Leaping with the Lord

Behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains,

skipping over the hills.

Canticle of Canticles 2:8

In the midst of Passiontide, during which we contemplate our Lord’s sacrifice of the human nature he had adopted thirty-three years (and nine months) prior, we pause to celebrate the joyful day that made that sacrifice possible.

By the Annunciation of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and by her loving “let it be,” God’s “almighty word leapt down from heaven from [his] royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction.”

Our Lord’s fondness for leaping did not escape the notice of the Church Fathers.

Solomon likens our Bridegroom to “a roe, or a young hart” (Cant. 2:9), they say, “because of the flesh he assumed as a son of the ancient fathers.”

The roe is represented as leaping in the mountains, or “looking through the windows” (Cant. 2:9), because those who seek the Lord often do so in perplexity, only to find that he suddenly appears to enlighten our hearts.

The hills and mountains over and upon which he leaps may represent the virtues, which he gives us as a platform for rising ever higher. Or they may signify the pride by which we vainly seek to impede the action of the Almighty.

In either case, the Lord’s leaping refers to the path by which he approaches us, and by which we are to follow him to the happiness he promises.

By leaping from heaven to the womb, the Lord took upon himself our humanity, so that we could share in his divinity. In order to accept this gift of his divinity, we must imitate his humanity.

As he leapt from the womb to the manger, we too must practice poverty of spirit. As he leapt from the manger to the cross, we too must die to our sinful selves. As he leapt from the cross to the sepulcher, we too must accept the darkness that inevitably precedes our entrance into heavenly light.

As we rejoice in Our Lord’s first leap, and accompany him in his intermediate leaps, let us pray that he will make us fit to join in his ultimate leap: from the tomb to his heavenly kingdom.

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