Saint John Eudes - Mary’s Heart, the Center of the Earth

What is this earth and what is its center? I find several meanings of the word “earth” as mentioned in Sacred Scripture, among which two seem to be most important. The first is the earth created by God at the beginning of the world, which He gave to Adam and his descendants. “But the earth he has given to the children of men” (Ps. 113:16). The second is the earth made for the new man, Jesus Christ, Our Lord, to whom the following words were spoken: “Lord, thou hast blessed thy land” (Ps. 84:2).

The first earth incurred the wrath of God because the first man sinned. “Cursed is the earth in thy work” (Gen. 3:17). The fallen earth is a land of misery and darkness, of disorder and death, a land of never-ending woe. In the words of Job, it is “a land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth” (Job 10:22).

The second earth is a land of blessings, grace and light, a land of eternal life, a land that has become nobler, more august, more luminous and holier than all the heavens. What is this priceless renewed earth? It is the most Blessed Virgin Mary, of whom the first earth, considered as it left the hands of God and existed before being cursed by God, is only an imperfect image and sketch. Of this earth did the Holy Spirit speak in Scripture, when He said through the Prophet, Isaiah: “Let the earth be opened, and bud forth a savior” (Is. 45:8).

It was in Mary, the center of this blessed earth, that God worked out the salvation of mankind. “He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth” (Ps. 73:12). Both St. Jerome and St. Bernard (1) apply these words to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Notice, however, that the Holy Spirit who uttered these words through the lips of the Royal Prophet, David, does not proclaim merely that God worked the salvation of the world in this earth, but in the midst of the earth, in medio terrae, or according to another version, in intimo terrae, in the center or the heart of the earth. By that is meant the heart and bosom of the spotless Virgin Mary. Yes, it was in the midst of this “good earth,” or better, in the good and excellent Heart of Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, “in a good and perfect heart,” (Lk. 8:15) that the Eternal Word, coming forth from the Father’s bosom to save mankind, was received and zealously nourished, producing fruit a hundredfold and one hundred thousand times a hundredfold.

All this was declared in that divine prophecy or the Holy Spirit which reveals so many great and admirable mysteries: “There shall be a firmament on the earth on the tops of mountains, above Libanus shall the fruit thereof be exalted: and they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth” (Ps. 71:16); or according to another version: “A full measure of wheat scattered over the lofty mountains, shall grow so tall that, stirred by the breath of the wind, its undulations shall imitate the verdant woods of Lebanon.”

What is this overflowing measure of wheat, if not the only Son of God, the true wheat of the elect, the bread of God, Who is the life and strength of man’s heart? “Bread may strengthen man’s heart” (Ps. 103:15). The Eternal Father scattered this sanctifying wheat when He gave us His Divine Son with such great love in the mystery of the Incarnation and He still scatters it every day in full measure when He continues to give us Our Lord daily with consummate goodness in the Blessed Eucharist. What are the lofty mountain-tops, if not His most worthy Mother, whom the Holy Spirit sets before our eyes under the name and figure not of a single mountain but of many mountains? Mary possesses in the highest degree all that is most excellent in the sacred mountains, that is in all the Saints, who are called in Sacred Scripture “the holy mountains,” (Ps. 86:1) and “the everlasting hills” (Ps. 75:5). What are the mighty summits of these mountains, if not the exalted prerogatives and sublime perfections of the Sovereign Lady of the Universe?

Now then it was up on these holy mountains with lofty summits in the midst of this sacred soil, in the excellent Heart of the best of Mothers, that the adorable wheat of redemption was first sown and planted, since she received Our Savior in her heart before conceiving Him in her womb. It was later scattered throughout the world by the preaching of the Apostles, animated by the Holy Spirit as by an impetuous wind and became infinitely multiplied in the hearts of all Christians.

We can, therefore, say in truth that Jesus is the fruit of Mary’s Heart as well as of her womb, and that the faithful are the fruits of the same Heart, because the very virtues of faith, humility, purity, love and charity, which rendered her worthy to become the Mother of God, made her also the Mother of all God’s children. As the Eternal Father gave her the power to conceive His Son in her Heart and in her virginal womb, by clothing her with the divine virtue whereby He generates His Divine Son from all eternity in His own adorable bosom, so also did God grant her the