Saint John Eudes - “Mary Kept All These Words, Pondering Them in Her Heart”

Updated: May 29, 2020

Devotion to the admirable Heart of Mary is by no means new, for it springs from the adorable Heart of the most Holy Trinity, and it is as old as the Christian religion and the Gospel itself. St. Luke the Evangelist bears witness to this in one chapter of his gospel by making twice a particular mention of her most holy Heart. In the 19th verse of chapter 2 he says: "But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart," and in the 51st verse: "And his mother kept all these words in her heart."

The devotion, therefore, has its origin and foundation in the holy Gospel itself. The Holy Spirit inspired the evangelists and willed that one of them should speak with such particular honor of the virginal Heart of the Savior’s Mother, representing it as the sacred depository and faithful custodian of the ineffable mysteries and inestimable treasures contained in the life of Our Lord. This must have been written that we might likewise honor her august Heart, so worthy to be honored forever.

To incite us to this devotion, let us consider this inspired text: "But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart." To understand the full significance, we must remember that, according to God’s language, verba, does not signify words only, but also deeds as will be seen in the following passages: Ecce ego faciam verbum in Israel ("Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel," 1 Sam 3:11) Quia postulasti verbum hoc ("Because you have asked this," 1 Kings 3:11)Videamus hoc verbum quod factum est ("Let us go see this thing that has happened," Lk 2:15). In like manner, we must understand the words: Maria conservabat omnia verba haec. Mary kept all these words, that is, all these things, for there is a great difference between the words of men and the words of God. The words of men are gone with the wind, and usually produce no effects: "They say, and do not" (Mt 23:30). But God’s words are facts: "He spoke and they were made" (Ps 32:9).

Mary kept all these things in her Heart, that is, all the marvelous events of our Savior’s life. "This holy Virgin," writes St. Ambrose, "always carried in the depths of her heart the mysteries of God and the Passion of her Son and whatever else He did" (1).

She kept these things as wonderful tokens of the love of her dear Son for His heavenly Father and for mankind. She kept them as sacred relics preserved and cherished for most special veneration. She kept all these things as a store of precious fuel to augment divine fire brought upon earth by her divine Son and to inflame the hearts of men with fresh love. She kept them because they were the foundation stones on which our adorable Savior willed to build His Church.

Mary kept these things in her Heart as living miracles and incomprehensible works of the all-powerful goodness of God, with which evangelical history was to be filled. She kept them as precious mysteries and secrets consoling and divine, representing the new alliance of God with men under the covenant of the New Testament. She kept them also as the precious inheritance and rich share of God’s chosen children, joint heirs with the Son of God.

Our Lady kept all these words in her Heart as the source and foundation of the divine graces to be spread throughout the world, and of the immortal glories which were to shine forever in heaven. She guarded them as the boundless treasure of Divine Mercy with which she could enrich all the denizens of heaven and earth. She kept them to be the bread and wine placed on the table of the Heavenly Father to His children, as a priceless manna brought down from heaven by her beloved Son that mortal men might feast on the bread of angels.

Mary, the General of the great King’s army, kept these words as celestial weapons for her to place in the hands of her soldiers and thus help them to overcome the enemies of God and of their own salvation. She kept them also as sacred torches to lighten the path of mankind shrouded in the gloom and shadows of death.