This post is part of a reflective Lenten series, originally published as Facebook posts on my personal account.
Lenten practice, day #20 (we’re already halfway?!)
Reference: Songs 6:1-12
At the description of the description of the bridegroom, the DJs (see earlier posts) are enthralled enough to actually look for him (some friends they are… “He’s hot? Great, let’s find him!”). But then the bride finds him, he has essentially come back to her (all of that fancy garden language is erotic symbolism for his bride mentioned in earlier chapters).
Now, we have a section titled “The Charms of the Beloved.” How beautiful this section is! While most of the description is a refrain of an earlier description and focuses on physical beauty, it’s still amazing to see a bridegroom so authentically enthralled by his bride.
The line, “Turn your eyes from me, for they torment me” is rather telling. Looking into her eyes—she sees so far into him, he loves her so much, desires so much to join himself to her and consummate that love—that he must look away. Amazing, really. There is certainly a lot to be said about the gaze between lovers, and it’s definitely possible that the intensity can become too much (in a very good way)!
I find here some parallel to the gaze of Christ in the Eucharist at Adoration, though I know it’s probably not the intention of the prophetic level of this text (the bride is the Church and Christ is the groom, so currently the roles are switched but bear with me). Sometimes at Adoration—while I love to look upon our Lord and admire him and speak with him and just spend time hanging out with him—sometimes I feel SO vulnerable that I almost wish he would look away for a moment so I could gather myself. But at the same time, the fact that he won’t look away and his gaze is never distracted, not even for a moment, is so comforting. The gaze between lovers is an incredible thing, and that’s the point the text is making. How lucky we are to know that the Trinity is our final, ultimate lover! We could literally not ask for anything more perfect.
The next part, again, is a refrain from earlier so I’ll skip it since I’ve already talked about it a little bit.
Finally, the part that I’ve been excited about writing about since I read this chapter tonight: verses 8 and 9.
Remember how I’d been emphasizing the “sister” aspect of a loving relationship? READ THESE VERSES! Here the “sister” aspect is brought back to its core: one’s identity as a son or daughter, which is the very first identity we are given. We are sons and daughters of our parents and sons and daughters of God. It’s so beautiful that he acknowledges this about her! She is not an object to him, but a precious daughter (thus his sister) and she must be treated as such. She is the dear one of her parents! He’s absolutely blessed to be able to one day call her his own, and she likewise him!
In other news, I’m struggling to figure out what book to do next. Any recommendations?