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Have You Seen the One I Love

Have You Seen the One I Love, Contemplations on the Song of Songs by Pope Shenouda III

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Have You Seen the One I Love

Pope Shenouda draws upon his many years of contemplation as a monk in the ancient desert of Scetis, Egypt to develop his commentary on the human soul. His Holiness employs the Song of Songs to provide the blueprint of our quest for love and hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A true Alexandrian father, descendent from Sts. Athanasius, Clement and Cyril, Pope Shenouda presents the journey toward our Beloved with a simplicity and understanding inspired by a soul that has experienced a genuine union with our Lord. His Holiness’ fifty plus years as a monk have provided him with a doctorate of faith in Christ that experience alone can teach.

The book is a translation and transcription of a lecture series given by Pope Shenouda in the 1970s. As a lecture series, it draws one in as if His Holiness were conversing directly with the reader. The imagery that prevails invokes the mind to travel to Egypt to visit with this desert monk. He encourages the reader to share in his prayers, asks the reader questions, and invites us to join him on his journey of discovering the soul.

Pope Shenouda often begins a chapter by introducing a verse as the vehicle through which he explains a general theme of Christianity. He concludes each chapter with a prayer, guiding the reader to share in the union with his Beloved. A message of hope prevails throughout all chapters, encouraging all of Christ’s flock to move closer to His heart.

The main focus of the book is to meditate on the human soul while she searches for her Beloved. The soul’s journey toward its Beloved has many seasons; as His Holiness says, “one of the most telling verses that reflects spiritual life is the last verse in chapter eight in the book of Genesis. After the Flood, we read, While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease, (Gen 8:22). In your lives, there is day and night, cold and heat, summer and winter.” It is only with an understanding of our spirituality that we may embark on our  voyage leading to our Lord.