I will now bring together three striking metaphors all applied by the Fathers to the Blessed Mother of God, but which can be applied also to the Holy Church.
1. "Behold threescore valiant ones of the most -valiant of all Israel surrounded the Bed of Solomon" (Cant, iii. 7.)
"Rejoice, thou entirely immaculate Throne of God, Thou glorious only Mother of God: Rejoice thou most holy Bed of Solomon."
Thus wrote St. Ephrem, (Orat, in Deip. Op. Graec., Tom. III., p. 535.) but the Bed of Solomon is also the Church surrounded by the Armies of the Lord of Hosts.
2. "Go forth and see King Solomon in the crown wherewith His Mother crowned Him in the day of Plis Espousals and in the day of the joy of His Heart." (Cant. iii. i)
"Let Thy Mother adore Thee and place upon Thy Head the ornaments of the diadem, as his mother of old placed upon King Solomon those that were his," wrote St. Ephrem. (De divers., Serm. I.) And St. Ambrose:
"Blessed Mother Jerusalem, and Blessed Womb of Mary which crowned so great a Lord."(De Inst. Virg., xvi. 97.)
3. "My sister, My Spouse is a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up." (Cant. Cant. iv. 12.) These words are understood by the Fathers of the Virginity of our Lady. Thus, St. Jerome:
"In being closed and sealed the garden and the fountain are like the Mother of the Lord, Mother and Virgin." (Adv. Jovin., i. 31.)
They are also often applied to the Unity of the Church, (Cf. St. Cyprian and St. Optatus, passim.) as are the sentences that will follow shortly : "O My sister, My spouse, open to Me, My Sister, My love, My dove, My undefiled," (Cant. Cant. v. i, 2.) and again : " One is My dove, My perfect one is but one." (Cant. Cant. vi. 8.)
The whole of this wonderful Epithalamium— fragrant with Oriental tenderness — celebrates triumphantly the love of the Lord for His Mother and also for His Church.