Please help with Mary

I’m having difficulty understanding why in almost all of the approved Marian Apparitions, Mary asks for something in her honor, such as the Rosary and devotion to her at Fatima, a church built in her honor at Guadalupe, and then at Pellevoisin, asking for devotion to her. I’m not saying these are bad or anything, but I’m curious, if Mary is Jesus’ representative, why does she only ask for these things? (Keep in mind these aren’t my arguments, just some Protestant arguments I found.

2nd, can Mary actually do things/perform things on her own? Or can she only intercede like the other Saints? I understand all the things granted from praying to the Saints is by God through them praying for you/interceding for you. And that Mary is just Highly venerated, but not worshipped, as only the Trinity is worshipped.

I apologize for almost the questions, and if any of these questions sound stupid, but I’m just now getting into the Marian stuff of my new faith. Thank you.

Good questions. Understanding Mary brings us closer to Jesus


As far as my understanding goes:

The apparitions of Mary are private revelations. They cannot be the source of commands for the Universal Church.

Moreover, Our Blessed Mother is not a represantative of God. She was not one on Earth - the Apostles ruled the Church, not Her.

So, the apparitions of Mary are the means to get closer to Her, not to reveal new truths.

As to the 2nd point. Everything Mary does, She does by the power of God, through Her intercession. The only difference between Mary’s inercessions and those of other saints is that we believe that whatever She asks from God, will be granted. As Her merits are immeasurable.

This is where we see that most modern people, and therefore most Protestants, are not terribly familiar with your Bible.

If you read the Old Testament, it is very clear that God often appears to people or sends them messengers (angels, etc.) or dreams. This often happens in Genesis and Exodus, but it also happens in later historical books and in some of the prophetic books.

When this happens and the message is significant, usually the person in the OT thinks to himself, “I’m going to put up a rock or a marker or an altar, so that there’s a record of this.” (Jacob thinks, “If this message from God pans out and I become prosperous, then I will come back and build something here, and call the place Bethel.” That’s Jacob for ya. That’s probably also why he had to be wrestled. :slight_smile: )

David and Solomon building the Temple in Jerusalem follow this pattern, although David’s bright idea is actually temporarily nixed by God in a message. But the whole reason that David bought the threshing floor which would eventually become the site of the Temple? Because David saw the punishing angel that was bringing an epidemic to Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 24:16-17 –
“And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. And David said to the Lord, when he saw the angel striking the people…”

Occasionally, the Bible will not give you the person’s thoughts, but they’ll just say, “Oh, yeah, there’s a stone or a tree or some other landmark here, and that’s where it happened,” with the implication, “Be sure and remember to visit it if you go by there.”

But the third possibility is that God, or God’s messenger, will order specifically that the person build something at the place. Even the building of the Temple follows this pattern in part, since Moses was instructed in exactly how to build the tabernacle and the vessels.

When Mary (or another saint, or an angel) appears somewhere to somebody, Mary (or the other saint, or the angel) is acting as a messenger of the Lord. So it would only be natural for a person to whom Mary appears to think, “Yup, there ought to be a chapel or a church put up here.” And there are many cases where that is what people think, and they just ask the bishop to let them do it (or they go ahead and do something temporary, and then the bishop has to haul them back if they go too far, or approve it if it doesn’t claim anything too much). And indeed, that is what usually happens at approved apparition sites.

But if Mary appears to some humble person or a kid, who would never think of asking such a thing or starting to build a remembrance, she does usually nudge or order them to build something. Why? Because it is unfitting that God should send a message, and that people should forget it.

Also, it serves the practical purpose for Jesus (who set up the system of bishops, remember) of making sure the bishop comes into the picture early, and that the mortal persons involved with the apparition have to talk to him and obey him. (And the bishop has to pay attention to what’s going on.) Big prophecies and wonders usually are directed, in part, at making sure that God gets the attention of the people in charge! (It’s good for bishops to see that God is at work; and if bad stuff or imaginary stuff is going on, it’s good for bishops to catch it.)

I’ve got more to say in the next post!

Secondly, the comment was incorrect. Mary doesn’t always ask for a chapel to be built, or processions, or any of that. She often asks, but not always.

For example, let’s look at the only US approved apparition, Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, Wisconsin. At the same place on a trail, Adele Brise twice saw a woman surrounded by light. Initially reporting this to her parents, she thought it was a “Poor Soul,” somebody from Purgatory asking for prayers (ie, a ghost!) So she asked the local priest for advice, who said that if she saw such a thing again, she should ask the person, “In the Name of God, who are you and what do you wish of me?” (This is a very typical piece of advice that even comes into European folktales, btw, because of course a demon or evil ghost would not be able to lie very easily if explicitly questioned in the Name of God.)

So she did, and got the reply, “I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received Holy Communion this morning, and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession, and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them.”

She had some other people with her, who did not see the apparition, but who knelt when Adele advised them to do so.

Mary commented, “‘Blessed are they that believe without seeing.”

Then she continued talking to Adele, saying, “What are you doing here in idleness while your companions are working in the vineyard of my Son?”

“What more can I do, dear Lady?” said Adele, weeping.

“Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.”

“But how shall I teach them, who know so little myself?”

“Teach them their catechism, how to sign themselves with the sign of the Cross, and how to approach the Sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you.”

And that was it. Mary did not order the building of any church or chapel; she just ordered Adele to get cracking on teaching kids their religion.

Now, there was a tiny oratory built on the spot within the next year, because Adele’s dad thought it would be fitting. Eventually a bigger chapel was built and approved by the bishop for saying Mass, and that chapel was where many people and animals fled, and were miraculously spared by the huge forest fire that engulfed that part of Wisconsin. Miraculous healings were reported to have occurred there, and still do. But Mary never ordered the building of a chapel; and obviously God knew that the people there would take care of it without any bolstering by orders or messages.

Another good example is the approved apparition at Knock, Ireland. Mary didn’t ask for anything. There was no message. The entire apparition was that a good chunk of the village saw the following things appear on the outside wall of the church building for around two hours: “The Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist, and an altar with a lamb and a cross on it. Flying around the altar were several angels.” Nobody heard any of these people speak.

Villagers who did not see the actual apparition did see a bright light shining down upon the church, or in the area of the church (if too far away to see the church, or at a bad angle). Again, miraculous healings were reported to have occurred, and they still do. But everything that has been built at Knock has been built by the ideas of the people who live around there or who are interested in the place, not by any sort of order from Mary.

I could talk about a lot of other examples, but basically you just have to read approved apparition accounts and see which ones ask for stuff to be built and which ones don’t. There’s a fair amount of examples of each.

One important thing to find out is whether your friend believes that miracles do still occur (as believed by many Pentecostal, Methodist, Anglican, etc. churches), or whether he thinks that we’re all miracle-less since the death of the Apostles (a pretty common belief among some Protestant churches, since it allows them to totally dismiss all saint miracles).

Obviously, we Catholics do believe that miracles and prophecies and healings happen and that private revelations can occur, even though we also believe that God finished making His big universal revelations though the Scripture we have, and that we won’t get more universal revelations until the Second Coming, Resurrection of the Dead, General Judgment, new heavens and new earth, etc. (when we’ll find out all kinds of things).

Thanks for that Mintaka. Very good information. I’m a brand new Catholic and love reading about the Blessed Mother and the saints. Funny how they were the hardest part for me to accept and now I love it. :slight_smile:

You’re welcome! I love helping!

Unfortunately, my brain is now dead and it’s almost time to go to work, so someone else will have to answer the OP’s other questions. :wink:

Hi GNM…one thing to always keep in mind…with the BVM being in heaven, there is no sin heaven…no one would disobey God…so what the BVM asks of those receiving the private revelation is to get them closer to Her Son.

Nothing Mary says is to contravene the will of God.

And if you have noticed, those chapels, churches built where Marian apparitions have occurred have been sources of great healing and conversion back to Jesus…through Mary.

As others have mentioned, she can only intercede for us. She cannot do anything apart from Jesus. Following the apparitions are not a requirement, but I believe it’s best to stick with the ones validated by the Vatican.

Through the power of God, she can also see the state of the world. Per the written narratives about the apparitions, seeing all the sin hurts her and hurts God.

Here is the tricky part which may be foreign to your background - per the apparitions of Jesus from Saint Faustina, Mary at Fatima, at so forth, we can offer prayers and other sacrifices to obtain graces on behalf of souls in purgatory or on behalf of sinners who might not otherwise have a good chance at salvation. It is a way to offer comfort to the holy family for all the damage we have allowed. It is, similar to Jesus’s passion - a form of appeasement to obtain graces we do not deserve.

You’re likely instinctively asking - where does it say this in the bible?

Well, there are various places in the bible that indicate we can pray for others and offer sacrifices such as 2 Maccabees and James 5.

The bible also indicates in many places that we can be used by God as His instruments (Luke 17, John 14, Acts 9).

I think revelation 12 describes the blessed Mother as someone who is much more important than we in protestant circles credited her for.

And you know, we can ay the same thing for the Jesus described in Revelation as opposed to the Gospels. In revelation he is a conquerer, alpha and omega. In the gospels he is a baby in a manger and later washing people’s feet.

I’m not in total agreement with these apparitions but look at the positive effect they had. Mexico was a pagan country prior to Guadalupe. Now predominantly Catholic Christian

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