Devotion to Mary


1. Why do Catholics worship Mary?

Catholics do not worship Mary, not if they do as the Church says. The Church says only God is to be worshiped: "The commandment [is] to worship the Lord alone." (CCC 2114) "Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God." (CCC 2113) Because of all this, it is forbidden to Catholics to worship any creature, thus we do not give to any creature the honor due only to God; but it is all right to honor holy people as holy people, and saints as men and women specially blessed by God, and Mary as the Mother of God. That is not only all right, it is commanded by Scripture, and so Catholics are the ones who follow the Bible in this regard.

2. Where in the Bible does it say to honor Mary?

In the Bible, Mary herself said, "For behold, from this day forth all generations shall call me blessed." (Luke 1:48) Scripture repeatedly honors her by calling her "full of grace," "highly favored," "blessed among women," etc. (see Luke 1:28, Luke 1:42, etc.) In fact, the Bible gives Mary more honor than any Catholic possibly could by the simple title "Mother of Jesus," (John 2:1, Acts 1:14) because Jesus is the highest honor anyone can have. The early Christians dwelt long in thought on Mary's important role in the history of our redemption, and in this St. Paul was their precursor, who wrote of Mary's role in Galatians 4:4-5. Because of all these reasons, we honor and cherish Mary and try to discover what she calls "the great things God has done for me" (Luke 1:49) -- things that still touch us today.

3. Why do Catholics pray to Mary?

Because the Bible says we should. In the Bible, our prayers go up to God through the hands of those in heaven (Tobit 12:12, Rev. 8:4, Rev. 5:8), and that includes Mary. If the Bible says she receives our prayers, it implies that they may be directed to her: that's just logic, because to receive prayers and to be given prayers are all one. Besides, even if Scripture said nothing about it at all, still our holy Tradition receives this practice from the third century onward; and it is not as if God was no longer with His Church in the third century, Who guides us in how to pray. Therefore because of logic, because of Scripture, and because of Tradition we pray to Mary; and there isn't anything in the Bible that says not to.

4. Mary would have to be omnipotent to hear all those prayers!

Not unless an infinite number of prayers were made to her. You don't need infinite power to hear finite prayers. But in any case, all the difficulties we would expect for hearing many prayers would be gone in eternity, where time is stopped and what would take us millions of years takes no time at all for the Saints and their Master. So no, Mary does not have to be omnipotent, she just has to be in heaven, and that's where she is.

Besides all this, Scripture shows that it doesn't take omnipotence to hear many prayers, by showing that the Saints hear many prayers. In Luke 15:7 the Saints hear every repentance that is made on earth, and rejoice over it; and how, if they cannot hear millions of things happening on earth? And in Revelation 18:17-20 it says "every shipmaster and all that sail" cried out "Rejoice over her, thou heaven and ye holy apostles and prophets, For God hath judged your judgment on her." Now how did the saints hear so many millions of people's praise, if what you say is true, and they would have to be omnipotent to hear them? For all these reasons we know that Mary and the Saints do not have to be omnipotent to hear our prayers.

5. Why do Catholics call Mary their mother?

Because the Bible says she is. In John 19:26-27, one of the last things Jesus does on the Cross is to tell His disciple, "Behold thy mother," and He tells Mary, "behold thy son." Well, I want to know, how did the disciple John get to be Mary's son, and have her for his mother, if Mary isn't our mother at all? John wasn't Mary's child, he was the son of Zebedee, and his mother was standing right there behind them (see Matthew 25:55-56). But Jesus said to him that Mary was his mother, and that's because she's a mother to all of Jesus' disciples. A good man once said that you can't have Jesus for your brother if you won't have Mary for your mother; because they're united, and you can't separate the members of a spiritual family like the Church.

6. Why do Catholics call Mary the Queen of Heaven?

Because it's implied by the Bible and received from our tradition. In Luke 1:28, an angel of God approaches Mary and says to her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!" And "hail" isn't just any ordinary greeting. It's a royal greeting, which is why it says "And she was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be." (Luke 1:29) But the angel answers that she is going to conceive and bear a male child, "the Son of the Most High, And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever." (Luke 1:32) In other words, he says I'm greeting you with Hail because you're going to be royal, with a prince for a Son and the King as His Father. He couches his whole greeting in royal terms because it is a royal event, and he is an emissary sent from the King of the universe to the woman who will bear His Son and the Prince of Peace. That makes Mary a Queen, and if an angel of heaven and the King of the universe know this, then she is the spiritual Queen not only of earth but in heaven as well (an angel hailed her, not just a man).

And note something else as well: in the same chapter as all of that happens, Mary sings in her Magnificat, "He hath regarded the lowly state of His handmaid...He hath cast down the mighty from their thrones and hath lifted up the lowly." (Luke 1:48, 52) And do you think she didn't understand that she was the prime example of this, lifted from lowliness by something totally unexpected and set on the throne that the mighty were on before her? No, the whole first chapter of Luke is a praise of the King sending His Son down to earth, and a praise of the woman who was to bear him. Mary is hailed as royalty (Luke 1:28), blessed with a royal son (Luke 1:32), and greeted with blessings and shouts of praise like a queen when she enters Elizabeth's house (Luke 1:41-42), until Elizabeth gives her a royal title, "And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43) and then blesses her again (Luke 1:45). Then Mary sings about how God has exalted her and put down those in thrones before her (Luke 1:48, 52) and it all becomes crystal clear what it all means: this woman is no ordinary woman like Protestants say. She's been chosen for a royal and saving task by the Master of the universe, and great things have certainly been done for her in preparation for it; she to be honored and revered like no person before her, because it's the work of God that makes her great. And that's why Catholics honor her.

7. The Bible says the Queen of Heaven is a false goddess. (Jeremiah 7:18)

There was a false goddess called the Queen of Heaven, but that doesn't mean the term has no legitimate meaning today. Pagan religions had a false demi-god they called the Son of God, but that doesn't mean we can't call Jesus that, just because a false god had the same title. In the same way, the devil inspired men to worship a false queen of heaven because he doesn't want people honoring and reverencing the true queen of heaven, Mary. And we don't worship Mary like they worshiped the Queen of Heaven, so there's another difference: that "Queen of Heaven" was a goddess, Mary is a woman -- loved by God and given great blessings and favors, but not a goddess, not someone to worship, someone to honor and love.

8. Why do Catholics call Mary Mediatrix of all Graces?

Because Mary intercedes for us for all good things, and interceding is one way of mediating: that makes her a mediatrix of, or an interceder of, all graces. And if you think that's unbiblical, I ask you to explain this: Scripture doesn't show us Mary doing anything but begging the will of God, whether it be in her own life (Luke 1:38) or in the Church's (Acts 1:14) or in the redemption (Luke 2:34-35), which encompasses all men. Wherever graces abound, Mary's prayers preceded it, in the Incarnation, in the Redemption, and in the birth of the Church at Pentecost. She was the kind of intercessor we proclaim her to be everywhere she appears in the Bible, and we know that does not stop at death or when one enters heaven; on the contrary, our concern for the Body of Christ is maximized in heaven. So it's not Catholics who are being unbiblical here -- those who say she isn't Mediatrix are the ones going against everything Scripture shows us about her. And there are other proofs of Mary's mediation as well: from the Church Fathers we have received this doctrine, which is revealed, for example, in the early Sub Tuum prayer, which cries out to Mary for rescue from dangers and sins. And why, unless her prayers and intercessions are there obtaining grace for all those needs? From the Church Fathers we receive this, and from every example of Scripture: and that's why we call her Mediatrix.

9. Jesus is the only mediator between God and men. (1 Tim. 2:5)

Jesus isn't the only *intercessor* between God and men, so you know it can't be talking about the same kind of mediation we are. Examine the context to know the meaning; 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says that Jesus is the only mediator *in dying for our redemption.* And we believe that. If Mary had died for you, it couldn't have saved you; only a death like Jesus' could mediate redemption from God to man. But there are other mediators in other ways, and Paul doesn't deny that. He himself refers to other mediators in Galatians 3:20 and Galatians 3:19, and mentions that all men are to intercede for one another, which is a kind of mediation, in 1 Timothy 2:1. Plus, other passages of the Bible show that the saints and angels are concerned for us and pray for us, and by that very fact they are mediators between God and men, but not in the sense of dying for our redemption, so that passage isn't contradictory. Now if this is true of all the Saints and angels, they how much more is it true of the Mother of God, who is above the angels and surpasses all Saints? Mary must be the prime Mediatrix of all Graces (though Jesus of course is infinitely above her) because of her closeness to God in interceding for all our benefit! And that's not just my talking -- that's what any student of the Bible can easily discover, if they look at how God answers the prayers of the righteous, and remember Mary's Immaculate Conception. It absolutely follows that Mary is our greatest intercessor, the first-in-class of our mediators-in-prayer; and that's just what we mean by calling her the Mediatrix of all graces.

10. Why do Catholics call Mary Co-Redemptrix, when Jesus is the only Savior?

Because those two things aren't incompatible at all. Mary supports Jesus' work of redemption, but she could do nothing to save you unless He provided all the grace. The latter thing means He is the only Savior; the former thing means Mary is a Co-redemptrix. But you will want Scripture-proof. Look at Luke 2:34-35 -- "And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed." Mary's soul is pierced so that our hearts may be opened to grace, and Jesus provides that grace so that we can be saved (resurrected). But Mary would be nothing if Christ didn't provide the grace. She couldn't even reveal the thoughts of your heart except by Jesus' power, because, what is the sword that pierces her heart? It's Jesus' agony and death, which Mary saw below Him standing near the Cross. Without Christ, Mary would not be in the position she is in to support your salvation which is caused by Christ. But because of what God did for her, she is, and that's why we call her Co-Redemptrix.

There are other passages which teach this as well, and it is one of the clearest teachings of the early Church Fathers, so we know it is from the Apostles. But as for it contradicting the fact that Jesus is the only Savior, that's absolutely not true, because Mary could do nothing except because Christ has made possible everything.