Mary Co-redemptrix in the face of God’s terrible majesty

“Nothing is more natural, nothing more desirable than to seek a refuge in the protection and in the loyalty of her to whom we may confess our designs and our actions, our innocence and our repentance, our torments and our joys, our prayers and our desires – all our affairs.”

Pope Leo XIII “Octobri Menses” – Encyclical on the Rosary (22 September, 1891)

I would think it more desirable to confess and repent to Jesus, the Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

“With her suffering and dying Son, Mary endured suffering and almost death. She gave up her mother’s rights over her Son to procure the salvation of mankind, and, to appease the divine justice, she, as much as she could, immolated her Son, so that one can truly affirm that together with Christ she has redeemed the human race.”

Pope Benedict XV, Inter Sodalicia, March 22 1918.

Roman Catholics – who believe in revelation outside scripture – have no problem reconciling Mary as coreedemer (with the Christ) with:

“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”

Alas, for me, the arrogation to Mary as coreedemer is a flagrant denial of God’s “terrible majesty” נֹורָא הֹוד Norah Hod (Job 37:22).

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4 thoughts on “Mary Co-redemptrix in the face of God’s terrible majesty

  1. From a reader via email:

    You are right about God’s terrible majesty. ‘Terrible’ is the operative word.  Yes, I know the meaning here is not ‘awful.’  Oh, excuse me–that IS the meaning!  ‘Awful’ and ‘terrible’ remain synonyms.  But that other meaning–the meaning in general, contemporary use–of ‘terrible’ and ‘awful’ is ‘appalling.’

    Mary watches her son die slowly, in agony.  She is complicit in his death.  She believes that he must die to save the world.  She, herself, is dying as she watches him die. 

    I don’t believe that Jesus is the son of God.  If I did believe in a personal God, I would use the word, ‘creation’ instead of ‘son.’

    But I do believe that Jesus was the son of Mary (and of another human being).  Mary carried him in her body for nine months.  She breastfed him in her arms.  She changed him and bathed him and loved him and reared him.  He was with her for over thirty years.  She loved him more than anybody else in the world and she loved him more than herself;  she would have died for him.  She was his mother.

    Mary’s loss, suffering and sacrifice was no arrogation.  She suffered as much as Jesus.  In my eyes they both suffered more than God.  God’s majesty is indeed appalling.

    • Reply to email comment:

      C S Lewis coined a nice term: verbicide – the murder of language; a modern example, “that’s awesome” (describing everything from steak to sex).

      The King James version of our verse “terrible” majesty means “causing terror.” You can’t believe in a God you have to fear. You are appalled that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

      Isaiah 6
      1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train[a] of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:

      “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
      the whole earth is full of his glory!”
      4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

      About the mother of Jesus: yes, she suffered to the degree you and others say. My point – the point – is that only the suffering and work/s of Christ are of redemptive value, and, therefore, there is only one mediator between man and God.

      You are an unregenerate sinner, and thus remain in ignorance of the Gospel. I’m horrible.

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