I Languish With Love

“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I languish with love” (Cant 5:8).

The Jesuit Father Francis Cassilly comments: “This life is an exile from home, prolonged through the dragging years. . . . And yet, tedious as is our wayfaring here below it is not wholly wretched. How could it be, when we swim in an ocean of love as the fish in the sea, when God is our Friend and Lover, Father and Mother, when He inhabits us, and Christ is ready to enter our tabernacle of clay each morning to nourish us with His own flesh and blood?”

“But from this very fact arises a new source of heartweariness, to know that we are so near to God and yet so far away, that He is in and all about us, and yet, for our veils of flesh, we cannot see and possess Him. The more ardent our love, the more poignant the anguish of our separation from its object. . . . Never to have known our beloved were indeed a misfortune, but to know Him and be separated from Him is a rending of the heart.”

“Could any fate be more dolorous than to live forever in this world? Would not the thought of going on in the same round of duties, of rising, working, eating and sleeping, in an unending cycle, become a hideous nightmare? We dread to die, but to lead without end this present dying life of ours, would be a prospect calculated to drive us to distraction. St. John of the Cross, mystic and poet, thus laments: ‘This life that I am living is a lifeless life, and so, a death continuing until I come to live with Thee. O God, hear Thou my cry! This life of mine I will it not; I am dying because I am not dead.'”

“But, one cheering thought sustains us, that the hour of freedom will strike for us at last, that no matter how dismal and soul-trying our tasks and labor the Master Workman will one day give the signal for quitting work and going home to rest.”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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