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Garden Hearts

She is a garden enclosed, my sister, my promised bride; a garden enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your shoots form an orchard of pomegranate trees, the rarest essences are yours: nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all the incense-bearing trees; myrrh and aloes, with the subtlest odors. Fountain that makes the gardens fertile, well of living water, streams flowing down from Lebanon.”

The Bridegroom of The Song of Songs 4:11-16

To be an enclosed garden heart for the Bridegroom, like the Bride of the Song of Songs, is to love Jesus above all else. At our baptism, He set Himself as a seal on our hearts and we were consecrated, set apart for Him. He invites us, day after day, to intentionally enter more deeply into the gift of this intimate relationship with our God. It is a choice to allow Christ, the Divine Gardener to nurture and tend to our hearts so His love may flourish within us.

The Bridegroom repeatedly uses the image of the pomegranate in His description of His Bride, “Your cheeks, behind your veil, are halves of pomegranate.” (4:3), “Your shoots form an orchard of pomegranate trees” (4:13). If you have ever eaten a pomegranate, you can understand why it is a symbol of fertility. The fruit pomegranate is its clusters of seeds and each pomegranate has the potential to give life to many more trees. Just like the pomegranate, the love of Christ and His bride always begets more love. Authentic love never closes in on itself, is never sterile, but is always fruitful. And so the Bridegroom praises His Bride for the fruitfulness of her consecrated heart when He describes her love as growing an “orchard of pomegranate trees”.

The Bride responds to the Bridegroom’s praise of her garden heart as we all must, acknowledging that is is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and not her own doing that her love produces an abundance of sweet fruit.

“Awake, north wind, come, wind of the south! Breathe over my garden, to spread its sweet smell around. Let my Beloved come into his garden, let him taste its rarest fruits.” Song of Songs 4:16

It is the Holy Spirit, the gentle breeze from the South, who breathes life into our garden hearts, enabling the “sweet smell” to spread the love of Jesus far beyond our confines like “shoots that form an orchard of pomegranate trees”. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the sweet scent of Christ’s love is carried far and wide from within the enclosed garden of the Bride’s heart. We have so many examples of enclosed hearts blooming with the Bridegroom’s love and virtue who never travelled from their home towns, their convents, their hospital beds and, yet, their devotion has reached souls across the ages and the world. The love of Jesus transcends all boundaries and the Spirit blows where He wills.

As we embrace the common vocation of every human heart, to love and be loved by God, to be a garden enclosed, we invite the Holy Spirit to cultivate within us the “rarest fruits”, the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22

But what makes these fruits rare? It is the uniqueness of each garden heart, the distinctiveness of our love for Jesus. Just as no two pomegranates are alike, no two hearts bear the same fruit. Our love, our devotion, our intimate relationship with Christ, is unique, irreplaceable, and rare just as the union of two human hearts and spirits in marriage is not like any other.

In the tender exchange between the Bride and the Bridegroom, we witness the intimacy of their union. With each invitation, each response, their love deepens, their bond strengthens. The Bridegroom responds to His Bride’s prayer by immediately coming into her garden heart to delight in her “rarest fruits” and to share the fruit of their love with all “His “friends”, all souls.

“I come into my garden, my sister, my promised bride, I gather my myrrh and balsam, I eat my honey and my honeycomb, I drink my wine and my milk. Eat, friends, and drink, drink deep, my dearest friends.” Song of Songs 5:1

As we celebrate this Pentecost, may we imitate the Bride of the Song of Songs and beseech the Holy Spirit to breathe over our garden hearts and cause His sweet fruit to grow in abundance. Let us welcome the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit and in doing so, become vessels of love, radiating His light and His fragrance into a world in need. May all hearts become garden hearts for Jesus and by the power of the Spirit of Love may the world be permeated with the sweet scent of the Beloved. Amen.

Laura is a mother, writer, artist, spiritual mentor, and founder of Hope’s Garden. She has experienced the redemptive power of the spousal love of Christ the Bridegroom and like the Bride of The Song of Songs is passionate about sharing the truth of His intimate love for each one of us. Creativity and art have been at the heart of her healing journey and she feels called to share her creative talents with the hope of bringing beauty and the love of God to others.

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