How do you understand the way Our Lady works in your life?

So the bare minimum is that Our Lady prays for us, just as the saints do. This can be tricky in itself because we don’t always know, or think about, what we mean by it. Is it literal prayer just as we’d perform on Earth? Or is the saint united to God by more direct means?

With Our Blessed Mother, more questions arise. Because even if our answer to that first question I just asked is ‘‘Yes, they physically have to pray like we do on Earth. They’re outside of time, so they can pray for a lot of people, but other than that it’s the same’’ then that’s all well and good for the rest of the saints, but Our Lady has a more elevated position in the Church as Dispensatrix of Graces and **Mediatrix of All Graces **

Surely this means that Our Lady is not only able to ‘pray for us’, but to affect change in our lives through the dispensing of graces - the distribution of the fruits of our salvation. So Our Lady can act ‘unilaterally’ in a sense, would you agree? (though of course she could not do anything that was contrary to the will of God - a sinless person literally could not do so anyway).

The theologian and mariologist Matthias Scheeben even said

“Mary is the organ of the Holy Ghost who works in her in the same way that Christ’s Humanity is the instrument of the Logos”

Though this is no doubt going too far for many, perhaps most. In fact it might look close to heresy to some. Personally I’m not sure if I can endorse that statement or not. But can we say, in a milder version of the same sentiment, that Our Lady at least fulfils the normative functions of the Holy Spirit for those who have recourse to her by her direct conferring of graces on them? The graces that her title implies are hers to distribute/mediate, by privilege granted by the Lord our God, in recognition of her honour?

Or do you prefer to hold to the simplest and I guess most ecumenical explanation of prayer to Our Lady, which is that we ask her to pray for us the same way we’d ask Jim at the golf club to pray for us, and that plays out in much the same way (but with more power behind it) ?

n.b. I don’t mean to dismiss that viewpoint, as it’s very widespread and fine to hold, but for me personally it doesn’t seem to place enough emphasis on the special status of Our Lady as our co-redeemer and her unique relationship with the hypostatic union. I feel there is something more. I just want to get other’s input on what it is.

What is fine to believe in terms of Catholic orthodoxy and what is not…

Prayer merely means “to ask,” so yes, the saints “pray” for us. We don’t know if they need to vocalize their prayers, but no matter how they do it, they do pray for our intentions and our well-being, temporal and eternal.

With Our Blessed Mother, more questions arise. Because even if our answer to that first question I just asked is ‘‘Yes, they physically have to pray like we do on Earth. They’re outside of time, so they can pray for a lot of people, but other than that it’s the same’’ then that’s all well and good for the rest of the saints, but Our Lady has a more elevated position in the Church as Dispensatrix of Graces and **Mediatrix of All Graces **

Mary’s place is unique, of course, because she is the Theotokos, the God-bearer. But, she is more than that–she is the Second Eve in the order of grace, the new head of the human race in Eve’s place. Terms such as “Dispensatrix of Graces” and “Mediatrix of All Graces” are not formal Church titles. Still, she does fulfill those roles. She does them through the power of the Holy Spirit as the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and Our Mother.

Surely this means that Our Lady is not only able to ‘pray for us’, but to affect change in our lives through the dispensing of graces - the distribution of the fruits of our salvation. So Our Lady can act ‘unilaterally’ in a sense, would you agree? (though of course she could not do anything that was contrary to the will of God - a sinless person literally could not do so anyway).

Yes, she can and does effect change, but as you cited, under God’s will. Jesus promised that we would do “greater things that this…” because of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Mary, being full of the Spirit from her conception, does effect our lives through the graces she gives us and by her intercession. Still, there are some things she does not do, such as deliver souls from purgatory. She prays for the souls in purgatory, but their deliverance into the Beatific Vision is determined by God alone.

The theologian and mariologist Matthias Scheeben even said

“Mary is the organ of the Holy Ghost who works in her in the same way that Christ’s Humanity is the instrument of the Logos”

Though this is no doubt going too far for many, perhaps most. In fact it might look close to heresy to some. Personally I’m not sure if I can endorse that statement or not. But can we say, in a milder version of the same sentiment, that Our Lady at least fulfils the normative functions of the Holy Spirit for those who have recourse to her by her direct conferring of graces on them? The graces that her title implies are hers to distribute/mediate, by privilege granted by the Lord our God, in recognition of her honour?

St. Louis de Montfort taught the same thing. It can be hard for some to understand how this works without taking anything away from God, but of course, Mary can only “operate” through the Holy Spirit, so it’s fine to state this as Scheeben did. Still, it’s “meat” of the Gospel not “milk” which makes it hard for some to understand who are not yet able to receive it.

Or do you prefer to hold to the simplest and I guess most ecumenical explanation of prayer to Our Lady, which is that we ask her to pray for us the same way we’d ask Jim at the golf club to pray for us, and that plays out in much the same way (but with more power behind it) ?

No, I don’t think of Mary’s intercession and heavenly aid as simply as you state it here. :slight_smile: Mary acts more directly, but again, not merely of her own volition or in her own power or her own name.

n.b. I don’t mean to dismiss that viewpoint, as it’s very widespread and fine to hold, but for me personally it doesn’t seem to place enough emphasis on the special status of Our Lady as our co-redeemer and her unique relationship with the hypostatic union. I feel there is something more. I just want to get other’s input on what it is.

What is fine to believe in terms of Catholic orthodoxy and what is not…

The term “co-redemptrix” is not a title the Church has given to Mary, either. Certainly we believe that Mary was and is a “coworker” with Christ. But the term is considered unnecessary and confusing, so it hasn’t been adopted. Still, Mary does play a large role in our salvation through her intercession, the graces she bestows on those who ask for them, and in the aid she gives us, directly and indirectly, in our journey to God.

Her value is unqualifiable. :). If/when you make it to heaven someday, you’ll see that first hand

The best way a priest explained Mary’s role in our salvation is that from Heaven, Mary is looking down and has a way better vantage point of how our life is headed, and so She knows how/what to pray for, while we can barely see ahead of us and so when we pray we make our requests almost half blind. :wink:

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