Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where you feed, where you make your flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of your companions?
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Augustine of Hippo
“Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where do you feed your flock, where you lie down?” Neither we nor they have any doubt that the bride is speaking to the bridegroom, the church to Christ. But listen to all the words of the bride. Why do you want to attribute to the bridegroom a word that is still in the bride’s part? Let the bride say everything she says, and then the bridegroom will reply.…
Midday is coming, you see, when the shepherds take refuge in the shade; and perhaps where you are feeding your flock and lying down will escape me; and I want you to tell me, lest perchance I go as one veiled, that is, as one concealed and not recognized. I am in fact plain to see, but lest as one veiled, as one hidden, I stumble on the flocks of your companions. - "Sermon 46.36"
Why do I want you to tell me where you graze, where you lie down in the noonday? “Lest I should happen, like a veiled woman, on the flocks of your companions.” That is the reason, she says, why I want you to tell me where you graze your flock, where you lie down in the noonday. When I come to you I won’t lose my way, lest like a veiled woman I should come upon the flocks of your companions, that is to say, I should stumble on flocks that are not yours but belong to your companions. - "Sermon 147a.3"
With good reason then to this shepherd of shepherds, does his beloved, his spouse, his fair one, but by him made fair, before by sin deformed, beautiful afterward through pardon and grace, speak in her love and ardor after him, and say to him, “Where do you feed?” And observe how, by what transport this spiritual love is here animated. And far better are they by this transport delighted who have tasted of the sweetness of this love. They bear this properly who love Christ. For in them, and of them, does the church sing this in the Song of Songs. - "Sermon 88.6"
If. Christ comforts his Church. (Worthington)
He doubts not of her fidelity. (Menochius)
But the very insinuation, which she had made, causes him to give her this sort of rebuke. God is jealous, Exodus xxxiv. 14. He punishes the smallest faults. The spouse perceives this, and runs towards him.
Thyself. He who is ignorant of himself, must be so likewise of God, (Calmet) and will be sentenced to feed goats. (St. Jerome, ep. xxii. ad Eustoc.)
Kids. Which had been detained at home. They will naturally seek their mothers. All creatures will raise the soul to God, Job xii.
Shepherds. Though in the midst of a perverse generation of idolaters and philosophers, the Church will continue steadfast. (Menochius)
That which we said about heretical teachers we can also say about catholics who do not behave properly. For many of the faithful poor within the church seek to live rightly, desire to maintain a just life, and consider the example of the priests who were set over them. Thus, as long as the priests themselves do not live righteous lives, as long as they who preside do not act properly, they who follow also slip into error. This is why the church says, as though in the name of the poor and faithful, “Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where do you pasture, where do you rest at noon?” - "Commentary on the Song of Songs 43"
You see that it is not in the third hour that the spouse dines or reclines but at midday. Where do you dine, where do you rest, where shall I find you, where do you enjoy delights, where can I find you, O my spouse? Do you want to find me? At noon, in perfect knowledge, in good works, in the bright light. Because we have the noonday, that is why the devil disguises himself as an angel of light and pretends that he has the light, that he has the noonday. When heretics promise any pseudo-mysteries, when they promise the kingdom of heaven, when they promise continence, fasts, sanctity, the renunciation of the world, they promise the noonday. But since their midday is not the light of Christ, it is not the noonday but the noonday demon. - "Homilies on the Psalms 20 (Psalm 90)"
If thou know not thyself: Christ encourages his spouse to follow and watch her flock: and though she know not entirely the power at hand to assist her, he tells her, ver. 8, my company of horsemen, that is, his angels, are always watching and protecting her. And in the following verses he reminds her of the virtues and gifts with which he has endowed her.