WHY SAINTS? MARY?
Fr. William Most
Why would God want to bother with Saints, even with Our Lady? Jesus His Son is infinite. The Father loves us, Jesus once said He did not need to ask the Father for usthe Father himself loves us?
Anyone who talks this way does not really understand our Father.
Let us start at the beginning. When Adam and Eve fell, His generosity of course wanted to restore our race. How would He do it? As absolute Master, He could have forgiven all sin, present, past, and future, without any reparation
But that would never suit His Holinessthe quality in which He loves all good, so if what we might call the scales of the moral order is put out of balance by sin, it is His Holiness that wants it restored.
How do it? First, He could have picked any ordinary human and told that one to do something good, perhaps an animal sacrifice. That would be a reparation far short of the infinite evil of sinthe Person offended is Infinite. But He could have accepted it. He could have even bound himself by promise in advance to accept it.
But there is more. It seems as though as long as anything more could be done to make everything richer,. the Father would not stop short. So, He could have sent His Son to become man in a palace, a palace with every conceivable luxury, more than our best technology could dream of. That would have been literally an infinite reparation for sin: any act of a God-man, who is infinite, would have infinite worth as merit and as reparation. In fact, the mere act of being incarnate would have been infinite. He could have ascended at once, in blaze of glory.
But the Father is never satisfied with less if there is more than can possibly be done. So His Son went beyond the palace to the stable, beyond a brief stay to the hours of agony on the cross. Literally, that would have been infinite (infinite in itself) beyond infinity (incarnation for only a moment).
But then our Father noticed that He could have had a redemption, finite but great, from the offering of an ordinary human. So it is as if He said to Himself? Why not? Why not add that role of a mere human to that of the God-man? In other words, add Our Lady?
Her contribution could not add anything to Histhere can be no adding anything to infinity. But the Fathers love of all goodness led Him to literally go to infinity beyond infinity.
The value of the offering of His Son was not just in the terrible sufferingIt was in the fact that He underwent all this as an act of obedience. Through Isaiah 29.13 God had said: this people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Only the interior, the obedience would make it priceless. It was the Annunciation, Our Lady was called on to obey, to say fiat. That she did. Did she know what she was doing? Very much so, terribly so. As soon as the archangel said He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, any ordinary Jew would know it was the Messiah. Then thee would begin to crowd into her mind all the ancient prophecies. Especially those of His suffering in Isaiah 53 and in Ps 22, they have pierced my hands and my feet. Her pondering in her heart would make all this all the more vivid.
Of course. the Father did not have to accept her obedience, her fiat, as part of the obedient sacrifice of His and her Son. But it pleased His Holinessto go again beyond infinity, by adding her immense, but finite offering of her obedience, to His. Any soul that knows what God positively wills is called on to positively will it toonot to just tolerate it. So she was asked to positively will that He die, die then, die so terribly. And to will that in spite of her incomprehensible love for Him.
Would the Father call on her to do all this so painfully, and then, even though He could accept it along with the obedience of His Son, would He merely choose to ignore it. It was part of the covenant obedienceand He who makes a covenant can of course specify what things He wants as part of the compliance with His covenant. So of course He would not just pass it by. So He did accept it. And that is what we mean by cooperation in the redemption.
Another question? Why the Mass? The cross bought and paid for all grace and forgiveness, infinitely. Why more? The answer lies in the Infinite Generosity and Holiness that our Father is. We already saw that out of all possible options, He likes to pick that which is most rich for us, and for Holinessthat is, to rebalance the scales of the moral order when it is out of joint.
The Mass is a real sacrifice. A sacrifice has two elements: outward sign, interior dispositions. The outward sign on Holy Thursday was the seeming separation of body and blood. On Friday, the actual separation. In the Mass the same sign as on Holy Thursday is back. As to the interior disposition it is obedience to the will of the Father. As Hebrews 10.7 tells us "On entering into the world, He said: Behold, I come to do your will O God." That obedience of Jesus is not repeated on the altar, it is continuous from His first coming into the world, on through His passion, and now in the Mass.
It is evident, then, that the Mass is a real sacrificenot needed, yet the Holiness of the Father is pleased to provide it. Similarly the obedience of Our Lady is not neededthe cross is already infinite, In fact, His mere entrance into the world was infinite. Yet Our Father loved to add and addin mathematics, infinity plus a finite quantity does not grow. But this is not the lowly terrain of mathematicsit is the lofty realm of Infinite Holiness/Generosity.
Now it is easy to see why the Saints? There were even less needed than Our Lady, But just as His Generosity loved to make all more and more rich for Holiness and for our benefit: so He is pleased to employ the saints too.