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Mary’s sacrifice co-redeemed us with Jesus

6 min • Digitized on August 17, 2021

From The Glories of Mary, page 467
By St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thus Mary not only offered her Son to death in the temple, but was offering him up at every moment of her life; for she revealed to St. Bridget, that this grief which St. Simeon announced to her, never left her heart till she was assumed into heaven.

Hence St. Anselm says: Oh Lady, I cannot believe, that with such a sorrow thou wouldst have been able to live one moment, if God himself, who gives life, had not strengthened thee by his divine power.

And St. Bernard affirms, speaking of the great sorrow that Mary endured on this day, that hence forth she suffered a living death, bearing a grief more cruel than death.

She lived, dying at every moment, because grief for the death of her beloved Jesus, which was more cruel than any death, was at every moment assailing her.

The divine mother then, on account of the great merit she acquired in this great sacrifice, which she made to God for the salvation of the world, was justly called by St. Augustine: The restorer of the human race. By St. Epiphanius: The redeemer of captives. By St. Ildephonsus: The restorer of the ruined world. By St. Germanus: The consolation of our miseries. By St. Ambrose: The mother of all believers. By St. Augustine: The mother of the living. By St. Andrew of Crete: The mother of life.

For, as St. Arnold Carnotensis says: In the death of Jesus, Mary united her will to that of her Son in such a manner, that both offered the same sacrifice; and therefore the holy abbot says, that thus the Son and the mother effected human redemption, obtaining salvation for men. Jesus by satisfying for our sins, Mary by obtaining for us that this satisfaction should be applied to us.

And hence blessed Denis the Carthusian likewise affirms, that the divine mother may be called the salvation of the world, since by the pain she endured in commiserating her Son (voluntarily sacrificed by her to divine justice), she merited that the merits of the Redeemer should be communicated to men.

Mary, then, having been made the mother of all the redeemed, by the merit of her sufferings, and of the offering of her Son; it is just to believe that only by her hand may be given them the milk of those divine graces, which are the fruits of the merits of Jesus Christ, and the means to obtain life eternal.

And it is to this that St. Bernard alludes, when he says that God has placed in the hands of Mary the whole price of our redemption. By which the saint gives us to understand, that by means of the intercession of the blessed Virgin, the merits of the Redeemer are applied to souls, as by her hand these graces are dispensed, which are precisely the price of the merits of Jesus Christ.

And if the sacrifice of Abraham in offering up to him his son Isaac so pleased God that he promised, as a reward, to multiply his descend ants as the stars of heaven: “Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake, I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven;” we must certainly believe that the more remarkable sacrifice which this great mother made of Jesus was much more agreeable to the Lord, and, therefore, it has been granted her, that by her prayers, the number of the elect should be multiplied, that is, the favored succession of her children, for she holds and protects as such her devoted servants.

St. Simeon received a promise from God that he should not die until he had seen the Messiah born: “And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.” But he did not receive this grace except by means of Mary, for he did not see the Saviour until he saw him in the arms of Mary.

Hence, whoever wishes to find Jesus, will not find him except through Mary.

Let us, then, go to this divine mother if we wish to find Jesus; and let us go with great confidence. Mary said to her servant Prudentiana Zagnoni, that every year, on this day of the purification, a great mercy would be shown to some sinner. Who knows but one of us may to-day be that favored sinner? If our sins are great, greater is the power of Mary.

The Son can deny nothing to this mother, says St. Bernard. If Jesus is offended with us, Mary immediately appeases him.

Plutarch relates that Antipater wrote to Alexander the Great a long letter of accusations against Olympias, the mother of Alexander. Having read the letter, he answered: “Does not Antipater know that one tear of my mother is enough to cancel an endless number of letters of accusation?”

Thus we may imagine Jesus would also answer to the accusations which the devil presents him against us when Mary is praying him for us: Does not Lucifer know that one prayer of my mother, in favor of a sinner, is enough to make me forget all the accusations of offences committed against me? The following example is a proof of this.

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