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Mary, Co-Redemptrix

April 4, 2009

images1Yesterday I sang a High Mass of the Feast of the Compassion of Mary, set in the Missal for the Friday after Passion Sunday. Our thoughts are directed to Our Lady standing at the foot of the Cross, watching her Son suffer and die. And, as old Simeon had prophesied thirty-odd years before, a sword of pain pierced Mary’s own heart also. 

During the singing of the Stabat Mater – “At the Cross her station keeping stood the Virgin Mother weeping” – my mind wandered to the word Compassion in the feast’s title. And it struck me that as Mary suffered with her Son, she shared his Passion. And that Passion which she shared was for the salvation (the healing) of the world; so Mary shared in that healing. And that Passion redeemed the world (bought it back from slavery to sin), so Mary shared in that redemptive work. So why all the fuss about calling her Co-Redemptrix?

St Paul talks about “synergontes” fellow workers in preaching the Gospel. And he says he is a fellow worker with Christ. So was Mary – and so is Mary. And (miracle of miracles) so are we. And then my mind drifted back to the Feast and I realized that we are also, like Mary, co-redeemers if we offer our sufferings with Christ in the Sacrifice of the Mass and then go and work with Christ and his Blessed Mother in living the Gospel by loving our neighbours. That, I am sure, is what St Paul meant when he said he was making up in his own body what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ. What a privilege, to be allowed to share in Christ’s offering!

So you see I preached myself a mini sermon during the Stabat Mater.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephen permalink
    April 5, 2009 6:54 am

    I agree, Reverend Father, Our Blessed Mother is truly the Co-Redemptorix of the human race, and that does not reduce her Divine Son’s glory an iota! Just as a co-pilot’s legitimate and necessary role takes nothing away from the pivotal role of the pilot. God Bless You and everyone at St Clement’s as another wonderful Easter Sunday heads our way!

  2. April 6, 2009 1:16 pm

    God bless you for your post!

    Because Our Lady is the Immaculata, there is no greater martyrdom in the history of the followers of Jesus than her own. “It was on Calvary that Mary’s suffering, beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view …” (Pope John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris, n. 25). Her Immaculate Conception meant that she had all the original innocence of Adam and Eve before the fall. Suffering is the result of sin. Yet there she stands in all her innocence engulfed in suffering.

    It would seem that Mary has incurred injustice. How could it be justice that the effects of sin fall upon a sinless creature who is altogether undeserving of the consequences? The position is altogether unthinkable that God in His goodness could grant infinite merit to the sufferings of His divine Son, unblemished by the stain of sin, and withhold merit altogether in the face of the sufferings of the unblemished mother, the Co-redemptrix.

    The reality of Mary’s suffering—though altogether undeserving of pain and sorrow because of her immaculate human nature—means one thing and one thing only: Her sufferings are gift, meritorious in the one Merit of her Son, redemptive in the one Redemption of her Son. Her suffering is love and it is Love that gives her the gift of suffering with her Son.

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