94
EXEGESIS - CANTICLES.

"Behold He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills." -- v. 8.

"Upon souls of greater grace He leaps, over souls of lesser grace He skips. Or thus: In what way comes He leaping? It was, so to say, with a leap He came into the world: He was with the Father, He came into the Virgin; and from the Virgin He skipped over into the manger; and He was gleaming in heaven. He went down into the Jordan, ascended the Cross, descended into the tomb, rose again from the tomb, and sits at the right hand of the Father."*

"Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone." -- vv. 11, 12.

"Of Mary, it is that Solomon speaks with praises in the Canticles: Come, my dove, my immaculate one. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. And again: Come from Libanus, come; thou shalt be crowned.+ With good reason is she bid to come from Libanus, for Libanus means brightness. Because she was bright with many virtues of merit, and more fair, by gifts of the Holy Ghost, than the whiteness of snow, showing forth in all things the simplicity of the dove; for whatever had place in her was all purity and simplicity, all truth and grace, all mercy, and justice that looked down from heaven.++ Immaculate she was, because in nought corrupted; for she compassed a man in her womb, as holy Jeremias testifies,** with virginity intact. A new thing|| in very truth it was, and of all new things the sublimest and mightiest prodigy, when God, whom the universe cannot sustain, nor any one see and live, entered the lodging of the womb, its portal closed, and was in such wise therein carried that God was there entire, and in such wise went from thence, that, as Ezechiel attests, the gate was always shut.*** Hence is sung of her in the same Canticles: A garden inclosed, a fountain sealed up. Thy plants are a paradise.+++ In very deed a garden of delights, wherein are found all sorts of flowers and odours of virtues: and so inclosed as to know not violation nor corruption from any wily deceits. A fountain sealed, in truth, with the seal of the whole Trinity."|||

"Arise, my love, and come. Arise, since it is for thee I have risen again. Come, for now the snares are broken: the Virgin hath brought forth: of the Virgin a Child is born. Nought does He owe to woman's heritage, as Son of woman He is not bound."++++


* S. Ambrose, In Isaac et Anima, cap. iv. 31. See also in Ps. cxviii., Serm. vi. 6.

+ iv. 8.

++ Ps. lxxxiv. 12.

** Jer. xxxi. 22.

|| Ib.

*** Ezech. xliv. 1-3.

+++ Cant. iv. 12, 13.

||| De Assump. B.M.V., Int. Opp. S. Hieron.

++++ S. Ambrose, in Ps. cxviii. Serm. vi. n. 23.

 

 

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