Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for your love is better than wine.
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Ambrose of Milan
Having embraced the Word of God, [the soul] desires him above every beauty; she loves him above every joy; she is delighted with him above every perfume; she wishes often to see, often to gaze, often to be drawn to him that she may follow. “Your name,” she says, “is as oil poured out,” and that is why we maidens love you and vie with one another but cannot attain to you. Draw us that we may run after you, that from the odor of ointments we may receive the power to follow you. - "Letter 79, To Laymen"
Therefore such a soul also desires many kisses of the Word, so that she may be enlightened with the light of the knowledge of God. For this is the kiss of the Word, I mean the light of holy knowledge. God the Word kisses us, when he enlightens our heart and governing faculty with the spirit of the knowledge of God. The soul that has received this gift exults and rejoices in the pledge of wedded love and says, “I opened my mouth and panted.” For it is with the kiss that lovers cleave to each other and gain possession of the sweetness of grace that is within, so to speak. Through such a kiss the soul cleaves to God the Word, and through the kiss the spirit of him who kisses is poured into the soul, just as those who kiss are not satisfied to touch lightly with their lips but appear to be pouring their spirit into each other. Showing that she loves not only the appearance of the Word and his face, as it were, but all his inner parts, she adds to the favor of the kisses: “Your breasts are ...
But the church does not cease to kiss Christ’s feet, and she demands not one but many kisses in the Song of Solomon, since like blessed Mary she listens to his every saying, she receives his every word, when the gospel or prophets are read, and she keeps all these words in her heart. - "Letter 62, To His Sister"
“You gave me no kiss, but she, from the moment she entered, has not ceased to kiss my feet.” A kiss is a mark of love. How, then, can a Jew have a kiss, who has not known peace, who has not received peace from Christ when he said, “My peace I give you, my peace I leave unto you”? The synagogue has no kiss, but the church has, for she waited and loved and said, “Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth.” She wished with his kiss to quench gradually the burning of the long desire that had grown with longing for the Lord’s coming; she wished to satisfy her thirst with this boon. - "Letter 62, To His Sister"
But why do we doubt? The church has believed in his goodness all these ages and has confessed its faith in the saying, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for your breasts are better than wine,” and again, “And your throat is like the goodliest wine.” Of his goodness, therefore, he nourishes us with the breasts of the law and grace, soothing our sorrows by telling of heavenly things. And do we then deny his goodness, when he is the manifestation of goodness, expressing in his person the likeness of the eternal bounty, even as we showed above that it was written, that he is the spotless reflection and counterpart of that bounty? - "On the Christian Faith 2.2.32"
love: The Hebrew word used here means both "loves" and "breasts." (Nicholas of Lyra) The author does not say who
spoke these words, so we are free to assign them to the person whom we think they best suit. For my part, I can see reasons for attributing them either to the bride, or to the Bridegroom or to the latter's companions. (St. Bernard)
But if the breasts of Christ, that is, the source of the Lord’s revelation, are better than the wine of the law, how much more will the wine of Christ, that is, the perfection of evangelical doctrine, surpass all the ceremonies of the law? If the sacraments of his incarnation vivify, how much more will the knowledge and vision of his divinity glorify? - "Commentary on the Song of Songs 1.1.1"
SERMON 3 THE KISS OF THE LORD'S FEET, HANDS AND MOUTH
Today the text we are to study is the book of our own experience. You must therefore turn your attention inwards, each one must take note of his own particular awareness of the things I am about to discuss. I am attempting to discover if any of you has been privileged to say from his heart: "Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth." Those to whom it is given to utter these words sincerely are comparatively few, but any one who has received this mystical kiss from the mouth of Christ at least once, seeks again that intimate experience, and eagerly looks for its frequent renewal. I think that nobody can grasp what it is except the one who receives it. For it is "a hidden manna," and only he who eats it still hungers for more. It is "a sealed fountain" to which no stranger has access; only he who drinks still thirsts for more. Listen to one who has had the experience, how urgently he demands: "Be my savior again, renew my joy." B...
SERMON 8 THE HOLY SPIRIT: THE KISS OF THE MOUTH
As I promised yesterday, and as you well remember, today we are to speak of the supreme kiss, that of the mouth. You must listen with more than usual attention to a theme that is sweet to the spirit above all others, that is so rare an experience and more difficult to understand. I think I should begin by considering the higher truths, and it seems to me that a kiss past comprehension, beyond the experience of any mere creature, was designated by him who said: "No one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." For the Father loves the Son whom he embraces with a love that is unique; he who is infinite embraces his equal, who is eternal, his co-eternal the sole God, his only-begotten. But the Son's bond with him is not less affectionate, for it led him even to death, as he himself testifies: "That all might know that I love the Father, rise, let us go...
SERMON 4 THE KISS OF THE LORD'S FEET, HANDS AND MOUTH
Yesterday our talk dealt with three stages of the soul's progress under the figure of the three kisses. You still remember this, I hope, for today I intend to continue that same discussion, according as God in his goodness may provide for one so needy. We said, as you remember, that these kisses were given to the feet, the hand and the mouth, in that order. The first is the sign of a genuine conversion of life, the second is accorded to those making progress, the third is the experience of only a few of the more perfect. The book of Scripture that we have undertaken to expound begins with this last kiss, but I have added the other two in the hope that you will attain a better understanding of the last. I leave it to you to judge whether this was necessary, but I do really think that the very nature of the discourse clearly suggests that they be included. And I should be surprised if you did not see that she who said: "Let him kis...
SERMON 2 VARIOUS MEANINGS OF THE KISS
During my frequent ponderings on the burning desire with which the patriarchs longed for the incarnation of Christ, I am stung with sorrow and shame. Even now I can scarcely restrain my tears, so filled with shame am I by the lukewarmness, the frigid unconcern of these miserable times. For which of us does the consummation of that event fill with as much joy as the mere promise of it inflamed the desires of the holy men of pre-Christian times? Very soon now there will be great rejoicing as we celebrate the feast of Christ's birth. But how I wish it were inspired by his birth! All the more therefore do I pray that the intense longing of those men of old, their heartfelt expectation, may be enkindled in me by these words: "Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth." Many an upright man in those far off times sensed within himself how profuse the graciousness that would be poured upon those lips. And intense desire springing from that perception i...
In short, you deserve Christ’s kiss and the continuance of your virginal glory forever, for these words are spoken to you: “Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth, for your breasts are better than wine, smelling sweet of the best ointments,” and the other verses which that divine book includes with its mystical proclamation. - "Exposition of the Psalms, Preface"
Ointments. The bosom used to be perfumed. (Athen. xv. 5., and xv. 14.)
Thy name. Thou thyself. The preaching of the gospel produced a wonderful change in the world, 2 Corinthians ii. 15. (Calmet)
The Church honours the name of Jesus on the second Sunday after the Epiphany. (A. Butler, p. 130.) (Haydock)
Thee. The martyrs and Christian virgins are inflamed with divine love.
The Gentiles who were called did not cease kissing their Redeemer’s feet, because they longed for him with uninterrupted love. Hence the bride in the Song of Songs said of this same Redeemer: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” It is fitting that she desires her Creator’s kiss, as she makes herself ready through her love to obey him. - "Forty Gospel Homilies 33"
Holy church, sighing for the coming of the mediator between God and humanity, for the coming of her Redeemer, prays to the Father that he would send the Son and illuminate him with his presence, that he would speak to the church no longer through the mouths of prophets but by his own mouth. - "Commentary on the Song of Songs 12"
“Your breasts are better than wine,” signifying by the breasts the heart. Nobody will err if he understands by the heart the hidden, secret power of God. One would rightly suppose that the breasts are the activities of God’s power for us by which he nourishes each one’s life and bestows appropriate nourishment. - "Homilies on the Song of Songs 1"
When it says “your breasts are better than wine,” it signifies that the commandments of Christ delight the heart like wine. For, as infants suck upon breasts in order to extract some milk, so also all who suck on the law and the gospel obtain the commandments as eternal food. - "Treatise on the Song of Songs 2.3"
I see two attributes that, by coming together, are made one. Justice and peace have kissed. All this becomes one in the mystery of the Lord Savior, the Son of man and of God who is our truth, kindness, peace, justice, in whom the justice of the first people and the mercy of the second people are joined together into one peace. The apostle says, in fact, “He himself is our peace, he it is who has made both one.” This is the mystery for which the church longs and cries out in the Song of Solomon: “Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth.” This is the kiss of which Paul the apostle says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” - "Homilies on the Psalms, Alternate Series 64 (Psalm 84)"
And in the Songs there are those passionate longings fit only for prostitutes. There are too those other sacred pictures boldly used to represent God, so that what is hidden may be brought out into the open and multiplied, what is unique and undivided may be divided up, and multiple shapes and forms be given to what has neither shape nor form. All this is to enable the one capable of seeing the beauty hidden within these images to find that they are truly mysterious, appropriate to God, and filled with a great theological light. - "Letter 9"