"My beloved to me, and I to him" (Song 2:16). "I to my beloved, and my beloved me" (Song 6:2). "I to my beloved, and his turning is towards me" (Song 7:10), with His mind, His heart, His affection and His whole being.
It is not without mystery that the Blessed Virgin Mary repeats the three foregoing verses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaking in the sacred Canticle (Song of Songs), which is so mysterious and full of eternal verities. The preceding three verses admit of nine explanations, each revealing to us the incomprehensible love of the Almighty for the peerless Virgin and the ardent love of her virginal Heart for God, Her Creator.
The all-surpassing love of God for Mary causes Him to become entirely hers: "My beloved to me," by His thoughts, words and actions. By His thoughts, because she has been from all eternity the first object of His love, after the sacred humanity of His Word, and the first and worthiest subject of His thoughts and designs: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways" (Prov. 8:22). By His words, because St. Bernard declares that the whole of Sacred Scripture was written "for Mary, about ‘Mary and on account of Mary" (1). By His works, because everything that God has done in the world of nature, grace and glory, and everything. He has accomplished in the God-Man and through Him is more for the sake of this admirable Virgin, than all other creatures together as He loves her alone above all His creatures.
Similarly, the ardent love of Mary’s privileged Heart obliges her to be-long entirely to God: "I to my beloved," by her thoughts, words and actions. By her thoughts, she never entertained a single thought which was not centered in God or for God. All her thoughts were so holy and so inflamed with divine love, that they became like so many fiery dart wounding the Heart of His divine Majesty. As we have seen already, this is the explanation given by many great authorities to the words: "Thou hast wounded my heart … with one hair of thy neck" (Song. 4:9). By her words, she carried out most perfectly what St. Peter the Prince of the Apostles says: "If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God" (1 Pet. 4:11). By her actions, the Blessed Virgin Mary performed all things for God’s glory, in faithful obedience to the inspired counsel: "Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31).
The ineffable love of God the Creator for Mary causes Him to belong entirely to her, "My beloved to me," by His power, His wisdom and His goodness. He is hers in a much nobler and more glorious manner than His possession by all creatures together, for the Father communicated His power to Mary so fully that she alone is mightier than every other power in the universe.
The Divine Son makes her participate in His wisdom with such plenitude that, next to His own Sacred Humanity, His Mother possesses all the treasures of God’s knowledge and wisdom more excellently than every other human or angelic intellect.
The Holy Spirit pours His love and charity into Mary’s virginal Heart with such abundance that He makes of it a boundless and bottomless ocean of mercy, liberality and benignity, flooding heaven, earth and purgatory, with its sweet graces and comforts.
On Mary’s part, the inconceivable love of God flaming in her Heart, consecrates her entirely to His divine Majesty by holy use of her memory, her intellect and her will under its inspiration. From the first instant in her life she gave and consecrated her whole memory to the divine Person of the Eternal Father, her intellect to the adorable Person of her Son, and her entire will to the most lovable Person of the Holy Spirit. From the first moment until the end of her mortal life she never used the three faculties of her soul except for the honor and service of her Creator.
Mary belongs to Jesus, "I to my beloved," as to her Creator, Preserver and Redeemer, who saved her, not by delivering her from sin, which never had any part in her, but by preserving her from every sin, original and actual. Jesus belongs to Mary, "My beloved to me," because she formed Him in her blessed womb with her own pure blood. She preserved, nourished and brought Him up, and when Herod’s fury sought to destroy the Holy Child, she saved and delivered Him.
The Son of God is Mary’s Son from all eternity, in the fullness of time, and for all eternity: "My beloved to me." From all eternity, He regarded her as His chosen Mother; in the fullness of time, because she became the instrument for the accomplishment of the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation; for all eternity, because Christ will forever regard, honor and love her as His most worthy Mother. For the same reason, Mary is the Mother of her Beloved Son from all eternity, in the fullness of time and for all eternity, "I to my beloved."
Mary belongs to Jesus, "I to my beloved," according to nature, grace and glory because everything she possesses in nature, grace and glory comes to her from her Divine Son; and Jesus belongs to Mary, "My beloved to me," according to nature, grace and glory, because, in the Incarnation, she gave Him His nature as man. She gives Him daily the life of grace in His members: "Mother of grace; life is given to us through the Virgin." Mater gratiae; vitam datam per Virginem. She has also given Him the life of glory in His members, because after Him she is the source of all graces upon earth and of all glory in Heaven.
The Eternal Father belongs to Mary: "My beloved to me," as the only creature to whom He communicated, so to speak, His Divine Paternity, that she might become the Mother of His own Son. The Son belongs to Mary, as to the only one He has chosen to be His Mother. The Holy Spirit belongs to Mary as to the Bride He chose that He might work in her His admirable masterpiece.
Mary, on her part, belongs to the Eternal Father, "I to my beloved," as to Him with whom she is one, in a certain admirable manner, as she shares with Him the virtue of His divine and adorable fecundity, being the Mother of the only-begotten Son whose Father He is. She surrendered to the Almighty her Heart and her will, her most pure blood and her virginal substance, to bring forth the God-Man, of whom it can truly be said that He was begotten of His Father’s substance before all ages and born of the substance of His Mother in the fullness of time.
Mary belongs to the Son of God, as the only one who gave herself to Him to be His Mother, when she uttered the words: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word" (Lk 1:38).
Mary belongs to the Holy Spirit, for she gave herself to be His Bride, that she might become the Mother of God made man without ceasing to be a Virgin, after hearing the divine words spoken by the angelic Messenger: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee" (Lk 1:35).
The intellect of the Eternal Father belongs to Mary, "My beloved to me," for He produces His Word, He engenders the Son in His adorable bosom and gives Him to Mary, to cause Him to be born of her chaste womb, to make of Him the flower and fruit of her virginal bosom and of her holy Heart.
The will of the only-begotten Son belongs to Mary, because together with His Father, the Son generates the Holy Spirit, and gives the Divine Spirit to Mary, that He may, in a most excellent manner, become her Spirit and her Heart, and that she may, in a certain sense, have but one Spirit and one Heart in common with the Father and the Son.
The charity of the Holy Spirit belongs to Mary, for in her only, from her, with her and through her, has He performed the most stupendous miracle of His love, the incarnation of the love of all loves, who is Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, just as the Eternal Father imparts to the incomparable Mary the first and unique fruit of His intellect and of His adorable bosom, so also, as soon as this ineffable fruit has been formed in her virginal womb, does she offer, give and sacrifice Him to the Creator who gave Him to her: "I to my beloved."
As the Son endows Mary with the fruit of His will, who is the Holy Spirit, so does she give Him all the inclinations and desires of her will, so perfectly and entirely that He always disposes of them absolutely and in the manner most pleasing to Himself, for the Mother of God never possessed the slightest will other than that of her all-glorious Son.
And as the Holy Spirit accomplishes in her alone the greatest wonder of His love, namely, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, so also did this Spirit of love and charity establish in her Heart the empire of the holy love and divine charity so perfectly that they have ever reigned and will reign there more absolutely than in all other hearts save that of Christ.
The Mystical Body of Christ belongs to Mary: "My beloved to me." By this is meant that the Church Triumphant, Militant and Suffering belong to Mary, or better still, Jesus Christ combating against hell on earth, Jesus Christ triumphant in heaven, and Jesus Christ suffering in Purgatory in His members, belongs to Mary because Our Divine Savior gave His holy Mother all things together with Himself.
Mary likewise belongs to the Church Militant, Triumphant and Suffering, "I to my beloved," for His Son Jesus Christ has given her to the Church Militant, that she might be the general of her armies. He has given His Mother to the Church Triumphant as a resplendent sun filling the hearts of the blessed in heaven with incredible joy, second only to the joy they experience from the beatific vision of the face of God. Christ has given her to the Suffering Church as a mother of mercy and comforter of the afflicted, who is ever spreading comfort and refreshment among those scorching flames of divine justice. Mary herself assured St. Brigid that every pain suffered in purgatory was rendered more bearable by her intervention.
The Heart of the Divine Father belongs to Mary, as the heart of the most loving of fathers to the most devoted of daughters: "My beloved to me." The Heart of the Redeemer belongs to Mary, as the heart of the most affectionate of sons to the worthiest of all mothers. The Heart of the Holy Spirit belongs to Mary, as the heart of the most perfect spouse to the most dearly beloved of all bridegrooms. The Heart of Mary likewise belongs to the Father of Mercies, "I to my beloved," as the heart of the peerless daughter to the best of fathers. The Heart of Mary belongs to the Son of God, as the heart of the most loving mother to the incomparable son. Finally, the Heart of Mary belongs to the Holy Spirit, as the heart of a bride, who is a furnace of the holiest and most ardent fire that ever existed, to a spouse who is Himself uncreated and essential love, a God of love, infinite, eternal and immense.
Thus does Mary’s Beloved belong entirely to her and in every way, and thus does Mary belong to her Beloved. Immense and infinite thanks we render to thee, O my God, for all the marvels of Thy love towards Thy beloved daughter, Mother and Bride! Everlasting praise to thee, beloved Daughter of the Father, most worthy Mother of the Son, dearest spouse of the Holy Spirit, for all the love and all the glory that thy admirable Heart has rendered and will forever render to the most Blessed Trinity. O Mother of fervent love, deign to obtain by thy holy prayers, that, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have given themselves to us in an excess of unspeakable love, they may also take full and irrevocable possession of our bodies, our hearts, our souls and of all that is in us, to the end that there may remain in us nothing that is not totally consecrated their love and glory, alone and forever!
This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, part six, chapter IV. 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.
(1) De hac, et ob hanc, et propter hanc omnis Scriptura jacta est. Serm.1 in Salve.