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STANZA XXXVII

We shall go at once

To the deep caverns of the rock

Which are all secret;

There we shall enter in,

And taste of the new wine of the pomegranate.

ONE of the reasons which most influence the soul to desire to enter into the “thicket” of the wisdom of God, and to have a more intimate knowledge of the beauty of the divine wisdom, is, as I have said, that it may unite the understanding with God in the knowledge of the mysteries of the Incarnation, as of all His works the highest and most full of sweetness, and the most delicious knowledge. And here the bride therefore says, that after she has entered in within the divine wisdom — that is, the spiritual marriage, which is now and will be in glory, seeing God face to face — her soul united with the divine wisdom, the Son of God, she will then understand the deep mysteries of God and Man, which are the highest wisdom hidden in God. They, that is, the bride and the Bridegroom, will enter in — the soul engulfed and absorbed — and both together will have the fruition of the joy which springs from the knowledge of mysteries, and attributes and power of God which are revealed in those mysteries, such as His justice, His mercy, wisdom, power, and love.

“We shall go at once to the deep caverns of the rock.”

2. “This rock is Christ,” as we learn from St. Paul.2922921 Cor. 10:4 The deep caverns of the rock are the deep mysteries of the wisdom of God in Christ, in the hypostatical union of the human nature with the Divine Word, and in the correspondence with it of the union of man with God, and in the agreement of God’s justice and mercy in the salvation of mankind, in the manifestation of His judgments. And because His judgments are so high and so deep, they are here fittingly called “deep caverns”; deep because of the depth of His mysteries, and caverns because of the depth of His wisdom in them. For as caverns are deep, with many windings, so each mystery of Christ is of deepest wisdom, and has many windings of His secret judgments of predestination and foreknowledge with respect to men.

3. Notwithstanding the marvelous mysteries which holy doctors have discovered, and holy souls have understood in this life, many more remain behind. There are in Christ great depths to be fathomed, for He is a rich mine, with many recesses full of treasures, and however deeply we may descend we shall never reach the end, for in every recess new veins of new treasures abound in all directions: “In Whom,” according to the Apostle, “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”293293Col. 2:3 But the soul cannot reach these hidden treasures unless it first passes through the thicket of interior and exterior suffering: for even such knowledge of the mysteries of Christ as is possible in this life cannot be had without great sufferings, and without many intellectual and moral gifts, and without previous spiritual exercises; for all these gifts are far inferior to this knowledge of the mysteries of Christ, being only a preparation for it.

4. Thus God said to Moses, when he asked to see His glory, “Man shall not see Me and live.” God, however, said that He would show him all that could be revealed in this life; and so He set Moses “in a hole of the rock,” which is Christ, where he might see His “back parts”;294294Exod. 33:20-23 that is, He made him understand the mysteries of the Sacred Humanity.

5. The soul longs to enter in earnest into these caverns of Christ, that it may be absorbed, transformed, and inebriated in the love and knowledge of His mysteries, hiding itself in the bosom of the Beloved. It is into these caverns that He invites the bride, in the Canticle, to enter, saying: “Arise, My love, My beautiful one, and come; My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hollow places of the wall.”295295Cant. 2:13, 14 These clefts of the rock are the caverns of which we are here speaking, and to which the bride refers, saying:

“And there we shall enter in.”

6. That is, in the knowledge of the divine mysteries. The bride does not say “I will enter” alone, which seems the most fitting — seeing that the Bridegroom has no need to enter in again — but “we will enter,” that is, the Bridegroom and the bride, to show that this is not the work of the bride, but of the Bridegroom with her. Moreover, inasmuch as God and the soul are now united in the state of spiritual marriage, the soul does nothing of itself without God. To say “we will enter,” is as much as to say, “there shall we transform ourselves” — that is, “I shall be transformed in You through the love of Your divine and sweet judgments”: for in the knowledge of the predestination of the just and in the foresight of the wicked, wherein the Father prevented the just in the benedictions of His sweetness in Jesus Christ His Son, the soul is transformed in a most exalted and perfect way in the love of God according to this knowledge, giving thanks to the Father, and loving Him again and again with great sweetness and delight, for the sake of Jesus Christ His Son. This the soul does in union with Christ and together with Him. The delight flowing from this act of praise is ineffably sweet, and the soul speaks of it in the words that follow:

“And taste of the new wine of the pomegranates.”

7. The pomegranates here are the mysteries of Christ and the judgments of the wisdom of God; His power and attributes, the knowledge of which we have from these mysteries; and they are infinite. For as pomegranates have many grains in their round orb, so in each one of the attributes and judgments and power of God is a multitude of admirable arrangements and marvelous works contained within the sphere of power and mystery, appertaining to those works. Consider the round form of the pomegranate; for each pomegranate signifies some one power and attribute of God, which power or attribute is God Himself, symbolized here by the circular figure, which has neither beginning not end. It was in the contemplation of the judgments and mysteries of the wisdom of God, which are infinite, that the bride said, “His belly is of ivory set with sapphires.”296296Cant. 5:14 The sapphires are the mysteries and judgments of the divine Wisdom, which is here signified by the “belly” — the sapphire being a precious stone of the color of the heavens when clear and serene.

8. The wine of the pomegranates which the bride says that she and the Bridegroom will taste is the fruition and joy of the love of God which overflows the soul in the understanding and knowledge of His mysteries. For as the many grains of the pomegranate pressed together give forth but one wine, so all the marvels and magnificence of God, infused into the soul, issue in but one fruition and joy of love, which is the drink of the Holy Spirit, and which the soul offers at once to God the Word, its Bridegroom, with great tenderness of love.

9. This divine drink the bride promised to the Bridegroom if He would lead her into this deep knowledge: “There You shall teach me,” says the bride, “and I will give You a cup of spiced wine, and new wine of my pomegranates.”297297Cant. 8:2 The soul calls them “my pomegranates,” though they are God’s Who had given them to it, and the soul offers them to God as if they were its own, saying, “We will taste of the wine of the pomegranates”; for when He states it He gives it to the soul to taste, and when the soul tastes it, the soul gives it back to Him, and thus it is that both taste it together.

NOTE

IN the two previous stanzas the bride sung of those good things which the Bridegroom is to give her in everlasting bliss, namely, her transformation in the beauty of created and uncreated wisdom, and also in the beauty of the union of the Word with flesh, wherein she shall behold His face as well as His back. Accordingly two things are set before us in the following stanza. The first is the way in which the soul tastes of the divine wine of the pomegranates; the second is the soul’s putting before the Bridegroom the glory of its predestination. And though these two things are spoken of separately, one after the other, they are both involved in the one essential glory of the soul.


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