Advent, Week Two: Bridal Mysticism and The Light of Peace
Mary from the Ghent Altarpiece by the Van Eyck Brothers. Notice the exquisite detail on her crown, replete with Bridal Mysitcism and references to the Song of Songs: Lilies and Roses.
We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly, but does not take place within me? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of Man is begotten in us. –Meister Eckhart (1260-1328)
Recommended Readings: Mirabai Starr, St. John of the Cross: Devotions, Prayers and Living Wisdom (Sounds True: 2008) John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, translated by Mirabai Starr Love Poems For God,: Twelve Sacred Voices From the East and West, edited by Daniel Landinsky
John the Baptist by Van Eyck Brothers : Archetype of the "wild man", the "green man" tied to nature, the "voice crying in the wilderness" who eats "locusts and honey" and calls to "make straight the path". Notice the open book ( like Mary) signifying vulnerability, the bare feet representative of humility ( humus= earth) and the shirt of camel hair, symbolic of repentance.
Above is the video link to the Netherlands Bach Society's joyful performance of Wachat Auf, the Cantata BWV 140 that is an ecstatic expression of Bridal Mysticism and Sacred Union, with the climactic duet between the Soul (soprano ) and Jesus/the Bridegroom ( bass) rapturously expressing their love:
My Friend is mine, (yes, I am yours) love will never part us. I will bewith you (You will be with me) And we will dwell among the roses of heaven where utter joy and delight will reign.
Find the complete libretto with an English translation of the text here.
Questions for Contemplation and Journaling: 1) How might it change your relationship with religion and God if you imagined the Divine as a judgmental father but instead an ardent Lover who adores you and cannot wait to be one with you? 2) When you think of your experiences of love, have they "transfigured" you, stretching you to give birth to hidden parts of yourself? 3). How might an immersion into Nature "prepare the way" for revelation or metanoia? Are there things that you need to "straighten up" in your life? As a society, how might we need to "repent", especially for what we have done to nature?