Thursday, December 21, 2006

My "Stag" Party
A Birthday "Song" for My Beloved

My lover ... like a young stag ... speaks:
"Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!
For see the winter is past, the rains are over and gone

Let me see you
let me hear your voice
For your voice is sweet
and you are lovely."
(Song of Songs 2:10-11,14)

Today, December 21st, is my wife Jeanette's birthday. And every year on this date the Church offers as its first reading a passage from the Song of Songs, certainly the most romantic book of the Bible, and being a Roman-tic Catholic myself, it seems a perfect "fit" for me and my lover (that's "wife" in canon law lingo) of 22 years, Jeanette. But how is it that this mysteriously beautiful selection came to be on my wife's birthday anyway?

I have to admit that, because my love of the Church led to a self-education long on saints and their prose/poetry but short on liturgical history or systematic theology, I do not know. Most readings are set due to the day of the week or along a certain A, B, or C cycle and rotate on every three years, so it is quite rare that a reading is always found on the same date. Is it the so-called secular reason; the Church offering to us a hope of rebirth on the shortest day (as far as sunlight, not the Son's Light goes) of the year? Or is it because Our Lord knew, from the beginning of time, that Jeanette Ohlin (who would marry a devout dreamer and become Jeanette O'Toole) would be born on this day approximately 1,950 years after the birth of His Son? Certainly the wise among our "FIT" readers will answer the first question, so I will attempt to tackle the second. God knows everything (John 21:17) so of course He knew about my wife's birth. As for the specifics (that is the part about marrying me!) I can't say exactly where God's predestination left off and Jeanette's free will began when she was left with the dubious choice of becoming one with the (then) young stag of many cool words but little cold cash. But I believe that Christ at least lead her to the point where she could say yes or no. And though I do not know why the Lord and Church worked it out this way, I do know this passage, which Thomas Aquinas had read to him on his deathbed also worked out perfect for us on this day, in 2006. Yes, I know ... to the cynical (or practical) person it makes no sense. A section entitled (in my New American Bible) "A tryst in the Spring" -- on a cold day in Advent? What do leaping gazelles and hiding doves (or young lovers preparing for sex) have to do with a baby who was born from a Virgin Birth anyway? Where is the logic?

Well, if you can believe the interpretation of one who is now more old injured racehorse than young stag, the Truth is that Love is NOT logical. True love, though attractive when young, grows more beautiful with age, for wisdom allows the gazelle (The Resurrected Body) to see the Dove (The Holy Spirit) in one's soul. Of course, Jeanette is more beautiful than when we met, for She is more like the Bride of Christ, The Church. So ... Happy Birthday, Jeanette. "You did not arouse love before its own time" (Sg. 3:5, 8:4) -- but now your time has come.