Saint John Eudes - Mary’s Heart, the Hill of Calvary

Updated: May 30, 2020

The following selection is taken from The Admirable Heart of Mary written by Saint John Eudes.

What is Calvary? It is a mountain, the most important and notable mountain of the Holy Land. What is the Heart of the Mother of God? Is it not also a mountain, the most illustrious mountain of that blessed land referred to in these words of Sacred Scripture: “Lord, thou has blessed the land” (Ps 84:2). This land is the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her Heart is the noblest and highest peak of her body and of her soul.

What is Calvary? It is Mount Moriah on which God commanded Abraham to slay his son, Isaac. The Hebrew rendition of the twenty-second chapter of Genesis reads: “Go into the land of Moriah,” instead of the usual version: “Go into the land of vision” (Gen 22:2). It is the place where King David raised an altar and offered sacrifice that God might stop the plague that ravaged his people, and also the site on which Solomon erected the Temple of Jerusalem, for Mount Sion is the same as Mount Moriah, and Calvary is part of the same chain of hills.

We have already seen that Christ, the true Solomon, established His foremost temple and holiest altar in the Heart of the most worthy daughter of Abraham and of David. In this temple, on this altar she immolated, not merely in desire like Abraham, but in very truth, Her dearest and most adorable Son, her Isaac.

What is Calvary? It is the place where the Cross of Jesus was raised. And was the Cross of Salvation not raised first of all in Mary’s holy Heart? What is Calvary? It is the place stained with the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. But Mary’s Heart was bathed with It through love and compassion and the Precious Blood of her beloved Son penetrated and impregnated His Mother far more than it soaked the soil of Calvary.

On Calvary, we behold the thorns that wounded the adorable head of our Savior, the nails that pierced His hands and feet, the lance that opened His Heart, the ropes that bound Him, the gall and vinegar He was given to drink, and the wounds which covered His body from head to foot. We can see the same wounds in the maternal Heart of His saintly Mother. “The Cross and the nails which crucified the Son’s body, crucified the Mother’s Heart as well.” (1) St. Jerome quotes St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, as saying: “All the wounds which covered the body of Jesus, had their counterpart in Mary’s Heart. The whips, the thorns, the nails which pierced and tore the Savior’s body, ran through His holy Mother’s Heart and shattered it. Every blow rending the body of the Son had its cruel echo in the Heart of His Mother.” (2)

“O my Queen,” exclaims St. Bonaventure, “Thou art not only standing near the Cross, but thou art with Thy Son on the Cross; Thou dost suffer, thou art crucified with Him, the only difference being that while He suffers in His body, thou dost suffer in thy loving Heart. All the wounds scattered over His body are united in thy Heart, because the sword of sorrow has pierced thy very soul. Thy virginal Heart, O my sovereign Lady, is wounded by the lance, pierced by the nails and thorns, heaped with opprobrium, ignominy and imprecations, saturated with vinegar and gall. Why wouldst thou, most honored Lady, be immolated for us? Is not our Savior’s Passion sufficient for our salvation? Must the mother also be crucified with her Son? O sweetest Heart, so full of love, must thou then be changed into bitter sorrow? I seek to behold thy loving Heart, my dearest Mistress, but it seems to have vanished and in its place I find only the bitterness of gall, myrrh and absinth. I seek the Mother of God and I find only thorns, nails, a lance, a sponge and vinegar. I look for Mary on the Cross, and I see only spittle, insults, lashes and wounds, so truly has she been overwhelmed by outrages.” (3)

I see my Redeemer crucified, suffering, agonizing, dying and finally dead on Calvary. I also behold His sorrows, suffering, agony and death in His Blessed Mother’s Heart. “She had lived of her Son’s life, and when He died on the Cross, she died with Him,” says a holy Premonstratensian Abbot. (4) “Both Mother and Son were nailed to the Cross, the Son in the body, the Mother in her Heart,” exclaims St. Lawrence Justinan, (5) the sainted Patriarch of Venice. “Could not Mary die in her Heart, as Jesus died in His body?”