Pope Paul VI placed St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe “among the great Saints and enlightened spirits who have understood, venerated and sung the mystery of Mary,” (1) and Pope John Paul II placed in relief the prophetic vision and great value of St. Maximilian’s life and Mariology for the Church today. (2) Consequently, St. Maximilian’s Mariological doctrine has already been the subject of studies at the highest level of systematic research and scholarship. (3) With regards to his doctrine on Marian Coredemption, there is a detailed study by L. Iammorrone. (4)
St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe († 1941)
The coredemptive thought of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe is of great value for several reasons. He was our contemporary, and more importantly, was a great mystic and Marian theologian, besides being such an extraordinary apostle and missionary of the Immaculate as to be called the “Fool of the Immaculate,” (5) and to be defined by the Ven. Fr. Gabriel Allegra, his contemporary, as an “Apostle of the end times,” (6) recalling the thought of St. Louis Mary Grignon de Montfort. (7)
It has been written, and rightly so, that “if there is an aspect of the mystery of Mary especially fitting to the life and work of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, it is certainly the coredemptive aspect of the person and mission of the Immaculate in God’s salvific plan of love” (1).
The mystery of Mary Coredemptrix is present in the life and writings of St. Pio of Pietrelcina at the highest levels of mystical experience which he lived out in body and soul, and of the theologia cordis transmitted by him to his spiritual children in the language of that wisdom transcending by far a language limited to the solely notional and conceptual (2).
St. Pio of Pietrelcina in the first place lived the mystery of Marian Coredemption in his exceptional mystical experience of the Passion of Christ Crucified, of which he bore the living and bleeding stigmata in his body for fifty entire years, from 1918 to 1968. He became an “imprinted reproduction of the wounds of the Lord,” according to the happy expression of Pope Paul VI (3). In this exceptional mystical experience he co-immolated himself with Christ, assimilating himself in a most extensive and profound manner to the Mother Coredemptrix who immolates herself with the Son on the Cross in order to bring to pass the universal Redemption (4). It has been written that, “Padre Pio penetrated the sorrows of Mary and participated in them, mirrored them, relived them; as his soul had been a partaker in the sorrows of the Passion, so too he had the gift of participating in the sorrows of Mary” (5).
St. Luke is the true artist of the Virgin Mary. We should be grateful to him because he has sketched for us the sober, lovely features of our Lady, recounting for us those important episodes that illumine the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation. As a diligent and faithful historian, he carefully researched the events and stories reported in his Gospel, thus guaranteeing that what we read truly occurred and is solidly documented. (1)
But what were the sources of the information contained in the first two chapters of the Gospel of St. Luke? The one certain response is this: only Mary most holy was the protagonist and depository of the events narrated in the “infancy Gospel.” She was the “eyewitness,” says Laurentin. (2) Only she, then, is the source; only she is the matrix of the narratives reported in the first two chapters of St. Luke and of St. Matthew: “Mary was the only witness of the Annunciation,” writes Testa, “the principal protagonist of the other events.” (3)
Comprehensive theological analysis of the relationship between the “Fatima-event” and the mystery of Redemption-Coredemption is a most valuable research endeavor. It is an undertaking capable of generating understanding of all the “Fatima” happenings in light of the great, divine plan of the history of salvation, rooted in the mysteries of the Incarnation of the Word and of universal redemption.
What we can say straight away, though, is that the Redemption and the Coredemption—which constitute the greatest divine work, after Creation—run together like the two rails of one railway track, uniting the Redeemer and the Coredemptrix to one another, according to God’s plan, with a “close and indissoluble tie,” as Lumen Gentium (LG) n. 53 says. It is a concept of unity and indissolubility that draws upon the phrase “uno eodemque decreto—with one and the same decree” in Pope Pius IX’s Bull Ineffabilis Deus, for the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, eternally predestined together with the Incarnate Word of God.
Regarding the concepts of redemption and coredemption and the dogmatic content of the same, we refer our hearers to the very many specialized theological treatises that deal with such (1). In this paper, we limit ourselves to offering the most succinct résumé of those fundamental points necessary to better establish the relation of redemption and coredemption to the contents of the message of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Fatima.
The following article is an excerpt from the recently published Marian anthology, Mariology: A Guide for Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, and Consecrated Persons, Seat of Wisdom Books, A Division of Queenship, 2008. Fifteen international Mariology experts contributed to the text. The book features a foreword by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke and has 17 chapters divided into four parts: 1. Mary in Scripture and the Early Church; 2. Marian Dogma; 3. Marian Doctrine; and 4. Marian Liturgy and Devotion. The book is now available from Queenship Publications. To obtain a copy, visitqueenship.org. Visit books.google.com and search on "Mariology: A Guide" to view the book in its entirety, or simplyclick here. Asst. Ed.
If Holy Scripture, from an inter-testamental perspective, is the birthplace of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the history of salvation, one must also add that the Old Testament was this unique creature’s first land of birth in the world.
But most accurately, the origins of the Blessed Virgin Mary are transcendent, from eternity, in the "one and the same decree" of the Incarnation of the Word, universal Savior and Redeemer (1), about whom numerous pages of Old Testament revelation speak. For us this revelation constitutes the original source of the creative and saving plan of God.
To know the homeland of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is in fact enough to know the Mariological texts of the Old Testament, reading them "as they are read in the Church" (2), according to the norms of biblical-theological exegesis, i.e., "in the light of Christ and of the Church" (3), to find in them what is called "Mariology in its roots." Such Mariology in the New Testament and "in the Tradition originating with the apostles and developing in the Church under the assistance of the Holy Spirit" (Dei Verbum 8) has come to full maturity in its historical-theological realization (4).
I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed: he shall crush your head. (1)
The historical datum of this fundamental text of Genesis opens our eyes to that stupendous drama whose conclusion is the promised salvation. At the dawn of human history, our first parents, Adam and Eve, were living happily in the earthly paradise. The woman, Eve, unfortunately was seduced by the cunning of the serpent. She fell into sin and induced the man, Adam, to fall with her.
It was a tragic moment in that history. Its entire future had been compromised. In its first ancestors, the human race was forever lost, unless a Redeemer capable of restoring man to friendship with God was found. But precisely then, at the onset of the gloomy darkness of sin, there shone a ray of future hope. God intervened to tell how a “woman,” with her “seed,” would do battle against the serpent and crush its head. This text of Genesis has rightly been called the “Protoevangelium,” i.e., the first and most important prophetic announcement heralding the good news of salvation for mankind. […]
It has rightly been written that “Pontifical doctrinal authority with the halo of sanctity constitutes the maximum guarantee, even charismatic, of the pure truth animated by the summit of charity.” (1) With St. Pius X we actually find ourselves at the school of a great Pope and Saint who taught and sustained the truth of Marian Coredemption, if not in a solemn form, still with the ordinary Magisterium which must, in any case, be accepted with “religious respect of will and of intelligence,” according to the teaching of Vatican II (L.G. 25). In this mode Pope St. Pius X confirms the common and constant doctrine, but in a coherent and fixed way, thus creating a first-class vehicle for the title of Coredemptrix into the official vocabulary of the Holy See. (2)
In his encyclical letter Ad diem illum, written to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the dogmatic proclamation of the Immaculate Conception, Pope St. Pius X presents the mystery of the redemptive Incarnation as strictly, indissolubly bound to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s maternal and coredemptive mission, to her who, the Pope affirms, would have “the task of guarding and nourishing the Victim, and of placing Him on the altar. From this is derived that communion of life and of sorrows between Mother and Son, sorrows to which, for both of Them in equal manner, can be applied the words of the Prophet: ‘My life is consumed in sorrow, my years are passed in groaning’ (Ps 30:1).” (3) […]
The Eucharist is the Bread of the Mother of God, our Mother. It is Bread made by Mary from the flour of her immaculate flesh, kneaded with her virginal milk. St. Augustine wrote, “Jesus took His Flesh from the flesh of Mary.”
“You Are My Son”
We know, too, that in the Eucharist, together with the Divinity, are the entire Body and Blood of Jesus taken from the body and blood of the Blessed Virgin. Therefore, at every Holy Communion we receive, it would be quite correct, and a very beautiful thing, to take notice of our holy Mother’s sweet and mysterious presence, inseparably and totally united with Jesus in the Host. Jesus is ever her adored Son. He is Flesh of her flesh and Blood of her blood. If Adam could call Eve when she had been formed from his rib, “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23), cannot the holy Virgin Mary even more rightly call Jesus “Flesh of my flesh and Blood of my blood”? Taken from the “intact Virgin” as St. Thomas Aquinas says, the Flesh of Jesus is of the maternal flesh of Mary, the Blood of Jesus is of the maternal blood of Mary. Therefore, it will never be possible to separate Jesus from Mary. […]
St. Francis Xavier Cabrini († 1917) Foundress, and ardent missionary among the immigrants, has left a patrimony of pure and profound faith both by her example and her teachings. In an anthology on the words of Mother Cabrini treated by the wise theologian Giuseppe De Luca, (1) we find a harvest of simple but essential doctrine, animated by a “theological faith,” writes Miotto, “lived ad intra in that most intimate dynamic of the love of the Holy Spirit, manifested and radiated ad extra in the dynamic of that labor of love translated into works of charity, into the active apostolate, into that unwearied missionary passion even to the end.” (2)
Within the patrimony of her teaching there is contained the precious pearl of doctrine on Marian Coredemption. In God’s salvific design, in fact, St. Francis Xavier Cabrini points out the centrality of Mary’s presence who, given to us by Christ, “is the Mediatrix between God and men, our most amiable Mother,” (3) and with a very pertinent biblical reference, she defines Blessed Mary as the “New Eve, true Mother of the living,” (4) as the one “chosen by God to be Coredemptrix of the human race.” (5) From Eve to Mary, from the sinful mother to the Mother Coredemptrix: these passages are explicit and enlightening. Mary’s salvific mission is rooted in Genesis 3:15, the most celebrated biblical prophecy that presents the Mother and Son indissolubly united in the work of Redemption. […]