Exodus 4: 18-31
Moses was on his way back to Egypt to see how his Jewish people were faring. They no longer saw themselves as the chosen people, but as chain-gang slaves under the Pharaoh. At a lodging place, that the Lord met him and wanted to kill him. Then Zipporah his wife took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said: Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me, because of the circumcision. Circumcision was the male Sign of the Covenant. The wife it would appear from this text was considered a Bride in Covenant Blood.
I will make for you a covenant....and I will betroth you to me for ever...in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.
I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine
Marriage covenant gives Security!
Beauty of seeing a loving couple at Mass together joined together in the Body and Blood of Jesus. Marriage is not just an image of the Covenant, but an actual embodiment of it. Where it flourishes others can rest-- children, even visitors to the home. When one is in a loving union with another, there is harmony in the heart and an ambience of peace and contentment that enables one to settle in to the core and cavern of the soul. I overheard one woman say that while she was sitting at her work-desk, suddenly she was enlightened to as to the inner happiness and contentment she drew from her husband.
Spouses need quality/prime time on their own. When the little children are asleep in bed... and mini-breaks for resting alone. Even the children benefit from this. Loving spouses hold their family in their own embrace. They are enfolded in their love. My own memory is that the times I felt most secure was when my parents were close and content. When they were divided, we too felt divided and depressed.
Bridegroom/Bride relationship in God’s covenant
So indeed, when we are deeply drawn into the communion with the Lord, so surely are those who are of God’s family and are entrusted to our care. The contemplative life, far from being selfish or closed in on itself is an open circle enfolding and embracing all people and all creation. When Lover and Beloved are at one, there is a creative energy between them, that brings forth new life. The union of male and female in marriage finds its fullest expression within the context of God’s covenant relationship with his people.
The Lover and the Beloved find nourishment for their souls in the Song of Solomon. 7:10-12. I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me. Come my beloved, let us go forth into the fields and lodge in the villages; let us go early to my vineyards. . . . There I will give you my love.
When Jeremiah prophesied of the institution of the New Covenant, he said, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them. This again supposes that under the terms of the old covenant, Israel were related to the Lord as a wife to an husband.
The charge laid against Israel, however, is that they proved unfaithful to their marriage vow.
Hosea experienced the heartbreak of desertion, and betrayal from his unfaithful wife Gomer . He heard the awful words of the Lord: You are not my people and I will not be your God. The adultery of his wife was an image of the betrayal of God by his people Israel. The woman Hosea loved was to be sold in the slave market. The brokenhearted prophet didn't know what to do. And God said. Hosea, do you love this woman in spite of all that she has done to you? Then go show your love for her in the same way that I love the nation Israel." In the end his ears would hear the consoling words of the Lord to this same people: Behold I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
I was reminded of all this, sitting before an open fire. There was central heating in the house and it certainly warmed the room and comforted our bones. But when someone threw a large oil-soaked fire-log on the open fire, a blaze of glory filled the room and made our faces glow and our hearts to be as it were on fire too. Love human and divine is like this. St John of he Cross in his work The Living Flame speaks of the Bridegroom or of the Beloved 550 times using such expressions for Christ as Light of the eyes, Lily of the valley, Sweet Nightingale!
Commenting on the Song of Songs, he says: A little of this pure love is more precious to God, more precious to the soul, and of more benefit for the Church, even though it seems to be doing nothing, than all those other works together. He writes: Enter within your heart and work in the presence of your Bridegroom, who is always present loving you. Even when John talks of nada nada, nothing nothing, it is never an empty space he envisions, but a an opening for an infilling with the presence of the Bridegroom.
In a modern writing Love Before my Face: one reads the following inspired message from Jesus: I will divinise natural love between persons who seek to love through my Divine Humanity. Celibates depending on my Divine Humanity will receive support whereby they may love humanly while remaining faithful to me. They will find freedom to show great affection. Trust in me, will carry them through difficulties.
By loving each other while placing all their trust in me, the love and gratitude of their hearts for me will be deepened. I will enter into your flesh and chasten it and make it sweet to love. Love without expression, if expression can help or heal another, is sterile. I have called you to love, and thus to love each other. If you do not first find me, you will be unable to love, with the love that profits for eternal life. I will be in your loving and you will find it sweet to love. If I am sought through human loving. If I am understood and accepted as the author, giver and source of love, then my support, my tenderness and my power will give to those who love, an understanding of the true meaning of love and of human life.
True love is not confined to marriage. Single celibate persons are called to this: as evidenced by the Book devoted to the love between Jordan of Saxony and the nun Blessed Diana entitled, Love among the Saints. It must be understood that while we speak of love human and divine and of the many-splendoured range of love, spousal love, love between parents and children, love of country, and so on, in the end there is only one Love for it all finds its source and reaches it summit in the Trinitarian God who is Love itself.
Picture above: The Marriage Feast of Cana, which is much more than a matter of providing wine for the immediate occasion, but is a foreshadowing of the overflowing of the wine and milk and honey of the New Covenant./BlogWebSingle.doc