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…