The Mother of God really merited our salvation, as shown by the previous article and as taught by Pope St. Pius X. The present question examines whether Mary’s sufferances have contributed to satisfaction for our sins.
Pope Leo XIII explains in Jucunda semper, his encyclical on the rosary: “When she professed herself the handmaid of the Lord for the mother’s office, and when, at the foot of the altar, she offered up her whole self with her Child Jesus—then and thereafter she took her part in the laborious expiation made by her Son for the sins of the world.”
Satisfaction consists of offering to the one who has been offended compensation for the pain and the offense that has been done to him. In itself, it must be sufficient, according to the etymology: satisfacere, to make sufficient.
But it must said that in addition, a person may satisfy for himself, or for another. To be precise, when it comes to Christ, it is a matter of satisfaction vicaire – vicarious or for others, just as Our Lady, not having committed any sin, and having been redeemed by way of preservation, did not have to make satisfaction for herself.
But we must ask ourselves about her part in the salvation of men. Vicarious satisfaction requires several conditions:
--To voluntarily assume punishment through love of the common good for reparation (satisfaction).
*The satisfaction is perfect when the one “offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense,” (III, q.48, a.2).
*If the satisfaction is imperfect, it is nevertheless efficacious provided that the offended one is content.
--It is about the punishment due for the sins of others (what distinguishes vicarious satisfaction).
--There is with the offender and the one who satisfies the love of the common good to be restored.
--There is a certain natural or moral union between the two.
What about the Mother of God?
As for merit, Mary’s satisfaction is secondary and subordinate to that of Christ.
--She voluntarily assumes compassion, which is pleasing to God in the measure:
*Of the greatness of her charity;
*Of her dignity as the Mother of God;
*Of the extent and intensity of her sorrow.
It is a matter of imperfect satisfaction because her dignity as the Mother of God is not equivalent to that of a Divine Person. Nevertheless, her scope is universal as is her merit.
--She thus makes reparation for men, not for herself.
--She adheres to Christ’s intention to expiate the sins of the world.
--She has a human nature.
St. Thomas states: “man’s satisfaction may be termed sufficient, imperfectly—i.e., in the acceptation of him who is content with it, even though it is not condign, and in this way the satisfaction of a mere man is sufficient. And forasmuch as every imperfect presupposes some perfect thing, by which it is sustained, hence it is that satisfaction of every mere man has its efficiency from the satisfaction of Christ.” (III, q.1, a.2)
Mary’s compassion is first in the order of imperfect satisfaction, first in participation with the Savior’s work, because it extends to all men.