Dear Father Angelo,
reading the answer published on November 5, 2017, I could not fully understand the difference between us and Our Lady in terms of collaboration in the redemption.
I understood that Jesus accomplished the Redemption and nothing can be added or taken away from this, however we can collaborate in the Redemption by distributing its infinite treasures to others with our prayers and sacrifices. Without a doubt, this has always been done by Mary too in a supreme way. However, I cannot understand what she did more than us as co-redemptrix if in any case only God could work the redemption. Pius XII said that Jesus died for our salvation without the cooperation of the Church. But Mary is part of the Church.
Then, are we really sure that we, as members of the mystical body, can only distribute the riches of Christ’s redemption and not be we too (in our own small way and infinitely less than her) co-redeemers like Mary?
Excuse me for the somewhat confused way in which I expressed myself, but I want to understand these concepts well.
A hug in the Lord
Answer of the priest
1. I am happy with your question which allows me to clarify the role of Mary in the work of redemption.
In your email you have well summarized our participation in the work of redemption: “We can collaborate in the Redemption by distributing its infinite treasures to others with our prayers and sacrifices”.
In a word, our participation is in the line of the application or distribution of the treasures of the Redemption accomplished by Christ.
Our Lady participated in a unique way in the work of Redemption.
But not only because she distributes the treasures of the Redemption more than anyone else.
2. Here is what John Paul II said in the Marian catechesis of April 9, 1997: “The collaboration of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavour to spread by prayer and sacrifice.
Mary, instead, co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her co-operation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work.
She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity”.
3. And for this reason “the participation of the Saviour’s Mother in humanity’s Redemption is a unique and unrepeatable fact“.
God wanted Christ – the new Adam – to accomplish the Redemption not alone, but with the collaboration of Mary – the New Eve.
4. Of course, Our Lady’s participation in the work of redemption cannot in any way be placed on the same line as the action performed by Christ, who is our only Savior, mediator and redeemer.
The Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium affirms that Mary’s cooperation neither increases nor obscures the mediation of Christ: “There is but one Mediator as we know from the words of the apostle, «for there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a redemption for all» (1 Tm 2:5-6).
The maternal duty of Mary toward men in no wise obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows His power” (LG 60).
5. In itself, the singular participation of Our Lady was not necessary.
But God wanted to do so.
The Council also says: “For all the salvific influence of the Blessed Virgin on men originates, not from some inner necessity, but from the divine pleasure. It flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ” (LG 60).
6. Indeed, the Blessed Virgin was redeemed by Christ, but in such a singular way that she is not only made the distributor of the merits of his Redemption: she had also an active role in it.
She was an active part because “she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Saviour in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace” (LG 61).
7. It was Christ who gave her the possibility to merit in an active way as if she had a right to take the treasures of Christ’s Redemption and distribute them as a mother to each of us.
For this reason, the Council clearly states that Mary’s participation in the Redemption of Jesus “flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on His mediation, depends entirely on it and draws all its power from it. In no way does it impede, but rather does it foster the immediate union of the faithful with Christ” (LG 60).
With a particular title, Our Lady can ask for the graces of the conversion and sanctification of her children.
I heartily thank you for the question you asked me.
I am pleased with you that you have perceived the singular role of the Blessed Virgin, which is not only in the line of distribution, as it is for us, called to be “God’s co-workers” (1 Cor 3: 9), as Saint Paul says.
With the hope that the Blessed Virgin Mary, your mother, will obtain for you a more profound application of the redemption and sanctification of souls accomplished by Christ, I assure you of my prayer and I bless you.
Translated by Chiara P.