Friday, March 25, 2011

The Feast of the Annunciation and St. John Eudes' 12 Reasons for Honoring the Heart of Mary

"The feast of the Annunciation commemorates the greatest miracle of the marvelous Heart of this admirable Mother, which on that day becomes an unfathomable depth of wonders, where greater and more prodigious things take place than have ever happened or ever will happen, no matter how great or worthy of admiration, in all centuries past, present and yet to come."
- St. John Eudes in The Admirable Heart of Mary

Detail of The Annunciation by Guido Reni

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1. We ought to honor and love the things that God loves and honors, and through which He is loved and glorified. Now, after the most adorable Heart of Jesus, there is no heart in heaven or on earth which has so loved and honored God, or has rendered Him so much glory and love, as the most worthy Heart of Mary, the Mother of the Saviour.

2. Who could possibly describe the ardent flames of love in the incomparable Heart of the Mother of God toward her Beloved Son Jesus? Count, if you can, all her thoughts, all her words, all her actions, labors, anxieties and vigilance in feeding, clothing, protecting and rearing our divine Saviour, and you will count so many reasons obliging us to love and praise her most amiable Heart.

The Annunciation by Guido Reni

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3. Count also all the thoughts, feelings and affections which filled her motherly Heart with regard to our salvation, and you will count so many obligations on our part to love and honor Mary.

4. Picture yourself the means employed by the Mother of mercy to cooperate with her Beloved Son our Saviour in the great work of the Redemption of the world, that is, here prayers, fasts, mortifications, tears, sufferings, and her most poignant sacrifice of her dear Son at the foot of the cross, her Heart utterly consumed with love and charity, and you must realize that all these facts are just so many additional obligations on our part to revere and love her most worthy Heart.

by Perugino

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5. The holy name of Mary has always been so highly honored in the Church, that, according to Surius, St. Gerard, Bishop of Pannonia, ordered the people of his diocese to prostrate themselves on the ground at the mention of her holy name. Blosius reports that in his time it was the universal custom of the Church, that, whenever the holy name of Mary was pronounced, everyone knelt, and ll the faithful prayed, sighed and wept with most extraordinary devotion and fervor. This devotion is not dead, because the feast of the Holy Name of Mary is celebrated in a number of churches, especially in the Order of the Redemption of Captives, where the office of her holy name is recited on all Saturdays not assigned to an office of nine lessons. If the venerable name of Mary be worthy of such great veneration, what honor should we not render to her Admirable Heart?

6. Holy Church never ceases to sing daily, in addressing the only Son of Mary, "Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps that gave Thee suck", because we can never sufficiently praise and revere the consecrated womb in which she bore the Son of the eternal Father, nor the blessed breasts at which she nursed Him. What honor and praises should be given to her most worthy Heart?

by Agostino Ciampelli

7. According to the aspirations of St. Paul the hearts of the faithful become the abodes and dwellings of Jesus Christ, and Christ Himself assures us that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit reside in the hearts of all who love God, so who can doubt that the Most Blessed Trinity dwells perpetually in a most admirable and ineffable manner in the virginal Heart of her who is the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mary who alone loves God more than all other creatures combined? This being the case, with what devotion should we not honor her immaculate heart?

8. If we are indebted to the holy Evangelists for having left us the written records of the life of our Redeemer and the mysteries of our Redemption, how much more do we owe to our most holy Mother for having preserved for us this precious treasure in her maternal Heart?

by Domenico Beccafumi

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9. Is it not we miserable sinners who pierced this most innocent Heart of Mary, at the time of the Passion of the Saviour, with countless thousands of shafts of sorrow by our innumerable sins? How greatly we are obliged, then, to render all the honor within our power in order to make some reparation for the most bitter anguish that we caused her loving Heart to suffer.

10. The Admirable Heart of Mary is the perfect image of the most divine Heart of Jesus. It is the pattern and model for our own hearts; and all our happiness, perfection and glory consists in striving to transform them into so many living images of the sacred Heart of Mary, just as her holy Heart is a consummate likeness of the adorable Heart of Jesus. Therefore it is most useful, good and beneficial to exhort Christians to practise devotion to the most august Heart of the Queen of Heaven. The sovereign devotion is to imitate what we honor, says St. Augustine, so who can fail to perceive that, in encouraging the faithful in devotion to the most amiable Heart of the Mother of God, we are also exhorting them to imitate the most eminent virtues that adorn it, to engrave its likeness on their own hearts and to render themselves worthy children of such a Mother?

by Antoniazzo Romano

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11. Not only is the Heart of the Mother of Our Saviour the prototype and model of our own hearts, but her Heart, after the adorable Heart of Jesus, is also Sovereign Ruler of all the hearts that have been created to love God, since she is Queen of the universe. For that reason all hearts should look upon and imitate the Heart of Mary as their model, but in addition they are obliged to render it all the homage that they owe to it as to their Sovereign.

12. Finally consider all the attributes and perfections of the incomparable Heart of the Mother of Fair Love, and you must realize that there are just that number of reasons compelling us to praise, honor and love this most praiseworthy and lovable Heart.

-The Admirable Heart of Mary by St. John Eudes
by Giorgio Vasari

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