TERESA of Avila would sometimes become very bold in her prayer and say to God: "Kiss Me Full On the Mouth." This is her own twist to the opening line of the Song of Songs where the author prays: "Let him kiss me, with the kisses of his mouth!"
That is an audacious prayer and, understood properly, a most radical one. For Teresa, this is an ultimate act of commitment and surrender. For her, to pray this prayer is to to give herself completely to God, with absolutely no reservations, hesitations, conditions, or restrictions. It is the ultimate prayer of singlemindedness, of purity of heart, of in Kierkegaard's famous dictum willing the one thing. Kiss me full on the mouth! A mystic's metaphor! When someone says this to God, it is a request to be taken completely, an offer of total surrender.
Stephen Hawking ends his book A Brief History of Time by saying that, until now, science and philosophy have found explanations for how and why things are as they are. We have, he says, valuable insights into reality, but lack a unified theory, a simple equation which ties everything together. That equation, he insists, should it ever be found, must be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists. The formula that ties all the bits and pieces together must be, in Hawking's view, utterly simple, something very primal.
Kiss Me Full On The Mouth Ms that description, not as the scientific equation that Hawking is seeking to explain why we and the universe exist but rather as a formula tying together all the pieces we know about prayer, love, and surrender. Here, just as in science, we have a lot of insights but lack a unifying formula. The mystics proposed such a formula and it is an utterly simple and primal prayer Kiss Me Full On The Mouth!
But it isn't a prayer that can be uttered easily. Nor, indeed, is it something that can be easily said in truth to another human being. There is an innocent romanticism inside us which lets us naively, but falsely, believe that true love and surrender are easy. This, along with other less innocent blind spots, make us naive to the fact that there are many preconditions necessary for this prayer to be said and truly meant. What are those preconditions? ever be written, could be given that title: Kiss Me Full On The Mouth. The phrase can serve as the hermeneutical key to help understand the constant struggle between resistance and surrender that rages deep inside each of us. For we are born with two great drives, both of which try to claim us.
By one, we are driven by the longing to be free, independent, to set ourselves apart. By the other, we are driven by the urge to merge, to lose ourselves, to give ourselves over to the great embrace, to return to the kind of primal intimacy that we lost at birth.
Our lives are simply chronicles of that primal struggle within us between resistance and surrender. The yearning for intimacy and surrender competes with that for independence. Thus, in both our love relationships and in our prayer, we vacillate back and forth: we give ourselves over and take ourselves back; we strive for uneonditionality in love even as we set all kinds of conditions; and we say, "kiss me full on the mouth", even as we are turning our heads (and lives) to avoid the full brunt of such an encounter.
Not until we reach the highest levels of maturity, altruism, selflessness, and sanctity can we ever ask God or anyone else to kiss us full on the mouth and really mean it. Jacques Maritain once commented that only three kinds of people think that love is easy: manipulators, who have everything confused with their own selfishness; saints, who through years of practice have made virtue easy; and naive dreamers, who don't have a clue what they are talking about!
Each of us is a manipulator, saint, and naive dreamer, all at the same time. We struggle with love and prayer, with resistance and surrender. The mystic's prayer: Kiss Me Full On The Mouth, is the clue as to how those struggles must eventually be resolved.