“‘My nard’, says the Bride. She might as well say: my life! For this is…
One of the signature offerings here at Hope’s Garden is our 12-week heart-led studies into The Song of Songs. Our beautiful study is guided by a wonderful book, The Cantata of Love, a Verse by Verse Reading of The Song of Songs, published by Ignatius Press. In the Cantata, the author, Father Blaise Arminjon quotes St. John Paul the Great, “Your journey must be like an original new edition of The Song of Songs.” This quote has truly pierced my heart and has also become the heart of my personal mission as I walk alongside other women coming to know Christ the Bridegroom.
As I have been looking back at my journey with the Bridegroom, I can see that this is exactly what Jesus and I have been doing! My life with the Bridegroom has become our own personal edition of The Song of Songs. As I gradually came to this realization, I was amazed and astounded. If anyone had told me two years ago that this was what God had planned for me I would have laughed and told them they were crazy! In fact, I think I did say this to Father Michael when he would tell me that God had healing, restoration, and plans for a future full of goodness in store for me.
But neither Father Michael nor I am crazy! This is my life! And what healing, restoration, redemption and transformation my Bridegroom has lovingly and gently worked in me. I have wondered how did this happen? Is there a process, a map or set of directions for this journey? I started asking Jesus, “How did You do this? What have You done in me and with me and to me?” And His most frequent reply is “Love. We have done this work together by loving one another.” Slowly, He has revealed the steps, the map, for this journey we are on. And this is what I would like to share with you in hope that you too might dare to embark on this adventure of divine romance with the Bridegroom of your soul.
First, He reminds me that He is the Perfect Gentleman and will not even heal us without our consent. He waits for us to invite Him into our hearts, souls, bodies and minds. “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is covered with dew, my locks with the drops of night.” Song of Songs 5:2 I had to open the door of my heart to Jesus. I had to willingly cooperate with His grace and give my Fiat again and again. I had to know I was safe with Him and as I trusted Him more and more surrendering and allowing Him to work in me became easier. Together we created a “working relationship.”
When Jesus began asking me to enter His divine love song, The Song of Songs, I was afraid at first. But once I gave Him my yes and began to immerse myself in this beautiful book of Scripture, I could not get enough! I had to read and re-read it, read it aloud to my heart and His, and I had to invite Jesus, the Lover of my soul, to sing His song to me. I had to become intimately familiar with this often over-looked book of Holy Scripture.
Second, I had to prayerfully reflect on and open the ears of my heart to the unique song my Bridegroom and I had been singing to one another throughout my life. It was so helpful to me when at the Theology of the Body Institute course The Way of Beauty, it was suggested that we spend time in prayer reflecting on moments when beauty pierced our hearts… thinking about what music, poetry, dance, art, nature etc. have spoken to our hearts over the years. He Who is Beauty, Truth and Goodness draws us to Himself through the beauty of His creation and our re-creation of His Beauty in the arts.
Spending time in prayer and asking Jesus to please help me recognize the song of love He has been singing over me was life-changing.
And now I can tell you with certainty that St. John Paul the Great was speaking to each one of us when he said “Your personal journey must be like an original new edition of The Song of Songs.” What an adventure the Bridegroom has in store for you!
Dear Jesus, as I begin this journey into Your Divine love song, The Song of Songs, I ask You to open the eyes of my heart; open the ears of my heart so I can hear Your Song more clearly. Help me hear the love song you sing only to my heart, in all its purity and beauty. Lord, how do You want me to sing back to You? Teach me the beautiful duet we are creating together. Mary, Mystical Rose of God, Mother of the Bridegroom, pray for us and teach us to bloom in His Love. Amen.
Copyright 2021 Laura Ercolino