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.