In his 1987 Marian encyclical, Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II used a new title for the Blessed Virgin Mary, which unfortunately has been fundamentally ignored. He stated that our Blessed Virgin Mary “also has the specifically maternal role of Mediatrix of Mercy at Our Lord Jesus’ coming.”
In this single title is contained the two greatest spiritual movements initiated by heaven for the twentieth century: the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Triumph of Divine Mercy.
Can we not see in this title both the reference to the critical intercession of the Mother of God in our own times, and at the same time a profound complimentarity with the messages of St. Faustina and Divine Mercy?
I would like to discuss this title, “Mediatrix of Mercy,” under two aspects: firstly, it’s theological foundations, and secondly, it’s prophetic context. In regards to its theological foundations, how can we call Our Lady the “Mediatrix of Mercy”? On what basis can we call her “Mediatrix” if, seemingly, Scripture speaks of only one Mediator? With regard to this title’s prophetic dimension, in what manner does the Mother of Jesus and Our Mother exercise this title and role for humanity in our present historical moment? Does it fit in with the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart in the time we find ourselves? What special cry and what special source and instrument of grace is it for us at this critical moment for the Church and for the world today?
Let us first examine the theological foundations for the title Mediatrix of Mercy. It is important to establish from the beginning that Mary’s role as Mediatrix is a result of a unique participation in the acquisition of the graces of Calvary, for which she received from the Church the title “Co-redemptrix.” It is the Church that has given Our Lady this title, and John Paul II, following the precedent of previous Papal Magisteriums, referred to this role of Our Lady when on at least six documented occasions he called her the “Co-redemptrix.” The prefix “co,” of course, never means “equal,” but always means “with,” from the Latin root “cum.” The title means “the woman with the Redeemer,” not equal to the Redeemer.
Our Lady is Mediatrix because she first participates in the acquisition of the graces of redemption as the Co-redemptrix. The Papal Magisteriums have made it very clear that every grace and gift given from Christ to humanity comes through the mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is the omnium gratiarum, the Mediatrix of all graces and gifts, which come from our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit, because she first participated with our Lord as the Co-redemptrix in acquiring those graces.
Sacred Scripture profoundly reveals the role of our Blessed Mother as Co-redemptrix. At the Annunciation, when Mary says “yes” to the angel and thereby gives her fiat (cf. Lk 1:38), she gives to the Redeemer the instrument of redemption, his human body. In a discussion I had with the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta regarding the solemn papal definition of the co-redemptive role of Our Lady, within the first two minutes of speaking Mother said, “Of course she is Co-redemptrix, of course. She gave Jesus his body and the body of Jesus is what saved us.” I replied, “Mother, that’s the difference between sanctity and theology. You say in two minutes what it takes the theologians three volumes to write.”
We can also look to the Presentation in Luke 2:25ff, wherein Simeon’s prophecy also identifies the Mother of Jesus as a sign of contradiction. Any mother of a sign of contradiction will most certainly have the vocation of suffering. Simeon tells us that the child to be born of Mary will be the cause of the rise and fall of many. He then gazes at the mother and says, “your heart too will be pierced.” (Lk 2:25). Thus for thirty-three years the Mother with the Redeemer ponders the works of Simeon that her child is born to die, the child to which she alone gave flesh. Only one woman gave carne to the Incarnation, gave flesh to the Word made flesh, and the goal of this Incarnation was redemption and co-redemption. If we were to summarize the single mission that the Father gave to the Son and to the Woman, it is, as Galatians tells us, a mission of redemption and co-redemption (Gal 4:4). That is the purpose of the union of the Two Hearts, the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Our Mother Mary.
The inestimable graces acquired by Jesus, the New Adam, and secondarily by Mary, the New Eve, must then be distributed to human hearts through Our Lady’s mediation as Mediatrix. This is the continuation of Our Mother’s co-redemptive role as the Mediatrix of All Graces.
The Papal Magisterium has repeatedly taught that since Mary uniquely participated with the Redeemer in the acquisition of every grace of redemption as Co-redemptrix, for this reason, Mary has rightly been granted the role by the Eternal Father to participate uniquely with the Mediator in the distribution of every grace that flows from the Redemption as Mediatrix. (1)
Let us then examine a brief example of papal teachings on Our Lady’s role as Mediatrix of all graces:
1. Leo XIII: “through her whom (Christ) has chosen to be the dispenser of all heavenly graces” (Superiore Anno, 1884); “It is right to say that nothing at all of the immense treasury of every grace which the Lord accumulated—for ‘grace and truth come from Jesus Christ’ (Jn 1:17)—nothing is imparted to us except through Mary…” (Octobri Mense, 1891).
2. St. Pius X: “dispensatrix of all the gifts acquired by the death of the Redeemer” (Ad Diem Illum, AAS 36, 1904, p.453); “…she became most worthily the reparatrix of the lost world and dispensatrix of all the gifts that our Savior purchased for us by his death and his blood” (Ad Diem Illum, 1904; cf., Eadmer, De Eccellentia Virginis Mariae, c.9); “For she is the neck of our Head by which He communicates to his Mystical Body allspiritual gifts” (Ad Diem Illum, 1904).
3. Pope Benedict XV: “For with her suffering and dying son, Mary endured suffering and almost death…. One can truly affirm that together with Christ she has redeemed the human race… For this reason, every kind of grace we receive from the treasury of the redemption is ministered as it were through the hands of the same sorrowful Virgin…. (Apostolic Letter, Inter Sodalicia, AAS 10, 1918, p. 182; Mass and Office of Mediatrix of all Graces approved 1921).
4. Pope Pius XI: “the virgin who is treasurer of all graces with God….(Apostolic letter, Cognitum Sane, AAS 18, p. 213); “….We know that all things are imparted to us from God, the greatest and best, through the hands of the Mother of God” (Encyclical Letter,
Ingravescentibus Malis, AAS 29, 1937, p. 380).
5. Pope Pius XII: “it is the will of God that we obtain all favors through Mary, let everyone hasten to have recourse to Mary” (Superiore anno, AAS 32 1940, p. 145. For usage of same expression by Pius XII, cf., AAS 45, 1953, p. 382); “She teaches us all virtues; she gives us her Son and with him all the help we need, for God wished us to have everything through Mary” (Mediator Dei, 1947).
We especially find a particularly rich contribution to the doctrinal teaching of Our Lady’s role as Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix in the contemporary writings of John Paul II. In fact, the Maternal Mediation of Mary is the subject of the entire third part of His 1987 encyclical, Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer).
In part I, n. 21, the Pope states:
Thus there is mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of its wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself “in the middle,” that is to say, she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. She knows that, as such, she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind and in fact, she “has the right” to do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary “intercedes” for mankind (R.M., n. 21).
In John Paul II’s October 1, 1997 Wednesday Audience, he reminds us:
We recall that Mary’s mediation is essentially defined by her Divine Motherhood. Recognition of her role of Mediatrix is moreover implicit in the expression “our Mother,” which presents the doctrine of Marian mediation by putting the accent on her Motherhood.
By theological deduction therefore, one can rightly say that the title “Mediatrix of Mercy” is implicitly contained in the classic Marian title of “Mother of Mercy.”
Referring to the Blessed Virgin’s co-redemptive role, that it is Mary who in fact “enfleshed” the mission of the world’s redemption through her free and active co-operation, her “co-working,” John Paul pondered yet again this dimension in his September 18, 1996 Audience:
For Mary, dedication to the person and work of Jesus means… co-operation in his work of salvation. Mary carries out this last aspect of her dedication to Jesus “under Him,” that is, in a condition of subordination, which is the fruit of grace. However this is true co-operation, because it is realized “with Him” and, beginning with the Annunciation, it involves active participation in the work of redemption. “Rightly therefore,” the Second Vatican Council observes, “the Fathers see Mary not merely as passively engaged by God, but as freely co-operating in the work of man’s salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she ‘being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race'” (Adv. Haer. III, 22, 4). (2)
A year later, in the his Wednesday Audience of April 9, 1997, (3) he explained how this co-operation of the Blessed Virgin in the redemption is “unique and unrepeatable”:
However, applied to Mary, the term “co-operator” acquires a specific meaning. The collaboration of Christians in salvation takes place after the Calvary event, whose fruits they endeavor to spread by prayer and sacrifice. Mary, instead, co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her co-operation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to Him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity.
The Blessed Virgin’s role as co-operator has its source in her divine motherhood. By giving birth to the one who was destined to achieve man’s redemption, by nourishing Him, presenting Him in the temple and suffering with Him as he died on the Cross, “in a wholly singular way she co-operated… in the work of the Savior” (Lumen Gentium, n. 61). Although God’s call to co-operate in the work of salvation concerns every human being, the participation of the Savior’s Mother in humanity’s Redemption is a unique and unrepeatable fact. (4)
In another Wednesday Audience, after explaining the Blessed Virgin’s “intimate participation in Jesus’ entire life,” John Paul paused to reflect on the Virgin’s participation at Calvary:
However, the Blessed Virgin’s association with Christ’s mission reaches its culmination in Jerusalem, at the time of the Redeemer’s Passion and Death…. The Council stresses the profound dimension of the Blessed Virgin’s presence on Calvary, recalling that she “faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the Cross” (Lumen Gentium, n. 58), and points out that this union “in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ’s virginal conception up to his death” (ibid., n. 57).
With our gaze illumined by the radiance of the Resurrection, we pause to reflect on the Mother’s involvement in her Son’s redeeming Passion, which was completed by her sharing in his suffering. (5)
Therefore, it must be underscored that the Maternal Mediation of Mary is not a “new doctrine,” but a firmly established revealed truth consistently taught by the Papal Magisterium. (6)
It should also be noted that the title “Mediatrix of Mercy” is a species aspect of her genus role as “Mediatrix of all graces,” as God’s greatest gift in the order of grace is none other than His mercy.
Let us now turn to an objection to Marian mediation that resurfaces particularly in various ecumenical arenas concerning the classic Pauline text of 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Although the overall context of the passage in which the verse occurs highlights the value of human “supplications, prayers, intercessions” from the faithful (cf. v. 1-4), nonetheless the “one Mediator” reference is interpreted by some in the sense of “exclusivity,” as a mandate prohibiting any other subordinate mediation within, and in service to, the one mediation of Jesus Christ.
Of true value is the observation of Anglican theologian John Macquarrie, in reference to the 1 Timothy 2 objection raised by many, like Protestant ecclesial bodies, in opposition to the subordinate Marian Meditation:
The matter cannot be settled by pointing to the dangers of exaggeration or abuse, or by appealing to isolated texts of scripture such as 1 Timothy 2:5, or by the changing fashions in theology and spirituality, or by the desire not to say anything that might offend one’s partners in ecumenical dialogue. Unthinking enthusiasts may have elevated Mary to a position of virtual equality with Christ, but this aberration is not a necessary consequence of recognizing that there may be a truth striving for expression in words like Mediatrix and Coredemptrix. All responsible theologians would agree that Mary’s co-redemptive role is subordinate and auxiliary to the central role of Christ. But if she does have such a role, the more clearly we understand it, the better. (7)
The proper understanding of the “Christ the one Mediator” text of 1 Timothy 2:5 presupposes a critical and fundamental distinction: that the one and perfect mediation of Jesus Christ does not prevent or prohibit, but rather provides and calls for a sharing and participation by others in a subordinate and secondary fashion in this one perfect mediation of the Lord. Sacred Scripture reveals, in the context of several parallels, not only the possibility but in fact the obligation of Christians to participate in that which is in the first place exclusively true of Jesus Christ. We have for example, the one Sonship of Jesus Christ. There is only one true begotten Son of the Father, he who is the Logos, the Word who became flesh. At the same time, we are called to become adopted sons of God (cf. 2 Cor 5:17; 1 Jn 3:1; Jn 1:12; Gal 2:20; 2 Pet 1:4). Adopted sonship is a participation in the one Sonship of Jesus Christ. Another scriptural example is the one Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews makes reference to the uniqueness and singularity of Jesus Christ, the “high priest” (cf. Heb 3:1; 4:14; 5:10), who alone as Priest and Victim is offered “for the sanctification of us all” (cf. Heb 10:10). At the same time, all Christians are called in different levels and degrees to participate in the one Priesthood of Jesus Christ, whether that be the ordained ministerial priesthood or the royal priesthood of the laity as discussed by the Council.
Furthermore, the Second Vatican Council substantially establishes the legitimacy of subordinate mediation as a participation in the perfect mediation of Jesus Christ, while confirming the fruit of subordinate mediation as a manifestation of that which is uniquely true and dependent upon the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (cf. 1 Tim 2:5):
No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source (Lumen Gentium, n. 62).
What then of Maternal Mediation? How does the Mother of Jesus uniquely participate in the one Mediation of the Lord? In regard to Mary Mediatrix and her unique sharing in the one mediation of Jesus Christ, Pope John Paul II tells us in his Wednesday audience of October 1, 1997:
Mary’s maternal mediation does not obscure the unique and perfect mediation of Christ. Indeed, after calling Mary “Mediatrix,” the Council is careful to explain that this “neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator” (Lumen Gentium, n.62)…. In addition, the Council states that “Mary’s function as Mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power” (Lumen Gentium, n.60).
Therefore, far from being an obstacle to the exercise of Christ’s unique mediation, Mary instead highlights its fruitfulness and efficacy…. In proclaiming Christ the one mediator (cf. 1 Tim 2:5-6), the text of St. Paul’s Letter to Timothy excludes any other parallel mediation, but not subordinate mediation. In fact, before emphasizing the one exclusive mediation of Christ, the author urges “that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men” (2:1). Are not prayers a form of mediation? Indeed, according to St. Paul, the unique mediation of Christ is meant to encourage other dependent, ministerial forms of mediation. By proclaiming the uniqueness of Christ’s mediation, the Apostle intends only to exclude any autonomous or rival mediation, and not other forms compatible with the infinite value of the Savior’s work.
In fact, “just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold co-operation which is but a sharing in this one source” (Lumen Gentium, n.62)…. In truth, what is Mary’s maternal mediation if not the Father’s gift to humanity? (8)
Therefore, we can rightly say that the Blessed Virgin Mary shares like no other creature, angel or saint, in the one mediation of Jesus Christ, and thus is rightly and uniquely referred to as the “Mediatrix” (Lumen Gentium, n. 62). Mary in a way all her own—beyond all other creatures—participates in 1 Timothy 2:5, because of her unique co-redemptive participation in the acquisition of grace with and under Jesus as the New Eve that consequently results in her unique mediatorial task in the distribution of the graces of Calvary. John Paul explains in Redemptoris Mater:
Mary entered, in a way all her own, into the one mediation “between God and men” which is the mediation of the man Christ Jesus (cf. 1 Tim 2:5)… we must say that through this fullness of grace and supernatural life she was especially predisposed to cooperation with Christ, the one Mediator of human salvation. And such cooperation is precisely this mediation subordinated to the mediation of Christ… In Mary’s case we have a special and exceptional mediation… (9)
In sum, it is abundantly clear from the Magisterial teachings of the Church that Our Lady is the Co-redemptrix who uniquely shares in the one mediation of Christ in acquiring the fruits of the Redemption, and as a result she uniquely participates in that selfsame perfect mediation of Christ as Mediatrix of the graces of the Redemption. It is also abundantly clear that this theologically constitutes the basis for her universal role as “Mediatrix of Mercy” and as “Advocate” (or principal Intercessor) for all God’s people (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 62).
What then of the prophetic dimension of the title, “Mediatrix of Mercy?” How does the private revelation of Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, prophesied at Fatima, unite in this one title: “Mediatrix of Mercy”? What does this title say to us at this point of human history?
I would suggest that these two great movements, the Triumph of the Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, which are not man-made but heaven-made, have a supernatural complimentarity. Let us examine a few examples.
Firstly, let us look at the theology of the prayer that we find in both of these movements. Note the similarity in theology between the following prayers given at Fatima and to St. Faustina.
During the 1916 preparatory apparitions from the angel of Portugal to the three children of Fatima, the following prayer was revealed:
Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference with which He himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.
And from our Merciful Lord to St. Faustina we have the revealed Chaplet Prayer:
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
What is the common theological foundation of these two revealed celestial prayers? Firstly, there is a foundation of Eucharistic reparation, which comes in several forms. Eucharistic reparation is first and foremost in the form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by the ordained priest, and Eucharistic Adoration. But note in these two heavenly movements for our time that there is a further dimension of Eucharistic reparation, a dimension which also extends to the laity. In the exercise of their royal priesthood, the laity offers already consecrated hosts, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ to appease the justice of the Eternal Father.
The Father looks down and sees the sins of humanity. He first sees the priest, the one set aside to offer the Sacrifice, the one who offers the Eucharist in continuation of the sacrifice of Calvary. The Father looks down and sees, amidst the ubiquitous sin and darkness of the world, these shoots of light, the Sacrifice of the Mass offered by our priests. And because of the mystical lights breaking the darkness of sin, the Father does not respond in justice, which is also a part of His nature, but rather He responds in mercy. That is why Fulton Sheen often quipped that if the priest does not understand, first and foremost, that he is one set aside to offer the Sacrifice for the people, he will forever have an identity crisis. This is the pre-eminent task of the priest, to offer the Sacrifice so that mercy is the response of the Father rather than justice.
Secondly, and most especially in these times, it is also the laity who are called—not to consecrate, which is beyond their power—but to offer the already consecrated Eucharistic Jesus to the Father in reparation for sin. We do that for the sake of his sorrowful Passion, his Passion in Eucharistic form, as it already exists consecrated in the tabernacles of the world. The offering of the laity (in a way similar to the Sacrifice of the Redeemer that is gained by the maternal, and lay, sacrifice of the Co-redemptrix at Calvary) is not going to have the same spiritual efficacy as the priestly Sacrifice, but it will be a corollary, an association of the priest and the laity offering the Eucharistic Jesus to the Father so that he will respond in mercy rather than justice.
In sum, it is a heavenly appeal for the offering of the Eucharistic Lord in atonement and reparation for the sins of the world, and an exercise of the priests and the laity in bringing to the Father the Passion and the Eucharistic presence of his Son by all Christ’s faithful.
We find another complimentarity between the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Triumph of Divine Mercy in many inspired Diary references of St. Faustina to the Motherly Mediation of Mary in the order of grace. Clearly manifest from the opening pages of the Diary, we have numerous revealed examples of the salvific role of the Mediatrix of Mercy.
In Notebook I, n. 11, p. 7, it is the Mother of God as Advocate who guides Sister Faustina to shelter:
When I got off the train and saw that all were going their separate ways, I was overcome with fear. What am I to do? To whom should I turn, as I know no one? So I said to the Mother of God, “Mary, lead me, guide me.” Immediately I heard these words within me telling me to leave the town and to go to a certain nearby village where I would find a safe lodging for the night. I did so and found in fact that everything was just as the Mother of God told me.
Notebook I, n. 20, p. 11 refers to Our Lady’s Mediation of grace to souls in Purgatory: “I saw Our Lady visiting the souls in Purgatory. The souls call her ‘The Star of the Sea.’ She brings them refreshment.”
The union of human suffering with the suffering Heart of the Co-redemptrix can be seen from Notebook I, n. 25, p. 14:
During the night, the Mother of God visited me, holding the Infant Jesus in Her arms. My soul was filled with joy, and I said, “Mary, my Mother, do You know how terribly I suffer?” And the Mother of God answered me, I know how much you suffer, but do not be afraid. I share with you your suffering, and I shall always do so.
We also see that Our Lady’s mediation of grace and advocacy for nations is manifest in Notebook I, n. 33, p 18:
I was to make this novena for the intention of my Motherland. On the seventh day of the novena I saw, between heaven and earth, the Mother of God, clothed in a bright robe. She was praying with Her hands folded on Her bosom, Her eyes fixed on Heaven. From Her Heart issued forth fiery rays, some of which were turned toward Heaven while the others were covering our country.
Our Lady’s mediation of the special grace of purity for Sister Faustina as found in Notebook I, n. 40, p.21:
… and (Jesus) said to me, I give you eternal love that your purity may be untarnished and as a sign that you will never be subject to temptations against purity. Jesus took off His golden cincture and tied it around my waist. Since then I have never experienced any attacks against this virtue, either in my heart or in my mind. I later understood that this was one of the greatest graces which the Most Holy Virgin Mary had obtained for me, as for many years I had been asking this grace of Her. Since that time I have experienced an increasing devotion to the Mother of God. She has taught me how to love God interiorly and also how to carry out His holy will in all things. O Mary, You are joy, because through You God descended to earth (and) into my heart.
Further reference to Our Lady’s mediation of grace by St. Faustina, occur in Notebook I, n. 315, p. 144, “Mother of grace, teach me to live by (the power of) God.”
In Notebook I, n. 330, p. 149, we read: “I heard a few of the words that the Mother of God spoke to him (i.e., my confessor) but not everything. The words were: ‘I am not only the Queen of Heaven, but also the Mother of Mercy and your Mother.'”
From Notebook I, n. 564, p. 238: “(Mary) said to me, ‘You give Me great joy when you
adore the Holy Trinity for the graces and privileges which were accorded Me.'” And further: “…I went into the chapel to break the wafer, in spirit, with my loved ones, and I asked the Mother of God for graces for them” (Notebook I, n. 182, p. 101).
Lastly, St. Faustina entrusts her very life to Our Lady as we read in Notebook I, n. 79, p. 41:
O Mary, my Mother and my Lady, I offer You my soul, my body, my life and my death, and all that will follow it. I place everything in Your hands. O my Mother, cover my soul with Your virginal mantle and grant me the grace of purity of heart, soul and body. Defend me with Your power against all enemies, and especially against those who hide their malice behind the mask of virtue. O lovely lily! You are for me a mirror, O my Mother!
A further dynamic complimentarity between the Triumph of Divine Mercy and Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the undeniable urgency of both heavenly calls. It would be a grave error to “demythologize the historical reality and transmission of urgency contained in both these supernatural movements.” Without question, then, the Diary gives vivid and consistent universal testimony to the mission of the Mediatrix of Mercy. Both messages manifest an authentic celestial and historical urgency, an urgency of peace and an urgency of mercy, but nonetheless urgency. The following is the fundamental message from Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, with one prophetic promise that “in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph”:
Continue to say the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war; for she alone can save it…. Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice: “My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” You have seen Hell—where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If people will do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI.
When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father. To forestall this, I shall come to ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If they heed my request, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated; in the end, my Immaculate Heart shall triumph (July 13, 1917).
Many of us are aware of the fact that when Pope John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981, on the anniversary of the first message of Fatima, after the bullet was removed from his abdomen he asked that the bullet be brought and molded into part of the crown of Our Lady of Fatima. So clearly does he attest his life to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima! Thus we see in Fatima a message of urgency, of conversion, and of Eucharistic reparation, all conditional upon man’s response.
The urgency of the message of Divine Mercy is manifested not only in the obvious expressions from private revelation of St. Faustina, but also from John Paul II’s 1982 encyclical on Divine Mercy, Dives in Misericordia. In this encyclical, also little noticed, the Pope warns of the potential new flood due to the contemporary sins of humanity:
however, at no time and in no historical period—especially at a moment as critical as our own—can the Church forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it…. Like the prophets, let us appeal to that love which has maternal characteristics and which, like a mother, follows each of her children, each lost sheep, even if they should number millions, even if in the world evil should prevail over goodness, even if contemporary humanity should deserve a “new flood” on account of its sins…. And if any of our contemporaries does not share the faith and hope which lead me, as a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God, to implore God’s mercy for humanity in this hour of history, let him at least try to understand the reason for my concern. It is dictated by love for man, for all that is human and which, according to the intuitions of many of our contemporaries, is threatened by an immense danger…. The mystery of Christ… also obliges me to proclaim mercy as God’s merciful love…. It likewise obliges me to have recourse to that mercy and to beg for it in this difficult, critical phase of the history of the Church and of the world, as we approach the end of the second millennium” (Dives in Misericordia, n. 15).
This, of course, is where we historically find ourselves as we begin the third millennium.
What then constitutes the relationship between the Triumph of Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has as its primary goal the mission to open hearts to the gift of Divine Mercy, and therefore the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, properly understood, coincides with the Triumph of Divine Mercy. The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary essentially serves the Triumph of Divine Mercy, as the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart serves to open, prepare and sustain human hearts to and with the gift of Divine Mercy from the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Our Lord. This will lead us to the “Era of Peace,” the Eucharistic Reign of the Sacred Heart, a time when the mercy of the Heart of Jesus is in fact accepted by the human heart in the awaited and promised “New Springtime for the Church.” It is Mary, Mediatrix of Mercy, who will, through the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, mediate to the world the graces of Divine Mercy and the Reign of the Sacred Heart upon the earth. The Triumph of Divine Mercy and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary seek this self-same goal. What is the key to unlock the inestimable graces of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which leads to the Triumph of Divine Mercy in the hearts of humanity? Many Marian cardinals, bishops, priests and lay leaders worldwide believe, as I do, that it will be the papal proclamation of the whole truth of Our Lady in her role as the Mother of all Peoples, the Co-redemptrix, the Mediatrix of Grace and Mercy, and the Advocate.
Critical to understanding the necessity of this Papal definition of Our Lady’s maternal Mediation is understanding the basic principle of God’s providence with regard to respect for human freedom. Why would a papal proclamation of a dogma be necessary for the full release of graces and mercy from the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
God, the Abba Father, does not force his grace upon us. God has tremendous respect for human freedom and the freedom of the human heart, and his grace is only given when it is petitioned for, and it is only received when the heart has been opened to it. This is also true regarding the salvific role of the Mother of Mercy. Her titles are her works. When we call the Blessed Mother the Mediatrix of Mercy, that is not just an honorary title; it is a function that she performs for the Mystical Body, and until we fully acknowledge that title, she cannot fullyexercise that function for her family.
Thus, there exists a true theological foundation, that until the Holy Father freely makes the proclamation on the highest level of truth, the Blessed Mother will not have the freedom to fully exercise her titles and their functions as the Co-redemptrix, the Mediatrix of all graces, the Advocate for the human family; she will not be able to fully intercede for the much awaited Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, which leads to the Triumph of Divine Mercy. As one author put it, God awaited the yes, the fiat of a woman to bring the world His Son, and now the Woman awaits the fiat of one man, the Vicar of Christ, to bring the world the inestimable graces of the Triumph of Her most Immaculate Heart.
In sum, then, we can see that the Eternal Father, who is rich in mercy, does not force His grace upon us, but rather requires our fiat to receive His graces. And, therefore, until the Church freely and fully acknowledges Our Lady’s roles as the Mother of All Peoples, the “Mother Suffering” (the Co-redemptrix), the “Mother nourishing” (the Mediatrix of all Graces and Mercy), and the “Mother pleading” (the Advocate), then Our Mother will not be able to fully exercise these mediational roles for the Church and for the world, a world in desperate need of a New Pentecost from the Spirit, through the Bride.
The need for this great Marian Dogma to initiate the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart is being petitioned for by over 530 bishops, inclusive of 44 cardinals. In addition, over 6 million Catholic faithful are praying and petitioning for this papal proclamation. Of course, as to time and appropriateness of this papal proclamation, we completely submit to the decision of our Holy Father.
Let us, therefore, heed the call of Heaven for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, leading to the Triumph of Divine Mercy. Let us use the powerful supernatural instruments of Rosary, Chaplet, Eucharistic Adoration, and reparational offerings to atone for the ubiquitous sins of humanity. Let us pray for the proclamation of the whole truth about the Mother of all Peoples, freeing her to fully mediate for the Church and world today as the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of Mercy and Grace and Advocate. And let us be icons of Divine Mercy and the Immaculate Heart, doing our individual small parts, fulfilling the prophecy that “all generations will call me blessed,” (Lk 1:48) leading to the Triumph of Divine Mercy, the Eucharistic reign of Our Lord Jesus, and a New Springtime for the Church.
-Dr. Mark Miravalle
(1) For example, cf. Pope St. Pius X, Ad Diem Illum, 1904; Pope Benedict XV, Inter Sodalicia, 1918; Pope Pius XII, AAS 38, 1946, p. 266; John Paul II, L’Osservatore Romano, Issue n. 20, 1983.
(2) John Paul II, General Audience of Wednesday, September 18, 1996, L’Osservatore Romano, 25 September 1996, English ed., p. 19.
(3) It is noteworthy that the eminent Roman theologian, Msgr. Bruno Gherardini, in his 1998 scholarly text on Our Lady Co-redemptrix entitled, “La Corredentrice” testified that during the actual delivery of the April 9 audience by the Holy Father in Italian, that the Pope explicitly used the title, “Co-redemptrix” on repeated occasions during the audience. Unfortunately, in each instance L’Osservatore Romano re-translated the term “Co-redemptrix” as “co-operator” in the published version of the Papal address.
(4) Pope John Paul II, Wednesday Audience of April 9, 1997, L’Osservatore Romano, April 16, 1997, Weekly ed., p. 7
(5) Pope John Paul II, Wednesday Audience of April 2, 1997, L’Osservatore Romano, April 9, 1997, Weekly ed., p. 11.
(6) Cf. Mark Miravalle, “Mary, Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate: Foundational Presence in Divine Revelation,” and Arthur Calkins, “Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate in the Contemporary Roman Liturgy,” Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Theological Foundations: Towards a Papal Definition?, Queenship Publishing, 1995; A. Robichaud, S.M., “Mary, Dispensatrix of All Graces,” J.B. Carol, Mariology, v. 2, Bruce, 1957, p. 445; J. Bittremieux, De meditatione universali B. M. Virginis quoad gratias, Brugis, 1926, p.201; M. O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., “Mediation,” Theotokos, p. 241; G. Roschini, S.M., Maria Santissima Nella Storia Della Salvezza, v. II, p. 224; J. B. Carol, De Corredemptione Beatae Virginis Mariae, p.152.
(7) John Macquarrie, “Mary Coredemptrix and Disputes Over Justification and Grace: An Anglican View,” Mary Coredemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocate, Theological Foundations II: Papal, Pneumatological, Ecumenical,Queenship Publishing, 1997.
(8) Pope John Paul II, Wednesday Audience of October 1, 1997.
(9) Redemptoris Mater, n. 39.