De Yarrison contemplates how the Song of Songs, an intimate love poem in the center of the Bible, is meant to be the very heart of our faith.
I love Jesus. I’m guessing you do too! And we know, from the time we’re young children, “Jesus loves me, this I know, so the Bible tells me so.” I suppose I’ve known of His love for me all my life, and yet, over the past year, something really incredible has happened: something which has opened my eyes and my heart to a new and far more personal awareness of God’s Love for me.
Imagine this: as God creates each human person, He’s singing to us. He’s singing His love song over each of us as He carefully forms our hearts. A timeless song of true love is engraved, inscribed deep into our hearts by God Himself.
And then we are born into this world, with its noise and endless distractions. And God’s love song lies dormant in our hearts, our ears attuned to so many other voices and priorities. Until one day, all in the Lord’s timing, we rediscover His Song.
This is the incredible something I spoke of in the opening paragraph. My sister Laura introduced me to a book called the Cantata of Love. The Cantata is an amazing, Holy-Spirit inspired compilation of writings and reflections by powerhouse saints over the ages, all focused on helping us understand God’s Love Song, namely the Song of Songs (in some Bibles, called the Song of Solomon).
After surviving an abusive marriage for many years, Laura has experienced miraculous healing of her heart, body, mind, and spirit through beautiful encounters with our Lord. In many of these moments, Laura would hear Him speak words to her heart that she recognized were from the Scriptures, in particular, the Song of Songs. Jesus, gently led her into the song, singing it over her woundedness and broken heart, strengthening her in the Truth that He is her One True Eternal Love -- the One Whom her soul loves (Song of Songs 3:4). You can learn more about Laura’s healing and the story of her coming to know the deeply personal love of Christ through the resource list at the end of this article.
So, I don’t know about you, but I’ve historically had a bit of trouble relating to the Song of Songs. This teeny little book, smack in the middle of our Bibles, seemed out of place. What does this intimate, even erotic, poem between two lovers have to do with me and my faith? The answer I’ve learned is that this intimate poem is meant to be the very heart of my faith! If my faith is about developing a personal relationship with Jesus, then coming to understand His deeply personal Love for me and my identity as His One True Love, seems pretty important!
The Song, far from being out of place, is actually perfectly placed in the very center of sacred Scripture. However, we must learn to read it, not through our human filters of what intimacy and love mean, but with the eyes and ears of our hearts. The reflections found in the Cantata of Love are essential for helping me understand the deeper, Christ-centered meaning of each line from the Song of Songs. For example, the opening line of the Song reads: “Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth.” Oooh, my human mind conjures up a scene from some romantic movie, of two lovers kissing sweetly. And again I wonder, what has this to do with me and my relationship with Jesus?
Turning to the Cantata for guidance, I find six and a half pages written about these nine words: reflections from St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Bernard, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body – such richness! Their reflections include verses from the Old Testament about the waiting, the desire for, the Messiah, verses in the New Testament about Jesus’ fulfillment of these Old Testament longings, about creation, the Trinity, and more. Here is one passage from these pages:
The Holy Spirit is the kiss that the mouth of the beloved Son imprints forever on our hearts (Romans 5:5). The same kiss eternally uniting the Father and the Son within the Trinity is now uniting us to them: “so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,” Jesus says at the conclusion of the priestly prayer (John 17:26). The same kiss, the same love, the same Holy Spirit. God fills the soul with His spirit and life through the kisses of his divine mouth. [i.e.: the Word of God].
As is true of the whole of sacred Scripture, we can endlessly peel back layers of meaning in the Song of Songs. Each layer takes us deeper into the groanings and longings of our hearts, ultimately leading to the realization that these are eternal longings, to be satisfied only in our One True Eternal Love. What profound shifts might we then experience in our prayer lives? What depths of peace might we discover interiorly, even in the midst of such chaos happening outside our doors?
One way that I can counter the environment of hatred and violence “out there” is by committing to cultivate an environment of love, acceptance and openness “in here.” Coming to know Christ as the lover of my soul, and to accept myself as His cherished and beloved one, is a powerful gift I receive through the Song of Songs. I pray you will open its pages and invite the Lord to meet you there. Laura loves to tell people to simply ask, “Jesus, what do you want to sing to me today?” and let the Song fall open where it will.
Copyright 2020 De Yarrison Image: Everton Vila (2016), Unsplash
Laura’s Miraculous Healing:
About the Author
De guides women along the journey to spiritual and emotional healing, through coaching, deliverance prayer, and healing retreats. At YouAreMadeNew.com, De walks alongside women as we grow, heal, and discover the abiding presence of Christ within our own hearts. De invites you to join the Catholic women’s community, Hope’s Garden, which she cofounded.