Winter Wedding

Jesus and the Prophets and Apostles who announced him used the familiar experience of weddings to help us understand the relationship of God and our human race.

For example, the joy of finding God’s favor and help are celebrated with wedding imagery in Isaiah 61:10, offered as a morning canticle in The Liturgy of the Hours,

I will rejoice heartily in the LORD, my being exults in my God;

For he has clothed me with garments of salvation, and wrapped me in a robe of justice,

Like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (NAB)

Carmelite spirituality employs marital themes and images to delve into the union of God and humanity, especially emphasizing the great and costly love by which God takes our souls to Himself.  Here is a beautiful example by St. John of the Cross, which also celebrates Christmas,

When the time had come

for him to be born,

he went forth like the bridegroom

from his bridal chamber,

embracing his bride,

holding her in his arms,

whom the gracious Mother

laid in a manger

among some animals

that were there at that time.

Men sang songs

and angels melodies

celebrating the marriage

of Two such as these.

But God there in the manger

cried and moaned;

and these tears were jewels

the bride brought to the wedding.

The Mother gazed in sheer wonder

on such an exchange:

in God, man’s weeping,

and in man, gladness,

to the one and the other

things usually so strange.

Romances pt. 9, “The Birth,” Kavanaugh/Rodriguez trans.

The English translation loses the rhymes of John’s Spanish.  Here are the last four lines just for flavor,

…el llanto del hombre en Dios,

y en el hombre la alegría,

la cual del uno y del otro

tan ajeno ser solía.

The theology of the poem is rich – if you have thoughts or questions please comment and I’ll try to respond.


One thought on “Winter Wedding

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