July 2, 2007

Amoris Victima

The church where I'm working now has a grand baldachino over the tabernacle. In the center of its vault is a mosaic of the cross surrounded by two angels. The angels are holding a placard in front of the cross that says, amoris victima, victim of love.

It's true that the Latin victima is not exactly as generic a term as the English victim, but it's a defensible translation.

As I look at it each morning, the phrase has been on my mind. It's like two words that don't seem to go together, at least by the world's standards. Love is something good. Being a victim or victimizing someone else is something bad. Real love doesn't make victims, only distorted love.

And yet, if we risk love, and especially if we risk letting someone love us, we become vulnerable. Love leaves us open to injury. If we accept this, practicing patience with whatever injuries to come from our efforts at openness to love, this is the vocation of the Body of Christ in this world. This is willingness to take up the Cross.

Via non est nisi per ardentissimum amorem crucifixi, said St. Bonaventure. There is no other way but through the burning love of the Crucified.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Latin Lesson. It is very timely and appropriate given that I am awaiting the much talked about Muto Proprio from His Holiness, rumored to be released July 7th. With liberalizing the use of the 1962 Missal I am coming to you for Latin Class! You can use the dry erase board like Marisol...


Brother Charles said...

Well, brother, the Holy Father said in *Sacramentum Caritatis* that all of you seminarians ought to study your Latin.

I shall interview this Marisol to see what manner of student you are and we'll go from there.