"The thought of Mary and of the Eucharist easily unite; they are connected with each other, so to speak, and are convertible terms. It is Mary who offers us the Divine Infant of Bethlehem; at the foot of the cross she presents us with the dead body of Jesus swathed in its shroud; at the Altar she gives it to us again enveloped in the Eucharistic linens.
"Is this not what the Church of God is thinking when it authorises us to chant before the Blessed Sacrament the beautiful sequence AVE VERUM: I salute thee, O Body, truly born of the Virgin Mary! Thus, at the moment when Jesus emerges from his tabernacle, the memory of Mary is revived in our souls, Mary appears to us like the monstrance in which the Saviour's Body shines. In fact, the Sacred Host is a present from the Blessed Virgin. S Augustine says so in four oft-quoted words: CARO IESU, CARO MARIAE ... The flesh of Jesus is the flesh of Mary. This Body, this Blood of Christ which upon the Altar becomes our food and drink, derive their origin from Mary. It is the substance of Mary which has become the substance of Jesus. Mary is one of the principal constituents of the Blessed Sacrament; she contributes thereto as the grain of wheat that is sown produces the ear of corn which itself forms the harvest."
A learned reader instructs me that the Abbe wrote a devotional account of our Lady's last days at Ephesus; and that his sister Pauline was a nun who painted a picture of the Mater admirabilis which was much admired by Pio Nono. It shows our Lady, unusually, with a distaff.
5 August 2022
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St Francis de Sales also associates Our Lady with the grain of wheat. In his Sermon for August 5, he writes:
"Listen to the Spouse in the Song of Songs when He says to her: Your body, O My beloved, is a heap of grains of wheat encircled with the lilies [Song 7:3] of its virginal modesty, What does this Divine Lover mean, if not that Our Lady has borne all Christians in her womb - although she produced only that 'Grain' of which it is written that unless it falls to the earth it remains just a grain of wheat, but if it falls there and is covered, it will germinate and produce many others.
"To whom, I ask, should we attribute the production of these other grains, if not to her who produced the first one, Our Lord being the natural Son of Our Lady? Although in reality she has borne only Him in her womb, she has nevertheless borne all Christians in the Person of her Divine Son, for this blessed 'Grain' has produced us all by his death".
Unlike your learned reader, I had to spend half an hour searching the Internet for M. Perdrau (who's not even at French Wikipedia), finally discovering his name at the booksellers AbeBooks. He seems to have been a prolific writer, making this obscurity sort of puzzling. His Premières Années and Dernières Années of Our Lady, together with Jésus au Calvaire, were popular enough to have been published in a single volume, and his Gospel commentary of some 1500 pages was re-printed, too, I think. I might try borrowing the Causeries ('between an old curé and young priest just out of seminary') at the university library... which doesn't own the book, alas. His sermon at the marriage of Dr Gouraud and Mlle Portal from 16 July 1866 is available even at Amazon.
Wikipedia has lately been getting rid of entries for authors and other personages from the past, under the argument that they are not notable enough. Twits.
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