If God’s love for the human person, for the Chosen People of Israel, is presented by the Prophets as the love of the bridegroom for the bride, such an analogy expresses the “spousal” quality and the divine and non-human character of God’s love: “For your Maker is your husband … the God of the whole earth he is called” (Is 54,5). The same can also be said of the spousal love of Christ the Redeemer: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3,16). It is a matter, therefore, of God’s love expressed by means of the Redemption accomplished by Christ…
According to the Letter to the Ephesians, the bride is the Church, just as for the Prophets the bride was Israel. She is therefore a collective subject and not an individual person. This collective subject is the People of God, a community made up of many persons, both women and men. “Christ has loved the Church” (5,25) precisely as a community, as the People of God. At the same time, in this Church, which in the same passage is also called his “body”, he has loved every individual person. For Christ has redeemed all without exception, every man and woman.
It is precisely this love of God which is expressed in the Redemption; the spousal character of this love reaches completion in the history of humanity and of the world. Christ has entered this history and remains in it as the Bridegroom who “has given himself” (v.25). “To give” means “to become a sincere gift” in the most complete and radical way: “Greater love has no man than this” (Jn 15,13). According to this conception, all human beings - both women and men - are called through the Church, to be the “Bride” of Christ, the Redeemer of the world.
Still, as a man in our hyper-sexualized world, I find myself uncomfortable with the whole “spiritual spouse” idea, and seeing God as my husband. I know that much of it comes from the Song of Songs, and I understand the idea behind the imagery that God is the Giver and I am the receiver, and that I should submit to God in the way we traditionally view a spousal relationship - where God is the masculine and I am the feminine - but like I say, the idea is kind of disconcerting for me. Probably some good stuff in there for psychoanalysis!
Spousal unity with divinity is what the Virgin Mary shares with the Holy Spirit, something we will share with Jesus Christ. Is the Virgin Mary the Holy Spirit’s b-word? Neither will we be Jesus Christ’s. This spousal unity with divinity is the truest intimacy without losing one’s personhood per Hindu NIRVANA etc!. Discomfort with this can only stem from a skewed living out of male-female relations! Examine this! I note the de-hypnosis of Roy Masters, his Observation Meditation, has been lived out by him in loving his wife without sexual relations for years because he sensed he was using her, and she was hating/resenting him for this! Women will offer themselves up to men and then hate them, the underlying dynamic of prostitutes who were abused as children. On that note, I will post Roy Masters free download of his de-hypnotizing OBSERVATION MEDITATION:
To address Christofirst’s comments… I agree that the “spousal union” metaphor can be a bit awkward in our culture. We really need to make the disctintion between supernatural, spiritual union and a temporal or worldly union to have this make sense. I normally avoid the chance of confusion by talking about unity with the divine will instead.
Thanks for your reply and the scripture! We certainly have not yet sounded the depth nor seen the height of the spousal imagery which God has inspired in the writing of His Holy Word and in the writings of saints like St. John Paul II. May the Holy Spirit kindle the Fire of His Love in each of us.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the Hearts of Your Faithful. Kindle in us the Fire of Your Love.
…The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”. And let him who hears say, “Come.” And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price…Revelation 22:17
He does not want to merely walk along side us, but to be in true union with us, to make us one with Him. He wants to be the bridegroom of our soul, and it is in the Holy Eucharist that this Divine intimacy is consummated.
We become like Christ, by becoming other “Mary’s” for the world.
Yes, I agree God wants us to be united with Himself. He also is willing, however, to patiently “walk with us” on our journey. As Pope Francis shared in his homily today:
VATICAN CITY, September 08, 2014 (Zenit.org) - On the day the Church celebrates the Nativity of Our Lady, Pope Francis dedicated his homily to Creation and God’s journey with us through history, Vatican Radio reports.
He said when we read the Book of Genesis, “there is the danger of thinking that God was a magician” who did things “with a magic wand.” But, he warned, "it was not so because, God made things and allowed them to proceed with internal, interior laws that He gave to each one, so that they could develop and arrive at fullness”. “The Lord gave autonomy but not independence to the things of the universe”.
“For God is not a magician, He is the Creator! But when on the sixth day, of that story, He comes to create man, He gives him another autonomy, somewhat different, but not independent: an autonomy that is freedom. He tells the man to go forward in history, He makes man responsible for the creation, so that he would dominate creation, bring it forward and arrive at the fullness of time. And what was the fullness of time? What He had in his heart: the arrival of His Son. Because God – as we heard from Paul - has predestined us, all of us, to be conformed to the image of the Son”.
Pope Francis continued: “This is the path of humanity, it is mankind’s journey. God wanted us to be like His Son and His Son to be like us". The Pope spoke of the passage from today’s Gospel that recounts the genealogy of Jesus. “There are saints and sinners too on this list, but history continues because God has willed that all men be free”. And even if it is true that when man “misused his freedom, God drove him out of Paradise” He also “made a promise, so man left Paradise with hope. A sinner, but with hope”. “Mankind did not make this journey alone: God walks with us. Because God chose an option: he opted for time, not for the moment. He is the God of time, He is the God of history, He is the God who walks with His children”. Until the “fullness of time” when His Son becomes man. God “walks with the righteous and the sinners.” He walks “with everyone, to arrive at that encounter, the final encounter of man with Him”.
The Pope noted that the Gospel brings this century-long story to an end “in a tiny thing, in a small village” with Joseph and Mary. “The God of great history - he noted - is also in that little story there, because He wants to walk with everyone”. Francis quoted from St. Thomas, who stated: "Do not fear the great things, but also have regard for the small, this is divine”. "And this is how God is, He is in the great things, but also in the small”.
“He is the Lord who walks…and He is the Lord of patience. The patience of God. The patience he has had with all these generations. With all these people who have lived their story of grace and sin, God is patient. God walks with us, because He wants us all to come to be conformed to the image of His Son. And from the hour that He gave us the freedom in creation - not independence - until today, He continues to walk with us”.
And so, therefore, “we come to Mary”. Today, the Pope said, “we are in the antechamber of this story: the birth of the Virgin Mary”. “Let us ask in prayer that the Lord will give us the unity to walk together and peace of heart. This is today’s grace":
“Today we can look at Our Lady, the small, holy child without sin, pure and predestined to become the Mother of God and also look at the story that lies behind her, so long, over centuries and ask: ‘How do I journey in my story? Do I allow God walk with me? Do I allow Him walk with me or do I want to walk alone? Do I let Him caress me, help me, forgive me, carry me forward so that I may arrive at the encounter with Jesus Christ? This will be the end of our journey: an encounter with the Lord. It would do us all good to ask ourselves this question today. ‘Do I let God be patient with me?’. And so, looking at this great story, and even this small village, we can praise the Lord and humbly ask that He give us peace, that peace of heart that only He can give us, that He only gives us when we let Him walk with us”.