The Role of Mary in Our Lives,
as Seen Through this Catholic's Eyes
Catholics are probably questioned more about our relationship with Mary than any other part of our faith. Protestants and most non-Catholics do not understand how or even why we revere her. We may be accused of "worshipping" her or even deifying her. What they don't get is that we respect her, love her, and ask her intercession. When we speak of "devotion" to the Blessed Mother, we do not mean we place her above God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost. A person can be devoted to many things, like a job or career, but that doesn't mean it becomes your god. Devotion implies a loyalty and trust in a person. It also involves a certain amount of faith and effort on our parts to continue the bonds of a good relationship. A mother who is devoted to her children is applauded (generally) by society; and conversely, children should be devoted to their parents and their siblings. This kind of devotion doesn't displace God as the Supreme Being either. Our relationship with Mary, and our devotion to her as Catholics, follows along these same lines.
In every instance that Mary has appeared to people throughout the ages, she always calls us to her Son, Jesus Christ. This is her wish: that we come to Him with open and contrite hearts, asking Him for mercy and forgiveness, so that we may one day be united with Him in heaven for all eternity. She never asks for herself--only for us to love and obey her Son. She is NOT God, nor a "goddess", nor a 4th Person we add to the Holy Trinity, nor did she exist before God.
As for me personally, I see this Blessed Lady as a very special woman, hand-picked by God Himself to bear His only begotten Son into this world. She was chosen out of all of us for this privilege and honor. That alone tells me that there is something about her that should have my attention. If God Himself created her and chose her specifically, honoring her with the task of birthing and raising Jesus, who am I to disregard her? God knows all our hearts better than we do. He knew she was special, and I will accept His infallible judgment on this matter.
When Jesus was dying on the cross, He gave her to us, with our representative being St. John. Even when He was in excruciating pain, He thought of His holy mother and her welfare after He would be gone bodily from this earth. Can you see how close they must have been? She raised Him, loved Him, and stayed by His side when all others fled until the very last breath He took. If He had this kind of closeness and immeasurable affection for her while she was on earth, it then follows that He would have the same love for her in heaven. Jesus and Mary have an indelible bond that will remain throughout eternity, and that bond began at her Immaculate Conception.
Prayer is, simply put, communication. Most of the time it is merely a monolog, as we don't expect to actually hear any response from whom we are speaking to. However, we really would like to see results and get an answer through events or circumstances in our lives. A prayer said to Mary is a communication with her. We ask her intercession on our behalf with her Son, Jesus. After we ask her for some special consideration or favor, she goes to Jesus for us. Now, we know from the Bible that Jesus couldn't refuse His mother when she asked Him for something, even though He said His time had not yet come. Remember the wedding feast at Cana? She told Him about the lack of wine, asking Him to do something about it. Jesus told her that it wasn't time for Him to make His Divinity known so publicly. Yet, Jesus turned water into wine. Why do you suppose that was? Because He loves His mother, and she asked Him for a favor! So, why can't we go to her and ask her to ask her Son for us, knowing full well that He doesn't deny her requests?
I remember that often when I was a young girl, I would go to my mother to ask my father for permission for me to get to go somewhere I wanted with my friends. It just felt like it was a good idea to have someone else, like Mom, on my side before I went to ask Daddy. Yes, I could have gone straight to him, but I felt that somehow there was less of a chance that he would refuse if Mom was behind me, approving my request. You know, if I recall correctly, most of the time this worked pretty well! Somehow, as a little child, I knew to go through Mom first. Surely I wasn't the only little girl in the whole world doing this.... Why then, as adults, do we question this kind of behavior? Why can't we go to our spiritual mother Mary first, and then go to God or Jesus together?
When we pray the rosary, it is of course, a Marian prayer because she has endorsed it. In many of her apparitions, she asks us to pray this powerful prayer and often holds a rosary herself. She has even made promises--with the approval of God Himself--to those who recite her rosary prayers and to those who promote this devotion. To non-Catholics, it may seem to be a repetitious group of prayers that focus on Mary, because most of the prayers are "Hail Mary's". We, as Catholics, know this is not true. We are supposed to be meditating on the "Mysteries" of the rosary, all of which are based on the life of Jesus and Scripture passages. It is really more about Him than her.
The "Hail Mary" that we pray is straight from the Bible. In Luke, the angel Gabriel came to Mary, and said to her: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. And she told her cousin Elizabeth that she was blessed among women, and all generations shall call her "blessed." She agreed to bear the Son of God, the "fruit" of her womb. After we quote Luke's scripture, we simply ask Mary to pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our deaths. So what in this prayer could be wrong? First we quote the Bible, and then we ask her to intercede for our souls. And we know from Scripture, that Jesus does listen to His mother.
In this modern world, there is a "New Age" movement that encourages and embraces many pagan traditions. This has really created a lot of confusion within and without the Church and has even infiltrated many "Christian" religions. I heard on television one afternoon on a talk show, a very famous woman who was raised Catholic state that when you say that Mary is the "Mother of God," you really mean that Mary gave birth to God--like she existed first! And what makes matters worse, she even presented this statement of hers to the audience like it was a tenet of the Church! That statement makes Mary a goddess, which she is not! This is NOT what the Bible and Catholics mean when we say Mary is the "Mother" of God. Mary is a creation of God, a creature, not part of the Holy Trinity. She didn't come first. Jesus was not born from her womb by her own power. Genesis says that "in the beginning, there was God (the Word). " It does not say that in the beginning there was Mary or any other goddess for that matter.
Mary has even been likened to the Egyptian goddess, Isis. No. Mary has nothing to do with that pagan, multi-god religion. I've even seen this written myself in literature given to me by a Protestant to try to show me the error of my ways and why I'm going to hell. The slant that is put on Mary towards her being some sort of deity is born from evil. In Revelations it is written that there is enmity between the Woman clothed with the sun and the serpent. She will crush him with her heel. So, it could be reasoned that Satan himself would especially despise Mary, and naturally would want to attack her by getting as many people as possible to discard her or even be suspicious of her and anyone who has affiliation with her. The writer of this literature that is being distributed has succumbed to Satan's murmurings against Our Lady. And, unfortunately, people will buy into it!
For the record: Mary is called "the Mother of God" only because she gave birth to Jesus, the Son of the Most High, after the Holy Spirit came upon her making her with Child.
to Mary in Sacred Scripture
that supports the Catholic Marian dogma:
Mary, as the Blessed Mother of Jesus:
1:28, 30; -- angel Gabriel: "full of grace....found favor
Lk 1:40; -- Elizabeth: "most blessed among women"
Lk 1:48; -- Mary: "all generations wil call me blessed"
as the Mother of God:
Lk 1:43; -- Elizabeth calls her "mother of my Lord"
Mt 1:23; -- a virgin will bear a son, Emmanuel (means "God is with us")
Lk 1:35; -- child born will be called holy, the Son of God
Gal 4:4; -- God sent His Son, born of a virgin
Assumption of Mary's Body into Heaven after her Death:
Gn 5:24; Hb 11:5; -- Enoch taken to heaven without dying
2 Kg 2:11; -- Elijah assumed into heaven in a fiery chariot
Mt 27:52; -- many saints who had fallen asleep were raised
1 Thess 4:17; -- caught up to meet the Lord in the air
1 Cor 15:52; -- we shall be instantly changed at the last trumpet
Rom 6:23; -- for the wages of sin is death
Rev 11:19; 12:1; -- ark in heaven is a woman clothed with the sun
was Conceived Without Sin):
Lk 1:28; -- hail full of grace, highly favored daughter; the Lord is with you
Lk 1:30; -- you have found favor with God
Lk 1:37; -- for with God, nothing shall be impossible
Gn 3:15; -- complete enmity between woman and Satan (sin)
Ex 25:11-21; -- ark made of purest gold for God's Word
Ever-Virgin; Her Perpetual Virginity:
Lk 1:34; -- how can this be, since I do not know man
Lk 2:41-51; -- at age 12, Jesus was apparently the only child of Mary
Mk 6:3; -- "the" son of Mary, not "a" son of Mary
Mt 27:56; -- Mary the mother of James and Joseph is also...
Jn 19:25; -- Mary, the wife of Clopas
Jn 19:26; -- entrusted Mary to John, not a younger sibling
Jn 7:3-4; -- brothers advise like elders: "go to Judea, manifest...."
Mk 3:21; -- set out to seize him, "he is out of his mind"
Mt 28:20; -- I am with you always, until the end of ages
Praying to Saints
Rosaries and Chaplets Instructions
My Personal Story of Thanks to Our Lady
Patron Saints Index
How to Become a Catholic
The Immaculate Conception
Recommended Reading about Mary
The Heart of Marian
Doctrine and Devotion
Woman and the Way:
A Marian Path to Jesus
about visions of Mary throughout the centuries
and her messages to the world.
Another beautiful arrangement of Schubert's Ave Maria is on the "Catholic Latin Classics" by the Cathedral Singers.
Click on the album cover to go to Amazon.com to listen to its music, read more about the album, or purchase it.
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