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.