by St. John Eudes
Any book authored by a canonised saint is guaranteed to be valuable, and this richly devotional and doctrinal work does not disappoint!
The reader is instructed with beautiful and inspirational truths about the Sacred Heart of Our Lord that nourish the intellect whilst moving the will to a more profound adoration and love. Saint John Eudes adds insights and depth to the more commonly-known writings by St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude the Great, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and in more recent times, the priest who avidly promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart, Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey.
Beginning with Chapter 1: The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Furnace of Burning Love for His Eternal Father, he quotes St. Bernadine of Siena, who calls this loving heart, “A furnace of ardent love to enkindle and inflame the whole universe.” This is the foundation with which the author continues thus, “Most certainly the admirable Heart of Jesus is a furnace of love for His Divine Father, for His Blessed Mother, and for His Church Triumphant, Militant and Suffering, and also for each one of us. This we shall see in the following chapters.”
Our Lady’s participation in Our Lord’s Sacred Heart is the subject of the next three chapters which discuss: this furnace of His ardent love for her; her being endowed with wondrous authority and power in Heaven and how that can benefit us; her anguish during His Passion, and the Sacred Heart being filled with bitter sorrow at this sight. St. John Eudes then closes this section with, “All these things clearly show that the sorrows of the Mother and the sufferings of the Son culminate in immense graces, blessings, and favors for sinners. What an obligation we have, therefore, to honor, to love and to praise those two most lovable Hearts of Jesus and Mary; to employ our whole life in serving and glorifying them; and to endeavor to imprint on our hearts a perfect image of their more eminent virtues! It is impossible to please them if we follow any other path except the one they trod upon earth.”
In the chapter, “The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Furnace of Love for Us in the Blessed Sacrament,” St. Bernard is quoted as referring to the Blessed Sacrament as “the Love of loves” (Amor amorum), then the “eight flames of love issuing from this wondrous furnace” are presented and discussed. If you can get to the end of this chapter without having an invigorated devotion to Our Lord in the Tabernacle, it would be a wonder.
“The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Furnace Burning with Love for Us in His Sacred Passion” is the chapter I reread during Lent as a brief yet beneficial supplement to my main Lenten reading this year (which happened to be the Passion section from “The Life of Christ: A Historical, Critical, and Apologetic Exposition” by Father L. C. Fillion, S.S.). The author relates an account from the life of St. Catherine of Genoa, “that one day God let her see the horror of one tiny venial sin. She assures us that, although this vision lasted but a moment, she saw nevertheless an object so frightening that the blood froze in her veins and she swooned away in an agony that would have killed her if God had not preserved her to relate to others what she had seen… If the sight of the smallest venial sin brought this saint to such a pass, what must we think of the state to which our Saviour was reduced by seeing all the sins of the universe? He had them continually before His eyes, and His vision being infinitely more powerful than that of St. Catherine, He could behold infinitely more horror.”
Several additional chapters enrich this incredible compendium, including the seraphic St. Bonaventure’s thoughts on the love of the Sacred Heart and also an exercise from St. Gertrude the Great on preparing for death.
Most sections throughout the first half of this volume contain some relevant prayers, then entire sections are dedicated to specific prayers, such as the Forty Flames or Aspirations of Love offered to the loving Heart of Jesus, and exercises from Pharetra Divini Amoris “Quiver of Divine Love” by the Carthusian, Lanspergius.
Roughly the entire second half of the book is a collection of: Meditations; Mass and Office of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; and Prayers. The latter section provides the beautiful, and not widely found, “Salutation to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary” and the “Magnificat of St. John Eudes.”
Truly a remarkable and excellent book to tap into time and again, this paperback version has an attractive and quality binding and cover, and a useful appendix and index.