Virgin Mary Co-Mediatrix30 Nov 2015, by Mater Dei in
The Catholic Church has so many titles for the most beautiful and wonderful woman God ever created, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am so proud of these titles, even though we cannot give her enough. One of the titles is “Co-Mediatrix.” This particular title sounds like what should be reserved for Christ alone because he is the only mediator between the Father and us. It is written that For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time (1Timothy 2:5-6). The writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 12:24). The Catholic Church is not in any way contesting this fact; she can’t even contest it because Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. That is why the Church explains her teaching in the dogmatic constitution “Lumen Gentium” of the Second Vatican Council that in using the term “Mediatrix” for Mary, she is not equating Mary with Jesus, neither is she reducing the power and authority of Jesus. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator. Jesus alone is the Lord and saviour of the world.
In Catholic Mariology, the term “Mediatrix” refers to Mary’s intercessory role in the redemption by her Son Jesus Christ. The Marian Mediation or intercession is visibly strong in Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Oriental Orthodoxy. However, I must quickly differentiate between “Co-Mediatrix” and “mediatrix of all Graces.
When the Church uses the term “Co-Mediatrix” for the Blessed Virgin Mary, she talks about Mary’s intercessory role, and her co-operation with God in the redemption won by her Son Jesus Christ. This redemption was planed the very moment man fell in the garden of Eden. By this fall, man separated himself from God, but God did not abandon man to die in his sin. Immediately after the fall, God promised that the Seed of “the woman” shall bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). Throughout the Old Testament, the prophets talked about how God would restore Israel’s hope, how a stock would grow in the house of David, and how a virgin will conceive and bear a Son. These are all prophecies about the Blessed Virgin Mary and her role in the redemption of man.
When the fullness of time came, God did not impose the role on Mary. Mary had the choice to say no to the role, but she rather said Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. (Lk. 1:38). This Marian consent or “yes” is what in Latin we call “fiat.” Mary agreed to co-operate with God in his plan to save the world. She conceived in her womb and gave birth to the saviour of the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. She nursed the child, and since then has never stopped playing the role of a mother in his life and the life of the Church. At her intercession in Cana, Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine. Mary still intercedes for us, and she continues to co-operate with her Son-God, the redeemer of the world. She is the mother of her own creator; what a mystery! No wonder the Angel Gabriel said to her, “you are highly favourd.”
Mediatrix is an ancient title for Mary used in the 4th century in a prayer connected to Ephrem the Syrian. In the 5th century, the usage of this title for Mary was also strongly connected to Basil of Seleucia and eventually to us today. Despite some theological war against the Catholic Mariology, our fathers’ faith will not die in our generation and will never die. From generation to generation, Mary must be called blessed (Lk. 1:48).
The title “Mediatrix of all Graces” on the other hand is not used in the Lumen Gentium. It is more of a localized devotion amongst the Filipino Catholics that has gradually spread around the world. The title came from an alleged apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Teresita Castillo with the title “Mary Mediatrix of all Graces. This title goes beyond the Co-Mediatrix to emphasize that all Graces come to us from Jesus through Mary. It is a title that raised a lot of theological arguments among Catholic theologians. But no matter what anyone says, Mary’s role in our salvation cannot be watered down. She is the Mother of Jesus and will continue to play her role as the Mother of Jesus and the Church.