This article was excerpted from St. John Eudes, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God (Albany, NY: Preserving Christian Publications, Inc., 2000), part I, chapter 1.
First Part – Containing the Reasons for the Title of This Book, Our Obligations to Honor This Amiable Infant, and 12 Wonderful Mysteries that Pertain to Her Holy Childhood
The Reasons for the Title of This Book
Be not astonished, dear reader, that I have chosen as title for this book, The Wondrous Childhood of the Most Holy Mother of God, for, in truth, this holy Childhood is replete with marvels.
This incomparable Virgin is admirable not alone for the grandeur of the divine maternity, and in the glorious accessories of this most sublime dignity, her sovereign power, eminent holiness, and unspeakable glory, but she is admirable in the lowliness and feebleness of her Childhood. She is not only admirable in her surpassing qualities of eldest Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Temple of the most Holy Trinity, Queen of men and Angels, Empress of heaven and earth; but also in quality of daughter of Joachim and Ann. Not only is she admirable in the conception and birth of the Eternal Word, but her own conception and birth are subjects of marvelous grandeur.
I behold the angels all in transports. Seeing her mount glorious and triumphant into heaven they exclaim: “Who is this that cometh up from the desert of the earth, winging her way with such magnificence towards heaven, flowing with delights and leaning upon her beloved?” (Song 8:5) But these same angels, perceiving that from her birth Mary appeared as a glorious orb of day commencing to shine, and little by little becoming fair as the moon, bright as the sun, cry out in ravishing accents: “Who is this that cometh as the morning (quasi aurora consurgens), fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army in battle array?” (Song 6:9)
We hear the Eternal Father complain lovingly that she has wounded His Heart with the burning dart of most pure love, and, according to the Septuagint, ravished His Heart; that is to say, she has attracted to her virginal womb His only and well-beloved Son. “Rapuisti cormeum” (Song 4:9)
But how has she ravished His Heart? Not only by a glance of her eyes, “in uno oculorum tuorum,” that is to say, by the great acts of virtue she performed, when far advanced in the ways of grace, which is signified by the glance of the eye, one of man’s noblest organs. But she has ravished His Heart by a hair of her neck, “in uno crine colli tui,” that is, by the smallest acts she performed for God in the littleness of her age and in the beginnings of grace.
But have you not observed in what manner her divine Spouse, the Holy Spirit, draws her portrait in the seventh chapter of the Song of Songs?
He depicts her entire person, praising all that is most noble and excellent in her, her eyes, her neck, her breast, her head. He commences by her feet and shoes, which represent the beginning of her life and the first steps she made in the ways of God during her Infancy. He speaks in ravishing terms. “How beautiful are thy steps in shoes, O Prince’s daughter!”(Song 7:1)