Song of Solomon 5 (NIV)
1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love.
2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Futile – the Winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor – Tonight –
–Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.
LOVE IS . . . ready.
When the angel appeared to Mary, she was ready with her response: Yes, let it be, “Be it done to me according to your word.” That is why Mary is considered by some to be a perfect saint: a perfect saint has perfect love, and perfect love is perfectly ready with its simple Yes.
But the bride in the Song of Solomon, like our own soul, is not perfectly ready. She makes excuses, and because of this fear, withdrawal, or double-mindedness, the longed-for consummation of their love is postponed, and she suffers immeasurably, as the verses above show.
We are always doing that with God. The divinely whispered invitation to turn immediately to him, to follow the first breath of his Spirit, is seldom heeded. When we have more time, when we are in a better mood, when these Martha-like many things are taken care of, then we can attend to the Mary thing, the “one thing needful.” But tomorrow never comes, and if we do not turn today we simply do not turn, for today is the only time there is. “Now is the time of salvation.” Be ready for all the joy of Now.
–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft
9 How is your beloved better than others,
most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
that you so charge us?
10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
outstanding among ten thousand.
LOVE IS . . . individual.
The object of love is a person, and every person is an individual. No person is a class, a species, or a collection. There is no such thing as the love of humanity because there is no such thing as humanity. If your preachers or teachers have told you that the Bible teaches you to love humanity, they have told you a lie. Not once does the Bible say that; not once does it even mention the word humanity. Jesus always commands us to love God and our neighbor instead.
How comfortable “humanity” is! “Humanity” never shows up at your door at the most inconvenient time. “Humanity” is not quarrelsome, alcoholic, or fanatical. “Humanity” is never slimy, swarmy, smarmy, smelly, or smutty. “Humanity” is so ideal that one could easily die for it. But to die for your neighbor, to die for Sam Slug or Mehitabel Crotchit — unthinkable. Except for love.
One of the saints said that if you had been the only person God ever created, he would have gone to all the trouble he went to just to save you alone. When he died on the cross, he did not die for humanity; he died for you. “Behold, I have called you by name,” he says. “I have engraved your name upon my palm.” When he welcomes you into your heavenly mansion, he will not address you as “comrade.” Lovers love to whisper each other’s names because the name stands for the person, the individual.
–from Three Philosophies of Life, by Peter Kreeft
11 His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
by the water streams,
washed in milk,
mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
His lips are like lilies
dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
daughters of Jerusalem.
“There is nothing that can surprise our Lord in our unworthiness; He knows us through and through. But it must surprise Him sometimes that we ever stay even for one minute in the dark and cold, when we have such a Beloved and such a Friend that we have only to think of Him (instead of ourselves) to find ourselves with Him, embraced by His warm love on every side.”
HERE is “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera, sung by Michael Ball and Sierra Boggess. So beautiful.