Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: The Skill

“In the coming weeks, I will post seventeen short Advent reflections on the Song of Songs from a young man learning to be a lover and a husband, who at the same time struggles to plant his worth as the beloved Bride of Christ.  My guiding question:

How does the birth of God’s Son transform the broken projects of struggling lovers into aspirations for soul mating?

Click here to read the general introduction:

5B       Song of Songs 5.9-16                   His Glory as the Son

9. What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women?  What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you thus adjure us?  10. My beloved is all radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.  11. His head is the finest gold; his locks are wavy, black as a raven.  12. His eyes are like doves beside springs of water, bathed in milk, fitly set.  13.  His cheeks are like beds of spices, yielding fragrance. His lips are lilies, distilling liquid myrrh.  14. His arms are rounded gold, set with jewels.  His body is ivory work, encrusted with sapphires. 15.  His legs are alabaster columns, set upon bases of gold.  His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as the cedars.  16.  His speech is most sweet, and he is altogether desirable.  This is my beloved and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

As years pass, a haunting voice enters into the midst of our bonds, “your love is dull.  Is there not another who might better fulfill your desires?” I suppose this is what might have been said about the baby Jesus come to his day of dedication, “what child is this more than another?”  We try our best to defend our bonds and faith from the voice, yet it creeps in a million ways.  Advent reminds us that to fulfill our greatest desires for love, we must learn the skill of appreciation and beholding beauty veiled among the mundane.

There was once a woman, who beheld the glory of hidden baby. She had waited her whole life to meet Him, her divine soul mate. 84 years, in fact.  She found none on earth.

So she endured her whole life in anticipation.  Though she was not married, she exhibited the Skill.  Day after long day, she looked longingly to heaven for love.  It must have not been easy.  Her fulfillment must have come after long years of struggle and a haunting voice, “your love is dull.  You sit in a temple all day.  You have done it for 84 years.  Is there not another who might make your life more worth living?” When we get convinced that our life is ordinary, we loose the spiritual muscles that help us to really see our beloved.

Yet she waited until the day when her lips could testify to redemption.  It was a redemption that would stretch far beyond the nation.  It would reach into each human heart and each lover’s relationship and pave a way that two should reach that most sublime of states: simultaneously beloved and friend.

And, Anna’s story teaches us married men two most essential lessons: 1. We must not struggle against the voice that tempts our mate’s imagination.  We are after all dull in many ways.  Yet beneath jars of clay rests glory. We are all a man distinguished among tens of thousands.   2.  But we are not the ones that must reveal our glory.  That is another’s job.  For married men, we must not spend life proving ourselves to the world; we must give that job in trust to our women.  If the glory is there (and there it is), she will unveil it in due time for all who would have eyes to see.

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Advent Reflections from a Young Married Man: Wounded Eros

“In the coming weeks, I will post seventeen short Advent reflections on the Song of Songs from a young man learning to be a lover and a husband, who at the same time struggles to plant his worth as the beloved Bride of Christ.  My guiding question:

How does the birth of God’s Son transform the broken projects of struggling lovers into aspirations for soul mating?

Click here to read the general introduction.

5A  Song of Songs 5.1-8                          Wounded Eros

1. I come to my garden, my sister, my bride; I gather my myrrh with my spice, I eat my honey comb with my honey, I drink my wine with my milk.  Eat friends, drink, and be drunk with love. 2. I slept, but my heart was awake, Listen! my beloved is knocking.  “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.”  3. I had put off my garment; how could I put it on again? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them?  4. My beloved thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him.   5. I arose to open my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, upon the handles of the bolt.   6. I opened to my beloved but my beloved had turned and was gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but did not find him; I called him, but he gave no answer.  7. Making their rounds in the city the sentinels found me; they beat me, they wounded me, they took away my mantle, those sentinels of the walls.  8.  I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, tell him this: I am faint with love.

Problems with eros are never problems with eros alone.  The young lovers here still struggle with openness.  And even they, the most sublime of lovers encounter moments where one storms out from the marriage bed. In times like these, we encounter wounded eros.

Frustration and expectations can get the best of us in the most vulnerable places.  And just in the moment when our hearts are ready to open, the hearts of our lovers close.  It is the force of broken love.  And we let our teenagers flirt with these forces.  They awaken to them too early for their little souls to handle.  Their eyes are filled with images of mature love making (sometimes immature).  Their hearts are filled with the fullness of love.  And their eros gets wounded.  Eros is fragile, especially in our young.

There are not many Joseph’s out there who would wait until Mary gave birth to be together.  There are not many adult Joseph’s out there either who would tend their love live with patience and honor as their woman learns to open her garden.

Advent and the most erotic section of the Song reminds us that we are normal when our intimate moments sometimes fall apart.  We encounter our wounded eros there deeply in need of transformation.

Rather than learning new bedroom techniques or worse finding another who would satisfy our deepest sexual longings, we must give our wounded hearts to God for transformation.  For a search for love outside the marriage walls always leaves bruises and worse fatal wounds.  Yet, it is the will of God that we transform, and God uses even our worst moments in the marriage bed to reveal our deepest areas of longing.  In those moments, we must not let ours our others sins distress us.  We must engage our hope and anticipation that the Lord who first brought the two together will finish the good work.