During this period of our lives, it seems that for a majority of us, there may be a new concern that we previously did not have to think about, or really, were not allowed to think about. This would be finding the one with whom we will live the rest of our lives with, the person whom we should love and from whom we expect to receive love. Even if we are not thinking about it much, we have mom pushing, servants at church questioning, and friends giving us the googly eyes any time they see us even smirking at our phones. So, what do we answer them? Who is it that occupies our minds? Who is the one whom we wish to please and find favor in their eyes? It is the One who first loved us.
In the Song of Songs, we read a beautiful dialogue between a bride and her groom, specifically the human soul and her Creator. The dialogue reveals everything that Satan has his mind set on hiding from us—the intimate and eternal love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I know He loves me; I know He would still die on the Cross if it was just for me; I know that I am so special in His eyes. I have heard it all, and I do not doubt that He loves me. But what about when we fall into sin and the devil overwhelms us with our sinfulness and failures? Do we still experience God’s love, or does it now become something that we have to work to receive…something we can only receive after we have overcome our weaknesses and offered repentance? All of a sudden, the thought of Christ being the Bridegroom of my soul does not come so easily anymore. Why would He want to be joined to a harlot? In the Song of Songs, Christ voices this desire, that even in our darkness and sin, in a state that we find shameful and unworthy, He loves us, and not only that but believes that we are beautiful. The bride says, “I am dark but lovely” ( SOS 1:5), and Christ in that same moment says, “Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved; Behold, you are beautiful” (SOS 1:15). Didn’t He hear what I just said? I am dark, I am black, didn’t He see my sins, or did He not hear about them yet? Christ seems to be sure of Himself, He sees our weaknesses, and yet there is no doubt in His mind that our souls are beautiful to Him. Sometimes we might struggle with finding the balance between knowing our weaknesses and unworthiness and trusting in God’s love and mercy. But here, the bride shows us that both go hand in hand. She knew her sins and confesses them to Christ, yet He does not mention her darkness or blackness, He just kept on repeating, “you are beautiful.” God as a loving Father, Friend, Bridegroom, and Companion will never shame us for our sins if we bring them before Him. In that moment, without even saying that He forgives us, He just seems to redirect us to His love for us and to how precious we are in His sight.
But this does not take away the void in my life. I want someone to be crazy about me and I about them. Well, God is absolutely crazy about you. He says to us, “My sister, My bride,
you ravished My heart; You have ravished My heart with one look from your eyes” (SOS 4:9).
Christ looked into our eyes, the eyes of our hearts and souls, and threw Himself onto the Cross because He was so wounded and overwhelmed by His love for us. He did not hesitate to give all of Himself to us despite the coming rejection. He did what would be considered irrational and foolish for the Bride He loves, not holding anything back.
What are these eyes that ravish God’s heart? Fr. Tadros Malaty teaches us that they are the humble and contrite eyes before Him. It is when we lift up our inner eyes with contrition toward God who is inside us. Then, we draw His heart and ravish His love by our broken hearts. When the bride enters her bitter struggle, she weeps and groans in her heart, but He cannot stand her tears, so He is drawn to her and is captivated by her inner crying. He is the Heavenly Bridegroom who understands His bride’s heart. He cares for her through her strife and suffering and does not require any talking. He understands the language of her inner eyes. The Church teaches us to speak with the Lord with this language, the language of tears. During the daily Vespers, we pray saying, “Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens.” (Ps. 123).