O, that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!

It seems presumptuous. I couldn't possibly ask. No, there is no way that the Song of Songs, God's song of love to his people, the song of the soul and the Church, the song of Christ and Mary's love, could possibly be written for me. About me. Have anything to do with me. Such love is not for the likes of me, so dumpy and inelegant, self-conscious and inept. Others, yes, of course: God loves everyone, just not me. But still this song, this song of love, could not possibly have anything to do with me. Why am I so certain about this?

It's not that I feel particularly sinful, no more than I imagine others must feel. Okay, yes, I do feel sinful, but that is still no reason not to believe that God loves me. God is merciful, God wants to love me. God loves me no matter what. No, I'm really having a hard time believing this. Nobody loves like that; there's always a catch. Do I really believe that? I'm not sure there's a catch in my love for my child. Certainly, he makes me angry at times when he doesn't do what I think is good for him or when he hurts me by playing silly games, but this does nothing to affect my love for him. Doesn't God love me, His child, in much the same way, only more so?

But God is a great Lover, not just a Parent. God is, well, the most handsome man and the most beautiful woman one could ever imagine making love.* God is beauty and grace and goodness and strength and skill, not cellulite and stiff joints and gray hair and a face that can't be photographed without looking fat even when it's not. Aren't I, in fact, too ordinary for God to want to pay any attention to? God loves the innocent and the gentle and the poor. God loves the burly man who works hard to support his family; God loves the housewife who spends her days making a home for her husband and children; God loves the children who don't have enough to eat and the prostitutes who make love to strangers so that they can pay the rent. God has better things to do than to worry about me.

You see, it seems not just presumptuous, but selfish to believe that God should spend more than a second thinking about me. There are others out there who need God much more than I do: the sick and the dying and the poor and the homeless. Not to mention the talented and the brilliant. While here I am, middle-aged, middle-class, middlingly successful. No great hang-ups, but then neither any truly great accomplishments (no bestselling novels, you know). And yet, God loves me? Snort. Pull the other one; it's got bells on.

Faith, it would seem, begins with love: the willingness to believe that, yes, indeed, God loves us. No, even more particularly: God loves me. Truly, madly, deeply, God loves me. Panting like a stag for the waters, leaping like a gazelle over the mountains, searching for me in his garden, God loves me. Is it pride or humility that makes this so hard to believe? Pride, I'm pretty sure; if I were humble, I wouldn't be comparing myself all the time to all the other selves I'm convinced that God loves more. Not to mention trying to convince myself that if only I were more beautiful, more talented, more accomplished, I would then deserve God's love. Ha. As if there were anything anyone could do to deserve such an all-consuming, overwhelming, rapturous love as the love with which God loves us, all of us, including, yes, me.

Never mind miracles, the Incarnation, the Trinity: believing anything is a piece of cake next to saying these words--"Oh, that he would kiss me with the kisses of mouth!" (Song of Songs 1:1)--as if they might actually come true. For, indeed, if God loves us so much, so passionately, so completely, of course He would do anything for us, including becoming one of us, His creatures.

How's that for believing impossible things before breakfast?

*Or the two most handsome men, or the two most beautiful women. Insert your own erotic fantasy here.


  1. God loves the housewife who spends her days making a home for her husband and children

    no, not us either, or at least this housewife has trouble conceiving of it ;-)


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