In Defense of Mary Mediatrix of all Graces

By Mark Miravalle

Dr. Mark Miravalle is a professor of theology at the University of Steubenville, Ohio, and is the founder of Vox Populi, the international lay movement spearheading the petition campaign for the papal declaration of the proposed 5th Marian dogma of Mary as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Below are excerpts from his book “Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion” (Queenship, 1993).

Objection: How can it be said that all graces of Christ come to humanity through Mary, if we consider a) the saving graces of Christ applied to humanity before the time of the Redemption; and b) the sanctifying grace which, according to the infallible teaching of the Church, is produced automatically in the souls of those who properly receive the sacraments?

Response: a) After the Redemption of Christ Mary distributes the graces of her Son at least as a "secondary moral cause," by her willed acts which are always subordinate and in conformity with Jesus the Redeemer and Mediator of grace.

As for those people living before the Redemption of Christ, they received graces through Mary's mediation with Mary as a "final cause." In other words, in view of the future merits and intercession of Mary by virtue of her participation with her Son in the world's Redemption, Mary also mediated graces to those living before the Redemption. Because Mary had an exalted participation in the Incarnation and Redemption of Jesus, which merited the graces of Redemption, she can be seen as having a secondary mediating effect in all those who receive the saving graces of Jesus, which necessarily include the saved of the Old Testament.

b) As for the sanctifying grace which the sacraments automatically confer, Mary nonetheless mediates it in several ways. First, Mary mediates the grace of the sacraments by being Mother of Jesus, the Author of Grace and the First Sacrament to the world. Secondly, Mary mediates the grace of the sacraments by her role as Co-redemptrix. By Mary's direct and meritorious participation in the Redemption of the world by Jesus Christ, she shares in the acquisition of the graces of Calvary which are distributed through the sacraments of the Church. So in this foundational and pivotal manner, Mary mediates the grace of the sacraments through her association with Christ.

Thirdly, it is through Mary's direct mediation that we receive the actual graces to desire the reception of the sacraments and to prepare us for worthy reception of the sacraments. Through Mary's direct distribution of actual graces, we receive a temporary enlightening of the mind and strengthening of the will to perform the meritorious acts of receiving the sacraments, which constitute the spiritual backbone of the Christian life. Mary's mediating presence is at every baptismal font, leading people by actual graces into the sacramental life of Jesus Christ and the Church.

Moreover, Mary's profound union with the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, leads to her role as Mediatrix of every grace bestowed to the human family. As St. Maximilian Kolbe taught, the Holy Spirit is so deeply united to Mary in the work of sanctification, that their inexpressible spousal union resembles (without fully reaching it) the union of the divine nature and human nature in the one person of Christ. And since the Holy Spirit always acts through the Virgin Mary in His sanctifying action, then all graces must come through Mary as Mediatrix of all graces. As St. Maximilian Kolbe describes:

The union between the Immaculata and the Holy Spirit is so inexpressible, yet so perfect, that the Holy Spirit acts only by the Most Blessed Virgin, His spouse. This is why she is the Mediatrix of all grace given by the Holy Spirit. (2)

Again, many prominent mariologists of the twentieth century (Garrigou-LaGrange, O.P., Roschini, O.S.M., Cardinal Lepicier, O.S.M., Hugan, O.P., etc.) propose Mary's physical instrumentality in the distribution of graces. One author explains Mary's mediation of the grace of the sacraments in this more proximate and direct way: "Grace begins in the Divine Nature (of Jesus), passes through the Sacred Humanity of Christ (a physical instrument), passes through Mary (also a physical instrument), and finally passes through the sacrament (also a physical instrument)." (3)

Through her foundational role as Mother of the Redeemer and Co-redemptrix, Mary's role as Mediatrix of all graces inclusively extends to the precious graces of the sacraments of the Church.

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