In his beautiful poem ‘Spiritual Canticle’ John of the Cross (16th century mystic) wrote in stanza 13
My Beloved, the mountains
The solitary, wooded valleys
The strange islands
The sonorous rivers
The whisper of the amorous breeze
For John, everything drew him to his Beloved. And everything became an expression of his experience of God as Beloved. It is a way of life that is sheer gift and grace. “All is One” as each of the major religions proclaim, not as an intellectual assent to Truth, but a profound experience of Love.
John does not speak of THE Beloved, but MY Beloved. The relationship is deeply personal as well as universal. Each dimension of the natural world became a metaphor an open door to the intimacy of love.
As I pondered this, the song American the Beautiful came into my consciousness. The opening lines, written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1895, are:
O beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plane
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
A woman drawn to the beauty of America asks God to shed his grace to make us one ‘hood’! Over 100 years later we open our minds and hearts to behold Beloved in all of life. What a gift it would be if each of us greeted each day as ‘My Beloved’! What a grace-filled pause it would be to receive each moment of our day as an encounter with ‘My Beloved’. I invite you to join me in the spiritual practice of receiving, beholding, and responding to Love within life as ‘My Beloved’. And may this song of love fill our land and our world with its melody.