“My dove is my only one, perfect and mine.” – Song of Songs 6:9
In the Book of Exodus we learn something about God – a name of God in fact – that seems strange to us: “You will worship no other god, since Yahweh’s name is the Jealous One; he is a jealous God” (Ex. 34:14).
Today, jealousy is seen solely as something negative, undesirable. It almost always signals possessiveness, insecurity, suspicion, and a lack of trust. Jealousy destroys relationships, indeed, suffocates them.
So how can God be the “Jealous One”? He is the Jealous One because he wants my everything. He wants me, not just part of me, but all of me – total, exclusive, undivided.
Yet, it is truly me that he wants. He wants my all, but it is my all. He wants me to give myself totally to him – to hold nothing back of myself for myself, as St. Francis of Assisi exhorts. But this complete giving of myself to him never means the annihilation of me or of my freedom; it is the highest expression of my freedom. It is not the kind of possessiveness that suffocates, but that sets free. To become one with him, to permeate him and be permeated by him, to melt with him (or, in St. Teresa of Avila’s words, to be dissolved in him) never means losing myself. I do not disappear, but become most fully me in the surrender. Continue reading