Chapters 7 to 9 The World's First Love: Mary, Mother of God 1


In Chapter Seven, Sheen addresses the common perception of Joseph being the elderly husband of Mary. At the heart of the theory is the perpetual virginity of Mary. Sheen posits that is was easier to account for virginity due to Joseph’s old age than by virtue or, as Sheen so eloquently puts it, “To make Joseph appear pure only because his flesh had aged is like glorifying a mountain stream that has dried.” Joseph’s gift of his own virginity in their marriage becomes a gift of greater magnitude because he choose it. I like the young Joseph Sheen gives us! It makes sense that young man would walk the journey with this young Mother of God as a protector, a provider, and a model of fatherly love. Sheen ends the chapter with a challenge for married couples that part of their prayer needs to be done together as that prayer is greater than their individual prayers.

Obedience is the subject of Chapter Eight and speaks of obedience in general terms and specific to Jesus. Jesus lived a life of obedience, demonstrated in no greater way than his constant obedience to the will of His Father. How important it is for each of us to discern what God’s will is for us and then to follow it.

Wedding Feast at Cana

The Wedding Feast at Cana is the subject of Chapter Nine and is a natural continuation of obedience from the previous chapter. Jesus obeys the request of Mary in providing more wine for the feast. Sheen gives us two important lessons from this scripture account. First, we must not expect God to transform us without bringing something to be transformed. The servants brought jugs of water to Jesus. Surely, Jesus could have filled empty jugs just as easily with fine wine. But God wants our efforts and will magnify them. In other words, we’ve got to give God something to work with! Second, Mary intercedes to gain us what we need. And the reality is that we often don’t have a clue about what we need! Perhaps our request to Mary should simply be, “Mary, please intercede for us with your Son to give us whatever draws us closer to Him and to root out whatever leads us away from Him. Amen!

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One thought on “Chapters 7 to 9

  • Mary French

    My two-cents worth on these chapters. I found value in Sheen’s thoughts on atheism (chapter 8) of the will. The will that “sets itself up as God” is one that refuses to allow “this Man [to] rule over” it. It’s a matter of self-sovereignty! We must remember that obedience (which is what atheism of the will balks at) isn’t blind obedience where orders are simply carried out, but it’s obedience that springs from a great love of God. If that is difficult to grasp, it’s much easier when we put it into human terms. When we think about willfully letting down someone that we love greatly here in our life, it leaves us with a sense of guilt and sadness, even a sort of ‘sickness’ that makes us quite uncomfortable. How much greater that sense of guilt, that sadness, that sickness, when it is God that we let down, disobey, ignore, set aside. If our love is good and proper and as great as it should be for God, then we are strongly motivated to please Him and to do His will with as much excellence as we can muster. That is obedience. Out of love. For our pleasure and His.

    This chapter ends with a profound statement (in my humble opinion) about obedience – speaking about the Holy family: “When in the one family of the world where one might legitimately excuse ‘child worship’, for here the child is God, one finds, on the contrary, child obedience, then let no one deny that obedience is the cornerstone of the home.” There’s some real food for thought. Only in this home would it have made sense for the parents and family to worship the child and cater to his every whim. Yet instead, we find a rock-solid practice of the 4th commandment.

    One more “Ah-hah!” moment to share, from chapter 9. When Mary asks her son at the wedding to address the wine crisis, Sheen explains Jesus’ reaction as one of warning, heralding a turning point, as if saying – “Do you realize what you are asking? Are you ready to go down this road? Are you ready to finish God’s plan? Once the cat is out of the bag (divinity exposed), there’s no getting him back in.” This perspective makes the tone of the words completely sensible. Only in this context does his response make perfect, clear sense. “And Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come’” [John 2:4].

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