Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Luther, the Wedding at Cana, the Three Estates, the Three Wonders, and Marriage

On January 10th, 1529, the lesson was the wedding at Cana of Galilee.  This passage, said Luther, is written in honor of marriage.  There are three estates: marriage, virginity, and widowhood.  They are all good.  None is to be despised.  The virgin is not to be esteemed above the widow, nor the widow above the wife, any more than the tailor is to be esteemed above the butcher.  There is no estate to which the Devil is so opposed as to marriage.  The clergy have not wanted to be bothered with work and worry.  They have been afraid of a nagging wife, disobedient children, difficult relatives, or the dying of a pig or a cow.  They want to lie abed until the sun shines through the window.  Our ancestors knew this and would say, "Dear child, be a priest or nun and have a good time."  I have heard married people say to monks, "You have it easy, but when we get up we do not know where to find our bread."  Marriage is a heavy cross because so many couples quarrel.  It is the grace of God when they agree.  The Holy Spirit declares there are three wonders: when brothers agree, when neighbors love each other, and when a man and wife are at one.  When I see a pair like that, I am as glad as if I were in a garden of roses.  It is rare.

-from Bainton's Here I Stand: a Life of Martin Luther, (Abingdon Press; 1950) p. 352.

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