Tuesday, August 19th is the feast of St. John Eudes. I’m not an expert on Eudes, but I know of three pronounced devotions that he had: to the Heart of Jesus Christ, to Mary the Mother of the Lord and to Christ within the womb of Mary. We dedicate this reflection to John Eudes.
Through the words of his prophet Ezekiel, the Lord made a great promise to Israel:
“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezek 36:26
It is important to realize that this promise, this prophecy, could not be fulfilled until the Incarnation of Christ the Lord had occurred. It was the heart of flesh within the Body of Jesus that marked the change, for it was also the very Heart of God! Mary’s heart prefigured the heart of Jesus that would be formed within his Body, within her womb, for her heart was tender and full of Grace.
We see, in fact, that during those first nine months of the Incarnation while Jesus was an unborn baby within the womb of Mary, that the three devotions mentioned above are all linked. As one of the invocations in the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus says: “Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit within the Virgin Mother’s womb, have mercy on us.”
So the Incarnation made it possible for Israel and all Christians to take another step forward in God’s Plan of Salvation. Hence the old Catholic prayer: “Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine.”
John tells us: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth…And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace” (Jn 1:14,16). If the Word had never become flesh within the womb of Mary, Ezekiel’s prophecy would not have been realized.
About three weeks after His conception, the Heart of Christ was physically formed in a rudimentary fashion, pulsing with love for every human being. Although, His spiritual heart was beating thus from the first moment of conception as Pope Pius XII explains: “The Virgin Mary utters that generous word, “be it done”…Immediately the Heart of Jesus, ever to be adored, has begun to pulsate with love, divine and human” (On Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, #63).
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