Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Palm Sunday—28 March AD 2021
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Holy Saturday - Easter Vigil

Mary is the co-Redemptrix

    It has long been my custom not to preach a sermon on Palm Sunday—the readings are eloquent in themselves, and of course they are rather long in the traditional rite.  But just this past week, the “usual suspect” made some remarks about the Blessed Virgin Mary that can’t be allowed to go unchallenged.[1]

    The same people who contrive to make the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass seem less sacrificial (and, therefore, more acceptable to Protestants) are those who would like to reduce the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of the Church.  This is due to the misconception many Protestants have of Catholicism's understanding of her role.  Many mistakenly claim that we place Mary above her Divine Son in importance, and even that we worship her as a sort of “god” or “goddess.” To be sure, the Church teaches neither of these things!

    What the Church teaches is that, first of all, Mary is a mediator (“Mediatrix”) between mankind and her Divine Son.  This is pretty clear from the Gospels.

    Just after Epiphany, the Sunday Gospel described her intercession with her Divine Son on behalf of the bridal couple at Cana in Galilee.  It is instructive to recall that her intercession was not even asked for.  Of her own accord she recognized that running out of wine at their wedding would be very embarrassing for the couple.  Knowing the power of her Son, and His love for her, she simply told Him: “They have no wine.”  She knew that His “time had not yet come” but just standing there, looking at Him, was enough to get Him started giving directions to the waiters—directions that would turn common water into the “best wine they had ever tasted!”[2]

    Now, if the Mother of God could be concerned with the lack of a little wine, how much more must she be concerned with what we men and women lack in our spiritual lives?!  Remember that Mary was one of us—a human being with intellect and free will—she understood the difficulties that men and women face in our relationship with God.

    Beyond her role as Mediatrix, Catholics must recognize a very special role of the Blessed Virgin in her Son's work of Redemption.  She is our co-Redemptrix.  Just last Thursday we celebrated the feast of the Annunciation, and in the Gospel of that feast (Luke i:26-38) we learned that Mary had been chosen as the woman of Genesis iii to “bring forth a Son who would crush the head of the devil.”  She is the maiden of Isaias vii—with her consent, the Holy Ghost would “overshadow” her and the “Holy One  to be born of her would be known as the Son of God. In the end, she gave her consent: “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum—be it done to me according to Thy word.”  In doing so, Mary became the spouse of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, and the Mother of the Second!  Christ could redeem the human race because, through the Blessed Virgin He became truly human in addition to being Divine.  Clearly unique is Mary’s part in bringing about our Redemption.

    While most of the Apostles fled, Mary accompanied her Son to the Cross on Calvary.  Beyond meeting Him at the fourth Station of the Cross, she stood beneath that Cross, jointly offering with Him His sacrificial death, as the “sword of sorrow” predicted by Simeon “pierced her heart.”[3]  Because of this “sword of sorrow,” we often refer to Mary as “Queen of Martys—those who freely united their own death with the death of Christ on the Cross

    “The term «co-redemptrix» implies Mary had a subordinate but essential participation in the redemption of souls because of her free consent to give life to Christ, through which she shared His life, suffering and death.”[4]

    We are a “Rosary church,” so it seems most appropriate to quote the words of the saintly Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Iucunda Semper Expectatione dedicated to our Lady’s Rosary: “In the Rosary all the part that Mary took as our co-Redemptrix 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.”[5]

    With the assurance of no less a man than Pope Leo XIII, we can be sure that Mary is our co-Redemptrix.

    But, now, returning to Palm Sunday, I  ask you to ponder two things.

    The first is the fickleness of human nature.  At the blessing of the Palms, we encounter a jubilant crowd welcoming Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem, less than one week before that same crowd began yelling to Pontius Pilate, “Crucify Him, crucify Him ... Let His blood be upon us and our children.”  We must always be on our guard, for we too share this fickleness.  We can be, at one moment, the truly pious followers of our Lord, but in the next moment we can become followers of the Devil himself.  We must always be on our guard.

    The second thing is the connection of the Last Supper with the Sacrifice of the Cross.  You don't see the connection so clearly in some of the modern abridgements of the Passion Gospels, so it is important that we read them in full, as will be done by traditional Catholics all over the world this Holy Week:

    Sunday:  (Matthew 26 & 27)  Tuesday:  (Mark 14 & 15)  Wednesday: (Luke 22 & 23)  On Thursday and Friday, the actual days of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, the Church has us read the account of the Last Supper alone (John 13: 1-15 and 1 Corinthians 11: 20-32) and has us consecrate and reserve an additional large Host, which will remain at the Altar of Repose until the priest receives It in Holy Communion at the Liturgy of the Presanctified on Good Friday after the reading of Saint John's Gospel account of the Crucifixion (John 18 & 19).

    So, throughout the week we are reminded both of our own human frailty, and of the great Sacrificial action of our Lord on the Cross which is re-presented for us each time we offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Let's listen now to Saint Matthew's account of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.




Dei via est íntegra


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