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.
To explain this truth, I shall stress three thoughts that are most glorious for the magnificent Heart of our great Queen and founded on these divine words: "All the glory of the king’s daughter is within," and from her Heart.
Who is this daughter of the King? We know full well that she is the Queen of Heaven and earth, the daughter of the King of kings. But why does all her glory proceed from her Heart? It is because her Heart is the source and principle of all the grandeur, excellence and prerogatives that adorn her, of all the eminent qualities that exalt her above every creature namely her position as eldest daughter of the Eternal Father, as Mother of the Son, as Spouse of the Holy Spirit, as the Temple of the most Holy Trinity, as Queen of angels and men, as the Mother of Christians, and as Empress of the universe. It also means that this most holy Heart is the source of all the graces that accompany the privileges bestowed on her, of the holy use she made of those graces, and of all the sanctity of her thoughts, words, works, sufferings and of the other mysteries of her life. It means, finally, that her Heart is the source of the eminent virtues she practiced on earth, of her perfect exercise of the faculties and powers of her soul and of her body, and of the glory and felicity she now enjoys in heaven.
How is her Heart the source of all these things? In the following ways. We know that the humility, purity, love and charity of her Heart have rendered her worthy to be made Mother of God, and consequently have enriched her with all the advantages and privileges that belong to so high a dignity. We know further that the Heart is the seat of love and charity, and that love and charity are the principle, rule and measure of all the sanctity on earth, and therefore of all glory in Heaven. Hence, God, Eternal Truth, tells us in the Gospel that, as the heart of man is the origin of all evil, so it is also the source of every good. The Son of God teaches us that from the heart proceed evil thoughts, homicides, and blasphemies (Mt 15:19). Our Savior further tells us that the heart of the good man is a treasure from which He draws all sorts of good things, and the heart of the wicked man a treasure from which He draws all evil things (Lk 6:46). We may conclude therefore that the supremely good Heart of God’s most loving Mother is the source of all that is great, holy, glorious and admirable in her.
I say further, and this is the second of the three thoughts I promised you, that Mary’s Heart is the source, after God, of all the excellence, sanctity, glory, felicity and other great and precious marvels to be found in the Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant.
The reason of this is clear. We all agree that every grace and blessing possessed by the Church, all the treasures of light, holiness and glory that abide in her, on earth as well as in Heaven, are due to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. "All graces," says the learned and devout Abbot Rupert, "every gift that the world has received from Heaven, are as streams which issue from that sacred fountain, as fruits belonging to that holy tree" (1). "It was decreed by God in His eternal counsel," writes St. Bernard, "to give nothing to anyone except through Mary’s hands. Through her He was pleased to give us every good. Yes, indeed, because through her He gave the first principle of every good, Jesus Christ, Our Lord" (2).
But how did Mary make herself so holy and so pleasing to the divine Majesty, that He should choose her to be the intermediary of this infinite gift, from which are derived all the other gifts ever made to His Church? It was by the sanctity of her most humble, pure and charitable "Heart.
Let us acknowledge, then, that her Heart is the origin of everything noble, rich and precious in all the holy souls which form the universal Church in Heaven and on earth. We can therefore say of her marvelous Heart, and with greater reason, what St. John Chrysostom says of the heart of St. Paul, when he calls it the fount and principle of numberless graces: Fons et principium innumerorum bonorum (3)? Shall we stop here? No, we must go further and explain the third that I promised you, which is that the Heart of the Mother of the Savior is, in a certain sense, the fountain and source of all that is holy and admirable in the life and the successive mysteries of our Divine Redeemer Himself.
Was not this represented by the river described in the second chapter of Genesis, which came out of the fountain created by God at the beginning of the world (4). This fountain is a figure of the Holy Heart of Mary, and Jesus, the Son of Mary, is designated by the river springing from the fountain. Do we not hear Eternal Wisdom, that is, the Son of God, saying: "I came out of paradise," out of the Virginal Heart of Mary, which is the true paradise of the new Adam, "like a channel of a river," (Sir 24:41) that is, like the river that flowed out of the earthly paradise.
Let us acknowledge, then, that her admirable Heart, being the fountain from which that great river originated, is the miraculous source of all the treasures of the great and priceless wonders contained in that divine stream. We must conclude that Our Lady’s Heart is the fountain principle of numberless goods: Fons et principium omnium bonorum. St. Irenaeus asking why the mystery of the Incarnation did not take without Mary’s consent, answers that it was because God sought her to be the principle of every good (5). What does he mean by that, if not that the Son of God wished the Heart of His Blessed Mother to be the source and origin of all the blessings and graces derived from the Incarnation, and that He wished to become man only by her consent? "She is the perennial fount of every good," declares St. Andrew of Crete (6).
O most loving Heart of Mary, O abyss of miracles, who can tell the unfathomable marvels that God has worked in and through thee! O boundless Sea, God alone can know the inestimable riches hidden in thee! O Heart most Holy, thou art Heaven’s own heaven, for, after the Heart of the Eternal Father, thou are the most magnificent and glorious abode of Jesus, who is Himself the highest Heaven: "The Heaven of heaven is the Lord’s" (Ps 113:16). Next to the Heart of Jesus, thou art the highest throne of glory and majesty of the Blessed Trinity. What honor and praise should be rendered unto thee! Oh, may every human and angelic heart recognize and honor thee as its Sovereign after the adorable Heart of our Savior!
Dearest Jesus, what thanks we owe thine infinite goodness for having given thy Blessed Mother to us, and for having endowed her with a maternal Heart so full of love and tenderness towards her most unworthy children! Grant, dear Savior, that we may have truly filial affection for so good a Mother, and may the hearts of her children bear the image and likeness of the love, charity, humility and all the other virtues that reign in the Heart of their most loving Mother!
"A Bundle of Myrrh is My Beloved to Me"
"A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me; he shall abide between my breasts." (Song 1:12) These words are taken from the first chapter of the Song of Songs, which is referred entirely to the Blessed Virgin Mary by many serious and learned authors. We can therefore say that it is the book of the Virginal Heart of Mary and of her ardent love. It is a book filled with inspired words, revealing that her incomparable Heart is ablaze with love of God and filled with charity for men.
"My beloved is like a bundle of myrrh to me: he shall abide between my breasts," and in my Heart. Who utters these words? The Most Blessed Virgin Mary. Who is the Beloved of whom she speaks? It is her only Son, her well-beloved. Why does she call Him a bundle of myrrh? Because she beholds Him crucified and plunged in an ocean of contempt, insults, ignominies, anguish, bitterness and most atrocious torments. This fills her maternal Heart with so much bitterness, pain and suffering that can truly call her desolate Heart a sea of anguish and tribulation, according to the words which can be applied to both Jesus and Mary: "Great as the sea is thy desolation" (Lam 2:13). Thy sufferings, O Jesus, are immense, boundless and bottomless like the sea. And thy dolors, O Mother of Christ, are so exceedingly great that all the afflictions and desolations of world are as nothing compared to thine, as the waters of all fountains and rivers seem but a drop beside the boundless ocean.
To understand this truth perfectly, one would have to comprehend the immense and ardent love of her Son that constantly inflamed the able Heart of our Savior’s Mother. For a mother’s sorrow over the sufferings of her son exists in proportion to her love for Him, and the love of our Redeemer’s Mother was, in a sense, measureless. The Eternal had made her share in His divine Paternity and chosen her to be Mother of His own Son; He therefore communicated to her something of His own inconceivable love, a love befitting the sublime dignity of her divine maternity.
How great is the love of the incomparable Mother for the most perfect of sons. This Mother holds the place of father as well as mother towards her Son, and her Heart is miraculously filled with paternal as well as with maternal love towards Him. His love is so great, that if the love of all the human fathers and mothers that ever have been or shall be were concentrated in a single heart, it would be but a small spark compared to the furnace of Mary’s love for her beloved Son. He is an only son, the sole object of His Mother’s affection. He is an infinitely lovable and loving son and she loves Him without measure. He possesses all that is beautiful, rich, desirable, admirable and lovable in time and eternity. This son is everything to His mother; He is her Son, her brother, her father, her spouse, her treasure, her glory, her love, her delight, her joy, her heart, her life, her God, her Creator, her Redeemer and her all.
From this we may fathom the love of such a mother for such a son, and consequently the most torturing and painful martyrdom of her maternal Heart when she sees Him bathed in blood, covered with wounds from head to foot, and so filled with pain in body and soul, that the Holy Spirit, speaking through Isaiah, calls Him the "Man of Sorrows," (Is 53:3) the man entirely transformed into sorrow.
We shall therefore not be surprised to hear St. Anselm thus addressing the Mother of Sorrows: "All the torments which the martyrs underwent are as nothing, O Virgin, when compared to the immensity of the dolors, which transpierced thy soul and thy most loving heart" (7). "O sweetest Heart of Mary," exclaims St. Bonaventure, "Heart transformed by love, how art thou now changed into a Heart of sorrow, satiated with gall, myrrh, and absynth?" (8) "O admirable prodigy," he adds, "thy heart and mind are plunged in thy Son’s gaping wounds, while thy crucified Jesus dwells and lives in thy inmost Heart" (9).
We should not be surprised, therefore, at the revelation to St. Brigid, that the Blessed Virgin would have died of sorrow during the Passion of her Son, if He had not miraculously preserved her. And Mary herself, speaking to the same St. Brigid, says: "I can presume to say that my sorrow was my sorrow, because His Heart was my Heart" (10). "O Queen," says St. Bonaventure, "thou art not only standing by the cross of thy Son, juxta crucem, but thou art on the cross suffering with Him: In cruce cum Filio cruciaris. He suffered in His body and thou didst suffer in thy Heart, and the wounds scattered over His body were gathered together in thy Heart" (11).
Finally, just as the love of Mary’s maternal Heart for her Son Jesus Christ is past all that can be imagined, so the most painful martyrdom of her amiable Heart is beyond what thought can conceive or words express.
Nullus dolor crudelior,
Nam nulla proles charior.
Non est amor suavior,
Non moeror est amarior (12).
This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, Part Six, chapters I and II. 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 www.heartsofjesusandmary.org.
(1) Emmisiones tuae paradises. In illa verba Cant.
(2) Totum nos habere voluit per Mariam. Serm. de Aquaeductu.
(3) In Act. 22, homil. 55; et in Rom. 14, homil. 32, in fine.
(4) See Part II, chapter 5.
(5) Quia vult illud Deus omnium bonorum esse principium. S. Irenaeus citus apud Salazar, in cap. 31, Proverb. vers. 29. num. 179.
(6) In Serm. de Dorm. B. Virg.
(7) Quidquid crudelitatis inflictum est corporibus Martyrum, leve fuit, aut potius nihil comparatione tuae passionis, O Virgo, quae nimirum sua immensitate transfixit cuncta penetralia tua, tuique benignissimi Cordis intima. De excell. Virg. cap. 5.
(8) O suavissimum Cor Amoris, quomodo conversum es in Cor doloris, in quo nihil nisi fel, acetum, myrrha et absynthium. Stimul. Amor. cap. 3.
(9) O mira res, tota es in vulneribus Christi, totus Christus crucifixus est in intimis visceribus Cordis tui. Ibid.
(10) Reve1. lib. I, cap. 35.
(11) Stimul. Amor. cap. 3.
(12) "No sorrow is more cruel than hers, for no Son could be more dear than hers. If her love is most sweet, so is her pain the bitterest of all."