More Frequently Asked Questions
Do we find support for
the proposed Dogma of Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix of all Graces
and Advocate in Scripture?
The salvation of humanity was accomplished
by Gods 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 Gods
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 Gods 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 Redeemers 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 Sons 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 Gods
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 Marys 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 Gods 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 Marys share in Gods 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
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 Christs 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 Sons 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 Marys 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 Lords 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 Sons 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,
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 Gods 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.)