The sulamite

Publish date 19-12-2021

by Anna Maria Del Prete

The woman celebrated in the Song of Songs: a poem probably written by Solomon to sing about the beauty of this woman with whom he was deeply in love. A woman rich in the gifts of God: a beauty that comes from within, from an innocent heart, a great sweetness and nobility of soul and a charm that will enchant King Solomon himself. But she is in love with her betrothed, a shepherd boy whose coming she patiently awaits: «I fell asleep, but my heart is watching. A noise! The voice of my beloved knocking; "Open me!" » (5,2) . No royal seduction of her detaches her from him. Her heart in love with her rejoices and is happy.

A poem that may seem disconcerting to those who have not understood what true love is, love celebrated with one's whole self. We have the ecstatic celebration of the body, female and male, contemplated in all its parts: from above, eyes, hair, teeth, cheeks, breasts and from below, feet, legs, navel. Undoubtedly erotic and yet it is "divinely inspired" (R.Aqiba). And this is because "the ground" carries within it "the divine".
Love is celebrated in fullness and without any trace of domination either by her or by him, even if her mutual belonging is proclaimed. «I am of my treasure and towards me it is her passion». An expression that recalls the one with which the covenant between God and his people is indicated: "They will be my people and I will be their God" (Ez 11,20).

Deep passion, freed from all oppression, the Sulamite feels "she who brings peace" (8,10). She has found her "shalom" (peace, well-being) in a relationship of love that is completely free and liberating that leads her to ask the beloved "put me as a seal on your heart ... because love is strong as death ... its flames are flames of fire, a divine flame" (8,6). A strong love that gives itself totally, healing that dominion generated by sin, of which Genesis speaks: "Your instinct will be towards your husband, and he will dominate you" ( Gen 3:16), a love that offers itself entirely and holds nothing back: "I belong to my beloved and his desire is for me" (7:11). < br /> Mutual belonging and desire can be lived without dominating in the joy of the gift. But is the human being capable of such love? Yes, because he was created capable of loving "to the end", in the image of God who loved us to the end in Jesus who "loved them to the end" (Jn 13: 1). proofs will not be lacking, but with Christ everything is possible. A life founded on this love will grow in communion: it may seem a utopia but: "Everything is possible for those who believe" (Mk 9:23). This is the way to joy.
To conclude I would like to quote Jean Guitton: the sulamite is outlined with verses that proclaim «the inalienable personality of the young woman, her freedom of choice, her intrepid purity. And how useful this teaching is still today! Monogamy, the eternal promise of love, is founded on this freedom of women. ”

Anna Maria Del Prete
NP August / September 2021

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