Most canticles, whether Solomon’s Canticle of Canticles or Our Holy Father John’s Spiritual Canticle, tend to express the viewpoint and yearning of the bride for the Bridegroom (Christ). She is in sorrowful search of Him, and it is a “night of love longings”. But what about the mysterious perspective of the Bridegroom longing for His betrothed? Have you ever reversed the verses of these canticles and applied them to Our Lord searching for His spouse? In this, you will truly see how romantic, divine and lonely is His most Sacred Heart. Most especially the latter! An exceptionally good friend of mine and I discussed, some time ago, the difference between the role of a spouse and the role of a father.
In our case of discussion, we were speaking of God the Father vs God the Son and how to view the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity if perhaps, He were to take you as His bride. She said words I will never forget: a spouse sees EVERYTHING. He has exclusive rights to her heart, and the same applies to her advantage over His Heart, precisely because they are one. If in earthly marriage the two become one flesh, in choosing celibacy: virginal marriage with Our Lord, the two hearts become one. This conversation was more than directed by the Holy Ghost because immediately following this discussion, just minutes after, a song fell in my lap that I had never heard before. I could not resist listening when I saw the title was called Where’s My Love?
The lyrics undoubtedly took me off guard (usually how Our Lord works) as one line, in particular, stood out to me above the rest and I have since coined it on a holy card that I keep in my Latin Mass Missal. Never before this song had I intensely pondered the reverse of the Bridegroom seeking His bride, with a tender jealousy and persistence:
*Click on the Email title of this post to be taken to the official blog site and video by Mary’s Secretary*
That line I briefly spoke of above, that particularly stood out to me, was this: “does she know that we bleed the same?” That line echoes in my mind whenever I am trying to carry a cross alone, rather than share it with Christ; I have to remind myself that it’s not “my” cross, it’s our cross. I have noticed an interesting trend in my own reaction with new crosses. I try to carry them all by myself, and hide from Our Lord, as I willingly suffer un-redemptively. But when I come out of hiding and ask Him for help, the suffering becomes meaningful…and lighter. Satan hates this realization, because there is power in it. Instead of being angry for His sending the cross, I try to see it as an invitation of intimacy with Him. There is no greather intimacy with Our Lord than sharing in His sorrow. Everyone is different, perhaps this is not your reaction at all. I can confidently say that it has been Mary, and Mary alone, Who keeps reminding me, “we bleed the same”, when I think of Her Sorrowful Heart, and She in turn reminds me that She is one with Christ.
They share the same Heart, and so…if I want to be one with Her, I must be one with Him as well. Is not this so beautiful? In fact, when I run and hide from Our Lord and build walls, I keep Mary on my side of the wall and Him on the other. That same friend I started this post with, sent me a book called Parables of the Flesh, and a phrase that directly caught my attention was how God does certain things to “rattle the cage around your heart”, because if you are to reach tranforming union with Him on earth, there cannot be any cages of separation. This “rattling” is not done to purposely make you suffer, or to annoy you (although sometimes I definitely think it is), but to address the insecurity within. That was so profound! Passive purification by the hand of God coincides with the famous Dark Night of the Spirit. Our Lord in His goodness, goes into our hearts and performs surgery; in this procedure- though painful- we must sit as still as possible as our insecurities are exposed to His merciful and virtuous light. I always find it so consoling that on the very top of John of the Cross’ mount of perfection, the mountain reads: SECURITY.
For I am jealous of you with the jealousy of God. For I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 11:2 Saint Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ Crucified)
When I remember that my wounds are His wounds, sometimes that is the very thing Our Lady uses to keep me on my own personal path of union with Her Beloved Son. And remember this, not all wounds can or will be healed, because like Our Lord’s, they will be glorified on the day of judegment. Perhaps we will want to see as many scars as possible, for they are our trophies. Ponder that in your own life. Of course, I am personally using it as a means of pursuing Christ as His bride, but this notion can be applied to even a small area in your life that is indeed smothered in the cross. Some crosses, especially in the middle of the trial, are exceedingly difficult to understand why the suffering is being permitted.
But if you remember that your cross is really His, being a member of the Body of Christ (the Church), you will be able to see that He is indeed fulfilling this quota of suffering through YOU (spoken of by Saint Paul). Take courage in the fact, that though innocent, Jesus and Mary willingly chose the nails, the swords of sorrow and the thorns, for the sake of this Body. This song also reminds me of Our Lord’s parable, leaving the flock of 99 to go off in search of the one. And as John of the Cross says, “I now guard no flock, my sole occupation is Love” (there is a reason he is Doctor of the Church). Since we are approaching Pentecost (the longest season in the Latin Mass Calendar of 24 Sundays following Whitsunday) take to heart that there is also a justification for why wisdom is the first of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost. True wisdom does not come from age or books, it comes from experiences of the cross.
All pictured above are Carmelites, who understood that true wisdom did not come from age, but through the cross. How do I know this? Because each and every one of these Saints (and Venerable) died in their teens or 20’s:
1.) Teresa Margaret Redi: 22 years of age
2.) Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face: 24 years of age
3.) Teresa of the Andes: 19 years of age
4.) Teresita Quevedo: 19 years of age
5.) Elizabeth of the Trinity: 26 years of age
(Carmelites have a LOT of Teresa’s in case you had not noticed). A friend of mine once said, before my discernment into Carmel, that Carmelites die so young because they reach perfection relatively quickly. I will never forget that. I cannot tell you how many times I have had family members look at me, with puzzled and uncomfortable expressions, when they hear this truth; I have seen some even get overly angry, when they see that, one as sinful as myself, can desire the same thing. But these reactions just go to show that many people are more attached to earth than their one true heavenly home, and are undercover afraid of death. My favorite fruit attached to the mystery of the Assumption, invoked in the Most Holy Rosary, is that of a holy life and holy death. To the friends of God, death is a friend in this sorrowful “vale of tears”, so with Teresa of Jesus let us remember: “all things are passing, God alone suffices.”