I'm both fascinated and puzzled by the mystics. I find the image-rich writing intriguing, and I'm drawn to the incredible closeness to God that they experience. But my enlightenment-educated (-imprisoned?) self can't quite find the door into mysticism. While I want to be open to that kind of experience of God, I feel myself kept at a distance. But I think it's important to challenge myself with pictures of other journeys in the Christian life, so I occasionally turn to the mystics to give me that richer perspective. Earlier this year, I enjoyed Frank Laubach's Letters by a Modern Mystic (reviewed here).
This week I've been reading Madame Guyon's Song of the Bride, a kind of commentary on the Song of Songs. I really like the Song of Songs, but the way I understand its imagery is almost totally different from Guyon's perspective. I see the book more literally, about human marriage and relationship. I find allegorical interpretations, in which the relationship is actually Christ and his church (whether individuals or the whole church) a bit strained. Sure, some details fit really nicely into such an interpretation, but others are quite awkward. Can I read lines like this with a straight face: "The navel represents the part of you which is made to grow and be filled up in God" (100)?
Even questionable image-interpretation aside, I found the book difficult to focus on. Perhaps this is the fault of the translation, or maybe I just wasn't in the proper frame of mind to follow Guyon on this journey.
I'm glad to have read something by Guyon, and I'm still interested in reading her Short and Easy Method of Prayer, but my fascination with mysticism remains at a distance. I would like to be more of a Lucy Pevensie, but I'm not there yet.
eBook tags: song, the, bride, epub, download, epub, jeanne marie bouvier de la motte guyon