“The Word of God is alive and active” says the writer to the Hebrews (Heb 4:12). Each word. Each and every word of the Holy Bible is infinitely rich and measurelessly (yes, it’s ok to make up words when normal words don’t work!) marvelous!
I just read one verse from the Song of Songs… a passage that might not seem all that great at first glance:
“My Beloved for me is a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.” (Song 1:14)
Would you say that about your beloved? Maybe not. We might say something like: “My Beloved for me is the sunrise after the rain.” That’s poetic, and kind of nice. But this passage from the first chapter of the Song of Songs may not seem to do much for a person. It’s not as bad as some of the genealogies of the Old Testament, or the laws of Leviticus, but there just isn’t much there, is there? THERE IS!!!
I read the following simple exposition and my heart leaped. My soul surged. My mind was lifted to the Heavens. My desire for God increased. My love for Jesus blossomed. But that verse didn’t mean that much… or did it? Take a read. Read it out loud, slowly, as one would speak of a great love in one’s life. And this is of the greatest Love…
The enamored soul being purified
now forgets the bitterness of the myrrh
so as to think only of the beauty of the Spouse Who she now can see,
or in some way or other feel, and contemplate with ineffable pleasure;
thus she exclaims: My Beloved for me is a cluster of camphire…
a flower extremely beautiful, sweet-smelling and valuable.
It is as though she were to say:
if in the mysteries of Your passion and death You were for me a bundle of very bitter myrrh,
this bitterness has been changed into ineffable sweetness
as You bring me to participate in the mysteries of Your Resurrection,
as You reveal Yourself to me in Your joys and triumphs,
in Your glorious Ascension,
in the communication of Your Holy Spirit with His inestimable graces and sweet scents of life,
and in the daily partaking of Your Chalice full of the mystical wine of Engedi
with which You delight our hearts,
and cleanse and beautify us with Your very blood.
“If you have already lamented your sins,” says St. Bernard,
“then taste the bitterness of myrrh;
but if you now feel within you the effects of a new life
it is a sign that bitterness has changed into sweetness for you…”
(Juan Arintero: The Song of Songs)
Every word of the Divine Text is filled with immeasurable inspiration. Happy reading! Everyday!
(This idea is not original – it came from Cardinal Desire-Joseph Mercier, who lived in the late 19th century into the early 20th century.)
Each day – starting when you rise from your slumber – take a few minutes of silence. Wait to check the phone (maybe even turn it off). Don’t check the email just yet. Let the coffee finish brewing. Sit up, close your eyes, and enter the sanctuary of your baptized soul. There realize that God himself dwells. Spend time with him. Rest with him. Pray this prayer slowly:
Oh, Holy Spirit, soul of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten, guide, strengthen, and console me. Tell me what I ought to do, and command me to do it. I promise to be submissive to everything that you ask of me, and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Only show me what is your will.
This can be done at various points throughout the day. Simply stop whatever is going on, sit still for three, four, five minutes, and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within you. Perhaps you will “hear” some promptings, or perhaps you won’t hear anything at all. Results matter little and tend to develop over longer periods of time. What matters most is that we take time to worship God and invite him into the chaos of our lives. Doing this will change everything because it will remind us that the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is with us always, just as Jesus promised (Mt. 28:20b).
What a gift it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!