Saint John Eudes - “I Sleep and My Heart Watcheth”

Updated: May 29



"I sleep, and my heart watcheth" (Song 5:2). It is the glorious Virgin Mary who speaks, or rather the Holy Spirit who utters these words through her virginal lips and reveals to us five mysteries most gloriously perfected in her blessed Heart.


The first of these mysteries is the death of Our Lady’s Heart to whatever is not God, through self-denial. This is signified by the words: "I sleep." The second mystery expressed by the words: "I sleep," is the admirable contemplation of her Blessed Heart. The third mystery contained in the same words is the most intimate and perfect union of the most holy Heart of Mary with the adorable Will of God, whose commandments were so dear to her, that not only did she desire everything He wanted, not only did she shirk from whatever He forbade, but she found her entire rest, contentment, felicity and joy in observing the commandments of God.


Blessed are the hearts who strive to imitate this entire and perfect conformity of the admirable Heart of the Mother of God to His divine Will. This adorable Will being our end, our center and our sovereign good, those who obey it with all their hearts shall never fail to find in it peace, rest, felicity, and a real paradise for their souls. Outside of God’s will one experiences only anguish, troubles, embarrassment, torture and a veritable hell.


The fourth mystery designated by the words: "My heart watcheth," contains a truth according the highest honor to Our Savior’s Mother, namely, that her Son Jesus is her true Heart, for it is of Him that she speaks when she says: "My Heart watcheth." It is as though she said: "While I devote myself to contemplating and to loving the grandeurs God and His adorable mysteries, and while I perform the duties and obligations of my divine maternity, my Son Jesus, being my Heart, is ever occupied in watching over all that concerns my body and my soul. His infinite love for me makes Him take unceasing care to protect me from the snares of the enemies of my soul. He enlightens me with His own divine light; He guides my steps along the path to Heaven; He grants me all the graces I need to lead a life worthy of the Mother of God, and He constantly inflames me with the sacred fire of His divine love."


The fifth mystery marked by the words: "My Heart watcheth," embodies the vigilance of the most holy Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What is watchfulness? If we consider it first in God, before considering it in her marvelous Heart, we shall find that watchfulness is a perfection which constitutes, as it were, the strength and vigor of the divinity of God, and makes Him incapable of experiencing weakness or fatigue. It is like the torch of His divine Essence, in whose radiance He forever contemplates Himself. It is the eye of His bounty, mercy, justice, zeal, and all His other divine perfections. The Royal Prophet, David, indeed proclaims the watchfulness and care of divine Providence when he says: "Behold he shall neither slumber nor sleep, that keepeth Israel" (Ps. 120:4), but he remains ever watchful and attentive to protect His people.


Now this adorable vigilance has established its throne and its reign most excellently in the noble Heart of the Mother of God. Consider that the Holy Ghost causes her to say: "I sleep, and my heart watcheth."


These words teach us that even when her virginal body was taking its necessary sleep and rest, her Heart never slept but kept constant vigil. Yes, her Heart, so full of love for God, watched day and night to study His adorable Will, and to accomplish it most perfectly. Her Heart, filled with tenderness for her divine Son, attended faithfully to His every need and necessity, providing for Her all-precious Child, with the utmost care fulfilling all the duties of a loving Mother to so perfect a Son. Her Heart, filled with esteem and peerless veneration for each successive event unfolding in the admirable life of the Redeemer, watched over His development, His miracles and mysteries, His actions, sorrows, words and gestures, so that she might gratefully adore and praise the manifestations in the name of all mankind, and preserve them as an infinitely precious treasure which would one day enrich the Church and encompass her true children with numberless blessings.


The Heart of our Lady, inflamed with love towards men, was always attentive to fulfill the obligations of charity, the queen of virtues and was ever watchful so as not to miss one single occasion of practicing it.


Finally, the holy Virgin’s Heart exercised perpetual vigilance over her own thoughts, words and actions, over her passions and inclinations, over all her interior and exterior senses, and over all the powers of her soul, that she might drive far away from herself anything that could possibly displease God and to use her faculties as perfectly and as virtuously as possible.


O most charitable Mother of God, by thy powerful intercession, grant that we may imitate the most holy watchfulness of thy faithful heart so that we may be numbered among those who merit the happiness to see the face of God in blissful eternity, to behold the glory of the God-Man and the grandeur of His Mother in that blessed company of souls who never weary of praising, loving and glorifying the most Holy Trinity together with Jesus, Mary and all the angels and saints. To the Triune God be honor, glory and empire for all eternity.


This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, Part Six, Chapter III. 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.

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