Our Lady’s most blessed Heart is the wonderful fountain that God caused to spring from the ground at the beginning of the world, as described in the second chapter of Genesis. “A spring rose out of the earth, watering all the surface of the earth” (Gen 2:6). St. Bonaventure tells us that this fountain was a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “She was prefigured in the fountain that sprang from the earth.” (1) But we have equal reason to say that this represented her Heart, which is truly a living fountain whose heavenly waters irrigate not only the whole earth, but every created thing in Heaven as well as on earth.
Mary is the sealed fountain of the holy Spouse, which her divine Bridegroom calls “a fountain sealed up” (Cant. 4:12), for it remained sealed not only against the world, the devil and every kind of sin, but it was closed even to the Cherubim and Seraphim, who could not penetrate the marvelous secrets or comprehend the inestimable treasures hidden by God in Our Lady’s pure Heart.
Sacred Scripture states that the heart of man is evil and inscrutable (Jer. 17:9). But the Heart of the Queen of Heaven inspires these words: “God created her in the Holy Spirit, and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her” (Ecclus. 1:9). In other words, so holy and impenetrable is the Heart of Mary that only God Who enclosed within His treasures of grace and put His seal upon it, can know the quality, quantity and price of the graces hidden in this sealed fountain. All we can say is that Mary’s Immaculate Heart is a fountain of light, a fountain of holy and blessed water, a fountain of living and life-giving water, a fountain of milk and honey and a fountain of wine. It is the source of a great river, nay, of four miraculous streams, and finally, it is the source of an infinity of blessings and goodness.
Mary’s peerless Heart is a fountain of light; that foreshadowed in the person of Queen Esther, who is represented in Sacred Scripture as a small fountain that becomes a great light and is turned into the sun. “The little fountain which grew into a river, and was turned into a light, and into the sun . . .” (Esther 10:6). It is the fountain of the sun, fans solis, mentioned in Chapters fifteen and seventeen of the Book of Joshua.
The Heart of Mary, as well as her name, which means “enlightened” or “the one who enlightens,” and also “star of the sea,” is indeed a true fountain of light. Holy Church considers and honors her as the resplendent door of pure light; Tu porta lucis fulgida, and salutes her as the portal through which divine Light entered the world: Salve porta, ex qua mundo lux est orta. Truly the Heart of Mary is the fountain of the sun, because Mary is the Mother of the Sun of Justice, and this divine Sun is the fruit of Mary’s Heart.
O incredible wonder! O inconceivable miracle! Who could ever have thought that the sun could be born of a star, or that a fountain could be the source of the sun, fons solis. Thus, then, the virginal Heart of Mary is a true fountain of light.
Mary’s Heart is a fountain of water, but one of blessed, holy and precious water. I here speak of the innumerable tears that poured from this sacred fountain and, united with those of the Redeemer Himself, cooperated in our redemption. O Mary, how many streams of tears have flowed from thine eyes, with their source in thy loving, charitable, devoted and merciful Heart! Tears of love, tears of charity, tears of joy, of sorrow and of compassion! How often did not the ardent love of the maternal Heart for thy infinitely lovable Son cause thee to shed bitter tears, beholding Him so little loved, so much hated, offended and dishonored by the majority of men, although it was the duty of man to serve Him? How often thy burning charity for souls caused thee to weep because through their own malice, millions of precious souls would be lost, notwithstanding all that He did and suffered in order to save them? How many times have the holy angels witnessed tears of sublime devotion coursing down thy beautiful face, as thou wast absorbed in holy communion with the Divine Majesty? All the saints were granted the gift of tears, which could not possibly have been wanting in the Mother of Sorrows who has assured us that she possesses the fullness of gifts bestowed on all the saints. In plenitudine sanctorum detentio mea (Ecclus. 24:16).
Now then are not all these tears of joy, love, charity, devotion, sorrow and compassion like so many waters streaming from the holy fountain of Mary’s Immaculate Heart? Oh, with what good reason, therefore, do we call her admirable Heart a fountain of blessed, holy and precious water!
The most pure Heart of Mary is also a fountain of living water, which means a fountain of grace. This ought not to astonish us, for the Archangel Gabriel declared long ago that the Mother of the Savior was full of grace,gratia plena, and the Church calls her Mater gratiae, Mother of Grace, and Mater divinae gratiae, Mother of Divine Grace. The Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas, affirms that Our Lady is so full of grace that out of her abundance she can dispense graces to all men. (2)
Her most generous Heart is indeed a fountain of living waters whose salutary streams flow on all sides, over the land of the wicked as well as of the just, in imitation of the All-good and All-merciful Heart of our Heavenly Father who causes His providential rain to fall on the good and the bad alike. This is the reason why the Holy Spirit calls the charitable Heart of the Mother of Mercy “the fountain of gardens,” fons hortorum (Cant. 4:15). In another passage He names it the fountain that “shall water the torrent of thorns” (Joel 3:18).
What are these gardens, what is this torrent of thorns, watered by this beautiful fountain?
The gardens are all the Orders of the Church that lead a truly Christian and holy life. They are delicious gardens for the Son of God, blooming with flowers and fruit that the Spouse longs for when she exclaims: “Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with apples: because I languish with love” (Cant. 2:5). These mystical gardens likewise represent all holy souls, no matter what their state or condition, in whom the heavenly Bridegroom finds His delight among the flowers of holy thoughts, desires and affections, and among the refreshing fruits of virtues and good works.
These gardens of delight are constantly watered by the fountain which is called by the Holy Spirit “the fountain of gardens,” according to many holy Doctors who apply these words to the Blessed Virgin Mary. (3)
But Mary’s Heart is not only the fountain of gardens whose waters impart refreshment to just and holy souls. St. Jerome also refers to the Holy Mother of God these words of the Prophet Joel: “… a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the torrent of thorns” (Joel 3:18). What are these thorns and this torrent? The thorns represent the wicked, whose lives are infested with the thorns of their sins. This torrent is the world, which resembles an impetuous torrent, full of refuse and evil odors, making much noise, but flowing swiftly past, dragging the majority of men into the abyss of perdition. “The world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof” (1 Jn. 2:17).
But the Heart of the Mother of Mercy is so full of goodness that its effects are felt even by the torrent of thorns, or rather, by the poor thorns which are swept in this torrent to be thrown into the eternal whirlpool of hell. The wonderful waters of her holy fountain, coming in contact with these barren and dead thorns, fit only for eternal fire, cause many of them to awaken to new life, and some are even transformed into beautiful trees that bear quantities of good fruit, worthy to be placed on the table of the Eternal King. The reason is that this fountain’s divine waters are not only living, but life-giving. Mary’s Heart is, therefore, not only a fountain of living waters but a fountain of life, and of life eternal.
But it is not enough to love life without furnishing the substance to nourish and sustain it. For this reason, Mary’s maternal Heart is not only a fountain of living and life-giving waters; it is, moreover, a fountain of milk, of honey, of oil and of wine.
It is a fountain of milk and honey, for we hear the Divine Spouse saying to Mary: “Thy lips, my spouse, are as a dropping honeycomb, honey and milk are under thy tongue” (Cant. 4:11), which means, “Thy words are full of sweetness and tenderness, and thy Heart must consequently be filled with them.” Mary’s heart and tongue always agree, and there is perfect conformity between her words and her sentiments. If therefore she has milk and honey in her mouth, she must also have them in her Heart; and they are under tongue and upon her lips only because her Heart is filled with incomparable sweetness.
Hence, the inspired words: “My spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above the honey and the honeycomb” (Ecclus. 24:27). We must, therefore, conclude that her Heart is a real fountain of milk and honey, whose streams flow incessantly into the hearts of her children, thus verifying the saying of the Holy Spirit: “. . . you shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knee, (she) shall caress you, as one whom the mother caresseth” (Is. 66:12-13). Happy are they who raise no obstacles to the fulfillment of these consoling words! Happy are those who do not close their ears to the voice of the sweetest Mother constantly crying: “As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). Come, my well-beloved, come, eat of my honey and drink of my milk, that you may taste and see how sweet and delightful it is to serve and love Him Who has made me so amiable and tender towards His children, and how my Heart is full of love and affection for those who love me in return. “I love them that love me” (Prov. 8:17).
We see therefore that the Heart of the Mother of Fair Love is a fountain of milk and honey for all her children, especially for those who are still weak, tender and delicate, not yet capable of taking more solid food.
Her Heart is also a fountain of oil, that is, of mercy for all sinners. It is, moreover, a fountain of wine to give strength and vigor to the weak and comfort to the sorrowful and afflicted, according to the divine words: “Give strong drink to them that are sad: and wine to them that are grieved in mind” (Prov. 31:6).
All those who comfort other men for the sake of charity, and, above all, who work for the salvation of their neighbor, should be inebriated with the wine of divine love! To such as these our charitable Mother, ever burning with zeal for the salvation of souls, cries in a loud voice:
Come, children, come beloved of my Heart, come, draw from the fountain of your Mother’s Heart the heavenly wine of divine love; drink long and deep; filled with the rapture of the spirit, you need fear no excess. “Drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved” (Cant. 5:1). Drink of this pure wine, father of virginity and of all holy virgins. “Wine springing forth virgins” (Zach. 9:17). This heavenly wine fills the Seraphim with delight; it inebriated the Apostles of my Divine Son; it filled the Redeemer Himself with holy rapture when, in the excess of His love for you, He renounced the grandeurs of His divinity and humbled Himself in the lowly crib and on the ignominious Cross. Drink with Him of this delicious wine, that you may forget and despise what the world loves and esteems, that you may love and value God alone, and exert yourself with all your might to establish the reign of His love and His glory in the souls of men. Thus will you become the beloved children of His Heart and of my own.
Who will give me a voice strong enough to be heard in all the world, crying to all men: “All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: Come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price” (Is. 55:1).
You who thirst vainly after the false honors of the world, come instead to the most honorable Heart of the Queen of Heaven, and you will learn by the example of this Heart’s thirst for the glory of God alone, that true honor consists in following His Divine Majesty: “It is great glory to follow the Lord” (Ecclus. 23:38). Every other honor is only smoke, vanity and illusion. You who thirst after the riches of earth, come hither, and you will find incomparable treasures.
You who thirst after worldly pleasures, come and you will find the contentment of the angels, the delights of God, the peace and joy of the children of God and of God’s Mother, according to the divine promise addressed to each faithful soul: “Behold I will bring upon her as it were a river of peace, and as an overflowing torrent the glory of the Gentiles” (Is. 66:12).
Emerge from the filth of the world’s horrible torrent, of the torrent of thorns that is whirling you into the abyss of perdition! Emerge and enter the sweet waters of the river of peace. Give yourself up in holy ecstasy to this torrent of delights. Properate, hasten, why do you wait?
Do you fear to slight the incomparable goodness of the Heart of Jesus, your God and Redeemer, if you invoke the charity of His Mother’s Heart? Do you not know that Mary is nothing, possesses nothing, and can do nothing except in, through and by Jesus? Do you not know that Jesus is everything and that He can and does accomplish everything through her? Do you not know Jesus made Mary’s Heart as it is, and that He willed it to be the fountain of light, of consolation and of every possible grace for those who will have recourse to it in their necessities? Do you forget that not only does Jesus reside and dwell perpetually in Mary’s Heart, but that He is in truth the heart of her Heart and the soul of her soul; and that therefore coming to the Heart of Mary means to honor Jesus and to invoke her Heart is to invoke Jesus?
Our Lady asks of you only one thing, which is, that if you seek to taste the sweetness of the milk and honey flowing from the fountain of her Heart, and experience the potency of its wine, you must renounce all evil feasting and give up all tasting of the wine of the demons. It is impossible to drink of the chalice of Our Savior and of the goblet of the devil, to partake of the heavenly banquet of God and at the same time to eat at the table of the devil (1 Cor. 10:21). You must choose between them. It should be so very easy to make your choice!
Consider how strange it is! The world offers nothing but crumbs and dregs of feasting, empty fame, wealth and fleeting pleasure, but it sells you these stale crumbs and dregs at the costly price of worry, pain, bitterness, restlessness, anguish, often even at the price of your very life. As Sacred Scripture exclaims: “Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which doth not satisfy you?” (Is. 55:2). Furthermore, the libations that the world sells so dearly are not only stagnant and bitter, completely unable to satisfy you in this life, but their venom is poison bringing eternal death. What satisfaction can you possibly expect to derive from waters as bitter as those of Egypt (Jer. 2:18)?
On the other hand, the Divine Son of God and of Mary offers you the refreshment and rapture of the fountain of the fullness of the House of God, of which you are free to drink forever. O what blind, blind folly it is to choose the goblet of sin instead of the chalice of Our Savior! God Himself has exclaimed in amazement at this, through the prophet Jeremias, saying:
Be astonished, O ye heavens at this, and ye gates thereof, be very desolate. . . . For my people have done two evils. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jer. 2:12-13).
O dearest Lord, have pity on such wretchedness, and by the pure heart of Thy most blessed Mother, grant unto us the living water that flows from Thee through the miraculous fountain of her Heart. Stifle in our hearts the dangerous thirst for worldly things and grant us instead the thirst that burns only to please Thee, to love Thee, to seek our delight and refreshment in following Thy Holy Will, in imitation of the admirable Heart of Mary, fountain of sweetness and grace, who knew no joy or paradise except to accomplish Thy Divine Will most perfectly.
The preceding excerpt is taken from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, Part Two, Chapter V, 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.
(1) “Figurata fuit per fontem quae ascendebat de terra”; In opusc. inscripto Laus Virg.
(2) Opusc. 8.
(3) Cf. Rupert, in Cantio.