Heart of Mary, Mirror of the Divine Perfections



Among His countless words in praise of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit honors His spotless Bride with the glorious tribute of proclaiming that she is clothed with the Sun: “A woman clothed with the Sun” (Apoc. 12:1). What is this Sun? It is the Sun of Divinity and of the divine perfections, according to the explanation of several holy Fathers. Our Lady is not merely clothed with and surrounded by this Sun; she is completely filled and penetrated by it. St. Andrew of Crete praises the incomparable Virgin Mary with appropriate dignity when he calls her “the compendium of God’s incomprehensible perfections.” (1)


Now if this is true of the Blessed Virgin’s sacred person, it is still more true of her holy Heart, the noblest part of her being, the source and sanctuary of the virtues of humility, obedience and charity which elevate her to the sublime and divine state that she personally revealed to St. Brigid. (2) Her glowing Heart is the perfect expression and marvellous compendium of all the attributes of the Divine Essence. It is the beautiful mirror in which the ardent love of Jesus Christ for His most amiable Mother reflects so excellently all the perfections of His divinity and His humanity.


In the first place, His divine love most perfectly draws its own image in His Mother’s amiable Heart. Next to the infinite love burning in the immense furnace of the adorable Heart of Jesus, there never was and never shall be a love so strong, exalted, extensive, ardent and pure, as the love which always possessed, filled and inflamed the virginal Heart of His Mother. This all-compassing love in turn stamps upon her a perfect image of all the other divine attributes.


Her admirable Heart is, first of all, a living image of divine Unity. God is alone and unique in the infinite eminence of all His grandeurs. He is the only mighty, (1 Tim. 6:15) the only good, (Luke 18:19) the only wise, (Rom. 16:27) merciful, (Apoc. 15:4) just, (2 Mach. 1:25) immortal and blessed Being, the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15-16). Likewise there is in the whole universe only one Heart of the one Mother of God, unique in dignity, excellence and perfections. It surpasses in power, wisdom, goodness, mercy, piety, love, charity and every other virtue and eminent quality the most perfect heart of any angel or saint.


The unique Heart of Our Lady never knew any love other than the purest love of God. It never suffered from the multiplicity of superfluous thoughts, aimless desires and vain affections which usually fill and divide the miserable hearts of the children of Adam. Her heart held one thought, one purpose, one will, one intention, one single affection and one desire only: to please God and to fulfill in all things and everywhere His adorable will. Thus did this heavenly Spouse wound, ravish and possess completely the Heart of her adorable Bridegroom, as He Himself declares: “Thou has wounded my heart, my sister, my spouse: thou hast wounded my heart with one of thy eyes, and with one hair of thy neck,” (Cant. 4:9) that is, by loving and seeking me in all things, and in having in thy Heart but one thought, intention and affection, to do everywhere and at all times the things that are most pleasing to me.


The admirable Heart of our great Queen bears a true resemblance to divine simplicity. Duplicity, disguise, deceit, falsehood, curiosity, singularity, worldly wisdom, mundane prudence, the self-love which prompts so many faulty thoughts and reflections concerning ourselves and our actions, these and all other things contrary to holy simplicity never had the least part in the Heart of the heavenly Dove. She was always filled, possessed and animated by the spirit of truth, sincerity, candor and simplicity, that her Son bade us follow when He said: “Be ye… as simple as doves” (Matt. 10:16).


The incomparable Heart of the Mother of God enjoys marvellous participation in and resemblance to the infinity and incomprehensibility of God Himself, because the almost infinite dignity of the Mother of God ennobles and raises to the highest degree even the smallest details concerning her. This is particularly true of her incomparable Heart, the source of innumerable blessings and the principle of all that is great in her, loaded with numberless gifts and heavenly graces. St. Bernardine of Siena tells us that when Our Lady became the Mother of God she was raised to an almost infinite dignity, which rendered her like unto God, as she is the Mother of the Son whose Father is Almighty God. This miracle was accomplished by the well-nigh infinite graces, and perfections bestowed upon her, graces so excellent and sublime that only God can know perfectly their boundless extent. (3)


Mary’s admirable Heart also received an abundant communication of the immensity of God, a singular faculty to express His immeasurability. Let us listen to St. Bonaventure. “O Mary,” says the Seraphic Doctor, I behold in thee an immense grandeur and capacity. Tu Maria immensissima. I see in thee three kinds of immensity. The first is the immensity of thy blessed womb, which enclosed Him who is immense and infinite, whom the Heavens and the entire universe cannot contain. The second is the immensity of thy mind and heart, for thy virginal Heart is more vastly immense than thy sacred womb. The third is the immensity of thy grace and charity, because thy Heart being immense, replete with grace and charity, the charity and grace that fill it must necessarily be immense. (4)


Yes, Mother of Fair Love, your charity knows no bounds or measure; it not only reaches all ages, all places and everything that God has made, but it is so vast and great that it would encompass a countless number of worlds!


The most constant Heart of the Queen of Angels is likewise an excellent representation of divine stability and immutability. It remained always steadfast, firm, unalterable and resolute in its perfect love of God and all the holy dispositions which render a heart entirely pleasing to God.


“O my Jesus, I beseech You, by the invariable love which the Immaculate Heart of Mary has always borne and will forever bear to You, deign so to establish and strengthen our hearts in your holy love that we may truly say with St. Paul: ‘Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ?… Neither death nor life… nor any… creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Rom. 8:35, 38 and 39).”


The holy Heart of our great Princess is a beautiful representation of the eternity of God, not only because her affections were always entirely free from temporal attachments and securely fixed upon eternal things, but also because Mary was filled with the spirit of prophecy, which is a participation in the Eternity that renders all things present in the sight of the divine Majesty of God. God communicated this divine perfection to many Saints, so we cannot doubt that the Queen of all Saints also participated highly in this privilege, as she possessed eminently all the gifts and graces that God has bestowed on other Saints. St. Albert the Great (5) says that whoever loves the most amiable Mother of God, must hold it for an infallible rule that whatever there is of goodness and beauty in all the other Saints is to be found in Our Lady in a still higher degree; nay, that it is through her intercession that the other Saints have received their great endowments. Therefore does the Holy Spirit give Our Lady the name and title of Prophetess saying: “I went to the prophetess” (Isa. 8:3). St. Basil (6) and many other saints refer these words to Mary.


The blessed Heart of the Queen of Heaven displays a perfect imitation of the plenitude and self-sufficiency of God, who bears the name of Saddai, meaning precisely self-sufficient. (7) Almighty God has need of nothing, being filled with every good. The Son of God, speaking to His Father, exclaims: “Thou art my God, for thou hast no need of my goods” (Ps. 15:2). In like manner, the virginal Heart of the Mother of God, loving God alone, being always free and empty of every alien affection, was constantly filled with God much more perfectly than the Ephesians, to whom St. Paul wrote that he bowed his knees to the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ to obtain for them the grace that they might “be filled unto all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).


The blessed Heart of Our Lady never desired, sought or found any delight or satisfaction outside of God. Her Heart always enjoyed imperturbable rest and peace because being filled to capacity with the plenitude of God, it remained always fully satisfied and incomparably happier and content than the heart of a man possessing a million possible worlds.


Consider well, dear reader, how perfectly the Admirable Heart of your Queen fulfils the mandate to “seek but one thing” and to make God her portion and her heritage forever. To be happy, give and offer your heart constantly, exclaiming with Mary, St. Thomas and St. Francis: “My God and my All.”


This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, Part Four, Chapter II, and edited by the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, at www.heartsofjesusandmary.org. The Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary is 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.


Notes


(1) Compendium incomprehensibilium Dei perfectionum. Or at. 2 de Assumpt.


(2) Revel, lib. 1, Cap. 42.


(3) Per quamdam quasi infinitatem perfectionum et gratiarum. Tanta fuit perfectio ejus, ut soli Deo cognoscenda reservetur. Serm. 5 de Nativ. B. Virg. cap. 12; and Serm. 4 de Conceptione B. Virg. art. 1, et 31.


(4) Tu ergo immensissima Maria, capacior es caelo: quis quern caeli capere non poterant, tuo gremio contulisti. Tu capacior es mundo: quia quern totus non capit orbis, in tua se clausit viscera factus homo. Si ergo Maria tam capacissima fuit ventre, quanta magis mente? Et si capacitas tam immensa fuit gratia plena, oportuit utique quod gratia illa quae tantum implevisse potuit capacitatem, esset immensa. In Speculo, cap. 5.


(5) Pro infallibili regula debemus habere, qui Mariam diligimus, quod quid quid unquam bonitatis in aliquo Sancto fuit, vel pulchritudinis, hoc in ipsa per excellentiam excreverit, et per ipsam per eos. In Bibliis B. Mariae, ad cap. 1 Cantici Canticorum.


(6) In cap. 8 Isa.


(7) See Meditations on Various Subjects (New York, 1947), p. 114.



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