Thou that Dwellest in the Gardens, the Companions Hearken to Thy Voice; Cause Me to Hear It.
The Bridegroom invites his Spouse to speak in his behalf, and to enter actually upon the Apostolic life by teaching others. Thou, O my Spouse, He says, that dwellest in the gardens, in the ever-flowered parterres of the Divinity, where thou hast not ceased to dwell since the winter has passed, thou hast been in gardens as beautiful for the variety of the flowers with which it was adorned as for the excellence of the fruits which abound there; thou, O My Spouse, whom I keep constantly with Me in these gardens of delights, leave, for a moment, the rest full of sweetness and silence which thou there enjoyest, and cause Me to hear thy voice, for thy companions hearken.

In these words the Bridegroom requires of His Spouse two things equally admirable. One, that she may depart from the profound silence in which she has hitherto remained. During the whole time of faith and her loss in God, she remained in great silence, because it was necessary to reduce her entire being into the simplicity and unity of God alone; now that she is entirely confirmed in this oneness, He desires to bestow upon her, as a fruit of her completed state, the admirable harmony of multiplicity and unity, wherein the multiplicity does not interfere with the unity nor the unity with the multiplicity. He desires that she should add to the silent word of the centre, which is the state of unity, the outward praise of the mouth. This is a faint image of what will take place in glory, where, after the soul has been absorbed for ages in an ineffable silence ever eloquent of the Divinity, she will receive her glorified body, which will give sensible praise to the Lord. Thus, after the resurrection, the body will have its own language of praise, which will add to the happiness and not diminish the peace of the soul.

In this life even, when the soul is perfected in a oneness which can no more be interrupted by external actions, the mouth of the body is endued with a praise appropriate to it, and the beautiful harmony between the silent word of the soul and the sensible speech of the body constitutes the perfection of praise. The soul and the body render praise conformable to what they are; the praise of the mouth alone is not praise; thus God says by the Prophet, This people honoreth me with their lips but have removed their heart far from me (Is. xxix.13). The praise which comes purely from the depths of the soul, being dumb, and so much the more so as it is more perfect, is not an absolutely complete adoration; for man being composed of soul and body, both should join in giving praise. The perfection of adoration then, is, that the body shall give forth its praise of such sort that far from interrupting the deep and ever eloquent silence of the centre of the soul, it rather increases it, and that the silence of the soul shall be no hindrance to the utterance of the body, which knows how to render appropriate worship to its God. Thus perfect adoration, both in time and eternity, has reference to this resurrection of the exterior word in unity with the interior.

But the soul, accustomed to deep and ineffable silence, is fearful of interrupting it, and thus has some difficulty in resuming the exterior word. Wherefore the Bridegroom, to rid her of this imperfection, is obliged to invite her to let her voice be heard. Cause me to hear thy voice, He exclaims. It is time to speak; to speak to Me with thy bodily voice, that thou mayest praise Me as thou hast learned to do during thy admirable silence. There is besides an interior and wholly unspeakable word, God endowing the soul with liberty of conversing with Him at times according to His good pleasure, with great facility.

He invites her also to talk to souls about interior things, and to teach them what to do that they may be agreeable to Him. It is one of the principal functions of the Spouse, to instruct and teach the interior life to the beloved of the Bridegroom, who have not as near access to Him as the Shulamite.

This, then, is what the Bridegroom desires of the Spouse; that she address Him both with heart and voice, and that she speak to others for Him.

12 my vineyard is before
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