Arise, my love, my dove, my fair one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone,
and the flowers appear in our land.
The cooing of the turtledove is heard;
the fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, blossoming, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my dove, my fair one,
and come away;
let me see your face, let me hear your voice,
for you voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
What is this, my God, my Love, my Life?
I have dwelt for so long in this life of dying,
my heart living, nonetheless, in another place.
I have loved the things of this creation
because in them I have glimpsed your face.
But, my God, I have yearned for you,
heart aching and calling out for the fullness
that, in all of these things, is only glimpsed.
There is something special about the dove, my God,
that is different than all the other birds.
This is why you have chosen it to be a symbol,
not only of the Spirit’s gift and presence,
but of the love-wounded heart’s longing for you.
If I sit for a while in the gardens of this world,
listening to the sounds of the birds,
I notice that the cooing of the dove is different.
So many others shreak or call out loudly,
almost deafening the ears,
but the dove, meek, humble, innocent,
has a voice that is almost drowned out by the rest.
Father, God of Love, Son, Beloved, Friend,
and Spirit of intimacy and joy…
does not my heart long for you like this,
not with the loud cries of other birds,
but with that gentle cooing of a dove?
Ah, the heart is wounded by your gentle touch,
and gentleness cannot but awaken gentleness is return.
It is a beautiful wound, aching it is true, but healing,
bestowing the true health as nothing else can do.
Now my heart, broken by its sin like a bird with broken wing,
yet yearns to fly away to be with you, my God,
calling out in gentle voice, incessantly,
cooing with a soft yet ardent call
for the One in whom this heart is at rest, alone.
Draw me, God, my one Beloved and my rest,
to never cease to call out with this voice to you,
yet calling out not for me alone,
but with a voice bearing in itself the voice of all,
their thirst, their crying, their pain, their hope.
For I know the One in whom the Spirit dwells,
the perfect Dove bearing the olive branch of peace,
the One who opens wide his arms, like wings,
enfolding under his pinions all our longing hearts.
He welcomes us there, in all we are,
and cries out gently, Abba! Father!
with a voice like a gentle dove, cooing,
bearing all our anguish of loneliness and pain,
yet at last breathing out again this Spirit-breath,
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Yes, the cooing of the dove is heard in our land,
heralding the dawning springtime of redemption,
the end-times in which consummation is at work,
carrying us forward from imperfect life
into the fullness of your wondrous, Trinitarian embrace.
Like a flower stretching out petals, bearing fruit,
a Cross rooted in compassion deep into our earth,
yet stretching out to heaven, yearning,
and awakening the thirst that sleeps deep in us,
Christ, my God, my Life, my All,
you dwell here in our midst, yet carry us,
in your loving and tender arms,
to the place we long to be.
You have come down to our lowest place,
abiding with us in our fragmentation, loneliness, and pain,
yet as One who is wholly united in love, together with the Father,
beloved Son of such a God and Bridegroom of each heart.
Calling out, you awaken every voice with yours,
through the silence of the tomb, slumbering earth,
yet from which flowers blossom anew
and silent voice calls out in hope and love.
Resurrection joy, like blossoming spring,
the warmth of sun bathing the earth with light and health,
everything reaching out to heaven, alive and well,
and the dove cooing now a peaceful song,
a song of dwelling in the garden-bliss.
Your own Resurrection, my dear Jesus,
is the pouring forth of God’s own life into our world,
the dwelling of his Fullness in lowly things,
transforming each moment, each reality, however small,
into a bearer of heaven’s grace and glory.
And it is also the enfolding of all creation in heaven’s arms,
the arms which are simply, my God, your own.
Lowly flesh, transfigured and transformed,
not to be no longer a body, but to be completely new,
yet bearing in itself what it always was.
Divine life in that human form, reaching out,
in love, with those welcoming hands,
bearing in them holes from the nails,
yet now made glorious, free from pain,
as a place of receptivity, only more.
And above all, dear Jesus, that open Heart,
a space in which we dwell, already now,
yet which beckons us into the fullness of its embrace,
where one day, when this earthly life is past,
we are enfolded in your embrace in radiant light,
seeing and knowing as we are known,
and rejoicing with the very joy that is yours.
Here there shall be no more crying, no more tears,
no more pain, anguish, or loneliness any more.
The dove’s song shall be, at last, one of perfect joy.
Our own flesh and body completely new,
enfolded in the mystery for which we were made,
will dwell in the most perfect and blessed joy, dear Jesus,
in your embrace, and penetrated by the Spirit,
welcoming, in you, each and every person,
given, also, entirely, in you, to them.
All of us together, in this awesome embrace and blessed love,
the unimaginable bliss of intimacy, indwelling,
where each of us is ourself, unique, yet abiding with and in one another,
in that closeness for which our hearts, in this life, can only long,
will share, fully and completely, in the very life that is always yours.
Yes, we shall dwell, in risen body and earth made wholly new,
in the very bosom of the Father of us all,
where you, our Jesus, our Life, our Joy,
dwell forever, unceasingly, in perfect rest.