Mary Is Co-Redemptrix
In the traditional Latin Mass calendar, there are actually two days, two upon which the Latin church prayerfully meditates upon the sorrows of the blessed mother of God, namely the Friday before Good Friday. And of course the great feast of Our Lady of sorrows on September 15th. The feast of holy church, not only focus in on persons, but also upon mysteries. Mysteries of our holy faith. Mysteries, such as the mysteries of the Annunciation, the Transfiguration, the Immaculate conception, the Ascension, and many, many, many others. Therefore Mary sorrows is the feast of the sorrows of the Blessed Mother. Mary sorrows, her sufferings, are a mystery. A mystery that accomplished something in union with Christ. In short, Mary's purest tears, united with the most precious blood of Jesus. Her compassion, united with His passion and death. Her Immaculate heart being pierced with a sword combined with His Sacred Heart being pierced with a lance. Her standing at the foot of the cross, united with His hanging upon the wooden cross. And yes, her Co Redemption, united with His act of redemption.
Some people don't want to give Our Lady that recognition, that title of Redemptrix or Co-Redemptrix of the human race. She is obviously given the title Co-Redemptrix, certainly in a subjective or individual sense. Let me explain. She is the instrument of the Holy Ghost, in distributing the fruits of the redemption, won by Christ, to individual human souls. Just look at the Miraculous Medal with its image of Our Lady, standing at top of the world, with rays of Christ grace, issuing forth from the rings on her fingers.
Every fruit of the redemption won by Christ, every grace from on high comes through our lady.
In fact, all of us are co redeemers in some way, when we bring our children to be baptized, or we help a soul convert to the true faith, or when we give instruction to a soul in error. We can call down and apply the fruits of the redemption through our prayers and sacrifices. I mean, there is a reason why there's mass offered every day outside of Good Friday, because we're trying to call down the fruits of the redemption to souls in need. We're bringing about Christ's saving work to souls.
But Our Lady's role cannot just be limited to this subjective notion of redemption. She just doesn't distribute the fruits of the redemption won by her Son. She's not just a treasurer who passes out the gold of Jesus. No, she is also by God's will an instrument in the very work of redemption itself...objectively speaking. In other words, no, Mary, no salvation. no Mary, no heaven, (Though her role in the work of salvation is secondary and finite, limited.) She's just a creature. And though her role is utterly dependent upon Christ, Our Lady is truly part of the actual work of salvation itself. Certainly she provided our Lord with the very body that hung upon the cross and the very blood of the lamb that was shed through His sacred veins. There from her, therefore she provides the material, the stuff of our redemption are we not saved by the blood of Christ? That's what we say, but where did He get the blood from? The very material of our redemption is from her. Our Lady is not just a womb, She's not just a vessel.
She's not just an incubator who somehow took care of our Lord for nine months, then let Him go.
Our lady is not just limited to providing stuff for our redemption. She's also called upon to freely consent to the passion of Christ, as she freely consented to the angel Gabriel at the moment of the Enunciation. When God the Father asked her to give back that body and blood, give back His Son to Him in sacrifice. Because 33 years before, she had been given Him by the Father. Because hers was a lifelong Fiat, "let it be done to me according to thy word". Lifelong Fiat, every moment for her was a Fiat. Many saints tell us, for example, St. John Eudes, especially, that Christ went first to His blessed mother, seeking her consent for the work He was to accomplish on Good Friday. According to St. Eudes, Jesus went to her before He went to Calvary. And remember that Mary stood at the foot of the cross. She stood at the foot of the cross, freely giving back to the Father the one He gave her 33 years before. She stood in agreement with the Father's will.
Now most people balk at the term Co-Redemptrix because they fail to understand that prefix "Co". Mary is not like a co-pilot who could somehow fly the plane, if the main pilot wasn't there in the cockpit. No in Latin, the word Co means "with". The significance of Mary sorrows are only effective when united WITH Christ's passion and death.
Look at this way, was the old Eve a part of the fall of man? Was she somehow a participant in the original sin? Was she a Co-Peccatrix, a Co-Sinner? Of course she was, although it was Adam's sin that caused the fall, it's Adam's sin. Eve was a Co-Sinner, a Co-Peccatrix. She was not a good helpmate. This makes Eve truly a part of the original sin... Objectively speaking. And if this is true, which it is, then the new Eve, Mary, was a helpmate to the new Adam, Christ in the work of redemption. Because if a woman was part of the fall of man, it's only proper that a woman be part of the rise and redemption of man. And this is the teaching of the Church over and over again,
Pope Leo the 13th, for example, stated Mary was associated with Jesus in the painful work of redemption of mankind. She who had been the cooperative in the mystery of man's redemption, would likewise be the cooperative and the dispensation of the graces deriving from it. She is a co-operater in the work of redemption. Pope Benedict The 15th, of holy memory, confirms this teaching in one of His encyclicals stating, quote, "She renounced her mother's rights for the salvation of mankind and, as far as it depended on her, offered her Son to placate divine justice; so we may say that with Christ she redeemed mankind." Pope Pius the 12th once taught. quote, "Mary cooperated in our redemption in such a way that our salvation flowed from the love of Christ and His sufferings intimately joined with the love and sorrows of His mother", unquote. Repeated one after another, teachings of the Pope. The first Papal usage of the term Co-Redemptrix occurs in a speech given by Pope Pius the 11th. He says the following, "From the nature of His work, the Redeemer ought to have associated His mother with His work, new Adam and a new Eve, just like the old Adam, the old Eve. For this reason we invoke her under the title Co-Redemptrix," (that's a Papal "we" for Catholics.) We also invoke her as Co-Redemptrix". He continues, "She gave us the Savior. She accompanied Him in the work of redemption. And as far as the cross itself, she went to Calvary with Him every step of the way. Sharing with him, the sorrows of the agony and of the death in which Jesus consummated the redemption of mankind.", unquote. On May 23rd, 1934, same Pope, at a Lenten commemoration of Our Lady of Sorrows, the Friday before Good Friday Pope Pius the 11th received two groups of pilgrims. And he said the following to them, quote, "Not only the 19th centenary of the divine redemption, but also the 19th centenary of Mary, the centenary of her co redemption, of her universal maternity." unqoute. So not only celebrating the sort of the 19th centenary, 1900 years before their redemption of Christ, but also 1900 years before the co-redemption of our lady. He continued, Pius the 11th. same Pope, addressing himself, especially to the young people, saying that they must... Quote, "Follow the way of thinking, and the desire of Mary most holy, who is our mother and our Co-Redemptrix, they too must make a great effort to be co redeemers and apostles. We can all be co-redeemers. A priest is a co redeemer, granting Christs fruits of His redemption, giving absolution for people in mortal sin especially, are we not part of the redemptive work of Christ itself?" Pius the 11th continues, "They too, (speaking to young people) must make a great effort to be co redeemers and apostles, according to the spirit of the Catholic action, which is precisely the co-operation of the laity in the hierarchical apostulate of the Church." unquote.
During the middle ages, Mary began to be referred to as Redemptrix. She was called that Mediatrix, Redemptrix.
In the 10th century a French hymnal included these words addressed to Mary, quote, " Holy Redemptrix of the world, pray for us." Part of a litany..."Holy Redemptrix of the world, pray for us.
The term Redemptrix was understood in subordination to Christ. It's always under Him and with him, never separate from him.
The Redeemer is always the one, only with Him is our redemption or our participation in it effective. By the 14th century, however, the prefix, "Co", from the Latin word, "with", was added to make it more clear in regards to her subordinate role. Redemptrix wasn't clear enough in the mind of the Church. We had to say Co-Redemptrix so that we would be more specific that she's only effective when a union with Christ. From the mid 17 hundreds to the mid 19 hundreds, the Catholic magesterium began to provide increasing support for Marion co redemption and remediation of all graces. In 1913 the Holy Office approved a prayer invoking Mary as our Co-Redemptrix. Pius the XI publicly referred to Mary's Co-Redemptrix on three separate occasions.
We need also to consider all the saints, who referred to Mary, as Co-Redemptrix, including St. Francis Cabrini, St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, as well as Maximilian Kolbei and Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. In fact Saint John Eudes says in the book The Priest, His Dignity and Obligation, “All the Fathers of the Church say clearly that She (Mary) is co-redemptrix with Christ in the work or our salvation” It's part of Catholic language. This should sound right to us. If we have Catholic ears and a Catholic mind and Catholic faith.
And so the church proclaims the saving power of the crucifixion and of the most precious blood of Christ. But know that the sorrows and tears of our lady, when, and only when in union with Christ are also part of the mystery of our redemption.