Stanza xxxvii

We shall go at once
To the deep caverns of the rock
Which are all secret;
There we shall enter in,
And taste of the new wine of the pomegranate.

ONE of the reasons which most influence the soul to desire to
enter into the ‘thicket’ of the wisdom of God, and to have a more
intimate knowledge of the beauty of the divine wisdom, is, as I
have said, that it may unite the understanding with God in the
knowledge of the mysteries of the Incarnation, as of all His works
the highest and most full of sweetness, and the most delicious
knowledge. And here the bride therefore says, that after she has
entered in within the divine wisdom–that is, the spiritual
marriage, which is now and will be in glory, seeing God face to
face–her soul united with the divine wisdom, the Son of God, she
will then understand the deep mysteries of God and Man, which are
the highest wisdom hidden in God. They, that is, the bride and the
Bridegroom, will enter in–the soul ingulfed and absorbed–and
both together will have the fruition of the joy which springs from
the knowledge of mysteries, and attributes and power of God which
are revealed in those mysteries, such as His justice, His mercy,
wisdom, power, and love.

‘We shall go at once to the deep caverns of the rock.’

2. ‘This rock is Christ,’ as we learn from St. Paul. [292] The
deep caverns of the rock are the deep mysteries of the wisdom of
God in Christ, in the hypostatical union of the human nature with
the Divine Word, and in the correspondence with it of the union of
man with God, and in the agreement of God’s justice and mercy in
the salvation of mankind, in the manifestation of His judgments.
And because His judgments are so high and so deep, they are here
fittingly called ‘deep caverns’; deep because of the depth of His
mysteries, and caverns because of the depth of His wisdom in them.
For as caverns are deep, with many windings, so each mystery of
Christ is of deepest wisdom, and has many windings of His secret
judgments of predestination and foreknowledge with respect to men.

3. Notwithstanding the marvellous mysteries which holy doctors
have discovered, and holy souls have understood in this life, many
more remain behind. There are in Christ great depths to be
fathomed, for He is a rich mine, with many recesses full of
treasures, and however deeply we may descend we shall never reach
the end, for in every recess new veins of new treasures abound in
all directions: ‘In Whom,’ according to the Apostle, ‘are hid all
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ [293] But the soul cannot
reach these hidden treasures unless it first passes through the
thicket of interior and exterior suffering: for even such
knowledge of the mysteries of Christ as is possible in this life
cannot be had without great sufferings, and without many
intellectual and moral gifts, and without previous spiritual
exercises; for all these gifts are far inferior to this knowledge
of the mysteries of Christ, being only a preparation for it.

4. Thus God said to Moses, when he asked to see His glory, ‘Man
shall not see Me and live.’ God, however, said that He would show
him all that could be revealed in this life; and so He set Moses
‘in a hole of the rock,’ which is Christ, where he might see His
‘back parts’; [294] that is, He made him understand the mysteries
of the Sacred Humanity.

5. The soul longs to enter in earnest into these caverns of
Christ, that it may be absorbed, transformed, and inebriated in
the love and knowledge of His mysteries, hiding itself in the
bosom of the Beloved. It is into these caverns that He invites the
bride, in the Canticle, to enter, saying: ‘Arise, My love, My
beautiful one, and come; My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the
hollow places of the wall.’ [295] These clefts of the rock are the
caverns of which we are here speaking, and to which the bride
refers, saying:

‘And there we shall enter in.’

6. That is, in the knowledge of the divine mysteries. The bride
says not ‘I will enter’ alone, which seems the most fitting–
seeing that the Bridegroom has no need to enter in again–but ‘we
will enter,’ that is, the Bridegroom and the bride, to show that
this is not the work of the bride, but of the Bridegroom with her.
Moreover, inasmuch as God and the soul are now united in the state
of spiritual marriage, the soul doeth nothing of itself without
God. To say ‘we will enter,’ is as much as to say, ‘there shall we
transform ourselves’–that is, ‘I shall be transformed in Thee
through the love of Thy divine and sweet judgments’: for in the
knowledge of the predestination of the just and in the foresight
of the wicked, wherein the Father prevented the just in the
benedictions of His sweetness in Jesus Christ His Son, the soul is
transformed in a most exalted and perfect way in the love of God
according to this knowledge, giving thanks to the Father, and
loving Him again and again with great sweetness and delight, for
the sake of Jesus Christ His Son. This the soul does in union with
Christ and together with Him. The delight flowing from this act of
praise is ineffably sweet, and the soul speaks of it in the words
that follow:

‘And taste of the new wine of the pomegranates.’

7. The pomegranates here are the mysteries of Christ and the
judgments of the wisdom of God; His power and attributes, the
knowledge of which we have from these mysteries; and they are
infinite. For as pomegranates have many grains in their round orb,
so in each one of the attributes and judgments and power of God is
a multitude of admirable arrangements and marvellous works
contained within the sphere of power and mystery, appertaining to
those works. Consider the round form of the pomegranate; for each
pomegranate signifies some one power and attribute of God, which
power or attribute is God Himself, symbolised here by the circular
figure, which has neither beginning not end. It was in the
contemplation of the judgments and mysteries of the wisdom of God,
which are infinite, that the bride said, ‘His belly is of ivory
set with sapphires.’ [296] The sapphires are the mysteries and
judgments of the divine Wisdom, which is here signified by the
‘belly’–the sapphire being a precious stone of the colour of the
heavens when clear and serene.

8. The wine of the pomegranates which the bride says that she and
the Bridegroom will taste is the fruition and joy of the love of
God which overflows the soul in the understanding and knowledge of
His mysteries. For as the many grains of the pomegranate pressed
together give forth but one wine, so all the marvels and
magnificence of God, infused into the soul, issue in but one
fruition and joy of love, which is the drink of the Holy Ghost,
and which the soul offers at once to God the Word, its Bridegroom,
with great tenderness of love.

9. This divine drink the bride promised to the Bridegroom if He
would lead her into this deep knowledge: ‘There Thou shalt teach
me,’ saith the bride, ‘and I will give Thee a cup of spiced wine,
and new wine of my pomegranates.’ [297] The soul calls them ‘my
pomegranates,’ though they are God’s Who had given them to it, and
the soul offers them to God as if they were its own, saying, ‘We
will taste of the wine of the pomegranates’; for when He states it
He gives it to the soul to taste, and when the soul tastes it, the
soul gives it back to Him, and thus it is that both taste it


IN the two previous stanzas the bride sung of those good things
which the Bridegroom is to give her in everlasting bliss, namely,
her transformation in the beauty of created and uncreated wisdom,
and also in the beauty of the union of the Word with flesh,
wherein she shall behold His face as well as His back. Accordingly
two things are set before us in the following stanza. The first is
the way in which the soul tastes of the divine wine of the
pomegranates; the second is the soul’s putting before the
Bridegroom the glory of its predestination. And though these two
things are spoken of separately, one after the other, they are
both involved in the one essential glory of the soul.