The Bride in the Song of Songs (Song of Songs 6:1-2)
The person of Mary can be seen in many ways in the Old Testament. One of the
more popular images of Mary from the Old Testament is the "Bride" in the
Song of Songs. The passage seen in chapter six, verses one and two presents
a very interesting type of “Mary" to the reader that can be viewed from
different perspectives. There are two perspectives upon which I would like to reflect in this paper.
It must first be noted that the narrator (and implicitly the reader) is asking
the Bride a question, namely where her Beloved has gone so that the narrator (reader) may seek him with her. We can infer in this
passage in light of the New Testament that Mary is the Bride and Jesus is
the Bridegroom. In the New Testament, Mary is seen seeking Jesus in various
places in the Synoptics, but particularly in the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus
is lost in the Temple. This is a first way of interpreting this passage.
One can see that after Mary and Joseph found Jesus, many would have asked
where he was. By saying that he was in his Garden, we could see Mary making reference to the
Temple, "His Father's House." There he "pastures his
flock" by listening to the Scribes and Pharisees, those who interpret and
"spice up" the law so that people can better understand and apply it and
asking them questions. The lilies that Jesus gathers are the people who
stand around and are amazed at his knowledge and wisdom.
There is a second way of interpreting this passage that seems to have even
deeper significance, and while it is not explicitly stated, I believe that
it can be inferred. This passage can be interpreted to explain the entire
Paschal Mystery through Mary's eyes. When the "fairest among women" is asked
where her beloved is, the narrator and reader are asking her where Jesus has
gone (or been placed) after his death on Calvary. The divine nuptials, which
began at the Incarnation, are consummated on the cross. Mary then simply
points the narrator to the Garden Tomb. While he was anointed with aromatic
nard, the "spices," he is still active in the tomb though he was dead. He
leads his flock, those who have awaited his redemption into the Gardens of
Life, heaven, and he goes into the abode of the dead to gather them together
and bring them into their heavenly homeland. The lilies symbolize those who now experience the Resurrection.
This beautiful passage from the Song of Songs was written with someone like
the person of the Virgin Mary in mind. The lover always seeks to be with the
beloved, and their bond is so strong and intimate that she always knows
where he is. Mary, who trusted God from the beginning, knew her Son in a
unique way. Through her great hope, she tells the reader where he is at, so
that the reader too can seek him, find him, and ultimately share in that tender union with him.
By Father Rob Jack
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