Poetry is What is Lost in Translation (Unless It's the Life of a Saint).
Lessons from Proper, according to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite:
Ephesians 3: 14-19.
Psalm 131: 1-3.
Matthew 11: 25-30.
The Memorial of Saint John Eudes.
The Twentieth Tuesday of Ordinary Time.
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2:10 PM 8/19/2014 — As you know, I typically like to stick with the readings of the ferial day, even when a memorial of a saint has optional proper readings attached to it. I'm not going to do that today, since I wish to speak to you exclusively about today's saint, John Eudes; and I'm not even going to do so in my own words.
We've heard his name before in this chapel: we mentioned him in passing both on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I've also mentioned to you, in the context of talking to you about other saints, that the traditional Latin Roman Breviary, which I use for my daily celebration of the Divine Office thanks to the generosity of Pope Benedict, often commemorates the saints by making the third lesson for Matins a very interesting and detailed biography of the saint; so, I would like to make my homily today the reading of that lesson for the feast of St. John Eudes,* in what I hope is an understandable translation:
John was born in 1601 of good, devout parents at the village of Ri in the diocese of Seez. While still a boy, when he was refreshed with the Bread of Angels [that is, when he received his First Holy Communion], he made a vow of perpetual virginity. In school, where he pursued his studies in a lauditory way, he displayed his wonderful piety. He loved the Blessed Virgin above all, and burned with great love for his neighbor. Having joined the Congregation of the Oratory of [Pierre Cardinal de] Bérulle, he was ordained a priest at Paris. He was made rector of the Oratory at Caen, but left it, with regrets, to educate suitable young men for the ministry of the Church. To this purpose, with five companions, he founded a congregation of priests to which he gave the most holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and opened its first seminary at Caen; this was followed later by many others. In order to call sinful women back to a Christian life, he founded the Order of Our Lady of Charity. From this noble tree [of religious communities], the Congregation of the Good Shepherd of Angers is a branch. He also founded the Society of the Admirable Heart of the Mother of God and other charitable institutions. Burning with a singular love for the most sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, he was the first to think of offering them a liturgical cult, not without some inspiration from God. As an Apostolic Missionary, he preached the Gospel to many villages and towns. Worn out with his great labors, he died peacefully on the 19th of August, 1680. Famous for many miracles, he was numbered among the Blessed by Pope Pius X, and among the Saints by Pope Pius XI on the day of Pentecost during the holy year, when his Office and Mass were extended to the universal Church.**
Now, here at the Shrine we're always praying for the triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart, but we don't often ask for the intercession of St. John Eudes in that quest. His Congregation of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is present here in this country, but not as extensively as in his native France, where they are known simply as the Eudist Fathers. When I was two years ordained, I made pilgrimage with four other priests to a variety of Holy places in France, and we had the privilege of staying in the Eudist Fathers' house of studies in Paris, which is where I became acquainted with this saint. So, as we continue to pray for the triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart, I would like simply to recommend that we invoke often the intercession of this great saint.
I would also like to suggest that his life, in which he moved from place to place, first in this group and then in that, is a testimony to what we've talked about many times here in this chapel about letting the Lord lead us where he wants us to go, even though it turns out not to be what we had in mind for ourselves, as well as to the main theme I shared with you on Sunday: that when one sets out to serve God, one doesn't do what one wants; one does what one is told.
* St. John Eudes is one of the few saints remaining on the Roman Calendar who is commemorated on the same day in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. In the former, his day is an Optional Memorial; in the latter, a feast of the third class.
** Here is the original from Lesson iii of Matins, for those with nothing better to do than check my language skills:
Ioánnes, anno millésimo sexcentésimo primo, in pago vulgo Ri, Sagiénsis diœcésis, ex piis honestísque paréntibus ortus est. Adhuc puer, iam Angelórum pane reféctus, perpétuam castitátem vovit. In scholis, ubi laudabíliter stúdia perégit, mira pietáte enítuit. Beátam Vírginem summópere diléxit, et exímia erga próximum caritáte exársit. Berulliáni Oratórii Congregatióni nomen dedit et sacerdótio Parísiis auctus est. Domus Oratoriánæ Cadómi Rector factus, ab eádem, licet ægre, discéssit, ut ad Ecclésiæ ministérium iúvenes idóneos institúeret. Quare quinque sibi adscítis sóciis, Congregatiónem Presbyterórum fundávit, cui Sanctíssima Iesu et Maríæ nómina dedit, et Cadómi primum Seminárium apéruit, quod póstea plura subsecúta sunt. Ut peccatríces mulíeres ad vitam christiánam revocáret, Dóminæ Nostræ a Caritáte Institútum fundávit: cuius nobilíssimæ árboris ramus est Congregátio Andegavénsis a Bono Pastóre Societátem ab admirábili Corde Matris Dei, et ália caritátis ópera adiécit. Singulári erga Sanctíssima Iesu et Maríæ Corda flagrans amóre, de litúrgico eis cultu præstándo non sine áliquo divíno afflátu primus cogitávit. Missionárius Apostólicus plúrimos pagos et urbes evangelizávit. Tot labóribus fractus, morti próximus, die décima nona Augústi anno millésimo sexcentésimo octogésimo plácide expirávit. Quem Pius Papa décimus miráculis clarum, inter Beátos, Pius vero undécimus, anno sacro, die Pentecóstes, inter Sanctos rétulit, eiúsque Offícium ac Missam ad univérsam Ecclésiam exténdit.