Monday, January 13, 2014

26. MARY'S ROLE IN GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION


Continuation from: 23. Mary - The Mother Of God

To understand the title "Mother of God," we must first clearly understand Mary's role as mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

As Catholics, we firmly believe in the incarnation of Our Lord: Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit.
2Luke 1:26-38 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. [28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. [31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. [33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36] And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: [37] Because no word shall be impossible with God. [38]And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. and we can also refer to Matthew 1:18-25

Through her, Jesus Christ — second person of the Holy Trinity, one-in-being (consubstantial) with the Father, and true God from true God — entered this world taking on human flesh and a human soul. Jesus is true God and true man. In His divine person are united both a divine nature and a human nature. 

Mary did not create the divine person of Jesus, who existed with the Father and Holy Spirit from all eternity: "In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly 'Mother of God' (Theotokos)" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 495). As St. John wrote, "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory: The glory of an only Son coming from the Father filled with enduring love" John 1:14. Here Jesus was the Word from the beginning of time who is God and became flesh.




Mary Adoring 
Her Son Jesus
Mary - Model of Purity and Goodness.

So who is Mary according to the Scripture?
In the Bible, based on the gospel texts, we may have erroneously formed an incomplete picture of Mary.
 
We probably imagined Mary as a

  • young (to face the reality and hardship of life), 
  • innocent (in ways of the world) and 
  • timid (silly, incompetent, spineless) 
but Mary proved otherwise and she was far from all these,

Mary was a Picture of
  • Beauty in and out - she was made pure and immaculate from the beginning of time in the sight of God. (Genesis 3:15 I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed:she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.) Even from the time of Adam and Eve, Mary the Mother of Jesus is already pre-destined to crush the head of the evil.
  • Humility with singleness of purpose (Luke 1:38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.And the angel departed from her.)
  • Initiative and Patience (John 2:3 And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. [4] And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. [5] His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.
    [4] What is that to me: These words of our Saviour, spoken to his mother, have been understood by some commentators as harsh, they not considering the next following verse: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye, which plainly shews that his mother knew of the miracle that he was to perform, and that it was at her request he wrought it; besides the manner of speaking the words as to the tone, and the countenance shewn at the same time, which could only be known to those who were present, or from what had followed: for words indicating anger in one tone of voice, would be understood quite the reverse in another.)
  • Faith (in God's plan) & Obedience (to the will of God) Luke 1:38
  • Willingness (to give up her own Son to be crucified) & Strength (to withstand the pain)
  • Forgiveness (for those who crucified Jesus) & Love (for all mankind)

And Mary was all these (achieved all these wonderful things)
  • She was (still is) the only perfect human model subjected to human limitations and temptations yet so humble and competent to withstand the wiles of the evil one.
  • Mankind too can achieve such wonderful things for God's reward (Heaven) is greater than anything.

In this topic, we will take a look at
  • HOW MARY ACHIEVED all those wonderful things, and HOW WE TOO CAN ACHIEVE them.
So what does Mary's IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is teaching us?
  • The Immaculate Conception is teaching us to aspire for freedom from sin to be PURE & IMMACULATE throughout our lives (a purity Mary achieved throughout her perpetual virginity-physically and spiritually).
  • We too can achieve this perhaps in other ways so that in doing so we will have the chance to enter the Kingdom of God.

"If there is a will there is a way"
  • If our goal is to enter the Kingdom of God, then we need to follow God's Plan of Salvation and not deviate to from it, so we need MARY to be our MODEL to emulate
  • and we need to understand what MARY'S role was in the GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION.
Immaculate Conception
The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION 
(Doctrine & Dogma)
Terminology

  • "im" - is without
  • "maculate" - is stain or dirt

Meaning = free from original sin from the moment of conception.

So let us review GOD'S PLAN once again.

  • God wants to bring all of us His creatures to His kingdom.
  • For us men to enter the kingdom, we must be pure.
  • Therefore, God's Plan was for all of us to be pure.

So GOD Destined Mary to be FREE from SIN:
  • She was destined to be the one to triumph over the evil one, the cause of the original sin, and she could not be subjected to Satan's power & dominion because she was free from having the original sin (she was destined & preserved by God from the beginning of time long before her ancestors).
  • To be the Mother of God's only Begotten Son, Mary must be immaculately clean. Rev. 21:27 (see above God's Plan #4) There shall not enter into it anything defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.
  • She is "FULL OF GRACE" in the words of Gabriel the Archangel.
  • Luke 1:28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

DOCTRINE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
  • Since the 2nd Century AD, the Fathers of the Church have thought that:
  • "MARY STANDS WITH CHRIST IN A PERFECT & VICTORIOUS ENMITY TOWARDS SATAN & HIS FOLLOWERS"
  • Therefore - SHE, LIKE CHRIST, MUST HAVE ENTERED THIS WORLD WITHOUT THE STAIN OF ORIGINAL SIN.

To declare the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as Dogma (link), the church took 16 centuries to carefully study and finally proclaimed its infallibility...at the PAPAL BULL, INEFABILIS DEUS,POPE PIUS IX, December 8, 1854

DOGMA - "The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by the Almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved from all stain of original sin."


PURIFICATION OF MARY FOR THE CONQUEST OF THE ENEMY

  • Since God has destined Mary and Jesus to crush the head of the "serpent", 
  • He would have to make her immune from Satan's wiles (at least strongly prepared against them).

PURIFICATION OF MARY IN PREPARATION FOR HER MOTHERHOOD OF THE REDEEMER
  • God the Father had PROVIDED HONOR to His Son's birth - by
  • Preserving His Mother Pure and Immaculate from the beginning (not allowing or giving Satan reason to argue)
  • Mary never committed any actual sin not even venial sin - so pure otherwise, she could not be worthy to be the mother of the Redeemer.
  • Christ uphold His law "Honor Thy Father & Thy Mother" & God have the power to save her from sin & venerate her body (thru her Assumption), otherwise, He would not been true to His Own commandment.
  • The Holy Spirit made His bride as beautiful as it became His spouse to be. Proverbs 31:29 Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all.
MARY'S ACCEPTANCE
Because God gave us freedom and the gift of 'free will' to chose between right and wrong, He would not impose His "will" on Mary, so He had to ask Mary if she is willing to accept the role of a mother to the Incarnate Jesus and without hesitation and with utmost humility she gladly and willingly accepted to fulfill her role in God's Plan of Salvation. 
       
Matthew 1: 26-35, 37-38 [26] And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. [28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.[30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. [31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.[33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [37] Because no word shall be impossible with God. [38] And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.



HOW WAS MARY MADE INTO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION?
A Hebrew Word Denoting Those Without A Voice:
The Outcast, The Poor Seeking God For Deliverance
  • God's Plan is for all men to be "holy & immaculate" in his sight(Eph 1:4) As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity.
  • As pointed out earlier, men & angels have deviated from this Holy Plan..
  • Since God is not a changeable God but consistent and true to His creations and His plan, He continued to assure of salvation in spite of the sin of Adam & Eve and declared He will never abandon mankind in spite of all the failures, so He chose His own people to execute His Plan of Salvation purifying them in the process and prepared Mary (the APEX of that plan) to be without sin in His sight.
  • But since man is always FREE TO ACCEPT OR NOT God's companion and assistance, man continued to fail, continued to disobey by sinning (sin is always a deviation from God's Plan).
  • Yet God would always reminds us of His infinite love that He will be there and is there for us through COVENANTS. And because Man continued to fail, GOD made His chosen people undergo purification and prepare them for the coming of His only Begotten Son thru oppression from the: Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and the Romans
  • which resulted in to a purified race, THE ANAWIM (ANAWIM are People totally dependent of God which learned the values of humanity & patience, lived modestly and dedicated in obedience to God) and under this process of centuries of purification, SIN was gradually wiped out among them from generation to generation the purification of which culminated and found its APEX - Mary, the most perfect creation of God.
B. Mary's Perpetual Virginity (Doctrine)

“Perpetual Virginity" Mary was a VIRGIN BEFORE, DURING & AFTER birth of Jesus Christ
(A DOCTRINE declared by)
1) Fifth General Council (553 AD)
2) Lateran Synod (649 AD)
3) Pope Paul IV "Cum Quorundam" (1555 AD)

TERMINOLOGY (The Spiritual & human concept)
·         COMMON CONCEPT (Girl is virgin if hymen has not been broken (a mere physical attribute)
·         LEGAL CONCEPT (Virginity applies to reputation, integrity and good name of a person (single or widowed) as long as innocence in rape case is proven (as an example)
·         BROADER CONCEPT (Virginity means - no broken hymen and non-fulfillment of sex act (sex-act virginity) and non-contact of female ovum and male sperm in the womb (seed-act virginity).
·         TOTAL CONCEPT - Real virginity is the idea of TOTAL PRIESTHOOD
according to the ideal of what person should be in God's revelation of total man (1 Thes. 5:23)
 [23] And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(The spiritual integrity of the SPIRIT) freedom from notions of sexual desires, with continuous communication with God
(The moral integrity of the SOUL) psychological freedom from sin, the virginal disposition of the mind.
(The physical integrity of the Body) treating body with utmost respect as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
And the VIRGINITY OF MARY pertains to her Whole Being BODY, SOUL & SPIRIT.
THE FOCAL POINT OF VIRGINITY 
CHRIST IS WITHIN EACH ONE OF US

VIRGINITY
  • BEFORE BIRTH- Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit did not "know" man (Luke 1:29, 34-35) [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.
  • DURING BIRTH- conceived by the Holy Spirit (A Virgin will conceived and will give birth to a Son and He will be called "Emmanuel" meaning "God is with us" Mt 1:23 Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
  • AFTER BIRTH - but there were PROBLEMS: (Bible writes Christ's)
BROTHERS - here comes Mary and Jesus' brothers (Mark 3:31 & 35)- difference in language (Greek - brotherhood of men) [31] And his mother and his brethren came; and standing without, sent unto him, calling him. [35] For whosoever shall do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

BROTHER/BRETHREN - refer to relatives, friends, those who shares same faith (did not always mean people who all came from one mother)

FIRSTBORN (Luke 2:7)-implied Jesus has others siblings after Him- but this is a title given to first Hebrew male (first to open womb) regardless of whether he has brothers or sisters after him or none at all. (At Calvary - "Mother behold thy son, son behold thy mother" - no blood brothers available) [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


OUR VIRGINITY

  • The Original intention of the Father (Eph 1:4)(was for man to be holy even before he created the universe) [4] As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity.
  • But man lost his integrity thru deviation from God's plan
  • Yet God restored man to be immaculate thru Jesus' Passion, Death & Resurrection
  • Since Man had been weakened by the origin sin, man developed the propensity to commit sin
  • Again God restored everything thru Jesus Christ's Merit of Redemption applied in the Holy Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist

The Assumption of Mary

Mary's Temporal Death 

  • The Church teaches us that Mary suffered a temporal death
  • But not as a direct consequence of sin for Mary was sinless,
  • never committed any not even venial sin.
  • Rather she died in fitting conformity with that of her Divine Son subject to the general law of death.

Difference
  • Assumption (Mary assumed into Heaven body and soul through the power of God). 
  • Ascension (Christ ascended into heaven by His own power).
  • The Assumption of Mary is not in the Bible, so how do we know she was brought to heaven body and soul? [Please read Post # 22 on Oral Tradition]
  • Christian belief is based According to oral and written tradition -As well as Scriptures
  • The Oral Tradition came first. Christ commanded His Apostles to be preachers not writers,
  • Thus our belief in Mary's Assumption is based on Oral Tradition.
 
DOGMA
Apostolic Constitution
Munificentissimus Deus
November 1, 1950
Pope Pius XII
 
"We pronounce, declare and define it to be divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life was assumed body and Soul to heavenly glory."

  • There were other saints who were also gifted by God whose bodies remained incorrupted:
  • St. Bernadette Soubirou,
  • St. Bernadette Laboure,
  • St. Therese of the Child Jesus,
  • St. Pio (Padre Pio)
  • Since Mary was sinless, her body was never corrupted by the curse of the sin "unto dust you shall return", so why not the Queen of all saints?
  • Some said Prophets Enoch, Elias & Moses were assumed into Heaven
  • If God could honor these prophets with assumption, what more the Mother of His Son?

Source of the DOCTRINES OF ASSUMPTION
  • God's own promise to those who are faithful to Him
  • Mary's Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity
  • Tradition that started in Jerusalem

"DORMITION" - Mary did not actually die in the normal sense of the word, she could not die because death is the curse of sin on man. However, the Blessed Mother was allowed to pass into a state of dormition where her physical function were said to have stopped. She needed to undergo this death to comply with the natural, physical laws of the universe in the same way that Christ had to comply with then through His death. The term Dormition was used because her mortal body had to be transformed into an immortal one. 

1 Cor 15: 22-24 [22] And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. [23] But everyone in his own order: the first fruits Christ, then they that are of Christ, who have believed in his coming. [24] Afterwards the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, when he shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue.

Conclusion (Mary the Model of Purity)



As the Pure and Immaculate Conception, Mary is the Model of Purity. Though we are not gifted like Mary, we can still achieve purity through the Sacrament of Confession and be free from sin.
  
Like Mary, we should remain virgins throughout our lives (to be sinless physically, mentally and spiritually). Mary was not sinless because she was a virgin, but rather her virginity was the sign of her sinlessness.
 
And like the Blessed Mother, we are to remain spiritually VIRGIN all through our lives.

Though we are bound to fall once & a while (throughout our life)
  • the VIRTUE lies in trying, 
  • picking ourselves up each time we fall down, and
  • not losing hope because we love God so much and we want put a smile in His face.

We hope that everyone here were able
  • to learn something from this blog about the Blessed Mother, our Model of Purity
  • so that when we leave here, we will finally start a new life of being holy & virgin in the eyes of God
  • and that we will do our very best to remain pure and immaculate while we still have the chance in the eyes of God.

At this point, IN A MOMENT OF SILENCE let us remember our love ones & people we love:
  • remember your mother and father who have love and sacrifice so much for each of you
  • remember your wife or your husband, your ever loving partner in life for better or worst till death do you part
  • remember your daughters and/or sons who look up to you for love and guidance
  • remember your brothers, sisters, relatives and friends who gave you love, friendship & respect
  • remember everyone around you 
  • then ask yourselves this question: Have you been a role model to them? 
  • Have you ever been good, loving, understanding, merciful, compassionate, charitable or forgiving?

With that ask yourself now, are you a ROLE MODEL?

  • a good son or daughter to your parents? 
  • a good & faithful husband or wife? 
  • a good supportive and loving father or mother to your children? & 
  • a good natured person?

Remember always, there is still time for everyone of us to reform our ways and live a life according to God’s will. To God there is never too late while we are still alive and he is giving us more than enough time while we are still having the chance. If you know you may die anytime, please don't forget to ask for forgiveness from God our creator so He may bless you with His forgiveness and give you mercy so your soul will be purified in Purgatory on your way to Heaven. 

But if at the time of one’s death, forgiveness was not asked of our Lord, then if one dies in the state of mortal sin, then in hell there is no more second chance.


Because God loves us so much that part of his Plan of Salvation is Purgatory. Since God will never allow uncleaned souls into heaven, repentant souls are not condemned to hell but are sent to pay for the sins they have committed in Purgatory where the repentant soul undergo the process of cleansing.

Revelation 21:27 There shall not enter into it anything defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb. 
  
Luke 12:59 I say to thee, thou shalt not go out thence, until thou pay the very last mite. 
 
Matthew 5:26 Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing. 
 
The gospels of Luke and Matthew specifically tell about Purgatory. Only righteous and repentant sinners may have a second chance because they are not condemned to the eternal damnation in hell.
 
To non-believer of Purgatory, it will be your lose if you don’t repent and reform your life while still on earth but if you have lived a pious life and a repentant sinner before dying, God is loving and merciful that he will grant you the gift of everlasting life, though you will have to undergo cleansing in Purgatory before you can enter the Kingdom of God.
 
There is no assurance of salvation for anti-Christ. Believe God not man for God is the truth and life. Without Him there is no life and when there is no life there is no salvation. 

Mary's Role in Our Salvation

What is Mary’s role in our salvation? Isn't Jesus Christ the one Mediator between God and man?

Mary’s role can be summarized in the terms Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate (cf. Catechism, no. 969). Mary’s maternal role in our salvation, as summarized by these titles, is part of the constant teaching of the Church.

Saint Paul teaches us that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:5).

Mary’s participation in salvation history as Mother of Christ and Mother of Christians does not diminish the unique mediation of Christ; rather, it points to Christ’s unique mediation and reveals its power.

In recent years there has been increased speculation as to whether the Church will dogmatically define Mary’s role as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate. Whether the Church ultimately does so or not, we are called to “think with the Church” and understand the rock-solid doctrine behind the titles. Some people object to these titles, particularly to Mary’s being considered

Co-redemptrix” and “Mediatrix,” because they think the titles somehow detract from Christ. Yet, just as human fathers participate in the one Fatherhood of God, and priests participate in the one priesthood of Christ, so also God has chosen to associate Mary in a unique way with Christ’s one mediation. 



Mary’s pivotal role in salvation history did not end with her giving birth to the Son of God, but rather continues to the present time. If we were to take 1 Timothy 2:5 (above) in a sense that bars the participation of others in Christ’s mediation, then we would have to admit that we should not ask anybody to pray for us, nor should we pray for others. But that is an unbiblical position! If we acknowledge that we can pray for each other as members of the Body of Christ (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 1:11), then surely we would want the prayers of the woman whom all generations call blessed (Lk. 1:48). After all, not even death can separate the members of God’s family (cf. Rom. 8:38-39).

Co-redemptrix

The title “Co-redemptrix” is a term that refers to Mary’s unique and intimate cooperation with her divine Son in redeeming the human family. The title is rooted in Genesis 3:15, where Mary is “prophetically foreshadowed in the promise of victory over the serpent” (LG 55). This passage foreshadows the divine work of redemption brought about by Jesus as the Savior of the world, with the Mother of the Redeemer’s intimate cooperation.

The prefix “co” in the title “Co-redemptrix” does not imply an equality with the one Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who alone could reconcile humanity with the Father in His divinity and humanity. The prefix “co” is derived from the Latin word cum, which means “with,” and not “equal to.” Jesus as true God and true man redeems the human family, and Mary as “Co-redemptrix” participates with the divine Redeemer in a completely subordinate and dependent way. Nonetheless, though subordinate and dependent, Mary’s human participation remains a uniquely privileged and exalted one, one that was entirely contingent upon her free and meritorious “yes” in her words, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

As explained by Pope John Paul II: Crucified spiritually with her crucified Son (cf. Gal. 2:20), she contemplated with heroic love the death of her God, she “lovingly consented to the immolation of this Victim which she herself had brought forth” (LG 58) … as she was in a special way close to the Cross of her Son, she also had to have a privileged experience of his Resurrection. In fact, Mary’s role as co-redemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son. 


Through faith and Baptism, we become God’s children by adoption and participate in the divine life. As new creations in Christ, we cooperate in His redemptive work. While this is true of all Christians, it is most perfectly true of Mary, who was never wounded or enslaved by sin and therefore was perfectly free to give herself completely to Christ.

Mediatrix of All Graces

Mary is called “Mediatrix” (Catechism, no. 969) because all grace comes from Christ, and Christ comes only through Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Mary is also known as the “Mother of all Christians.” This title refers to Our Lord’s words from the Cross to Mary and John (John. 19:26-27). At the time of His death, Jesus gave Mary to John and John to Mary. “From that hour John took her to his own home” (John. 19:27). John represented the Church at the foot of the Cross. Therefore, all of us are invited to welcome Mary into our homes as our mother. 


The Holy Spirit makes this point again through Saint John in Revelation 12:17, when “the woman,” the mother of the Redeemer, is also described as the mother of all who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. God chose to save us by becoming man and allowing the Blessed Virgin to be His mother. Our salvation comes by being grafted into the Family of God by faith and Baptism. In a family, the mother is necessary, and so Mary in this sense is necessary for salvation. 

In Jesus’ one and perfect mediation (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5), subordinate and secondary mediators are able to participate. In the Old Testament, God used the patriarchs and prophets to mediate His reconciliation with the people of Israel. In the Old and New Testaments, God used angels to mediate His messages and His grace. Vatican II teaches that after Mary was taken up into heaven, “she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation” (LG 62). 

Saint Paul says that all Christians are mediators or “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:18-20), sent and entrusted by Christ’s authority to mediate God’s message of reconciliation. Those who receive these ambassadors receive Christ Himself: “He who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me” (Jn. 13:20; cf. Lk. 10:16; Mt. 10:40).

Mary participates in the mediation of Christ in a way unlike any other creature. In John 2, her mediation at the wedding of Cana led to the first public miracle and the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. In Luke 1:41, her physical mediation brings the unborn Jesus to His unborn cousin, John the Baptist, who is sanctified in Elizabeth’s womb. So through Mary’s mediation, and her active participation with God’s grace, Christ is brought to others. The Fathers of the Church recognized her role as Mediatrix. For example, Saint Ephrem in the fourth century referred to her as “the Mediatrix of the whole world.”

Although the teaching on Mary’s role as Mediatrix is not dogmatically defined, it is nevertheless part of the Church’s constant teaching. The following popes speak of Mary as Mediatrix of all graces: Pope Pius VII, Pope Pius IX, Pope Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II.

The very first verse of the New Testament introduces Jesus to the world as “Son of Abraham, Son of David” (Mt. 1:1). As Son of David, Jesus is the King of Israel. All the kings in Jerusalem had a queen, but she was not their wife. Rather, the queen was their mother. Scripture tells us that King Solomon, for example, had 700 wives and 300 concubines. The queen was shown devotion by all—even the king (1 Kings 2:19)—and sat in the king’s presence to make intercession for the people. Since Mary is alive in Christ, she lives to intercede for her children.

Mary Interceding For All
Mary, Our Advocate

This leads to the third title of Mary, that of “Advocate for the People of God.” The early Church manifested her heartfelt belief in the intercessory power of Mary, to whom she called for help and protection in the midst of dangers and trials. The Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen), composed in the eleventh century, includes this venerable title. Vatican II continues this ancient practice of invoking Mary under the title that conveys her role as intercessory helper for the People of God in times of peril: “Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in he Church under the title of Advocate...” (LG 62).

We can therefore say that the Co-redemptrix, who uniquely participated with the one Redeemer in obtaining the graces of redemption, continues her participation by distributing the graces of redemption with the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, and the Sanctifier, the Holy Spirit. Part of this mediating role of Mary in God’s plan of salvation includes the providential task of being the Advocate for the People of God, that is, a mother pleading on behalf of her children. Thus Mary not only mediates the graces of God to humanity as Mediatrix, but she also mediates the petitions of the human family back to God as our Advocate.

Church Teaching

In his apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente (The Coming Third Millennium), Pope John Paul II tells us that “Mary in fact constantly points to her Divine Son and she is proposed to all believers as the model of faith which is put into practice" (no. 43, original emphasis). The role of Mary as Co-redemptrix offers us the rich ecclesial model of our becoming coworkers (cf. 1 Cor. 3:9) or co-redeemers in Christ. Since she is the preeminent model of the Church, every revealed truth about Mary provides the church inspiration and wisdom in her quest to “conquer sin and increase in holiness” (LG 65).

The Marian model of Co-redemptrix offers a particular richness to the Church regarding the Christian call to be co-redeemers in Christ, based on Saint Paul’s exhortation to every Christian to “make up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of the body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24). The preeminent example of this scriptural call of cooperation in the work of redemption is most certainly Mary Co-redemptrix. “Co-redeemers in Christ” as a description of the Family of God echoes the compelling Vatican II theme that calls every Christian to bring Christ to the world and to collaborate with the Redeemer in bringing the graces of salvation to all peoples today.

Mary’s co-redemptive example is a constant reminder to the faithful that we must all work alongside the Redeemer in bringing the saving Gospel of Christ into the world; to offer our meritorious sufferings for the glory of God and the salvation of souls in the order of the priesthood of the laity, as well as in the ministerial priesthood; to participate through acts of charity and Christian works of mercy in the application of the graces of Calvary to the world today, a world that remains in such grave need of the Redeemer’s spiritual and social liberation; to realize the sublime ecclesial dignity of freely and personally cooperating with grace for our own salvation and the salvation of all humanity; and to be incarnate witnesses after the model of Mary Co-redemptrix to the fundamental truth that human suffering can be redemptive.

Our role as “co-redeemers in Christ” provides a concrete reminder to today’s faithful that the Cross of the Redeemer must again be implanted in the midst of the world and carried by every beloved disciple for the salvation and sanctification of contemporary society.

Mary is the “dawn” before Christ the “Day,” for the Father willed that the mother precede the incarnate Son in the history of salvation. And, as the announcement of the motherhood of Mary by the angel Gabriel preceded and prepared for the Incarnation, so one can see the profound significance of deepening our understanding of Mary’s maternal mediation as we celebrate the third millennium of Christ’s Incarnation.

May the Holy Spirit guide the Church in her reflection on Mary’s role in our salvation, and enable the People of God to listen attentively to what the Spirit is “saying to the Churches” (cf. Rev. 2:7) today about our common mother (Redemptoris Mater, 30). May we do our part in fulfilling the great Marian prophecy inspired by the same Spirit that “all generations will call Mary blessed” (Lk. 1:48).



Silent Crusader