The Bridegroom of The Song of Songs protectively and tenderly holds his sleeping beloved. His…
If you had told me back in 2018 that one day I would fall in love again and even marry again, I would have laughed in your face and said you were crazy. After a 27 year marriage that ended in a three year traumatic divorce and child-custody battle and left me with Complex-PTSD and chronic debilitating physical ailments, I had no intention of even thinking about dating or falling in love ever again. And then, Jesus, the love of my life, sang His way into my heart and I couldn’t help but fall in love.
I used to think that our divine romance had only just begun on the very same day that my divorce was finalized, but I see now that Jesus has been wooing me all my life. It seems a contradiction but I believe it is a truth well documented in the lives of the saints, that with Christ, the courting and wooing is in the suffering and trials. It was not like I was only coming to know Christ at the time of the divorce. I had known Him all my life and He was the One Who gave me hope and strength during the years of abuse and loneliness. He was already my Lord, my Savior, my Rock in Whom I trusted. He was already my Friend and my Companion.
So can you imagine my shock when He proposed to me only moments after leaving the courthouse as a divorced woman? I was sobbing in the backseat of the car asking Jesus, “Now what?” And so clearly, I heard Him reply, “Now come and be My bride.” “Me? You can’t mean me! I am a mess and I’m divorced, Jesus!” But He did mean me and He knew I was a mess and divorced and He wanted me anyway.
Suddenly “Christ the Bridegroom” began showing up everywhere – in songs, in Scriptures, in art, in articles, and in my prayer. I learned that God’s spousal love for His people and each individual soul has been a teaching of the Church throughout the centuries. Pope John Paul II wrote so prolifically and beautifully about Jesus as the Bridegroom. His writings, in particular his Theology of the Body, had a profound impact on my healing and my interior life.
Six months after my divorce, the Lord began singing His divine love song to my heart and I could no longer resist His invitation to call Him “my Bridegroom”. I had always said that I would never read The Song of Songs because I was convinced that I would never know such a beautiful, pure, and intimate love. Jesus, the Perfect Gentleman, had other plans for me. He softly and tenderly sang The Song of Songs to my aching heart and revealed the divine meaning of its lyrics. He untwisted the distorted vision of love my life experiences had taught me. My marriage had taught me what love, especially spousal love, is not. And then Jesus, Love Himself, began teaching me all it is meant to be.
How wrong, how deceived, I was all those years when I believed that the Bridegroom of The Song of Songs would only cause me more pain. The Divine Bridegroom, Jesus, is, in reality, the only remedy for my deepest heart wounds. His spousal love, pure and true, is the antidote to the poison of distorted abusive spousal love. This is how Jesus heals. He uses the very thing that wounded us as the remedy. In His healing there is redemption and restoration. The book of Holy Scripture that I most resisted, that made me cry with longing and regret, is now the healing balm I can’t get enough of and the heart of my ministry.
It was always Him. I just didn’t realize that Jesus was the One my heart had been seeking all along. He knew. He was there, right there by my side through it all. Loving me, guiding me, and protecting me while He so patiently waited for me to see that He was the only one for me.
And now we are getting married, Jesus and me. Like the Bride in The Song of Songs, “I have found the one whom my soul loves; I held him fast and would not let him go.” He espoused Himself to me and set Himself as a seal on my heart on the day of my Baptism. And now I will make a private vow of spiritual marriage and choose Him for my one, true and eternal Spouse. Truly, He has made my broken marriage vocation new and beautiful!
Open the ears of your heart and listen for the Bridegroom of your soul softly and tenderly singing to you… “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
By Laura Ercolino
image credits: “Icon of Christ the Bridegroom courtesy of Christ the Bridegroom Monastery” http://www.christthebridegroom.org/?m=1