Friday, July 23, 2010

Patristic Commentary on the Song of Solomon - Part II

For Part I covering the spirituality and DIVINE eros of the Song of Songs, along with a passage on the Resurrection, see:
A Myrrhbearer (likely St. Mary Magdalene) with Christ at His Tomb after His Resurrection (
"By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.

The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?

It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me."
Song of Solomon 3:1-4
St. Mary Magdalene beholding the risen Christ (source)
"And because we see the heavenly mysteries represented allegorically on earth through the gospel, let us come to Mary Magdalene and to the other Mary. Let us meditate upon how they sought Christ at night in the bed of his body, in which he lay dead, when the angel said to them, "You seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen. Why then do you seek in the tomb him who is now in heaven? Why do you seek in the bonds of the tomb him who frees all men of their bonds? The tomb is not his dwelling, but heaven is. And so one of them says, 'I sought him and I did not find him'."
-St. Ambrose of Milan, "On Isaac, of the Soul"

"'In my chamber by night I sought him." This refers to the women who came at the beginning of the morning on the sabbath to the tomb of Jesus and did not find him. He is in the chamber, therefore, or away from the chamber. Or perhaps they call their chamber the Lord's tomb because we are buried together with him. But when they did not find him, they heard at once: 'He is not here, for he has been raised.' And they discovered guardian angels, whom they asked, 'Where have you laid the Lord?' Then, when they had left the angels whom they were questioning, the Lord met them and said, 'Rejoice.' For this reason, it says, 'When I had passed by them for a little while, I found him whom I will not let go.' She grasped his feet and heard, 'Don't hold me.' Finally, he called the gathering of the apostles the house of the mother, to whom he announced the resurrection of Christ.
-St. Cyril of Alexandria, "Fragments in the Commentary on the Song of Songs"

Christ appearing to the Myrrhbearers after His Resurrection, and their announcing the Resurrection to the Apostles (
"Let us follow him by day, the present day of the church, which Abraham saw and was glad. This is why we follow Christ during the day; for he will not be found by night. 'Upon my bed,' Scripture says, 'by night I sought him whom my soul loves. I called him, but he gave no answer.'"
-St. Ambrose of Milan, "On Virginity"

"We seek the one we love upon our beds when we sigh with longing for our Redeemer during our short period of rest during the present life. We seek him during the night, because even though our hearts are already watchful for him, our eyes are still darkened. But it remains for the person who does not find the one he loves to rise and go about the city, that is, he must travel about the holy church of the elect with an inquiring heart. He must seek her through its streets and squares, making his way, that is, through narrow and broad places, on the watch to make inquiries if any traces of her can be found in them, because there are some, even of those leading worldly lives, who have something worth imitating of virtue in their actions. The watchment who guard the city find us as we search, because the holy fathers who guard the church's orthodoxy come to meet our good efforts, to teach us, by their words of their writings. Scarcely have we passed them by when we find him whom we love. Although in his humility our Redeemer was a human being in the midst of human beings, in his divinity he was above human beings. Therefore once the watchmen have been passed by, the beloved is found."
-St. Gregory Dialogos, "Forty Gospel Homilies 25"

"Happy the person in whose heart Jesus sets his feet every day! If only he would set his feet in my heart! If only his footsteps would cling to my heart forever! If only I may say with the spouse, 'I took hold of him and would not let him go.'"
-St. Jerome, "Homilies on the Psalms 26"


Christ greeting the Most-Holy Theotokos, and St. Mary Magdalene after His Holy Resurrection (
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

No comments: