Sunday 2 May 2021

Signs of grace

“ In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

 “What is love? There is nothing in the world, neither man or Devil nor any thing, that I hold as suspect as love, for it penetrates the soul more then any other thing. Nothing exists that do fills and binds the heart as love does. Therefore, unless you have those weapons that subdue it, the soul plunges through love into an immense abyss.”  P230

“But I have determined to tell, of those remote events, the whole truth, and the truth is indivisible, it shines with its own transparency and does not allow itself to be diminished by our interests or our shame.”

“And I can do so with the fidelity of chronicler, for it I close my eyes I can repeat not only everything I did but also what I thought in those moments, as if I were copying a parchment written at the time.”P243

“ I remember only that the emotions of the first moment were bereft of any expression, because my tongue and my mind had not been instructed in how to name sensations of that sort. Until I recalled other inner words, heard in another time and in other places, spoken certainly for other ends, but which seemed wondrously in keeping with my joy in that moment, as if they had been born consubstantially to express it.”p244

“O love, daughter of delights, a king is held captive in your tresses, I murmured to myself, and I was in her arms, and we fell together onto the bare floor of the kitchen, and, whether on my own initiative or through her wiles, I found myself free of my novice’s habit and we felt no shame at our bodies and cuncta errant bona.

And she kissed me with the kisses of her mouth, and her loves were more delicious than wine and her ointments had a goodly fragrance, and her neck was beautiful among pearls and her cheeks among earrings, behold thou art fair, my beloved, behold thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves (I said), and let me see thy face, let me hear thy voice, for thy voice is harmonious and thy face enchanting, thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain thy neck, thy lips drop as the honeycomb, honey and milk are under thy tongue, the smell of thy breath is of apples, thy two breasts are clusters of grapes, thy palate a heady wine that goes straight to my love and flows over my lips and teeth. ... A fountain sealed, spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, myrrh and aloes, I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk. Who was she, who was she who rose like the dawn, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?” P246

“This is what I was thinking and it seemed to me the prophecies were being fulfilled at last, as the girl lavished indescribable sweetness on me, and I it was as if my whole body were an eye, before and behind, and I could suddenly see all surrounding things. And I understood that from it, from love, unity and tenderness are created together, as are good and kiss and fulfilment, as I had already heard, believing I was being told about something else. And only for an instant, as my joy was about to reach its zenith.” P247

“...the more openly it remains a figure of speech, the more it is a dissimilar similitude and not literal, the most a metaphor reveals its truth. But if love of the flame and of the abyss are the metaphor for the love of God, can they be the metaphor for love of death and the love of sin? Yes, as the lion and the serpent stand both for Christ and the Devil. The fact is that correct interpretation can be established only on the authority of the fathers, and in the case that torments me, I have no auctoritas to which my obedient mind can refer, and I burn in doubt (and again the image of fire appears to define the void of the truth and the fullness of the warrior that annihilate me!). What is happening, O Lord, in my spirit, now that I allow myself to be gripped by the vortex of memories and I conflagration different times at once, as if I were manipulate the order of the stars and the sequence of their celestial movements?” P249