Welcome to part 2 of our Catholic Book of the Month for October, Sanctity Through the Rosary, by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP. You can get a printed copy or a PDF using the links at the end of this post and view other parts of the series on the Book of the Month Table of Contents page.
Last week we looked at the Preface. Tonight we’ll be looking at Part I of the book: The Rosary and the Author of Holiness, Part I, which is further broken up into four parts:
- The Rosary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
- The Rosary and the Knowledge of Jesus,
- The Rosary and the Grace of Jesus, and
- The Rosary and the Divinity of Jesus.
Later in the book the author covers the Rosary and the models of holiness, Mary and Joseph, in Part II; and the Rosary and the practice of holiness in Part III. Tonight we’ll look at the part about the Sacred Heart.
We see beauty all around us, but:
“…nowhere is graciousness more truly worthy of our admiration than in the human heart, the heart of a child, of a virgin, the heart of a devoted friend. The poetry which is sweetest, most pleasant, is the poetry of the heart. Again, the depths and sublimity of the ocean have often been compared with the depths and sublimity of the heart. Which is easier to fathom the deep ocean or the human heart? We cannot speak of sublimity without considering the human heart, and in particular the hearts of mothers and saints.”Sanctity Through the Rosary, by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP., pg 3.
“When forming the heart of the first man God had an exemplar, He had before Him an ideal, He thought of the heart of Christ. According to the words of Tertullian: Christus cogitabatur homo futurus: Christ, the Man to come, was present in His mind. Ah! it is truly sweet to remember that on the day of our creation God modelled our heart on the heart of His Son.”Ibid., 3.
“Therefore, to know all the marvels of our world we must know the human heart. And to know the most perfect of hearts—the ideal of the human heart—we must enter into the depths of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If we wish to admire graciousness with all its charms, we must contemplate the Divine Heart of Our Blessed Lord; we must enter into His Sacred Heart. Of Him it has been written : ‘Speciosa forma prae filiis hominum, diffusa est gratia in labiis tuis. Thou art beautiful above the sons of men, grace is poured abroad in thy lips.’ abroad in thy lips.’ If we wish to admire sublimity in all its grandeur we must study the Heart of Jesus. The Rosary will reveal to us the graciousness and the sublimity of the Sacred Heart.”Ibid., 3-4.
“It would be wrong to consider the Sacred Heart in an abstract manner, separated from the person of Christ. This error has been condemned by theologians. The Rosary is the true revelation of the Sacred Heart which it always represents united to the Third Divine Person and from which it can never be separated. In the Rosary we can contemplate that Heart, living and beating in the time, places and circumstances in which it really lived and throbbed; we can contemplate the sentiments of the Adorable Heart of Our Blessed Lord towards His Eternal Father, towards men, towards Himself. In the first Mysteries it is a heart full of love and tenderness; in the Sorrowful Mysteries it is a heart inebriated with love and overwhelmed with bitterness; in the Glorious Mysteries it is a heart still enraptured with love and exalted in its triumph. In the Joyful Mysteries it is a gracious beauty; in the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries it is the beauty of the sublime.”Ibid., 4.
“How touching, naive, gracious, were the glorious events of that first Christmas night: the song of the angels, the visit of the shepherds, that cradle which sheltered Him Who came to redeem the world! How wonderful it would be to see depicted in a single tableau all the events which accompanied the birth of Jesus!“Ibid., 5.
“Such a tableau does exist. It is the Rosary. The Mystery of the Nativity is the principal tableau, the others are grouped round about it as secondary tableaux. There, truly, does the Heart of the Infant Jesus reveal itself with all its graces: Apparuit gratia Dei Salvatoris nostril The language of poetry alone is capable of expressing these exquisite charms. Such language flowed from the heart of St. Alphonsus Liguori in one of his Canticles:Ibid., 5.
Mary sings – the ravish’d heavens
Hush the music of their spheres;
Soft her voice, her beauty fairer
Than the glancing stars appear;
While to Jesus slumbering nigh,
Thus she sings her lullaby.
Sleep my Babe! My God! My Treasure!
Gently sleep: but ah! the sight
With its beauty so transports me,
I am dying of delight:
Thou canst not thy Mother see,
Yet thou breathest flames to me.
If within your lids unfolded,
Slumbering eyes you seem so fair;
When upon my gaze you open,
How shall I your beauty bear?
Ah! I tremble when you wake,
Lest my heart with love should break.
Cheeks than sweetest roses sweeter,
Mouth where lurks a smile divine,
Though the kiss my Babe should waken,
I must press those lips to mine.
Pardon, dearest, if I say
Mother’s love will take no nay.
As she ceased, the gentle Virgin
Clasped the Infant to her breast,
And upon His radiant forehead
Many a loving kiss impress’d:
Jesus woke, and on her face
Fixed a look of heavenly grace.
Ah! that look, those eyes, that beauty,
How they pierce the Mother’s heart;
Shafts of love, from every feature,
Through her gentle bosom dart;
Heart of stone! can I behold
Mary’s love, and still be cold?
If alas, O heavenly beauty!
Now so late those charms I learn,
Now at least, and ever, ever,
With Thy love my heart will burn
For the Mother and the Child,
Rose and Lily undefiled.
The Madonna’s Lullaby, by St. Alphonsus Liguori, see notes below.
“Beauty of graciousness reveals itself in the heart of a virgin whose every sigh is for her God. But the immaculate emblem of all that is virginal is, assuredly, the Heart of Jesus. Jesus, the virgin God, Son of a virgin Mother, Spouse of a virgin Church. What beauty! Holy souls have well understood it. Ravished with this pure ideal they long to immolate their hearts on the chaste breast of Jesus and taste, close to Him, the austere delights of charity. By your charms, by your beauty, O Divine Spouse of Virgins, reign in the hearts of all men!”Ibid., 6-7.
“Finally, beauty which is gracious manifests itself in the heart of a friend: Amicus fidelis medicamentum vitae—a faithful friend is the medicine of life, says the Holy Spirit. He enters into all our joys and sorrows, he solaces us in our grief. But, God is our friend of friends Who remains when all others go away. Friendship can exist only between those who are equals: it is one of the necessary conditions. In the first Mysteries of the Rosary, God makes Himself our equal by taking upon Himself our nature; He makes us His equals by giving us His own. It is truly the loving heart of a friend we feel beating in each Mystery! When Jesus smiled at the shepherds and the Magi, when He instructed the doctors and the unlearned, when He let fall from His lips those consoling words: Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you! then we recognise the tender voice of a friend, the loving and devoted Heart of Him Whose delights are to be with the children of men. We shall dwell no longer on the graciousness of the Sacred Heart. Pious meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary will enable us to taste and delight in its charms.”Ibid., 7.
“We must now consider in the Sacred Heart of Jesus beauty which is sublime and heroic. When heroism appears nature is vanquished and God is present. The seeds of heroism are sown in the hearts of all the just; they are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When circumstances require it these supernatural energies are set in movement and heroism is spontaneously born, as the flower from the seed. That is why the heart of a mother is capable of sublime and noble deeds; that is why the life of a saint is, as it were, woven with heroism. Theologians teach that all the virtues which could adorn His soul were found united in Jesus Christ from the very first instant of His conception. In Him they reached their full perfection. They were practised by Him in the most perfect degree possible—the heroic degree, and in His case heroism was divine. These perfect virtues which adorned His soul have, in a sense, overflowed from His heart upon the world that He might manifest His Heart to us. We can, therefore, declare that He lived a life of heroism in each of His Mysteries: as He lay in the manger, as when He hung upon, the cross. In the Sorrowful Mysteries, however, this heroism is more evident than in the other Mysteries.”Ibid., 7-8.
“Can we picture a scene more mysterious, more heart-rending, more sublime than the agony of Jesus? Were we to unite the most poignant anguish, the most bitter sorrows, the most painful sacrifices, the most admirable devotedness which have ever found expression in the human heart, we would have heroism of the highest degree and an ocean of affliction. We could realise from it something of the anguish of a dying man, but it would give us no idea whatever of the agony of the heart of a dying God. This is inexpressible.Ibid., 8.
“But what is it that renders this mystery so sublime? It is love’s sacrifice spurned and unheeded. Jesus knew in advance that He was to be misunderstood, despised and persecuted. He heard the echo of that plaintive cry: love is not loved, love is detested. And still the love of the Heart of Jesus cries out more loudly than all the impious out- rages and sacrileges which He suffered at the hands of men and of demons. His tears cry out, but above all, His love cries out : Clamant lacrymae, sed super omnia clamat amor.“Ibid., 8.
“We see the self-same heroism in the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, the Carrying of the Cross. At the Praetorium, in the streets of Jerusalem, on the way to Calvary, we hear the cries of the crowd, the insults of the executioners, but above all, we hear the voice of sublimity: Clamant lacrymae, sed super omnia clamat amor. Your tears cry out, your wounds cry out, O Jesus, but above all, your love cries out.“Ibid., 8, 9.
“At length, God and death come face to face on Golgotha. God and Death! What a meeting! And it is God Who wills, Who wishes to be the conquered one. But death, which appears to triumph, only wins for Jesus a more glorious title: God is Love Omnipotent. He now has a new name: He is the Victim of Love.”Ibid., 9.
“The Crucifixion of Jesus is the perfection of sublimity, since here love is made perfect by the consummation and the totality of the sacrifice. There still remained some drops of blood in the heart of the Divine Crucified. Ah! they must be shed. The soldier drew near and opened His side and immediately there came forth blood and water. Et continuo exivit sanguis et aqua. And now there is nothing more to give: the sacrifice is complete; it is truly the perfection of love in the perfection of the sacrifice of the Man-God. Thus, sublimity predominates in every scene of the Passion of Jesus, but it is divine sublimity, the depths of which it is impossible for any man or created being to fathom.”Ibid., 9.
In the Mystery of the Resurrection God and death come face to face once again, but this time it is God Who is the conqueror. Heroic in submitting to the ignominy of the grave, the Heart of Jesus is now sublime in triumphing over death and hell in order to bestow on us His own divine life. The last Mysteries are enacted in heaven. It is the sublimity of glory, the sublimity of eternity. We enter into the celestial regions and here does it become us, more than ever, to keep silence, when we recall those words of St. Paul: Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him.Ibid., 9-10.
“We see how admirably all the beauty and magnificence of graciousness and sublimity is found in the depths of the Heart of Jesus, as in the Rosary which reveals this beauty to us. We ought, therefore, to contemplate and honour this divine heart by meditation on the Mysteries of the Rosary, so that we may obtain through the intercession of the Immaculate Mother an abundance of graces from Him Who is their source and plentitude.”Ibid., 10.
The next post in this series will be: The Rosary and the Knowledge of Jesus.
Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. I pray that you and I will stay holy and virtuous, and help each other to become who the Lord intends us to be: SAINTS. God bless you and may His Peace be always with you. And remember:
The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times. — Padre Pio.
A Rosary a day keeps the devil away! It’s true!
Notes and Links
- Sanctity Through the Rosary, by Fr. Édouard Hugon, OP: Paperback, Paperback (different edition) (Amazon affiliate links, see Full Disclosure below).
- Free PDFs of Sanctity Through the Rosary via the Internet Archive: PDF, black and white PDF. Other formats are available there, too, but I usually stick with the PDFs. There are usually fewer formatting problems with them.
- For some reason the numbering system in the book doesn’t make a distinction between chapters and parts within them, using Roman numerals for both.
- The book’s footnote says Psalm 44:3, but the numbering of the Psalms can be confusing and depends upon which translation one uses. Most modern versions have it as 45:2., but it is 44:3 in the Vulgate, which you can read in Latin, English or Latin with English translation below it, verse by verse. At this link for Psalm 44. Now it looks like a good site but I don’t know anything about whoever is behind it, so I’m not vouching for it, I just found it handy. You can also use Bible Gateway to read the Vulgate’s Psalm 44, or use Faithlife’s Biblia instead. Here’s the link to Psalm 44 in the Clementine Vulgate or the Douay-Rheims (the Vulgate in English) versions. You may need to register to use Faithlife but it’s free. Beware, it’s not a Catholic site but you can find some Catholic Bibles and other books there.
- “The Madonna’s Lullaby,” hymn by St. Alphonsus Liguori, in Hymns and verses on spiritual subjects: being the sacred poetry of St. Alphonso Maria Liguori, Hymn 21, page 44: free PDF at the Internet Archive, public domain.
Images: 1) In the banner: Our Lady of the Rosary or Madonna of the Rosary, by Luca Giordano, 1657. Via Wikimedia Commons. Photo by Sailko, license: CC BY-SA 3.0, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. 2) Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Église Saint-Charles-Borromée (Charlesbourg). Photo (P) Wilfredor. Via Wikimedia Commons, under a Universal Public Domain (CC0 1.0) license. 3) Annunciation to the Virgin, by Giovanni Battista Cima, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain. 4) Nativity, by Peter Paul Rubens, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain. 5) The Scourging at the Pillar or Christ at the Column, by Caravaggio, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
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