Saint John Eudes - Heart of Mary, Mirror of God’s Goodness and Providence

Updated: May 30, 2020

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.

This he does in two ways, with an outpouring of liberality worthy of his divine magnificence, within and outside himself. Within himself his perfections flow in a natural and necessary communication of the divine nature and all its inherent marvels from the Father of his Beloved Son, and from both to the Holy Spirit. Outside himself this benevolence is a free communication, whereby God confers, not indeed his nature and his essence, but his image, semblance, shadow, or mere reflection of his being on all creatures in the order of nature, of grace and of glory.

In the order of nature God communicates his being to all existing things, his life to all living things, whether their life be rational or merely sensitive and vegetative. His power is communicated to all things possessed of power, his wisdom to all intellectual beings, his goodness to all things good and kind. The beauty of God is transfused to things that are beautiful, his light to luminous bodies, his firmness and stability to things firm and stable, his immortality to immortal souls, God also imparts his happiness and felicity to such as possess not only being, but well-being, which consists in a measure of natural enjoyment or satisfaction. God communicates himself and his divine perfections in general to all things pertaining to the natural order, through his creation, preservation and government of all beings according to their nature.

In the order of grace Almighty God communicates himself much more abundantly to rational and intellectual creatures, through the adorable mystery of the Incarnation and all the other mysteries of his Divine Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Through the Sacraments he has instituted in his Church, especially the Holy Eucharist, and all the other spiritual channels, he pours grace into our souls, provided there be no obstacle on our part.

In the order of glory God communicates himself most fully and perfectly to all the souls in heavenly bliss, clothing them in his radiant glory, surrounding them with his felicity, enrapturing them with his holy joys, and making them partakers of all the goodness he himself possesses.

Finally, as the Sun, to quote St. Dionysius, (1) enlightens everything that can participate in its light, which is marvelously diffused, unfolding throughout the world the glittering of its rays, in the highest as well as in the humblest spheres, so that nothing visible can escape the sovereign grandeur of its brightness, so too does the divine Essence extend Its beauty to all beings, as their principle, preserver and end, as the universal cause, the common and infinite good, whence all things derive their being and well-being, wherein they are established, enclosed and preserved.

The superlative Goodness communicates Its adorable perfections to the holy Heart of Mary with much greater abundance and plenitude than to all other creatures put together. Next to the Heart of God, there never was and never shall be a heart so good, liberal, benevolent, magnificent and so replete with kindness as the most admirable Heart of Mary.