Another post from Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, I, 7:
It’s a father, it’s a mother, it’s a nurturer. A mother, can she forget the child which she carried in her womb? And when she does forget it, I will never forget you, (Isaiah 49,15), says the Lord. The Lord your God has carried you on his arms like a little child. (Deuteronomy 1:31) Like an eagle who carries its little ones, who stretches its wings on them, who flies on them and provokes them to fly: in this way God does not turn away his looks from above the nest and guards it like the pupil of his eye: he carries us to his breasts to give us milk: he puts us on his knee and not content with nourishing us, he joins with nourishing tenderness and caresses: like a mother caresses her child who draws her milk, thus I have consoled you, says the Lord (Isaiah 56). More than all that, he is a passionate lover, a tender spouse. This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem, to the faithful soul: (Ezekiel 16) When you came into the world, you were in impurity from your father Adam, from whom you have inherited corruption and sin. The umbilical cord has not been cut: you were not washed in water, neither salted with salt, neither wrapped in linens: no one had compassion on you, neither did they regard you with an eye of pity: exposed and thrown to the earth like an aborted one by an extreme contempt from the day of your birth, you were not except for your loss and no one cared for you. This is what is by human nature itself, conceived in iniquity and sin. Then, said the Lord, I saw you in passing, poor and abandoned, and all the while dirty in your own blood and all full of impurity from your birth, you had nothing which was not made of horror and you were delivered inevitably to death, I said to you: I wish that you would live. See unhappy soul, it is I who says, see all the horror that you were in the impurity of your blood; in the filth of your sin. It is such that God speaks to the soul which he washes by baptism. But his cares are not limited here. You have grown, says the Lord. Your reason has formed little by little and you have become fit for jewellery which one gives to small girls, virtues for which it is necessary to prepare souls from their youth. You began to be able to carry fruits: your breasts grew and formed: and you reached the age where you were given lovers. But out of fear that you avoid taking someone unworthy of you, I presented myself to your desires. I passed by and saw you at this age: and although you were nude and full of confusion, without self-control and in your first desires, I married you, I called you in my bed and into the embraces which purified the soul: I contracted with you an eternal marriage. I swore by my truth that I would not abandon you and that you would be mine. I washed you with holy water. From the first days of your birth where I made it possible for you to live, you were already cleansed by the waters of baptism; but it was necessary to wash you after that of bad desires which the impure root of your lust did without stop; the impurity of blood which you were born with was again on you: I took you away by holy instructions and I placed on you the holiness of baptism. And I anointed you with holy oil, by the abundance of my graces. I gave you clothes of many colours: I decorated you with all virtues: and I hunted with care, the most beautiful furs. And I enveloped you with clothes of fine linen, which are the righteousness of the saints; and I clothed you again with the finest garments: I took away by my grace your most earthy and carnal desires. My love went beyond that and not only wanted you to be neat and proper, but rich and opulent, I gave you large ornaments, arm bracelets, a rich necklace around your breast, circles of gold, jewelled earrings and a crown on your head. You glistened of silver and gold, and all was rich and magnificent in your clothing. I nourished you in what was better and most exquisite: all the sweets were served at your table. By these ornaments, by these cares, your beauty received such a burst that everyone was ravished. I lifted you up to the throne. All of the universe talked only of your beauty which I alone gave you, says the Lord God: who is the beautiful and good par excellence and the author of all beauty and all good in my creatures.
See, Christian soul, what lover, what spouse you have been given. He found you ugly, he made you beautiful: he did not stop to embellish you more and more: he has showered on you all his gifts, all his riches: he placed you on his throne: he made you Queen: his Angels admired you as the spouse of the King of Kings, as received in his bed, united to his eternal happiness. Heaped up with his glory and delights: what have you desired, Christian soul, to know all the good things and all the love of this generous spouse?
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