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We come to this prerogative of this holy heart: It is the altar upon which a great and perpetual sacrifice, most agreeable to God, is constantly offered. On it are immolated all the natural passions which reside in the human heart. There are found at once the concupiscible and the irascible appetites of the soul, given by God to man that they may be led to hate, fear, avoid, combat and destroy the things that hurt them, and to love, desire, hope for and seek that which will benefit them. These two principal passions comprise eleven others, which are like soldiers fighting under two captains, or like weapons and instruments used to attain the two ends mentioned above.

The irascible appetite possesses five passions, namely hope, despair, daring, fear and anger. The concupiscible appetite includes six: love, hatred, desire, abhorrence, delight and sadness.

Man’s revolt against the commandments of God caused all these passions to revolt against self and to fall into such disorder that instead of being completely subject to the will, which is the queen of all the soul’s faculties, they often make it their slave. Instead of being the guardians of the heart in which they reside, preserving it in peace and tranquility, the passions usually become as many executioners who torment the heart and fill it with conflict and war.

Such was not the case with the passions that reside in the corporeal heart of the Queen of Angels, for they were always entirely subject to her reason and to the Divine Will that held sovereign sway over every part of her soul and body.

Just as these passions were rendered divine in the adorable Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so were they sanctified most excellently in the holy Heart of His Blessed Mother. The fire of divine love, burning day and night in the ardent furnace of this virginal heart, so purified, consumed and transformed her passions into its own substance, that, as this heavenly fire had no other object save God alone, towards whom it constantly tended with incomparable ardor and impetuosity, so these passions were always turned towards God and exercised in His service. They were moved and led exclusively by the love of God, which possessed, animated and inflamed them in so marvelous a manner that they became a perpetual and admirable sacrifice in honor of the Blessed Trinity.

We may consider the most pure body of Mary as a sacred temple, indeed as the most august temple that ever was or will be, next to the temple of the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ, her divine Son. We see her virginal heart as the sacred altar of this temple. We behold Divine Love as the high priest offering to God uninterrupted sacrifices in this temple and on this altar. We contemplate the Divine Will bringing many victims to be sacrificed on this altar of Mary’s heart. Among the victims we distinguish the eleven natural passions slaughtered by the flaming sword which the high priest holds in his hand, that is by the efficacy of Divine Love. They are consumed and transformed into the heavenly fire which burns upon the altar of her heart; they are immolated to the most Holy Trinity in a sacrifice of praise, of glory and of love.

Thus did the great high priest, Divine Love, sacrifice on the holy altar of Mary’s heart, all her passions, inclinations and sentiments of love, hatred, desire, aversion, joy, sadness, hope, distrust, daring, fear and anger.

And this sacrifice commenced the first instant the holy Heart of Mary began to beat in her virginal breast, that is, the very first instant of this Immaculate Virgin’s life. It continued uninterruptedly until her last breath, gaining in sanctity and in love with every passing moment.

O great and truly admirable sacrifice, so wonderfully agreeable to the God of hearts! O blessed Heart of the Mother of Fair Love, consecrated altar whereon so divine a sacrifice was offered! Blessed art thou, O most Holy Heart, for having loved and desired nothing but Him who alone is amiable and desirable! Blessed art thou for having established thy joy and thy contentment in loving and honoring Him, who alone is capable of satisfying the heart of man, and for having known no other grief than that caused by the offenses committed against His Divine Majesty!

O Blessed Heart, thou hast hated nothing, fled from nothing, feared nothing, except what could injure the interests of thy Beloved Son, and hast never known anger except towards that which was opposed to His glory!

O Blessed Heart, so completely closed to the vanities of the earth and of self-interest that not one trace of them ever found place in thee! Thy confidence in God was equaled by thy firm trust in divine bounty, and, fired with holy generosity, never didst thou give way before the obstacles raised by hell and the world to prevent thee from advancing along the path of sacred love, but thou didst always surmount them with unremitting constancy and invincible strength.

These are some of the marvelous prerogatives of the admirable Heart which beats in the virginal breast of the Mother of God. Is it not true that, even if we considered only the material and corporeal Heart of the Queen of Heaven, it would still be worthy of the greatest honor and veneration?

Blessed indeed are the hearts of the true children of Mary, who strive to live in conformity with the most holy Heart of their Mother most admirable!

Think, think of the honor that is due to her Heart, most noble part of the virginal body that gave human flesh to the Eternal Word, forever the center of adoration of the angels and saints in heaven! What honor is due to her heart, life-principle of the Mother of God and of God-made-man!

Above all, what great veneration is merited by the Heart that God Himself loved and glorified most highly, the Heart that adored and loved God more perfectly than all the hearts in heaven and upon earth! May every heart praise and magnify thee forever and ever!

 

St. John Eudes, Admirable Heart of Mary, Part One, Chapter III. Edited by the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at www.heartsofjesusandmary.org.

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During the thousand years that the Temple of Jerusalem had been built there had been kept within its walls many very solemn feasts, but there never had been one so holy and solemn as was that whereon the most precious Virgin offered herself to God, and was presented by her parents to the Divine Majesty.

The principal subject of this solemnity, the mystery of Mary’s Presentation, is very great and marvelous.

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We come to this prerogative of this holy heart: It is the altar upon which a great and perpetual sacrifice, most agreeable to God, is constantly offered. On it are immolated all the natural passions which reside in the human heart. There are found at once the concupiscible and the irascible appetites of the soul, given by God to man that they may be led to hate, fear, avoid, combat and destroy the things that hurt them, and to love, desire, hope for and seek that which will benefit them. These two principal passions comprise eleven others, which are like soldiers fighting under two captains, or like weapons and instruments used to attain the two ends mentioned above.

The irascible appetite possesses five passions, namely hope, despair, daring, fear and anger. The concupiscible appetite includes six: love, hatred, desire, abhorrence, delight and sadness.

Man’s revolt against the commandments of God caused all these passions to revolt against self and to fall into such disorder that instead of being completely subject to the will, which is the queen of all the soul’s faculties, they often make it their slave. Instead of being the guardians of the heart in which they reside, preserving it in peace and tranquility, the passions usually become as many executioners who torment the heart and fill it with conflict and war.

Such was not the case with the passions that reside in the corporeal heart of the Queen of Angels, for they were always entirely subject to her reason and to the Divine Will that held sovereign sway over every part of her soul and body.

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The Virginal Heart of the Blessed Mother of Jesus has more love for her Dear Son than all the angels and saints together; thus the Sacred Heart of the Only Son of Mary is so full of love for His most loving Mother that He is more to her than all created things together.

Let us offer to Jesus the Heart and love of His Blessed Mother in reparation for all our want of love and service towards Him. Let us offer to His most worthy Mother, who is also our Mother, the Heart and love of her Son in satisfaction for our ingratitude and infidelity towards her.

Not only is the Blessed Virgin the first object, after God, of the ardent love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but the Sacred Heart is really the Heart of Mary for five principal reasons.

The first three reasons are: 1. because the Eternal Father has given her the Heart of His Only-begotten Son as a father gives the heart of a son to his mother; 2. because the Son has given His most loving Heart to the most admirable of mothers; 3. because the Holy Spirit has given Mary the very spirit of love which unites the Blessed Trinity in the Sacred Heart of her Son. These Three Divine Persons continually and eternally give Mary the adorable Heart of the God-Man, so that she may give us her most precious gift, the Sacred Heart of her Divine Son.

Incessant and everlasting praise be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit for this infinitely precious gift that They have given to our Blessed Mother and through her to us. O Most Holy Trinity, I offer Thee the most adorable Heart of Jesus and the most loving Heart of His Mother in thanksgiving for Thy infinite goodness in my regard. I also offer Thee, in union with those two most amiable Hearts, my own unworthy heart, with the hearts of all my brethren, humbly beseeching Thee to take full possession of them forever.

The fourth reason why the Sacred Heart is truly the Heart of Mary is that the Eternal Father, having considered the Blessed Virgin from the very instant of her conception as the one chosen to be the Mother of God, gave her from the first moment of her life a love similar to His love for His Divine Son. According to many theologians, Mary had more love for Jesus at that moment than all the Seraphim will ever have. Therefore, Mary’s incomparable love for Jesus drew Him into her sacred womb and into her Heart to rest there eternally as the Heart of her Heart and as a Divine Sun that sheds its celestial light into her soul and inflames it with divine fire.

The fifth reason why the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the heart of Mary is that, at the moment of the Incarnation, she cooperated with the Blessed Trinity to form the human Heart of Jesus, which was formed of her virginal blood. The blood of her holy Heart passed into the Heart of Jesus and received the perfection that was needed to form the Heart of the God-Man. This divinely human and humanly divine Heart dwelt in the sacred womb of Mary as a furnace of divine love, a furnace which transformed the Heart of Mary into the Heart of Jesus and made these two Hearts but one and the same Heart in a unity of spirit, affection and will.

The holy Heart of Mary was, therefore, always closely united to the Sacred Heart of her Divine Son. She always willed what He willed and also consented to act and to suffer so that the work of our salvation might be accomplished. Hence, the Fathers of the Church plainly assert that the Mother of the Savior cooperated with Him in a very special way in the redemption of mankind. That is why our holy Redeemer told St. Bridget of Sweden, whose revelations have been approved by the Church, that He and His holy Mother worked in perfect harmony, uno corde, for our salvation.

Thus the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the Heart of Mary. These two Hearts are but one Heart, which was given to us by the Blessed Trinity and by our Blessed Mother, so that we, the children of Jesus and Mary, might have but one Heart with our Heavenly Father and our holy Mother and that we might love and glorify God with the same Heart, a Heart worthy of the infinite grandeur of His divine majesty.

The preceding excerpt is taken from St. John Eudes, The Sacred Heart of Jesus, P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 1946, and edited by the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at www.heartsofjesusandmary.org. The Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary is a contemplative community of lay and religious dedicated to serving the Hearts of Jesus and Mary through Eucharistic Adoration, contemplation, and corporal works of mercy.

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Among all the virtues which shine as so many stars, or rather as so many suns in the heaven of the holy childhood of our thrice-hallowed Mary, I shall mention here twelve of the most remarkable.

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The following selection is taken from The Admirable Heart of Mary written by Saint John Eudes. – Asst. Ed.

What is Calvary? It is a mountain, the most important and notable mountain of the Holy Land. What is the Heart of the Mother of God? Is it not also a mountain, the most illustrious mountain of that blessed land referred to in these words of Sacred Scripture: “Lord, thou has blessed the land” (Ps 84:2). This land is the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her Heart is the noblest and highest peak of her body and of her soul.



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Mary’s pure Heart is truly a heaven of which the sky over our heads is a mere shadow and image. It is a heaven exalted above all others, of which the Holy Spirit speaks when He says that the Savior of the World went out from a heaven surpassing all others in excellence, when He came on earth to redeem mankind: A summo caelo egressio ejus (Ps 18:7). As Our Admirable Mother had formed her Divine Son in her Heart before conceiving Him in her womb, we can truly say that, having remained hidden in her Heart for a little while even as He had been in the Heart of His Heavenly Father from all eternity, Our Blessed Savior emerged from it to manifest Himself to men. But just as He went forth from heaven and His Father’s bosom, without however relinquishing them: Excessit, non recessit, (1) so also is His Mother’s Heart a heaven whence He came forth in such a manner that He nevertheless remained and will remain forever in it: “For ever, O Lord, thy word standeth firm in heaven” (Ps. 118:89).



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The first foundation and the primary source of the devotion to the most holy Heart of Mary is the adorable Heart of the Eternal Father and His unfathomable love for the Blessed Mother of His Only-begotten Son. This infinite love induced our Heavenly Father to give us many beautiful images and figures of the most worthy Heart of His holy Mother.

God the Father, to whom we assign by appropriation the creation of the world, together with the establishment and fulfillment of the Old Law, was pleased to foreshadow, in every part of the universe and in all the mysteries, sacrifices and ceremonies of the Old Testament, His only Son through whom He created and willed to renew all things. Likewise, the Eternal Father lovingly prefigured, both in the visible world and in the rites of the Mosaic Law, Mary, the woman chosen from all eternity to be the Mother of the adorable Redeemer. “It was she whom the Prophets foretold long before her birth,” says St. Jerome. “It was she whom the Patriarchs described in many figures; it was she who was announced by the Evangelists.” (1) “Toward her converge all the predictions of the Prophets, all the mysteries of Scripture,” says St. Ildephonsus. (2) Elsewhere he writes: “The Holy Spirit foretold her through the Prophets, announced her by the divine oracles, manifested her in figures, promised her by means of the things which preceded her birth, and fulfilled in her the things which followed it.” (3)



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The following is the conclusion  of a three-part series on the Magnificat from The Admirable Heart of Mary by Saint John Eudes.-Asst. Ed.

Chapter Nine

“He hath showed might in His arm”

Of the preceding verse the Blessed Virgin Mary praised and glorified the effects of divine mercy originating in the Incarnation of the Saviour and extending from one generation to another to all who fear God. In this verse she magnifies and exalts the prodigies of divine might which shine forth so admirably in this same mystery.

The great God, she says, hath put down the mighty with His arm. What arm is this? Saint Augustine, Saint Fulgentius and Saint Bonaventure all maintain that it is the Word Incarnate, according to the prophet Isaias, “And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” which text Saint John applies to the Son of God. Since it is with his arms that man performs his actions, it is similarly through His divine Son that God accomplishes all things. “Just as man’s arms,” says Saint Albert the Great, “extend from his body, and his hands from both the arms and body, so also does the Son of God extend from the almighty Father, while the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.”

Read more: Exposition of the Magnificat by Saint John Eudes – Part III

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The following is part two of a three-part series on the Magnificat from The Admirable Heart of Mary by Saint John Eudes.-Asst. Ed.

Chapter Six

“From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”

This brings us to the second part of this verse, namely, “From henceforth all generations shall call me Blessed.” We need not be astonished if the most holy Virgin says something here about herself which is highly favorable, and refers to her own glory and praise, for it is the Holy Spirit Who speaks through her lips. Here is one of the greatest, most celebrated and most important prophecies that was ever made or ever will be made, announcing to mankind the infinity of admirable things that God will accomplish everywhere on earth in every age and everlastingly in Heaven on behalf of the Mother of the Redeemer, in order to make her known, loved, served and honored throughout the world.

This great prophecy, informing us that all generations are to acknowledge and acclaim the Mother of the Blessed Saviour, applies to the whole universe, from the highest Heaven to the lowest depths of Hell. For not only has the Most Blessed Trinity sent the Archangel Gabriel, one of the first princes of Its empire, as ambassador, to announce to Mary that she was full of grace, and that the Lord was with her in order to accomplish in her the greatest wonder of all time, and that she is blessed forever among all women; this same Trinity also exalts Mary above all the angels on the highest throne of glory.

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The following is part one of a three-part series on the Magnificat from The Admirable Heart of Mary by Saint John Eudes.-Asst. Ed.

 

Excellence of the Sublime Canticle

Sacred Scripture includes a number of inspired canticles that were composed by saintly women, for example, the canticles of Mary, sister of Moses and Aaron, of Deborah, of Judith, of Anna, mother of the prophet Samuel, all of which give thanks to God for outstanding favors received from His divine bounty. But the holiest and worthiest of all canticles is the Magnificat of the Mother of God, which stands unsurpassed because of the dignity and holiness of its author, as well as because of the great and admirable mysteries it contains. This is to say nothing of the miracles that God has performed by means of this canticle. While there is no record of any miracles having been performed through other canticles, Saint Thomas of Villanova,  the Archbishop of Valencia, points out that upon the recitation of this canticle the Holy Spirit wrought a number of wonders on behalf of Saint John the Baptist, the holy precursor of the Son of God, as well as in the person of his parents. Experience also has shown on more than one occasion that the Magnificat is an excellent means of expelling evil spirits from the bodies of those who are possessed by the devil. Several other esteemed writers report various miracles which have taken place through the recitation of this canticle.

Read more: Exposition of the Magnificat, Treating its Significance Verse by Verse

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This eternal predestination is the first thing to which the Holy Ghost would draw our attention. He does so by the opening words read in the Epistle of the Mass for the day of her Nativity: “Ab aeterno ordinata sum.” (Prov 8:23)

So, it is true to say that this amiable Infant, who is called Mary, daughter of Joachim and Ann, has been predestined and chosen by God from all eternity, that in her and by her, He may perform most marvelous things suitable to His eternal designs.

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Before expounding the prodigious virtues and the incomparable marvels of the admirable Heart of Mary, according to the lights which He Who is the Source of all light will be pleased to give me, I shall point out the various meanings of the word “heart” in Sacred Scripture.

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In this chapter St. John Eudes lists twelve mysteries of Mary’s childhood.
Asst. Ed.

The first mystery of Mary’s Childhood is her eternal predestination.

The second contains the promises which Divine Mercy has made to us concerning her, together with the oracles of Holy Scripture which have announced her coming.

The third comprises the types and figures which the Holy Ghost has placed before us in the Old Law.

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The only Son of God was not content to become man for our salvation, but He willed to come into this world not like Adam, in the fullness of manhood, but by way of generation, having only a Mother upon earth as He had only a Father in heaven. Now He could have created this Virgin of whom He was to be born, in the fullness of perfect age, as He did the first woman. But the excess of His bounty towards us obliged Him to use another measure, and, by passing through the state of infancy, to honor all the posterity of Adam with three marvelous advantages and three very singular privileges.

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The Obligation of All Mankind to Have a Special Devotion
to the Different States and Mysteries of the Life of the Most Sacred Virgin

There are reasons infinite in number why we should show ardent zeal in honoring the various states and mysteries in the life of our most amiable Savior, but I shall confine myself to the five principal ones.

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First Part – Containing the Reasons for the Title of This Book, Our Obligations to Honor This Amiable Infant, and 12 Wonderful Mysteries that Pertain to Her Holy Childhood

The Reasons for the Title of This Book

Be not astonished, dear reader, that I have chosen as title for this book, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God, for, in truth, this holy Childhood is replete with marvels.

This incomparable Virgin is admirable not alone for the grandeur of the divine maternity, and in the glorious accessories of this most sublime dignity, her sovereign power, eminent holiness, and unspeakable glory, but she is admirable in the lowliness and feebleness of her Childhood. She is not only admirable in her surpassing qualities of eldest Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Temple of the most Holy Trinity, Queen of men and Angels, Empress of heaven and earth; but also in quality of daughter of Joachim and Ann. Not only is she admirable in the conception and birth of the Eternal Word, but her own conception and birth are subjects of marvelous grandeur.

I behold the angels all in transports. Seeing her mount glorious and triumphant into heaven they exclaim: “Who is this that cometh up from the desert of the earth, winging her way with such magnificence towards heaven, flowing with delights and leaning upon her beloved?” (Song 8:5){footnote}Quae est ista quae ascendit de deserto, deliciis affluens, innixa super dilectum suum?{/footnote} But these same angels, perceiving that from her birth Mary appeared as a glorious orb of day commencing to shine, and little by little becoming fair as the moon, bright as the sun, cry out in ravishing accents: “Who is this that cometh as the morning (quasi aurora consurgens), fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army in battle array?” (Song 6:9){footnote}Quae est ista quae progreditur quasi aurora consurgens, pulchra ut luna, electa ut solt terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata?{/footnote}

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Testimony of the Fathers and Ascetical Writers (1)

Having listened to the Holy Spirit, whose divine Heart is the third foundation of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God, revealing to us through Sacred Scripture many marvelous truths which should inspire us to render fitting honor and praise to Mary’s admirable Heart, we must next hearken to the Spirit of God promulgating this devotion through the writings of the Fathers and authoritative writers of the Church.

First, there are twelve Fathers and ascetical writers: St. Augustine, St. Leo the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Anselm, St. Peter Chrysologus, St. John Damascene, St. Bernard (who with other members of the Cistercian Order received most signal favors from our Lady) St. Bonaventure and St. Bernard, two illustrious sons of St. Francis, St. Lawrence Justinian, Richard of St. Lawrence, and venerable Louis of Grenada, (son in religion of the great St. Dominic, who preached so extensively the devotion to the Holy Rosary.)

Our first quotation is from the pen of St. Augustine. In a sermon on the Annunciation he brings out our great obligation to the loving Heart of Mary in return for her admirable consent to the Angel’s request.

O most happy Mary, who can render thee adequate thanks for the help thou hast given to a lost world by thy consent (2) to Gabriel’s demand? What praise can be presented by our fallen nature, which found the beginning of the deliverance through thee? Accept, we beseech thee, our thanks, humble and weak though they be; accept our resolutions and excuse our sins by thy prayers. Receive what we offer thee, give us what we ask thee, pardon what we fear, thou who art the sole hope of our happiness (3).

Another testimony of the ardent devotion of St. Augustine to the Admirable Heart of Mary is found in his book on the Mother of God: Materna propinquitas nihil Mariae profuisset, nisi felicius Christum Corde, quam carne gestasset. “The divine maternity would not have profited Mary if she had not first borne Jesus Christ in Her Heart more happily and advantageously than in her womb” (4).

St. Leo the Great, who lived in the same century as St. Augustine, also speaks of the Holy Heart of Mary. He preached the glory of Mary’s virginal Heart in the city of Rome, as is proved from the following words from his sermon on the Birth of Christ: “A royal virgin, of the race of David, is chosen to be the Mother of the Infant-God and to conceive Him in her Heart before bearing Him in her womb” (5).

St. Anselm, the illustrious Archbishop of Canterbury and worthy son of St. Benedict, clearly reveals his love and devotion to the Mother of God in his writings, especially in a book called: The Excellence of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One passage in this work makes a special mention of the loving Heart of Mary. After the saintly Archbishop has pronounced a beautiful eulogy on the glorious Assumption of Our Lady, he speaks thus: “What praise and thanksgiving do men and all other creatures owe the Blessed Virgin Mary! The most pure holiness and the most holy purity of her pious Heart, which surpasses incomparably the holiness and purity of all other creatures, merited that God choose her to be the restorer of the world which was lost” (6).

St. Anselm is right in attributing the resurrection and restoration of man and of all things to the most pure and holy Heart of the Mother of the Sovereign Restorer. It was by the purity and holiness of Mary’s Heart that she drew God the Son into her holy womb so that we might have a redeemer.

St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop of Ravenna, to console and strengthen his flock in the midst of the many disasters and calamities of war, strove to imprint in their hearts the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, exhorting them to have recourse to her mercy and to supplicate her to be their shelter and refuge in the misery that encompassed them. Those who followed the saint’s advice felt the effects of the inconceivable goodness of Mary, of whom this holy bishop speaks beautifully in a sermon on the Incarnation. Here are his very words:

He who is not surprised and amazed in considering the perfections of Mary’s soul, ignores the greatness and wonder of God. Heaven is filled with awe at the sight of the majesty of God, the angels tremble with respect, all nature is overwhelmed at the brilliance of this power. Yet a virgin receives this God of infinite grandeur in her heart, where she gives Him a holy and worthy dwelling-place. And in return for so pleasing a lodging He wills that she exact from His goodness peace for the earth, glory for heaven, life for the dead and salvation for all who are lost (7).

Can anything more glorious be said of the Heart of the august Mother of God? The Heart of Mary is the sacred palace of the Sovereign Monarch of the universe. It is the holy house of the Eternal Wisdom which the Holy Spirit expresses in these words:

Wisdom hath built herself a house, she hath hewn her out seven pillars. She hath slain her victims, mingled her wine, and set forth her table. She hath sent her maids to invite to the tower, and to the walls of the city. Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me. And to the unwise she said: Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you (Prov 9:1-5).

What is this house that Eternal Wisdom, the Son of God, has built to dwell in? It is the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What are the seven columns? They are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, which support and sustain this heart and render it unshakeable to all the assaults of the devil. The victims are Mary’s thoughts, affections, desires, which she sacrificed to His divine Majesty. The wine that Divine Wisdom mingled with water is the divinity of the Son of God and His humanity, united in the womb of Mary by the holiness of her Heart, which drew Him from the eternal bosom of the Father.

St. John Damascene, the great defender of holy images against the impious Emperor Leo and the iconoclasts, wrote several excellent essays on the devotion to the Mother of God from which the following lines are taken:

… Thy lips were fashioned only to praise Jesus Christ and to be pressed against His. Thy mouth and thy tongue cannot taste anything but the heavenly bread and wine of the words of God, whose sweetness can fill and inebriate thee. Thy pure and immaculate Heart is always turned towards thy beloved, and is applied only to contemplate Him, to desire Him, to seek Him and to aspire after Him … (8).

St. Bernard, the glory and ornament of the Cistercian Order, expresses his ardent love for Mary’s maternal Heart in these beautiful words:

Open, O Mother of Mercy, open the door of thy merciful Heart to the prayers that we offer to thee with sighs and tears. Thou dost not reject the sinner even when he is corrupt with sin, if he comes to thee and begs thine intercession with a contrite and humble heart. It is no wonder that thy heart is filled with the greatest compassion, since the incomparable work of mercy ordained by God was accomplished in thy sacred womb in which God hath been pleased to dwell. He hath built a house of the immaculate substance of thy virginal flesh, a house supported by seven silver columns, a house in which He placed a golden bed, thy Holy Heart, on which He took His peaceful rest. The seven columns are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, and thou art the unique and holy woman in whom the Savior of the World finds perfect and pleasing repose. In thy pure womb and in thy loving Heart He pours all the treasures of his power and love. Hence the Holy Spirit derives unfeigned pleasure from thee, O admirable Mary, when He wills to consecrate thy womb by the fulfillment of His divine mysteries. This adorable Spirit is a consuming fire, which inflames thy most holy soul, and consequently the loving Heart, which is filled with the splendor of His Divine Majesty (9).

The virginal Heart of His heavenly Mother so charmed his soul that St. Bernard expresses a loving complaint in one of his works: “O Ravisher of Hearts, thou hast ravished my heart; when wilt thou give it back to me?” (10)

The Order of St. Francis has always counted sons outstanding for their writings and sermons on the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. Among these sons St. Bonaventure was most prominent for the fervor of his devotion to the Queen of Heaven. His special love for Mary is shown in the psalter composed in her honor, containing 150 psalms modeled on the psalms of David, in one of which he calls the Heart of Mary the source of salvation. Omnis salus de Corde Mariae scaturizat (11).

St. Bonaventure in other treatises on the devotion to Mary portrays the symbolic pictures of her august Heart. In his commentary on the second chapter of St. Luke he calls Mary’s Heart the Ark of the Covenant. As the Ark contained a portion of manna which God sent down from heaven so the Heart of the Savior’s Mother kept all the mysteries of her divine Son, all the words of life and the sacred truths that He brought down from heaven to be the sweet and precious manna of our souls (12).

St. Bernardine of Siena was another son of the Seraphic St. Francis. So ardent and tender was St. Bernardine’s devotion to the Mother of God and to her amiable Heart that it is difficult to find his equal.

In a sermon on Mary’s Immaculate Conception St. Bernardine shows the wonders of Our Lady’s admirable Heart which will be an object of rapture for all the denizens of heaven. One marvel of the Heart of Mary is that it is the focus of a mirror towards which all the rays of the sun converge. In this mirror he sees a fire so ardent that it inflames everything placed in front of it. “Similarly,” says the saint, “all the vehement desires of all the hearts of Patriarchs, Prophets, and the other saints of the Old Testament concerning the coming of the Redeemer, united in the Holy Heart of Mary as in their center, kindle therein such ardent desires that no mind can conceive them and no words express them” (13).

St. Lawrence Justinian, Patriarch of Venice, gave manifest marks of his very special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. His book, De triumphanto agone Christi, “The Triumphant Agony of Christ,” represents Mary’s sorrowful Heart as a clear mirror of Our Lord’s Passion and as a perfect image of His Death: Clarissimum passionis Christi speculum et perfecta mortis ejus imago. This implies that he who could see the maternal Heart of the sorrowful Mother, as the angels see it, would also see the cords, the thorns, the nails, the spear, the wounds, the pain and all the torments that the beloved Son suffered in His soul and body.

Richard of St. Lawrence, zealous penitentiary of Rouen, 400 years ago, wrote a work in 12 parts called The Praises of the Glorious Virgin, in which he mentions six things concerning Mary’s Heart.

The admirable Heart of the Mother of God is the source of salvation (14). It is the first of all hearts, which was worthy to receive in itself the Son of God, who came out of the bosom of the Father into this world (15). In the meek and humble Heart of Mary mercy and justice gave each other the kiss of peace (16). The amiable Heart of Mary received the same wounds as our loving Redeemer suffered in His body (17). The Heart of our Mother was the armory and treasury of Sacred Scripture for the Old and New Testaments (18). Lastly, Mary’s admirable Heart is the book of life in which the life of Jesus Christ was written in gold letters by the Holy Spirit, the finger of God (19).

The white habit of the sons of St. Dominic shows that they belong in a special way to Mary, the Queen of Angels. After the principal aim of the Order, the glory of God, St. Dominic founded it to teach by word and example the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a powerful means of salvation.

From among the writings of St. Dominic’s spiritual sons I have chosen a few excerpts from the Venerable Louis of Grenada on the loving Heart of the Savior’s Mother.

The holy Gospel ends the account of the sweet birth of the Redeemer by a very expressive sentence in which it mentions the Heart of Mary thus: “Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.” The story of this Gospel is truly a royal banquet and a table which God has set for the elect and has covered with thousands of kinds of delicious food. The Child, the Mother, the birth, the crib, the angels and the shepherds, all details are filled with miracles distilling drops of honey. Everyone may take what pleases him and eat what he likes. As for myself I confess that the last dessert, I mean the last sentence in that gospel story, which pictures the Heart of Mary, is a dish of unspeakable deliciousness …

O Queen of Heaven, O Gate of Paradise, Lady of the World, Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, Throne of Wisdom, Temple of the Living God, Guardian of the secrets of Jesus Christ, and Witness of all His works, what didst thy Heart feel in all these mysteries. … Who can understand what was in thy Heart? She was astonished to behold the Word of God, a babe without speech, to see the Almighty wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a crib. She was enraptured by the goodness of God, His generosity, His humility and His extraordinary devotion. She was astonished to see how greatly He loved man, how much He cherished them, did them honor, longed for their salvation, ennobled and lifted them up to such a height by the mystery of His sacred humanity (20).

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Further testimony is found in the writings of four learned writers, who are almost like four Evangelists in teaching us the devotion to the admirable Heart of Mary. I cite Joseph de la Cerda, Benedictine monk and professor of theology at the University of Salamanca; John Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris and French delegate to the Ecumenical Council of Constance; Nicolas Salicet, Abbot of the Cistercian Order; and Bartholomew de los Rios, of the Order of St. Augustine, whose works are entitled Hierarchia Mariana, “Hierarchy of Mary.”

Listen to the Salutation to the Most Holy Heart of Mary, taken from the Antidotarium animae, “Antidotarium of the Soul” (21), of Abbot Nicolas, whose assurance that he garnered the prayers and salutation from the writings of the Fathers demonstrates the antiquity of the devotion to the admirable Heart of the Mother of God.

I shall speak to thy Heart, O Mary, mirror of angelic beauty. I shall speak to thy most pure Heart, O Mistress of the World, I shall prostrate myself before thy holy temple and thank it with all the powers of my soul. I shall salute thy immaculate Heart from the inmost recesses of my soul, thy Heart which was found worthy to receive the Only-begotten Son of God coming out of the bosom of His Eternal Father.

Hail, unique sanctuary, which God consecrated by the unction of the Holy Spirit. Hail, Holy of Holies, which the Supreme Pontiff dedicated for his admirable and ineffable entrance on the day of His Incarnation. Hail Ark of Sanctity, which kept within itself the Sacred Scripture engraved by the finger of God.

Hail, Golden Urn, filled with celestial manna. In thee is found a delicious banquet, in thee are all delights, in thee are the remedies and sources of grace.

Hail, Virginal Heart, inviolable sanctuary and noble dwelling-place of the Blessed Trinity, in which divinity met humanity in a kiss of love. Rejoice with an eternal joy.

O Emerald Cup, whose brilliance will never fade, thou hast offered to our King, thirsting for our salvation, the delicious nectar of refreshing faith, at the blessed moment when thou didst answer the salutation of the Archangel: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done unto me according to thy word.” May Thy soul exalt, O Mary, Mother of sweetness, and may every creature praise the happiness of thy most holy Heart from which comes the source of our salvation.

O Furnace in which the Seraphim are inflamed! O Paradise of Delights! Oh, what pulsations of love, O Blessed Virgin Mary, did thrill thy Heart, when the vivifying Spirit of God, like a burning wind, breathed on thee and drew thee to Him with thy whole soul.

May thy most noble Heart be forever blessed, O Mary, thy Heart adorned with the gifts of celestial wisdom and inflamed with the ardor of charity. May thy Heart be blessed, in which thou didst meditate and cherish the sacred mysteries of our redemption, keeping them to reveal to us the opportune time. Praise and love to thee, O most loving Heart; honor and glory from all creatures forever and ever. Amen.

Among the Religious Orders existing in Holy Church, none has shown more zeal and ardor in the veneration and service of Our Lady than the illustrious Society of Jesus, whose constant work in this regard falls into three classes.

First are the Sodalities of Our Lady, established in all Jesuit colleges, which are schools of Christian virtue as well as learning, blessed schools teaching the science of eternal salvation, which can never be wanting to those who cherish heartfelt devotion to the Mother of God.

Secondly, by their apostolic preaching the Sons of St. Ignatius have spread the knowledge and exaltation of the Admirable Mother of God throughout the world.

Thirdly, many of the members, who number over three hundred authors of note in this one Society, have devoted their pens to proclaiming the glorious perfections of the Admirable Heart of Mary.

I have no intention of setting forth here all that these writers have penned concerning the august Heart of the Queen of Heaven, for it would make this work too long. I shall merely mention twelve whom I consider to be as twelve apostles of the perfections of Mary’s incomparable, Heart. Here are their names: Francis Suarez; Osorius, one of the first disciples of St. Ignatius; St. Peter Canisius; Sebastian Baradius; Father John Eusebius of Nieremberg; Father John Baptist St. Jure; Father Stephen Binet; Father Francis Poire; Father Paul Barry; Christopher de Vega; Cornelius a Lapide; and Father Honorat Nicquet.

If you ask me where these remarkable writers learned the science of the saving devotion to the Heart of Mary, I can only reply that it sprang from the zealous heart of their illustrious Father, St. Ignatius, who bore constantly from the day of his conversion to the end of his life the image of the Admirable Heart of the Mother of our Savior, which is preserved as a precious relic in the Jesuit College at Saragossa.

May Almighty God vouchsafe that the example of this great saint inspire the hearts of the readers of this book to imitate his devotion to the most Holy Heart of the Glorious Virgin Mary!

This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, part seven, chapter I. St. John Eudes is a spiritual father of the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a contemplative community of lay and religious dedicated to serving the Hearts of Jesus and Mary through Eucharistic Adoration, contemplation, and corporal works of mercy. For more information on the order, visit heartsofjesusandmary.org.

Notes

(1) Part seven is an abridged translation of parts seven and eight of the original French work.

(2) The significance of these words of St. Augustine may be inferred from the words of Richard of St. Lawrence: Ex Corde beatae Virginis processerunt fides et consensus per quae duo initiata est salus mundi. “From the Heart of the Blessed Virgin came the two things that marked the beginning of the salvation of mankind, namely faith, and consent which Mary gave to the mystery of the incarnation.” De laud. B.M. lib 41. partit. 2.

(3) Serm. 2 de Annunt.

(4) Cap. 3.

(5) Serm. de Nativ. Domini.

(6) De Excell. Mariae, cap. 9.

(7) Serm. 140 de Annunt.

(8) Orat. I de Nativ. B. Virg.

(9) Serm. panegyric.

(10) In medit. sup. Salve.

(11) Psal. B.V. ps. 79.

(12) Virginis fuit arca continens divinorum eloquiorum arcana. Et ideo per arcam Moysis designator, de qua dicitur quod continebat tabulas legis divinae. In cap. 2 Luc. Unde Cor.

(13) Serm. 4 de Concept B.V. art. 3, cap. I.

(14) De Laud, B.V. lib. 2, partit. 2, p. 104.

(15) Ibid.

(16) Ibid.

(17) Ibid.

(18) Ibid., lib. 10, p. 593.

(19) Ibid., lib. 4, p. 309.

(20) This excerpt is taken from the Addition to the Memorial.

(21) This salutation is in Latin in the original edition of the Admirable Heart. Cf. Oeuvres Completes, v. 7, p. 295 ff.

 

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Devotion to the admirable Heart of Mary is by no means new, for it springs from the adorable Heart of the most Holy Trinity, and it is as old as the Christian religion and the Gospel itself. St. Luke the Evangelist bears witness to this in one chapter of his gospel by making twice a particular mention of her most holy Heart. In the 19th verse of chapter 2 he says: "But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart," and in the 51st verse: "And his mother kept all these words in her heart."

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Christ gave all Christians this command: "Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm" (Song 8:6), that is, impress upon yourself inwardly and outwardly the image of my interior and exterior life. "For love is as strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell," which means, as I have died a most cruel death to turn your love back to me, so if you love me, you must likewise die to sin, to yourselves, to the world and to all things, in order to live only in me and for me. As my infinite love for you would have made me suffer even greater torments if such had been necessary to save you from hell, so also, if you love me, you must be ready to suffer the pangs of hell rather than offend me!

Such is the command of the Son of God to every faithful soul, but no one has ever kept it perfectly except the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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"My beloved to me, and I to him" (Song 2:16). "I to my beloved, and my beloved me" (Song 6:2). "I to my beloved, and his turning is towards me" (Song 7:10), with His mind, His heart, His affection and His whole being.

It is not without mystery that the Blessed Virgin Mary repeats the three foregoing verses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaking in the sacred Canticle (Song of Songs), which is so mysterious and full of eternal verities. The preceding three verses admit of nine explanations, each revealing to us the incomprehensible love of the Almighty for the peerless Virgin and the ardent love of her virginal Heart for God, Her Creator.

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"I sleep, and my heart watcheth" (Song 5:2). It is the glorious Virgin Mary who speaks, or rather the Holy Spirit who utters these words through her virginal lips and reveals to us five mysteries most gloriously perfected in her blessed Heart.

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Only mental blindness or prodigious ignorance of the things of God could lead us to doubt that the devotion of the Rosary of the Most Blessed Virgin came from heaven and was inspired by God. It is approved and practiced by the universal Church; it contains the holiest prayers anyone could possibly say, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Creed, and it is a most excellent means of honoring the first mystery of the life of Jesus, the greatest wonder God ever accomplished on earth, the miracle of the Incarnation of the Son of God in the most holy Virgin Mary. This incomparable wonder and admirable mystery, which perpetually enraptures all heaven and there adored without interruption, should be adored just as incessantly on earth, because it transpired on earth for the benefit of the dwellers of the earth, and because the Church Militant is bound to follow and imitate the Church Triumphant in heaven….

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"All the Glory of the King’s Daughter is Within"

Infinite goodness compels God the Holy Spirit to disclose to us the inestimable treasures hidden in the marvelous Heart of Mary and to proclaim them through Sacred Scripture, the inspired word of God. The first significant text that I shall point out is taken from the 44th Psalm: "All the glory of the king’s daughter is within" (Ps. 44:14), where the Holy Spirit reveals that the admirable Heart of Mary is a source of benefactions without number and of every kind.

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Life and vision, in a Christian soul, constitute the same principle. According to God’s Word, Christian life and vision are one and the same thing, since faith, which is the light and vision of the just man, is also his life, as it is written: "The just man lives by faith" (Rom. 1:17). Eternal life consists in knowing God, as His Son Jesus Christ teaches us when He addresses His Heavenly Father, saying: "Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God" (Jn. 17:3). Since the life of God abides in His knowledge and love of Himself and of His divine perfections, so the life of the children of God consists in knowing and loving the Eternal Father. Those who know God by the light of faith and love Him with a supernatural love are alive with God’s own life, and God is living within them. He is the life of their hearts and of their souls.

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The glory of God is a perfection consisting in his most clear knowledge of his divine perfections, the sum of which, being perfectly understood by his divine intelligence, constitutes the essential glory of his adorable Majesty.

Felicity is another divine perfection, consisting partly in God’s knowledge, partly in his love of himself. The union of these two spiritual activities constitutes the incomprehensible and ineffable bliss of his divine Majesty. The divine Eternity of God maintains him at every moment in full possession of all the grandeurs, glories, joys and felicities. He has ever enjoyed or ever will enjoy while the ages course along.

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The peace of God is another divine perfection completely realizing its faithful image in the admirable Heart of the most holy Mother of God. But before studying the reflection, let us gaze at the original and consider this adorable perfection of the peace of God Himself.

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Among the several names given to God in Sacred Scripture, none occurs more frequently than that of Lord. It is the name his Divine Majesty constantly assumes when speaking to men. "I am the Lord" (Exod 29:46; Lev 19:32). He wishes to impress upon our minds and in our hearts a most high esteem, a profound respect and a complete submission towards the supreme authority of his adorable Sovereignty.

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Everything in nature, grace and glory, all the effects of power, wisdom, goodness, mercy and justice of God, all the mysteries, actions and sufferings of the God-Man, all the sacrifices, sacraments and functions of God’s Church, in a word, all things in heaven, on earth and even in hell, are like so many voices proclaiming God’s ardent zeal for His own glory and for the salvation of souls.

In the first place, God does everything for Himself and for the glory of His divine Majesty: “The Lord hath made all things for himself” (Prov. 16:4). Being the first principle and the last end of all things, it were impossible for Him to act otherwise. This zeal for His own glory fills Him with an infinite hatred of everything that is contrary to it, that is, every kind of sin, especially vanity, presumption and pride. Whereas the humble render honor and glory to God in all things, the pride are like thieves who would take for themselves the honor and glory which belong to God alone. This same zeal for His honor leads God to derive His glory from all created things, even from the greatest evils. He would never permit such evils to exist if He did not have the power to turn them to His greater glory. As St. Augustine expresses it: “He has deemed it preferable to derive good from evil, than to prevent evil altogether” (1). Finally, the zeal of the Son of God for His Father’s honor induced Him to assume human nature, to be born in a stable, to live thirty-four years on earth amidst tribulations and sufferings, and to die on the Cross, that He might atone for the insults offered by sinners to God the Father and to glorify Him in a manner worthy of His infinite Majesty.

In the second place, God’s ineffable goodness and immense love for all the souls created to His image and likeness enkindles in His Heart a most ardent zeal for their salvation. It is this zeal that induces Him to avail Himself, in order to save souls, of His Divine Essence, His power, wisdom, goodness, love, charity, mercy, justice and all His other perfections. The three Divine Persons, their thoughts, words and actions, the life, passion, precious blood and death of the Son of God, the angels, the saints, the entire Church with the sacraments she administers, all God’s works, all He is, everything He has, everything is employed to procure the salvation of souls. […]

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God’s meekness, patience and clemency are three divine perfections which are joined with mercy to form one and the same perfection, although their effects are different.

Mercy regards the misery of creatures in general, to relieve and to deliver them from its fetters. The first and greatest of miseries, the source of all wretchedness is sin. When man is so unhappy as to offend God mortally, he at once becomes the object of God’s wrath which would crush him the very instant he consents to sin, as he infinitely deserves to be. But divine meekness prevents the destruction and arrests the torrent of God’s just anger, ready to pour upon the sinner. If man perseveres in his crime, he deserves to be cast upon divine vengeance, but divine patience interposes and persuades God to suffer the sinner and await his repentance with admirable goodness.

These are the effects of divine meekness and patience. God’s clemency is manifested by remitting entirely or in part the punishment due to sin.

Whoever is in mortal sin deserves the eternal punishment of hell, but divine clemency often sends temporal affliction to those who are in that miserable state, to oblige them to struggle out of it, and thus become delivered from eternal suffering. If they will be converted at the very instant they feel sentiments of true remorse, divine mercy effaces the guilt of sin from their souls. […]

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Divine Mercy is a perfection directed towards the miseries of creatures, tending to alleviate them and even to free them from created things when such a liberation enters into the designs of Divine Providence, which does all things with measure, number and weight (Wis 11:21).

This adorable mercy extends, like goodness itself, to all God’s works: “His tender mercies are over all his works” (Ps 144:9). God’s mercy overshadows the works of nature, the works of grace and the works of glory.

Mercy supervises the works of nature, because God has created out of nothing all things contained in the natural order. It overshadows the works of grace, because man had fallen into the horrible abyss, and Divine Mercy not only drew him from its depths but reestablished man in a state of grace so Godlike and noble that from being a member of Satan (as he was by his crime) he became a member of Jesus Christ.

God’s mercy permeates the works of glory, because God was not content simply to raise man to the supernatural and sublime state of Christian grace, making him thus partaker of the divine nature. The Creator further designed to withdraw man from the baseness, miseries, imperfections and perils which surround him here below, and to elevate him to heaven, even to the throne of God, to grant participation in his everlasting glory and the enjoyment of his eternal happiness. God has willed to share all his possessions with man, his creature. […]

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Sacred theology distinguishes in God three kinds of goodness, which are fundamentally one and the same: natural goodness, moral goodness and goodness of benevolence or bounty, which is sometimes called benignity. Natural goodness is none other than the perfection and beauty of divine nature, containing the infinite excellences of the Godhead. Moral goodness comprises all the moral virtues that God possesses so eminently and in so high a degree that they are infinitely beyond what a created spirit can think or express.

The goodness of benevolence or bounty is God’s infinite inclination to communicate himself and it proceeds from his natural goodness. As a vessel brimming with a precious liquor tends to overflow, so a being filled with perfection has a natural inclination to communicate its fullness. God is an immense ocean, filled to overflowing with infinite good and divine perfections, and he possesses an unutterable and incomprehensible propensity to communicate them. […]

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It is an indubitable maxim, in which all theologians concur with the Angelic Doctor, that God gives us His graces in a manner conformable and proportionate to the quality and dignity of the state and condition to which He calls us. And so Divine Bounty having chosen St. Joachim and St. Ann to be father and mother of her who was to be Queen of all the Saints, Mother of the Saint of Saints, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, filled them with all His gifts and graces so that they were possessed of extraordinary sanctity. And since the Father of mercies and God of all consolation willed through them to give her to us who, after her Son, is the most excellent model of all perfection, the most high throne of all the virtues, and the most rich treasure of all sanctity, who can doubt that He showered upon them, who were to be the source and origin of this immense sea of graces, all imaginable virtues and perfections, and these in a very high degree?

We may behold in them, then, the most lively faith, most firm hope and most ardent love for God and very perfect charity for their neighbor, unparalleled piety, and devotion, profound humility, extraordinary abstinence, and marvelous purity.

Behold the vigor of their faith and the firmness of their hope. The consideration of their sterility ought to have debarred them from all hope of having descendants; but it may be said of them as of their father Abraham, they believed and hoped even against hope: “In spem contra spent” (Rom. 4:18). This rendered them worthy to be the father and mother of the Mother of God and of all the children of God. […]

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Divine wisdom and truth are communicated to the holy Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary in no lesser degree than Divine power and strength.

If the Holy Spirit assures us that the soul of the just man is the seat of Divine Wisdom, we can well say that the Heart of Mary, Mother of Jesus, is the throne of this same Wisdom, the highest and most magnificent throne that it ever had or shall have on earth and in heaven.

The Heart of Mary is not merely the throne of Wisdom, but its living image, for it is the Heart of the Mother of Him whom Sacred Scripture calls “the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:21-24). In Christ are all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God, and He certainly dispensed them in an incomparably higher manner to His Mother than to King Solomon and all the sages and wise men of the universe.

Mundane prudence and the wisdom of the flesh never found admittance into her wise Heart, which was and still is an inexhaustible treasure and bottomless abyss of angelic prudence, holy science, heavenly light and wisdom divine, because her luminous Heart always was and ever shall be the abode of the Eternal Sun and of Uncreated Wisdom, Who has always dwelt therein. It is the city mentioned by the Prophet Isaias: “One shall be called the city of the Sun” (Isa. 19:18). […]

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In this chapter I shall show how Mary’s Heart bears a striking resemblance to divine purity and sanctity. The most pure and holy Heart of Our Lady is a living image of those two adorable perfections, which are one and the same, for St. Dionysius tells us that sanctity is perfect purity, (1) purity meaning freedom from the slightest imperfection.

The most holy Heart of Mary is indeed an excellent image of divine purity and holiness. Not only was her most pure and holy Heart always far removed from every kind of sin, but it was entirely free from attachment to created things, and intimately united to God by its pure and holy love for Him together with the eminent practice of all the other virtues which Mary’s Heart possessed in so high a degree. The Queen of Virtues is called by St. John Damascene “the abode and the sanctuary of all virtues.” (2) Even though Our Lady dwelt for years in this world full of filth and abomination, poisoned by the venom of sin, her most holy Heart never contracted the least stain or blemish, was never attached by an inordinate affection to any creature nor even to God’s gifts and graces. The Blessed Virgin remained always intimately united to God, as though nothing else existed save God and herself. Thus were the divine words most perfectly fulfilled in her divine Heart: “Let my heart be undefiled in thy justifications,” (Ps. 118:80) that is, let my heart be immaculate by its union and adherence to Thy divine Will, which justifies, sanctifies and even deifies the hearts that love it and perfectly follow it. […]

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It is in the heart, that is, in the very depth and substance of the Christian soul, that sanctifying grace resides and exercises its powerful influence. There grace establishes the throne of its power, extending to the memory, the intellect and the will, affecting all the higher and lower faculties, and all the internal and external senses.

Granting this, I say that the admirable Heart of Mary is an ocean of grace. Yet it is not I who make this statement, it is the Archangel Gabriel, sent by God from Heaven to announce to the Queen of Angels that the divine Majesty had chosen her to be the Mother of His Divine Son. The Archangel greets Mary by telling her first of all that she is “full of grace” (Lk 1:28). Notice that he does not say she will be, but that she is full of grace.

Would you know how it is that Mary was full of grace even before the Son of God became Incarnate in her womb? You must consider two truths taught by several distinguished theologians. […]

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Among His countless words in praise of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit honors His spotless Bride with the glorious tribute of proclaiming that she is clothed with the Sun: “A woman clothed with the Sun” (Apoc. 12:1). What is this Sun? It is the Sun of Divinity and of the divine perfections, according to the explanation of several holy Fathers. Our Lady is not merely clothed with and surrounded by this Sun; she is completely filled and penetrated by it. St. Andrew of Crete praises the incomparable Virgin Mary with appropriate dignity when he calls her “the compendium of God’s incomprehensible perfections.” (1)

Now if this is true of the Blessed Virgin’s sacred person, it is still more true of her holy Heart, the noblest part of her being, the source and sanctuary of the virtues of humility, obedience and charity which elevate her to the sublime and divine state that she personally revealed to St. Brigid. (2) Her glowing Heart is the perfect expression and marvellous compendium of all the attributes of the Divine Essence. It is the beautiful mirror in which the ardent love of Jesus Christ for His most amiable Mother reflects so excellently all the perfections of His divinity and His humanity. […]

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It is an undoubted fact that if man and woman had continued in the state of original innocence wherein God had created them, woman would not have had to endure the pangs of childbirth, since it was in punishment of her sin that Divine Justice pronounced against her this decree: “In dolore paries“: (1) “Thou shalt bring forth in sorrow.”

Now the birth of our admirable Virgin not being sullied with the guilt of original sin, ought not to have carried with it the effects of this condemnation. The Holy Spirit compares her birth to the birth of a star, dissipating darkness and diffusing joy: “a star shall come forth out of Jacob” (2) And St. Ildephonsus declares emphatically that our incomparable Mary was not born as the other children of Adam: “Maria non sic est nata, sicut solent pueri et puellae nasci.” (3) […]

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On this Feast of St. John Eudes, Apostle of the Two Hearts, we provide the following excerpt from St. John Eudes on Our Lord’s desire that his Mother’s Heart be venerated. – Ed.

If we… lend our ears to Jesus, the great teacher of the devotion to Mary’s august Heart, He will impart to us many… edifying and consoling truths. Let us listen.

I alone, Our Lord tells us, can worthily proclaim the devotion which the hearts of all who love me shall cultivate towards the Heart of my holy Mother, for I am the source and principle of all the great and marvelous qualities to be found in this abyss of wonders, and I alone have a perfect knowledge of the eminent perfections of her Heart. […]

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Divine Mercy is a perfection directed towards the miseries of creatures, tending to alleviate them and even to free them from created things when such a liberation enters into the designs of Divine Providence, which does all things with measure, number and weight (Wis 2:21).

This adorable mercy extends, like goodness itself, to all God’s works: “His tender mercies are over all His works” (Ps 144:9). God’s mercy overshadows the works of nature, the works of grace and the works of glory.

Mercy supervises the works of nature, because God has created out of nothing all things contained in the natural order. It overshadows the works of grace, because man had fallen into the horrible abyss, and divine mercy not only drew him from its depths but reestablished man in a state of grace so Godlike and noble that from being a member of Satan (as he was by his crime) he became a member of Jesus Christ. […]

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The entire earthly life of our adorable Savior was a continual exercise of charity and goodness towards us. But it was at the time of His Passion that He gave us the most remarkable proofs of His love. Then it was that out of the abundance of his charity, He suffered frightful torments to deliver us from the terrible punishments of hell and to win for us the everlasting joys of heaven. It was then that His adorable body was covered with wounds and bathed in His blood. His sacred head was pierced with sharp thorns, His hands and feet were transfixed with huge nails, His ears filled with blasphemies and curses, His lips moistened with gall and vinegar, and his soul forcibly and painfully wrenched from His body by the cruel Jews. At that time particularly His divine Heart was rent by countless painful, bleeding wounds. Indeed, one can count the wounds in the adorable Heart of Jesus. There are two kinds of wounds, resulting from two different causes. […]

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Before expounding the prodigious virtues and the incomparable marvels of the admirable Heart of Mary, according to the lights which He Who is the Source of all light will be pleased to give me, I shall point out the various meanings of the word “heart” in Sacred Scripture.

1. The word “heart,” first of all, signifies the material and corporeal heart that beats within our breast, the noblest part of the human body. It is the principle of life, the first organ to begin to live and the last to be stilled in death; it is the seat of love, hatred, joy, sadness, fear and every passion of the soul. Of this heart does the Holy Spirit speak when He says: “With all watchfulness keep thy heart, because life issues out from it” (Prov 4:23). […]

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The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Furnace of Ardent Love for His Most Holy Mother. Nothing is easier than the proof of this truth. The ineffable graces with which our Savior endowed His Blessed Mother clearly manifest that His love for her is a love without measure or limit. She is, after His Divine Father, the first and most worthy object of His love. He loves her incomparably more than all His angels, saints and other creatures together. The extraordinary favors with which He honored her and the wonderful privileges He conferred upon her, far beyond any other creature, are clear proofs of this truth. Let us examine these numerous and impressive privileges.

First of all, the Blessed Virgin is the only human being whom the Son of God chose from all eternity to elevate above all created things, to set on the highest throne of glory and grandeur, and to adorn with the most admirable of all dignities, the Motherhood of God. […]

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It is certainly true that this adorable Heart is a burning furnace of divine love, radiating its fire and flame in all directions, in heaven, on earth, and even in hell: in heaven in the Church Triumphant, on earth in the Church Militant, and in purgatory in the Church Suffering, and to some degree even in the hell of the damned.

If we lift our eyes and hearts to heaven, to the Church Triumphant, what shall we see? We shall behold an innumerable army of saints, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors and virgins. What are all these saints? They are so many flames from the immense furnace of the divine Heart of Jesus. Is it not the love of that kind Heart which brought them into the world, enlightened them with the light of faith, and gave them strength to conquer the devil, the world and the flesh? Is it not the goodness of that amiable Heart which adorned them with all virtues, sanctified them in this world and glorified them in the other; which kindled in their hearts the love they bear to God, inspired their lips with His divine praises, which is the source of all that is great and holy and admirable in them? If then one celebrates during the course of the year so many feasts in honor of these same saints, what a solemnity is due to this divine Heart which is the principle of everything that is glorious and noble in all the saints! […]

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Let us consider the wondrous effects of the inconceivable goodness and the unspeakable love of the Sacred Heart towards us. Two of these effects which embody many more are here given.

The first is that of having delivered us from the abyss of evils into which sin had plunged us. By sin we were made enemies of God, the object of His wrath and curse, excommunicated from the Most Holy Trinity, anathematized by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, separated from the company of angels, banished from the home of our Heavenly Father; by sin we were driven from paradise, cast into hell, plunged into the devouring flames of eternal fire, subjected to the terrible tyranny of Satan, enslaved by demons, given over to their rage and fury, condemned to the rightful punishments of hell, all without hope of succor or relief. […]

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We shall never be able to understand adequately and esteem at its full value the inconceivable grace Our Lord has granted us in giving us His divine Heart. Let us picture a man who was such a favorite of the king that he could truthfully say: “The king’s heart belongs to me.” What happiness and joy to be so favored! But we have infinitely more than the heart of an earthly king. We have the Heart of the King of kings, who loves us so ardently that each one of us can truly say: “The Heart of Jesus belongs to me.”

Yes, this admirable Heart is mine. It is mine because the Eternal Father has given it to me; it is mine because the Blessed Virgin has given it to me; it is mine because He Himself has given it to me, not only to be my refuge and shelter in my needs, to be my oracle and my treasure, but also to be the model and rule of my life and of my actions. I wish to study this rule constantly so as to follow it faithfully. I must consider what the Heart of Jesus hates and what it loves, in order to hate only what it hates and love only what it loves. The only thing it hates or ever shall hate is sin. Did His gentle Heart feel any hatred for the miserable Jews who persecuted Him so unjustly or for the executioners who treated Him so cruelly? No, He never experienced the emotion of hatred. On the contrary, He besought His Eternal Father to pardon His executioners and even excused the most outrageous of all crimes. […]

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As the adorable heart of our Savior was on fire with infinite love for His most holy Mother, the anguish which He bore in seeing her plunged into a sea of sorrow at the time of His Passion was beyond the power of human word or thought. The Blessed Virgin was the Mother of our Redeemer and she ever sustained in her heart an unceasing combat of love. She knew that it was God’s will that her Beloved Son should suffer and die to save souls. Thus her most ardent love for that divine will and for the salvation of souls placed her in utter submission to the commands of God. Her incomparable motherly love for her dear Son, however, caused her unspeakable sorrow, in view of the torments that He was to suffer to redeem the world.

The saints teach that, when the day of His Passion had come, in accordance with the loving obedience with which He always honored His holy Mother, and the goodness He always showed in consoling His friends in their affliction, He took leave of His dear Mother before the beginnings of His sufferings. To do all things out of obedience to the will of His Father and His Mother, since she had not a will different from the Father’s, He asked permission of her to carry out what His Eternal Father had commanded Him. He told her that it was the Will of the Father that she should accompany Him to the foot of the Cross and that, after His death, she should wrap His body in a shroud and place it in the tomb. The saints also teach that He commanded her what to do and where to remain until His resurrection. […]

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As the adorable heart of our Savior was on fire with infinite love for His most holy Mother, the anguish which He bore in seeing her plunged into a sea of sorrow at the time of His Passion was beyond the power of human word or thought. The Blessed Virgin was the Mother of our Redeemer and she ever sustained in her heart an unceasing combat of love. She knew that it was God’s will that her Beloved Son should suffer and die to save souls. Thus her most ardent love for that divine will and for the salvation of souls placed her in utter submission to the commands of God. Her incomparable motherly love for her dear Son, however, caused her unspeakable sorrow, in view of the torments that He was to suffer to redeem the world.

The saints teach that, when the day of His Passion had come, in accordance with the loving obedience with which He always honored His holy Mother, and the goodness He always showed in consoling His friends in their affliction, He took leave of His dear Mother before the beginnings of His sufferings. To do all things out of obedience to the will of His Father and His Mother, since she had not a will different from the Father’s, He asked permission of her to carry out what His Eternal Father had commanded Him. He told her that it was the will of the Father that she should accompany Him to the foot of the Cross and that, after His death, she should wrap His body in a shroud and place it in the tomb. The saints also teach that He commanded her what to do and where to remain until His resurrection. […]

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In the time of the Mosaic Law one of the greatest wonders of the world was the temple of Jerusalem. Yet this stupendous temple was merely a figure and an image of the multitude of temples to be found in the Christian world. It prefigured particularly the Sacred Humanity of the Son of God, for Christ referring to His own body said to the Jews: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).

The temple of Jerusalem was a figure of Holy Church and a figure of each Christian. It prefigured our churches and cathedrals, but was also a representation of a temple far more holy and august than any material structure. What then is the true temple? It is the Holy Heart of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church says of her person that Mary is “the temple of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,” and we can apply these words with still better reason to her admirable Heart (since)… it is the source of all the qualities and excellences with which she is adorned. If, according to the divine Word, the body of each Christian is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19), who will dare to deny this characterization to the most worthy Heart of the Mother of all Christians? I affirm, therefore, that the Holy Heart of Mary is the true temple of the Divinity, the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, the Holy of Holies of the Blessed Trinity. […]

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Almighty God fashioned two orders of creatures at the beginning of the world, angels and men; the angels in heaven, men on earth. Both of them were so ungrateful that they revolted against their Creator, the angel through pride and man through disobedience to the commandment of God. The sin of the angel, being a sin of pride, was found to be so enormous in the eyes of God that divine Justice obliged Him to drive the angelic sinner out of paradise and cast him into hell. But His Mercy, seeing that man had fallen into sin through the temptation and seduction of Satan, took pity on him and resolved to withdraw him from the miserable state to which he had been reduced, even making a pledge to that effect. And even the countless and enormous sins committed by the Jews, the Gentiles and all men since that promise were not capable of preventing its fulfillment, but they did delay it for many centuries, during which time the whole race of Adam, condemned and cast out by God, was plunged into an abyss of darkness and a whirlpool of inexplicable evils from which it was impossible for it to emerge unaided. The more humanity went forward, the more deeply mired it became in this gulf, the more it wallowed in the mud and filth for its sins. (1) […]

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The Garden of Eden described in the second and third chapters of Genesis is one of the most expressive figures drawn by the omnipotent and all-wise hand of God to represent the Heart of His beloved Daughter, the Blessed Virgin Mary. His infinite goodness has given us an excellent picture of her immaculate Heart. The earthly paradise of Scripture is the perfect representation of another paradise; it is the paradise of the first man, Adam, excellently portraying the paradise of the second man, Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer.

To view this picture in its true light, we must consider many aspects of it. […]

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The only Son of God was not content to become man for our salvation, but He willed to come into this world not like Adam, in the fullness of manhood, but by way of generation, having only a Mother upon earth as He had only a Father in heaven. Now He could have created this Virgin of whom He was to be born, in the fullness of perfect age, as He did the first woman. But the excess of His bounty towards us obliged Him to use another measure, and, by passing through the state of infancy, to honor all the posterity of Adam with three marvelous advantages and three very singular privileges.

The first is, that by this birth of the glorious Virgin, the Divine Bounty has given us two great Saints, Joachim and Ann, in quality of father and mother of her who is Mother of our Savior. Without them we should be bereft of these particular models of high sanctity and of their powerful intercession for us with their holy daughter Mary and their adorable son, Jesus. St. Joachim and St. Ann are two brilliant stars in the heaven of the Church which shed upon it the light of their powerful influence and salutary grace. […]

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The Admirable Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is not only a fountain, as we have seen, it is also a sea, of which the ocean created by God on the Third Day is a beautiful figure….

St. John Chrysostom says that the heart of St. Paul is a sea: Cor Pauli Mare Est, (1) but the Holy Spirit Himself gives this name to the most holy Mother of God, and therefore to her Heart, to which the title is even more applicable than to her person, for we shall show that her Heart is the principle of all the holy qualities that adorn her. […]

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It is an indubitable maxim, in which all theologians concur with the Angelic Doctor, that God gives us His graces in a manner conformable and proportionate to the quality and dignity of the state and condition to which He calls us. And so Divine Bounty having chosen St. Joachim and St. Ann to be father and mother of her who was to be Queen of all the Saints, Mother of the Saint of Saints, and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, filled them with all His gifts and graces so that they were possessed of extraordinary sanctity. And since the Father of mercies and God of all consolation willed through them to give her to us who, after her Son, is the most excellent model of all perfection, the most high throne of all the virtues, and the most rich treasure of all sanctity, who can doubt that He showered upon them, who were to be the source and origin of this immense sea of graces, all imaginable virtues and perfections, and these in a very high degree?

We may behold in them, then, the most lively faith, most firm hope and most ardent love for God and very perfect charity for their neighbor, unparalleled piety, and devotion, profound humility, extraordinary abstinence, and marvelous purity. […]

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Our Lady’s most blessed Heart is the wonderful fountain that God caused to spring from the ground at the beginning of the world, as described in the second chapter of Genesis. “A spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth” (Gen 2:6). St. Bonaventure tells us that this fountain was a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “She was prefigured in the fountain that sprang from the earth.” (1) But we have equal reason to say that this represented her Heart, which is truly a living fountain whose heavenly waters irrigate not only the whole earth, but every created thing in Heaven as well as on earth.

Mary is the sealed fountain of the holy Spouse, which her divine Bridegroom calls “a fountain sealed up” (Cant. 4:12), for it remained sealed not only against the world, the devil and every kind of sin, but it was closed even to the Cherubim and Seraphim, who could not penetrate the marvelous secrets or comprehend the inestimable treasures hidden by God in Our Lady’s pure Heart. […]

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What is this earth and what is its center? I find several meanings of the word “earth” as mentioned in Sacred Scripture, among which two seem to be most important. The first is the earth created by God at the beginning of the world, which He gave to Adam and his descendants. “But the earth he has given to the children of men” (Ps. 113:16). The second is the earth made for the new man, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, to whom the following words were spoken: “Lord, thou hast blessed thy land” (Ps. 84:2).

The first earth incurred the wrath of God because the first man sinned. “Cursed is the earth in thy work” (Gen. 3:17). The fallen earth is a land of misery and darkness, of disorder and death, a land of never-ending woe. In the words of Job, it is “a land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth” (Job 10:22). […]

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Christian faith teaches that there are three Persons in the adorable mystery of the Holy Trinity; three Persons who have but one and the same divinity, one and the same power, wisdom, goodness, one and the same mind, will, and even one and the same heart. Thence it is that our Savior, as God, has but one and the same Heart with the Father and the Holy Spirit; and as man, His humanly divine and divinely human Heart is but one also with the Heart of the Father and the Holy Spirit, by a unity of mind, love and will. Therefore to adore the Sacred Heart of Jesus is to adore the Heart of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; to adore a Heart that is a burning furnace of love towards us. Into that furnace we must plunge so as to burn there forever. Unhappy they who shall be cast into the terrible furnace of eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels, but blessed are they who shall be thrown into the eternal fire of divine love which enkindles the adorable Heart of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for our sake. That we may stir ourselves to plunge in wholeheartedly, let us picture what that fire and that love are. […]

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Innumerable reasons urge us to offer our worship and honor to the Sacred Heart of our most adorable Savior with extraordinary devotion and reverence. All these reasons are embodied in the words of St. Bernardine of Siena, who calls this loving Heart: “A furnace of ardent love to enkindle and inflame the whole universe.” (1) Most certainly the admirable Heart of Jesus is a furnace of love for His Divine Father, for His Blessed Mother, and for His Church Triumphant, Militant and Suffering, and also for each one of us.

Let us consider, first of all, the most brilliant flames of this great furnace of love for the Eternal Father. What mind can conceive and what tongue express the tiniest spark of this illimitable flaming furnace of love for His Father? It is a love worthy of such a Father and of such a Son. It is a love that most perfectly equals the ineffable perfections of its beloved object. Here is a Son infinitely loving a Father who is infinitely lovable, a God loving a God. Here is love in its very essence loving eternal love: a love that is boundless, incomprehensible, infinite, passing all limits, and loving in turn a love that is boundless, incomprehensible, infinite, and passing all limits. In a word, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, whether considered in His divinity or in His humanity, is more ardently enkindled with love for His Father, loving Him infinitely more at any given moment, than all the hearts of angels and saints together can love Him throughout all eternity. […]

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St. Bernard appropriately refers to the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist as “the Love of loves,” Amor amorum. If we use the eyes of faith to contemplate the marvelous effects of our Savior’s ineffable goodness to us in this adorable mystery, we shall see eight flames of love issuing continually from this wondrous furnace.

The first flame is the inconceivable love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which impelled Him to imprison Himself in this Sacrament and has constrained Him to abide there continuously night and day, for nearly two thousand years, to be always with us, so as to fulfill the promise of these words: Ecce ego vobiscum sum onmibus diebus, usque ad consummationem saeculi. “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt. 28:20). He is the Good Shepherd who wishes always to be with His flock. He is the divine Physician who wishes always to be at the bedside of His patients. He is the Father full of affection who never leaves His children. He is the Friend most loyal and tender, whose delight is to be with His friends: Deliciae meae esse cum filiis hominum (Prov. 8:31). […]

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O Good Jesus, Lamb without spot, who suffered so many torments on Your Cross, while beholding the virgin Heart of Your dearest Mother plunged into an ocean of sorrows, teach me, I beg You, to accompany You in Your sufferings and to feel Your afflictions.

What a sorrowful sight to see those two Hearts of Jesus and Mary, two Hearts so holy, so innocent, so full of graces and perfections, so enkindled with divine love, so closely united to each other, and compassionate towards each other! The holy Heart of the Mother of Jesus feels most keenly the terrible torments of her Son; the Only Son of Mary is wholly convulsed by the incomparable sufferings of His Mother. Jesus, the innocent Lamb, and Mary, His immaculate Mother, call to each other; the one weeps for the other, receiving no consolation; and the purer and more ardent their mutual love is, the more their sorrows penetrate and pierce. […]

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God did not create the natural sun, our wonderful luminary, merely to enlighten our material world; He made it also to be a representation of the excellent perfections which shine in the luminous Heart of the world’s Sovereign Lady.

We should remember that the infinite power of God has divided this great universe into three different states or orders, namely the state of nature, the state of grace and the state of glory. His divine wisdom has nevertheless established such a perfect bond, relationship and resemblance among these three states and among the beings existing in these orders that whatever is in the order of nature is an image of the things belonging to the order of grace, and whatever belongs to the order of nature and grace is a figure of what is to be seen in the state of glory. Hence, the sun, which is truly the heart of the visible world, and the most beautiful and glowing gem of nature, gives us, in spite of its dazzling light, only a very faint shadow of our heavenly Sun, the Heart of the Mother of God.

Sacred Scripture calls the sun an admirable vessel, the work of the Sovereign Lord. “An admirable instrument, the work of the Most High. Great is the Lord that made him” (Ecclus. 43:2, 5). But we can say of the most excellent Heart of the Mother of God that it is an incomparable masterpiece of God’s almighty hand. It is a compendium of all the marvels He has worked in pure creatures, and will be the eternal object of the admiration and delight of angels and men. Great indeed is He who made it, because His divine magnificence appears in her admirable Heart more clearly than in all the other wonderful things of nature, grace and glory.

The sun, which gives light to our visible world and which is, so to speak, its heart, is entirely luminous, is light itself and the source from which the other heavenly bodies receive their light. Mary’s Heart is surrounded, filled, penetrated by light, and her light is incomparably more brilliant and radiant than all the lights of the celestial spaces. It is all light, and after God, it is the first source of the lights which shine in the firmament of the Church. “I made that in the heavens there should rise light that never fails” (Ecclus. 24:6).

The sun is, moreover, the principle of the vegetative, sensitive and animal life in the visible world. The Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the source of life of three great worlds. It is the source of life of the Mother of God, who is a world unto herself, filled with marvels far greater and more wonderful than the world we contemplate with our bodily eyes.

But I shall add that the pure Heart of Mary is the source of three different lives to be found in this holy Mother, namely the natural and human life that animated her body on earth; the spiritual and supernatural life which her soul then possessed; and the glorious, eternal life which both her body and soul enjoy in Heaven. Everyone agrees that the heart, in the sense in which we have defined it, is the source of the corporeal life; we must likewise admit that it is the source of love and charity, the virtues which constitute the true life of a Christian soul in time and in eternity, and hence can be said very truly to be the very element which fosters the life of the soul for earth as well as for heaven.

Secondly, the immaculate Heart of Mary is the principle of the life of a second world, infinitely more admirable than the preceding one. What is this world? It is the God-Man, filled with countless rare marvels. Now, this God-Man is the Son of Mary, and Mary’s Heart is consequently the source of His life, since the mother’s heart is the principle of the child’s life as well as her own.

Thirdly, the Heart of the Mother of Our Savior is the origin of life for a third world, composed of true children of God, who are vivified by grace on earth and glory in heaven, because under God they derive both the life of grace and the life of glory from the Mother of Him who is their Head and whose members they themselves are. They are indebted for this benefit to her holy Heart, whose original purity, profound humility and ardent love, made her worthy to become the Mother of God and of all the children of God. St. John Chrysostom is surely right when he says that the heart of St. Paul was “the heart of the whole world. For it is through that apostolic heart that the Spirit of Life was poured forth on all things and given to the members of Jesus Christ.” (1) But how much more true is this of the incomparably loving Heart of the Queen of Apostles? Yes, hers is indeed the heart of the entire world, the heart of Heaven and earth, the heart of the Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant, since the Holy Spirit bids us sing: Vitam datum per Virginem, gentes redemptae plaudite:

All ye nations, redeemed by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, rejoice, sing the praises of your Redeemer and His glorious Mother! You were condemned to eternal death, and the Son of Mary has made you free; the Mother of Jesus has restored life to you, even eternal life, by giving you her Son, who is Life essential and the source of all life.

The solar sun has been in perpetual motion since its creation in space, and it travels so rapidly that mathematicians calculate its speed to be over one million leagues an hour. Similarly, the holy Heart of Mary, from the moment of her Immaculate Conception, has been completely kept in motion by love for God and charity towards mankind. As long as Mary, the admirable Sun of Light and Purity, was on earth, she sped or rather flew with such celerity on the path of sanctity that the speed of our material sun is simply a shadow and a figure by comparison. For this holy Sun, Mary’s immaculate Heart, progressed incomparably farther in the mystical and supernatural way of the world of grace than the material sun which revolves around our visible world.

Sacred Scripture teaches us that the Sun is the tabernacle of God. “He has set his tabernacle in the Sun” (Ps. 18:6). This is infinitely more true of the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. Ambrose applies these words to her, and we should refer them especially to her Heart, in which God resides more gloriously and works far greater wonders than in the sun of any universe. I hear the Eternal Father pronounce that the throne of His Only-Begotten Son is like to a Sun before His face: “His throne (is) as the sun before me….” (Ps. 88:38). What is this throne of Christ, if not the Heart of His dearest Mother, which is therefore the ever brilliant Sun shining before the Father of lights?

If the material sun radiates its light, heat and influence over all living things on earth, still more does this mystical Sun, the Heart of Mary, make its holy light, divine warmth and celestial influence felt everywhere in Heaven and earth, over men and angels: “There is no one who can hide himself from his heat” (Ps. 18:7). The earthly sun gladdens with its rays the inhabitants of the lowly world; the heavenly sun enriches the whole universe with its great and boundless charity towards all God’s creatures. Gaudium annuntiat universo mundo. It is the consolation of the suffering souls in Purgatory, the joy of the faithful on earth, the exultation of the angels and saints in heaven, and the delight of the Most Blessed Trinity. St. Germanus of Constantinople calls the Heart of Mary the happiness of the entire world. Commune mundi gaudium. (2) And St. John Damascene says that it is an ocean of inexhaustible delight: Gaudii pelagus inexhaustum. (3)

“Take away the sun that enlightens our material world,” says St. Bernard, “what will become of day or light? Take away Mary, the Star of the Sea, or take away the Heart of Mary, the true Sun of the Christian World, and what would be left? Without Mary’s radiance, nothing is left but enveloping darkness, the shadow of death and the frightful night of the grave.” (4)

O excellent Heart of my Queen, my most amiable Sun, blessed are the hearts that love thee! Happy the minds that meditate on thy greatness, and the tongues that preach and praise thee! Blessed are the eyes that contemplate thee, O radiant Mary! The more they gaze on thee, the greater their desire, the stronger the light and strength they receive to enable them to gaze yet more upon thy dazzling light!

O beautiful Sun, enlighten our darkness, melt our frigidity, dispel the clouds and fogs of our minds, inflame our hearts with thy sacred fire! Make us ever receptive to thy sweet influence, that every Christian virtue may flourish in our souls, so that they may be rendered fertile in all kinds of good works. By thy intercession, obtain that we may lead a heavenly life on earth, and never seek any joy here below except the joy of the children of God, which consists in pleasing their Heavenly Father and obeying His adorable will in all things.

O radiant Sun, let our hearts become like clear and polished mirrors, and be pleased to impress thy likeness on them, that they may bear a perfect image of thy humility, purity and submission to the divine will as well as of thy charity, love, sanctity and all the other virtues and perfection of your admirable Heart. This we ask for the glory of God who made our hearts for Himself alone.

The preceding excerpt is taken from St. John Eudes, Admirable Heart of Mary, Part Two, Chapter III, and edited by the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at www.heartsofjesusandmary.org.

Endnotes

(1) In cap. 16, Epist. Ad Rom. Homil, 23.

(2) Homil. De Nativit. Mariae.

(3) Orat. 2 de dorm. Deip.

(4) In Serm. De Aquaeductu in Nativit. B. Mariae.

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Jesus Christ, the Heart of the Eternal Father, is the Heart of His Holy Mother. Is not the heart the principle of life? And what is the Son of God to His dear Mother? He always was and will be forever the heart of her heart, the soul of her soul, the spirit of her spirit, and the sole principle of all the movements, uses and functions of her most holy life. St. Paul tells us that it is not himself who lives but Jesus Christ who lives in him. (1) Our Lord is the life of all Christians: (2) so who could doubt that He abides in His holy Mother, and that He is the life of her life, the heart of her heart, in a union incomparably more excellent even than with St. Paul and the other faithful saints?

Let us listen to what Our Lady revealed to St. Brigid: […]

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The Holy Spirit is wont to describe many things with few words. Wishing to praise the principal faculties of the body and soul of His Spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to exalt the merits of her Heart, He uses very few words, which nevertheless contain many meanings. What does He say? How does He praise Mary, the sovereign of hearts? He utters only three words: Quod intrinsecus latet (Song 4:1,3 what is hid within). But these three words encompass all the great and admirable utterances that can be said or thought of her royal Heart; they reveal to us that it is a treasure hidden from the most enlightened eyes of heaven and earth, a treasure so filled with celestial riches that God alone can have a perfect knowledge of its wonders.

Notice that the Holy Spirit pronounces these words not only once, but twice in the same chapter. He does this in order to impress them more strongly on our minds and to oblige us to consider them with greater attention, as well as to manifest to us both the corporeal heart of the Queen of Heaven…and her spiritual heart, of which I shall speak now.

[…]

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Just as everything in Our Lord Jesus Christ is great and admirable, so also everything that concerns Mary, His holy Mother, is replete with grandeur and marvels. Every part of the sacred humanity of the Son of God is deified and raised to an infinite dignity through its union with the Divinity; so likewise everything in the Blessed Virgin Mary is ennobled and sanctified by her divine maternity. There is no part of the sacred body of the God-Man that is not worthy of the eternal admiration of angels and men, and there is nothing in the virginal body of the Mother of God that is unworthy of the eternal praise of all creatures.

The Holy Spirit, the Son of God and His Saints have given high praise to the sacred members of Mary’s immaculate body. We may therefore conclude that her blessed heart, the first and worthiest part, is deserving of especial veneration. Shall we not share the sentiments of Jesus Christ, our Head, and follow the example He gives us? Mary’s Divine Son, who has willed to be our Head and our Brother, manifests great zeal in honoring even the smallest exterior detail of the person of His Most Blessed Mother. Who therefore can dare to criticize the other children of this Mother of Fair Love, if, following the spirit and example of their divine Head and Elder Brother, they render special homage to her maternal Heart and celebrate a feast in its honor with the permission of Holy Church? […]

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Devotion to the most Blessed Virgin, Mother of God is so pleasing to her Son, and is so dear and commendable to all true Christians, that it is not necessary to recommend it to those who desire to lead a Christian life.

I shall only tell you that you must never separate what God has so perfectly united. So closely are Jesus and Mary bound up with each other that whoever beholds Jesus sees Mary; whoever loves Jesus, loves Mary; whoever has devotion to Jesus, has devotion to Mary. Jesus and Mary are the two first foundations of the Christian religion, the two living springs of all our blessings, the two centers of all our devotion, and the two objectives you should keep in view in all your acts and works. A man is no true Christian if he has no devotion to the Mother of Jesus Christ and of all Christians. St. Anselm and St. Bonaventure assure us that it is impossible for persons who are not loved by the Mother of Christ to have any part with Him. Conversely, it is impossible for anyone to perish upon whom she looks with favor. […]

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From The Admirable Heart of Mary by St. John Eudes

Mary is truly admirable in all her perfections and in all her virtues.  But what is most admirable in her is her virginal Heart. The Heart of the Mother of God is a world of marvels, an abyss of wonders, the source and principle of all the virtues which we admire in our glorious Queen: “All the glory of the king’s daughter is within.”  It was through the humility, purity and love of her most holy Heart that she merited to become the Mother of God and to receive the graces and privileges with which God enriched her on earth. These same sublime virtues of her immaculate Heart have rendered her worthy of the glory and happiness that surround her in heaven, and of the great marvels that God has wrought in and through her.

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From The Admirable Heart of Mary, by St. John Eudes.

Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, chose the incomparable Virgin Mary from among all creatures to be His Mother and deigned to be nourished and governed by her. In His infinite goodness He also gave her to us to be our Queen, our Mother and our sure Refuge in all our needs. He therefore wishes us to honor her as He honors her and to love her as He loves her. […]

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