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Do we find support for the proposed Dogma of Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate in Scripture?

The Redemption

The salvation of humanity was accomplished by God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Passion and Death of Christ, our sole Redeemer, was not only sufficient but "superabundant" satisfaction for human guilt and the consequent debt of punishment. But God willed that this work of salvation be accomplished through the collaboration of a woman, while always respecting her free will. "When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman" (Gal. 4:4).

Coredemptrix in Scripture

Permeating Scripture is God’s revelation that his plan of redemption will involve, first and foremost, the collaboration of two persons: one divine and one human, the "woman" and her "seed." This is first revealed in the book of Genesis: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed: she shall crush your head..." (Gen. 3:15). This passage of Scripture prophetically foreshadows Mary with her divine Son in the promise of victory over the serpent. It reveals God’s will that the "woman" share in the same "enmity" (absolute opposition) between herself and the serpent as does her "seed," Jesus Christ. This great struggle and victory over the serpent foreshadows the divine work of redemption by Jesus Christ, with the Mother of the Redeemer’s intimate collaboration in his saving work.

This "collaboration" or "co-operation" or "participation" of the Mother of Jesus with her Son in the redemptive work of salvation is referred to in the Church as "Marian coredemption," or more specifically, Mary is referred to as "the Coredemptrix with the Redeemer." It always remains a secondary and subordinate participation, and never puts her on a level of equality with the one Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and takes absolutely nothing away from her Son’s glory. God chooses to give man a share in his attributes and his works. Since God is infinite, his sharing of himself does not reduce his glory, but rather lets it shine forth more respledently.

The Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) announces the great work of salvation, and it also discloses the involvement of two persons: the Redeemer and the Mother of the Redeemer. The Virgin is called to give her free and full consent to conceive this child. She is not merely a passive recipient of the message, but she was given an active role, and heaven awaited her free choice. It is precisely by her free consent to collaborate in God’s saving plan that she becomes the Coredemptrix.

The prophecy of Simeon to Mary, "and a sword will pierce through your own soul also" (Luke 2:25), affirms Mary’s unique participation in the work of redemption, as it warns her that she will undergo an unspeakable pain that will pierce her soul, for the salvation of mankind.

John 19:25 tells us of Jesus’ Mother at the very foot of the cross, persevering with her Son in his worst hour of agony, and therein suffering the death of her Son. Thus in her own suffering too, the Mother of the Redeemer participates in the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ. That is "Marian coredemption," most perfectly embodied in the term "Coredemptrix."

In God’s mysterious and merciful providence, he willed not only that man would be redeemed by the Blood of Christ, but that man would also be given a share in Jesus’ redemptive mission. As our "goodness" does not make God less good, neither does Mary’s share in God’s redemptive plan take away from Jesus’ unique role as Redeemer.

In a 1985 address at the Marian shrine in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Pope John Paul II said:

"Mary goes before us and accompanies us. The silent journey that begins with her Immaculate Conception and passes through the ‘yes’ of Nazareth, which makes her the Mother of God, finds on Calvary a particularly important moment. There also, accepting and assisting at the sacrifice of her son, Mary is the dawn of Redemption....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’ (Lumen Gentium, 58)....In fact, at Calvary she united herself with the sacrifice of her Son that led to the foundation of the Church; her maternal heart shared to the very depths the will of Christ ‘to gather into one all the dispersed children of God’ (Jn. 11:52). Having suffered for the Church, Mary deserved to become the Mother of all the disciples of her Son, the Mother of their unity....In fact, Mary's role as Coredemptrix did not cease with the glorification of her Son" (Inseg VIII/1 (1985) 318-319 [ORE 876:7]).

We call Mary the Coredemptrix because her whole life was a sharing in the redemptive mission of her Son, which reached its climax at the foot of the Cross at Calvary. Truly at Calvary, the Mother of Jesus becomes, through her suffering with the Redeemer, the Mother of all peoples.

Mediatrix in Scripture

Jesus is the sole mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5), but all Christians are called to participate in the one mediation of Jesus Christ. All the baptized participate in Christ’s mediation by our prayers for one another. In our works of charity and evangelization we "mediate" Christ to others. The Blessed Virgin Mary was asked by God to take her part in her divine Son’s mediation in a unique and privileged way, like no other creature.

The title "Mediatrix of all Graces" is appropriate for Mary simply by the fact that she gave Jesus his human nature. In accepting the invitation to be his Mother, she becomes the "God-bearer" and thereby mediates to us Jesus Christ, author of all graces. Therefore, the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) is an event of mediation on the part of Our Lady, as she finds herself "in the middle," that is, between God and us. She, alone, freely chooses whether she will or will not give flesh to the second person of the Trinity.

"Mediatrix of all graces" is also a fitting title for the Blessed Virgin in light of Luke 1:41, where the physical presence of Mary mediates grace to the unborn John the Baptist, by bringing to John the presence of the unborn Redeemer, resulting in the sanctification of the Baptist.

At the Wedding of Cana (cf. John 2:1-11), we again see Mary’s mediation, and, most significantly, we see the effects of her mediation: "This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him" (John 2:11).

As our Lord was dying on the Cross, he gives to his Virgin Mother the new role of Mother of all Christians: "Woman, behold, your son!...Behold, your mother!" (John 19:26). At the Lord’s command the Blessed Virgin becomes Mother of all Christians (and universally, the Mother of all peoples), and therein is called to exercise her supernatural duties as our spiritual Mother. This surely means that she will have the task of nourishing her children, and she does this by mediating the graces of the Redemption from Christ to mankind. Therefore, she is "Mediatrix of all Graces."

Advocate in Scripture

The scriptural use of the term "advocate" literally means "called in to help." Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are "Advocates" with the Father in the plan of human salvation; Jesus redeems us, the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. We say that Mary is Advocate because she always intercedes for us by praying to Jesus Christ her Son on our behalf.

Scripture manifests the Mother of Jesus’ role in God’s plan of salvation as Advocate for the needs of the human family. Mary was our Advocate at the Annunciation, when she agreed to participate, on our behalf, in God’s plan of salvation for the human family (cf. Luke 1:26-38).

Our Lady also manifested her advocacy at the wedding of Cana (cf. Jn. 2:1-11). She intercedes for a specific need of the people at the wedding, and as Advocate she succeeds in obtaining from her Son their needs (cf. Jn. 2:8-10). Referring to this Scripture passage, Pope John Paul II says that Mary is the "spokeswoman of her Son’s will," and "She knows...she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she has the ‘right’ to do so" (cf. Redemptoris Mater, n. 21).

At Pentecost, Mary intercedes "in prayer" as our Advocate for the coming of the Holy Spirit, our divine Advocate (cf. Acts 1:14).

In John 19:26, Mary is given to us as Mother. As Mother of all Christians she again exercises her role as Advocate for God’s people, a role that does not cease after her Assumption into heaven. Vatican II states: "By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home" (Lumen Gentium, n. 62.)






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