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Joseph Oudeau. 1671 AD

Joseph Oudeau

1671 AD

from Panégyriques pour toutes les fêtes de la S. Vierge, Paris 1671.

Text quoted in French by Réné Laurentin (in Maria, Ecclesia, Sacerdotium, Nouvelles Éditions Latines, Paris 1952, pp. 307-308) and translated into English by John Wijngaards.

‘Panégyrique premier pour la Purification’, Panégyriques etc., pp. 203-204.

‘Oh! what a beautiful spectacle this is. See this marvellous creature who strides towards the Temple with a more than human face and majesty, her modesty visible, serenity in her eyes, joy on her lips and love in her heart which makes her put her veil over his eyes to spare him the view of the sacrifice which she has to make.’

‘ Look at this little boy that lies on her bosom. He is the precious victim which must be sacrificed, the poor little one more tender and more amiable than a lamb which one is going to shear in order to present it better. But see how gradually they make process: there they have arrived in Jerusalem! And now they are in the Temple! The virgin, as the high priest, prepares herself to strike the blow and to sacrifice this innocent victim.

Good Simeon who sees her with this resolution approaches her: “Stop, good mother”, he tells her. “Where are you going?”

“Into this Temple.”

“To do what?”

“To offer sacrifice.”

“To whom?”

“To the eternal Father.”

“For whom?”

“For the salvation of people.”

“And where is the victim?”

“Here, in my arms.”

“Your son, you mean?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to offer him? Ah, be careful not to go further. For a sword of pain will pierce your own soul. Give up now if you do not intend in one blow to pierce both the body of your son and the heart of his mother.”

‘No, gentlemen, Mary is not allowed to pay attention to the advice of this wise old man. She is resolved to present this sacrifice whatever may come of it. Her own contentment is less important to her than the salvation of people. You tremble, my brothers, while waiting for a sacrifice so extraordinary. Your faces have gone pale with horror and your eyes are fearful to behold the hands of a mother tearing apart the limbs of her Son. But be reassured . . . you will not see any pouring out of blood in this sacrifice of the morning. The truth is that the virgin functions here in her task as high priest and that the body of her Son is the victim which must be immolated. But the sacrifice will only happen on the altar of her heart and with the knife of her will.’

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