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.
What then is this divine Sovereignty? It is a perfection that gives God absolute and infinite power over all the works of his hands. He can give life or death when he pleases, in the place and manner he chooses; he can hurl us into the abyss of nothingness, or withdraw us therefrom. He can throw us into hell and deliver us from it. "The Lord killeth and maketh alive, he bringeth down to hell and bringeth back again" (1 Kings 2:6). In a word, God can dispose of all his creatures, from the least to the greatest, as he pleases, and no one may ask him: "Why dost Thou act thus?"
Having chosen to make the Queen of Angels and men the most noble image and the most perfect picture of his divine attributes, God likewise chose to communicate to her his adorable sovereignty in a very sublime degree.
God is called Lord, and he wishes Mary to be called Lady. He is universal Lord of all things, and he wills her to be sovereign Lady of the universe. He is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Rev 19:6), and she is the queen of queens and sovereign of sovereigns. He has absolute power to do whatever he wishes; and having given Mary a Mother’s authority over his Son, who is God himself, he has consequently given her marvelous power over everything that is subject to her Son. In other words, God possesses the dominion of a God over all things created by him, and can dispose of them as he pleases. Mary, on the other hand, has the power of the Mother of God over all things that depend on her Son, and she can do with them what she chooses.
I hear Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, saying: "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth" (Mt 28:18), and I hear Mary, the Mother of God, exclaiming: "My power is in Jerusalem" (Sir 24:15). God has given me power over the great city of Jerusalem, its suburbs, villages and dependencies, that is, over the entire Church, Triumphant, Militant and Suffering, as well as over all the other parts of the world, which are, as it were, the suburbs, villages and appurtenances of this marvelous city. "In every people and in every nation I have had the chief rule" (Sir 24:9-10)
But let us listen to the voice of the holy Fathers, or rather to the Holy Spirit speaking through their lips. "When Mary became the Mother of the Creator, she was established sovereign Lady over every creature," says St. John Damascene (1). And he adds: "The Son of Mary put all things under the sway of his Blessed Mother" (2). "O most Holy Virgin," exclaims St. Anselm, "God Almighty has wished to make all things possible to thee, as they are to himself!" (3) "Having made her the Mother of his Son," says the commentator Eusebius Emissenus, "God raised her to the dignity of Queen of Angels and men, and gave her sovereign authority, after himself, in heaven and on earth" (4). "Nothing is capable of resisting thy power," observes St. Gregory, Archbishop of Nicomedia, "nothing can withstand thee. All things comply with thy commands, all things obey thy sway; thy sovereignty is over everything" (5). "God has given her absolute power in Heaven and on earth," remarks St. Bernard. "He has placed our life and our death in her hands" (6).
Other writers assure us that the power of the Blessed Virgin Mary has no limits, when she wishes to help those who invoke her with good dispositions. "Her help is omnipotent" (7). Her intercession with her Son possesses never-failing virtue. St. Peter Damian says that when she appears before the dread tribunal of the Divine Majesty, her Son does not regard her as his servant, but as his Mother, having all power over him. He therefore receives her prayers, not as petitions, but as commands. "For how would it be possible, O Blessed Virgin," adds the saint, "that he whom thou didst bring forth, even though he is almighty, should resist the maternal authority he has given thee over him?" (8)
Another Father of the Church (9) says: "The Son of Mary is pleased exceedingly to have his Mother ask for anything on our behalf, for he desires to give her whatever he vouchsafes to grant us through her intercession. He is most happy to be able thus to show her some gratitude for all he has received from her in his Incarnation." St. Bonaventure tells us that the very name of Mary is, after God, all-powerful (10).
We should not marvel at this. The Archangel Gabriel said to her: "The Lord is with thee" (Lk 1:28), and Mary contracted a new alliance with the Son of God, who thus became her own. Their union is so intimate that they have but one flesh, one mind and one will. "One is the flesh of Mary and of Christ, one their mind, their will and their energy." Mary’s Son is the sovereign Lord of Heaven and earth; the Mother of Jesus Christ is the absolute mistress of earth and heaven, and her sway is over all things. "Christ is the Lord, Mary the Lady; she has been placed over every creature." "Whoever prostrates himself before the Son to adore him, bends the knee to honor the Mother and implore her help." Thus speaks the learned and devout Arnold of Chartres, who lived in St. Bernard’s time, being his disciple and friend (11).
Let us listen again to St. Peter Damian: "He who governs all things with sovereign authority subjected himself to his Mother. A simple maid can give orders to him whom all things obey" (12).
"All things," says St. Bernardine of Siena, "are subject to the divine power even the Virgin Mother. All things and God himself are subject to Mary" (13). For it is written that her Son obeyed her: "And he was subject to them" (Lk 2:51).
"Behold two great prodigies," writes St. Bernard, "which must fill Heaven and earth with admiration. It is a marvelous thing to witness God’s supreme Majesty lowered and humbled to the point of obeying a woman; there is no other example of such a prodigy of humility. And it is most admirable to behold a woman raised to such greatness that she is endowed with the right to command God himself; so marvelous a dignity knows no peer" (14).
"Every creature," says St. Peter Damian, "should remain profoundly and respectfully silent, trembling at the sight of so wonderful an object, and not daring to look up to the sublime height and immensity of such great dignity and so exalted a power" (15).
By all these pronouncements see that we have a Queen and a Mother who, after God, is all-powerful in her person, in her name and in her prayers. She holds sovereign sway over every creature, and wields a marvelous power over the Creator himself.
Thus does the Sovereign Lord of all things communicate his adorable Sovereignty to the great Queen of the Universe, and consequently to her royal Heart. For if she be Queen, her Heart is King; if she be Sovereign, her Heart is Sovereign like unto herself; if she have all power in heaven and on earth, so does her Immaculate Heart.
O admirable Heart of my Queen, what honor is due to the eminence of the exalted dignity! What praise thy profound humility commands, when it caused God to exalt thee so high! Thou didst humble thyself beneath all things, and God not only raised thee above every creature, but conferred on thee a marvelous power over himself. May he be blessed forever!
O most amiable Heart of my Mother Mary, I am filled with joy, and I give thanks to God for having so abundantly communicated his divine Sovereignty to thee, and having made of thee the Sovereign of all Hearts. But I feel unutterable sorrow in seeing that the hearts of the children of Adam usually prefer to be subject to Satan’s horrible tyranny, rather than to allow thee to reign over them. Whence comes this calamity? From sin, its cause. The enormous ingratitude and abominable wickedness of the human heart proclaim by their countless crimes that they refuse to be governed by thee, O detestable sin, how frightful must thy malice be, if thou canst withstand the omnipotent Heart of the world’s sovereign Lady!
Mother of Mercy, take pity on such great misery. Thou seest, alas, that the earth is crowded with miserable hearts slaved by Satan, hearts that do not feel the extreme misfortune in which they are plunged! Mother of Grace, I offer thee all these slaves of hell; by thy most compassionate Heart, I beg thee to take pity on them. Break their chains asunder; implore thy Beloved Son, Who came into the world to enlighten all men, that he deign to give sight to the blind, and to remove from the sinners their hearts of stone, replacing them with hearts obedient to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
Mother of Fair Love, I also offer thee the hearts of those of thy children who are faithful, who love and honor thee as their cherished Mother. Preserve and increase the precious treasure which is theirs, that they may move thee more and more, and become more worthy to be the true children of thy Heart.
Queen of my heart, suffer me to offer my own miserable heart to thee. I beseech thee, by the ineffable goodness of thy admirable Heart to employ the entire strength of the power God has given to thee, to crush and destroy in my heart at any and every cost, all that displeases thy divine Son. Establish in me the sovereign empire of his Heart and thy own. May these two Hearts, which are one and the same, reign within me unceasingly, sovereignly and forever, for the greater honor and glory of the Most Blessed Trinity.
This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, Part Five, Chapter V. 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) Maria rerum omnium conditarum Domina effecta est, cum Creatoris Mater extitit, et super omnes creaturas primatum tenuit. De fide orthod. lib. 4, cap. 15.
(2) Orat. 2 de Assumpt.
(3) De excel. Virg. cap. 12.
(4) Homil. in fer. 5, 4 Temp. Advent.
(5) Orat. de Oblat, B.V. in templo.
(6) Serm. 1 in Salve.
(7) Cosmae Hierosolymit. Hymn. 6.
(8) Serm. de Nativ. Mariae.
(10) In Cantico 4.
(11) Tract. de laud. B. Virg.
(12) Homil. 46, de laud. B.V.
(13) Serm. 61 art.4, cap. 36.
(14) Serm. 1 sup. Missus.
(15) Serm. 2 de Nativ.