Ave Maria Meditations
Saint John Eudes, Priest
Optional Memorial August 19th
(1601-1680) Born in France, he was a gifted preacher and encouraged devotions to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Specially concerned to council and defend endangered women, he founded an association of priest and the religious Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity
St. Pope Pius X called St. Eudes the Immaculate Heart’s Father, Doctor and Apostle. It was through him that this devotion was made public and received ecclesiastical approbation. At his canonization, Holy Mother Church emphasized his role in establishing the liturgical devotion to the Heart of Mary. St. John Eudes, as a theologian, was the first to explain this devotion. The feast was established first in his Congregation and later through out the French dioceses. He composed a mass and office. In 1680, shortly before his death, his book, The Admirable Heart of Mary, was completed and published. It consisted of 12 books, took him 20 years to write it, and was the first of its kind.
St. John Eudes wrote, “Jesus lives in Her (Mary) soul and body…His Heart abides in Her heart, His Soul in Her soul … His virtues, mysteries, and divine attributes are loving in Her heart…” These very words were later echoed by St. Margaret Mary, the recipient of the devotion of the Sacred Heart, when she said; “The most efficacious way to obtain devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” She taught this to her novices and also composed a prayer for them to pray. In honoring the Immaculate Heart of Mary, it is not her heart of flesh that we are honoring but the affections symbolized by the heart. Thus we are lead by material heart to the spiritual heart, thereby honoring the whole person.
St. John Eudes wrote, “When, therefore, we honor the Holy Heart of the Mother of God, we honor the heart that, of all hearts, after the Heart of her Son, is the most worthy of our admiration, the most perfect, the most beloved of God, the most adorned with every kind of virtue, the most full of grace and love; the Heart that has the most tenderness for poor sinners, that is the meekest, the most compassionate, the most merciful, the most charitable, the most beneficent, the most amiable; in a word, the object that, after Jesus, has the greatest charm for heaven and earth. It is, therefore, for the best of reasons that we should make this Holy Heart the object of our tenderest devotion, and pay it all the honor and respect that its own excellence and the favor that we have received from it, demand of our gratitude and love.”