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The Dogma and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart

The following is a transcription of a presentation given by Dr. Mark Miravalle on May 31, 1997, in Rome before an international gathering of over 50 cardinals and bishops concerning the essential relationship between the proclamation of the fifth Marian dogma and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. – Asst. Ed.

The dynamic drama of how “God saves man” as ordained in the perfect providence of the Eternal Father, He who is Father of All Mankind, is revealed in Galatians 4:4-6. Let us reflect on this passage, which our beloved Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, so often quotes in his principal Marian addresses. From the New Vulgate: “Ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Filium suum factum ex muliere. . . ut adoptionem filiorum reciperemus. Quoniam autem estis filii, misit Deus Spiritum Filii sui in corda vestra clamantem: Abba, Pater,” “When in the fullness of time, God sent His Son, born of a woman, so that we may be adopted sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying: ‘Abba! Father!'”

The Dogma and the Triumph

This statement is St. Paul’s only direct reference to the Mother of God and our own Mother Mary. Here he gives us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, an unequaled summary in seven pillars of revelation concerning the entire plan of human salvation:

“Ubi venit plenitudo temporis.” “When, in the fullness of time.”

In an authentically Marian sense, we have reached the fullness of time. We have reached that which has been called the climax of the Age of Mary, an apex, a summit, a high point that has been preceded by many holy events and great saints and teachers. We need only consider the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe, for example, and the efforts of Cardinal Mercier of Belgium who was the first to receive, through his intercession and petitioning to Pope Benedict XV, the Mass and Office of Mediatrix Omnium Gratiarum (Mediatrix of all graces). Let us recall also the many theologians and the many bishops, religious, and lay people who over the centuries kept Our Lady Coredemptrix and Mediatrix of all Grace deeply within their hearts. It is because of them also that we are now privileged to be living in the climax of the Age of Mary.

Let us recall also the messages and titles of our Heavenly Mother that have been approved by the Church from such places as Rue du Bac, La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, Beauraing, Amsterdam, Akita, as well as the numerous contemporary reported Marian apparition sites. All elements of theology, faith and ecclesial life are calling us to the awareness that we have reached the climax of the Age of Mary.

Above all, we are grateful to our prophetic, heroic pontiff, Pope John Paul II. It is because of his courageous witness and leadership as the “Totus Tuus” Vicar of Christ that we can say with peace and with courage, “Yes, through no merits of our own, we are called to a great responsibility, to participation in this climax of the Age of Mary.” Because he is totally hers, because he belongs totally to the Blessed Virgin, we must remember the unconditional requirement for participation in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; the sine qua non, is full and complete obedience and loyalty to our Holy Father. He is “Petrus” (cf. Mt: 16:15-20). He is the shepherd. We, as the sheep, must listen to his voice, and we must hear his voice. Our Lord Jesus says, “My sheep know Me, and I know Mine” (John 10:14). We must know Him and His vicar on earth, not only in the mind, but in the heart.

“Misit Deus Filium tuum.” “God sent His Son.”

The Father of all mankind initiates everything. We can never forget that the plan of salvation comes from God the Father. The Son is sent—”missio.” The greatest mission of human and celestial history is the sending of the Son by the Father. Too long have we neglected to focus theologically and liturgically on the Heavenly and Eternal Father from whom all things come. He is the infinite Creator and also the “Abba,” which properly translated means, “Papa,” “Daddy,” “the Close One.” We must never forget that the mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which comes to us through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, originates in the Heart of the Abba Father. The mercy of Jesus is the mercy of the Father. The Son is the sacrifice, the core, the center, the climax of history of heaven and earth. He is the cosmic Redeemer, the universal Redeemer, but He always acts in obedience to the Abba, Eternal Father of all.

“Factum ex muliere.” “Born of a woman.”

But this is no ordinary woman. She is the Woman of Genesis, the Woman of Revelation, the Woman of Cana, and the Woman of Calvary. She is above all the Woman of Redemption, who is always and in every way subordinated to the Redeemer Son. It was eternally predestined by the Father that a woman would be part of the mission of Redemption and Coredemption. Pope Pius IX in his great proclaiming document, Ineffabilis Deus, makes it very clear that it was a singular intention of the Father both to “send his Son,” and to send his Son “factum ex muliere,” “born of a woman.”

Pope John Paul II also points out in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, that the Heavenly Father “entrusted himself to the Virgin of Nazareth.” (1) This woman was eternally and providentially designed to be a part of the plan of human salvation, not merely as a biological “host” but as an intimate partner in his mission. In our own times, when the true dignity of woman is so misunderstood, so scattered by many illusory, false concepts of woman, it is in Mary that we find the ultimate dignity of the woman, because the Father has made this woman an integral part of the plan of salvation ab initio, from the beginning. This Woman is the Father’s greatest masterpiece.

All artists are sometimes called to do less than their greatest for reasons of money or occupation. All authors are sometimes called to do less than their greatest. All builders are at times called to do less than their greatest. But each should have the opportunity at least once in their life to show the full beauty, the full ability, the full power of their talents: in short, their masterpiece. The greatest masterpiece of the Abba, Father is the Woman.

Our Mother Mary was created immaculate by the Eternal Father precisely so that she could be the Coredemptrix. In the early 1970’s our Holy Father, while he was still Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow, gave a beautiful address on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In this talk he made it very clear that Mary was created immaculate from the moment of her conception precisely so that she could be the perfect partner of Redemption with the redeeming Jesus. That which unites the Hearts of Jesus and Mary like nothing else, ontologically, is the mission of Redemption and Coredemption. Mary is the “Coredemptrix” because she was first the “Immaculate Conception.”

“Ut adoptionem filiorum reciperemus.” “So that they might be adopted sons of God.”

We are born in sin. This is the fundamental human condition. And yet in our times, this truth is being lost by many. Pius XII prophetically stated that, “The greatest sin of the twentieth century is the loss of the sense of sin.” If we do not know that we are in the midst of sin, then how can we see our need for a redeemer? Clear awareness of the plan of salvation is only possible when we understand our need for a redeemer, and for a coredemptrix by recognizing our own sin.

Grace is participation in the life and love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Saint Thomas Aquinas said that one baptized infant has more ontological goodness than the entire created universe put together, because that child is participating in Trinitarian life. But there is a price for this grace, there is a price in becoming adopted sons of the Father. Because there is only one true Son of God, and only one woman who is mother of that Son, it is the uncompromised historic efforts of the Redeemer and the Coredemptrix which allow us to become adopted sons. It is the Mediatrix of All Grace who brings us the graces of the Redemption, but everything starts at Calvary in the definitive battle to redeem humanity.

“Quoniam autem estis filii, misit Deus Spiritum Filii sui.” “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son.”

It is the Divine Sanctifier, the Holy Spirit, who brings us the graces of the Redemption. Saint Maximilian Kolbe tells us that the Holy Spirit acts exclusively through the Immaculata: “The union between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit is so inexpressible, yet so perfect, that the Holy Spirit acts only by the Most Blessed Virgin, His Spouse.” (2) Saint Maximilian tells us that to understand and appreciate fully the unity of the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin, the Immaculata, we must look by way of analogy to the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.

The intimate union between the Holy Spirit and Mary is comparable to the inseparable union of the divine nature and human nature in the one Divine Person of Jesus Christ. And although the Holy Spirit and Mary are two totally distinct and separate persons, and the Holy Spirit never became incarnate. Nonetheless, as St. Maximilian tells us, this union is so inexpressible, so profound, that the Spirit acts only through the Bride, not by necessity but by divine desire, by divine disposition. And so our Mother is the Advocate, she is the human advocate who works in unitate cordae, in complete unity of heart with the Divine Sanctifier, the Holy Spirit. Thus, “the Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come'” (Rev. 22:17), invoking the Lord Jesus to come at this climactic point of human history, but also to come at every moment into every human heart. The Spirit offers His divine invitation to sanctification only through the Bride, the Immaculata, who is the human instrument of the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is Source of all grace, and Mary is His created human instrument, then, of course, the Immaculata is the Mediatrix of all graces.

“In corda vestra clamantem: Abba, Pater.” Into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’

The Holy Spirit under divine illumination, calls each one of us to recognize the One from whom the entire plan of salvation comes. No longer understood as the Old Testament God of justice, the Spirit reveals that the infinite mercy of the Trinity originates in the Heart of the Father. He is to be called not “omnipotence,” not “omniscience,” not “all-perfection,” but “Abba.” Thus, we should see the Heavenly Father’s close, paternal love for each human child, and understand and appreciate the paternal love of the Abba for each one of us as infinitely surpassing that of the greatest of human fathers. For the Father of all mankind has the hairs of our head counted (cf. Matt. 10:30). The Holy Spirit ensures that none of us forget this revealed truth. He is ever leading us back to the beginning, back to the Abba, to the Father, who is Love, who is the Paternal Originator of the entire plan of human salvation.

In summation, in Galatians 4:4-6 we have a synthesis of the divine drama of salvation, culminating in Jesus and Mary’s perfect obedience to the will of the Father on Calvary. The Redeemer and the Coredemptrix lead the way. Their path of sacrificial love does not come to fruition in our lives unless we too are willing to travel to Calvary with them, opening our hearts to the graces coming from Redemption and coredemption.

Our Mother Coredemptrix at the Foot of the Cross

To imitate our Mother Coredemptrix, each one of us, each faithful, must be willing to carry our cross unto Calvary. The motto which should be emblazoned on the hearts of those consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary must always be: “Mary Coredemptrix persevered unto Calvary for us. We must persevere unto Calvary for Mary Coredemptrix.”

Our Mother’s participation in the Redemption has been profoundly expressed by our Holy Father in his Wednesday Audience of April 2, 1997, in which he said the following about Our Lady’s participation in the historic redemptive act of Jesus Christ:

“Mary joins her suffering to Jesus’ priestly sacrifice. 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. Let us return again, but now in the perspective of the Resurrection, to the foot of the Cross, where the Mother endured ‘with her only begotten Son the intensity of His suffering, associated herself with His sacrifice in her Mother’s heart, and lovingly consented to the immolation of this victim which was born of her’ (Lumen Gentium, n.58).

With these words, the Council reminds us of ‘Mary’s compassion’; in her heart reverberates all that Jesus suffers in body and soul, emphasizing her willingness to share in her Son’s redeeming sacrifice and to join her own maternal suffering to his priestly offering.