Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Three Kisses | Continued

"Rightly, Lord Jesus, rightly has my heart said to Thee, 'My face has sought Thee: Thy Face, Lord, will I seek' (Ps. 27:8).

Thou madest me to hear Thy mercy in the morning of my life, when Thou didst pardon me my evil living even as I lay, kissing Thy sacred footsteps in the dust. And, as its day went on, Thou hast rejoiced my soul by giving me the grace to live well, through the kiss of Thy Hand. What remains now, good Lord, save that Thou shouldst fill me full with the joy of Thy Countenance, by deigning to admit me to the kiss of Thy Mouth...

'Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His Mouth.' Who is it says these words? It is the Bride. And who is she? The soul athirst for God.

A slave feels fear before his lord, a hireling looks for wages; a pupil gives attention to his teacher; a son honours his father. But she who asks a kiss, she loves. Love is the highest of all our natural gifts, supremely when it is rendered back to God, Who is its Source. And the mutual sweet affection between the Word and the soul cannot more sweetly be expressed than by thus calling them the Bridegroom and the Bride. For between bride and bridegroom all is held in common; neither calls anything their own or possesses a single thing the other does not share. They have but one inheritance, one home... they are in fact one flesh. Fitly then, the soul who loves is called the Bride.

And notice how abruptly she comes out with her request! ... She employs no flatteries to get what she desires, nor does she beat about the bush. Bluntly, boldly, out of her full heart she blurts it out, 'Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His Mouth!' ...

Her love is chaste, assuredly, for she seeks only the Object of her love, not anything that He may have to give. Her love is holy, for it is spiritual, not after the flesh. And it is burning, eager, for she is so absorbed in it that she forgets the majesty of Him to Whom she speaks. What? 'The earth shall tremble at the look of Him,' (Ps. 104:32), and she asks for a kiss! Is she inebriated? Yes, indeed she is...

'Let Him kiss me--' that is all she says, like Mary Magdalene who said to Him she thought to be the gardener, 'If thou have borne Him hence--' (John 20:15) taking for granted that everybody must know Whom she meant, seeing that He was never absent from her heart. So is it with the Bride... She names not her Beloved's Name but just blurts out the words, 'Let Him kiss me' ..."

Bernard of Clairvaux's The Three Kisses as quoted in "Readings in Christian Thought" pages 95-98.

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