“I Will Put Enmity between You and the Woman.” The one who has defeated the empire of evil is Jesus Christ. His victory, which began at the moment of the Incarnation, was realized during the great test of the Passion and was manifested n all the splendor of His glory on the day of Easter. The Divine Wisdom allows Satan to act until the end of the world to associate the Church and every Christian with the combat and victory of Christ.
Now we must seek to comprehend the place of the Virgin Mary in this dramatic duel which runs through all of human history. The faith of the simple Christian assigns to the Virgin, who is powerful against evil, a decisive role in the fight against Satan. Very often in the common thinking of the faithful, it is held that the Virgin, more so than Christ, has the task of crushing Satan’s head. Are we confronted here by some exaggeration, or has the supernatural instinct of the people simply grasped a precious aspect of revealed truth?
We should keep very much in mind an essential and irremovable aspect of the work of the Redemption completed by Christ, that it is realized with the intimate, constant, and fundamental collaboration of the Virgin Mary. Divine Wisdom has decided that the woman, the New Eve, should be placed side by side with the New Adam in the struggle against Satan for the liberation of humanity. If Christ is the Redeemer, the Virgin Mary is the co-redeemer. (When speaking of the Blessed Virgin Mary as collaborating with Christ in the Redemption, it is important to understand that she collaborates with Him as a subordinate, not as an equal. Everything that Mary does is intimately connected to Christ, her Son, and she subordinates her will to the Father as the handmaid of the Lord.) From the moment of the Incarnation until Christ’s death on the Cross, the Mother is beside the Son and shares each moment of the deadly conflict.
It is incomprehensible that some wish to separate the Mother from the Son, seeking to relegate her to the shadows, making her task seem insignificant. The two evocative biblical impressions of the tremendous battle between God and Satan, that of Genesis (3:15) and that of the book of Revelation (12:1–6), join the woman to the Son as if they were almost a single thing.
In particular, we are surprised by the luminous prophecy placed at the beginning of human history as a sign of hope for the future liberation. It is affirmed, it is true, that it will be not the woman but her seed that will crush the head of the serpent. Can we doubt that Christ is the One who has torn away the scepter from the prince of the kingdom of evil? Certainly not, but He is the seed of Mary, and not just in the biological sense. Indeed, He was born of a woman of whom it is asserted that she is the irreducible enemy of the infernal serpent.
When God declares, “I will put enmity between you and the woman” (Gen. 3:15), He says something extremely profound which is to be understood in all of its immense meaning. In the divine disposition of salvation, a rebellious creature, who has dragged humanity to ruin through the collaboration of a woman, confronts another creature, also a woman. She instead is submissive and faithful, and her duty is to humiliate the proud one, tearing away from him the souls redeemed by the Blood of the Son.
This underlining of the enmity of the New Eve toward Satan emphasizes the fundamental role God assigns to Mary in the struggle against the evil one. She not only cooperates with the victory of the Son but also carries out through divine disposition a specific mission in the tearing away from Satan every single soul that God has entrusted to her maternal solicitude. Who is more determined, intransigent, and untiring than a mother when it concerns the salvation of her own child? In her maternal heart, Mary find finds the most profound reason to hold enmity toward the devil. She does not permit Satan to bring to ruin the souls that Christ has entrusted to her, and for this she resists with all the power that Christ has given to her.