Happy new year, and happy solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Catholics start out the new year with a feast dedicated to the new Eve, the one through whom our redemption came. At mass we had an excellent homily from our parochial vicar, who has a very strong Marian devotion, so you can bet he did a phenomenal job with it. Among the many good points, including about how Mary’s Immaculate Heart and her Sorrowing Heart are flip sides of the same coin, and intimately connected, was his illustration of Mary as Meadiatrix of All Graces.
Although not formally declared, the idea of Mary as the one who mediates the graces that flow from God makes sense. If you take mediator to be the go between, or one who brings two opposing sides closer together, then who better than the human woman freely consented to be the mother of God. It isn’t that she gives out the graces, not at all, but that the graces flow through her, and through her intercession we receive them.
Prima facie, Mary mediates God’s grace by being the mother of Jesus. Without Mary, Jesus doesn’t assume our human nature and is unable to be the sacrifice which redeems us. Even if that was all she did, you could still call her the meadiatrix because through her God came into the world, and, through His passion and death, opened the gates of Heaven so grace could pour forth.
Mary does so much more than just bearing God (although that’s pretty important). The example in the homily was of the Wedding at Cana. Mary is there with Jesus, and the steward comes to her when they run out out of wine. Mary simply tells Jesus about it, and, without being told what He plans to do, she tells the steward to “do what He tells you.” She knows that Jesus will do something because she has acted as the intermediary. She probably didn’t know exactly what He would do or how He would do it, but she knew that He would take care of the problem in accordance with divine will. What happens? Jesus changes water into wine, helping the newly-wedded couple, and, by this miracle raises natural marriage to a sacrament. A sacrament which, by the way, opens the path for the graces married couples need to live their vocation as a couple. Again, Mary is the go between who opens the way for grace to come to us.
Finally (not in the homily, but it occurs to me now), Mary was there at the first Pentecost. After having kept the first nine-month novena (from the Annunciation to the Nativity), Mary is with the Apostles in the upper room, keeping the novena from the Ascension to Pentecost. She is praying, and trusting that the Holy Spirit will come just as her Son had promised. While I’m sure Pentecost would have happened if Mary hadn’t been there, I can only imagine that her presence would have reassured the Apostles. Maybe their prayers were a little more efficacious because she was there praying with them, just the way she prays along with us.
Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, pray for us as we embark on a new year.