married to his bride? Given everything we’ve seen so far about the Last Supper being his wedding banquet and the water from his side the nuptial bath, the reader has probably already guessed the answer: Jesus’ wedding day is the day of his death, the day of his Crucifixion. … In Jesus’ own words: “the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; cf. Mark 10:45). But none of these notions gets us quite all the way to the idea that the Crucifixion was also a marriage. In what sense can it be described in this way? What possible resemblance could there be between the brutal and bloody methods of Roman Crucifixion and the beauty and joy of a wedding?The parable of the Sons of the Bridechamber stands out as one of the most important passages in the Gospels. It is the only passage in which Jesus explicitly refers to himself as ‘the bridegroom’ (Mark 2:19). [Brant James Pitre Ph.D., Jesus the Bridegroom, The Crown Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, (p. 82-84)].
“Can the sons of the bridechamber fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day” (Mark 2:19–20).
In the parable of the Sons of the Bridechamber, Jesus is answering the question by drawing an analogy between himself and his disciples and the bridegroom and the male members of an ancient Jewish wedding celebration. … Jesus clearly identifies himself as “the bridegroom” (Greek ho nymphios) (Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34). He does so to suggest that the present time, while he and his disciples are [still] together, is like an ancient Jewish wedding feast: it’s a time for celebration, not for fasting. (Ibid., p. 86).
Through this parable, Jesus is identifying his public ministry with the seven days of festive celebration in preparation for the Marriage ceremony. Now we come to the part where we understand the meaning of the sons of the bridechamber. What is the meaning of the bridegroom being taken away?
Jesus also suggests that the day of his death will be his wedding day. Although the disciples cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, Jesus concludes the parable by declaring that the time will come when his disciples will take up fasting: “The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day” (Mark 2:20). ...When Jesus speaks of the departure of the bridegroom, he is referring to one particular part of the seven-day wedding celebration: the night of consummation. As one rabbinic tradition puts it: “A bridegroom is exempt from reciting the Shema’ on the first night, or until the close of the [next] Sabbath if he has not consummated the marriage (Mishnah, Berakoth 2:5).” On the night of consummation, the bridegroom would leave his friends and family and enter into what was known as the “bridal chamber” (Hebrew huppah) in order to be united to his bride, not to emerge again until morning. This aspect of ancient Jewish weddings is described in several places. For example, the book of Psalms says: In [the heavens God] has set a tent for the sun, which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber [Hebrew huppah], and like a strong man runs its course with joy (Psalm 19:4–5) [Ibid., p. 89-90].
Putting all of this together, Pitre summarizes:
Although the wedding celebration lasted for a whole week, the climax of the wedding was the night of consummation, on which the bridegroom would consummate the marriage in the bridal chamber and not emerge until morning. It was only on that day—the wedding day—that the bridegroom would finally be separated from his groomsmen and be joined to his bride, leaving the sons of the bridechamber to “mourn” the loss of their friend. … If Jesus is the bridegroom and his disciples are the sons of the bridechamber, then the day on which he will be “taken away” from them can only mean one thing: the day of his passion and death. (Ibid., p. 91).
Marriage is a one-flesh covenant of salt with humanity. In addition to keeping God’s Laws and Commandments in Old Covenant days, all Israelites had to make themselves an offering to God. What are we? We are dust, salt, and light (Mt. 5:13-16). All of Israel’s offerings had to be salted. Leviticus 2:13 tells us, “you shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be lacking [SML].” How do we, as salt, offer ourselves? Elaborating on 2 Cor. 6:16-18, Dr. Scott Hahn teaches that a covenant with God creates kinship and forges a family bond deeper than we can imagine. A covenant of salt is kinship and family bonding lasting for all eternity.
Nowhere in Scripture can a passage be found in which God is establishing a salt covenant with man. Yet, we know that salt covenants exist. Three Scripture passages refer to them (2 Chron. 13:4-5, Lev. 2:12-14, Num. 18:18-20). There are no specific texts in Scripture directly defining a Covenant of Salt. However, the ritual which establishes a covenant also defines a covenant of salt.
According to M. G. Easton, a covenant is:
A contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old Testament the Hebrew word berith is always thus translated. Berith is derived from a root which means “to cut,” and hence a covenant is a “cutting,” with reference to the cutting or dividing of [one animal] into two parts, and the contracting parties passing between them [emphasis SML], in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18, 19) [Thus the flesh, i.e., our salt of DNA, is involved in the covenant — SML]. … The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is diatheke, which is, however, rendered “testament” generally in the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the word berith of the Old Testament, “covenant.”The term covenant is also used to designate the regular succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex. 31:16), circumcision [the covenantal “cutting” of the one flesh of the male sex organ — SML] (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14). A “covenant of salt” signifies an everlasting covenant, in the sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity, is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
Based on the ritual described above, we can thus define a covenant of salt as a one-flesh covenant between two parties. Interpreting the ritual described in Genesis and Jeremiah, we can say that an animal cut in half remains two halves of one-flesh. Therefore, each of the two parties walking between the single cut-in-half-animal is representative of one half of the one animal, i.e., each party entering into the family bond of the covenant of salt. Marriage, then, is two parties entering into a one-flesh, one-salt covenant bond between the parties.
Due to their eternal nature, all covenants are also salt covenants. The reason why is because the substance of man consists of a composite unity of body and soul. Therefore, any covenant between God and man, through which man is to be redeemed, must involve both body and soul.
The only way fallen man could exist with God eternally is through a Covenant of Salt. The only salt that can provide man with the ability to be with God eternally is the salt of DNA of the incarnate Son of God. We are sanctified through Baptism. Receiving this Sacrament, we become the Bride of Christ (the Church) and a member of the Mystical Body of the incarnate Son of God. This covenantal one-flesh Marriage is consummated when we receive the Eucharist, becoming one-flesh with our Savior on the salt of DNA wooden Cross.
In all God’s covenant promises made to man, fulfilling the promise is conditioned upon man fulfilling his end of the bargain. Man himself (body and soul) constitutes the salt component of a Covenant of Salt with God. In addition to keeping God’s Laws and Commandments in Old Covenant days, all Israelites had to make themselves (both body — salt of DNA — and soul) an offering to God. What are we? We are salt and light (Mt. 5:13-16). All of Israel’s offerings had to be salted. In Leviticus 2:13, we read, “You shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be lacking [SML].” Leviticus informs us of Paul’s meaning when he writes in Col. 1:24. In this passage, he tells us that his sufferings fill what is lacking in Christ’s suffering on the Cross.
God’s part of any covenant could never be lacking. He never falls short of anything. While God can never be linked to biological salt (except as a symbol of the eternal nature of God’s covenants), the humanity of Jesus can. Entering a redemptive covenant of salt with man is the most perfect reason for God to choose to take on flesh (salt/dust). Only the incarnate Son of God’s salt of DNA and spiritualized soul could never be lacking in a salt covenant. On the other hand, absent Baptism, fallen man’s salt could be classified as nothing but lacking. Only Jesus’ humanity can be an acceptable and pleasing sacrificial offering to God.
Our sufferings/offerings are rendered acceptable and pleasing (cf. Malach. 1:10-11, Is. 64:6, 1 Pt. 2:4-5) to our Heavenly Father only when we unite them with the Son’s infinitely and eternally perfect offering of his salt on the wood of the Cross. After an oblation was offered to God on the altar, it had to be eaten (the offering was not valid otherwise). It was believed that by eating the offering, the offeror would become one with that offering and thus participate in the benefits of the altar sacrifice. The truth of this belief is demonstrated by the fact that the Jew who brought the sin offerings to the Levitical priest would put his hand on the he-goat’s head as a sign that the offeror’s sins are transferred to the victim (i.e., the he-goat) being sacrificed to God (2 Chron. 29:23-24).
This one-flesh Marriage is symbolized and actualized by Jesus’ being nailed to the Cross, i.e., becoming one salt of DNA — one flesh with man. This is the consummation about which Pitre speaks. This symbolism is the same as in the parable of the vine and the branches (John 15:1-17). In this parable, the DNA of the vine is the same DNA that forms the branches. This one-flesh Marriage on the Cross can also be seen in passages involving the prophets Elijah and Elisha.
Both prophets resurrected dead children by laying their bodies entirely upon the dead bodies of children. Elisha’s encounter is described thus: “putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm” (2 Kings 4:27-35). Elijah’s encounter is described thus: “Then he stretched himself upon the child three times [signifying our dying with Christ on the Cross, only to resurrect with Jesus on the third day — SML], and cried to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, let this child’s soul come into him again.’ And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Eli′jah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived” (1 Kgs 17:21-22). In both cases, the prophets laid their bodies out in the same basic configuration as Jesus when he laid himself out upon the Cross, which is a type of our spiritually dead bodies. Stretching himself out upon all of us is the meaning of being nailed (nuptially united) to the wood of the Cross. This union is the meaning of the wedding banquet of the Lamb in Revelations. This nuptial union is the Old Covenant of Salt fulfilled. The ultimate significance of the Wedding Feast at Cana.
Resurrection (Jesus’ and ours) occurs through the Power of the Holy Spirit. Previously in Scripture, both prophets had experienced unique encounters with the Holy Spirit. Thus, First and Second Kings reads like a narrative that teaches us about the Power of the Holy Spirit. This spiritual power was granted, even though the Holy Spirit had not yet been given — i.e., had not yet dwelt within the spiritual hearts of Elijah and Elisha as a consequence of Baptism (cf. John 7:39). The Prophet’s bodies served as instruments to communicate to the dead children the healing and life-giving power of the Gratuitous Graces of the Holy Spirit. Both prophets were types of the Resurrection that followed Jesus’ Crucifixion.
Through the Eucharist, we become one-flesh with Jesus on the wood of the Cross. We become one flesh, one family with the Son of God. This bond is why all Jews were required to add salt to their offerings. Jesus is the unblemished sacrificial offering; our bodies are the salt added to every offering the ancient Jews were required to make. Only the incarnate Son of God could ever be identified as being without blemish. Therefore, the salt that had to be added to the salt of the offering is our salt (of DNA). Nuptial salt (the marital union of the two salts of DNA) is Paul’s meaning in Col. 1:24, where he fills what is lacking in Christ’s suffering on the Cross. Our sufferings/offerings are made acceptable and pleasing (cf. Malach. 1:10-11, Is. 64:6, 1 Pt. 2:4-5) to the Father when, and only when, we unite them with the Son’s infinitely and eternally perfect offering.
After an oblation was offered to God on the altar, it had to be eaten (the offering was not valid otherwise). In ancient Jewish history, it was believed that the offeror would become one with that offering by eating the Blood or grain offering, thus participating in the benefits of the altar sacrifice. This nuptial mystery is why Satan so severely wants to destroy the Church. He wants to destroy Christ’s human family — His Church. Sterile acts are antithetical to God’s definition of the family, the definition of the Church. It was said earlier: no openness to the fruitfulness of our expression --> no likeness to God.
One of the significant components of this miracle is that Jesus changed the water into wine. In the Church, wine is the symbol of grace, and the new wine described in this event foreshadows the Blood flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart. The new wine (The sacred Blood flowing out from the heart of Jesus) can purify our hearts. This understanding is of critical importance since, according to JP II, all moral disorder stems from the impurity of a lustful heart. As we have discussed previously, the body (our salt of DNA) will accurately express the overflow of the spiritual heart of man.
According to Hildegard, just as strong wine strengthens human Blood, so too does the Blood of the Lamb strengthen the body and soul of man, making it possible for him to escape the bondage of sin imposed upon it by the flesh. Thus, the genetically oriented strengthening of human blood is synonymous with spiritually oriented life-giving freedom.
Significance of Six Stone Jars
There are multiple layers of significance to the six stone jars that help us to grasp the reason for their inclusion in this miracle. First, the miracle at Cana foreshadows what Jesus would accomplish at the end of his mission on earth — after his hour (Jn. 2:1-3). Second, the six stone jars filled with water (meant for the rite of purification) foreshadows the rebuilt New Covenant of Salt Temple. When the centurion pierced the lifeless body of Jesus, penetrating his heart, his Blood and water flowed out from the wound (Jn. 19:33-34). Third, the six stone jars represent the living stone (dust/stone of DNA), the resurrected body of Jesus (1 Pt. 2:4). Out of the mouth of these jars (again representing Jesus’ body) comes Living Water that purifies.
To further illustrate and support this interpretation, I want to talk about Jacob briefly. There are three components of a story in Genesis about Jacob. Each piece is a different type of something important to our understanding of the marriage at Cana. Each contributes to a greater appreciation of the significance of the mouth, together with the material from which the six jars at Cana were hewn, i.e., stone. They are:
1. The stone pillar that Jacob (a type of Christ) erected at the place he called Bethel (Gen. 28:18-19), i.e., the house of God. The stone pillar symbolizes the Word of God Incarnate, the rebuilt New Covenant of Salt Temple into which we must become living stones built into it (1 Pt. 2:4-5);2. The heavy stone covering the well from which Rachel — Jacob’s future bride and a type of the Church — would water her father Laban’s sheep (Gen. 29:9-10). That heavy stone is a type of the heaviness of Jesus’ mortal body, which had to be rolled away before Rachel (the Church) could access the living water in the well. This same symbolic meaning applies to the heavy stone that was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb after his resurrection, and;3. When this heavy stone is rolled away, Rachel (the Church) could withdraw Living Water through the mouth of the stone well (representing the resurrected glorified physical body of Jesus) and distribute it to her sheep — aka, all the Baptized.
In John 2:6-11, we read, “Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification [a type of New Covenant Baptism which, as was said previously, represents the ancient Jewish tradition of the ritual purification of the Bride in preparation for the consummation of the Marriage with the Bridegroom], each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast.’ So they took it. … [The steward said] ‘Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.’” Almost everyone misses an essential fact contained in these words. In his very first public miracle, Jesus turned water, which has zero organic matter, i.e., DNA, into organic matter (wine), which contains DNA. He accomplished it instantaneously. He did not do this from pre-existing grapes that had evolved over many generations of grapes.
Furthermore, remember that the six stone jars were an essential part of the ritual purification at Cana. Only a water container hewn of stone is considered ritually clean (Lev. 11:36). It doesn’t become ritually impure if it comes in contact with death (for example, if a mouse is found dead in it). Even when touched by death, Jesus’ body is a stone jar with a mouth that can never be made unclean — that can never send out unTruth. If it so happened that the water and/or any water container, other than a stone container, became unclean, then not only the water but also the priest who used it would become ritually unclean — a significant event in Jewish Law.
There exist two possibilities through which water could be turned into organic matter. First, the water in the jars contained no other matter. In this instance, Jesus would have created the perfect DNA of the grape from nothing, ex nihilo. Not only would he have created the grapes ex nihilo, but he would also have created them with a very specific genome (a genome that had not existed before. In biology, no two genomes are exactly the same, unless there was a Holy Spirit type of multiplication). Furthermore, he would have had to create a very specific set of genes within the nucleus of the grape cells, a genome that produced good wine. This miracle is even more significant since six separate stone jars had to be changed.
Second possibility: present in the jars was some foreign particle of dust in the water from which the jars were filled. Now, if you conjecture that the water might have contained a few grape cells, you would most likely be wrong. Remember, six separate stone jars had to be changed, which would render the foreign matter hypothesis even more improbable. Furthermore, that assumption would be inconsistent with Jewish Law. Leviticus 11:36 tells us, “Only a spring or a cistern holding water shall be ritually clean.” So, water used for ritual purification had to be ritually and literally clean.
Of the two possibilities, I think the first one is the most likely. Since there were six separate jars, it would seem inconsistent with making the perfect wine in all six jars from a single particle of dust. However, it’s certainly not impossible for God.
The incarnate Son of God is made from dust (stone) of the earth (Mary’s dust of DNA). Thus, Jesus is the cornerstone of the New Covenant of Salt Temple (His resurrected and glorified physical body of dust/stone). Furthermore, through Baptism followed by the Eucharist, we become living stones built into that spiritual house — the only house where the fulness of God dwelled (Col. 1:19-20) and where, throughout biblical history, priests offered up to God pleasing and acceptable sacrifices (1 Pt. 2:4-5).
The Significance of the Number Six
That there were six stone jars (not five, three, or whatever other number) is significant (there are no coincidences in God’s plans). St. Augustine tells us, “We must not despise the science of numbers which, in many passages of Holy Scripture, is found to be of eminent service to the careful interpreter. Neither has it been without reason numbered among God’s praises, ‘Thou hast ordered all things in number, and measure, and weight’ [Wis. 11:20].”
As for the number six, Augustine writes, “And this number [six] is on that account called perfect, because it is completed in its own parts ... And Holy Scripture commends to us the perfection of this number, especially in this, that God finished His works in six days, and on the sixth day man was made [from the dust/stone of the earth — SML] in the image of God.” St. Methodius of Olympus writes that six “… is a symbol of Christ, because the number six proceeding from unity is composed of its proper parts, so that nothing in it is wanting or redundant, and is complete when resolved into its parts.” In six days, God made creation perfectly (cf. Gen. 1:31), and the culmination of that perfect creation was man. In the previous days of creation, God said it was good. Only on the sixth day, after making man in his image and likeness, did he say it was very good. The meaning of six goes beyond that, however.
As the first creation took place in six days, the six stone jars at the wedding feast of Cana symbolize the new creation that will become a reality with the culmination of Jesus’ mission — when all things are made new. As revealed to St. Hildegard, “Before Adam and Eve had transgressed against the divine commandment, they had been shining with splendor like the sun and that light formed their clothing. After the transgression against the divine commandment they were no longer shining like they had been before. ... It [creation] too lost its equilibrium and fell into unrest.”
St. Paul writes, “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Gal. 6:15).
St. Leo the Great writes, “Let God’s people then recognize that they are a new creation in Christ.” According to Pope Leo, not only people but also things have been newly created. In other words, all creation has been made new by Jesus.
Especially germane to our discussion on the miracle at Cana and the six stone jars, St. Augustine directly links the number six, the body of Jesus, and the cornerstone of New Covenant of Salt Temple (Jesus’ body). He writes,
And not without reason is the number six understood to be put for a year in the building up of the body of the Lord [within the womb], as a figure of which He said that He would raise up in three days the Temple destroyed by the Jews. For they said, “Forty and six years was this Temple in building [Jn. 2:19-21].” And six times forty-six makes two hundred and seventy-six. And this number of days completes nine months and six days … in that number of sixes the body of the Lord was perfected; which being destroyed by the suffering of death, He raised again on the third day. For “He spake this of the temple of His body,” as is declared by the most clear and solid testimony of the Gospel; where He said, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The deep meaning of the miracle at the wedding at Cana is profound for our understanding of covenants of salt, of which Cana is infinitely so.
Tasted the Water Now Become Wine
As with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, I believe that the new wine in this miracle foreshadows the Eucharist. The bread and wine are transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Other than in Part II of this blog series, I will not present a comprehensive apologetic defense for the Catholic teaching concerning the Dogmas (an infallible Truth) of the Real Presence and Transubstantiation. However, I will refer you to several sources that provide compelling reasons why the teaching is justified. They can be found in the following Endnotes.
The new wine created by Jesus was a type of the unblemished sacrificial Lamb — Jesus Christ (remember, all Jewish burnt and blood offerings to God had to be unblemished — Ex. 12:5). The new wine was a perfect type because it contained the Blood of the grape together with the grape’s salt/dust of DNA. The juice represents the Blood of Jesus on the Cross and in the Eucharist. The grape’s DNA represents Jesus’ Body nailed to the Cross and in the Eucharist. Thus, the wedding at Cana foreshadows the wedding banquet of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-8).
As the parable of the wedding garment tells us, one must have a proper wedding garment before (Mt. 22:10-14, Rev. 19:6-8) being allowed into the wedding banquet. As a type, the wedding at Cana informs us of this fact. Remember, the six stone jars were filled with water for the ritual purification before the wedding banquet.
As Scripture tells us, “For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready [through Baptism — SML]. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb [i.e., purified through Baptism — SML]’” (Rev. 19:7-9; cf. Is. 25:6-8 and Lk. 14:13-14).
As New Testament scholar Peter Williamson puts it:
In both Jewish and Greek cultures of that time, the immediate cosmetic preparation of the bride included a bath with fragrant oils so that she could be as clean and as beautiful as possible. Baptism, Paul is saying [in Eph. 5:25-27], is the Church’s bridal bath that prepares her to be united to her bridegroom [“In both Jewish and Greek cultures”: Peter S.Williamson, Ephesians, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2009), 166.].
The water in the six stone jars was intended for the ritual purification of all of the wedding guests. It represents Baptism, which cleanses the Bride, i.e., the Church. It makes her ready for the wedding banquet (the new wine after Jesus’ miracle).
At Cana, changing water into wine (containing the salt/dust of DNA) foreshadowed changing bread and wine into the body (salt of DNA of the grape and the wheat) and Blood (salt of DNA and water) of Jesus present in the Eucharist. Through Baptism and the Eucharist, we receive his Holy Spirit to dwell in our soul, which produces an identical result in the upper and lower powers of the soul. To understand how the indwelling of the Holy Spirit produces beneficial changes to both body and soul, read Section titled: Soul versus Spirit; Inner Heart versus Biological Heart, in a blogpost titled, Original Sin: Part I of III. Thus, through the nuptial meaning of the body, we become living stones built into the New Covenant of Salt Temple (cf. 1 Pt. 2:5).
Mary at Cana: Mother of the Church
I would be remiss if I did not briefly address the significance of Mary’s role in the miracle at Cana. While much can be written on this subject, I will only offer a few sentences supporting the importance of Mary’s role at Cana and its meaning relative to the Church and the Eucharist.
Mary is not only the Mother of Jesus; she is also the Mother of the Church. Therefore, when Jesus tells Mary that John is her son, the correct interpretation of those words is that John represents the entire Church (Jn. 19:26-27) — all the baptized. Thus, both the miracle at Cana and the setting in which it was performed, pre-figures: 1) the Bride of Christ, the Church, of which all the baptized (the event in which all are washed clean in preparation for the Marriage) are members, and; 2) the Bridegroom, i.e., Jesus the eternal New Covenant of Salt Temple; 3) the Marriage of the two in the Eucharist, the most intimate of nuptial unions, as demonstrated by the nailing of Jesus to the wood of the Cross, thus becoming one with Jesus on the salt of DNA of the Cross.
The wedding at Cana reveals to the world the consequences of the Son of Man accomplishing his redemptive mission. To begin with, it would appear that Mary was used by the Holy Spirit as an instrument. How? It was in direct response to her intercession that Jesus performed this miracle, even though it was not yet his hour. As God, Jesus knew exactly the enormity of the consequences flowing from performing that miracle. As a marriage creates a one-flesh relationship between a man and a woman, the Power of Mary’s intercession causes us to ponder the Power of the one-flesh relationship between Mary and her Son.
Without even thinking, most of us tend to be fooled by our senses. We believe that a one-flesh union is merely symbolic, not literal. Alternatively, we may limit the applicability of the phrase to a mere metaphor for sexual intercourse. The spirit is where the treasures of the heart are stored. The spiritual heart is the origin from which the overflow is sent out. We fall for this incomplete interpretation because we fail to realize that all expressions (the overflow) have both sense-able and meta-sense-able components.
Both marriage and the conjugal union are matters of the spirit. The higher powers of the soul are not separate from the lower powers. The spirit cannot be affected without the lower powers of the spiritual soul (those which control the body) also being affected, and vice versa. We are salt/dust, we are light, and we all need living water. Pope St. John Paul II gave us the meditations on the Mysteries of Light, of which the miracle at the Wedding Feast at Cana is one. Light, dust, water, and salt are profoundly intergral to the existence of a one-flesh relationship. In his 2003 Encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, he specifically details the intimate relationship of Mary to Cana, the Church, and the Eucharist. He writes:
· In repeating what Christ did at the Last Supper in obedience to his command: ‘Do this in memory of me!’ we also accept Mary’s invitation to obey him without hesitation: ‘Do whatever he tells you’ (Jn. 2:5);
· If the Church and the Eucharist are inseparably united, the same ought to be said of Mary and the Eucharist [SML]; and,
· Among the Mysteries of Light are included the institution of the Eucharist (cf. No. 21: AAS 95, 2003, 20). Mary can guide us towards this most Holy Sacrament because she has a profound relationship with it.
Science is now showing us the degree to which the phrase, one-flesh union, describes both theological and biological scientific truths. The term one-flesh is not merely a metaphor, but is literal. The following is not the only example of the literal meaning of the term, one-flesh. It is one of many examples. Science has now revealed that the one-flesh relationship between Jesus and Mary goes far beyond our historical understanding. While doing research for the Theology of Salt, I ran across a biological phenomenon known as fetal-maternal microchimerism.
 have shown that mothers retain some of their babies functioning cells, even up to the time of their own death in their 70’s. These cells can reside in any organ in the body. As with all fetal stem cells, they can differentiate and become beating heart cells, bones cells, liver cells, lung cells, and blood cells circulating in the mother’s veins and arteries. Retained fetal cells integrate into the mother’s tissue; they grow in number and proliferate. In other words, they are living/functioning/multipling cells. Arizona State University
Think about this: parts of the incarnate Word of God resided (and probably still reside) in Mary’s body, and vice versa. When we partake of the Eucharist, Jesus’ real presence within us is only temporary — until the accidents of bread and wine (Jesus’ body and blood) cease to be distinguishable. However, in Mary it is likely forever, because she is biologically one-flesh with her Son. The Doctrine of Concomitance informs us that Jesus’ body — even the tiniest part of it — can never be separated from the entire Jesus in his humanity and his Divinity. Could that doctrine be applicable in this circumstance? Could this be one of the reasons Mary was taken into Heaven body and soul? No part of Jesus’ body could ever be subject to cell death and decay. Does that apply in this case? If yes, what are the theological implications of that? We know that all created grace enters into creation via the incarnate Jesus. Could this be part of the mystery of Mary’s being the Mediatrix of all grace? I do not have those answers, but trying to answer those questions sounds intriguing.
So, what are the theological implications of that scientific fact? Jesus’s glorified body is the resurrected Temple rebuilt after three days (John 2:19-21). Does fetal microchimerism play into that reality in some way? The Doctrine of Concomitance says that no part of Jesus can be separated from the whole of Jesus, in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. In the same way, the entire substance of a person is present in the fertilized egg, which is but a single cell. The single cell contains everything the Person will become. The zygote that became Jesus was not fertilized by any sperm cell. Does this make Mary a member of the Mystical Body of Christ to a degree that can hardly be comprehended? Jesus is described as the Head of the Mystical Body (Ephesians 4: 15). According to St. Robert Bellarmine, Mary is the Neck between the Head and the Mystical Body. Coincidence [Concio xlii de Nativitate B.V.M.]? When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, does Mary become our Mother biologically and spiritually? The same can be asked about her relationship to each of us within the Mystical Body of Jesus. This post is neither the time nor place to delve deeply into the extrapolations of these scientific findings. That is a subject for later discussion.
Jesus told us his mission was completed/finished at his death on the Cross (Jn 19:30). The Church was born when the heart of Jesus on the Cross was pierced, causing blood and water to flow out (CCC, n. 766). It was on the Cross that we were married (became one-flesh) to the Bridegroom via the Eucharist. We now begin to see the significance of the Sacrament of Matrimony at Cana and the miracle performed thereat. We begin to recognize Mary’s role as Mother of the Church. Her role as the intercessor between the Church and her Son. The value of these facts can be seen from the intensity with which Satan seeks to destroy the Church, the offspring of the Woman (Rev. 12:1-6, 13-17). Many try to interpret the Woman as Israel. However, there is a very good case that can be made for the texts describing the Woman as a reference to the Queenship of Mary.
Pope St. John Paul II tasked Cardinal Carlo Caffara to plan and establish the Pontifical Institute for the Studies on Marriage and the Family. The Cardinal wrote to Sr. Lucia, one of the three children who received Church–approved apparitions from Mary, the Mother of God, and his Church (for information on Fatima and the miracle of the sun, read the following endnotes).
The purpose of Caffara’s letter was to ask for her intercessory prayers for the success of the endeavor for which he was tasked. She responded with a six-page letter. In it, she told the Cardinal, “the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about [sacramental] marriage and the family [emphasis mine]. Don’t be afraid, she added, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue [my emphasis].” We are now in this final battle! Remember, the Church is Jesus’ genetic (descendants of Adam and Eve) family.
At an address during the Eucharistic Congress in 1976 for the Bicentennial Celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II) said:
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously [Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II), reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal from a 1976 speech to the American Bishops].
The family is the domestic Church. It is the most accurate image of the Trinity on earth. Therefore, when Satan wants to destroy the Church, he wants to destroy it by destroying marriage and the family. Thus, the Cross is the Marriage of the Bridegroom (Jesus) and the Bride (The Mystical Body of Christ). Dr. Brant Pitre writes,
Baptism is primarily a rite of initiation into the Christian community, by which a person becomes a member of the “one body” of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). However, when we look at the mystery of baptism in the light of everything we’ve learned about Jesus the Bridegroom, another meaning emerges. If Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is his bride, then Christian baptism is more than just a sign of repentance, an ordinance, or a ritual of initiation; it is the bridal bath by which Jesus cleanses us from sin so that we can be united to God.
Baptism is not the actual Marriage, but preparation for it.
Paul alludes to the mystery of baptism when he says:“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25–27).
As commentators both ancient and modern agree, when Paul speaks here of Christ cleansing (Greek katharisas) the Church through “the washing of water,” he is alluding to the ritual washing with water that he refers to elsewhere as baptism (Greek baptisma) (see Ephesians 4:5). With these words, Paul is describing baptism in terms of an ancient Jewish wedding custom. As New Testament scholar Peter Williamson puts it: “In both Jewish and Greek cultures of that time, the immediate cosmetic preparation of the bride included a bath with fragrant oils so that she could be as clean and as beautiful as possible.” Baptism, Paul is saying, is the Church’s bridal bath that prepares her to be united to her bridegroom.”
The implications of STOSS for our understanding of Mary’s role in creation and the economy of salvation are profound!!!!! In Scripture, we are told Jesus was fully human in all things except sin (cf. Heb. 2:17, 4:15). That the entire incarnate part of the Person of the Son of God, i.e., Jesus’ human nature, came from Mary’s salt/dust of DNA — and from her’s alone — leads us to some unfathomably deep implications.
In Part 2 of 2 of this blog series, we will discuss in some detail the Eucharist. It is a very big part of the symbolism contained in describing the purpose, the consequences, of the miracle at Cana.
. CCC, n. 1374-1376.
. Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Jesus of Nazareth Part One, translated by Adrian J. Walker (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007), Kindle Edition, p. 250.
. Francois-Xavier Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God (original English translation published by Geoffrey Chapman, a division of Cassell, Ltd., 1986; reprint published by Servant Books, Cinncinati, OH, 2006), 38-39.
. CCC, n. 1287.
. Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God, 64 and 178-179.
. CCC, n. 1085.
. Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God, 143-146.
. CCC, n. 691.
. Durrwell, Holy Spirit of God, pp. 146-147.
 For more information on the deeper understanding of Covenants of Salt, read: Stephen Michael Leininger, “What Does Lot’s Wife Tell Us about the Meaning of Covenants?,” STOSSBooks.com, https://www.stossbooks.com/blog/index.php?salt--covenants--lots-wife--the-dead-sea--sodom---gomorrah--ezekiel--dream--signposts-of-the--big-picture--of-scripture---part-ii, September 3, 2019.
. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ (p. 256), Ave Maria Press, Kindle Edition.
. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, The Mystical Body of Christ, Location 181-185.
. Ibid., 23-25.
. CCC. n. 365.
. St. Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990), (© Paulist Press; all rights reserved; all quotations from Hildegard’s book, Scivias, are used with permission of Paulist Press), 345.
. Ibid., 37.
. Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained (Boston, MA: Pauline Books and Media, 2003), 94.
. St. Catherine of
, The Dialogue, trans. Suzanne Noffke, O.P (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1980), 86. Siena
. Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 76.
. cf. Hildegard, Scivias, 110.
. cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas, Part I, Q. 76, A. I, [I answer], Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Second and Revised Edition, 1920, Online Edition Copyright © 2017 by Kevin Knight, Used with permission.
. West, Theology of the Body Explained, 85.
. John Paul II, “The Language of the Body in the Structure of Marriage,” n. 7.
. Acording to Aquinas, Aeviternity differs from time, and from eternity, as the mean between them both. This difference is explained by some to consist in the fact that eternity has neither beginning nor end, aeviternity, a beginning but no end, and time both beginning and end. Here is the important point. Only Persons possessing a spirit and/or spiritualized body exist in aeviternity. This does not apply to Jesus because his human soul is hypostatically united in the Person of the Son of God. [Thomas Aquinas. (1990). A Summa of the Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. (P. Kreeft, Ed.) (pp. 108–110). San Francisco: Ignatius Press].
. Catholic Culture, “Concomitance,” Trinity Communications, https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=32692, 2021, (accessed 8/15/2021).
. Rabbi Moshe Yoseph Koniuchowsky, written in an email to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org, “Children of Salt,” Covenant of Salt, http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/0209/0209b.html: (accessed 4/08/2008).
. Scott Hahn. (2011-07-18). A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture.
St. Anthony Messenger Press, Servant Books. Kindle Edition, p. 15.
. Ibid., 27.
. M. G. Easton, “Covenant,” (1893), In Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature (p. 164). New York: Harper & Brothers.
. This is why we use different words in describing the two main parts of Scripture, i.e., the Old and New Testaments versus the Old and New Covenants. I agree with Easton. The Old and New Covenants would be the more apprpropriate and explanatory wording. After all, virtually all of Scripture was originally written in Hebrew (the word berith is translated as “covenant”), and Covenant Theology is the “Big Picture” of Scipture.
. Koniuchowsky, http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/0209/0209b.html.
. According to the USCCB, “Lex orandi, lex credendi has become something of a tenet of liturgical theology, especially in the years since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Literally translated, it means ‘the law of prayer [is] the law of belief.’ The original version of the phrase, ut legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi (“that the law of praying establishes the law of believing”), highlighted the understanding that the Church’s teaching (lex credendi) is articulated and made manifest in the celebration of the liturgy and prayer (lex orandi). In other words, the liturgical form of the Sacraments and sacramentals teaches us that the salt of DNA of Jesus’ Body instrumentally gifts to us the graces necessary to purify the salt of DNA of our body through the flavor of the Holy Spirit. [USCCB, “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi: The Word of God in the Celebration of the Sacraments,” USCCB, https://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/catechetical-sunday/word-of-god/upload/lex-orandi-lex-credendi.pdf, September 20, 2009 (accessed 08/01/2021)].
. As a Catholic sacramental, salt blessed by the liturgical prayer of a priest may be used by itself, unmixed, as in exorcisms, and [formerly in the exorcistic prayer at baptism]**, or it may be mixed with water to make holy water, as the Ritual prescribes (reminiscent of Elisha’s miracle). In whichever form, it is intended to be an instrument of grace to preserve one from the corruption of evil occurring as sin, sickness, demonic influence, etc. As in the case of all sacramentals, its power comes not from the sign itself, but by means of the Church’s official (liturgical, not private) prayer of blessing–a power the Church derives from Christ himself (see Matt. 16:19 and 18:18). As the Vatican II document on the Liturgy states (art. 61), both Sacraments and sacramentals sanctify us, not of themselves, but by power flowing from the redemptive act of Jesus, elicited by the Church’s intercession to be directed through those external signs and elements. [“Catholic Sacramentals,” Sacred Heart Holdings LLC, https://www.catholicsacramentals.org/about, accessed 8/08/2021].
. Koniuchowsky, http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/0209/0209b.html.
. Burge, Gary M. (2012-08-07). Jesus and the Jewish Festivals (Ancient Context, Ancient Faith) (Kindle Locations 1184-1187). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
. God informed St. Catherine of Siena, “I sent the Word my only-begotten Son, who was prefigured in Elisha [SML]. He laid himself out on this dead child by joining the divine nature with your human nature. Member for member he joined this divine nature with yours: my power, the wisdom of my Son, the mercy of the Holy Spirit-all of me, God, the abyss of the Trinity, laid upon and united with your human nature. After this union the gentle loving Word accomplished the other by running like one in love to the shameful death of the cross, where he laid himself out [above, Elisha is said to have ‘laid himself out;’ in the this sentence, Jesus ‘laid himself out’ on the cross. (SML)].” Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 288-289 (© Paulist Press; all rights reserved; all quotations from Catherine of Siena’s book, The Dialogue, are used with permission of Paulist Press).
. What is Gratuitous Grace? Aquinas tells us: “As the Apostle says (Rom. 13:1), ‘those things that are of God are well ordered.’ Now the order of things consists in this, that things are led to God by other things, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. iv). And hence since grace is ordained to lead men to God, this takes place in a certain order, so that some are led to God by others. And thus there is a twofold grace: one whereby man himself is united to God, and this is called ‘sanctifying grace’; the other is that whereby one man cooperates with another in leading him to God, and this gift is called ‘gratuitous grace,’ since it is bestowed on a man beyond the capability of nature, and beyond the merit of the person. But whereas it is bestowed on a man, not to justify him, but rather that he may cooperate in the justification of another, it is not called sanctifying grace [Aquinas, Summa Theologia, I-II, q. 111, a. 1].”
. Gary M. Burge, (2012-08-07). Jesus and the Jewish Festivals (Ancient Context, Ancient Faith) (Kindle Locations 1184-1187). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
. Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained (Boston, MA: Pauline Books and Media, 2003), 204.
. Ibid., 206.
. St. Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1990), 254-255, (© Paulist Press; all rights reserved; all quotations from Hildegard’s book, Scivias, are used with permission of Paulist Press).Hildegard, Scivias.
God does not have a physical mouth. So, when we read in Scripture of the mouth of God (eg., 1 Kgs 8:15), are we to interpret it as a metaphor that helps us understand who or what is doing the communicating? Let’s apply our understanding of being sent to the Trinity. In Scripture, it is only the Word of God (Jn. 3:17; 5:23) and the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26) who are ever described as being sent. The Father is never described as such. The Father is always the one who sends. The Father is not expressed; the Father is the one who expresses, sends. In Scripture, it is that which sends out that is identified as the mouth. The Father sends the Son — the Word of God. When the Word is sent, so also is sent the Breath, i.e., the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn. 20:21-23; Is. 55:10-11).
In my view, the use of mouth in the lexicon of Scripture applies to God the Father and also man — including the incarnate part of the Second Person of the Trinity, the Word of God. In Scripture, I believe the mouth is used to denote that the overflow of the spiritual heart is sent out. Mouth also identifies the means by which is taken in that which will feed the inner heart with either lust or grace. For man, the mouth is the entire body. It breathes in that which can either enlighten (through the grace of the Holy Spirit) or darken (darken with pride and lust).
Depending upon the individual circumstances, various parts of the body may play a more or less prominent role in a particular expression. For example, while the biological mouth might be the most prominent sense-able component of an expression of praise to God, the entire body is involved. As JP II wrote, “The body speaks not merely with the whole external expression of masculinity and femininity, but also with the internal structures of the organism, of the somatic [the entire body and its aggregate parts] and psychosomatic [relating to the mind/mental] reaction.” [John Paul II, in his general audience of Sept. 5, 1984, “Responsible Parenthood Linked to Moral Maturity,” Theology of the Body, Libreria Editrice Vaticana (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), n. 1.].
. Ibid., 153 and 395.
. Ibid., 381.
. John Corbett, “Bethel,” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907), http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02532d.htm, (accessed August 10, 2011).
. St. Cyprian of Carthage, “Treatise 12,” The Treatises of Cyprian (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), Book 2, n. 20.
. Zack Shavin, “Why ‘stone’ water jars at the wedding in Cana of Galilee?,” Land of Israel Tours, http://www.landofisraeltours.com/cana-water-jar/, February 01, 2016.
. Scott Hahn, "
Temple, Sign, and Sacrament: Towards a New Perspective on the Gospel of John," Letter & Spirit, ( ), Vol. 4, (2008), 108-114. Steubenville, Ohio
. St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God, (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), Book 11, n. 30.
. St. Augustine of Hippo, On the Trinity, (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), Book IV, n. 4.
. Methodius, Banquest of the Ten Virgins, (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008), Discourse 8, Chapter 10.
. From [St. Hildegard of Bingen, quoted in an unpublished translation of Helmut Posch, Das wahre Weltbild nach Hildegard von Bingen (The Creation of the World According to Hildegard of Bingen) Deutsche Bibliothek (CIP – Einheitsaufnahme, Aufl. – A-4880 St. Georgen, 1998), translated by Gina O’Brien for the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation (Mt. Jackson, VA: 2009), p. 31/55].
Hugh Owen, “Adam and Eve in the Writings of the Mystical Saints and Doctors of the Church,” The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation, https://kolbecenter.org/adam-and-eve-writings-mystical-saints-doctors-church/#_ftnref30, accessed August 17, 2020.
. Pope St. Leo the Great, “Sermon 71,” (Third Millennium Media L.L.C., The Faith Database L.L.C., 2008).
. Augustine, On the Trinity, IV, 5, n. 9.
. Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth Part One, 253-254.
. Apologist Tim Staples (a former Protestant) recorded a 4-CD (also available as a download) set titled, Living Bread — A Defense of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. He answers virtually every objection with which a non-believer (in Catholic teaching) would confront a Catholic. The set is available on www.catholic.com. I highly recommend it.
. Also on the same site are a couple of tracts about this topic. The link to one of the tracts is: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-real-presence. More can be found from there.
. Baptist convert, Steve Ray, has a downloadable MP3 at: http://www.steveraysstore.com/mp3-downloads/. I would also recommend his CDs.
. A good website that is free to read is located at: http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/eucharist.html. Clicking on the links within the articles will lead to other good articles.
. A quote contained in: Pitre, Brant James . Jesus the Bridegroom (p. 192). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Dr. Ptire includes the following in his citation: For scholars who recognize the allusion to the Jewish nuptial bath, see also James D. G. Dunn, Baptism in the Holy Spirit (London: SCM, 1970): 162–63; R. P. Meyer, Kirche und Mission in Epheserbrief, Stuttgarter Bibelstudien (Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1977), 295, 298.
. Philip Kosloski, “Prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church,” Aleteia, https://aleteia.org/2021/05/24/prayer-to-mary-mother-of-the-church/, 05/24/21 (accessed 05/30/2021).
. John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 54.
. Ibid., n. 57.
. Ibid., n. 53.
. Boddy A, Fortunato A, Aktipis A, et al. “Fetal microchimerism and maternal health: A review and evolutionary analysis of cooperation and conflict beyond the womb.” Bioessays. 2015. Abstract can be read at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.201500059/abstract.
. Laura Sanders, “Children’s cells live on in mothers,” Science News, https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/growth-curve/childrens-cells-live-mothers; May 10, 2015 (accessed 04/12/2016).
. Kristin Magaldi, “Fetal Cells Can Be Found In A New Mother's Body And Will Effect Her Health Even After Pregnancy,” Medical Daily; http://www.medicaldaily.com/fetal-cells-can-be-found-new-mothers-body-and-will-effect-her-health-even-after-350234, Aug 28, 2015 (accessed 04/12/2016).
. Summa, III, q. 64, a. 1.
. Pope Pius X, Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum, (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, February 1904), n. 14: https://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-x/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_02021904_ad-diem-illum-laetissimum.html.
. Fr. John Hardon, “Mystical Body,” The Real Presence Association, http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Mystical_Body/Mystical_Body_002.htm. Originally Published in “The Homiletic & Pastoral Review,” Vol. 49 - #5, Copyright © Ignatius Press, February 1949, pp. 375-381.
. Brant James Pitre PhD. Jesus the Bridegroom (pp. 138-139). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
. Pope St. Paul VI officially bestowed upon Mary the title of “Mother of the Church” at the Second Vatican Council in 1964.
. Edward Sri, Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary’s Queenship, ed. Scott Hahn (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing, 2005), 100.
. In my three-part blog on the Beast of Revlations, I add additional insights that support the latter interpretation. Links to all three Parts can be found here: https://www.stossbooks.com/header-image.php.
. Rorate Caeli, “Cardinal: What Sister Lucia told me: Final Confrontation between the Lord and Satan will be over Family and Marriage,” https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/06/cardinal-what-sister-lucia-told-me.html, 2/16/2008.
. Mark Mallet, “Understanding the Final Confrontation,” The Now Word, https://www.markmallett.com/blog/2010/02/16/understanding-the-final-confrontation/, Feb. 16, 2010.
. Brant James Pitre PhD, Jesus the Bridegroom (p. 138). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
. Brant James Pitre PhD. Jesus the Bridegroom (pp. 138-139). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
. Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, Gaudium Et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Second Vatican Council (December 7, 1965), n.22, ©Libreria Editrice Vaticana <http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html>, (accessed April 5, 2012).