In chapter 7, the beloved continues praising his bride. After reading it a few times, I found it easier to move past the interesting metaphors. These verses are such a masculine description of the incomprehensible beauty of the bride.
What I love the most is the simple, feminine response by the woman: I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me.
There is a quality unique to femininity that many refer to as "active receptivity." This is very different from "submission" in the way that we usually understand it in our culture, i.e. negative. Active receptivity is something of which Our Lady is the best model. As Pope Benedict XVI said in 2006, "In being loved, Mary is fully active because she accepts with personal generosity the wave of God's love poured out upon her" (Mass of the Rings, 25 March 2006).
I believe this active receiving of love is what the bride is doing in Song of Songs. She is generously accepting the wave of love being poured upon her by her beloved, and it is yet another example of how we can try to respond to God's love for us. But because of the effects of our culture, this is a lot harder than it sounds! It really begs the question, are we confident in our own captivating beauty?
The Blessed Mother and the bride in Song of Songs do have this confidence. While we may cringe at the graphic descriptions of physical beauty found in these scriptures, the woman's response is confident and simple. Do these words feel objectifying to us? If so, why? Maybe we can affirm that yes, we are beautiful! Or perhaps we struggle a little more to fully accept true love without confusing it for lust.
If this is something that's still difficult, I encourage you to listen to this song by Tenth Avenue North: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CUGTIWCFyo. Listen through to the end. Let the words sink in.
Whether we apply it to our human relationships or our relationship with God, let us ask Him for the grace to understand and know how to simply say, "I am my beloved's, and his desire is for me."
BONUS VID: Like so many of us women, we can grasp the love of God for us on an intellectual level. What's most difficult is truly believing it in our hearts. Oftentimes this wall is built by shame. If you're looking for a little extra encouragement, check out this video as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtcwQwgdsA. Know that you are more, and you are loved.