The Mystical Vine
A treatise on the Passion of Our Lord

Saint Bonaventure

Translated from the Latin by a Friar of S.S.F.
Edited by Matthew Dallman




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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

THE ROSE OF CHARITY

We have looked at the rose itself. Now it is time to examine the rose of charity and the rose of the passion.

The estimate the ardour of the rose of charity, we must look in greater detail at our compassionate and wonderful lover. We must discover who this lover is, why he loves, the quality and extent of his love. This lover of ours has no compeer in greatness, richness, strength. Every spirit is manifest to him, for, as the psalmist says, “Thou art my God.”[1]

This verse helps us to understand clearly who our lover is—he is our God. In the words which follow in the psalm we discover why he loves. “He has no need of our good.” He does not therefore love us for anything that we can give me. His love is purely gratuitous. But if, in fact, there did happen to be anything good in us, which he might desire, it would not be anything belonging to us, but something we have received from him.

The quality of his love is described by the apostle, where he says, “while we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God.”[2] Such is the love of the righteous one for the unrighteous, of the lovely one for the unlovely, of him, who alone is good and pious, for sinners and the impious. What great honour should we pay him!

Next we shall examine the extent of his love, but could anyone ever give an adequate description of it?

1. Ps 16:2 (Vulgate).
2. Rom 5:10.


Forward to CHAPTER SEVENTEEN


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