The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Some Notes on the Song of Songs 3:1-4b for the Feast of St Mary Magdalene

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2016

This particular passage has been chosen as the first reading because the Magdalene’s search for Jesus–narrated in the Gospel reading for the day (Jn 20:1-2, 11-18)–echos the brides search for the groom in the Song. (Note: An alternate first reading is allowed: 2 Cor 5:14-17).

Song 3:1 In my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and found him not.
Song 3:2 I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not.
Song 3:3 The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth?

Song 3:4 When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth.

(A). Just as the bride goes searching for her beloved in the dark (1-2), Mary Magdalene goes searching for Jesus early in the morning, while it is still dark (Jn 20:1).

(B). The bride’s search proves unfruitful (I sought him, and I found him not, 2); so too does St Mary’s (They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre: and we know not where they have laid him Jn 20:2, 13).

(C). The Bride meets some watchmen and asks a question (Have you seen him whom my soul loveth? 3). Mary sees two angels to whom she speaks (Jn 20:12-13).

(D). Almost immediately after her encounter with the watchmen the Bride meets her beloved (When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth, 4). Likewise, Mary, immediately after addressing the angels turned herself back and saw Jesus standing (Jn 20:14).

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