Springing Across the Mountains

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 21, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://wordpress.com/post/lavishmercy.com/21853

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, as the anticipation of Christmas builds to a crescendo, we have the tender and sublime images of the Song of Songs.

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.

Song of Songs 2:8-9

This book of the Bible is unique in that “it shows no interest in Law or Covenant or the God of Israel, nor does it teach or explore wisdom like Proverbs or Ecclesiastes. Jewish tradition reads it as an allegory of the relationship between God and Israel; Christianity, as an allegory of Christ and his bride, the Church.” (Wikipedia)

Like all enduring poetry, the Song of Songs invites us to match its images with our own understanding of God. Of course, God is more than any image we can humanly create, but our relationship with God has the characteristics of a human relationship because WE are human.

As we read this passage, we might pray with thoughts like these:

  • God loves me – and all Creation – passionately.
  • God wants and waits for me to notice the loving Divine Presence in my life
  • God’s love is energetic and attentive. God is at the center and edge of all my existence.

Added to all that, God wants us to live in the world as people who already see the Spring of Eternal Life. Living with that kind of faith and hope allows us not only to find God, but to reflect God’s Presence to all around us.

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!

Songs of Songs 8: 11-13

On this day of Winter Solstice, when – depending on our hemisphere – we are ultimately close or far from our Sunstar, this particular passage is so comforting. In our everyday life we will still experience a rollercoaster of seasons – sadness and joy and everything in between. But beyond all the seasons, the Verdant Eastertide has already redeemed our lives. With deep faith and hope, we can always live with the Spring’s abundance.


The Visitation by Raphael

In our Gospel, we are given a beautiful picture of Mary and Elizabeth, with in-vitro Jesus and John – dancing in the graces of this holy Springtime. Join them as we sing of O Antiphon for today:

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Poetry: May is Mary’s Month – Gerard Manley Hopkins

May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
    Her feasts follow reason,
    Dated due to season—
 
Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
    Why fasten that upon her,
    With a feasting in her honour?
 
Is it only its being brighter	
Than the most are must delight her?
    Is it opportunest
    And flowers finds soonest?	

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
    Question: What is Spring?—
    Growth in every thing—
 
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
    Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
    Throstle above her nested
 
Cluster of bugle* blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
    And bird and blossom swell
    In sod or sheath or shell.
 
All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
    With that world of good,
    Nature’s motherhood.
 
Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
    How she did in her stored
    Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
    Much, had much to say
    To offering Mary May.
 
When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
    And thicket and thorp† are merry
    With silver-surfèd cherry
 
And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes‡ wash wet like lakes
    And magic cuckoocall
    Caps, clears, and clinches all—
 
This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
    To remember and exultation
    In God who was her salvation.

Music: Spring – Antonio Vivaldi

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