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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Answer to another question on perfection

As I have noted in the perfection series, all Catholic are called to an intimate, bridal relationship, with Christ. This is one of my duties on this blog-to share this good and profound news.

Someone asked me about men and their relationship with Christ, as to be called a bride is hard for men, of course.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux had no trouble with this concept and neither did St. John of the Cross.

I think many men are afraid of love, as seen by the growing number of single men; such a man does not pursue an intimate relationship with a woman in marriage. Part of the problem may be solved if a man realized that his soul is in the position of receiving love, as a woman does in marriage. Humility is absolutely necessary.

Remember that the Latin word for soul, or the living principle is anima, which is the same as psyche in Greek. We receive life and love and therefore our souls are in a feminine response to God.

Here are some quotations from the saints on this very point starting with Bernard:

9. Felicitous, however, is this kiss of participation that enables us not only to know God 
but to love the Father, who is never fully known until he is perfectly loved. Are there not 
surely some among you who at certain times perceive deep within their hearts the Spirit 
of the Son exclaiming: "Abba, Father"? Let that man who feels that he is moved by the 
same Spirit as the Son, let him know that he too is loved by the Father. Whoever he be 
let him be of good heart, let his confidence never waver. Living in the Spirit of the Son, 
let such a soul recognize herself as a daughter of the Father, a bride or even a sister of 
the Son, for you will find that the soul who enjoys this privilege is called by either of 
these names. Nor will it cost me much to prove it, the proof is ready to hand. They are 
the names by which the Bridegroom addresses her: "I come into my garden, my sister, 
my bride." She is his sister because they have the one Father; his bride because joined 
in the one Spirit. For if marriage according to the flesh constitutes two in one body, why 
should not a spiritual union be even more efficacious in joining two in one spirit? And 
hence anyone who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. But we have witness too 
from the Father, how lovingly and how courteously he gives her the name of daughter, 
and nevertheless invites her as his daughter-in-law to the sweet caresses of his Son: 
"Listen, daughter, pay careful attention: forget your nation and your ancestral home, 
then the king will fall in love with your beauty." See then from whom this bride demands 
a kiss. O soul called to holiness, make sure that your attitude is respectful, for he is the 
Lord your God, who perhaps ought not to be kissed, but rather adored with the Father 
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. 

from the Song of Songs sermons

And from John of the Cross in the dialogue between the soul and God:




Where have You hidden Yourself,
And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?
You have fled like the hart,
Having wounded me.
I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.


O shepherds, you who go
Through the sheepcots up the hill,
If you shall see Him
Whom I love the most,
Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.


In search of my Love
I will go over mountains and strands;
I will gather no flowers,
I will fear no wild beasts;
And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.


O groves and thickets
Planted by the hand of the Beloved;
O verdant meads
Enameled with flowers,
Tell me, has He passed by you?



A thousand graces diffusing
He passed through the groves in haste,
And merely regarding them
As He passed
Clothed them with His beauty.



Oh! who can heal me?
Give me at once Yourself,
Send me no more
A messenger
Who cannot tell me what I wish.


All they who serve are telling me
Of Your unnumbered graces;
And all wound me more and more,
And something leaves me dying,
I know not what, of which they are darkly speaking.


But how you persevere, O life,
Not living where you live;
The arrows bring death
Which you receive
From your conceptions of the Beloved.


Why, after wounding
This heart, have You not healed it?
And why, after stealing it,
Have You thus abandoned it,
And not carried away the stolen prey?


Quench my troubles,
For no one else can soothe them;
And let my eyes behold You,
For You are their light,
And I will keep them for You alone.


Reveal Your presence,
And let the vision and Your beauty kill me,
Behold the malady
Of love is incurable
Except in Your presence and before Your face.


O crystal well!
Oh that on Your silvered surface
You would mirror forth at once
Those eyes desired
Which are outlined in my heart!


Turn them away, O my Beloved!
I am on the wing:


Return, My Dove!
The wounded hart
Looms on the hill
In the air of your flight and is refreshed.


My Beloved is the mountains,
The solitary wooded valleys,
The strange islands,
The roaring torrents,
The whisper of the amorous gales;


The tranquil night
At the approaches of the dawn,
The silent music,
The murmuring solitude,
The supper which revives, and enkindles love.


Catch us the foxes,
For our vineyard has flourished;
While of roses
We make a nosegay,
And let no one appear on the hill.


O killing north wind, cease!
Come, south wind, that awakens love!
Blow through my garden,
And let its odors flow,
And the Beloved shall feed among the flowers.


O nymphs of Judea!
While amid the flowers and the rose-trees
The amber sends forth its perfume,
Tarry in the suburbs,
And touch not our thresholds.


Hide yourself, O my Beloved!
Turn Your face to the mountains,
Do not speak,
But regard the companions
Of her who is traveling amidst strange islands.



Light-winged birds,
Lions, fawns, bounding does,
Mountains, valleys, strands,
Waters, winds, heat,
And the terrors that keep watch by night;


By the soft lyres
And the siren strains, I adjure you,
Let your fury cease,
And touch not the wall,
That the bride may sleep in greater security.


The bride has entered
The pleasant and desirable garden,
And there reposes to her heart’s content;
Her neck reclining
On the sweet arms of the Beloved.


Beneath the apple-tree
There were you betrothed;
There I gave you My hand,
And you were redeemed
Where your mother was corrupted.



Our bed is of flowers
By dens of lions encompassed,
Hung with purple,
Made in peace,
And crowned with a thousand shields of gold.


In Your footsteps
The young ones run Your way;
At the touch of the fire
And by the spiced wine,
The divine balsam flows.


In the inner cellar
Of my Beloved have I drunk; and when I went forth
Over all the plain
I knew nothing,
And lost the flock I followed before.


There He gave me His breasts,
There He taught me the science full of sweetness.
And there I gave to Him
Myself without reserve;
There I promised to be His bride.


My soul is occupied,
And all my substance in His service;
Now I guard no flock,
Nor have I any other employment:
My sole occupation is love.