Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nuptiae in Cana factae (a Tuesday)

The death of the grapes provides a new thing. Is it not so? There is still good red wine from Cana. Occasionally I can get it here in Corinth.

On the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. I remind myself, Beloved, that it is my task, for your sake, to render this account in Latin.

Et die tertia nuptiæ factæ sunt in Cana Galilææ, et erat mater Jesu ibi
Render is all I can do. It is not much help to us in finding the meaning of the sign. As surely that it is a sign, we must know that it is meant to signify something. Is it that the tradition is filled and so becomes good wine? But who will fill it? What are we to make of the days which our author points out so clearly? In this section, I have included two of my cuttings: Nuptiae and the next to the last on table 1. These sections, 22 and 23, belong together, for the opening of the one reflects the one sentence in the other. When we originally cut them, the knife slipped and we made two cuttings instead of one.

I think you have heard this story. It begins in Cana Galilææ, and the mother of Jesus is there, as were Jesus and his disciples - and the wine fails. But it is not just a revelry - as we might have thought briefly the first time we heard it. It was not his marriage - I have this information from the sisters' letters. What was he doing, bringing the wine? Does it speak of marriage yet to come?

His mother instructed the servants as if she had expected his rebuke. The servants did all that he told them. If I had been there, he would have shown me the instruction, then I too would know.
- the second three days were as if under a cloud. Under my tutor, the days were of regulation and ordinance: do not touch, do not taste, do not walk here.
- in spite of your tutor's and your own limits, would you consider your life that it was good?
- it was, in the end, not possible for the regulations to be sufficient.
- would it have been for better if your tutor could have followed them himself?
- but then, perhaps, I would never have known my need of the bridegroom of blood, nor would I have appreciated such power, even in the hands of his fragile servants.

In the end, the wine did not fail. The Bridegroom brought wine in abundance. The servants knew where it was from. Beloved, the Bridegroom's friend, the voice crying in the wilderness, has introduced us to him: Ecce, Agnus Dei, qui tollit peccatum mundi. We went to him to see where he dwelt and he invited us to remain with him that day. The day following, he included others. And on the third day, he revealed his glory. It appears that it is not untouchable, nor without taste, and to walk with him is not forbidden. After this first sign, he went to Capernaum, and his mother, and his brothers, and his disciples. It was a full household, an image of a bride in the care of her mother non multis diebus.

- You have seen what I did to the Egyptians how I bore you on eagles wings and brought you to myself. You shall be my own treasure.
- all that יהוה has spoken, we will do.
- go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready for the third day, for the third day יהוה will come down in the sight of all the people.
- take heed that you do not touch the mountain. Whoever touches it shall surely be put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot -- shot untouched.

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