The Marian Coredemption in Bl. Gabriel Mary Allegra (+ 1976)
By Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, F.I.
Friar Minor, missionary in China and celebrated biblical scholar, Bl. Gabriel Allegra supported and defended the truth of Marian Coredemption and Mediation by demonstrating authoritatively the dogmatic definibility of the universal Coredemption and Mediation of all graces.
The thought of Bl. Gabriel Allegra on Marian Coredemption reveals itself as theologically “clear and integral, luminous and harmonious,” says Fr. L. Murabito, particularly rich in its biblical authority and spiritual intonation. Above all on this subject of biblical authority, “Fr. Allegra,” continues Murabito, “insists that, read well, Scripture teaches the entire design of God about Mary: her predestination to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate, her Coredemption at the foot of the Cross, her sweet office of Mother of the Church, her victory over the dragon, participating in the glory of her Risen Son.”
With significant expression, for example, Bl. Allegra calls Our Lady the “new Eve-Co-redemptrix,” to indicate with clear biblical reference that the first Eve was the cause (secondary) of our fall with the first Adam (primary cause), while the second Eve has been the cause (secondary) of salvation with the second Adam (primary cause): He, the new Adam-Redeemer, she the “new Eve-Co-redemptrix.” With another expression, no less clear, the Blessed writes that “the Mother of the Word Incarnate was also the Co-redemptrix, the new Eve, as Jesus was the new Adam.”
Elsewhere on other pages of his Marian writings Bl. Gabriel Allegra speaks of the “mystery of the Immaculate-Mother-Co-redemptrix” and calls Our Blessed Lady the “Sorrowful Mother-Co-redemptrix,” and again: “our Co-redemptrix,” thus employing the term Co-redemptrix with great freedom, without any reserve or preoccupation over the dangers of such usage, which presently some would like to describe as presumptuous, risking to obscure the term Redeemer. On this point the decisive affirmation of Bl. Allegra is authoritative; he writes:
“I firmly believe, and with all my strength I will preach to the rest of the faithful, that the title of Co-redemptrix is theologically exact in explaining the part that Mary had in the work of our salvation.”
This is the word of a great biblical scholar, one who is about to be honored at the altars.
Bl. Allegra expounds the truth of the term Co-redemptrix and its theological significance in terms of a balanced and secure Marian soteriology: that is, the term Co-redemptrix signifies the dependent participation, nonetheless direct and immediate, of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the work of the universal Redemption:
“Mary’s cooperation in our Redemption,” writes the Blessed, “is such that Mary merited the title Co-redemptrix,” above all because “she intimately united herself to her dying Son on the Cross as our Co-redemptrix,” and thus she was united with Him by means of that maternal compassion which “intimately unites us to the dying Christ. . . The Compassion constitutes the Coredemption.”
And again: To be the Co-redemptrix means to be a “partaker of all the mysteries of the Son on earth,” explains Fr. Murabito, “a partaker of the definitive battle and eschatological triumph of Jesus,” according to Bl. Allegra.
He structures the Marian Coredemption, therefore, entirely in terms of the intimate and total union between the divine Son and Mother, between Jesus the Redeemer and Mary the Co-redemptrix. It is in the union of both their sorrows offered together that the universal Redemption is effected.
“The afflictions of Mary and those of Jesus,” the Blessed stirringly writes, “were but one affliction which made two Hearts to suffer. . . The Compassion of Mary increased the suffering of Jesus and the Passion of Jesus was the source of Mary’s sorrows. This double offering redeemed the world.”
Furthermore, Bl. Gabriel also points to the celebrated Franciscan thesis of the predestination of the Blessed Virgin “together with her Son from all eternity. Jesus is the King, and Mary the Queen of the universe; Jesus is the Redeemer, Mary the Co-redemptrix,” and at that fixed moment, “when the fullness of time arrived” (cf. Gal 4:4), the Immaculate Conception became “the Mother of the mystical Body of the Lord, in virtue of the ‘fiat’ of the Annunciation, of the Coredemption on Calvary and of the glorious Assumption.”
Regarding the doctrine of the absolute primacy of Christ and Mary, Bl. Allegra “knew well,” Fr. Murabito points out, “that not a few theologians ignored the Franciscan and Scotistic doctrine on the Incarnation and absolute predestination of Christ together with Mary,” and yet the Blessed, as early as 1945, noticed: “I hear that the exegetes and biblical theologians are ready to direct themselves towards the doctrine of the absolute Primacy of Christ…;” and Fr. Murabito adds that the Blessed was already speaking of the “necessity to make known to the faithful the doctrine of the predestination of Mary in the mystery of Christ and the pilgrim Church and in history, because this doctrine sheds the most light on the doctrine and mystery of Mary Mediatrix and Co-redemptrix.”
As to the thorny problem of ecumenism, in particular, the Blessed suffered and lamented because, to cite Fr. Murabito again, “the theologians, whether under the influence of protestantism or just lacking conviction of the transcendent dignity of the Mother of God and of her mission in the Church, were becoming silent, when they were not directly denying this or that prerogative of the Immaculate Mother. From this arose their more or less open opposition to the doctrine of the universal Mediation and Coredemption of Mary.”
Bl. Gabriel Allegra, to the contrary, and in perfect accord with St. Leopold Mandic, was thoroughly convinced that “the Immaculate Mother, the Mediatrix and Co-redemptrix, would be the Victor of the ecumenical battle because, as he would say, the Immaculate will triumph.”
The doctrine of Bl. Gabriel Maria Allegra on Mary Immaculate, universal Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix-Dispensatrix of all graces, is filled with light, is anointed with inspiration, is solid in its structure, grounds a most lively hope for the whole Church and for all humanity. The Immaculate Co-redemptrix and universal Mediatrix is an entirely maternal Heart for us.