St. John the Beloved Disciple: Contemplation and Our Mother Coredemptrix

With the grace of conversion, illumination and purification, the Holy Spirit with His Immaculate Spouse, Mary, prepares and perfects the soul so that it may receive the gift of contemplation. Fr. Severino Ragazzini concisely sums up the Church’s tradition on this more perfect form of prayer when he writes: “Contemplation, as intended by mystical theology, is an intimate communion and experience of God by a soul through its faculties which have been refined by active and passive purification and which are elevated by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” (1) Here is prayer in its most pure form: union. As with the soul’s purification, so also with contemplation there is the active and passive elements; these are traditionally distinguished by the terms acquired and infused contemplation.

By acquired contemplation is intended that prayer of intimate communion with God which the soul attains by cooperating generously with the Holy Spirit. All souls are created to contemplate God and to experience profound union with Him; however, few are the souls who generously persevere when “tribulation and persecution” arise and “the care of this world” presses against them (cf. Mt 13). The soul that does not stand strong in what the Church calls the “battle of prayer” (2) will certainly never arrive at the heights. Only those who heroically fight “the good fight of faith” (II Tim. 3:7) will interiorly experience the fullness of the fruits of the universal Redemption wrought by Christ and His Mother. Practically speaking, if a soul urged by divine grace gives priority to daily prayer and seeks the face of God by holy desires and the practice of the theological virtues, he will undoubtedly reach the heights of acquired contemplation. In this form of recollected union with God the will is united to Divine Love in a simple gaze of adoration while the intellect and memory may, at times, continue to be active.

More perfect still is the prayer of infused contemplation. Here the soul is entirely taken up into God and its three faculties (the memory, intellect, and will) are suspended. The union is entirely gratuitous and is effected by God Himself through the maternal mediation of Mary. Ven. Michael of St. Augustine lucidly describes the Marian mode of contemplation when he says: “The intellect, the will and the memory remain fixed in Mary, and at the same time in God, with such calm, simplicity and intimacy that only at great pains is the soul able to discern how these operations are taking place within it.” (3) Here, as St. Maximilian Kolbe points out, “she penetrates our soul and sovereignly directs its faculties.” (4) She leads the soul into an ever more profound communion of life and love with God.

This truth of Mary’s active and indispensable role in fusing the soul with God is not only theologically accurate, (5) she being the Mediatrix and Mother in the order of grace, (6) but also is born out in the experience of the Saints. St. Charles of Sezze relates that, “In order to give me greater grace, Our Lord introduced me to another, more interior form of prayer… and in willing to give me this gift, He willed that it come to me by means of the most Holy Virgin.” (7) The grace of interior prayer is a grace mediated by the Immaculate Heart of Mary and it comes to us through her precisely because God has willed it so. Here we can see how important the doctrine of Mary’s universal mediation is even for the spiritual life and hence the urgency to solemnly define it. It is a dogma that will fix the Church’s gaze upon the Immaculate Heart of Mary which is our sure refuge and the secure way that leads us to God.

All this is confirmed anew by the grace of infused contemplation received by St. Veronica Giuliani. All of her mystical experiences, in fact, are characterized by the inseparability of Jesus and Mary, or what has been termed the Alliance of the Two Hearts. (8) The Saint writes:

Jesus and Mary Most Holy willed to begin to grace this soul as if up to now it had had nothing at all… The three faculties then, that is the memory, the intellect and the will are all placed in God in such a way that the memory must… rest always in God; the intellect must scrutinize above the Essence of God;… and the will… must be as such dependent upon the will of God… (9)

We see here that the importance of the doctrine of the joint predestination of Our Lord and Our Lady not only pertains to the theologian (theology in the proper mode), but also, and above all, to the contemplative (theology in the mystical or contemplative mode). (10)

And where is it that “the Mariologist passes into the mystic and learning is put fully at the service of devotion” if not in Marian Coredemption? (11) A loving, silent gaze at the Mother of Sorrows will infallibly draw the soul to contemplate Love Crucified, and Love Crucified will draw the soul to Himself by means of the Mother Coredemptrix.

On Calvary there stood, in company with the Coredemptrix, one who ever called himself the beloved disciple: namely St. John the Evangelist. He is a type of every contemplative soul that knows itself to be infinitely loved by the Savior, who leans “on Jesus’ bosom” (Jn 13:23) and lives to adore the Most Sacred Heart pierced by the lance (cf. Jn 19:34-37).

The Evangelist narrates that while he stood on Calvary alongside the afflicted Mother he received the ultimate gift of the Crucified Lord. “When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His Mother, ‘Woman, behold thy son.’ After that, He saith to the disciple, ‘Behold thy Mother.’ And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own” (Jn 19:25-27). The Blessed Virgin, although already the Mother of Christ and of all those to be incorporated into His Mystical Body by virtue of her divine Maternity, is now proclaimed and given as spiritual Mother to the beloved disciple in the most intense moments of the Sacred Passion. The beloved disciple represents every soul loved by Christ; Pope John Paul II, in fact, teaches that “in filially entrusting himself to Mary, the Christian, like the Apostle John, welcomes the Mother of Christ ‘into his own home‘ and introduces her into the entire space of his interior life.” (12)

This being the case for every Christian, it holds especially true for the contemplative soul that allows itself to be bound to the Crucified Redeemer in union with the Mother Coredemptrix. These chosen souls receive the Sorrowful Mother into their interior lives with a fuller experience of her spiritual Maternity. Such was the case for St. Gemma Galgani. Indeed Jesus personally told her: “‘Daughter, in addition to the grace that I gave you this morning there will follow much greater graces: I shall always be with you; I shall be as a father to you; and your Mother shall be…’ and he pointed to Mary Most Holy, Our Lady of Sorrows.” (13) Motherhood and Coredemption: these two mysteries unite in the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary on Calvary and form the supreme and ultimate gift of the Savior to the Church and to every soul in particular. Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli indicates that,

The Coredemption marks the culminating point of Mary’s motherly love, and the Immaculate Heart is the precious treasure chest of coredemptive love which makes her own the agonies of the Cross in order to regenerate the sons of Adam in a strict and indissoluble union with the Crucified Redeemer. (14)

It is through the maternal and coredemptive Heart that the Divine Jesus wills to unite souls with His Most Sacred Heart.

Once again the experiences of St. Charles and those of St. Veronica demonstrate this sublime truth. St. Charles, describing a moment of infused contemplation, says:

In this prayer I felt an extraordinary relief which flooded my soul with a sweet tranquility of spirit—being spiritually very transformed in ineffable conversation with Mary—and, in that abyss of motherly affection, I experienced a satisfaction so incredible that I seemed to desire nothing else but to be united to the divine will and conformed to His holy desires. (15)

St. Charles, like the beloved disciple, had taken the Mother Coredemptrix “into his own home” and was “transformed in ineffable conversation with Mary.” “In that abyss of motherly affection” he experienced the desire to be completely united and conformed to the Father’s will. We can therefore comprehend that the infused union of wills, that is of the human with the divine, is a work of the Holy Spirit accomplished in the abyss of Mary’s maternal and coredemptive Heart. (16)

A salient fact that cannot be emphasized enough is that all these contemplative graces are merited and distributed by Our Lady as maternal Mediatrix, and in a particular way at the consummation of that mediation on Calvary where her mediation is precisely coredemptive. (17) The specific work of our Mother Coredemptrix is to bring the hearts of her children to be intimately bound to her most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart and that of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Crucified so that there, in the union of Their Sacred Hearts, souls might be utterly absorbed in God. This, indeed, was the case with St. Veronica. She informs us that

… The most Holy Virgin accepted me as her daughter and it seemed that she offered herself and her Heart to God for me… This brought to my soul the greatest happiness because I knew that God was, in that instant and in an entirely unique manner, taking possession of my heart, my soul, and my entire self… While I felt my heart to be bound… to that of Jesus Crucified and of the Virgin, it seems that this lifted me from myself and despoiled me of everything… My soul rests entirely absorbed in God, it experiences special embraces… (18)

To be a child of Mary, our Mother and Coredemptrix who “offered herself and her Heart to God for me,” and thus be bound to Jesus Crucified, despoiled of self and absorbed in God, this is the summit of acquired and infused contemplation.

The work of perfecting a soul in the unitive way, then, is the work of our Mother and Coredemptrix in union with the Holy Spirit. Hence the Seraphic Doctor also calls her our “Perfectrix.” (19) We close this section with a brilliant explanation of this Marian mysticism by an anonymous contemplative who writes:

Under the wholly special action of the Holy Spirit in the soul, wherein He multiplies Marian illuminations and the heavenly transports which they produce, the Marian devotee shall advance, by means of ever more interior graces, into union with his Mother, from simple friendship (with Christ) to spiritual marriage. (20)

Our Lady of Sorrows: Imitation, Communion, and Transubstantiation Into Mary Coredemptrix

In past articles we have considered the Good Thief, the Centurion, St. Mary Magdalen, and now St. John the Evangelist on Calvary, and the aspect of the spiritual life which each of them represents: namely conversion, illumination, purification, and contemplation; we have especially seen the active and essential role of the maternal mediation of Mary Coredemptrix as Immaculate, as Mother of God, as Perpetual Virgin, and as Mother of every Christian in traversing the various phases of the way of perfection.

However, devotion centered directly in the Marian Coredemption itself, or in Mary’s “Compassion,” “has also a remarkable connection with great interior holiness” (21) according to Fr. Faber. “The mystery of the Compassion of Mary,” writes Ven. Fr. Allegra, “intimately unites us to the dying Christ.” (22) As Jesus Crucified and the Beloved Disciple beheld their compassionate Mother at the foot of the Cross, so we too want to fix our gaze directly on Our Blessed Mother Coredemptrix. Her maternal and coredemptive Heart, united with the priestly and redemptive Heart of Jesus, longs to be closely united to each and every heart that beats on the face of the earth. She intensely desires to transform the hearts of her children in her Immaculate Heart and to usher them into a transforming union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

We know that on Golgotha “there stood by the Cross of Jesus His Mother” (Jn 19:25). St. Maximilian teaches that “Mary, by the fact that she is Mother of Jesus the Savior, became the Coredemptrix of the human race.” (23) Here, by the Cross of Jesus, she offered and was offered to the Father in sorrow and love as Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. As Fr. Manelli comments:

“In this way Mary’s motherhood became a co-redemptive or sacrificial motherhood, because at the foot of the Cross she stood ‘enduring with her only begotten Son His intense suffering, associating herself with His Sacrifice in her Mother’s Heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this Victim which had been born of her’ (Lumen Gentium, n.58).” (24)

Here we touch upon a whole program of life centered in the very Heart of the Coredemptrix pierced through by the sword of sorrow (cf. Lk 2:35). It is essentially a program of “Marianization.” (25) Fr. Manelli briefly describes this process of Marianization as follows:

We find ourselves, here, in the ample arena of Marian mysticism, and all of us are called to this (26) and are led to Marian Consecration lived out in its profundity and totality. But in order to live out Consecration to the Immaculate Heart in its profundity and totality it is necessary to realize a life of imitation-resemblance of Mary so intense and fervent as to reclothe us with her very virtues, establishing us, slowly but surely, in a most intimate union with her, with her Immaculate Heart and within her Immaculate Heart, in order to arrive at “loving Jesus with the Heart of the Immaculate,” (SK 654) as St. Maximilian M. Kolbe states. (27)

In Manelli’s outline of the Marianization of one’s life we can highlight three phases: imitation, communion, and transformation in Mary. Any soul that devoutly focuses his attention upon the Mother’s Heart intimately associated with the immolation of her Divine Son will be impelled to imitate her, to enter into a communion of life with her, and ultimately to be “transubstantiated,” (28) as it were, into her.

In the first place, we must imitate the Mother of Sorrows in all her virtues. (29) The Church has never ceased to contemplate in her the supreme “Model” (30) and “the exemplary realization of the Church.” (31) She is the “glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but… (is) holy, and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). Hence she is the Model for every member of the Church who is chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world… (to) be holy and unspotted in His sight in charity” (Eph 1:4). She is our Model above all at the foot of the Cross when she offers the Holy Sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the Father and unites herself to His Sacrifice in her Mother’s Heart as Coredemptrix. (32) Here, beneath the flow of her Son’s Precious Blood, at the consummation of her maternal mediation, she heroically exemplifies every Christian virtue, especially the theological virtues of “faith, hope, and ardent charity.” (33)

Thus, in the first place, Mary Coredemptrix is the supreme Model of faith. (34) “How great, how heroic, then, is the ‘obedience of faith’ demonstrated by Mary before the ‘incomprehensible judgments’ of God!” exclaims Pope John Paul II; and he continues, “at the foot of the Cross Mary, by means of faith, participates in her Son’s death, in His redemptive death.” (35)

Mary Coredemptrix is also the supreme Model of hope. On that Good Friday she sees her Divine Son laden with our iniquities, “a worm, not a man; the reproach of men and the outcast of the people” (Ps 21:7); and notwithstanding this unspeakable maternal tribulation, Mary’s hope is not confounded, but strong and secure in the promises of the Lord. (36)

Furthermore, Mary Coredemptrix is, with and under her Son, the Model of charity. As the Redeemer Himself taught: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13), and she, in fact, laid down her life, that is her Jesus, for poor sinners. (37) Our Lady of Sorrows displays her perfect charity towards God and commends her “charity towards us because when as yet we were sinners” she offered up her Son to death for our Redemption and united herself to this offering by her maternal and coredemptive victimhood (cf. Rom 5:8-11). (38) As Fr. Fehlner states, Our Lady “compassionates with the Savior, not out of need, but out of charity.” (39) The love of the Coredemptrix is precisely that love beyond which it cannot be imagined in a created person, or, as St. Maximilian puts it, “the summit of created love which returns to God.” (40)

It follows, therefore, that the Church, and every member in particular, must imitate the virtues of Mary Coredemptrix during her maternal compassion on Calvary. This imitation corresponds with the whole process of conversion and purification which we have touched upon earlier. Fr. Manelli describes it as the “negative aspect” of Marianizing ones life because

It consists in refusing all that which is unbecoming to the Immaculate Heart, which embitters and wounds it, namely sin of every kind… It means to practice renunciation, penance, interior and exterior mortification… to pass through the terrible active and passive “purifications” of the senses, both external and internal, and of the soul’s faculties. (41)

The devout soul, however, shall not be content with mere imitation, even if she is the sublime Model of the Church and of every Christian. No, true devotion longs for union: a communion of life and love. (42) Here we speak of what Fr. Manelli calls the “positive aspect” of Marianization. After having been reclothed with the virtues of the Coredemptrix, the soul gradually enters into “a most intimate union with her.” (43) This communion with Mary seems to correspond with acquired contemplation to which all are called, but where few arrive.

Here, there is a chorus of authors who sing of this marvelous intimacy with Our Lady. Ven. Fr. Allegra writes, for example: “It is, therefore, a fact that the soul lives in Mary and Mary in the soul, operating, directing, inclining the faculties of the soul so that it might become a completely new creature for God…” (44) We note that this communion involves a certain interpenetration of hearts, that is the heart of the believer lives in the Heart of the Immaculate and the Heart of the Immaculate lives in the heart of the believer. This is confirmed in a recent biography on Padre Pio’s interior life where the authors maintain that “the graces of conformation to Mary actually carry within themselves the mysterious projection of Mary’s life within the subject, not only in the sense of pure union, but of active communion…” (45) It is an active communion of love and life with the Virgin Mother which may even resemble that of an espousal, something which the Holy Patriarch St. Joseph experienced literally (cf. Mt 1:20-24), which other Saints experienced mystically, (46) and which every soul should desire spiritually. (47)

Union with Mary, however it may be described, is not only not an obstacle for entering into a transforming union with Jesus Christ, but, on the contrary, is necessary, essential, indispensable. St. Louis De Montfort, in fact, personally held this opinion; he states: “… I do not think anyone can acquire an intimate union with Our Lord and a perfect fidelity to the Holy Ghost without a very great union with the most Holy Virgin, and a great dependence on her assistance.” (48) This “great union with the most Holy Virgin” and “great dependence on her assistance” is nowhere more efficacious than at the foot of the Cross, in the depths of her maternal and coredemptive Heart. It is on Calvary that every tear and sorrow of the human heart can be united with the tears and sorrows of the Mother Coredemptrix. For this reason Fr. Manelli offers us the irresistible invitation to unite our poor hearts to the Royal Heart of Our Lady of Sorrows: “Let us unite ourselves to her,” he writes, “let us draw near to her Heart in order to be offered by her together with her adorable Son, Jesus Crucified.” (49)

As if this ineffable Marian intimacy were not enough, we have yet to speak of the summit of Marian mysticism: that infused gift of the Holy Spirit which He gives to those whom He chooses and who have responded generously to the action of divine grace. We are speaking of what Fr. Ragazzini and Fr. Manelli call “the fusion of hearts, the transformation into Mary,” (50) or what Ven. Michael of St. Augustine terms as a “liquefication” and “absorption” into Mary. (51) According to St. Maximilian the soul actually becomes, “in a certain sense, her living, speaking and working in this world,” (52) it is “transubstantiated into her.” (53) Obviously, human words are limited in describing such a complete transformation of the person into the very person of Mary wrought by the Holy Spirit.

The author De Cruce describes it thus:

The faithful heart becomes, as it were, an extension, a living replica of the Immaculate Heart of Mary having been made “holy and immaculate in His sight in charity” (Eph 1:4). Hence his soul loves and adores the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with the very Heart of Mary; furthermore, the Blessed Trinity lives and delights in his soul as He did, and continues to do, in the Pure Heart of Mary. (54)

This is what St. Maximilian means by the term “transubstantiation” into the Immaculate. Just as in the Holy Eucharist one sees exteriorly the accidents of bread and wine alone, yet, through a miracle of grace they have in fact been substantially transformed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, so also the person transubstantiated into Mary still appears exteriorly to be the same, yet through a miracle of grace he has in fact been completely transformed, so to speak, into Our Lady.

The faithful heart is utterly absorbed into the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But, as Fr. Manelli points out, “the Immaculate Heart pierced through is the Heart of the Coredemptrix. The pierced Heart and the Coredemptive Heart are, in fact, equivalent.” (55) Consequently, Fr. Fehlner does not hesitate to speak of a “transubstantiation into the Immaculate Coredemptrix,” which, as we shall see, “conforms one so perfectly to the Crucified…” (56)

This fusion of the believer’s heart with the coredemptive Heart of Mary is evident in the lives of many of the mystics. The stigmatist St. Veronica Giuliani, for example, writes of a mystical grace she received in prayer: “At that point a ray came to me from her Heart and it penetrated mine and established me in pain… It seemed to me that there remained in my heart the effects of the ardent charity of Mary Most Holy; there was pain and love, and there remained sorrow, that is the renewal of her sorrows.” (57) The life of St. Veronica was truly nothing less than an extension of tMarian Coredemption, than a complete “transubstantiation into the Immaculate Coredemptrix.”

And what of the first stigmatist priest in the history of the Church, St. Pio of Pietrelcina, whose vocation was, as his spiritual director once wrote him, a “vocation to coredeem”? (58) One author notes that

In the ministry of reconciliation, Padre Pio prolonged or, in a certain sense, actualized the fruitfulness of the grace of Marian Coredemption which “restores the supernatural life in souls” (L.G. 61). In fact, the divine grace acquired by the Redeemer and the Coredemptrix in the “effecting” of the Redemption is here distributed and applied to every soul in need by means of the sacramental absolution given by Padre Pio to his penitents. (59)

Perfectly conformed to Jesus Crucified, St. Pio was “totally and mystically transformed into Mary.” (60)

Although this infused, mystical gift of being transubstantiated into Mary at the foot of the Cross, that is to love Jesus Crucified with the very Heart of the Coredemptrix, is a grace to which more and more souls seem to be tending with the spread of total consecration to Mary (Montfort, Kolbe, Fatima, etc.) and with the Marian Vow of unlimited consecration to the Immaculate, (61) nonetheless, it must be noted that it is a completely gratuitous gift of the Holy Spirit offered to His elect. The example of these stigmatists is, therefore, certainly exceptional. However, as the stigmata is an extraordinary external sign of that interior, mystical transformation into Christ Crucified described by St. Paul (cf. Gal 2:19-20; 6:14, 17), a transformation realized in all the Saints, so also this experienced transubstantiation into Mary is a rare gift which reflects the secret, interior union and transformation in her. The transformation of the soul into Our Lady by the Holy Spirit is so gentle and sweet that even many of the elect are likely not to recognize it. That is why Ven. Michael of St. Augustine wrote “that only at great pains is the soul able to discern how these operations are taking place within it.” (62)

In closing this article we want to re-emphasize what has been stated earlier: namely that transubstantiation into the Immaculate Coredemptrix conforms the soul perfectly to Christ Crucified. It is Jesus Christ Himself who is the ultimate goal of all Marian spirituality; hence St. Louis de Montfort teaches: “If, therefore, we are establishing solid devotion to Mary Most Holy, it is but to establish devotion to Our Lord more perfectly, by giving an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ.” (63) Fr. Manelli rightly asserts, therefore, that “this transfiguration in Mary is obviously not an end in itself, but rather realizes the highest and most sublime conformity to Christ.” (64) And De Cruce confirms, saying that a soul perfected by grace is, “like the Virgin Coredemptrix, absorbed into his Crucified Lord and glories in nothing else.” (65)

Fr. Maximilian Mary Dean, F.I. is a member of the Franciscans of the Immaculate and author of several Mariological publications which include his recent book, In Pursuit of Immortal Souls. This article is part of an ongoing series of Fr. Maximilian’s Marian Coredemption and the Spiritual Life.

Endnotes

(1) Fr. Severino Ragazzini, O.F.M. Conv., Maria Vita Dell’Anima, Frigento (AV), Italy, 1984, p. 458.

(2) Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2725.

(3) Ven. Fr. Michael of St. Augustine, Vita Mariaforme, Rome, Italy, 1982; Ch. 11, p. 57.

(4) St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, reported in Aim Higher, Zambia Catholic Bookshop, 1987; P. I, Ch. 1, n. 9.

(5) St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort teaches that Mary not only does not impede the soul’s union with God, rather she facilitates it; “Mary is made only for God, and it is so alien to her to keep a soul for herself, because she rather projects it into God and unites it to Him with a perfection that parallels the union reached by the soul with her… In order to climb up and to unite oneself to Him, one needs to make use of the very means employed by Him to descend to us, to make Himself man and to communicate to us His graces, and such means is a true devotion to Our Lady.” (The Secret of Mary, nn. 21-23).

(6) Cf. Lumen Gentium, nn. 61-62.

(7) St. Charles of Sezze, Le grandezze della Misericordia di Dio, I, VII, 21.

(8) On the joint predestination of Jesus and Mary see Fr. Ruggero Rosini, O.F.M., Mariologia del beato Giovanni Duns Scoto, Castelpetroso, Italy 1994 (c.I, art. I, pp. 17-31); in English one can read Fr. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.I., Immaculata Mediatrix: Toward a Dogmatic Definition of the Coredemption, in Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Theological Foundations II, Queenship Publishing Co., Santa Barbara, CA, 1997; pp. 274-286.

(9) St. Veronica Giuliani, Diario, VIII, Prato; (FI), Italy, 1905-1927; p. 24.

(10) Regarding the three modes of theology (symbolic, proper, contemplative) one can read the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, C. I, 7 and Christus Unus Omnium Magister; cf. also Fr. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.I., The Sense of the Coredemption in St. Bonaventure and Bl. John Duns Scotus, in Mary at the Foot of the Cross, Academy of the Immaculate, New Bedford, MA 2001, p. 106; and also see Immaculata Mediatrix: work cited; p. 261-262.

(11) Fr. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, O.F.M. Conv., Fr. Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M.: His Mariology and Scholarly Achievement, in Marian Studies Vol. XLIII, Dayton, OH, 1992; p. 46.

(12) Redemptoris Mater, n. 45.

(13) Cited in Fr. Amedeo, C.P., La Beata Gemma, Postulation C.P., 1923, 268.

(14) Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., Il Cuore Immacolato di Maria: dono della misericordia di Dio, Castelpetroso (IS), Italy, 1997; p. 32

(15) St. Charles of Sezze, (work cited), 1. II, C. IX, p. 852

(16) On the subject of Mary’s “coredemptive” Heart, Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins, synthesizing the doctrine of the present Roman Pontiff John Paul II, explains: “The Heart of the Immaculate is precisely the Heart of the Coredemptrix, pierced through by the sword of sorrow (cf. Lk 2:35) above all in the ‘compassio‘ suffered with the ‘Passio Christi‘ on Calvary; but beginning already at the fiat of the Annunciation, as Pope John Paul II expressly teaches: ‘When Mary said her fiat to the Angel, the mystery of the Redemption began within her Heart’ (Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, vol. III/1 (1980) 1275-1276); and in reference to the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, the Pope maintains: ‘Hail, you who are become the Mother of our light at the price of the great sacrifice of your Son, at the price of the maternal sacrifice of your Heart’ (ibid. II/1 (1979) 345); in relation to Calvary, then, the Pope states with splendor: ‘No one, like Mary, has lived in her Heart that mystery, that really divine dimension of the Redemption, realized on Calvary by way of the death of the Son together with the sacrifice of her maternal Heart and her final fiat.’ (ibid. vol. III/2 (1980) 1510-1511).” (Arthur B. Calkins, Il Cuore di Maria simbolo del suo ruolo di Corredentrice, in Corredemptrix Annali Mariani 1996, Castelpetroso 1997 pp. 99-114).

(17) Fr. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.I., explains that Mary Immaculate is the Mediatrix of all graces from the moment of her conception, that this maternal mediation is consummated on Calvary and continues in the Church; he writes, for instance, “the mystery of the Immaculate Conception is at the beginning of the Virgin Mother’s earthly life what the Coredemption is at its consummation under the Cross and at Pentecost in the Church: the form which her vocation as universal Mediatrix of all graces takes at that point in the economy of salvation.” (Immaculata Mediatrix: work cited; p. 260).

(18) St. Veronica Giuliani, Diario, VI, (edition cited); p. 732-733, 736

(19) St. Bonaventure, Serm. 2 de Assumpt. BMV; IX, 636b; 638a

(20) La varie devotion à la Saint Vierge enseignée par le Saint Esprit, in “Revue des Pretes de Marie,” July, 1919.

(21) Fr. Frederick W. Faber, The Foot of the Cross; or The Sorrows of Mary, C. IX, s. V. For an in-depth study of Mary the Coredemptrix in the Writings of F. W. Faber, by Msgr. Arthur B. Calkins, see Mary at the Foot of the Cross, edition cited; pp. 317-343.

(22) Ven. Fr. Gabriel Mary Allegra, O.F.M., De Compassione Matris Mariae, in Meditazione, 1944, in Archivio della Vice Postulazione.

(23) St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, SK, n. 1229.

(24) Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.I., All Generations Shall Call Me Blessed: Biblical Mariology, New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 1994; p. 336.

(25) Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.I., Il Cuore Immacolato di Maria: dono della misericordia di Dio, Castelpetroso, Italy, 1997; pp. 19-23; regarding this process of marianization one can also see the following works of Fr. Manelli: Tutto dell’Immacolata, in Quaderno Mariano I, Castelpetroso, Italy, pp. 16-19; 28-31; and also Il “Voto Mariano” della Consacrazione illimitata all’Immacolata, Benevento, 1992; pp. 13-18.

(26) N.B. This particular section on Manelli’s reflection is directed to religious, but the truths expressed certainly can be applied to every Christian and, in a special way, to every soul consecrated to the Immaculate Heart.

(27) Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., Il Cuore Immacolato (edition cited); p. 21-22.

(28) This happy expression was coined by St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe (SK 508) and will be explained more at length further on.

(29) Cf. St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori, The Glories of Mary, P.II, Of the virtues of the Most Holy Mary; or St. John Eudes, The Admirable Heart of Mary, ie. C.II, …the harp of David; or St. Louis Marie Grignon De Montfort, True Devotion, n. 260; or St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Aim Higher, edition cited, P. I, C. IV; or Fr. Emil Neubert, My Ideal: Jesus Son of Mary, P. II, s. VI; or Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., La Devozione alla Madonna, P. III, C. III; etc.

(30) Lumen Gentium, n. 63.

(31) Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 967.

(32) Pope John Paul II states: “Mary, the New Eve, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church. In the divine designs she, beneath the Cross, represents redeemed humanity which, in need of salvation, is made capable of offering a contribution to the development of the work of salvation” (MC 48 n. 3).

(33) Lumen Gentium, n. 61.

(34) St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort speaks not only of imitating her faith, but actually participating in it (cf. True Devotion, n. 214).

(35) Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 18. The Holy Father reemphasizes her faith on Calvary in His Marian Catechesis when he says: “In the drama of Calvary Mary is sustained by faith… The Council recalls that ‘the Blessed Virgin advanced along the way of faith and faithfully kept her union with the Son even to the Cross'” (MC 47 n. 3).

(36) Pope John Paul II notes: “Mary’s hope at the foot of the Cross contains a light much stronger than the darkness which reigns in many hearts: before the redemptive Sacrifice there is born in Mary the hope of the Church and of humanity” (ibid. n. 4).

(37) Fr. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.I., commenting on the Seraphic Doctor’s teaching states that “such is the intimacy and uniqueness of the bond of charity between Mother and Son during the Passion that the Mother compassionates with the Son in suffering physical agony and death as though her own, even though her body separated not from her soul at this time; and indeed more than if she had suffered physically in place of Him: .’..amplius quam si proprio patereris in corpore‘ (St. Bonaventure, Lignum Vitae 28).” (The Mystery of Coredemption..., (work cited, p. 32); Il Mistero della Corredenzione secondo il Dottore Serifico San Bonaventura, in Maria Corredentrice: Storia e Teologia II, Frigento, Italy, 1999, p. 61).

(38) Pope John Paul II teaches that “the consent given by her to Jesus’ immolation does not constitute a passive acceptance, but an authentic act of love by which she offers her Son as ‘victim’ of expiation for the sins of all humanity” (MC 47 n. 2).

(39) Fr. Peter D. M. Fehlner, F.I., The Mystery of Coredemption…, (work cited, p. 29); Il Mistero della Corredenzione (work cited), p. 57.

(40) St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, SK, n. 1310; cf. n. 1318.

(41) Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.I., Il Cuore Immacolato (edition cited); pp. 19-20.

(42) Cf. Fr. Emil Neubert, My Ideal: Jesus Son of Mary, P. II, s. VIII

(43) Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.I., Il Cuore Immacolato (edition cited); p. 22.

(44) Ven. Fr. Gabriel Mary Allegra, O.F.M., Il Cuore Immacolato di Maria, Acireale (CT), Italy, 3rd edition, 1991, p. 116; cf. also St. Louis Marie Grignon De Montfort, True Devotion, 55.

(45) A. Negrisolo, N. Castello, S. M. Manelli, Padre Pio nella sua interiorità; Cinisello Balsamo, Italy, 1997; p. 51. The authors of this book, all three priests and spiritual children of the Saint, wisely included a synthesis of Marian asceticism—mysticism in order to understand St. Pio and his spirituality; they are truly brilliant pages of Marian spirituality and are made concrete in the wholly Marianized Padre Pio (ibid. pp. 19-74).

(46) St. Veronica Giuliani experienced many times just such a mystical union with the Blessed Virgin; the following is an example which she describes: “… my soul was confirmed as daughter, spouse and disciple of the Three Divine Persons and meanwhile, Mary Most Holy confirmed me as her daughter and, as a most loving Mother, she took me into her loving embrace and placed my head upon her bosom. And so my soul received the grace of union with the most Holy Heart of the Virgin Mary and it seems that mine remained bound to hers with that indissoluble union which, more and more frequently, there is between God and my soul and which, today, existed between the daughter and the Mother” (Diario, VIII, (edition cited); p. 585).

(47) St. John Eudes, great apostle of the “Admirable Heart of Mary,” was so intimately united to Our Lady that he was able to exclaim: “As the bridegroom and the bride must live in the same house, so I desire to live with thee in the most Amiable Heart of Jesus which is Thy Heart; as the bridegroom and the bride must love one another mutually with a sincere, constant, cordial love, so I am sure that thou wilst act with me, oh Lady entirely amiable, while on my part I am all ardor, all fire, all heartfelt tenderness towards thee; as the bridegroom and the bride must have but one heart, so dost thou with me, oh Queen of my heart, so that I might have but one soul, one spirit, one will and one heart with Thee.” (reported by Perez N., S.J., El B. Juan Eudes, in “Mensjero del Corazòn de Jesús,” 26 (1911), 114-115).

(48) St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, True Devotion, n. 43

(49) Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., Via Matris, Castelpetroso (IS), Italy, 1994; p. 49.

(50) Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.I., La Devozione alla Madonna, Castelpetroso, Italy, 8th edition 1998; P.I, c.III; pp. 30-31; Il Cuore Immacolato (edition cited); p. 21; Fr. Severino Ragazzini, (work cited); p. 355.

(51) “At times it seems to these souls that, by the tenderness of her love, the soul even loses itself in this Mother, that it is liquefied and absorbed into Her…” Ven. Fr. Michael of St. Augustine, (work cited); Ch. 11, p. 55

(52) St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, SK, n. 486

(53) Ibid. SK, n. 508; regarding St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe’s term “transubstantiation” into the Immaculate, one can see the rich presentation of Fr. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.I., in the book Virgo facta Ecclesia, New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 1997; especially pp. 144-171, where he shows its place in the history of the Franciscan Order which has always been so devoted to the Immaculate Coredemptrix.

(54) Friar M. M. De Cruce, F.I., In Pursuit of Souls: Meditations on the Role of Redemptive Suffering, Silence, and Prayer in the Missions, from the unpublished text (used with permission), P. III, s. III, Acquired Contemplation; p. 51.

(55) Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., Il Cuore Immacolato (edition cited); p. 31

(56) Fr. Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F.I., Virgo facta Ecclesia, (edition cited); p. 155; in another place Fr. Fehlner emphasizes “the significance of Our Lady’s presence in the Church, at the moment and from the moment her Immaculate Heart was pierced, the moment of the formation of the Church as the body saved by Christ; and the importance of devotion to that Heart culminating in what St. Maximilian calls transubstantiation into the Immaculate, whereby she offers us with Christ and herself in us to Christ…” (Immaculata Mediatrix: work cited; pp. 306; cf. also p. 328).

(57) St. Veronica Giuliani, Diario, VIII, 26.

(58) Cited by Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., Marian Coredemption in the Hagiography of the 20th Century, in Mary at the Foot of the Cross, edition cited, p. 217.

(59) N. Castello, Stefano M. Manelli, La “dolce Signora” di Padre Pio, Cinisello Balsamo, IT 1999, pp. 127-128. It should also be noted that St. Pio frequently recalled Our Lady of Sorrows to his penitents in giving them the sacramental penance of reciting seven Hail Mary’s to Our Lady of Sorrows, “and sometimes he could not succeed in finishing the word Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) without an outburst of tears!” (ibid. p. 123).

(60) A. Negrisolo, N. Castello, S. M. Manelli, Padre Pio nella sua interiorità; (edition cited); p. 21.

(61) Cf. Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., Il “Voto Mariano” della Consacrazione illimitata all’Immacolata, Benevento, 1992.

(62) Ven. Fr. Michael of St. Augustine, (work cited); Ch. 11, p. 57.

(63) St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, True Devotion, n. 62.

(64) Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, F.I., Il Cuore Immacolato (edition cited); p. 21.

(65) Fra M. M. De Cruce, (work cited), P.III, s.III, Infused contemplation; p. 52.