Welcome to the Mary Book Website 

 

    Preface (February 11, 1991)

    Acknowledgement

    Introduction Mary Book

   

   Chapter One: Grace and Devotion to Mary

                          Prayer to the Dead

                          Purgatory

                          Indulgences

                          Grace and Tolerance

                          Different Religions

                          Openness to Devotion to Mary

    Chapter Two: Mary, Holy Objects and God

                          Holy Objects and Holy Places

                          Mary and the Saints

                          Arguments Against Devotion to Mary

    Chapter Three: Primary Teachings - Mary the Virgin

                          Virginity

                          Brothers and Sisters of Jesus

                          Sacred Tradition

                          Motherhood of Mary  

                          Free Will and Love of God 

    Chapter Four: Mary and Jesus   

    Chapter Five: Deeper Teachings -

                          Mary the Spouse of the Holy Spirit

                          St. Joseph the Husband of Mary

                          Apparitions

                          The Assumption or Resurrection

                                  of Mary                                    

                          The Immaculate Conception of Mary     

    Chapter Six: Teachings Not Yet Declared Dogmas -

                          Co-Redemptrix

                          Devotions to the Sacred Hearts of

                                 Jesus and Mary

                          The Tribulation and God's Mercy

                          Mediatrix of All Graces                     

                          Mary Our Advocate -

                                A Mediator with our Mediator    

    Chapter Seven: Final Thoughts and Reflections

                          Marian Devotions

                          Mary and the Charismatic Renewal

                          Salvation, Grace and the Baptism

                                 of the Holy Spirit

                          Spiritual Warfare and Mary

                          The Eucharist, Body and Blood

                                 of Jesus Made Present

                          Development of the Teaching on Mary

                                 and Church Unity

                          Hierarchy of Truths in Christian Faith

                          Fullness of Truth and Mary

                          Mary Essential for the New Pentecost

                          Consecration to Mary Individual and

                                 Group Consecrations

                          Litany of Mary's Faith Journey

      My Soul Magnifies the Lord Book (Search or Print)

 

              

© Copyright, J. Roy MacIntyre 2009

 

 

CHAPTER 6
Teachings Not Yet Declared Dogmas
Co-Redemptrix or Co-Redeemer

The teaching of Mary being Co-Redemptrix is not well known by Christians. The teaching has not been declared a dogma of faith as yet, although there is much speculation that the Pope will proclaim the dogma in the near future. Although it has not been defined by the Church as a dogma to be believed by all the faithful, several popes over the last few centuries have made positive references to this teaching. Regardless, of the state of definition of this dogma it too can teach us something about God.

If God so desired He could have converted the whole world with the most stupendous miracles. Yet, He chose to humble Himself to dying on the cross and left the communication of His Truth to a handful of fishermen, a tax collector, a political zealot and some women; common people. The obvious message in this is that God, in His humility, wanted to bring about the redemption of mankind through the instrumentality of His people empowered by the Holy Spirit. In this He gives His people an opportunity to participate in His work and thus share in His glory as co-redeemers with Him.

Let me note that when I speak of the humility of God I refer to His lowering of Himself to become man and offering us a share in His redemptive plan. When I think of our own humility as humans it is a mere recognition of our nothingness before God.

St. Paul suggests we are all called to be co-redeemers with Christ when he says that even our sufferings can be added to what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His Body the Church (Col 1:24). Now we know that there is nothing lacking in the sufferings of Christ; His redemption was once and for all. Yet, in His humility He allows, even demands that we share in His redemptive act by adding our own sufferings and all our good works to His for the sake of our brethren being saved. In this we are co-redeemers with Him. Therefore, with St. Paul we too can boast about our sufferings (Rom 5:3-5) not just because they bring patience, perseverance, and hope but because they give us a share in the salvation of the human race.

Mary's title of Co-Redemptrix or Co-Redeemer can assist in magnifying our understanding of God's humility. God did not have to be conceived in the womb of Mary, be born into a humble family and grow up in obscurity. He could have come mysteriously as a full grown man as was expected by the Jews (Jn 7:27). But in His humility He took the flesh and blood for His redemptive act from the humble virgin, Mary; that is, He asked her for it and she gave it to Him. In so doing He gave Mary a special role in His redemptive act.

Without the body given Jesus by Mary's "yes" He would have no human body to sacrifice for mankind. As noted above not only did Jesus receive the flesh for His redemptive act from Mary by her yes, but He required that that be accomplished through her faith. We see that our redemption is, therefore, dependent on Mary's faith, which gives her an indispensable role in God's plan of redemption. Thus, she has a unique right to the title Co-Redemptrix.

The more I contemplate the faith of Mary in believing that what the Lord had promised would be fulfilled, the more I believe we need to proclaim that faith of hers to the world to the Glory of God. This great faith of Mary can be seen as the ultimate product or outcome of the faith of Abraham.

Let’s consider Abraham’s faith. Abraham was about 100 years old, and, as St. Paul writes in the letter to the Romans, "was as good as dead", when the Lord spoke to him. The Lord said, "Look into the heavens, and number the stars, if you are able to number them, So shall your descendants be" (Gn 15:5). The passage goes on, "and he believed the Lord; and God credited it to him as righteousness" (Gn 15:6). The significance of this faith of Abraham is echoed in the letters of the Romans, Galatians and Hebrews (Rom 4:3, 9, 18, 22, 23; Gal 3:6; & Heb 11:12).

Like Abraham, Mary was also promised something by the Lord. Through the angel He said to her, "You will conceive and bear a Son, He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end" (Lk 1:31-33). Elizabeth confirmed this faith of Mary when she said "blessed are you who believed that the promise made you by the Lord would be fulfilled" (Lk 1:45). Mary has such strong believing faith that Jesus was conceived within her. Through this faith the Lord of history was presented to the world.

Abraham's faith was so great that he accepted God's direction to offer his only son, Isaac, as a burnt sacrifice on the mount at Moriah (Gn 22:2). Think of the anguish Abraham must have experienced having to kill and offer up his only son. After all this was the son of his old age, the son of promise. Imagine, him looking at his son Isaac carrying the wood for his own holocaust. Yet, even in his distress over offering his son, Abraham believed. He did not question how God would have him sacrifice his only son and still have descendants as many as the stars of heaven. And he did not let his anguish over the imminent death of his son stop him from obeying the Word of God. In fact, St. Paul says, "no distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised" (Rm 4:21-22).

Mary, too, believed the promise made of her Son, that He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, would be fulfilled. Mary seems to draw a connection between her believing faith and Abraham's when she says "as He promised Abraham and his descendants forever"(Lk 1:55). Is Mary saying that in her conceiving the Son of God, by faith, she was conceiving all the people of faith who would believe in Jesus? These believers, people of faith, would number more than the stars of the sky. In conceiving Jesus God's promise to Abraham would be fulfilled. If we think about it we will see that the children of Abraham are the offspring of his faith, and finally and completely, of Mary's faith.

When the Lord called out and stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, God restored the life of Isaac to his father, a kind of resurrection from the dead (Heb 11:19). As Abraham predicted by his faith – "The Lord will provide" – he found a ram to offer as a substitute for Isaac. Jesus, on the other hand, would become the Lamb that would be offered in substitution for all those He saved by His blood. Unlike with Abraham, God did desire that Mary witness the full sacrifice of her Son at the mount of Calvary on the wood of the cross who like Isaac carried it to the place of sacrifice.

Mary saw Jesus her son who was on fire with love for the salvation of the human race go through the agony of His passion and death. God gave Isaac back to Abraham and provided a ram for the sacrifice. However, with Mary, God fully accepted the sacrifice of her Son, the Lamb of God, but God gave Him back to her and to the world on the Sunday of the resurrection.

We can be assured that Mary's faith, which was so perfect that she conceived the eternal Word of God in her womb, continued unwavering, after the example of her father Abraham, and grew in strength even in the witnessing of the passion and death of her Son. Every moment of the passion of her Son and every other moment of her life was a continuing expression of her unwavering faith and trust in God and obedience to His will. Surely it is not too great a stretch of mind to see the truth in this. Those who pray sincerely and read the scriptures will find the Spirit confirms this truth about Mary’s faith.

 

The parallel between Mary and Abraham can be extended to God the Father, who used this testing of Abraham's faith (Gn 15) to prophesy His plan to send His only Son into the world to suffer and die for the salvation of mankind. In Mary's case she was witness to and a participant in the Father's actual sacrifice of His Son and the Son's sacrifice of Himself to the Father. The Father sacrificed His Son by sending Him into the world to be crucified. The Son sacrificed Himself by accepting the will of the Father in going to His suffering and death. Since Jesus was Mary's Son too she, with Jesus, offered the Father her Son in sacrifice. In this act of hers, of which words cannot begin to probe its depth, Mary is Co-Redeemer with her Son.

Not only does Mary share in Christ's redemption by her providing the flesh from her flesh but she also shares in a spiritual way as well. In some special way her suffering adds to what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for His Body, the Church. This is evidenced in Luke 2:35 where Simeon, in prophecy, joins Mary's sorrow with Jesus' redemptive mission as causing to lay bare the secrets of the hearts of all people. “Behold this Child is set for the rising and falling of many in Israel and a sign of contradiction and a sword of sorrow will pierce your heart also that the secret thought of many will be laid bare (Luke 2: 34-35).” This prophecy is made about Jesus, "this Child" so the last line is directed to Jesus, "that the secret thoughts of many be laid bare." However, grammatically speaking this final line refers to all that preceded it, and thereby links Mary's sorrow to Jesus' redemptive act that lays bare the secrets of men's hearts.

Not surprisingly, new translations attempt to obscure the connection between Simeon's prophecies about Mary and Jesus. In fact, some translations, such as the New Revised Standard Version and the New International Version, do so by placing the passage of the "sword of sorrow" of Mary after the "secret thoughts of many" passage and thereby make the two messages seem separate. I say "not surprisingly" because everywhere we see a similar erosion of truth, which is the work of Satan even within the Christian Church.

Mary's part in this divine scenario is a mystery that needs to be pondered. How could the suffering of Mary, a humble human being, join with Jesus to cause to lay bare the hearts of men? This question may be answered by considering five points about Mary and her relationship to her Son, Jesus and to God in general.

First, we must consider Mary's faith. I have discussed above how Mary believed, without wavering, the Word of God. In response to Simeon's word, we can conclude she humbly accepted, resolutely believed and firmly obeyed. Mary believed what the prophet said and this believing drew her more fully into the act of redemption. St. Joseph the foster father of Jesus, who was present for this prophecy, did not have such a message directed to him. Obviously, the Holy Spirit knew he would not have this participation with Jesus at the cross because he was not chosen for the kind of role that Mary was chosen.

Mary realized her call to accept the sword of sorrow that would pierce her heart and as with her call to be mother of the Messiah she gave her full consent without hesitation. Mary did not know how her heart would be pierced by sorrow but we can be sure that she said yes to sharing in the redemptive act of her Son. At the annunciation, she said yes, and at the presentation in the temple Mary also said yes, but in her heart. Eventually when the prophecy was fulfilled and Pilate presented Jesus to the mob, Mary said yes to God, and when her Son was crucified and pierced with a lance, Mary continued her yes to God. On hearing the words of Simeon, Mary accepted the role of Co-Redemptrix, which means she gave her consent to God's using her to open the hearts of the many who will respond.

Imagine the heart of Mary as the prophecy of Simeon, "Behold this Child," was being fulfilled in the passion of Jesus. The words of Pontius Pilate, as he presented Jesus to the crowd, scourged and crowned with thorns, would surely have reminded Mary of her call to experience sorrow. Simeon said, "Behold this Child," Pilate said, "Behold the Man" (Jn19:6). Mary’s experience helps to lay bare that hearts of all humanity as they see the tragic yet glorious role she was chosen for.

Secondly, the suffering of Mary has to be pondered in terms of its redemptive efficacy. It seems obvious to me that Mary's suffering in witnessing the death of her Divine Son must have been the greatest suffering a mother could experience. When I reflect on the suffering I have witnessed in my own children, I think that the pain of watching is greater in some way than physical suffering. For example, early in our marriage I went to the beach with my wife, Lilian, daughter, Mary and son, Francis. Francis was about seven months old. After spending the day at the beach we got on a bus and travelled 600 miles to visit my sister. Francis cried the whole way and we could not seem to relieve his pain. However, only when we arrived at our destination did we discover that he had had a severe sunburn on his back.

Every time I think of this incident of my son's sunburn, my daughter’s broken arm or other such incidents with our children I wince and feel emotional pain. I also have had the experience of counselling women who had lost children and I do believe it to be the worse pain a person can face. These thoughts help give me insight into what it might be like for Mary watching her Son, whom she knew was the Son of God, being crucified. How painful for her, seeing Him there, impaled on the cross, the weight of His body cutting off His airways, requiring Him to pull himself up by the nails in His hands and feet for every breath. This agony of love she watched and participated in for what must have seemed like an endless three hours. Her suffering culminated with Jesus' precious body being pierced by a lance.

I also realize that Mary was never very far in thought from the suffering and death of her Son, Jesus. As she pondered in her heart the early events of the mission of Jesus (Lk 2:19, 2:51) so too did she remember and meditate on the whole mission of her Son. She is the likely source of information about the early life of Jesus for the Evangelists. So, for the rest of her life, after the death of Jesus, she continued to repeat this sacrificial offering of Calvary to the Father from the altar of her heart. This is another reason why Mary is so close to priests who offer the continued sacrifice of Calvary to the Father in the Mass.

A horrific experience of the suffering of a mother that can be compared to Mary's suffering appears in the second book of Maccabees, chapters six and seven. Here a mother sees each of her seven sons brutally murdered before her eyes. Although each son died heroically for his faith, and the mother approved of them sacrificing themselves for God, one can taste the inner suffering this poor widow experienced as she watched each die.

When we really love someone our love for the person would impel us to desire to suffer in place of the one we loved. Failing that, we would want at least to join in solidarity with his or her suffering. In fact, physical pain can almost be a relief from the pain of watching.

Some have written that Mary was so deeply and intimately united to her divine Son, this Flesh of her flesh, that she also experienced his physical pain. We can see this represented in the sword, which pierced the heart of Jesus where blood and water poured out. Jesus was already dead at this point but Mary experienced the piercing by witnessing it and I believe physically in fulfilment of Simeon’s prophecy. I think, as a mother in anguish over the suffering of her Son she wanted to experience His pain. I think it perfectly logical and reasonable that she was given the grace from God to fully join her Son in his suffering. This sharing, invisibly, in the physical suffering of Christ, I believe, was a consolation to her.

So Mary suffered the experience of the death of her Son and continually offered her suffering and that of her Son to the Father on the altar of her heart throughout her mortal life. There is a hidden or mysterious benefit of Mary's redemptive suffering known only to God as she offers it daily to Him for His glory. However, her suffering can in itself help to open the hearts of sinners to the grace of repentance if they would only ponder it. Pondering Mary's suffering is one of the things we do as we pray the Rosary. That is one reason why the Rosary is such a powerful instrument to affect conversions. Mary’s suffering with Jesus at the cross and through her life is another reason she is CoRedemptrix with her Son, the Redeemer. Mary’s suffering with the suffering of her divine Son, Jesus helps human beings realize what their sin has caused and in so doing their hearts are laid bare.

Thirdly, we must consider the mystery of how the hearts of Jesus and Mary can penetrate the depths of God in order to appreciate how Mary's suffering is a part of the appeasing sacrifice of Jesus to the Father.

Mary's suffering can give us some insight into the event of the Father and the Spirit, witnessing the death of the Only-begotten Son of God. God, in His Godhead, is perfect and self-fulfilled and unable to experience suffering since that would imply some lack, and there can be nothing lacking in the Holy Trinity. Yes, in the Godhead is the fullness of love, of justice, of mercy, of knowledge and all the divine attributes, but not suffering. The Holy Trinity knows the suffering of Christ but does not experience it. Therefore, I would say, the only suffering God experiences is in the heart of Jesus wherein the Father dwells in His fullness and in the heart of Mary wherein the Holy Spirit dwells.

Jesus in His manhood is fully one Person with His Godhead. His manhood, which is often represented by His Sacred Heart, penetrates the absolute depth of the Trinity. The Sacred Heart of Jesus brings the suffering of the God-man to the depths of the Godhead since the Trinity can penetrate the depth of Jesus' heart even as He suffers. What a marvellous mystery. Mary too can play a role in this mystery since she is without sin, pure and immaculate.

Nothing flawed and certainly nothing sinful can enter into the presence of God. Imperfection would only be destroyed in the radiant presence of God as a fleck of charcoal dust would be in a furnace of molten metal. However, since there is no imperfection in Mary as a result of her immaculate conception, she is free to penetrate to the centre of God, bringing with her her sorrow. However as she enters spiritually into the depths of God her sorrow gives way to joy and awe and ultimately ecstasy. This mystery of Mary spiritually penetrating the depths of God does not mean to imply that she experienced the beatific vision. This for her and for all the people of God is reserved for eternity. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit so united to her in her suffering would seem to bring this suffering unimpeded into bosom of God.

So, because of her immaculate purity, innocence and the great gifts God gave to Mary her sorrow and suffering is beyond any other human’s suffering. By means of these gifts she was able to be truly one with Jesus in his suffering since she bares the same purity and innocence as He does and is able to bring her perfect offering to the depths of the Godhead. This means that the heart of Mary, although fully human and infinitely beneath the Godhead – is like the Heart of Jesus in its utter purity and thereby can allow the fullness of God in all His glory to dwell within her and she within Him.

All this by no means suggests that Mary's finite human heart can contain God. Mary is nothing compared to God but her purity of heart is such that, although she is infinitely smaller than God, there is nothing within her heart that could impede God's presence. He is free to enter Mary's soul, as no other soul, leaving only good effects there and bringing out of it the redemptive satisfaction for sin in what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for His Church.

Now, every human being who is perfected by the Blood of the Lamb will eventually enter into the presence of God, the Beatific Vision. However, that perfection will only be achieved at the very moment of one's entrance into the presence of God. Sorrow and suffering will have, forever, passed away by then. So the sufferings and good works of every human being can also add to what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for his body the Church but to a considerable lesser degree than does Mary’s. The reason is that each and every person other than Jesus and Mary is flawed, sinful and lacking in the purity and innocence of Jesus and Mary. Therefore each other person’s offering is imperfect.

Only within the hearts of Jesus and Mary is sorrow and suffering able to be fully touched by the Holy Trinity, since each heart can be fully entered by God while each heart is experiencing suffering on Earth. It is through these two hearts that the sacrifice of Jesus' death thus enters the eternal Godhead. This redemptive act of Jesus takes place once and for all and brings salvation to the human race.

This act of Jesus' sacrifice encompasses all the sacrifices offered to God by human beings and gives them power and meaning. This is because Jesus is able to take and purify our sacrifices, and then bring them into God's presence. He then, in turn, with Mary, produces grace for the members of His Mystical Body

The hearts of Jesus and Mary bring the suffering of the Messiah to the core of the Godhead and there produce the fruits of His redemption. These two hearts are thus an unlimited and continuous source of grace, bringing mercy from the depths of God to the most abject of human conditions. This glimpse of God's awe-inspiring plan of redemption contains within it an unlimited opportunity for contemplation. God grant that we may be still and know that You are God (Ps 46:10 RSV) as we contemplate this mystery.

I wish to make another important point about how the heart of Mary magnifies the Lord. The meditation just presented on the hearts of Jesus and Mary compares and contrasts the most perfect human being, Mary with the God-man, Jesus with all other humans. In these thoughts we begin to see how infinitely above man is God. It helps us to realize the fear and awe with which we should rightly regard Almighty God. Although Jesus has chosen to become flesh and become our brother He is much more than a friend or brother. He is the Eternal Word of Almighty God; the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

If we maintain the perspective of Jesus being a common friend we can be making God our pal and thereby fail to give the sublime reverence due to His Person. This is so contrary to the Judeo-Christian tradition, which holds that God's holiness is absolute and above all. In the Old Testament times the Name of God, YHWH, could not even be uttered. Nevertheless, when we meditate on the glorious Virgin Mary, the most perfect human being with her perfection in purity and innocence, who at the same time is nothing before God, we can begin to see the infinitely, awesome, other-ness of Almighty God. Isn’t it interesting that meditating on Mary’s holiness and lowliness we can get a sense of God's awesomeness Who is infinitely about her. At the same time, as noted above, she opens our eyes to the infinitely greater kindness and gentleness of our loving God.

God is infinitely above us yet he comes close to us. He makes Himself available to us spiritually in the Person of Jesus, in the Eucharist, and in and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. One reason for God initiating devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was to remind us that Jesus is close to us, is personally interested in us and is merciful and loving. Intuitively we understand this in thinking about Mary. Secondly, God responded to our human need for a spiritual mother by giving us Mary. In this He again shows His gentleness and His closeness to our deep human and spiritual needs.

When Jesus calls us His friends (Jn 15:14) He gives us permission to call Him friend as well. He is also called our Brother (Mk 3:35) while He instructs us to call God our Father (Mt 6:9). As we contemplate, with joy, the awesome privilege to have Mary, the mother of Jesus, as our mother (Jn 19:27), we can begin to see the even greater privilege it is to address God as Father and Jesus as Friend or Brother.

We would certainly lose a great gift if we allowed our reference to God as Father, Friend and Brother to become mundane or matter-of-fact. Such behaviour would certainly be an offence to the majesty of God. So let us use our love and reverence of Mary as a footstool to raise us up in showing the love, awe, respect and reverence that is due to our Infinite God. At the same time let us be grateful for His condescension to draw near to us and touch us with His Presence.

Mary and Jesus by their innocence, purity, compassion and love for all humanity are able to bring their redemptive suffering into the depth of the Holy Trinity. The teamwork we saw at the wedding feast of Cana continues more profoundly in the work of the redemption of the human race. In this Mary is CoRedemptix with her Son the Redeemer and together they shine a light on all humanity to discern the flaws within the hearts of every other human being.

Now let us consider the Fourth way Mary helps to lay bare the hearts of the many. The mystery of the union of the hearts of Jesus and Mary adds to the depth of the redemptive suffering of Jesus. When Jesus experienced His passion, His own suffering was magnified as He saw His mother share in His agony. Mary’s suffering, too, was magnified as she saw her Son in such physical and emotional torment looking upon her.

This exchange of suffering between Jesus and Mary can be compared to the images that appear in two facing mirrors, which seem to form an infinity of images within images. Jesus and Mary each is an emotional mirror of the other's pain that causes an infinity of ever deepening impact for each. In this deeply human interchange between Jesus and Mary the fruits of redemption are produced. The Father and the Holy Spirit experience the sacrifice of Jesus and Mary as they fulfil the will of the Father. There is a profound call here to ponder this event so that we may gain a fuller appreciation of the implications of what transpired between these two hearts at Calvary.

I can recognize in Mary's suffering over the agony of Jesus a hidden proof of her need to be without sin. She surely would not have been able to bear her Son's suffering and death if she too was the cause of His suffering by having committed sin. Mary was immaculately conceived because the Word of God required an undefiled house, the Holy Spirit required an immaculate spouse and Jesus needed to be guided by a sinless mother. However, God in His wisdom and mercy also granted that the mother of His Son be preserved free of sin so as not to add to her own suffering by means of her sin adding to the suffering of Jesus. This is a further witness of Mary's bringing into focus the compassion of Almighty God. Once again Mary reveals something of the mercy of God and thus magnifies the Lord for us.

I should point out that Mary was unable to sin as a result of her being the Immaculate Conception. According to the writings of some mystics, God kept this fact hidden from Mary. Therefore, Mary was not aware of the fact that she was unable to sin. She experienced temptation as does everyone else and as Jesus, Himself did. One notable temptation of Mary was reported to have been to doubt after the crucifixion, on that first Holy Saturday. Mary suffered this temptation but did not sin.

So, when Jesus sees his mother watching him suffer his suffering is increased by knowing how painful it is for her. Mary too in watching Jesus suffer on the cross feels pain because she knows that he suffers seeing her suffer in watching. This interaction of love between Jesus and Mary helps to join Mary with Jesus in His Redemptive act and helps open up human hearts to the love of God and the recognition of the effects of their sin.

Finally, let us consider the fifth point on how Mary's suffering helps to lay bare the secret thoughts of many. When Jesus was dead it was Mary who experienced the piercing of her Son Jesus' side by a lance from which came forth blood and water (Jn 19:34); the symbols of the Eucharist and Baptism. In the death of her Son she witnessed the birth of the life of the Church. The blood and water remind us of birth since water and blood come forth when a baby is being born. This helps us see that the saving death of Jesus brings forth the life of the Church, to which Mary is a witness.

This same Mary, who interceded for the wedding party at Cana where she gave Jesus to His bride, the Church, at His death continued her intercession as she witnessed the birth of the life of the Church through the wound in Her Son’s side. Mary fully participated in Jesus' redemption, at Calvary, and continued her role as intercessor as she prayed for all her sons and daughters given her by Jesus. She took to heart Jesus’ call, "Women behold your son," (Jn 19:26). Mary participated fully by her prayer, suffering and witness of her Son's act so, "that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare (Lk 2:35)."

I believe there is a spiritual secret here. "The secret thoughts" are either pride or humility. A reference to pride we find in Mary's song of praise and prophecy, the Magnificat; "He has scattered the proud in the conceit (secret thoughts) of their hearts (Lk 1:51)" and ",has put down the mighty (in their own eyes) from their thrones". A reference to humility can also be found in the Magnificat, "He has regarded the humility (a different kind of secret thought) of His handmaiden, (Lk 1:48)" and ",has exalted the humble (Lk 1:52)". The many that are rising are like Mary, humble. The many that are falling are like Satan, proud.

God raised the humble Virgin to be mother of God while He cast down the proud Satan like lightning (Lk 10:18) into the depths of Hell. It is these secret thoughts that will be laid bare by the acceptance of God's redemption. This is true not only through acceptance of Jesus as saviour but also in accepting Mary's role in His redemptive act. In other words, accepting or rejecting Mary, is a refinement of how fully we accept Jesus and reveals our secret thoughts or the level of our humility.

Let me give an example of how accepting of Mary can reveal secret thoughts. I have often heard people say, "I go direct to Jesus," and therefore, presumably, do not need Mary or the Saints. However, this should also mean by the same premise rejecting the prayerful assistance of their brethren. Nevertheless, I think that any Christian in serious need would usually make an exception about going directly to Jesus and ask for prayer from others. I believe it takes humility to ask others to pray for our needs. So when we ask a friend living here or one in heaven with the Lord it takes humility. Going to Mary for her intercession is a sign of humility and since it is something God wants us to do her intercession is a greater resource for getting our needs met.

So, can a statement like "I go direct to Jesus" be anything other than pride. Think of St. John the Baptist who said he was not worthy to undo the strap of Jesus' sandal (Lk 3:16), or St. Peter who said, "Depart from me Lord I am an evil man (Lk 5:8)." Now, as stated earlier, I am not suggesting that we not approach God directly but that making use of advocates, especially Mary, is a sign of humility.

One final point, I have also heard some people say of Mary, “she is only an ordinary woman”. The implication is that Mary is nothing special. If Mary is the mother of my Lord – she is something special. To fail to recognise the awesomeness of being the mother of God is not only prideful but it necessarily demeans Jesus who is as noted the almighty Word of God and his mother is necessarily something special. Therefore, by exalting Mary one shows humility and honours God. On the other hand, by reducing Mary to just another woman as the people of Jesus’ own home town did they are trying to diminish the person of Jesus. This is what the people of Nazareth were doing in Matthew (13: 55-57) by making his mother and relatives seem insignificant they were justifying their refusal to accept Who He was. We can see clearly that this behaviour comes from a place of pride. They even wanted to kill him (LK 4:29).

These simple examples do not really plumb the depths of the mystery related to Mary that separates the humble from the proud but it gives a hint of it. It also illustrates how Mary is joined to Jesus in His act of redemption that maker her CoRedemptrix. For those who have ears to hear let them hear.