Of course you should be thinking – a lot – about God’s mercy during this Year of Mercy. But, there’s something or rather, someone, you might want to consider as well.

Mary.

In his book, Divine Mercy: The Heart of the Gospel, Dr. Mark Miravalle, theology professor at Franciscan University at Steubenville, quotes Mother Teresa as saying, “Of course [Mary] is Co-Redemptrix, of course. She gave Jesus his body and the body of Jesus is what saved us."

Exactly.

Jesus is Divine Mercy, or Mercy Incarnate. He deserves all honor and glory. In his mercy, he allowed himself to be ridiculed, falsely accused, brutally tortured, and crucified so that you and I might have salvation.

But, who gave him his Body?

Mary.

That’s been on my mind a great deal these days, especially as we presently have the colliding of the Year of Mercy and Lent.

More and more I’m seeing Mary as the instrument of mercy in three particular aspects:

Mary is the Receiver of God’s Mercy.

Mercy is God’s undeserved, unmerited, and often unsought for divine grace. It’s sometimes referred to as prevenient grace because it’s there even before we ask for it. In the Immaculate Conception, Mary is the supreme manifestation of God’s prevenient, unmerited mercy. She didn’t ask for it; it is something done in and for her by the Father.

In order that she be a suitable mother for Jesus, the Father extended his mercy to Mary before the fact. In other words, Mary needed redemption just like the rest of us. But, she was granted the redemption that was yet to come via the Cross before she was conceived.

At the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel greets Mary, “Hail, full of grace” and tells her, “Fear not, for you have found favor with God.”

Mary was redeemed both from and for the Cross. Thus, the Immaculate Conception.

Mary is the Bearer of God’s Mercy.

Mary bore Jesus in her womb. She gave Mercy Incarnate his Body. But, she didn’t stop there.

She became the “New Eve,” overcoming the damage wrought when the first Eve succumbed to the temptation of the serpent.

St. Irenaeus said it so well. “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosened by Mary’s obedience. The bonds fastened by the virgin Eve through disbelief were untied by the virgin Mary through faith,” he wrote in Against Heresies.

Having conceived Mercy Incarnate, she bore him for nine months, taking him still in the womb to visit Elizabeth. That visit facilitated the consecration in the womb of John the Baptist. After birth, she shared him so to speak, with the shepherds, Magi, and eventually the rest of the world.

Mary is the Giver of God’s Mercy.

This was foreshadowed at the Annunciation. Gabriel also told Mary, “…the Lord God will give to him [Jesus] the throne of his father David.”

Jesus would be the king of an everlasting kingdom. That made Mary Queen-Mother, since in ancient Israel it was the mother of the king who became queen rather than one of his numerous wives. The Queen-Mother, or “Great Lady” sat enthroned on the kind’s right side, counseled, and assisted him in ruling his kingdom.

Because of her closeness with the king, the Queen-Mother was the strongest advocate for the people before the king.

That is Mary’s role in our Lord’s kingdom for all eternity. She advocates and intercedes for us before her Son, the king. Because of her singular relationship to Christ the King, she is Mediatrix of his mercy.

Knowing all of this, I can’t think of Mercy without thinking also about Mary. She is in every way the instrument of God’s mercy.