Royal Love Story

Posted by on Mar 1, 2012 in Blog/Articles | 0 comments

I had seen the film The Young Victoria at a Borders bookstore last year before they shut down and was very interested in purchasing it but, for some reason or another, I never got to it until recent weeks.  I was sublimely delighted by the film and watched it again and again, every time I got the chance.  I wondered to myself: “Why does this movie resonate so much with my heart?”

     I’ve been thinking about it over the past few weeks and have come to a conclusion as to why, not only I, but several (at least hundreds) of other women were so struck by the film.

To start off, the film is about the reign of the British Queen Victoria who falls in love with Prince Albert of Germany.  They eventually wed and, like all lovers do, they had a very bitter quarrel.  In the event of Queen Victoria’s attempted assassination the next day, Prince Albert spots the assassin just before he attempts to shoot the Queen and takes the bullet for her (just for the record, the bullets missed them both in reality.  This part was fictionalized).  But a man willing to die for his beloved; imagine that.  He took her place.  He was willing to die for her, at whatever cost…a beautiful example of the utmost chivalry.  John 15:13 comes to mind here, doesn’t it? “Greater love hath no one than to lay down his life…”

It turns out that Prince Albert does not die, but is wounded.  Here is a short clip from the film after he is shot:

(If the clip isn’t viewable)

“Why did you do it?  You’re so stupid, why did you do it?” Victoria sobs.

“I had two very good reasons,” Albert replies.

“First, I am replaceable and you are not.”

“-You are not replaceable to me!” She cries.

 “Second, you are the only wife I’ve got or ever will have; you are my whole existence and I will love you until my last breath.”

     What a beautiful parallel to the romantically intimate, tender way in which our Creator loves us.

     In the most secret and carefully hidden place in their hearts, women long for this man with so great a yearning that naught can suffice.  They long for the man who will lead them through life’s turbulent, yet exquisitely beautiful dance, a man who so tenderly reproves their misconduct and unwise decisions, as Prince Albert does for Queen Victoria; a man that continues to save them every day of their lives.  But they, in turn, must resolve to follow his lead, leaving all notions of pride at the ballroom door.

     The Man we are so fascinated by, the Prince Whom we long for, CAN be found.  He is real and tangible in so many ways, yet we have not the eyes to see Him.  He hides behind the veil of selfless humility and its darling spouse, simplicity.

     Many men, I think, want to be that Prince.  They long for opportunities to prove their worth, to prove that they have what it takes and rise to every occasion to rescue the Queen Victoria’s of their lives.  Their own subconscious longing is to be Christ; to be strong, fierce, courageous, chivalrous, and self-sacrificing.  Oh, if only they knew Who it is that they received at every Mass, if only their hearts were open and receptive to His grace, they would rapidly transform into His image, the image of He that they long so much to be.

     Both man and woman love Christ in extraordinarily different ways that are both so incredibly essential for all of humankind.  Yes, their love of Christ is so important that humankind would be spiritually lifeless without it.  Man loves Christ in his way, and woman in her own way.  These two differences are equally important, for when two are bound together by Christ, the mystery of love is complete.  They are like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together, creating the sacred Image of Christ as with no other relationship.  Do not think I am in any way leaving out the sacrament of Holy Orders, for it applies just as much, if not more, in this instance.

     When all of this has been accomplished, only the purest, most selfless tenderness can exist between the two lovers.  St. John of the Cross describes such tender love exquisitely in his beautiful poem “The Dark Night”:

One dark night,

              fired with love’s urgent longings

              – ah, the sheer grace! –

              I went out unseen,

              my house being now all stilled.

            In darkness, and secure,

              by the secret ladder, disguised,

              – ah, the sheer grace! –

              in darkness and concealment,

              my house being now all stilled.

            On that glad night

              in secret, for no one saw me,

              nor did I look at anything

              with no other light or guide

              than the One that burned in my heart.

            This guided me

              more surely than the light of noon

              to where he was awaiting me

              – him I knew so well –

              there in a place where no one appeared.

O guiding night!

              O night more lovely than the dawn!

              O night that has united

              the Lover with his beloved,

              transforming the Beloved into his Lover.

            Upon my flowering breast,

              which I kept wholly for him alone,

              there he lay sleeping,

              and I caressing him

              there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

            When the breeze blew from the turret,

              as I parted his hair,

              it wounded my neck

              with its gentle hand,

              suspending all my senses.

            I abandoned and forgot myself,

              laying my face on my Beloved;

              all things ceased; I went out from myself,

              leaving my cares

              forgotten among the lilies.

     This is glorious reminder for us, especially during the Lenten season.  It is a good reminder for women, who can often get so caught up in the affection and flattery of men and other people in general, to only desire and seek out the attention of the One Perfect Man who so flawlessly leads them through the sacred dance of life.  For men, it is a good reminder, I think, to always strive to be more like The Perfect Man; to be selfless, humble, and meek…yet strong in character and chivalrous.  Both sexes undergo the sacrificial nature of love for He Who is Love.  How bitter the chalice of self-denial is at first sip…yet, how much more sweet when tasted a thousand times, how much more desirable and delicious….how much more beautiful.