Thought for the Day – 19 August – The Memorial of St John Eudes Orat. (1601-1680) “Apostle of Two Hearts”
St John Eudes captured the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary by honouring them in the liturgy. Thanks to this saint, Holy Cross priests have as their patron Jesus’ Sacred Heart and Notre Dame has a Basilica dedicated to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
In fact, even though John was Canonised a saint after the Basilica was constructed, he is depicted there in a stained glass window leading people in devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
John’s spirituality focused on the love of Jesus and Mary, symbolised in their sacred hearts. He began a feast day for people to honour the heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, these feast days spread quickly and were taken up around the Church. While John was not the first to be devoted to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, he was the first to capture this devotion in the liturgy, which gave the Church a way to participate and spread it.
He died after giving a parish mission in his old age that left him sick and weak—he preached outdoors, in the winter, every day for nine weeks and never recovered. He died on this date in 1680.
John Eudes is probably best known for the central theme of his writings – Jesus as the source of holiness and Mary as the model of the Christian life. His devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart led Pope Pius XI to declare him the father of the liturgical cult of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
He believed in the unity of the hearts of Jesus and Mary and wrote:
”You must never separate what God has so perfectly united. So closely are Jesus and Mary bound up with each other that whoever beholds Jesus, sees Mary, whoever loves Jesus, loves Mary, whoever has devotion to Jesus, has devotion to Mary.”
St John Eudes, you help us form our hearts in the shape of Jesus’ Sacred Heart and our lives in the obedience and love of the Immaculate Heart of His Mother — pray for us!