The Necessary Co-Redemptrix


While preaching this Palm-Sunday on what would be an appropriate meditation for this Holy Week for my parishioners – the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and then the 4th and 13th Stations of the Cross: Jesus meeting his mother after getting smashed down by the cross for the first time and then Jesus being lowered from the cross into her arms, ever so dead – in preaching on all that… well… I mean… I suppose I could put the audio of the homily up… It’s just that it’s embarrassing as I got entirely choked up a number of times, entirely unable to speak for at least what seemed like ten seconds… thirty seconds…

Here’s the deal: Not that it at all came out in what I said necessarily, but it was in preaching on Jesus and His good mom that I “understood” – beheld quite directly, if you will – the dynamic, if you will – by which it is entirely necessary that Mary be Co-Redemptrix. To me this wasn’t just an “insight”, but rather an invitation to behold what’s really going on with our Redemption, ever so personal for Jesus about Mary, the good Son of a good mom. It was like seeing Mary as Mother from the eyes of her good Son.

I asked a specialist in psychology and priests about this fault of mine, getting choked up, which the Brits would call weakness, and even worse. He knows me well, and is my spiritual director. He straight up laughed at me for stupidly even asking the question, saying that Freud would say that it all has to do with an unresolved conflict with my own mom. But, then he said that Freud has been discredited on saying everything like this must be a “conflict,” adding that surely this was, in fact, for me, a valid religious experience. And then he went on to mention some of his own like experiences.

I say all that just to rid some of such unnecessary distraction so that they might pay attention to what is important. Here are some points spelling out a bit what I didn’t entirely spell out in the homily because of my getting choked up:

  • Only Adam was responsible for the “breath of the living ones” which was only given to him with its intention that he and his offspring be alive and then reaffirm this life should he eat from the tree of the living ones, that is, living with good choices, instead of eating, as it were, from the tree of knowing good mixed with evil, a kind of epistemology of dumbed-downness by which the power of his agent-intellect was corrupted not only for himself, but for us. Adam changed the intention of the breath from life to death. We no longer have the wherewithal to keep matter and spirit, body and soul together. We start to drop into the grave the moment we are conceived.
  • Any offspring have a share in the breath of the dying ones, and are dumbed-down, weakened, unable to love that which, the One – God – whom they don’t know, as they otherwise should, and so are immediately in sin, what we call original sin.
  • God creates the soul which is concomitant with that life, that dying life at the choice of Adam, not of God. God is just respecting Adam’s choice for himself, for us. We are created good up to the point Adam chose. And that’s the point: up to the point that Adam chose. Adam chose to descend to the level of where his wife bid him to go, not more nor less.
  • In justice, in our Redemption, Jesus should redeem us, recreate us only inasmuch as, only to the point that one of us would ask for this, Mary’s intercession for us.
  • Mary, free from original sin, and therefore with purity of heart and agility of soul and clarity of (spiritual) vision so that she could see exactly what we needed as she looked upon what sin has ravaged on her Son. She was in perfect solidarity with Son, her Immaculate Heart, His Sacred Heart.
  • Jesus followed up on her intercession for us, and only up to the point she desired this for us, which, of course, was perfectly. She’s the perfect mother. Our mother.
  • That maternal intercession of hers was necessarily for Him. It is this to which He looked. And only this. Jesus had a human nature. In justice, He should use this human nature. It is in His human nature that He received the intercession of His mother for us. He was going to do exactly what she wanted for us (which is, of course, exactly what He wanted for us precisely as her children, with Him).

Just to say it:

Our Redemption by Jesus is equal, not more, not less, to the maternal intercession of Jesus’ good mom for us. He looked to her, the Son to the Mother. Just as Adam looked to his wife as to just how far he should fall, so did the new Adam look to The Woman to see just how far He should lift us back up. Being Immaculate, she saw our need perfectly, and, in perfect solidarity with her Son, interceded for us perfectly. Having said all that, it is she who set us before our Redemption. Jesus would not have done it without her indicating that Redemption. Mary is entirely necessary as Co-Redemptrix for our Redemption.

Academically, the point is entirely valid with all my years of doctoral studies on Genesis 2:4–3:24 (including 3:15). I have much to say on all this, drawing out all the implications, drawing out the incisive ironies. I am overwhelmed with the entirely and very personal dynamic, if you will, of what is happening with our redemption, Jesus looking to His good mom: “Woman! Behold! I make all things new!”

Finally, this provides me the engine – how to say it? – to draw out a popular version of the thesis. I pray that I’m able to accomplish this. I pray that this works toward what has been called the fifth Marian dogma.

Now it’s more personal than it ever was. It’s like a project with Jesus.

I entirely realize that making it personal makes me look to be the fool. Delusional. An idiot. Fine. Whatever. I know what I know. It’s all come together. Whatever authority by which I write anything has nothing do with me. It’s to be judged on consistency with the Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the Magisterial interventions of the Church. It’s to be judged on the reasoning. Yes.

All I can say is that, right now, at the start of Holy Week, I’ve been shaken to the core of my being before God that Mary, our good mom, is necessarily Co-Redemptrix. It has to be that our Redemption in entirely involved with Jesus looking to His good mom. And, yes, she was singled out in Genesis: “I will put enmity between you [Satan] and The Woman [in context, the future Mother of the Redeemer].

In saying that, what is left to say? Just this:

Jesus, Immaculate Mary’s Divine Son, has done all things well.


Filed under Immaculate Conception, Jesus, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, John Paul II, Mary

10 responses to “The Necessary Co-Redemptrix

  1. pelerin

    Good to read this as I had an argument with a friend a couple of years ago whose elderly parish priest (RIP) had told his parishioners that Our Lady was not Co-Redemptrix and she said I was wrong because I believed she was.

  2. pelerin

    In case the news has not reached the US, the magnificent cathedral of Notre -Dame in Paris is burning down. The roof has gone, the spire has fallen in and the firemen say it could well carry on burning throughout the night. France is in mourning.

  3. pelerin

    One of the French tv channels has said there is a strong possibility there will be nothing left by tomorrow. Efforts are being made to rescue paintings from inside. I do hope the reliquary containing some bones of the patron saint of Paris, St Genevieve, has been rescued. No mention has yet been made of the museum of Sacred Objects which leads off the Cathedral – I just hope and pray they have a fireproof door to it.
    I have attended Mass many many times in there …. ..

  4. sanfelipe007

    Awful! But this video is hopeful.

  5. “getting choked up, which the Brits would call weakness”. I think perhaps that is a British stereotype? Or maybe just a certain type of Brit?
    I am am a Brit (English) people in my circle of friends, acquaintances, work colleagues would feel for you and put their arm around you shoulder, hold you hand. We would see that emotion as a strength, not a weakness.

    • Father George David Byers

      Thanks for that. I’ve just heard it so many times. I’m glad to know it’s not that way. I hope the other phrase – damaged goods – is also not as common as I thought. Thanks, CherryPie.

  6. Pelerin has mentioned about the Notre Dame de Paris.
    I shed some tears when I realised that the fire had not been contained to the central part of the roof. It is my understanding (from what I have read) that the Holy Relics and many of the artworks have been saved and the main structure of the building is still standing.
    My prayers are with the people of Paris experiencing this tragedy in the lead up to Easter Sunday.

  7. It seems that the fire damaged the roof, but the structure of the Church still remains. Here is the best comment on the internet that I have read about it:

    Dear Fr. G, I was in tears to think beautiful and Catholic heritage of France was burning to the ground. But they saved the relics, and the following is the best comment I read on the Conservative TreeHouse about it:

    April 15, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Given: the architectural footprint of medieval cathedrals is the form of a cross. This afternoon when the burning cross photo from the police drone was posted my heart sank. All I could see was the full structure ablaze. The photo caption stated that the aerial view showed the spread of the fire far more clearly than the ground view could capture.

    Tonight, having seen the online photos of the post fire interior, and the miracle of that saved interior, the fiery cross photo reveals something else, something entirely spiritual and miraculous.

    Today the blazing cross of Jesus Christ, the unblemished, beloved, sacrificed Lamb of God, lit up the entire world on the internet! just hours before all Christendom turns eyes and hearts toward the Last Supper, the Trial, the Scourging, the Cross Bearing, and the Crucified Christ.

    During the holiest time of the year, by way of a terrible fire and a photo taken by a drone in the sky, all eyes were on todays reminder of the Sacrifice made on Calvary, in preparation for the Resurrection of the Son of God. The reminder of the Almighty Father Gods love for each one of us was transmitted world wide from the skies above Paris.

    Today, the Lord took a terrible occurrence, no matter how the fire may have started, and used it for the purpose of His Own Good Will for those who have the eyes to see, and the ears to hear. Hallelujah! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hallelujah!

    The interior! Did you see the undamaged cross? Im still shaking. Thank You, Lord, for the limits of damage you allowed, and for Your Perfect Timing.


  8. Aussie Mum

    Father, I am so very happy to read this post and will pray every day that you are able “to draw out a popular version of your thesis” and that it “works toward what has been called the fifth Marian dogma” as you are hoping.
    You certainly are not delusional but very blessed to see “Mary as Mother from the eyes of her good Son”.
    Thank you father for all you do and please keep going.

  9. Anne Maliborski

    Jesus not only got choked up, but he wept. Does anyone think that Jesus was weak? No. He was human (like all of us). I love the Gospels that talk about Jesus being just like us — choking up, weeping, being Baptized, and all. By coming to us in human form to save the world from sin, He had the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. ….. you know the rest…… Maybe your next homily will include some “weeping bitterly.” It’s ok.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.