St. Bernard says that, as a man and a woman cooperated in our ruin, so a man and a woman should cooperate in our reparation, and these were Jesus and his Mother Mary. There is no doubt," says the saint, "that Jesus Christ alone is sufficient to redeem us, but it was more congruent that at the hour of our reparation the two sexes were present who had been present when we fell. This is why St. Albert the Great rightly calls Mary a collaborator in the redemption. And she herself revealed to St. Bridget that as Adam and Eve sold the world for the forbidden fruit, she and her Son with one heart redeemed the world. God could well have created the world out of nothing, says St. Anselm; but since the world was lost through guilt, God did not want to repair it without Mary's cooperation. "He who was able to make everything from nothing did not want to repair it without Mary.
In three ways, says Suarez, the Mother of God has cooperated in our salvation: first, having merited with congruous merit the incarnation of the Word; second, having prayed much for us; and third, having offered wholeheartedly the life of her Son for our salvation. And for this reason the Lord has justly established that since Mary has cooperated with so much love for the good of men and with so much glory for the salvation of all, all will obtain salvation through her.
Mary is called the cooperator of our justification because God has entrusted to her all the graces that are dispensed to us. Therefore, says St. Bernard, all men, past, present and future, must look to Mary as the means of attaining salvation and the negotiator of salvation throughout the centuries.
Jesus Christ says that no one can find him if first his eternal Father does not draw him with his divine grace. "No one comes to me unless my Father draws him". "So now - according to Richard of St. Victor - Jesus says of his Mother: no one comes to me unless my Mother draws him with her prayers". Jesus is the fruit of Mary as Elizabeth said: Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Lk 1:42). And he who wants the fruit must go to the tree. He who wants Jesus must go to Mary, and he who finds Mary also certainly finds Jesus. St. Elizabeth, when she saw that the Blessed Virgin was coming to visit her at her home, not knowing how to express her gratitude for such humility, exclaimed: "Where is it that the Mother of my Lord comes to visit me? When did I ever deserve to have the Mother of my God come to see me? But how! did Elizabeth not know that not only the Blessed Virgin, but Jesus too, had come to her house? And then, why did she declare herself unworthy to receive the Mother and not rather that the Son should come to visit her? How well the saint understood that when Mary came, she also brought Jesus! That is why it was enough for her to thank her Mother without naming the Son.
2. Mary, cooperator in our salvation
"She is like a merchant ship that brings food from afar" (Pr 31:14). Mary is that fortunate ship that brought us from heaven to earth Jesus Christ, living bread, who came from heaven to give us eternal life, as he himself says: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever" (Jn 6:51-52). That is why Richard of St. Lawrence says that in the sea of the world are lost every year those who are not inside this ship protected by Mary. And he adds: "As soon as we see the waves of this sea become rough, we must cry out to Mary: 'Our Lady, save us, for we perish! Whenever we see ourselves in danger of being lost to temptations and evil passions, we must have recourse to Mary, crying out: "Quickly, Mary, help us, save us if you do not want to see us lost". Note that this author does not scruple to say to Mary: "Save us, for we perish", as the author so often refuted has difficulty in doing so, who pretends to forbid us to tell the Virgin to save us, because he says that saving is God's business alone. But if a person condemned to death can ask a favorite of the king to save his life by interceding with the prince, why should we not be able to ask the Mother of God to save us by asking for the grace of eternal life? St. John Damascene had no difficulty in saying to the Virgin: "Immaculate and pure Queen, save me, deliver me from eternal damnation". St. Bonaventure called Mary thus, "O salvation of those who invoke you!" The Holy Church approves of our calling her "health of the sick". And should we scruple to ask her to save us, since, as one author says, the gates of salvation are opened to no one but through her? St. Germain had said it before: "No one is saved except through you"; and he was referring to Mary.
But let us see what other saints say about the need we have for the intercession of the Mother of God. The glorious St. Cajetan said that we can seek grace, but we will not obtain it without the intercession of Mary. And St. Antoninus confirms it saying with a beautiful expression: "He who asks without her, tries to fly without wings". He who asks and tries to obtain graces without the intercession of Mary tries to fly without wings; because, as Pharaoh said to Joseph: "In your hand is the land of Egypt" (Gen 47:6); and as he said to all those who turned to him for help: "Go to Joseph", so God, when we ask him for grace, sends us to Mary: "Go to Mary".
And he has decreed, says St. Bernard, not to grant any grace except by the hand of Mary. Richard of St. Lawrence says: "Our salvation is in Mary's hands so that we Christians can say to her much better than the Egyptians said to Joseph: Our salvation is in her hand". The same says the venerable Idiot: "Our salvation is in her hand". And the same, even more vigorously, Cassian: "The whole salvation of the world depends on the innumerable favors of Mary". He who is protected by Mary is saved; he who is not protected is lost. St. Bernardine of Siena tells her: "Lady, since you are the dispenser of all graces and the grace of salvation can only come to us from your hand, this means that our salvation depends on you".
Glories of Mary - St. Alphonsus M. Liguori