An OPEN LETTER in REPARATION for the HERETICAL, and, OFFENSIVE position of Most Holy Family Monastery in DENYING the centuries old recognition of Holy Mother Church on The Blessed Virgin Mary’s role as Co-Redemptrixhttp://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/why_Mary_is_not_coredeemer.php
A Compilation of The Testimony and Witness of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and, The Magisterium on The Role of The Blessed Virgin Mary in The Redemption of Mankind as manifested in the title Co-Redemptrix and other synonymous titles describing the effects of Her cooperation with Jesus The Christ the SOLE Redeemer of Mankind in The Economy of Salvation History.
Catholics must take great care that they hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and, by all. For that is truly and properly UNIVERSAL aka: Catholic, as the very force and meaning of the word shows, which comprehends everything almost universally. And they shall observe this rule if they follow universality, antiquity, and, consent. We shall follow UNIVERSALITY if we confess that One Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; ANTIQUITY if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is plain that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; CONSENT if in antiquity itself we eagerly follow the definitions and beliefs of all, or, certainly nearly all Apostolic Teachers.
Co-Redemptrix, a title of Mary, Mother of Jesus, refers to her role in the Redemption process.
The concept of Co-Redemptrix refers to an indirect or unequal but important participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption, notably: that she gave free consent to give life, and, flesh of her flesh to The Redeemer, to share His Life, to suffer with Him under The Cross, to offer His Sacrifice to God The Father for the sake of the redemption of mankind, and to bring about all particular post-Assumption graces by way of intercession. The latter concept is included in the concept of Mediatrix which is a separate concept but regularly included by The Faithful who use the title of Co-Redemptrix.
The Virgin Mary's role as Co-Redemptrix is nothing other than her participation in Christ's role as Redeemer. Mary does not do any work of redemption or co-redemption apart from participating in Christ's work of redemption. Mary's role as co-Redemptrix is nothing other than to immerse herself completely in Christ's role as the Redeemer of Mankind.
Mary is not a Redeemer, nor a Mediator, nor an Advocate; she is Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and, Advocatrix. Just as God created woman to be a helper to man, so also did God create Mary to be a helper to Christ. Therefore, the feminine form of these terms indicates the God-given feminine role of a helper to Christ. Mary does not have her own role of co-redemption, mediation, and advocacy. She has no such role of her own at all, except, by participation in Christ's role.
In the case of Mary Co-Redemptrix, we also have a liturgical feast celebrated in Rome which likewise dates back to the fifteenth century: The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.
In fact, until 1960, the role of Mary Co-Redemptrix was liturgically celebrated twice a year. The first feast focused upon the "compassion" or co-suffering of Mary at Calvary and was celebrated on the Friday before our present Palm Sunday. The second feast, historically promoted by The Servites of Mary and celebrated on September 15, accentuates the entire co-redemptive life of The Virgin as highlighted in seven scriptural and traditional events or "sorrows": 1. Simeon's prophecy in The Temple; 2. The flight of The Holy Family into Egypt; 3. The loss of The Christ Child in The Temple; 4. The encounter of Mary with Jesus on The Way of The Cross; 5. Her suffering during The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus; 6. The taking down of Jesus from The Cross; and 7. The Burial of Jesus in The Tomb.
Moreover, the FIRST official use of The Co-Redemptrix title by The Holy See comes on May 13, 1908, in a document by The Congregation of Rites in reference to The Feast of The Seven Sorrows. In positive response to a petition seeking to raise the rank of The Feast of The Seven Sorrows of Mary to a double rite of second class for The Universal Church, The Congregation of Rites expresses its hope that "The Devotion of The Sorrowful Mother may increase and the piety of The Faithful and their gratitude toward The Merciful Co-Redemptrix of the human race may intensify." (Acts of The Apostolic See 1, 1908, p. 409.)
These liturgical celebrations of the Co-redemptrix doctrine makes clear that the role has been believed and venerated for over a half millennium in The Liturgical Life of The Church.
On June 26, 1913, The Holy Office issued a document expressing The Congregation's satisfaction in adding the name of Mary to the name of Jesus in the indulgenced greeting, "Praised be Jesus and Mary" which is then responded to, "Now and forever." The document then states: "There are those Christians whose devotion to the most favored among virgins is so tender as to be unable to recall the name of Jesus without the accompanying name of The Mother, our Co-Redemptrix, The Blessed Virgin Mary." (AAS 5, 1913, p. 364.)
Six months later, the same Holy Office granted a partial indulgence for the recitation of a prayer of reparation to The Blessed Virgin (Vergine benedetta). The prayer ends with the words: "I bless Thy Holy Name, I praise Thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, Co-Redemptrix of The Human Race." (AAS 6, 1914, p. 108.)
A Congregation with The Co-Redemptrix Title has received Church approval. The North Vietnamese religious congregation, "The Congregation of The Mother Co-Redemptrix," which was approved by the local bishop in 1941 and approved by The Holy See in 1953, was forced to relocate to South Vietnam due to Communist persecution, and later expanded to The United States. (Cf. The Official Catholic Directory, P. J. Kenedy and Sons, 2003, p. 1305.)
From the Revelations given to St. Bridget of Sweden, Our Lady offers a direct testimony to her role as Co-Redemptrix
"My Son and I redeemed the world as with one heart." (St. Bridget, Revelations, bk. 1, ch. 35.) Our Lord re-iterates the same truth of the Co-redemptrix doctrine in his own words: "My Mother and I saved man as with one Heart only, I by suffering in my Heart and my Flesh, She by the sorrow and love of Her Heart." (St. Bridget, Revelations, bk. 9, ch. 3.) These revelations positively influenced theologians and popes alike for the next three hundred years and were repeatedly referenced by theologians and bishops during the seventeenth century "Golden Age" of Marian Coredemption. (Cf. Miravalle, "With Jesus," pp. 113-124.)
From The Mystical City of God Life of The Virgin Mother of God Venerable Maria de Jesus de Agreda volume 3 pages 643-648, Our Blessed Mother revealed the details of Her Suffering
When the most prudent Mother perceived that now the mysteries of the Redemption were to be fulfilled and that the executioners were about to strip Jesus of his clothes for crucifixion, She turned in spirit to the eternal Father and prayed as follows: “My Lord and eternal God, Thou art the Father of thy only-begotten Son. By eternal generation He is engendered, God of the true God, namely Thyself, and as man He was born of my womb and received from me this human nature, in which He now suffers. I have nursed and sustained Him at my own breast; and as the best of sons that ever can be born of any creature, I love Him with maternal love. As his Mother I have a natural right in the Person of his most holy humanity and thy Providence will never infringe upon any rights held by thy creatures. This right of a Mother then, I now yield to Thee and once more place in thy hands thy and my Son as a sacrifice for the Redemption of man. Accept, my Lord, this pleasing offering, since this is more than I can ever offer by submitting my own self as a victim or to suffering. This sacrifice is greater, not only because my Son is the true God and of thy own substance, but because this sacrifice costs me a much greater sorrow and pain. For if the lots were changed and I should be permitted to die in order to preserve his most holy life, I would consider it a great relief and the fulfillment of my dearest wishes.” The eternal Father received this prayer of the exalted Queen with ineffable pleasure and complacency.
If the great Queen had assisted at the Passion with the same sentiments as the rest of the just, it would indeed have been admirable; but not so admirable as the way in which She suffered. She was singular and extraordinary in all her sufferings ; for, as I have said above, She felt in her own virginal body all the torments of Christ our Lord, both interior and exterior. On account of this conformity we can say, that also the heavenly Mother was scourged, crowned, spit upon, buffeted, laden with the Cross and nailed upon it; for She felt these pains and all the rest in her purest body. Although She felt them in a different manner, yet She felt them with such conformity that the Mother was altogether a faithful likeness of her Son. Besides the greatness of her dignity, which in most holy Mary must, on this account, have corresponded in the highest possible degree with that of Christ, there was concealed therein another mystery. This was, that the desire of Christ to see his exalted love and benignity as exhibited in his Passion copied in all its magnitude in a mere creature, was fulfilled in Her, and no one possessed a greater right to this favor than his own Mother.
The fact that the Papal Magisterium has never deemed it necessary to call for a public prohibition of the discussion of Mary Co-Redemptrix due to controversy and its subsequent scandal for The Faithful, (St. Pius V, Super speculam; cf. Bullarium Romanorum, vol. 4, part 3, p. 138.) let alone prohibiting even private discussion as it did for the Immaculate Conception debate, (Gregory XV, Sanctissimus; cf. Bullarium Romanorum, vol. 5, part 5, p. 45.) should give a better historical context in which to understand the arguably lesser degree of theological disagreement over Marian Co-Redemption.
In speaking her fiat, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, Mary was the representative of the entire human race. [ Summa Theologiæ III, q. 30, a. 1.] Not only was she the first recipient of the grace of the Redemption in her Immaculate Conception, she was also its first collaborator throughout the entire earthly life of her Son and especially by the sacrifice of her spousal and maternal heart on Calvary. In recommending that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary should be joined to that to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Servant of God Pope Pius XII made this bold statement:
By God's Will, in carrying out the work of human Redemption the Blessed Virgin Mary was inseparably linked with Christ in such a manner that our salvation sprang from the love and sufferings of Jesus Christ to which the love and sorrows of His Mother were intimately united. [AAS 48 (1956) 352: ex Iesu Christi caritate eiusque cruciatibus cum amore doloribusque ipsius Matris intime consociatis sit nostra salus profecta. [Haurietis Aquas: The Sacred Heart Encyclical of Pope Pius XII Vatican Polyglot Press trans. revised by Francis Larkin, SS.CC. (Orlando, FL.: Sacred Heart Publication Center, 1974) 47].
Let us for a moment consider the term Coredemptrix as it is applied to Mary. This expression usually requires some initial explanation in English and in other modern languages because often the prefix "co-" immediately conjures up visions of complete equality. For instance a co-signer of a check or a co-owner of a house is considered a co-equal with the other signer or owner. Thus the first fear of many is that describing Our Lady as Coredemptrix puts her on the same level of her Divine Son and implies that she is our Redeemer in the same way that He is. In the Latin language from which the term Coredemptrix comes, however, the meaning is always that Mary's cooperation or collaboration in the redemption is secondary, subordinate, dependent on that of Christ — and yet for all that — something that God "freely wished to accept . . . as constituting an unneeded, but yet wonderfully pleasing part of that one great price"[Willian G. Most, "Reparation to the Immaculate Heart," Cross and Crown 8 (1956) 139.] paid by His Son for the world's redemption.
The prefix "co" does not mean equal, but comes from the Latin word, "cum" which means "with". The title of Co-Redemptrix applied to the Mother of Jesus never places Mary on a level of equality with Jesus Christ, the divine Lord of all, in the saving process of humanity's redemption. Rather, it denotes Mary's singular and unique sharing with her Son in the saving work of redemption for the human family. The Mother of Jesus participates in the redemptive work of her Savior Son, who alone could reconcile humanity with the Father in his glorious divinity and humanity.
In her "co-redemptive" role then, Mary offers reparation to the Father in union with Christ.
Indeed, always in union with him, she offers to God the most perfect creaturely reparation possible because it comes from her Immaculate Heart, the heart of the creature described by the Venerable Pius IX as possessing "such a fullness of innocence and holiness that none greater under God can be thought of, and no one, except God, can comprehend it."[Ineffabilis Deus, Pii IX Pontificis Maximi Acta I] She was the first member of the Church to lead a life of reparation and was specifically referred to as "Reparatrix" by Pius XI in his encyclical on reparation, Miserentissimus Redemptor. [AAS 20 (1928) 178 also Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., The Love of God and the Cross of Jesus trans. Sr. Jeanne Marie, O.P. (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1951), Vol. II, 347-365. This entire chapter is entitled "Mary, Model of the Life of Reparation".]
Here is a description of Mary's collaboration in The Reparation of Christ from the pen of the distinguished nineteenth century spiritual writer, Father Frederick William Faber:
During those hours of the Passion, each oblation was a double one; the offering of Jesus and the offering of Mary were tied in one. . . . they were offered with kindred dispositions. Thus there is a sacrificial and expiatory character in Mary's Compassion which is peculiar to itself. The world was redeemed by the Passion of our Lord. But there never was, in the ordinance of God, such a thing as a Passion of Jesus disjoined from the Compassion of Mary. The two things were one simultaneous oblation, interwoven each moment through the thickly-crowded mysteries of that dread time, unto the Eternal Father, out of two sinless Hearts, that were the Hearts of Son and Mother, for the sins of a guilty world which fell on them contrary to their merits, but according to their own free will. Never was any sanctified sorrow of creatures so confused and commingled with the world-redeeming sorrow of Jesus as was the Compassion of His Mother. [Frederick William Faber, The Foot of the Cross (Philadelphia: The Peter Reilly Co., 1956) 384]
It is particularly interesting to note that Father Faber chose the symbol of their two Hearts to represent the perfect reparation made to the Father by the passion of Jesus united with the compassion of Mary.
In a way analogous to the Heart of Jesus — while always keeping the right proportion — we may also speak of two "moments" of reparation in terms of the Heart of Mary. We have just briefly considered Mary's "co-redemptive" role in making reparation to God for our sins or what we might call the reparation made by the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But, as with Christ so also with Mary there is also the other "moment" of reparation, the "consolation" which we offer to her Immaculate Heart for what our sins have caused her to suffer for us.
Not only was the Heart of Mary pierced on Calvary in her identification with the sufferings of Jesus "her firstborn son" (Lk. 2:7), but also because of the sins of "the rest of her offspring" (Rev. 12:17).
The suffering of this mysterious new Daughter of Sion, Mary, is a result of the innumerable sins of all Adam's children, sins that have caused our expulsion from Paradise.
In Mary, therefore, in a unique way, there is revealed the salvific mystery of suffering, and the significance and fullness of human solidarity. Because the Virgin did not suffer for herself, being All Beautiful, the Ever Immaculate One: she suffered for us, in so far as she is the Mother of all. Just as Christ "bore our infirmities and endured our sufferings" (Is. 53:4) so also Mary was weighed down as by the sufferings of childbirth through an immense motherhood that makes us reborn to God. The suffering of Mary, the new Eve, alongside the new Adam, Christ, was and still is the royal path to the reconciliation of the world.
Mary Co-Redemptrix in Sacred Scripture
Evidence for Mary’s role as Co-Redemptrix abounds in Sacred Scripture from Genesis all the way through Revelation. Particular attention must be paid to the prophecies of Genesis 3:15 and Isaiah 7:14; the Annunciation, Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, and Finding of Jesus in the Temple in the Gospel of St. Luke; the Wedding at Cana and Calvary in St. John’s Gospel; and the vision of the Woman in Revelation 12.
Genesis 3:15 – A Prophecy of Mary Co-Redemptrix
The parents of the human race had just committed the first sin. They had turned their backs on God, seeking knowledge that was not theirs to have. Tricked by the serpent, Adam and Eve ate from the tree and suddenly knew that they were naked and that they had done wrong. They hid from God, but of course, He knew exactly what they had done, and He sought them out both to punish them, for they certainly deserved it, and to offer them words of hope, a prophecy of a Savior. Speaking to the serpent, God announced, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heal.” Since the earliest days of the Church, theologians have identified this passage as the Protoevangelium, maintaining that it prophesies the coming of a Redeemer, One Who would be at enmity with the serpent, Satan, and would, as other translations read, crush his head. The prophecy does not, however, announce only a Redeemer; it also predicts a Woman who would have complete enmity, total opposition, and absolutely no association with Satan and would even share in the victory of her Offspring, her Redeemer Son. Some translations clarify this shared victory by replacing the “He” in “He will strike at your head” or “He will crush your head” with “She or “They.” No matter which pronoun is used, however, the Woman, the mother of the Redeemer, is to share in her Son’s enmity with and victory over Satan. She, too, will crush the enemy’s head, bringing salvation to the human race. This Woman of the Protoevangelium is, according to many Scripture scholars and theologians, a prophetic type of Mary, mother of Redeemer and Co-Redemptrix. Such an interpretation is magisterially confirmed by Pope Pius IX in his Encyclical Ineffibilis Deus. He writes, “…the most holy Virgin, intimately and indissolubly united to Christ, became with Him the everlasting enemy of the venomous serpent, and thus shared with Her Son His victory over the serpent, crushing as she did the serpent’s head with her virginal foot.” Further, the Fathers of the Church claimed for Mary the title of the New Eve, who cooperated with the New Adam, Jesus Christ, in reversing the fall of humanity. This point will be explored in greater detail later in this study. For now, suffice it to say that Mary is indeed the Woman of Genesis 3:15, Woman with the Redeemer, the one who would share in crushing the enemy’s head.
Isaiah 7:14 – Another Old Testament Prophecy of Mary Co-Redemptrix
In Isaiah 7:14 the prophet predicts a great sign, “the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” This Child, born of the virgin, would, according to the prophet, become the famed “Suffering Servant,” the One Who would be “pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins.” Who could possibly claim that the virgin mother of the Suffering Servant would not suffer alongside her Son? Who could possibly claim that Mary, the virgin Mother of Jesus, the divine Suffering Servant, did not suffer alongside her Son? In the midst of those incredible sufferings, Mary, the virgin of Isaiah 7:14, carried out her role as Co-Redemptrix.
Luke 1:26-38 – Mary Says “Yes” to Her Role as Co-Redemptrix at the Annunication
God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce the impending birth of the Savior, the Messiah, the One Who would rule on David’s throne, “over the house of Jacob forever,” in an everlasting kingdom. Mary asked Gabriel how she could possible give birth to a child since she was a virgin. The angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” After listening to Gabriel’s reply, Mary humbly and simply said “yes” to God’s invitation to become the Mother of His Son, and Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, became incarnate in her womb. With her simple “yes,” Mary gave the Redeemer the tool He would use to redeem humanity, namely, His human body (see Hebrews 10:10). The process of Redemption had begun and so had Mary’s role as Co-Redemptrix. Did Mary know this? Did she know what she had just agreed to? Did she know the implications her “yes” would have for humanity, for herself? Many theologians answer affirmatively. For instance, Rev. Stefano Maria Manelli explains that Mary gave her consent to the “objective Redemption” with a “fully conscious faith.” She knew the prophecies concerning the Messiah. She knew that He would be the “Suffering Servant” predicted by Isaiah. She knew that her Son was to be this Messiah, this Suffering Servant, and still she said, “yes.” She fully understood what her answer would entail, what her agreement would bring; she was perfectly aware of the mission her Son would undertake and fulfill, and still she said, “yes.” What is more, she did so with a “joyful desire,” shown by the optative mood of the words she used and St. Luke preserved. At the Annunciation, then, with her humble fiat, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word,” Mary, with full knowledge, gave the Word of God His human body and, in doing so, consented to and began her role as Co-Redemptrix of the human race.
Luke 2:22:38 – The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
In obedience to the Law of the Old Testament, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple forty days after His birth. Mary herself was ritually “purified” at the same time. Before their arrival at the Temple, the holy couple probably had no idea of the significance these common religious acts were to have in their lives and the life of their Son. Simeon, an old man guided by the Holy Spirit, met them in the Temple’s outer courts, took the Baby in his arms, and allowed the Spirit to speak through him a prophecy that would bring Mary both joy and suffering. Hearing little Jesus called the salvation of God, “prepared in the sight of all the peoples”; a “light for revelation to the Gentiles”; and the glory of Israel must have thrilled Mary, causing her heart to nearly burst with joy. A few moments later, though, that joy was replaced with pain as Simeon continued his prophecy, announcing, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will piece) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” How Mary’s heart must have already felt the sword when she heard those words! She knew the mission her Son was to fulfill, but to hear it said right out loud must have caused her great suffering, especially since the message included a reminder that more intense suffering was to follow. Mary experienced significant co-Redemptive suffering as she presented her Son at the Temple and heard the prophecy of Simeon. As she endured the pain caused by the old man’s words, Mary knew that she was already beginning the process of offering her Son to the Father, if only symbolically, at that moment. Rev. William Most calls the Presentation, “the offertory of great sacrifice. He explains, “Other parents bought their sons back from the service of God. She, in obedience to the law, went through that same ritual. But she would know it was not buying Him back. Rather, it was giving Him over.” Some scholars have accurately called this Presentation a “real and mysterious foreshadowing of Calvary,” in which Mary, as a suffering Co-Redemptrix, offered her Son to God, understanding that her distress was only a small beginning of the grief and pain she would later face at the foot of the Cross.
Luke 2:41-52 – Jesus is “Lost”
Mary’s co-Redemptive suffering, which was so clear at the Presentation, continued throughout her entire life. Certainly the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt and their exile there caused her anguish (Matthew 2:13ff.), and there must have been daily sufferings and sacrifices throughout Jesus’ childhood that cut His mother to her heart. Mary’s suffering as Co-Redemptrix is presented plainly in Luke 2:41-52 when the twelve-year-old Jesus is “lost” during a visit to Jerusalem on the feast of Passover. Separated from her Son for three days, Mary must have been terrified and filled with grief, as any mother would be in such a situation. Rev. William Most calls the three days of separation a time of darkness and great sorrow for Mary and Joseph. Other theologians note that the incident was actually a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death and the three days of intense grief Mary would experience before the Resurrection. When Jesus was finally discovered in the Temple, after all that time of frantic searching, His apparently nonchalant attitude must have caused Mary even more suffering. “Son, why have you done this to us?” Mary asked. “Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” Jesus’ response was enigmatic at best: “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” How was Mary to grasp these words? Jesus was prepared to begin His redemptive work immediately, the instant He became a legal adult (which in Jewish law was at age twelve) and Mary and Joseph were no longer responsible for His actions. Jesus’ question and answer session with the Temple priests and scholars was a challenge to them, one that could get Him in serious trouble. Other self-styled prophets and messiahs had been overthrown and killed not long before, and the Temple priests must “have been troubled to hear such things from yet another man claiming to be the Messiah,” especially One Who was so young. Was Jesus ready to suffer and die for humanity at that very instance? Did Mary know this? She did and she decided to delay her Son’s mission for a little while.
"At her word, Jesus returned with them to Nazareth and obeyed them. Mary’s reason for imposing the delay isn’t clear from the Gospel account. It may have been that she was unwilling to be parted from Jesus at that early age; it may have been that she could not have borne seeing Him crucified at the age of twelve. Certainly, she knew why He had come and what He had to do…[but] the Gospels are abundantly clear on the central points: that Mary did delay Christ’s confrontation with the authorities, and more significant than even this, that He obeyed her."
It seems that Jesus allowed Mary, the Co-Redemptrix, to make a very important decision. He allowed her to delay His Passion and death. He allowed her to hold on to her Child for a little while longer. In an act of almost unfathomable obedience of God to a human creature, Jesus showed His Mother how important she was in His redemptive plan, how important she was as Co-Redemptrix, when He permitted her to take control over His mission and His life.
John 2:1-11 – The Coredemptrix at the Wedding in Cana
For the next eighteen years, Jesus lived as a carpenter’s Son, learning and practicing his foster-father’s trade and enjoying His family. Eventually, though, this had to change. Jesus still had a mission He needed to fulfill. St. John relates that “there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the wedding.” Those present may not have known it, but the stage was set for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. When the hosts ran out of wine, Mary approached Jesus. “They have no wine,” she told Him simply. “Woman, what is this to you and to Me? My hour has not yet come.” This might seem at first glance to be a refusal of Mary’s implicit request. Mary, with perfect understanding of her Son’s meaning, once again gave her consent with her humble words to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” The “Woman” (notice Jesus’ use of the word, connecting Mary with the “Woman” Co-Redemptrix of Genesis 3:15) was indeed ready to climb toward the summit of human Redemption. She was ready to walk the road toward the Cross.
John 19:25 – The Climax of Co-Redemption
St. John recounts that the Mother of Jesus stood at the foot of the Cross. She looked up at her divine Son, contemplating His battered Body, meditating on His pierced hands and feet and on the crown of thorns that pierced His head, and suffering more than words could say. Her role as Co-Redemptrix reached its climax as she stood there, as always, saying “yes” to God’s plan, sharing intimately in her Son’s suffering and offering her own compassion, her own co-suffering, to the Father for the Redemption of the human race. As a mother, she certainly would have loved to scream at her Son’s torturers, to cry out that He was innocent, to stop His suffering, but she did not. She gave up her longings, her rights, as a mother because she knew why her Son was choosing to suffer so violently, and she knew why she was also choosing to suffer. She knew it was for love. She knew it was for the reconciliation of God and humanity. As Co-Redemptrix, she gave another painful fiat, uniting her will with God’s will, offering Jesus to His Father for the salvation of humanity, and joining her sufferings with His to help merit a long-awaited Redemption.
Revelation 12:1-6 – The Coredemptrix in Eternity
Since a prophecy of Mary Co-Redemptrix appeared in the first pages of Sacred Scripture (Genesis 3:15), it is fitting that a vision of Mary Co-Redemptrix should appear in the final pages of Sacred Scripture. In Revelation 12, St. John describes an amazing vision:
"A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a Son, a male Child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod."
The Fathers of the Church, and many theologians following them, have identified this Woman of Revelation as Mary, the mother of the Redeemer who stood beside the Cross, suffering greatly as she helped to gain eternal salvation for the human race and give birth to the Church of her Son.
Because of her immaculate nature, Mary did not suffer when she physically gave birth to Jesus, but she most definitely did suffer horribly in the rebirth of the human race as she stood at the foot of the Cross, sharing in the sufferings of her Son and receiving from Him the role of “spiritual mother” to all of humanity as represented by the Beloved Disciple, St. John. Furthermore, Mary, the Woman of Genesis, the Woman of Revelation, and the “co-redeeming Mother,” eternally shares in the mystical battle against the dragon (or serpent or Satan), who is waging “war against the rest of her offspring,” still suffering spiritually in order to save the souls of her spiritual children, providing them the graces they need for their salvation, and knowing that the ultimate victory belongs to her Son and herself as Redeemer and Co-Redemptrix.
Co-Redemptrix of the Human Race
O Blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay you your just dues of praise and thanksgiving, you who by the wondrous assent of your will did rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in your honor, since it is by your intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration? Augustine
By you, O Mary, the Trinity is glorified; by you the precious Cross is celebrated and reverenced throughout the whole world. By you mankind, which was enslaved by the errors of idolatry, has been converted to the truth; believers have been baptized; churches are everywhere erected. By your aid, nations have done penance. What more can be said? By you the only-begotten Son of God, that true Light, has shined on those that were in darkness, and in the shadow of death. Who can worthily celebrate your praises, O Mother and Virgin! Cyril of Alexandria
Devotion to you O Mary, is a pledge of salvation which God grants to those whom He wills to save.
O Blessed Mother of God, open to us the gate of Mercy: for you are the salvation of the human race. Damascene
God would not become Man without the consent of Mary: in the first place, that we might feel ourselves under great obligations to her, and secondly, that we might understand that the salvation of all is left to the care of the Blessed Virgin. Damian
Although God could create the world out of nothing, yet when it was lost by sin, He would not repair the evil without the cooperation of Mary. Anselm
Through you, O Mother of love, O Mother of salvation, who has found grace with God, we find access to the Father, so that through you we are received by Him Who has been given to us through you. You are the dispenser of all graces; our salvation is in your hands. Bernard
God has deposited in Mary the fullness of all that is good, so that if we have any hope, any grace, any salvation, we should know that all comes to us by Mary. Bernard
See, O man, the designs of God-designs by which He is able to dispense His mercy more abundantly to us; for, desiring to redeem the whole human race, He has placed the whole price of Redemption in the hands of Mary, that she may dispense it at will. Bernard
All men, past, present and to come, should look upon Mary as the means and negotiator of the salvation of all ages. Bernard
When God was about to redeem the human race, He deposited the whole price in Mary's hands. Bernard
You have gone, O Virgin, in the salvation of your people: to their salvation with Christ. O blessed one, in your hands is laid up our salvation: be mindful O loving one, of our poverty. He whom you will save, will be saved: and he from whom you shall turn away your face, will go down to destruction. Bonaventure
By you redemption has been sent from God: the repentant people shall have the hope of salvation...The way to come to Christ is to approach her: he who shall fly her shall not find the way of peace...Approach to our Lord to pray for us: that by you our sins may be blotted out...may sinners find grace with God by you, the finder of grace and salvation. Bonaventure
It is a great thing in any saint to have grace sufficient for the salvation of many souls; but to have (as Mary had) enough to suffice for the salvation of everybody in the world, is the greatest of all. Aquinas
Mary is after God and with God and under God the efficient cause of our regeneration because she begot our Redeemer, and because by her virtue, she merited by a merit of congruity this impeccable honor. She is the material cause, because the Holy Ghost through the intermediary of her consent took from her pure flesh and blood the flesh and blood from which was made the Body immolated for the Redemption of the world. She is the final cause, for the great work of Redemption which is ordained principally for the glory of God, is ordained secondarily for the honor of this same Virgin. She is the formal cause, for the Light of a Light so very deiform she is the universal exemplar which shows us the way out of darkness to the vision of the Eternal Light. Albert
I will put enmities between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed: she shall crush your head (Gen. 3:15). Who could this woman, the serpent's victor, be but Mary, who by her fair humility and holy life always conquered him and beat down his strength? The Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ was promised in the person of that woman, as it is remarked by St. Cyprian and after him another ancient writer; and therefore God did not say "I put," "but I will put," lest He might seem to refer to Eve,...to signify that the serpent's opponent was not to be Eve, who was then living, but would be another woman descending from her, and who, as St. Vincent Ferrer observes, "would bring our first parents far greater advantages than those which they had lost by their sin"...St. Bruno says that "Eve was the cause of our death," by allowing herself to be overcome by the serpent, "But that Mary," by conquering the devil, "restored life to us". Liguori
Church Teaching on Mary's Cooperation in the Redemption of Mankind
Compiled by Fr. William Most
1. Leo XIII, Encyclical, Iucunda Semper, Sept 8, 1884. ASS 27. 178.
For when she presented herself to God as a handmaid for the role of Mother, or when she totally dedicated herself with her Son in the temple, from each of these she was already then a sharer in the laborious expiation for the human race. Hence we cannot doubt that she greatly grieved in soul in the most harsh anguishes and torments of her Son. Further, that divine sacrifice had to be completed with her present and looking on, for which she had generously nourished the victim from herself. Finally this is more tearfully observed in the same mysteries: There stood by the Cross of Jesus, Mary His Mother ... of her own accord she offered her Son to the divine justice, dying with Him in her heart, transfixed with the sword of sorrow.
2. Leo XIII, Encyclical, Adiutricem populi, Sept. 5, 1895. ASS 28. 130-31.
For thereafter, by the divine plan, she so began to watch over the Church, so to be present to us and to favor us as Mother, that she who had been the minister of accomplishing the mystery of human redemption, would be likewise the minister of the dispensation of that grace, practically limitless power being given to her.
3. St. Pius X, Encyclical, Ad diem illum, Feb. 2, 1904, ASS 36. 453-55.
Hence that never disassociated manner of life and labors.... But when the final hour of her Son came, His Mother stood by the cross of Jesus, not just occupied in seeing the dread spectacle, but actually rejoicing that her Only-Begotten was being offered for the salvation of the human race. ... from this common sharing of sufferings and will, she merited to become most worthily the reparatrix of the lost world, and so the dispensatrix of all the gifts which were gained for us by the death and blood of Jesus. ... She ... since she was ahead of all in holiness and union with Christ, and was taken up by Christ into the work of human salvation, she merited congruously, as they say, what Christ merited condignly, and is the chief minister of the dispensation of graces.
4. Benedict XV, Epistle, Admodum probatur, June 20, 1917. AAS 10. 182.
With her suffering and dying Son she suffered and almost died, so did she surrender her mother's rights over her Son for the salvation of human beings, and to appease the justice of God, so far as pertained to her, she immolated her Son, so that it can be rightly said, that she together with Christ has redeemed the human race.
5. Pius XI, Apostolic Letter, Explorata res est. Feb. 2, 1923. AAS 15. 104.
... the sorrowful Virgin shared in the work of redemption with Jesus Christ.... COMMENT: The word "sorrowful" shows this was a cooperation on Calvary, not just in the annunciation.
6. Pius XI, Encyclical, Miserentissimus Redemptor, May 8, 1928. AAS 20. 178.
May the kindly Virgin Mother of God be present and smile on these our prayers and undertakings, who, since she brought forth Jesus the Redeemer, fed Him, offered Him as a victim at the cross, by her hidden union with Christ, and an altogether singular grace from Him, was likewise the Reparatrix, and is devoutly called that.
7. Pius XI, Radiomessage to Lourdes, April 28, 1935. Osservatore Romano, April 29, 1935.
O Mother of piety and mercy, who as Coredemptrix stood by your most sweet Son suffering with Him when He consummated the redemption of the human race on the altar of the cross ... preserve in us, we beg, day by day, the precious fruits of the Redemption and of your compassion.
8. Pius XII, Encyclical, On the Mystical Body, June 29, 1943. AAS 35. 247.
She it was who, as the New Eve, free from every stain of original or personal sin, always most closely joined with her Son, offered Him to the Eternal Father together with the holocaust of her motherly rights and motherly love, for all the sons of Adam, defiled by his miserable fall.
9. Pius XII, Radiomessage to Fatima, May13, 1946, AAS 38. 266.
Jesus is King of the Eternal Ages by nature and by right of conquest; through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father].
COMMENT: The same title by right of conquest, is given for both Jesus and Mary. A triple subordination is carefully expressed, therefore there should be no other reservation thought to be understood. Hence, with subordination, the title applies in the same way to each.
10. Pius XII, Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, Nov. 1, 1950. AAS 42. 768.
We must especially remember this, that starting in the second century, the Virgin Mary is presented by the holy Fathers as the New Eve, who, although subject to the New Adam, was most closely joined with Him in that struggle against the infernal enemy , which, as was foretold in the Protoevangelium, was to come to the most full victory over sin and death, which are always joined together in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Hence, just as the glorious resurrection of Christ was an essential part and final sign of this victory, so that struggle of the Blessed Virgin in common with her Son, had to be closed by the glorification of her virginal body."
COMMENT: In spite of the fears of some scholars, such as Altaner, the Pope found the Assumption in the sources of revelation in the New Eve theme, and more precisely, in her cooperation on Calvary, which was most close, to such an extent that the Pope even could speak of a struggle that was "common to the Blessed Virgin and her Son".
11. Pius XII, Encyclical, Fulgens corona, Sept. 8, 1953. AAS 45. 583.
... she was joined with her Only-begotten Son in the struggle against the most wicked infernal serpent.
12. Pius XII, Encyclical, Ad Caeli Reginam, Oct. 11, 1954. AAS 46. 634-35.
In accomplishing this work of the redemption, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was certainly closely joined with Christ ... was associated with Jesus Christ, the very principle of salvation, by divine plan, and indeed in a way similar to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the principle of death, so that we can say that the work of our salvation was accomplished according to a certain recapitulation ... and if she was joined with her Son, even on Golgotha, [and] she offered Him, together with the holocaust of her Mother's rights and love, like a New Eve, for all the sons of Adam, defiled by his wretched fall, as a result, beyond doubt, it is right to conclude that just as Christ, the New Adam should be called King not only because He is the Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so by a certain analogy, the most Blessed Virgin is Queen, not only because she is the Mother of God, but also because as the New Eve she was associated with the New Adam
COMMENT: Mary acted in a way parallel to that of Eve, who did not receive a sin from Adam [as the German Mariology would imply] but in an effective and active way generated sin. Therefore Mary's work was not active receptivity , as the Germans assert, but an effective and active cooperation in generating the title for the Redemption.
The Rosary is the prayer par excellence of Our Lady’s Sacred Office, a delineation of that Divine Mandate, a spelling-out in greater detail. The Pope of the Rosary, Leo XIII wrote several inspiring letters in praise of this “Crown of Ave’s”. Especially in one, “Jucunda Semper”, issued on September 8th, 1894, he revealed plainly the importance of this prayer.
The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of divine grace, being by worthiness and by merit more acceptable to Him, and for that reason surpassing in power all the angels and saints in heaven. Now, this merciful office of hers appears perhaps in no other form of prayer as manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary the part that Mary took as our Co-redemptrix is set before us, as though the facts were even then taking place. And this affords great profit to our piety, both in the contemplation of the successive sacred mysteries, and in the prayers which we enunciate.
Crux sacra sit mihi lux!
Nunquam draco sit mihi dux!
Vade retro Satana!
Nunquam suade mihi vana!
Sunt mala quae libas.
Ipse venena bibas!