Friday, July 25
Mary in the Redemption by Adrienne von Speyr:
Mary from the Perspective of a Twentieth-Century Mystic -- Part III
The pre-redemption, for von Speyr, is intrinsically linked to the co-redemption of Mary; indeed, “The idea of ‘co-redemption’ is ‘older’ than that of pre-redemption: the latter is a consequence of the former, a means to an end” (19). Thus, “Mary is in fact not the second but the first Eve; she is the one who did not fall and who sees how the second Eve does fall.” This permutation of classical Catholic theology into a new yet orthodox framework is characteristic of the “new theology” in which von Speyr and von Balthasar worked, and in few places does it work more brilliantly than this one. Through this idea, and the image of Mary as “the piece of marble that was there from the start,” von Speyr gives new and inspired meaning to human existence by positing Mary an ideal set forth from God by the beginning of time, and it gives fresh life to the idea of Mary as “new Eve” that has always been the backbone and starting point of Mariology.
The idea of Mary’s co-redemption with Christ is for many in the Church a theological sticking point. Indeed, although many wish for it to be defined as a dogma, this has not been done and it does not appear that it will happen any time soon. Yet for Adrienne von Speyr, the co-redemption is seen as almost obvious, and flows through Mary in the Redemption as if part and parcel of belief. The co-redemption, as previously stated, was for von Speyr the reason for the pre-redemption: “The Son,” she says, “however, will demand what he has given her from eternity” (25). Thus, Mary, in return for pre-redemption by Christ, becomes one with the sufferings of Christ, though because of her deep unity with Christ, her sufferings are no less his than the point of the lance. In this sense, the tears flowing from Mary’s face at the Cross are intrinsically linked with the blood and water flowing from the side of Christ: all is one in the unity between Mother and Son that existed from the beginning of time, was made flesh in the Incarnation, and is now made perfect in the redemptive act of Christ on the Cross.