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.
Now I not only find an image of these divine attributes in the Heart of the Virgin Mother, but I behold therein this marvelous glory and incomparable felicity, in a certain sense, as they are in God himself.
To understand this, we must remember that it is characteristic of love, more especially of supernatural and divine love, to transform the lover into the object of his love, as the fire changes iron into fire, leaving nature and essence of iron, but endowing it with the qualities and perfections proper to fire. As it is quite certain that there never was and never shall be a love equal to that which inflamed Mary’s virginal Heart, we cannot doubt that divine love so completely transformed her, even while she remained on earth, that she had but one mind, one heart, one will and one love with God himself. She loved only what he loves, hated nothing but what he hates. She had no interests save his, no glory or honor, no contentment or happiness save only God’s. Thus did the glory and felicity of God ever abide in her Heart.
But did not all the ignominies and sorrows she suffered here below, especially at the time of her Son’s Passion, bereave her of this bliss and glory? Nay, rather they increased it. Do you not know that the Holy Spirit, speaking of the Passion of the Son of God, calls it the day of his Heart’s rejoicing: "In the day of the joy of his heart"(Song 3:11). Speaking of his Passion Our Lord himself calls it his Father’s glory and his own. Thus St. Ambrose (1), St. Hilary (2), St. Augustine and other doctors explain words spoken by Our Saviour on the eve of his death: "Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee" (Jn 17:1). The Passion of the Son of God represents, in fact, the greatest glory of God, for it most abundantly repaired the injury done to God by all the sins of the world, and glorified the Creator in a manner worthy of his infinite grandeur. When the Church sings: "We give thee thanks for thy great glory," she means to thank God for the Passion of his Divine Son as well as for his own essential glory.
Now we know that the Mother of Jesus had no sentiments other than those of her Son, and she realized that nothing in the world can give greater glory and honor to God than sufferings and humiliations endured for the sake of his love. Hence, just as her Son calls his ignominious and most bitter Passion his glory and joy, so did she find greatest glory and most perfect joy in supreme humiliation and the most poignant sorrows, for her honor and happiness consisted in the things which give the greatest honor to God and please him best.
We should not believe, however, that this contentment of hers prevented her from suffering.
Not in the least, for it is certain that no one on earth, after her beloved Son, suffered as much as she. But in Christ, joys and sorrows were joined together in such fashion that the joys possessing the superior part of his soul did not destroy the sorrows that ruled the inferior part. So when the Mother of Jesus was crucified and reviled with her Son, the bitter anguish and inconceivable torments she endured in her senses and in the inferior part of her soul did not prevent her from enjoying in her spirit and in her Heart, a profound peace and an unutterable contentment, for she knew that such was God’s will and his good pleasure.
Thus did the glory and felicity of the Most High dwell in the Blessed Heart of the glorious Virgin while she was on earth, but in heaven, her incomparable Heart is so completely lost and absorbed in the infinite glory and boundless joy of the Divinity, that this divine joy and immortal glory transform it entirely and fill it with greater glory and happiness than the hearts of all the angels and saints put together.
O most holy Mother, my heart is transported with joy to contemplate thine own Heart so overwhelmed with grandeur and unspeakable felicity, which never shall end. I would dare to say with the grace of thy beloved Son, that if my heart possessed all these gifts instead of thine, I would, if possible, strip my heart and give them to thee. Yes, I would sooner be annihilated forever than to see thy holy Heart lose any of the treasures wherewith Divine Goodness has so profusely adorned it.
This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, Part Five, Chapter VII. 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) Hexameron, cap 2.
(2) De Trinitate, lib. 3.