Today is the Feast of our Lady's Annunciation, and thanks to the Sublime Compiler of the Celestial ORDO (he's having a particularly ingenious year in 2010) tomorrow is the feast of our Lady of Sorrows - or, in Bishop David Silk's pregnant phrase. "at the foot of the Cross". This latter was abolished, of course, after the Council, but - have you noticed this? - in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal our Lady does get a toe back onto this day: it is provided with an optional alternative collect (not, however, the preconciliar formula).
At last year's memorable Ecumenical Walsingham Pilgrimage, a Methodist friend of mine, Prebendary Norman Wallwork, preached a memorable sermon on our Lady as CoRedemptrix. Here is part of what Father Norman said:
"Mary is the recipient of the sword of sacrifice which pierces her being as she participates in the redemptive offering of Christ at Calvary. The Lukan prophecy of the sword - made by Simeon to Mary in the Temple - and the Johannine picture of the Mother of Jesus - at the foot of the Cross - are really two moments within a single event. Mary's YES to God that she would be the God-bearer was a YES that began in the joy of carrying the Christ child within her but ended as she gazed on her Son on the Cross. For the sacrifice that Mary began to offer in her fiat was a sacrifice she only completed at Calvary. Mary does not make a sacrifice independently of the work of her Son - her sacrifice is united to his. Within Christ's grand oblation of himself in his life and in his death for us all there is comjoined the sacrifice of his Mother. Neither could have been made without the other.
"At the heart of the Eucharist we particpate in the same sacrifice which Christ offers once and for ever. The Eucharistic sacrifice of our praise and thanksgiving and the Eucharistic oblation of ourselves to the Father through the Son, in the Spirit, is a sacrifice we can only offer because it is conjoined to the one, true, pure and immortal and ever-prevailing sacrifice of Christ. At every Eucharist there is one sacrifice - Christ's and ours - and within that conjoined sacrifice is mingled the sacrifice of the one who knew - at Calvary - that her sacrifice was finished and accomplished as far as in her lay - as it is finished and accomplished by Christ as far as in him lay - and as it is finished and accomplished by us in this place on this day at this hour."
I feel the Wesleys would have applauded ... and so would S Gregory Palamas and S Bernard.
The proceedings of the Pilgrimage (978-0-9551151-2-7) can be had from The Ecumenical Marian Pilgrimage Trust/ 31 Kingsley Road/ Plymouth/ PL4 6QP. Ecumenical Prospects of Mary.