Good Friday - Mary's Co-Redemptive life

 As the hours pass on Good Friday afternoon, Christ’s painful journey to Calvary is complete. Nailed upon the cross he looks down at the Woman, His mother, and in a penultimate act of His redemptive death He gives her to the Church, and the Church to Her. St. John writes: “When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.”

    This act is not merely symbolic, as some – in an attempt to downplay the role of Mary – would have us believe. The Mother of God is not an ‘extra’ or a mere passer-by watching this bloody crucifixion. She is an essential ‘character’ in the most profound drama that the world has ever seen. Indeed, this is the culmination of her role as Co-Redemptrix; a role which she assumed at the Annunciation when she uttered her fiat to the angel Gabriel; a role which is so completely intertwined with her role as Mother of God.

Mary is intimately united with Christ’s work of Redemption

At the moment of her Annunciation, the Fathers and theologians teach that Mary was aware of the sorrow and utmost pain which she was to endure. She was aware of the intimate role which she would play in accompanying Her Son in His redemptive suffering and death. To all this, she then said yes, not merely passively accepting, but actively willing all that God willed for her and her Divine Son.

    From the instant of the Annunciation, her life became one devoted to the workings of the salvation, not motivated by visions of self-glory, but by acts of sacrificial love. 

    St. Alphonsus Ligouri portrays the meeting between the two on the road to Calvary, in his Glories of Mary: “At length they looked at each other. The Son wiped from his eyes the clotted blood, which, as it was revealed to St. Bridget, prevented Him from seeing, and looked at His Mother; and the Mother looked at her Son. Ah, looks of bitter grief, which as so many arrows, pierced through and through those two beautiful and loving souls.”

    Now, standing resolutely beside the cross on Calvary, Mary unites herself with Christ as the final moments of the Passion drag out. Tradition teaches also that Mary was not overcome with grief so as to allow herself to swoon or faint, as some of the romantics have portrayed in art. Rather, she emptied herself of any consolation, filling herself with the pain of uniting herself consciously, whole-heartedly, and completely with Christ, in every moment of His Passion.

    St. Bernard expounds on the depths of sorrow endured by the Mother who would not allow herself to abandon her Son, even though her presence caused them both the utmost sorrow. “Near the cross of Christ His Mother stood half-dead; she spoke not; dying she lived, and living she died; nor could she for death was her very life.”

The remainder of today's blog is found at its original place of publication, on LifeSiteNews.


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