Song of Songs (Week 4)
March 27, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.




First Meditation (Fourth Sunday of Lent or Easter; Song 5:2a)


2 I was asleep, but my heart was awake.


Once all the senses have been put to sleep and are gripped by inaction, the heart’s action is pure; reason looks above while it remains undisturbed and free from the senses’ movement.… If a person pays attention to the senses and is drawn by pleasure in the body, he will live his life without tasting the divine joy, since the good can be overshadowed by what is inferior. For those who desire God, a good not shadowed over by anything awaits them; they realize that what enters the senses must be avoided. Therefore, when the soul enjoys only the contemplation of being, it will not arise for those things that effect sensual pleasure. It puts to rest all bodily movement, and by naked, pure insight, the soul will see God in a divine watchfulness. May we be made worthy through this sleep, of which the Song has spoken, to keep our soul vigilant. (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Both when I stayed at home and when I departed, when I walked and rested, and wherever I went, I continuously turned your love over in my mind and dreamt about it. I found pleasure in these dreams not only during the day but also at night. The very statement made by Solomon, “I sleep but my heart is awake,” was then happening to me. The necessity for sleep weighed down my eyelids, but the great power of your love chased away the sleep from the eyes of my soul; and constantly I thought that I was speaking with you in my sleep. At night, it is natural for the soul to see in her dreams all the things that she thinks about in the day, something that I was then experiencing. Although I did not see you with the eyes of my body, I saw you with the eyes of love. In spite of my physical absence, I was close to you in disposition, and my ears always heard your vivacious voice. (St. John Chrysostom)

Our Lord is used to give us yet another way of love, sometimes in great delight, sometimes in great pains, and about these we want to speak now. It happens that love is sweetly been awakened in the soul and happily raises, and that she moves in the heart, without any help of human effort. And so the heart is been tenderly touched by love, and so full of strong desire been pulled inside love, and so hearty seized by love, and so strongly dominated by love, and so lovely contained by love, that she is completely conquered by love. In this she experiences a strong bond with God, a spiritual clearness, a wonderful salvation, a noble freedom, a delightful sweetness, a great superior power of strong love, and an abundant fullness of great joy. Then she experiences that all her senses are one in the grip of love and that her will has become love, and that she is so deeply plunged and absorbed in the abyss of love, and that she has become love completely. The beauty of love has eaten her. The power of love has consumed her. The sweetness of love has plunged her into nothingness. The greatness of love has absorbed her. The nobility of love has embraced her. The purity of love has let her reach the highest development. The sublimity of love has pulled her up and has owned her one in such a way, that she has to be completely of love, and that she cannot but live with love. If she experiences herself in this way in this abundance of salvation, and in this complete and great fullness of heart, then her mind plunges completely in love, and her body escapes, and her heart melts away and all her power becomes useless. She is so much conquered by love that she hardly can control herself, and that often she has no power anymore of her limbs and senses. And like a barrel full to the brim overflows and floods immediately when one stirs in it, she is suddenly violently been stirred and completely conquered by the great fullness of her heart and even so that in spite of herself she has to break out often. (Bl. Beatrice of Nazareth)

Musical Selection (Giacomo Carissimi)

Sponsus   Tolle, Sponsa, tolle , fares aperi.  Quid dormitas?
Rise up, my spouse, rise up; open the door.  Why sleepest thou?

Sponsa  Vox dilecti tangit aures.
I hear the voice of my beloved.

Sponsus  Tolle fores, aperi, Sponsa; quid dormitas? Ipse  sum; quid dubitas?
Rise up, open the door, my spouse; why sleepest  thou? It is I; why tarriest thou?

Sponsa  Vox dilecti tangit aures; sed, heu miseram, sopor obnubilat.

Bride  I hear the voice of my beloved; but, wretched  that I am, sleep numbeth, me.

Sponsus  Ah, non dormit amor verus, amor ardens et sincerus.  Flamma semper vigilat.
Ah, true love, burning and sincere love, sleepeth  not. Its flame waketh always.

Sponsa et Sponsus  Ecce, surgo, dilecte mi. /Non, dormi, pigra, dormi.
Bride and Bridegroom  
Behold, I rise, O my beloved. /No, idle one, sleep.

Sponsa  Ah, discessit infidelis, heu fugit crudelis!
Ah, the unfaithful hath withdrawn, the cruel hath fled!

Sponsa et Sponsus  Luge, plange, cor afflictum, perdidisti praedilectum; tunde pectus, funde questus, et amare lachrimare.

Bride and Bridegroom  Cry, weep, afflicted heart, thou hast lost thy  beloved; smite thy breast, lament, and pour bitter tears.

Collect (Easter)

God of everlasting power,
guide us toward the joyful company of heaven,
so that your lowly flock may follow
where Christ, the great Shepherd, has gone before
and lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect (Lent)

God of compassion,
you await the sinner’s return
and spread a feast to welcome home the lost.
Save us from the temptations
that lead away from you,
and draw us back by the constancy of your love,
that we may take our place in your household
and gladly share our inheritance with others.

Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
holy and mighty God for ever and ever. Amen.

Second Meditation (Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent or Easter; Song 5:2b)

It is the voice of my beloved who knocks:
"Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled;
for my head is filled with dew,
and my hair with the dampness of the night."


She is now awakened from sleep by him, although she was keeping watch with her heart so that she might hear his voice at once when he knocked. But while she was rising, she experienced a delay, because she could not match the swiftness of the Word. While she was opening the door, the Word passed by. She went out at his word, sought for him through wounds, but wounds of love, and, finally and with difficulty, found him and embraced him, so that she might not lose him.… Even though you are asleep, if only Christ has come to know the devotion of your soul, he comes and knocks at her door and says, “Open to me, my sister.” “Sister” is well put, because the marriage of the Word and the soul is spiritual. For souls do not know covenants of wedlock or the ways of bodily union, but they are like the angels in heaven. “Open to me,” but close to strangers. Close to the times, close to the world, do not go out of doors to material things, do not abandon your own light and search for another’s, because material light pours out a dark mist, so that the light of true glory is not seen. “Open,” therefore, “to me”; do not open to the adversary or give place to the devil. “Open yourself to me,” do not be confined, but expand, and I will fill you. And because, in my passage through the world, I have found very much trouble and vexation and have not readily had a place to rest, do you then open, that the Son of man may rest his head on you, for he has no rest save on one who is humble and quiet. The soul, hearing “Open to me,” and “My head is wet with dew,” that is, the soul that was suddenly disturbed by the temptations of the world and was bidden to rise, and indeed is on the point of rising, as it were, speaks: fragrant with aloe and myrrh, signs of burial. (St. Ambrose of Milan)

“I sleep and my heart remains awake.” The divine Word, who is to be understood here under the title of the heart, never sleeps or falls asleep while hidden within the veil of the flesh, but he carries the sleeper. He explains this in a deeply mysterious way to the friends and beloveds who believe in him and whom he invites to partake of the joy of human salvation. [He does this] lest, while they see him detained in the sleep of death according to his humanity, they are deprived of the faith through which they see in him a majesty that is full and ever watchful. I am asleep to you through bodily absence, he says, but I am awake in heart by never withdrawing the presence of my deity from you. (Aponius)

“I sleep” because I enjoy by grace a little tranquility in this life through worshiping him. Nor clearly do I bear as much of the labor of preaching as was delivered to the primitive church. Nor am I as tossed about by conflicts of the faithless as were the innumerable crowds of the nascent church at the beginning. “My heart remains awake” because the more freedom I acquire from external incursions, the more deeply within I see that he is the Lord. (St. Bede the Venerable)

Musical Selection (Monteverdi)

 Ego dormio, et cor meum vigilat. Vox dilecti mei pulsanti: Aperi mihi, soror mea, amica mea, columba mea, immaculata mea!

 I was asleep, but my heart waked. The voice of my beloved, knocking at the door: "Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled!"

Collect (Easter)

God of power,
who raised up a fallen world
through the lowliness of your Son,
grant to your faithful people a holy joy,
so that those whom you have rescued from the slavery of sin
may delight in the happiness that never ends.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect (Lent)

In the mystery of your saving plan, O God,
you wonderfully renew the world;
grant that your Church may be guided by your eternal decrees
and never lack your help here on earth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Third Meditation (Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent or Easter; Song 5:3-5)


3 I have taken off my robe. Indeed, must I put it on?
I have washed my feet. Indeed, must I soil them?
4 My beloved thrust his hand in through the latch opening.
My heart pounded for him.
5 I rose up to open for my beloved.
My hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with liquid myrrh,
on the handles of the lock.


Resurrection is not effected in us unless a voluntary death precedes it. Such a voluntary death is indicated by the drops of myrrh dripping from the bride’s hands, for her fingers are filled with this spice. She says that myrrh did not come into her hands from any other source—if this were so, myrrh would mean something accidental and involuntary. Rather her hands (the operative faculties of the soul) drop myrrh, meaning a voluntary mortification of her bodily passions. (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

The Bridegroom does not want to go in by force. He does not want to constrain those who refuse him....Happy thus is the one at whose door Christ is knocking. But listen to the one who knocks, listen to him who wants to go in....lest the Bridegroom when he comes, go away because the house will be closed to him. (St. Ambrose of Milan)

A little shepherd, all alone, is grieving,
a stranger both to pleasure and happiness,
thinking only of his shepherdess,
his heart by love torn open pitifully.

He does not weep because love wounded him,
it does not grieve him to be hurt by love,
although his heart has been hurt enough;
he weeps, instead, to think he is forgotten,

for only in thinking that she is forgetting,
he wanders far in his unhappiness,
and lets himself, in strange lands, be oppressed,
his heart by love torn open pitifully.

And the little shepherd says: ‘Oh, woe is she,
who from my love has left and gone away,
and far from my sweet company has strayed,
my heart, for her, torn open pitifully!’

And after a long while he climbed a tree,
and there he opened up his elegant arms,
and there he died, his arms held apart,
his heart by love torn open pitifully. (St. John of the Cross)

Musical Selection

Dilectus meus misit manum suam per foramen et venter meus intremuit ad tactum eius surrexi ut aperirem dilecto meo manus meae stillaverunt murra digiti mei pleni murra probatissima pessulum ostii aperui dilecto meo at ille declinaverat atque transierat.

My beloved put his hand through the key hole, and my bowels were moved at his touch. I arose up to open to my beloved: my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers were full of the choicest myrrh. (vss. 4-6; Vulgate)


Collect (Easter)

Merciful and faithful God,
accept this prayer,
that we who celebrate the mystery of the risen Lord
may gain the joyful inheritance
purchased for us by Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Collect (Lent)

As your people faithfully observe
the Lenten duties of prayer and self-denial,
prepare our hearts, Lord God,
that we may readily embrace the paschal mystery
and proclaim with joy your message of salvation.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Fourth Meditation (Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent or Easter; Song 5:6-7)


6 I opened to my beloved;
but my beloved left; and had gone away.
My heart went out when he spoke.
I looked for him, but I didn’t find him.
I called him, but he didn’t answer.
7 The watchmen who go about the city found me.
They beat me.
They bruised me.
The keepers of the walls took my cloak away from me.


The bride says, “I sought him, but found him not.” How can the bridegroom be found when he does not reveal anything of himself? He has no color, form, quality, quantity, place, appearance, evidence, comparison or resemblance. Rather, everything we can discover always transcends our comprehension and completely escapes our search. Therefore the bride says, “I have sought him by my soul’s capacities of reflection and understanding. He completely transcended them, and he escaped my mind when it drew near to him.” How can that which is always beyond everything we know be designated by a name? For this reason the bride understands every function of a name as a sign of the ineffable good. The significance of each word falls short and shows something inferior to the truth.… The soul thus calls the Word as best it can. It cannot do so as it wishes, for the soul desires more than it is capable of. The soul does not wish what it is incapable of receiving, such as God himself, but its choice is in accord with its wish. Since the one called is unattainable, the bride says, “I called him, but he did not answer.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

The Bridegroom hides when he is sought, so that, not finding him, the Bride may seek him with a renewed ardor; and the Bride is hampered in her search so that this delay may increase the capacity for God, and that she may find one day more fully what she was seeking. (St. Gregory the Great)

Where have You hidden Yourself,
And abandoned me in my groaning, O my Beloved?
You have fled like the hart,
Having wounded me.
I ran after You, crying; but You were gone.

O shepherds, you who go
Through the sheepcots up the hill,
If you shall see Him
Whom I love the most,
Tell Him I languish, suffer, and die.

In search of my Love
I will go over mountains and strands;
I will gather no flowers,
I will fear no wild beasts;
And pass by the mighty and the frontiers.

O groves and thickets
Planted by the hand of the Beloved;
O verdant meads
Enameled with flowers,
Tell me, has He passed by you?

Why, after wounding
This heart, have You not healed it?
And why, after stealing it,
Have You thus abandoned it,
And not carried away the stolen prey?

Quench my troubles,
For no one else can soothe them;
And let my eyes behold You,
For You are their light,
And I will keep them for You alone.

Reveal Your presence,
And let the vision and Your beauty kill me,
Behold the malady
Of love is incurable
Except in Your presence and before Your face. (St. John of the Cross)

Musical Selection (John Michael Talbot)

Where have you hidden, beloved?
Why have you wounded my soul?
I went out to the wilderness
Calling for you
But you were gone

Oh shepherds keeping your watch in the hills
If by chance you meet with my love
Tell him I suffer in my lonely grief
And soon I will die

I have searched for my love in the mountains
I have searched among the meadows and the fields
He has poured out a thousand graces in them
So my heart might be healed
Yet my heart is not healed

Collect (Easter)

Lord God,
life of the faithful,
glory of the humble,
and lasting happiness of the just,
respond with kindness to our prayers,
that we who thirst for the life you promise
may be filled to overflowing with your countless gifts.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect (Lent)

God of mercy,
you reward the just for the good they do
and forgive repentant sinners;
take pity on us and answer our prayer,
that as we confess our guilt
we may hear the voice of your pardon.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Fifth Meditation (Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent or Easter; Song 5:8-10)


8 I adjure you, daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
that you tell him that I am faint with love.


9 How is your beloved better than another beloved,
you fairest among women?
How is your beloved better than another beloved,
that you do so adjure us?


10 My beloved is white and ruddy.
The best among ten thousand.


All these elements constituting the bridegroom’s beauty are made known for our benefit but do not show his invisible, incomprehensible beauty.… Therefore, whoever looks at the visible world and understands the wisdom that has been made manifest by the beauty of creatures can make an analogy from the visible to invisible beauty, the fountain of beauty whose emanation established all living beings in existence. Similarly, whoever views the world of this new creation in the church sees in it him who is all in all. This person is then led by faith through what is finite and comprehensible to knowledge of the infinite. (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

In the Canticle of Canticles the heavenly spouse, as a mystical bee, settles, now on the eyes, now on the lips, on the cheeks, on the hair of her beloved, to draw thence the sweetness of a thousand passions of love, noting in particular whatever she finds best for this. So that, inflamed with holy love, she speaks with him, she questions him, she listens to him, sighs, aspires, admires him, as he on his part fills her with delight, inspiring her, touching and opening her heart, and pouring into it brightness, lights and sweetnesses without end, but in so secret a manner that one may rightly say of this holy conversation of the soul with God, what the holy text says of God's with Moses: that Moses being alone upon the top of the mountain spoke to God, and God answered him. (St. Francis de Sales)

My Well-beloved, replies the Spouse, is white by His purity, innocence and simplicity. He is ruddy by His charity, and because He has chosen to be dyed and purpled in His own blood. He is white by His frankness, ruddy by the fire of His love. He is chiefest among ten thousand, that is to say, He is above all I have chosen and preferred Him to every other. His Father has chosen Him above all the children of men as His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased (Matt. iii. 17). In short, if you would know, O my young and tender sisters, who it is that I so passionately love, it is He who is fairer than the children of men, for grace is poured into His lips (Ps. xlv. 2). It is He who is the brightness of everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness (Wisd. vii. 26). Judge ye, if I am not right in bestowing upon Him the whole strength of my love! (Madame Guyon)

Musical Selection (Palestrina)

 Adiuro vos, filiae Hierusalem, si inveneritis dilectum meum, et nuntietis et quia amore langueo. Qualis est dilectus tuus ex dilecto, O pulcherrima mulierum? Qualis est dilectus tuus ex dilecto, quia sic adiurasti nos? Dilectus meus candidus et rubicundus, electus ex millibus. 

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him that I languish with love. What manner of one is thy beloved of the beloved, O thou most Beautiful among women? What manner of one is thy beloved of the beloved, that thou hast so adjured us? My beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands.

Collect (Easter)

All-provident God,
you restored human nature to a dignity
greater than that which it lost in the beginning.
Watch over and cherish the work of your love,
and keep safe your gifts and blessings
in those who have been born again by grace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect (Lent)

God of forgiveness,
listen graciously to our prayers,
so that, corrected by penance
and formed by good works,
we may faithfully observe your commandments
and come without fault to the celebration of Easter.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Sixth Meditation (Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent or Easter; Song 5:11-16)


11 His head is like the purest gold.
His hair is bushy, black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves beside the water brooks,
washed with milk, mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices with towers of perfumes.
His lips are like lilies, dropping liquid myrrh.
14 His hands are like rings of gold set with beryl.
His body is like ivory work overlaid with sapphires.
15 His legs are like pillars of marble set on sockets of fine gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness;
yes, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, and this is my friend,
daughters of Jerusalem.


The eyes “upon the fullness of waters” are compared with doves because of their simplicity and innocence, and the Word says they have been washed in milk. A quality of milk is that it does not reflect any image. Every other liquid is like a mirror whose smooth surface serves to reflect the image of those gazing in it. However, milk lacks such reflective capacity. This is, then, the best praise for the church’s eyes. They do not reflect deceptive, shadowy pictures of nonexistent things that are erroneous, vain or contrary to the true nature of reality. They look, rather, at being itself, and do not reflect the false visions and fantasies of life. Thus the perfect soul bathes its eyes in milk to keep them pure. (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

“His legs are pillars of marble.” These are clearly foundations, for whoever builds does so upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. He aptly praises the legs after the belly, who says that marble is set upon bases of gold. Peter and John are pillars of the church, for example, who had Christ, called by a golden name, as their foundation. And they are marble, for Paul also calls them a pillar, surely on account of their stability and consistency, sustaining and supporting the common body of the church, moreover, with their enlightened lives and their saving doctrine. But the charity with which we love God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves also supports the common body of the church, as though on pillars of marble. For whoever is perfected in these two commandments becomes a pillar and support of the church, such that the whole body of the church rests upon this double virtue, as though on legs. The golden foundation contains the unwavering and unchanged base of faith and in all things holds fast reasonably to the good. (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

The companions of the sacred spouse had asked her what manner of one was her well-beloved, and she makes answer in an admirable description of all the parts of his perfect beauty: My beloved is white and ruddy, his head is as the finest gold, his locks as branches of palm trees, black as a raven, his eyes as doves, his cheeks are as beds of aromatical spices, set by the perfumers, his lips are as lilies dropping choice myrrh, his hands are turned and as of gold full of hyacinths, his legs as pillars of marble. Thus she goes on, meditating this sovereign beauty in detail, till at length she concludes by way of contemplation, putting all the beauties into one: His throat is most sweet, and he is all lovely: such is my beloved, and he is my friend. (St. Francis de Sales)

Musical Selection (Palestrina)

Caput eius aurum optimum. Comae eius sicut elatae palmarum, nigrae quasi corvus. Oculi eius sicut columbae super rivulos aquarum, quae lacte sunt lotae, et resident iuxta fluenta plenissima.

His head is as the finest gold. His locks are as the tops of palms, black as the raven. His eyes are as of doves by the water brooks, eyes washed with milk, there by the bursting streams.

Collect (Easter)

God of our salvation and our freedom,
you have redeemed us by the blood of your Son.
Hear the voices of your people
and grant that through you we may have life
and in you find eternal refuge.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Collect (Lent)

In your wisdom, O God,
you have provided remedies for our human weakness.
Grant that we may joyfully accept your healing grace
and show its effect in the holiness of our lives.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

Seventh Meditation (Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent or Easter; Song 6:1-3)



1Where has your beloved gone, you fairest among women?
Where has your beloved turned, that we may seek him with you?


2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.
He browses among the lilies.


The Bride beholds the Bridegroom; and he, as soon as she has seen him, goes away. He does this frequently throughout the Song; and that is something nobody can understand who has not suffered it himself. God is my witness that I have often perceived the Bridegroom drawing near me and being most intensely present with me; then suddenly he has withdrawn and I could not find him, though I sought to do so. I long therefore for him to come again, and sometimes he does so. Then when he has appeared and I lay hold of him, he slips away once more. And when he has so slipped away my search for him begins anew. (Origen of Alexandria)

One who is like the Word by nature shows himself like him too in the exercise of his will, loving as she is loved.  When she loves perfectly, the soul is wedded to the Word.  What is lovelier than this conformity?  What is more desirable than charity, by whose operation, O soul, not content with a human master, you approach the Word with confidence, cling to him with constancy, speak to him as to a familiar friend, and refer to him in every matter with an intellectual grasp proportionate to the boldness of your desire?  Truly this is a spiritual contract, a holy marriage.  It is more than a contract, it is an embrace, an embrace where identity of will makes of two one spirit.  There need be no fear that inequality of persons should impair the conformity of will, because love is no respecter of persons.  It is from loving, not revering, that love receives its name.  Let someone filled with horror or stupor or fear or wonder be content with reverence. Where there is love, all these are unimportant.... Love is sufficient for itself.  When love is present it absorbs and conquers all other affections.  Therefore it loves what it loves, and it knows nothing else.  He who is justly honored, held in awe, and admired, prefers to be loved.  He and the soul are Bridegroom and Bride.  What other bond or compulsion do you look for between those who are betrothed, except to love and be loved?....Although she may pour out her whole self in love, what is that compared to the inexhaustible fountain of his love?  The stream of love does not flow equally from her who loves and from him who is love, the soul and the Word, the Bride and the Bridegroom, the Creator and the creature, any more than a thirsty man can be compared to a fountain.  Will the Bride’s vow perish, then, because of this?  Will the desire of her heart, her burning love, her affirmation of confidence, fail in their purpose because she has not the strength to keep pace with a giant, or rival honey in sweetness, the lamb in gentleness, or the lily in whiteness?  Because she cannot equal the brightness of the sun, and the charity of him who is Charity?  No.  Although the creature loves less, being a lesser being, yet if it loves with its whole heart nothing is lacking, for it has given all.... Such love, as I have said, is marriage, for a soul cannot love like this and not be beloved.  Complete and perfect marriage consists in the exchange of love.  No one can doubt that the soul is first loved, and loved more intensely, by the Word, for it is anticipated and surpassed in its love.  Happy the soul who is permitted to be anticipated in blessedness so sweet!  Happy the soul who has been allowed to experience the embrace of such bliss!  For it is nothing other than love, holy and chaste, full of sweetness and delight, love utterly serene and true, mutual and deep, which joins two beings, not in one flesh, but in one spirit, making them no longer two but one. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

He is, indeed, your true bridegroom. He is also your brother. He is likewise your friend. He is your inheritance. He is your reward. He is God and the Lord. You have in him a bridegroom to love: “For he is fair in beauty above the sons of men.” … He is a friend of whom you need not doubt, for he himself says, “You are my only lover.” You have in him the inheritance that you may embrace, for he is himself the portion of your inheritance. You have in him the reward that you may recognize, for his blood is your redemption. You have in him God by whom you may be ruled, the Lord to fear and honor. (Leander of Seville)

Musical Selection (Palestrina)

Dilectus meus descendit in hortum suum ad areolam aromatum, ut ibi pascatur in hortis, et lilia colligat. Ego dilecto meo, et dilectus meus mihi, qui pascitur inter lilia.

My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the bed of aromatical spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's, and he is mine, who feedeth among the lilies.

Collect (Easter)

Almighty and ever-living God,
keep alive within us the paschal mysteries,
that under your caring eye
we who have been renewed at the font of baptism
may bear much fruit
and attain the joys of eternal life.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever
. Amen.

Collect (Lent)

Almighty God,
let the working of your gentle mercy
direct the movement of our hearts,
for without your grace
we cannot find favour in your sight.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.