If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Arise My Darling, and Come Along

Prefiguring Christ and His Church, Solomon wrote:

[My beloved groom] . . . . says to me,"Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines in bloom give forth fragrance. Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! (Song of Songs 2:9b-13).

I'd read this passage dozens of times during the past 35 years of my journey with Christ. But only recently did its message nearly overwhelm my emotions as I connected it with others I'd memorized.

Jesus said, In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be (John 14:2-3).

St. Paul added, Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a [shout], with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

Sometimes, when I read promises like these -- and especially like that from the Song of Songs in which my Groom calls me His "beloved," His "beautiful one" -- I can almost hear the Lord shout. I can almost hear the trumpet. I can almost see myself in His presence, His arms drawing me to Himself as He whispers: Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come with Me. The vines in blossom are giving off their sweet fragrance. Winter is past. Come with Me to the place I've prepared for you. A place without tears, or fear, or sorrow. A place without separation, or death.

Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along.


Patricia said...

That's such a beautiful passage, Richard. I chose it years ago to be read at my funeral Mass -- although I hope that won't be for a while yet!

I love the Song of Songs, where God's passionate Love for each of us literally sings in the most joyful and exquisite metaphors.

And to think, we were created to be loved by this Being WHO IS LOVE!

I am often sad that I know this intellectually, but not in the very depths of my soul. It's like the way I cannot look at the sun, although I know it is all around me.

I cannot drink in so much love, though I long for every drop.

If you know the secret, please share it.

Richard Maffeo said...

I think the secret is the same secret the Saints make known to us in their various biographies --
seek Him daily through prayer, scripture and the sacraments. (I call it the three S's -- supplication, scripture and sacraments).

And we should not expect the intimacy we seek in a week. Being so trained by our culture to expect things quickly (if not instantaneously), we forget that love for another must grow over time and through hard places.

Mother Theresa once remarked: "In the silence of our hearts, God speaks of His love; with our silence, we allow Jesus to love us.”

Too often we are too busy to hear Him who so often speaks to us in the silence.

Patricia said...


But Richard, not even a tiny dash of holy impetuosity?

Therese of Lisisux, while yet a young novice, told a visiting confessor that she desired to be a great Saint. He discouraged such lofty ambitions, and told her to concentrate on being a good nun.

Thankfully, she never abandoned her great desires, but found the "lift" which would raise her speedily to God: the arms of Jesus. Of course, she had to become very small so that He could carry her.

I suppose the "secret" I am searching for is that almost audacious approach the Saints had to loving God. Mary Magdalene comes to mind as well.

I hope that it is not only the great and chosen souls in whose tresses the King will consent to be held captive!

Thank you for your meditation on the Song of Songs. You have inspired me to take up this book again in prayer.

If I discover any secrets of the King, I will share them! Joyfully, Patricia

Richard Maffeo said...

Ahhh. Impetuosity, audaciousness, lost in love for the beloved.

How I long for that kind of relationship.

But, perhaps again, I do not long for it as much as I like to think I do.

You get me to thinking too much, Patricia.

Patricia said...

Ahhh indeed, Richard!

Is not our Jesus Himself the most eager of Lovers? Leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills; peering through the lattices at us; thrusting His hand through the hole in the bolted door, when we do not get up to admit Him. Yet, His Love constrains Him to leave behind His sweet fragrance, and our hands drip with myrrh, and our hearts are broken with sorrow as we seek Him again.

Would such a Lover not be delighted if we are impatient to fall more and more deeply in love with Him? Therese prayed, "Jesus, I wish to love You as You have never been loved before!" And she did!

I love to ponder Jesus in the garden with Mary Magdalen. "Woman, why are you weeping?" What a strange question! Surely He knew the answer. But, I like to think that He longed to hear her tell Him. He longed to hear her words of love and longing for Him. He who had been so rejected, despised, mocked, and crucified only a few days before. How His pierced Heart must have longed to hear words of love again!

And on the road to Emmaus - the same thing. He pretended to go on, until his disciples begged Him to stay with them.

Surely God will not resist a soul who longs for union with Him, since He Himself is the Source of such desires.

And Richard, if we do not long for this as much as we think, surely we can pray to long for it with all of our being! And will He not answer?

Richard Maffeo said...

Oh! I'd never contemplated the tomb scene, nor the Emmaus road as you have. Your thoughts here have opened another door for me, Patricia. Thank you.