One of the greatest blessings we have as Catholics is the Mother of the Church, the Virgin Mary. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, Mary is your spiritual mother, the queen of heaven and earth. While this is simple for many of us to understand, it can also be challenging for many Christians to grasp, both Catholics and Protestants. I want to use today’s post to shed some light on what the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us about praying to the Virgin Mary, as well as what the Bible tells us about her.
Let’s clear the air before getting started for any of our Protestant brothers and sisters who might be reading along. No, Catholics do not worship the Virgin Mary. Just the idea of that is nonsense. We worship a triune God, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That being said, we honor Mary, the mother of our Lord and Savior.
Many people honor people who are no longer living on this earth every day. We honor family members, military veterans, and many other people who have made a difference in the world we live in. We love them. They have a special place in our hearts. This is no different than how Catholics view Mary. Let’s look at what the CCC tells us in paragraph 2674.
“Mary gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross. Ever since, her motherhood has extended to the brothers and sisters of her Son ‘who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties.’ Jesus, the only mediator, is the way of our prayer; Mary, his mother and ours, is wholly transparent to him: she ‘shows the way,’ and is herself ‘the Sign’ of the way, according to the traditional iconography of East and West.”Catechism of the Catholic Church 2674
We go on to read in paragraph 2679:
“Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.”Catechism of the Catholic Church 2679
There is much more the CCC tells us about praying to the Virgin Mary in paragraphs 2673 – 2679. I encourage you to read them this week before my next post. I want to use the rest of what I am writing today to look at giving Mary a place in our hearts, following a biblical example, and following Mary’s lead. Let’s get started.
Giving the Virgin Mary a Place in our Hearts
I need to be very clear again. No, I am not telling anyone to worship Mary. That being said, the mother of God needs to have a special place in our hearts. She set an example of obedience each of us needs to follow. She was obedient to death, the death of her Son.
Because God is sovereign, I’m sure He would have figured something out if Mary wouldn’t have gone along. Still, God didn’t have to. The Virgin Mary took on whatever role God had for her to play. This would have been much more difficult than we realize. She was betrothed to be married. Becoming pregnant all of a sudden would have thrown a wrench in the bag.
She was younger than a lot of people realize. The majority of biblical scholars and commentators put her between the ages of 13 – 15 at the time of the Annunciation. Think about this for just a second. God used a young teenage girl to play a significant part in changing the history of the world. The Virgin Mary played a role in salvation for every one of us. Yes, she deserves a very special place in our hearts. Right next to her Son.
Not a place of worship, but one of great honor and love. The majority of grown men today couldn’t go through half of what she did before 30. Mary carried the Son of God, gave birth to Him, raised Jesus, and then watched Him be killed. Yes, this is someone we honor.
A Biblical Example
One of the many beliefs that Catholics and Protestants have in common is that we take the Bible as the written Word of God. Scripture is both a history to learn from and a knowledge to be growing towards. The Bible isn’t just a book or novel we read to our children. It is to be applied in our daily lives. Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of Luke 1:46 – 49:
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”Luke 1:46-49
Just for the record, that comes from the ESV, a Bible translation with both a Catholic and Protestant version. Just a heads up, the current generation is part of “all generations.” We are to call her blessed.
The majority of people who will tell you that Catholics make too much of the Virgin Mary will also tell you the Word of God is their final authority. I can’t think of too many other women in the Bible that Scripture tells us “all generations will call me blessed.” Yes, the mother of God deserves our honor and our love.
Following Mary’s Lead
One of my favorite New Testament verses will always be Luke 1:38.
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.Luke 1:38
As I mentioned earlier, the passage this verse comes from asked a lot of the Virgin Mary. Everything about her life was getting ready to change. Gabriel was informing her that she was going to be the mother of the Son of God. If it had been me in a similar situation, I would have had many questions, to say the least. God would have had to provide me with some answers before I was willing to get on board. But, as frightened as Mary might have been, she allowed her faith, trust, and obedience to affect her circumstances instead of letting her fear dictate her response. That’s a lesson each of us can learn from, especially us Christian men.
Many Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike, are quick to refer to Abraham as the father of our faith because of his faithfulness towards God. If we can be so quick to give him this label, why is it such a struggle for many to recognize the Virgin Mary as the mother of God?
I want anyone who displays the faithfulness Mary did to be a part of my prayers. Regardless if I’m praying with or to her, I want the mother of God to play a role while I’m praying. I’ll leave you with this. We know that Jesus created every single person since the start of time. I want to believe that there was something special involved when He was knitting the Virgin Mary in her mother’s womb. God would have known Mary’s role in the salvation of the world.
While each of us is created equally, with the same amount of God’s love, I want to believe something special went into creating her. So, yes, I pray to the mother of Jesus. Because He is a great Son, no, I don’t believe He takes that as me disrespecting Him. On the contrary, I think it means something to Jesus. I think it makes Him smile.
Should we pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary?
Let me know below in the comment box!