April 14, 2018 ~ Saint Justin, opn!
- Mary as Co-Redemptrix
- Second Sunday after Easter (Good Shepherd)
- Saints Basilissa and Anastasia
- Family and Marriage
- Articles and notices
In times past when the Church had a true Shepherd—one might remember that Pius XII was called Pastor Angelicus—the Church possessed that unity of faith, of worship and solid morality that proclaimed to the world: If you want the Truth, the Roman Catholic Church possesses the Truth. We know that, especially since Vatican II, the loss of the papal Shepherd, the visible head of the Church, the Vicar of Christ, has caused the sheep to be scattered (cf. “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that cleaveth to me, saith the Lord of hosts: strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand to the little ones.” [Zacharias, 13:7] Our Lord used this prophecy regarding the abandonment of His apostles when His Passion would begin [cf. Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27]. We know that unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God (2 Thess. 2:3,4). We may not know absolutely, since it was not recorded for us, but may surmise that God’s Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, is what kept the unity of the Church and preserved the fidelity of the apostles through that Charism given the Prince of the Apostles: And thou, Peter, once thou art converted, confirm thy brethren (Luke 22:32). That the Pope, despite his human infirmities, would never error in matters of faith and morals was extolled in all the Councils; and the decision of the Pontiff was accepted as the Holy Ghost guiding the Church through papal infallibility. Rome has spoken, the cause is finished, said Augustine (cf. Sermon 131:10). Since Vatican II, the crescendo of erroneous and heretical teachings in the Conciliar Church that have come into existence proves there is no unity, no unique and true worship, no absolute morality within its teachings. The faithful have scattered, and now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time; for the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way. (2 Thess. 2:5, 6).
When England left the Church, only one stayed faithful to Christ, Bishop John Fisher of Rochester. Every other bishop abandoned Christ. The preludes of local apostacy were to prepare us for when even he, who should be the leader, would be the one to deny Christ and cause a universal apostacy.
One may be envious of the times when the Church had a true Shepherd in that office of the Vicar of Christ. What one must know is that Christ will not abandon His Church and those who are faithful to that one faith, one worship (Holy Sacrifice of the Mass), and morality still have Christ present. Those who follow false prophets and false christs find themselves without Christ who comes and dwells with His flock in Holy Mass. One may not have loved an Alexander VI, but he was the Pope and what he said concerning faith and morals all Catholics without exception had to accept. One may not like the priest, but if he is attached to the bishop and placed as assisting shepherd and teaches the faith of the Church, Christ is using Him to unite us to His flock. The priest is the source of the Sacramental life that flows to us in his ministrations. Pray for the shepherds (bishops) of your soul that they not become hirelings who flee at the first sign of danger. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing who devour the souls of the faithful by claiming to speak for the Church when they are not even part of the Church, i.e., under a bishop and priest.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
Mary as Co-Redemptrix
By Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Saint Thomas Aquinas (+1274), imparting the Catholic teaching about merit and grace, from which the understanding of Mary’s role in the Redemption draws, provides the distinction between the work of Christ and the work of Mary and all possessing sanctifying grace (Communion of Saints):
[O]ur works are meritorious from two causes: first, by virtue of the Divine motion; and thus we merit condignly; secondly, according as they proceed from free-will in so far as we do them willingly, and thus they have congruous merit, since it is congruous that when a man makes good use of his power God should by His super-excellent power work still higher things. And therefore it is clear that no one can merit condignly for another his first grace, save Christ alone; since each one of us is moved by God to reach life everlasting through the gift of grace; hence condign merit does not reach beyond this motion. But Christ’s soul is moved by God through grace, not only so as to reach the glory of life everlasting, but so as to lead others to it, inasmuch as He is the Head of the Church, and the Author of human salvation, according to Hebrews 2:10: “Who hath brought many children into glory [to perfect] the Author of their salvation.”
But one may merit the first grace for another congruously; because a man in grace fulfils God’s will, and it is congruous and in harmony with friendship that God should fulfil man’s desire for the salvation of another, although sometimes there may be an impediment on the part of him whose salvation the just man desires. And it is in this sense that the passage from Jeremias (15:1) speaks.
The Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Mary was later instituted to give honor to her Sorrow, beginning with that of her sorrow at the foot of the Cross. Celebrated by local dioceses starting in the year 1413, it was then extended to the whole of the Latin Church by Benedict XIII in 1727—celebrated on the Friday before Palm Sunday. The Servite celebration was also extended to the Latin Church in 1814. The Feast has Saint Bernard’s Sermon quoted above inserted into the readings of the Divine Office and the Stabat Mater inserted as the Sequence of the Mass.
The Seven Holy Servite Founders established their Order in 1239 with a particular devotion to Mary’s sorrows. As the Servites took a vow to be willing to be sold into captivity for the redemption of Christians enslaved to the Mohammedans. These Mohammedan barbarians raided the shores of Europe and seized any young defenseless person they could find, boy or girl, young man or woman, and subjected them to forced conversion, rejection of which sometimes meant the death of the captive. It was to save these young Christians from apostacy that the Servites chose to become slaves themselves. They found consolation in that role Mary performed in the work of our Redemption. The devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary seemed to become popularized as the Franciscan Fra Jacopone da Todi, O.F.M. (+1306) composed the Stabat Mater honoring her sorrows at the foot of the Cross:
AT THE CROSS her station keeping,
Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last;
Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing
Now at length the sword had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that mother highly blessed
Of the sole-begotten one!
Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ’s dear mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender child,
All with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of his own nation
Saw him hang in desolation
Till his spirit forth he sent.
O dear mother! fount of live,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.
Holy mother, pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my saviour crucified.
Let me share with you his pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.
Let me mournful with you be,
Mourning him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.
By the cross with you stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.
Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.
Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of your dying Son sublime.
Wounded with his every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In his very blood away.
To be me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In this awful judgment day.
Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be you Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.
While my body here decays,
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in your eternity. Amen.
In writing about the Rosary, which Pope Leo XIII did frequently, he explained how the mysteries proceed step by step in showing Mary as co-Redemptrix:
The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and, therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in Heaven. Now, this merciful office of hers, perhaps, appears in no other form of prayer so manifestly as it does in the Rosary. For in the Rosary all the part that Mary took as our co-Redemptress comes to us, as it were, set forth, and in such wise as though the facts were even then taking place; and this with much profit to our piety, whether in the contemplation of the succeeding sacred mysteries, or in the prayers which we speak and repeat with the lips. (Encyclical, Jucundus semper, September 8, 1894)
Pope Saint Pius X wrote in his Encyclical, Ad diem illum (February 2, 1904):
Moreover it was not only the prerogative of the Most Holy Mother to have furnished the material of His flesh to the Only Son of God, Who was to be born with human members (S. Bede Ven. L. lv. in Luc. xl.), of which material should be prepared the Victim for the salvation of men; but hers was also the office of tending and nourishing that Victim, and at the appointed time presenting Him for the sacrifice. Hence that uninterrupted community of life and labors of the Son and the Mother, so that of both might have been uttered the words of the Psalmist “My life is consumed in sorrow and my years in groans” (Ps xxx., 11). When the supreme hour of the Son came, beside the Cross of Jesus there stood Mary His Mother, not merely occupied in contemplating the cruel spectacle, but rejoicing that her Only Son was offered for the salvation of mankind, and so entirely participating in His Passion, that if it had been possible she would have gladly borne all the torments that her Son bore (S. Bonav. 1. Sent d. 48, ad Litt. dub. 4). And from this community of will and suffering between Christ and Mary she merited to become most worthily the Reparatrix of the lost world (Eadmeri Mon. De Excellentia Virg. Mariae, c. 9) and Dispensatrix of all the gifts that Our Savior purchased for us by His Death and by His Blood. (Par. 12)
Pope Saint Pius X also indulgenced a prayer, approved by the Holy Office, on January 22, 1914, which includes: Blessed be your holy name, blessed be your sublime prerogitives of true Mother of God, always Virgin, conceived without stain of sin, the coredemptrix of the human race. (Benedice il vostro santo nome, benedice le vostre sublimi prerogative di vera Madre di Dio, sempre Vergine, concepita senza macchia di peccato, di corredentrice del genere umano.—AAS 6, 1914, 108)
His successor, Benedict XV, wrote a Letter on March 22, 1918, to the Association for a Happy Death, in which he states:
The choosing and invoking of Our Lady of Sorrows as patroness of a happy death is in full conformity with Catholic Doctrine and with the pious sentiment of the Church. It is also based on a wise and well-founded hope. In fact, according to the common teaching of the Doctors it was God’s design that the Blessed Virgin Mary, apparently absent from the public life of Jesus, should assist Him when He was dying nailed to the Cross. Mary suffered and, as it were, nearly died with her suffering Son; for the salvation of mankind she renounced her mother’s rights and, as far as it depended on her, offered her Son to placate divine justice; so we may well say that she with Christ redeemed mankind (Scilicet ita cum Filio patiente et moriente passa est et pæne commortua, sic materna in Filium iura pro hominum salute abdicavit placandæque Dei iustitiæ, quantum ad se pertinebat, Filium immolavit, ut dici merito queat, lpsam cum Christo humanum genus redemisse).
Consequently, if the graces which we receive from the treasury of the Redemption are distributed, so to speak, by the hands of this sorrowful Virgin, no one can deny that the grace of a happy death must come from Mary because, in fact, it is by means of this preeminent grace that the work of Redemption reaches its fulfillment in every man. In the same way, the sorrowful Virgin was constituted by Jesus Christ as Mother of all men, and as she received them as a heritage from the infinite love of Jesus, she assumed with maternal love the duty of watching over their spiritual life,—it is evident that she cannot do other than help most devotedly her dearest adopted sons at the hour in which it is necessary to secure for them salvation and sanctity for all eternity. Thus the Church herself, in numerous prayers of the liturgy, constantly begs the Blessed Virgin Mary to grant her merciful assistance to the dying. The faithful also cherish the firm belief, supported by long experience, that all those who seek Mary’s protection will be saved for all eternity. (Litterae Apostolicae, Inter Sodalicia, March 22, 1918, AAS 10, 1918, 182.)
Again, Attwater writes in his entry on Redemption:
The payment of the price of our salvation through the merits and satisfactions of Christ, culminating in the sacrifice of Calvary, by which a boundless treasury of forgiveness and grace was set up, to which treasury nothing was to be added in future ages, is called by theologians the objective Redemption; and they all agree that Mary co-operated remotely in the objective Redemption by being the mother of Christ. The application of the fruits of the objective Redemption is called the subjective Redemption, and in this Mary cooperates through her mediation. But the great majority of theologians also teach that Mary shared proximately or immediately in the objective Redemption with, through, and subordinately to Christ, in paying the once-for-all price of redemption on Calvary itself: proximately, because her mother’s consent was given while the sacrifice of Calvary was being actually accomplished. (238-39)
In the Apostolic Letter, Explorata res, February 2, 1923, Pius XI writes:
. . . nor would he incur eternal death whom the Most Blessed Virgin assists, especially at his last hour. This opinion of the Doctors of the Church, in harmony with the sentiments of the Christian people, and supported by the experience of all times, depends especially on this reason, the fact that the Sorrowful Virgin shared in the work of redemption with Jesus Christ.
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