praying to Mary

I love Mary and feel a real connection to her. She has helped me a lot in overcoming sins and providing motherly love. But I sometimes do feel I pray to her for help instead of Jesus. I feel her love more perhaps because she is a woman. At least when it comes to certain things I deal with.I have heard people say we do not pray to Mary when protestants ask about it. But I do pray to Mary, a lot. I often ask her help.

The other day I caught myself praying, Mary I love you, I worship you. It just came out and made me retract it when I thought it. These are things I would pray to Jesus. So my question is, how are we not praying to Mary?

Iknow the standard response to protestants is that we revere Mary, not pray to her. But it seems like semantics because I do really pray to her. I get such comfort from her. Can anyone help me in understanding this? I don’t want to give up my relationship with Mary but I don’t want to commit idolatry either.

There are two definitions of the word pray in my dictionary. One is “to make a request in a humble manner”. The other is “to address God with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving”. My pastor once said that if a person came over to his house and only talked to him, his Dad and brothers, but ignored his Mom, he would be angry. If that continued for a long period of time, he wouldn’t want that person as a friend. Then he said that Jesus doesn’t want us to ignore his mother either. I thought there was a lot of common sense to that. I am a Protestant convert and it took that analogy for me to realize that speaking to Mary is OK. And, I feel it is definitely OK to pray to her asking for her to intercede with our Lord on our behalf.

So, now I pray to Mary a lot. I ask her to help me with all sorts of things. I also tell her that I love her, just as I tell my earthly mother that I love her. I could be wrong, but I am sure that our Lord loves Mary too and is not offended if we love her. I think that loving her like we love close family and friends is appropriate. I also thank Mary when I believe she has interceded on my behalf with the Lord (and I thank him too). My relationship with the Lord is different now, and I think that going to Mary for many things has helped me to become more humble, which is something that I really need. Where I used to go to him for everthing, now I bring almost all of my requests to Mary and ask her to help me. When I pray to the Lord, it is different now…sometimes it is just sitting with him…other times it is thinking about how much I love him and thanking him for all he does for me.

This is very much a hot button issue with Protestants. Many of them will tend to object to any communication with Mary whatsoever, just as they object to prayer to Saints. Unless you are in a situation where you have to deal with them frequently on such issues, I wouldn’t worry too much about what we say to them. It just gets into a big confusing and frustrating semantics issue. At least for me. My family is from particularly anti-Catholic sect.

The only thing you said in your post that concerned me is where you said you told Mary you worship her. I am not sure what you meant, but I don’t think you would worship another person. I like to think of Mary as an incredibly beautiful, special and influential person in heaven…which she is because she is a Queen. I think where one might get into trouble is if his or her devotion to Mary becomes disordered in such a way that the person has totally lost sight of Jesus/God. Our devotion to Mary should be pointing us to God and helping us to love him with all our hearts just as Mary did. If that isn’t happening, then that is when there may be a problem.

I hope that helps. If you are still worried about this, I suggest you discuss it with your priest in confession. He should be able to set your mind at ease or get you on the right path if that is needed. God bless you.

As a Protestant on the fence about converting (or at least doing RCIA), I’ve wondered about the Catholic practice of venerating Mary.

I mean, only God is our hope and our life, and I know the Catholic response is, Mary is leading to Jesus our hope and our life…but then why make things confusing by calling her our hope and our life?

How does Mary obtain graces for us? I also know the Catholic response is that going through a mother when asking a father for something is more efficacious…but isn’t that kind of limiting God to a human perspective? It makes God seem scary and unapproachable.

Doesn’t God want us to depend on Him alone? Or is there an “allowable” balance between asking God and asking for intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, saints, and angels?

And does Mary make intercessions and obtain graces for us through her Son or through the Father, or both, or through her Son ultimately from the Father? I know They are One, but even in Catholic theology, they are individual Persons of the Trinity, and the Father is the source of the Son.

What is the practical difference (i.e.: not just dictionary definition) between latria and hyperdulia? Sure, it’s easy to say one is worship and one is veneration, but what is the difference in practice?

I don’t mean to offend. I’ve been asking these questions elsewhere on these forums, and I never got a response that alleviates my concerns.

Glad to know even Catholics deal with this issue…

Hi EIF5A, that is great news about starting RCIA! You should definitely do that as it will give you a chance to learn in more detail what Catholics believe.

I will check back this evening and give you a few thoughts on these questions. Need to get to work right now. God bless you!

The Lord has given many privileges to Mary. He made her full of grace for his reasons.

Because Mary is the perfect disciple of Jesus I try to imitate her and ask for intercession from her. That is what we mean when we say we pray to her. Mary and the saints are part of the Body of Christ. We are family!
We acknowledge what the Lord did for her when we honor her. All her specialness comes from the Lord, and Mary knows that.

We pray to Jesus through Mary. By praying to her, she intercedes for us and prays to God.

I’m very glad you have a special devotion to Mary. But, there is probably no one on this forum that loves Mary more than I do. :smiley:

God bless you. :blessyou:

It’s always through Mary to Jesus and then to the Father, since Christ is the ultimate mediator between God and Man.

The exaggerated language used is meant to be poetic, similar to how one will refer to their spouse using exaggerated poetic language. For instance, when one says to their spouse “You are my life”, this is obviously not literal, and is obviously an exaggeration, since as a Christian, Christ is their life as all life comes from God. This exaggerated poetic language just emphasizes one’s gratitude. Jesus himself used exaggerated poetic language, calling Saint John the Baptist the greatest among those born of woman, which would include himself, as Christ was born of Mary.

People like to point out Mother Theresa’s “No Mary, No Jesus; Know Mary, Know Jesus” as a reason for Mary’s veneration, but the reverse is also true, “No Jesus, No Mary” because without Christ being born of a woman, Mary would have been of no significance, and “Know Jesus, Know Mary” because when one comes to fully know Christ, they will in the process also come to know his Mother.

Consider these two Catechism teachings…prayerfully…

2673 In prayer the Holy Spirit unites us to the person of the only Son, in his glorified humanity, through which and in which our filial prayer unites us in the Church with the Mother of Jesus.27

2675 Beginning with Mary’s unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries. In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movements usually alternate with one another: the first “magnifies” the Lord for the “great things” he did for his lowly servant and through her for all human beings29 the second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused.

This the way I was taught…Follow exactly what the Church teaches…its not a matter of intellect and reason…but of Faith…believe in Christ’s Church and its God Given authoritative power on all matters of Faith and Morals. Faith is the only key…feelings and emotions are clearly understandable…but when you let them lead to murky confusion and doubt…you have left the Christian field of Faith…and now stand on the field of the enemy’s turf. Believe what The Church teaches about the Blessed Virgin Mary…in dogma/doctrine…in theology…in prayer and devotion…believe it in Faith and Obedience…in totality…have Faith in what the Word of God…the Word made Flesh…Our Lord Jesus Christ…says through his Church’s Magisterium…The Bible and The Universal Apostolic Tradition.

Hope this helpful…
Pax Christi

1 Timothy 3:15
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)
15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the** household of God**, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

Matthew 16:13-20
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare′a Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli′jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”[a] 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”** 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[c] and on this rock[d] I will build my church, and the powers of death[e] shall not prevail against it**.[f] 19** I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,[g] and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” **20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ

[quote]John 16:12-15
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)
12 “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth;

for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14** He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you**. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Matthew 28:16-20
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSV-CE)
The Commissioning of the Disciples

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to m

e. 19** Go therefore** and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

[/quote]

I liked what bzkoss236 wrote. It is exaggerated, poetic language…spoken to someone we love.

How does Mary obtain graces for us? I also know the Catholic response is that going through a mother when asking a father for something is more efficacious…but isn’t that kind of limiting God to a human perspective? It makes God seem scary and unapproachable.

Our Lord came to us the first time via Mary. Grace first entered into the world through Mary. At the wedding at Cana, she obtained graces for the hosts when she asked Jesus to perform the miracle that turned water into wine. Even now, Mary continues to obtain graces for us by speaking to the Lord on our behalf. One thing you need to understand is that Mary’s will is totally united with our Lord’s. She only asks for what the Lord wants for us. I don’t see how her making a request on our behalf limits God or makes him seem scary and unapproachable. I still talk to him a lot, but I like having Mary ask him when I need something because she is his Mother and I know it is going to be harder for him to turn her down. :slight_smile:

Doesn’t God want us to depend on Him alone?

Everything comes from God and that includes Mary. Jesus gave us his Mother as a gift to help us. His graces and blessings often come to us through other people and their actions. That is exactly what goes on with Mary except to a much greater degree. So, if we depend on Mary, we are depending on him.

Or is there an “allowable” balance between asking God and asking for intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, saints, and angels?

I am a convert. I struggled with Mary for a long time. Eventually things started to click for me. I began asking for her intercession often. I felt more distant from the Lord because I was talking to her so much. So, I asked him at Eucharistic adoration if what I was doing was OK. The answer was “you can ask my Mother for anything. With me your prayer is to be love and adoration”. I realized that if I felt distant from him, I just needed to talk to him more. And, also that what he most wanted from me was love. He is very much OK with me talking to his Mother and asking her for help when I need that. He loves her and is pleased that I love her too.

And does Mary make intercessions and obtain graces for us through her Son or through the Father, or both, or through her Son ultimately from the Father? I know They are One, but even in Catholic theology, they are individual Persons of the Trinity, and the Father is the source of the Son.

The wedding at Cana suggests to me that she mediates through the son.

What is the practical difference (i.e.: not just dictionary definition) between latria and hyperdulia? Sure, it’s easy to say one is worship and one is veneration, but what is the difference in practice?

Well here is what I would say practically as to how this has affected me. There are times when I felt I was in the presence of the Lord and I became so overwhelmed that I needed to be lying prostrate on the floor…totally humbled. I would do absolutely anything for him. Other times when at communion, I have felt as if I should go down on my knees to receive him. Often at adoration I have difficulty even gazing at our Lord in the monstrance. That is how I would practically describe latria.

As for hyperdulia, as you note this is veneration. It is having the utmost respect for someone. I imagine if I met the Queen of England, I would be very excited and do my best to learn the formalities necessary to show proper respect (e.g. curtsy, bow, kneel or whatever). But, I can’t imagine I would feel compelled to prostrate myself before her…or even to do the expected gestures. I would be doing them because they were expected rather than because I felt compelled.

I should also say that I have never felt that I need to go to extremes before Mother Mary either. In fact, what I feel for her is love like that towards a close family member. But this developed slowly.

I would encourage you to ask the Lord to help you understand his Mother better. He will lead you to her if you do that. A good book you might want to read is Hail Holy Queen by Scott Haan. I found his books very helpful when I was converting.

God bless you.

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