Is Mary Mediatrix of All Graces?
by Arthur Policarpio
Back when my grandmother was still alive, my dad used to give her communion every week in the home of my aunt where she lived. On usual Sunday afternoons, she would usually stay in her rocking chair, watching TV, praying the rosary, or simply dozing off. My dad would usually sneak up behind her unnoticed, silently wrap his arms around her from the back, and kiss her on that most sensitive part of her body - her ears. Immediately, she would squeal, try to wriggle out, wrestle with the iron grip, all to no avail.
After the “ordeal”, my dad, meek as a lamb, would get the usual motherly scolding as has been the case for the last fifty plus years of his life. “Ikaw talaga!”, she would say. My dad, “the boss” in the office, is simply no match for his boss, our grandmother.
Ah, truly, the magical power of the mother over her children.
The Divine Way
Even our Creator, the Master of the universe, subjected Himself to a Mother.
Stop for a while and consider that thought. God could have chosen to come to earth by a multitude of means. He could have opened up the heavens, rode down in a blazing chariot, accompanied by millions of powerful angels. And yet, He chose to come through Our Lady.
Why to go the world through Mary? Why spend nine months in the womb of the Virgin? Why be totally reliant for everything on Mary – for food, nourishment, warmth, protection, security, living a life totally subject to Mary?
Why spend thirty years with Mary, and only three years with the rest of the world?
Dispenser of All Graces
The very first miracle of Our Lord was made through the request of Our Lady. Through the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, Our Lady showed, in a very powerful way, the full meaning of the doctrine of Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces. Mary intercedes for us with God and obtains for us the graces we need for our daily lives, and most especially for our salvation.
This is the second jewel in the crown of Our Lady that is the proposed fifth Marian Dogma of Mary as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Mary is Mediatrix of All Graces. It means that ALL GRACES of EVERY AGE bestowed by God to mankind pass through the hands of Mary.
But what exactly do we mean by “grace”? Leo Trese, in the book “The Faith Explained”, says that: "…grace is an interior supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation."
Graces are interior gifts bestowed on us by God, THROUGH OUR LADY, to help us to be holy and thus attain eternal life. Graces are those divine impulses, those flashes of spiritual energy that oftentimes impel us to do good rather than bad. Without grace, we will be no match against the subtle snares of the devil.
And without Our Lady, the ONLY dispenser of graces, the only treasurer of graces, the prospect of winning the war against Satan for our personal salvation is definitely bleak, if not downright impossible. St. Antoninus once wrote: "Whoever asks and expects to obtain graces without the intercession of Mary, endeavors to fly without wings."
Mediatrix in Church Tradition
As early as the fourth century, Church fathers and saints have called Mary “Mediatrix”. In the fourth century. St. Ephraem said: "With the Mediator, you are the Mediatrix of the entire world.” Antipater of Bostra, one of the Fathers of the Council of Ephesus (AD 431), wrote: "Hail you who acceptably intercede as a Mediatrix for mankind.”
Numerous doctors of the Church, mystics, saints and writers throughout history lavished praises on Mary as Mediatrix, among them:
Eighth Century, St. Germanus: "None is ever granted any gift, except through thee, O most chaste; no grace of mercy is ever shown to anyone, but through thee, O most worthy of all veneration.”
Thirteenth Century, St. Albert the Great: "The Blessed Virgin is very properly called ‘gate of heaven’ for every created or uncreated grace that ever came or will ever come into the world came through her.”
Fifteenth Century, St. Bernardine of Siena: "This is the process of divine graces: from God they flow to Christ, from Christ to His mother and from her to the Church."
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
The truth about Our Lady's special role as Mediatrix of All Graces was dramatically and emphatically reinforced in the Church-approved apparition of the Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
On November 27, l 830, Our Lady appeared to Sister Catherine Laboure in France and asked that a medal be struck in her honor. The image of the medal, called "miraculous medal" because of the numerous miracles attributed to it throughout history, is an exact representation of the apparition as seen by Sister Catherine.
The significance of the apparition is that Our Lady essentially gave us, through the eyes of Sister Catherine, a visual representation of her role as Mediatrix of All Graces, and asked that a medal be carved of that vision. The vision clearly depicted her role as Mediatrix, with graces emanating from her hands as brilliant rays of light.
We recount here the exact words of Sister Catherine in describing the vision:
…[Our Lady's] Feet rested on a white globe, that is to say half a globe, or at least I saw only half. There was also a serpent, green in color with yellow spots.
[Our Lady's] hands were raised to the height of the stomach and held, in a very relaxed manner and as if offering it to God, a golden ball surmounted with a little golden cross, which represented the world. Her eyes were now raised to heaven, now lowered. Her face was of such beauty that I could not describe it.
All at once I saw rings on her fingers, three rings to each finger, the largest one near the base of the finger, one of medium size in the middle, the smallest one at the tip. Each ring was set with gems, some more beautiful than others; the larger gems emitted greater rays and the smaller gems, smaller rays; the rays bursting from all sides flooded the base, so that I could not longer see the feet of the Blessed Virgin...
"They are the symbols of the graces I shed upon those who ask for them."
This made me realize how right it was to pray to the Blessed Virgin and how generous she was to those who pray to her, what graces she gave to those who asked for them, what joy she had in giving them.
“The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask.”
At this moment, I was so overjoyed that I no longer knew where I was. A frame, slightly oval in shape, formed round the Blessed Virgin. Within it was written in letters of gold: O MARY, CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN, PRAY FOR US WHO HAVE RECOURSE TO THEE.
Our Lady's Fool
St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Franciscan priest who died a martyr on August 14, 1941 in the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp where, moved with compassion, he had offered to die in the place of a man who had a family. His death was the culmination of a life lived in total dedication to the Blessed Virgin. He fondly called himself “Our Lady's fool”, for he would do anything for the Virgin.
Maximilian is the founder of the Militia Immaculata, a worldwide Marian movement of whom Dr. Mark Miravalle is a member; Miravalle is founder of the Vox Populi Movement that is currently spearheading the petition drive for the declaration of the fifth Marian Dogma.
Miravalle has stated that his Vox Populi Movement is not really a new movement, for in a very real sense, the twentieth century petition movement to declare Mary as Co-redemptrix, and in particular Mediatrix, was forcefully advocated as early as the 1930s by the great Maximilian Kolbe. Maximilian provided the theological framework to be used by Miravalle and other present theologians in defending the dogma.
Why is Mary Mediatrix of All Graces? To answer this question, Maximilian argued that it is important to understand the roles of the different Persons of the Holy Trinity, in particular the Holy Spirit, and to understand the relationship of the Virgin to the Spirit. While God the Father is the “Creator” and God the Son is the "Redeemer", the Holy Spirit is the "Sanctifier". The Holy Spirit's role is to make us holy. He does this by giving us the necessary graces we need. All graces bought by Christ by His death on Calvary are distributed by the Spirit who is the Sanctifier.
However, the Holy Spirit is intimately united with the Blessed Mother, so much so that the Blessed Mother is properly called the "Spouse of the Holy Spirit" (Lk 1:28,35,41,42; Acts 1: 14,2:4). The Sanctifier has sanctified the Virgin Mary to such an extent that she is perfect - stainless, free from any sin, the Immaculate Conception.
Mary is the crowning glory, the masterpiece of the Holy Spirit in His work of sanctification. So perfect is this union between the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin that through such a mystical union, they brought to this world the Source of All Graces: Jesus Christ. As the angel said to Mary during the annunciation: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you..." (Luke 1:35-36).
Because of this perfect union between the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Spirit acts only by and through the Immaculata, His spouse. The Blessed Virgin, therefore, is the instrument of the Holy Spirit in their one, unified mission of sanctification: that is, in the work of making people holy through the distribution of graces. Since all the graces of the Redemption come to the world through Mary, His spouse, then Mary is rightly seen as the Mediatrix of all graces.
Mediatrix and Pope John Paul II
The late Pope John Paul II was a firm believer in the doctrine of Mary Mediatrix of All Graces, as evidenced by his numerous writings and pronouncements on the subject. In a general audience held on September 24, 1997, the Pope said:
...the Christian people invoke Mary as Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix. She intercedes for us, defends and protects us; she assists us in our needs; she supports those who are falling; and she presents our prayers to Christ, pleading continually on our behalf.
The Pope has extensively written about Mary's role as Mediatrix even in his most official writings. In his 1987 Encyclical entitled Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer), the Pope explains that Mary is Mediatrix because of her divine Motherhood:
... Mary's mediation is intimately linked with her motherhood.
... With the redeeming death of her Son, the maternal mediation of the handmaid of the Lord took on a universal dimension, for the work of redemption embraces the whole of humanity ... Mary's cooperation shares, in its subordinate character, in the universality of the mediation of the Redeemer, the one Mediator.
Major Objection: Jesus, the One Mediator?
Opponents of the doctrine, particularly our non-Catholic brethren, cite the famous passage from Timothy, saying that Mary cannot be Mediatrix because Jesus is the ONLY mediator between God and men: "...for there is but one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as redemption" (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
To clarify, however, the Greek word used for "one" in the passage is eis, which means "first" or "primary" not monos, which means "only" or "sole". Pope John Paul II, in a general audience (Oct 1, 1997), clarified the meaning of this passage:
Saint Paul proclaims Christ as the only mediator (cf l Tim 2:5-63, and excludes any type of parallel mediation, but he does not rule out subordinate mediation. In fact, everyone is called to co-operate with Christ in the work of salvation. Mary's maternal mediation derives from Christ's. It is not an obstacle to Christ's unique and perfect mediation, but highlights its fruitfulness and efficacy.
The passage, therefore, does not exclude the possibility of ANOTHER intercessor, between Jesus Himself and men - Our Blessed Mother, the Mediatrix. Jesus, after all, IS ALSO GOD! Do we not need an intercessor with Jesus Himself, who is God, equal in all respects with the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit? St. Louis de Montfort, in his book "True Devotion to Mary" (a book which, incidentally, was one of the greatest influences in the life of Pope John Paul II) argued that we need Mary to intercede for us with the Mediator Himself:
But do we not need a mediator with the Mediator Himself?
Is our purity so great that we could be united to Christ directly, and by ourselves? Is Christ not God, equal to the Father in all things? Is He not the Holy of Holies and as worthy of respect as His Father?
Highway to Heaven
We have often been told that it is not easy to go to heaven. And indeed it is not easy, for how can it be easy given our fallen human nature, and given the sheer power of the enemy who constantly attacks our intellects, hardens our hearts, and breaks down our wills? But despite our fallen nature, despite the power of the enemy, there is a shortcut. There is a faster route, a faster way: Our Lady, the Mediatrix.
Mary was the highway used by God to reach us. Jesus spent thirty private years with her and only three with the rest of mankind. She was the ONLY way chosen by God to go to us. If such is the case, can there be a BETTER way to God than the way of Mary? What better way to reach the Son than through the mother? What better way to reach God than through Our Lady, the Mediatrix, the sole treasurer and distributor of all the graces of heaven? In "True Devotion to Mary," St. Louis de Montfort beautifully sums it up:
Give me a new road to Christ; one paved, say with all the merits of the blessed, and adorned with their heroic virtues; one lighted by the beauty of the angels; one peopled with all the saints and angels to guide, help, and protect the travelers; give me such a road and I will still choose that of the Virgin. Amen, amen, I boldly say, I prefer the Immaculate road, the one without faults of any kind, without original or actual sin, the one without darkness or even shadows.
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