From The Admirable Heart of Mary, by St. John Eudes.
Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, chose the incomparable Virgin Mary from among all creatures to be His Mother and deigned to be nourished and governed by her. In His infinite goodness He also gave her to us to be our Queen, our Mother and our sure Refuge in all our needs. He therefore wishes us to honor her as He honors her and to love her as He loves her.
According to the Apostle St. Paul, Christ is the Head of His Mystical Body, the Church, and we are the members (1 Cor 12:27; Eph 5:30). We must therefore be animated by His Spirit; we must follow His inspirations, walk the path He has traced, and continue, as it were, His life on earth by practicing the virtues which were His own. It follows that our devotion to His Holy Mother must be a continuation of His devotion to her.
We must be filled with the sentiments of respect, submission and affection that He entertained for her on earth and still entertains in heaven. Mary always held and will hold forever the first place in the Sacred Heart of her Divine Son; she always was and will never cease to be the first object of His love after the Eternal Father; and so He wishes that, next to God, she should be the principal object of our devotion. For this reason, after the veneration we owe to the Divine Majesty of God, we cannot render a greater service to Jesus Christ or do anything more pleasing to Him than to serve and honor His most worthy Mother.
The human will is not, however, moved to love a fellow creature unless the intellect first knows what renders it worthy of respect and esteem. The infinite zeal with which the Son of God is inflamed for all that concerns His dear Mother, has urged Him to reveal to us through the inspired words of Sacred Scripture and through the writings of the Fathers some small measure of the perfections with which He has enriched her. The reality far surpassing our knowledge of her in this vale of darkness will be revealed only in heaven, the land of unclouded light.
Among the divinely inspired passages of Sacred Scripture I select one from the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, which is a compendium of all the great things that can be said or thought of our marvelous Queen. “A great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1) What is this great sign? Who is this miraculous woman? St. Epiphanius (Hares., 78), St. Augustine (De Symbolo. Lib. 4.), St. Bernard (Sermo in Signum Magnum), and many other holy doctors agree that the woman is Mary, the Queen among women, the Sovereign of angels and men, the Virgin of virgins. She is the woman who bore in her chaste womb the perfect man, the God-Man. “A woman shall compass a man.” (Jer 31:22)
Mary appears in heaven because she comes from heaven, because she is heaven’s masterpiece, the Empress of Heaven, its joy and its glory, in whom everything is heavenly. Even when her body dwelt on earth, her thoughts and affections were all rapt in heaven.
She is clothed with the eternal Sun of the Godhead and with all the perfections of the Divine Essence, which surround, fill and penetrate her to such an extent that she has become transformed, as it were, into the power, goodness and holiness of God.
She has the moon under her feet to show that the entire world is beneath her. None is above her, save only God, and she holds absolute sway over all created things.
She is crowned with twelve stars that represent the virtues that shine so brightly in her soul. The mysteries of her life are as many stars more luminous by far than the brightest lights of the sky. The privileges and prerogatives God has granted to her, the least of which is greater than anything shining in the firmament of heaven, as well as the glory of the saints of Paradise and of earth, are her crown and her glory in a much fuller sense than the Philippians could be said to be the crown and joy of St. Paul (Phil 4:1).
But why does the Holy Spirit call Mary “a great sign”? It is simply to tell us that everything in her is wonderful, and that the marvels that fill her being should be proclaimed to the entire world, so that she may become an object of the admiration for the inhabitants of heaven as well as for mankind on earth, and so that she may be the sweet delight of angels and men.
Edited by the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate
Hearts of Jesus and Mary
48765 Annapolis Rd., Hopedale, OH 43976, U.S.A.