Monday, April 11, 2005

Red, and etc.

As the perfect finishing touch of the disguise, the soul puts on the precious red cloak of charity. The third virtue lends elegance to the other two and lifts the soul near to God. The red cloak of charity makes the bride so alluring to her Beloved that she dares to say: “Although I am black, O daughters of Jerusalem, I am beautiful and so the king has loved me and brought me to his chamber.”

The cloak of charity is a mantle of love. It heightens love for the Beloved. It protects and conceals the soul from her third adversary: the animal nature. Where there is true love of God, the urge for self-gratification and the attachment to one’s own things cannot enter. Charity strengthens and revitalizes the other virtues. It renders them more genuine. It graces them with loveliness and deeply pleases God. The Song of Songs calls charity the seat draped in purple on which God rests.

The three-colored virtues prepare the three faculties of mind, memory, and will for union with God. Faith darkens and empties the mind of all natural understanding and so prepares it for union with divine wisdom. Hope pulls the memory away from all creature attachments. St. Paul says that hope is for that which one does not have. And so it withdraws the memory from the ordinary things that can be possessed and focuses it on the glory the soul hopes for. Charity annihilates the appetites of the will, ruining the soul’s taste for anything that is not God. Charity centers the desires on God alone. Charity cultivates the will and merges it with God through love.

The virtues separate the soul from all that is less than God; their purpose is to join her with God. Unless the soul walks sincerely in these three virtues, it is impossible for her to reach perfect union with God through love. It is vital for the soul to wear this disguise if she is to reach her goal, which is sweet and loving union with the Beloved. It was a blessed chance the soul took when she put on this disguise and stayed with it until the end of her journey. That is why she cries out in the next verse, “O exquisite risk!”

2 comments:

M.P. said...

hope you are well -- nothing since April 11 -- growing? discovering? no time for words? God's blessing be upon you in abundance. M.P.

bls said...

Thanks for the well-wishes, m.p.

This blog was originally meant to be a place to post interesting stuff having to do with religion and, particularly, science. I think there are good empirical reasons for people to be involved in religious faith, and I wanted to point out some of them.

Then, it became a place to escape for awhile and get away from the current controversy in the Church, to try to focus on the mystical center of things, rather than all of the angst. A place where St. John of the Cross could speak in peace.

So the blog seems to have a dual identity now! But you're right, and thanks for reminding me. I should get back to this, and maybe will talk about Easter Vigil here - something that had a great effect on me and that I haven't talked about at all.

Blessings to you also.