The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 126.

This mysterious song commences with the words: "Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His Mouth." (Cant. Cant. i. i.)

"Hereby," writes St. Ambrose, "is signified the grace of the Holy Spirit coming down from above, as the angel said to Mary: ' The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee;'' (In Ps. cxviii, Serm. II., n. 16.) but elsewhere he observes : "The Church ceases not to kiss the feet of Christ, and hence in the Canticle of Canticles she is not content with one but many kisses, for like Holy Mary she is intent on all His utterances." (Ep. xii. 18.)

On the words to be found in the next verse: "Thy Name is as oil poured out," (Cant. i. 2.) St. Ambrose observes:

"With this ointment it was that Mary was anointed. As a Virgin she conceived, and as a Virgin she brought forth a good odour, even the Son of God." (In Ps. cxviii., Serm. III., 8.) But with this same ointment is the Church anointed by the Holy Ghost, for she is the Body of Christ, the anointed Priest of God.

"I am the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.'' (Cant. ii. i, 2.) Here the Fathers see the Immaculate Virgin ; but if we turn once more to St. Ambrose we shall be reminded :

"Well too is this flower the Church, since she announces the fruit, even the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it was said to Mary,' Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy Womb.' *(In Ps. cxviii. , Serm. V., 12.)

"Behold He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills." (Cant. ii. 8.)

"Upon souls of greater grace He leaps, over souls of lesser grace He skips. In what way comes He leaping ? It was, so to say, with a leap He came into the world; He was with the Father, He came to the Virgin." (In Isaac et Anima, iv. 31. Cf. Serm. VI. 6.)

These are the words of St. Ambrose, but we may feel sure that instead of "the Virgin" the holy Doctor, had his thoughts been running at the time in a slightly different direction, might easily have written "the Church."

"Arise, make haste, My love, My dove, My beautiful One, and come. For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. Thou art altogether beautiful, O my love, and there is no stain in thee. Come from Libanus, my spouse. (Cant. Cant, ii., 11, 12 ; iv. 7, 8.) Who is she that goeth up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh, and frankincense, and of all the powders of the perfumer ? (Id., iii. 6.) Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the star, terrible as an army set in battle array ?" (Id., v. 9.) It seems that our Lady is primarily depicted by these figures, but they may all be applied without undue violence to the Church.