Dear Catholic Exchange:
Wouldn’t it be easier for Catholics (and others) to accept Mary as Coredemptrix if the dogma placed more emphasis on our own responsibility to help one another get to heaven? What I mean is, aren’t we ALL to strive to be coredemptors, through prayer, reinforcement, love, etc.? Aren’t all saints in heaven — from whom we seek intercession through prayer — coredemptors? Of course, none of us measure up to our holy Mother. I’m just curious about our role as sharers in Christ’s work of salvation and would like to hear your response.
Thank you for the work you do.
A Friend in Christ
Dear Friend in Christ,
Actually, you are pretty close to the mark. A Marian doctrine is always a commentary on Christ and/or the Church. Mary was acclaimed Theotokos to underscore the fact that Jesus is fully God, not God in a man’s suit. The Assumption of Mary was made dogma to underscore our true destiny in Christ. We are made for heavenly glory, not for the gulag, the ovens of Auschwitz, or the Playboy Mansion.
In the same way, it's quite true that we participate in bringing the redemption of Christ to the world and share in His suffering for the sake of His Body, the Church (Colossians 1:24). Mary, by her unique sufferings, is the supreme case-in-point of what we all go through as we join our sufferings to Christ's for the sake of the redemption of the world. We are made "co-laborers" with Christ, entirely by His grace. Should the Church ever get around to making this a dogma, one of the central reasons for doing so would be to alert us to the dignity of our work and sufferings in Christ. Mary doesn't eclipse us. She highlights who we are in Christ.
Senior Content Editor
For more information about Mary as Coredemptrix, please see the Faith Fact, What's A Mother to Do? Mary's Role in Our Salvation.