Mary in the Redemption

Updated: May 30, 2020

The following is an excerpt from Adrienne von Speyr’s book Mary in the Redemption, a powerful and theologically profound work on the Blessed Mother.

The Son wants to redeem the world for the Father. This redemption is obtained through his suffering, in which he bears all sins as his own and the Father recognizes all sinners in him. The moment will therefore come when the Father sees in the Son the sum of all the disgrace he has endured. This is an event of love devised by the Son out of love for the Father and for the world. Now it is fitting that, from the outset, the Father and the Holy Spirit show to the Son the efficacy of the Cross. In this regard, Mary is from the beginning a gift made by the Father and the Holy Spirit to the Son, almost as if the Mother, in her instrumentality, signified a form of pre-gift or deposit.

In pre-redeeming the Mother toward the Cross (which ultimately means from the Cross), the Father and the Holy Spirit show to the Son the suitableness of the path upon which he has struck. It is an act of redemption by the Son from the Cross that he has yet to suffer, but in such a way that, from the outset, he re-ceives for this act the Mother, who without sin will con-ceive him. In thus showing to the Son the suitableness of the Cross, the Father simultaneously shows him the way in which he will realize the Incarnation.

With the mystery of her Immaculate Conception, Mary therefore stands at a point of intersection in the Trinity, because she is a gift both from the Son to the Father and from the Father to the Son; the Father is preeminent in this since it is he who gives her to the Son in order to be able to get his work underway in the first place. Mary is planned and created both from and for the Cross. The Spirit, who bears the seed of the Father into the womb of the Mother, accompanies this pre-redeemed Mother throughout her entire life. He receives her, as it were, from the Father’s hands so as to give her back into these hands. He participates as her advocate and comforter by keeping her away from all sin; he also participates, however, as the advocate and comforter of the Son by showing to him the feasibility of the plan; and as advocate and comforter of the Father by demonstrating to him how, by virtue of the Mother’s pre-redemption by the Father, the Son can have no doubt about carrying out his work. From the start, Mary makes the redemption clear and graphic for the Son, the redemption that is meant for all and that will be sufficient for all.

Mary’s Pre-redemption from the Beginning of Creation (Mary as the First Eve)

Mary, the pre-redeemed, is already active as the one planned by God. In this respect, she forms a unique encounter between creation and (pre)-redemption. A human father can say, “I want my son to be a doctor. From the day he was born I’ve done everything I can to make sure it happens.” But the son is of course always free to do something else. When, however, God the Father begins with Mary and her pre-redemption, the realization of his plan already exists, so to speak. It is absolutely certain that she will henceforth belong to heaven and that her place there was secured from its creation. She is not pre-redeemed in a mere image or idea, but in fact and reality. It is a fact with real consequences. In eternal life such concrete certainties do exist. Accordingly, something of her already existed at the creation of the world. Her characteristics do not float around unpossessed, but rather she possesses them from the beginning. She has her place in the course of the world’s creation precisely because of her function as “Co-Redemptrix.” The idea of “co-redemption” is “older” than that of pre-redemption: the latter is a consequence of the former, a means to an end.

In Mary resides the idea of the perfect human being, an idea that God had when he created the first human being. Thus Mary is in fact not the second but the first Eve; she is the one who did not fall and who sees how the second Eve does fall.

Assume that a sculptor has a block of marble. Because the block has a certain form, he decides to shape the statue in a certain way. He will get to work on the statue, however, only once he has made a model out of ordinary clay of what he has in mind. Although the shape of the stone played a part in determining the idea, which is now exact in his mind, he will get to work on the marble only once he has made the clay model. In relation to Eve, Mary is the piece of marble that was there from the start.