Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Ladder

"Because reflection
upon the nature of things
does not reach its ideal state
the life concerned with
behavior precedes it,
Ecclesiastes is rightly placed
after Proverbs.

"And since we do not gaze
upon the object
of our heavenly contemplation
unless we first
disdainfully look away
from those things
slipping away below,
the Song of Songs is rightly placed
after Ecclesiastes.

"To be sure, one first
reforms his behavior;

after a while
he reflects upon all things present
as if they were not present;

he gazes upon pure things
with heavenly and interior keenness of heart.

"And so it is
as though a kind of ladder
leading to the contemplation of God
is constructed with these books as its rungs.

after someone has suitably discharged
honorable things in the world
and then disdainfully looked away from them,
he may behold the profound depths of God
to the utmost."

From "On the Song of Songs"
by Pope St. Gregory the Great