Wednesday, February 20, 2013

St. Jean Eudes, Founder of Public Devotion to the Sacred Hearts

by M. J. Joachim
St. Jean Eudes was a humble priest, devoted to serving the public and promoting devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Catholics were severely oppressed in France, during the time Fr. Jean Eudes faithfully ministered to those in need of his services. “In addition to the activities of an incessant and many-sided apostolate, he wrote a number of valuable books, which rank him among the most prolific ascetic writers of the seventeenth century.” (Preface – The Sacred Heart of Jesus)

According to Catholic Culture, “St. John Eudes (1601 – 1680), however, is the founder of the modern public devotion to the Two Hearts,” in reference to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. “It was his mission to organize the scriptural, theological, patristic, and liturgical sources relating to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and to popularize them with the approbation of the Church.”

St. Jean Eudes was practicing, promoting and writing about devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, before St. Margaret Mary beheld her apparitions about it. As the author of the liturgical worship and Divine Office of the Sacred Hearts, he worked with St. Margaret Mary in establishing the universal Feast of the Sacred Heart within the Catholic Church.

St. Claude de la Combiere, for those remembering reference to him earlier this week, was St. Margaret Mary’s confessor. His role in determining the validity of her apparitions comes into play, and will be expanded upon in a future post.

It is important to note that St. Jean Eudes stressed the unity of the hearts of Mother and Son, in his writings and establishment of liturgical worship surrounding them. Think of the bond between these two souls – one divine, the other chosen to be His holy Mother. More importantly, it was the force of strongest love that brought these two together.

Jesus was born of Mary to fulfill love’s purpose and offer salvation to all souls. “Since His love is boundless, He would be ready to lay down His life throughout the whole universe as He did upon Calvary. Since His love is eternal and infinite, He would be ready to make the sacrifice over and over again, if it were possible, and with infinite suffering.” (St. Jean Eudes)

Devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary is one of the most popular in the Catholic Church. It is a natural response to the omnipotent love we have received from God. Lest we forget the promise of the Giver, it is necessary at this juncture to share the promises Jesus made to St. Margaret Mary, during His apparitions expressing the desire for people to be devoted to His Sacred Heart.

  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life.
  2. I will establish peace in their families.
  3. I will bless every house in which the picture of my heart shall be exposed and honored.
  4. I will console them in all their difficulties.
  5. I will be their refuge during life and especially at the hour of their death.
  6. I will shed abundant blessings upon all their undertakings.
  7. Sinners shall find in My heart a fountain and boundless ocean of mercy.
  8. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  9. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
  10. I will give to priests the power of touching the hardest hearts.
  11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their names written in My heart never to be blotted out.
  12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all who communicate on the first Friday of the month for nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My displeasure nor without their sacraments: My divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.
I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon,

M. J.

Photo credit:  Jean Eudes portrait, PD – US, PD - OUD
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