Skip to main content

The Council and Our Blessed Lady's Role on Calvary


The Council and Our Blessed Lady's Role on Calvary

Almost forty years after the publication of the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), the topic of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s position and significance in that document still grabs considerable attention.

The famous Chapter Eight of Lumen Gentium, entitled “Our Lady,” treated in some detail the specific relationships that Mary has with Jesus and the Church. No ecumenical council has ever provided as developed a “Marian treatise” as Vatican II.

The haunting question that especially has surfaced repeatedly during the last fifteen years concerns the role of Mary in the human race’s long-awaited redemption by Jesus on Calvary. Recent conferences and books have been devoted to analyzing her part in the Messiah’s salvific death. What, if anything, did Mary do at the foot of Christ’s cross?

One may look to Chapter Eight for some help. Although not a complete description of Mary’s activity on Calvary, much less a systematic Mariology, article 58 presents a valuable, insightful teaching. Mary “faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross, where she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, associated herself with his sacrifice in her mother’s heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim which was born of her. Finally, she was given by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross as a mother to his disciple, with these words: ‘Woman, behold thy son’ (Jn. 19:26-27).”

Taking our cue from the Council, we conclude that Mary accomplished two primary things near her Son suspended in his last agony.

First, she intimately participated in our reconciliation with God when she, surrendering to the Almighty’s desire, offered Jesus to his Father as the necessary and perfect holocaust for the many sins of the world. The sacrifice of Jesus became Mary’s. She promptly yielded to what any mother would find excruciatingly difficult—her child’s torture and death. Yet, Mary acquiesced because, steeped in a resolute belief in her Creator and in his extraordinary concern for her and for the entire “Chosen People,” she recognized that this heroic act was what God mercifully required.

Second, she accepted the unique “maternal office” held out to her by her Son by becoming the Spiritual Mother of Christ’s disciples. From now on, she would exercise a particular and lasting vigilance towards the brothers and sisters of Jesus by way of her intercession and good example. God confided in Mary the demanding task of caring for his needy flock.

The Madonna had her own dying and rising experience on Calvary. In giving Jesus back to his Father, her remarkable gesture of trust opened her to the fresh possibility that came from God’s own hand: to be a genuine mother for the faithful.

Mary raised the disfigured body of Jesus to his beloved Father and in turn received the life-bestowing apostolate of service—namely, spiritual maternity—on behalf of the friends of the soon-to-be Risen Lord.


Mary's Field  , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125



Calvary, Virgin Mary, Co-Redemptrix

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article


Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 1:16-25
For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; it is God's ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 11:37-41
He had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 13 Saint of the Day

St. Edward the Confessor
October 13: Edward the Confessor was the son of King Ethelred III and ... Read More