Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Body and soul

Tomorrow is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene (this blog product links differently, so, sorry, no links, look her up yourself). To all those sillies who say the Church has suppressed her "true" story (such as the Dumb-Vinci idea that she married Jesus, or at least shacked up with him), I say pfeh.

What I especially love about this saint is that, no matter what the actual facts of her sinful life before she met Jesus, her few recorded words and actions in Scripture are those of a woman passionately in love. The sensualists of today presume that therefore she must have acted sexually in response, but we know as Christians that she loved Jesus with all her soul. Interestingly, another place I hear such passionate love glowing in Scripture is in many of the psalms of David.

The transforming power of God didn't rob her of her passion! Her former life may have been all about the passions of the body, but after she met Him, she didn't have to change; she was still passionate, but it was the passion of the soul, the Bride, for its Bridegroom. 

One of the choices of the first Mass reading for the day is this

Upon my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves;
I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer.
"I will rise now and go about the city,in the streets and in the squares;
I will seek him whom my soul loves. "
I sought him, but found him not.
The watchmen found me,as they went about in the city.
"Have you seen him whom my soul loves?"
 Scarcely had I passed them,when I found him whom my soul loves.
Canticle of Canticles 3:1-4 

Lucky me, I'm the lecter. I hope I don't cry.

UPDATE: Now my brain insists on singing the 1940's standard "Body and Soul." I grew up hearing relatives with a couple of Manhattans in them choosing this number to sing around the piano (only because our piano was too small to climb up on, or they would have done a Helen Morgan). Here're the lyrics. Some of them work kind of well as prayer, don't they?

My heart is sad and lonely
For you I sigh, for you dear only
Why haven't you seen it
I'm all for you body and soul
I spend my days in longin'
And wondering why it's me you're wronging
I tell you I mean it
I'm all for you body and soul
I can't believe it
It's hard to conceive it
That you turn away romance
Are you pretending
It looks like the ending
Unless I could have one more chance to prove, dear
My life a wreck you're making
You know I'm yours for just the taking
I'd gladly surrender myself to you body and soul
My life a wreck you're making
You know I'm yours for just the taking
I would gladly surrender myself to you body and soul

(composed by Paul Whiteman, Johnny Green et al)


Roz said...

Thanks for this. The Canticles passage is a wonderful reminder that deep yearning and longing is a genuine and proportionate response to the emptiness of our hearts without God and the fullness of his love and longing for us.

Why do I run after the things of this world to satisfy, when Jesus has it all? Thank you, St. Mary, for being our example.



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