Mary Co-redemptrix: The Fulfillment of Maternal Love



Calvary is the summit of human history, where the drama of God’s salvation of man reaches its climax. Every human experience and expression, every action, every thought, every exercise of free will, finds its meaning and fulfillment only through the Cross.


It is at Calvary that we see enacted the fulfillment of the Mother Co-redemptrix, but in a category of human experience that transcends the dignity and efficacy of any other human vocation. At Calvary, the Mother partakes in the very act of Redemption, which in turn gives Christian meaning, purpose, and value to every other human act throughout the course of history. For it is by the objective measure of salvation, according to the ultimate meaning of love and truth, that all acts will be weighed.


Jn. 19:25-27: "Woman, Behold, Your Son!… Behold, Your Mother"


Here, the prophecy of Simeon is fulfilled by a sword of sorrow so painful that no other human heart could bear it and live. Only the Immaculate Heart is granted the graces by the Eternal Father to endure the immolation of her Son as Victim for her other spiritual sons and daughters to-be. "Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother… When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home" (Jn. 19:25-27).

Jesus, Mary, the tree of the Cross. How entirely supernatural is the Heavenly Father’s reversal of Satan’s initial victory in the original fall of man (Gen. 3:1-6). At Eden, the original human sin is committed by the First Adam through the intercession of the First Eve at the tree of the forbidden fruit. At Calvary, the original human sin is reversed and redeemed by Jesus, the New Adam (1) through the intercession of Mary, the New Eve at the tree of the Cross. The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 is supernaturally fulfilled at Calvary with the "Woman" and her "seed of victory" crushing the head of Satan and his seed of sin.


This is why the Church’s Liturgy sings to God the Father the praises of the New Eve in the mission of the Redemption:


In your divine wisdom, you planned the Redemption of the human race and decreed that the new Eve should stand by the cross of the new Adam: as she became his mother by the power of the Holy Spirit, so, by a new gift of your love, she was to be a partner in his passion, and she who had given him birth without the pains of childbirth was to endure the greatest of pains in bringing forth to new life the family of your Church. (2)


"Woman, behold, your son!" (Jn. 19:26). Woman of Genesis, Woman of Cana, and now, near the end of your maternal crucifixion of heart, you, Woman of Calvary, behold, your son. And behold as well your universal office as Spiritual Mother to all those redeemed here at Calvary, represented by your "new son," the beloved disciple. For you, Mary Co-redemptrix, have suffered "with Jesus" for their ransom, and therefore you shall spiritually nourish and protect them with Jesus, the Redeemer of all peoples, as the new Mother of all peoples.


John Paul II eloquently notes the Mother’s share in the "redemptive love" of her Son and its universal, spiritual fecundity for humanity:


The Mother of Christ, who stands at the very center of this mystery—a mystery which embraces each individual and all humanity—is given as mother to every single individual and all mankind. The man at the foot of the Cross is John, "the disciple whom he loved." But it is not he alone. Following tradition, the Council does not hesitate to call Mary "the Mother of Christ and mother of mankind": since she "belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all human beings… Indeed she is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ… since she cooperated out of love so that there might be born in the Church the faithful.’"


And so this "new motherhood of Mary," generated by faith, is the fruit of the "new" love which came to definitive maturity in her at the foot of the Cross, through her sharing in the redemptive love of her Son. (3)


But what was the actual price of suffering for Mary Co-redemptrix in order to partake "with Jesus" in the Redemption of the human race and, as a result, to become the spiritual Mother of all peoples?


No human mind or heart can fully comprehend the depth and breadth of this suffering. Popes and poets, musicians and artists have sought to convey the Mother’s pain in various creative mediums, from the Stabat Mater to the Pieta. But all human efforts fail, and the humble are quick to acknowledge the inability to grasp fully the genus of suffering "with Jesus" experienced by Our Lady of Sorrows in order to buy back an entire human race.