Mother of All Men:
and of All Men Part 3:
Mary's Universal Mediation During her Earthly Existence
We shall see first of all in what this mediation consists and what are its principal characteristics. After that we shall examine the two ways in which Mary exercised her mediation during her life on earth, by her merits and her satisfaction.Article I
MARY'S UNIVERSAL MEDIATION IN GENERAL
Our Holy Mother the Church approved during the pontificate of Benedict XV the proper Mass and Office of Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces.  Many theologians consider that the doctrine of Mary's universal mediation is sufficiently contained in the deposit of revelation to be one day proposed solemnly as an object of faith by the infallible Church. It is taught by the ordinary magisterium of the Church through the liturgy, through encyclical letters, through pastoral letters, in preaching, and in the works of theologians approved by the Church. Let us see first what is meant by this mediation and then inquire if it is affirmed by tradition and proved by theology.
What is meant by Mary's Universal Mediation?
St. Thomas says, speaking of the mediation of the Savior (IIIa, q. 26, a. 1): 'It pertains to the office of a mediator between God and men to unite them.' That is, as he explains in the following article, the Mediator offers to God the prayers of men, and most particularly, sacrifice which is the principal act of the virtue of religion, and distributes as well to men God's sanctifying gifts, light from on high and grace. There is, thus, a double movement in mediation: one upwards in the form of prayer and sacrifice, and the other downwards in the form of God's gifts to men.
The office of Mediator belongs fully only to Jesus, the Man-God, Who alone could reconcile us with God by offering Him, on behalf of men, the infinite sacrifice of the Cross, which is perpetuated in Holy Mass. He alone, as Head of Mankind, could merit for us injustice the grace of salvation and apply it to those who do not reject His saving action. It is as man that He is Mediator, but as a Man in Whom humanity is united hypostatically to the Word and endowed with the fullness of grace, the grace of Headship, which overflows on men. As St. Paul puts it: 'For there is one God, and one Mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave Himself for a redemption for all, a testimony in due times' (1 Tim. ii, 5-6).
But, St. Thomas adds (loc. cit.): 'there is no reason why there should not be, after Christ, other secondary mediators between God and men, who co-operate in uniting them in a ministerial and dispositive manner.' Such mediators dispose men for the action of the principal Mediator, or transmit it, but always in dependence on His merits.
The prophets and priests of the Old Testament were mediators of this kind, for they announced the Savior to the chosen people by offering sacrifices which were types of the great sacrifice of the Cross. The priests of the New Testament may also be spoken of as mediators between God and men, for they are the ministers of the supreme Mediator, offering sacrifice in His Name, and administering the Sacraments.
The question arises, is Mary, in subordination to and in dependence on the merits of Christ, universal mediatrix for all men from the time of the coming of the Savior, in regard to obtaining and distributing all graces, both in general and in particular? Does it not appear that she is? Nor is her role precisely that of a minister, but that of an associate in the redemptive work, in the words of St. Albert already quoted.
Though non-Catholics answer the question with a denial, the Christian sense of the faithful, formed for years by the liturgy, which is one of the voices of the ordinary magisterium of the Church, has no hesitation in maintaining that, by the very fact of her being Mother of the Redeemer, all the indications are that Mary is universal mediatrix, for she finds herself placed between God and men, and more particularly between her Son and men.
Since she is a creature she is, of course, altogether below God Incarnate. But at the same time she is raised far above men by the grace of the Divine maternity, which is of the hypostatic order, and by the fulness of grace which she received even from her Immaculate Conception. Hence, the mediation attributed by the liturgy and the Christian sense of the faithful to Mary is, strictly speaking, subordinated to that of Jesus and not co-ordinated; her mediation depends completely on the merits of the Universal Mediator. Nor is her mediation necessary [for that of Jesus is superabundant and needs no complement: it has however been willed by God as a kind of radiation of the Savior's mediation, and of all radiations the most perfect. The Church regards it as most useful and efficacious to obtain from God all that we need to lead us directly or indirectly to salvation and perfection. Last of all, Mary's mediation is perpetual and extends to all men, and to all graces without any exception whatever.
The above is the precise sense in which universal mediation is attributed to Mary in the liturgy, in the Feast of Mary Mediatrix, and by the theologians who have recently treated the question at great length.
The Testimony of Tradition
Mary's mediation was affirmed in a general and implicit way from the earliest centuries by the use of the titles, the New Eve, the Mother of the Living. There is all the more reason for so understanding tradition in that the titles were attributed to her not solely because she gave birth physically to the Savior but because she co-operated morally in His redemptive work, especially by uniting herself very intimately to the sacrifice of the Cross.  From the 4th century onwards, and notably in the 5th century, the Fathers affirm clearly that Mary intercedes for us, that all the benefits and helps to salvation come to us through her, by her intervention and her special protection. From the same time too she is called mediatrix between God and men or between Christ and us. Recent studies have thrown much light on this point. 
The antithesis between Eve, cause of death, and Mary, cause of salvation for all men is repeated by St. Cyril of Jerusalem,  St. Epiphanius,  St. Jerome,  St. John Chrysostom.  The following invocation of St. Ephrem deserves to be quoted in full: 'Hail, most excellent mediatrix of God and men, hail most efficacious reconciler of the whole world.' 
St. Augustine speaks of Mary as mother of all the members of our Head, Jesus Christ. He tells us that by her charity she co-operated in the spiritual birth of all the faithful who are
Christ's members.  St. Peter Chrysologus says that Mary is the mother of all the living by grace whereas Eve is the mother, by nature, of all the dying.  It is evident that he considers Mary as associated with the Divine plan for our redemption.
From the 8th century we may quote the Venerable Bede.  St. Andrew of Crete calls Mary Mediatrix of grace, dispenser and cause of life.  St. Germanus of Constantinople says that no one has been saved without the co-operation of the Mother of God.  The title of mediatrix is given by St. John Damascene also, who asserts that we owe to her all the benefits conferred on us by Jesus. 
In the 9th century we find St. Peter Damien teaching that nothing is accomplished in the work of our redemption without her.  The teaching of St. Anselm,  Eadmer,  and St. Bernard in the 12th century is the same. St. Bernard speaks of Mary as: gratiae inventrix, mediatrix, salutis restauratrix saeculorum. 
From the middle of the 12th century the explicit affirmation of Mary's co-operation in our redemption becomes quite common. Her co-operation is looked on as consummated by her consent to her sacrifice at the Annunciation, and its accomplishment on Calvary. Among names that may be cited are those of Arnold of Chartres, Richard of St. Victor, St. Albert the Great,  and Richard of Saint- Laurent. St. Thomas seems to be of the same opinion.  It is found quite explicitly in St. Bernadine of Siena, St. Antonine,  Suarez , Bossuet,  and St. Alphonsus. St. Grignon de Montfort is one of those who, in the 18th century, did the most to spread the doctrine by bringing out its practical conclusions. 
In the encyclical Ad Diem Illum, Pius X stated that Mary is the all-powerful mediatrix of the world before her Son: 'Totius terrarum orbis potentissima apud Unigenitum Filium suum mediatrix et conciliatrix.' The title of mediatrix has been consecrated by the institution of the Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, on January 21St, 1921.
The theological arguments invoked by the Fathers and still more explicitly by theologians are principally the following:
Mary deserves the title of
subordinated to the Redeemer, if she is an intermediary between Him and
men, presenting to Him their prayers and obtaining benefits from Him
them. But that is precisely Mary's role. For, though a creature, she
by her divine maternity to the frontiers of the Divinity , and she has
received a fulness of grace which is intended to overflow on us. She
too, co-operated in saving us by consenting freely to be the Mother of
the Savior and by uniting herself as intimately as possible to His
We shall see later that she has merited and made satisfaction for us,
we know from the teaching of the Church that she continues to intercede
for us so as to obtain for us all graces that contribute to our
These different offices pertain to the exercise of her maternity , as
have already seen.
Thus Jesus is the principal and perfect Mediator, in dependence on whose merits ---- and they are superabundant and sufficient of themselves ---- Mary exercises her subordinate mediation.  But Mary's mediation has nevertheless been willed by God because of our weakness and because God wished to honor her by allowing her the exercise of causality in the order of salvation and sanctification.
The work of redemption proceeds therefore entirely from God as First Cause of grace, entirely from Jesus as principal and perfect Mediator, and entirely from Mary as subordinate mediatrix. These three causes are not partial and co-ordinate ---- as are three men who drag the same load ---- but total and subordinated: the second acts under the influence of the first, and the third under the influence of the second. An example which may make the point clear is that of the fruit which proceeds entirely from God the Author of nature, entirely from the tree, and entirely from the branch on which it grows. It does not proceed in its different parts from different causes: neither is our redemption the work in part of the Divinity, in part of the Humanity, and in part of Mary. 
It is worth noting how becoming it is that Mary who was redeemed by the Savior in a most excellent manner and preserved from all sin, Original and actual, should co-operate in this way in our justification and our final perseverance.
Mary's mediation is of a much
that of the Saints, for she alone has given us the Savior, she alone
so intimately united to the sacrifice of the Cross, she alone is
mediatrix for all mankind and for all graces in particular
---- even for that grace which is of all the most
the grace of the present moment which assures our fidelity from instant
of January 2Ist, 1921, of dIe Sacred Congregation of Rites: 'De Festo
Mariae Virginis Mediatricis omnium gratiarum.'