The Council of Vatican II in the document, Lumen Gentium – the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, declares in Chapter VIII –
“Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this salvific duty, but by her constant intercession continued to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cultics, until they are led into the happiness of their true home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is to be so understood that it neither takes away from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficaciousness of Christ the one Mediator” (#62).
On August 22, one week after the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we celebrate the memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Blessed Virgin in heavenly glory, body and soul, participates in her special role in the universal Kingdom of God. Our Queen Mother is not the source of grace, but is a channel where graces flow; therefore she is seen as the Mediatrix.
When Jesus gives Our Lady to John on Calvary at the foot of the Cross, Mary becomes from that point forward the spiritual mother of all humanity (Jn 19:26-27). John, the “beloved disciple”, takes Mary into his own home and cares for her as if she is his own mother. (Important point here: If Jesus had brothers and sisters as modern biblical scholarship claims, then they would have taken care of Mary after Jesus’ death on the cross. However, that does not happen because Our Lord did not have biological brothers and sisters). Our Lady as our spiritual mother is not a new theological concept, but derives from the Early Church Fathers. Mary as our spiritual mother coincides with her role as the New Eve. As our spiritual mother, Our Lady also participates in the role of maternal mediation (a term coined by Blessed John Paul II). Through her roles as spiritual mother and maternal mediator, Our Lady is Co-redemptrix, Advocate, and Mediatrix of All Graces.
As our Spiritual Mother, Our Lady is Queen, maternal mediator and Mediatrix. For this post, I want to simply explain Mary in these roles. For those of you who are inclined to read an academic paper on the subject, I would suggest reading my article – The Gebirah: Our Advocating Queen Mother.
First, let us take a look at her Queenship. As in this case of Mary, Queenship is defined as the mother of the King – Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the King of the Mystical Body of Christ that dwells within the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God consists of the saints on Earth, in Purgatory, and in Heaven. Mary is the Queen of the Kingdom of God. As the Queen Mother, she intercedes for the members of the Kingdom just as Bathsheba did for Adonijah and the people of Israel to her son, King Solomon (1 Kings 2:19-21). For more on Mary as Queen Mother see my blog posts – The Visitation of the Blessed Mother and The Magnificat. We also see Mary’s Queenship portrayed in Revelation 12:1. Our Lady has the moon under her feet and she is wearing a crown with twelve stars. Her son happens to be the King who will rule all nations and she will take her thrown next to him (cf. Rev 12:5).
Second, let us understand Our Lady as maternal mediator. The question that is usually asked is – how does the Mother of God mediate? Now that she resides in Heaven through her Assumption, the Blessed Mother mediates in her unique role with Jesus in Redemption as Co-Redemptrix. The term “Co” is not meant to be equal with God. St. Paul says that we are Co-workers with God in 1 Corinthians 3:9. St. Paul is saying that we along with God assist but subordinate to God. The same happens to be true for Mary. She is always subordinate to God, but works as Co-Redemptrix with Jesus in the Redemption of humanity.
This is not an honorary title, but is a function of the Church. God wills this for the Church. As Christ suffers; so does his Mother suffer (Simeon’s Prophecy – Mary’s soul being pierced with a sword – Lk 2:35 -> points to Calvary). As maternal mediator, she also intercedes and brings the petitions of the faithful to the throne of Christ – she is our Gebirah (Great Lady) and Advocating Queen. My article above explains her role as Great Lady and Advocate in detail. Lastly, as mediator she also dispenses the graces of Redemption as a mother nourishing her children. She is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
Lastly, her role as one who dispenses graces (Mediatrix) flows from her role as Co-redemptrix. She is able to dispense grace because she actively participates in receiving the graces of Redemption with and under Jesus. Because of her Immaculate Conception (which I will write about in December for four weeks), she acquires the grace of Redemption by Jesus Christ and is able to dispense that grace to all of humanity through her role as Spiritual Mother. She feeds the faithful the spiritual gifts through Christ’s body in the order of grace. Her function as Spiritual Mother is fundamental in her ability to distribute the graces of Redemption.
A mother who is true to her vocation as mother not only gives birth to her children, but she cares for them, assists in their growth and is the first teacher when it comes to correct formation. There are a few scriptural references that refer to Mary acting as Mediatrix, however, the one I want to focus on is John 2:1-10 – the Wedding Feast at Cana. Mary is Mediatrix here because she directs and gives a specific mediation to the situation at hand (“they have no wine”). She is willing the grace of Jesus Christ at Cana (“do whatever he tells you”). Our Lady intercedes for the grace and Jesus’ first public miracle.
Even though this doctrine as not been declared dogmatic, many theologians, Popes, and the Second Vatican Council have taught extensively on Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces. In recent years, Blessed John Paul II referred to Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces on eight different occasions and Pope Benedict XVI has stated that she is Mediatrix of All Graces, which includes the Seven Sacraments of the Church.