Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dr. Miravalle's Response To 7 Common Objections To Mary As Co-Redemptrix: Objection 6

Objection 6: On a more speculative theological level, it appears that Mary cannot participate in the acquisition of the graces of redemption—or "objective redemption"—as the Co-redemptrix when she herself needed to be redeemed. If she did cooperate in objective redemption, it is because without her, objective redemption has not been accomplished. But if objective redemption has indeed not been accomplished, then she herself cannot benefit from it personally. This would be to accept that at the same time objective redemption is in the act of being accomplished and has already been accomplished, which would be a contradiction.

This apparent contradiction is removed with the proper understanding of how Mary received what is called "preservative redemption" in light of the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ on the cross.

It is true that Mary needed to be "redeemed" in order to actively participate in the process of Redemption as the sinless partner, the New Eve, with and under Jesus Christ, the New Adam. To have original sin or its effects would not allow Mary to be completely united with the Redeemer and in "enmity" or complete opposition from Satan and his seed of sin and its effects (cf. Gen. 3:15) in the redeeming process of "buying back" the human family from Satan and restoring grace to humanity. Any sin on Mary's part would attribute to her a "double-agency," in being in some part united both to the Redeemer and to Satan. Therefore Mary, as a daughter of Adam and Eve by virtue of her humanity, needed to be redeemed in the form of being preserved from sin and its effects in order to rightly perform the task of Co-redemptrix with the Redeemer in the process of universal objective redemption.

In the papal definition of Mary's Immaculate Conception by Bl. Pope Pius IX in 1854, it states that Mary, from the first instant of her conception was freed from original sin and all its effects "in view of the merits of Jesus Christ." (65) This refers to the higher or "more sublime manner" in which Mary was redeemed, beyond all other children of Adam and Eve. In Mary's redemption, she did not have to suffer the experience of original sin and its effects, but rather through the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ at Calvary, was preserved from any experience or effect of original sin, and is thereby redeemed in a more sublime manner (and consequently, for this reason, owes more to her saving Son's redemption than any other redeemed creature).

How then specifically is Mary's redemption in the higher form of preservation from sin enacted so as to allow her to historically participate in objective redemption? This more sublime manner of redemption takes place at Calvary in the fact that the first intention of the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ, (66) according to the providential plan of the Father, was to redeem his own mother, (accomplished in view of the redemption and co-redemption which would then ransom from Satan and sin the rest of the human family).

This first intention of the Redeemer to redeem Mary is in itself another manifestation of the higher and more sublime manner of Mary's redemption. The graces of this first intention of the Redeemer are then applied to Mary at the moment of her Immaculate Conception, allowing her then to become the sinless Co-redemptrix, the historical New Eve, in the objective historic redemption of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Jesus Christ first redeemed his own mother (applied to her at the moment of her conception, preserving her from sin) and then with her active co-redemption the rest of humanity at Calvary.

Therefore there is no contradiction in the historic role of the Co-redemptrix in the objective redemption at Calvary and Mary's own personal need and receipt of the graces of redemption. In virtue of her Immaculate Conception, (redemptive graces applied to her at conception in view of the future merits of Jesus Christ at Calvary), and as the first intention of Jesus Christ's redemptive sacrifice, Mary was then able to uniquely participate in the historic redemption of the rest of humanity with her Redeemer Son. As Fr. Galot well summarizes:

The first intention of the redemptive sacrifice was concerned, according to the divine plan, with the ransom of Mary, accomplished in view of our ransom...Thus, while she was associated in the sacrifice of Calvary, Mary already benefited, in advance, from the fruits of the sacrifice and acted in the capacity of a ransomed creature. But she truly cooperated in the objective redemption, in the acquisition of the graces of salvation for all of mankind. Her redemption was purchased before that of other human beings. Mary was ransomed only by Christ, so that mankind could be ransomed with the collaboration of his mother...

Hence there is no contradiction: Marian co-redemption implies the foreseen redemption of Mary, but not the foreseen fulfillment of the redemption of mankind; it expresses the unique situation of the mother who, while having received a singular grace from her own Son, cooperates with Him in the attainment of salvation for all.

Still other theological schools prefer to distinguish the general notion of redemption into the two categories of "preservation" and "ransoming." Since Mary was never technically under the slavery of Satan's bondage since she never experienced sin, then the term "ransom" is less accurate for her, as it infers returning someone from a previous slavery. Hence the term, "preservation" or preservative redemption may more accurately distinguish the uniqueness of Mary's need to be redeemed by Christ first and as a daughter of Adam and Eve, but does not infer that she was ever under Satan's slavery of sin, illustrative of her higher form of preservative redemption and her subsequent participation in the true "ransoming" of the rest of humanity.

Does this primordial intention of Jesus Christ to redeem his mother and then, as subsequent intention, the rest of humanity violate the "one sacrifice" of Jesus Christ offered for all as discussed in Hebrews (cf. Heb. 10:10)? It does not, as the redemption remains one, although its intentions and efficacious applications are twofold. The one redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary does not constitute "two redemptions," but one sublime redemption with two saving applications: the first application effecting the Immaculate Conception of Mary and thus preparing her to be the Co-redemptrix in her cooperation in objective redemption; the second application effecting the redemption of the human family accomplished with the Co-redemptrix.

In his homily on the Feast of Immaculate Conception in the cathedral in Krakow, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla (the present pontiff) well summarized this Marian truth: "In order to be the Co-redemptrix, she was first the Immaculate Conception."

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