Still confused about Mary


I was raised Catholic and left that faith when I was about 21. One thing that was repeatedly a problem for me was Marian devotions. Even as a Catholic, they felt and appeared like worship to me.

Recently I visited my family in my home town and attended Mass with them on two occasions. My mother proudly showed off the new Marian chapel in her church. Many people were kneeling before the icon praying, backs to the tabernacle, before Mass. Immediately after Mass, the congregation broke into a loud Memorare. Then people returned to the Marian chapel, and others knelt before a statue of Mary, with flowers before it. No one was praying near, or kneeling in front of the tabernacle. All backs again to Christ.

My sister in law showed off her new Virgin statue and gave me a rosary blessed by the Virgin at Medrugorge. My brother showed me a carving of the Virgin he had commisioned in Jamaica.

I read here that devotion to Mary only ever brings people closer to Christ, but I do not understand that, nor is that what I see. I was wondering if some people who have a devotion to Mary could explain how it is that it brings them closer to Christ. Because I want to understand.

If you are in God’s dwelling place, with the real presence right there, and the purpose of a devotion to Mary is to be closer to Christ…why spend your time in Christ’s presence asking Mary to bring you closer to Christ? I truly do not understand.




I did a poll on these forums (which was lost in the great crash) asking those people who
a) attend daily Mass (not everyday, but often at least),
b) say the rosary daily.

I asked them which came first, the rosary or the daily mass. About 80% of those that answered said that they said the daily rosary first, and then eventually they were drawn to attending the daily mass. It was an eye opener to those that responded, for the logical conclusion is that Mary draws us Jesus.

I think the key to your post is that it is a NEW Marian Chapel. The novelty may be what draws the people, but I suspect those that spend time in front of Mary will ultimately be drawn to the source of **ALL **of Mary’s greatness - Jesus Christ!!!




Text from ANF, vol. 8.)The Account of St. John the Theologian of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God

And after all these wonderful things had come to pass through the mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary the mother of the Lord, while we the apostles were with her in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit said to us: You know that on the Lord’s day the good news was brought to the Virgin Mary by the archangel Gabriel; and on the Lord’s day the Saviour was born in Bethlehem; and on the Lord’s day the children of Jerusalem came forth with palm branches to meet him, saying, Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; and on the Lord’s day He rose from the dead; and on the Lord’s day He will come to judge the living and the dead; and on the Lord’s day He will come out of heaven, to the glory and honour of the departure of the holy glorious virgin who brought Him forth. And while we were all praying, there appeared innumerable multitudes of angels, and the Lord mounted upon cherubim in great power; and, behold, a stream of light coming to the holy virgin, because of the presence of her only-begotten Son, and all the powers of the heavens fell down and adored Him. And the Lord, speaking to His mother, said: Mary. And she answered and said: Here am I, Lord. And the Lord said to her: Grieve not, but let thy heart rejoice and be glad; for thou hast found grace to behold the glory given to me by my Father. And the holy mother of God looked up, and saw in Him a glory which it is impossible for the mouth of man to speak of, or to apprehend. And the Lord remained beside her, saying: Behold, from the present time thy precious body will be transferred to paradise, and thy holy soul to the heavens to the treasures of my Father in exceeding brightness, where there is peace and joy of the holy angels,-and other things besides. And when she had thus prayed, the Lord said to His mother: Let thy heart rejoice and be glad; for every favour and every gift has been given to thee from my Father in heaven, and from me, and from the Holy Spirit: every soul that calls upon thy name shall not be ashamed, but shall find mercy, and comfort, and support, and confidence, both in the world that now is, and in that which is to come, in the presence of my Father in the heavens. And the Lord turned and said to Peter: The time has come to begin the singing of the hymn. And Peter having begun the singing of the hymn, all the powers of the heavens responded with the Alleluiah. And then the face of the mother of the Lord shone brighter than the light, and she rose up and blessed each of the apostles with her own hand, and all gave glory to God; and the Lord stretched forth His undefiled hands, and received her holy and blameless soul. And with the departure of her blameless soul the place was filled with perfume and ineffable light; and, behold, a voice out of the heaven was heard, saying: Blessed art thou among women. And Peter, and I John, and Paul, and Thomas, ran and wrapped up her precious feet for the consecration; and the twelve apostles put her precious and holy body upon a couch, and carried it. And, behold, while they were carrying her, a certain well-born Hebrew, Jephonias by name, running against the body, put his hands upon the couch; and, behold, an angel of the Lord by invisible power, with a sword of fire, cut off his two hands from his shoulders, and made them hang about the couch, lifted up in the air. And at this miracle which had come to pass all the people of the Jews who beheld it cried out: Verily, He that was brought forth by thee is the true God, O mother of God, ever-virgin Mary. And Jephonias himself, when Peter ordered him, that the wonderful things of God might be showed forth, stood up behind the couch, and cried out: Holy Mary, who broughtest forth Christ who is God, have mercy upon me. And Peter turned and said to him: In the name of Him who was born of her, thy hands which have been taken away from thee, will be fixed on again. And immediately, at the word of Peter, the hands hanging by the couch of the Lady came, and were fixed on Jephonias. And he believed, and glorified Christ, God who had been born of her.

Martin Luther’s Devotion to Mary
What is Devotion to Mary?


in the first place your experience of devotion to Mary is limited to what you have seen among your family and their circumstances, not of the teaching and practice of the universal Church. Just because you may have encountered people whose devotion is expressed in ways that seem (or actually are) superstitious rather than appropriate reverence does not mean Church teaching on Marian devotion is wrong, it means certain people have been taught wrong, or express their devotion wrong.

Just because in some times and places proper regard and reverence for the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist has not been taught or emphasized, and the proper role of Marian devotion–leading us closer to Christ–has not been properly taught, does not mean the real teaching on Mary is wrong. It means we need better catechesis in many times and places.

Why not work toward that goal in your own parish?


I have not claimed that Marian devotion is wrong, I just asked that people who have it help us who don’t to understand how it leads one closer to Jesus. I want to understand, not condemn.

I do not want this thread to deteriorate into a fight. I just want people to help those of us who don’t understand to understand.

Was what these people were doing “wrong” according to the teachings of the Universal church? I really don’t know.



Thank you, I never saw these before.





You are welcome:angel1:

Here is more Mary stuff


I would not worry about other people’s devotion. I have enough to think about with my own.

As a convert, I have been somewhat cautious in my devotion to Our Lady, although I recognize this as a defect in my love of Our Lord and in my observation of the 4th Commandment.

This past summer, I was asked to give a talk in a segment of the Confraternity of Penitents’ annual retreat called FACES OF MARY. Instead of addressing one of the approved apparitions or taking a well-known image of Mary as the theme of my talk, I chose the subject: “How Did Mary Get a Face?” It was my aim to explore early iconography and identify the earliest depictions of Mary in our devotional tradition.

Guess what? What I uncovered was the not-so-astonishing fact that all imagery of Our Lady can be traced directly to the aftermath of the dogmatic definitions of the Person of Our Lord in the early ecumenical councils.

It really IS true. When you start looking at Our Lady, she takes you right back to Jesus. Every single time.


Mary alone has found grace with God, both for herself and for every man in particular. The patriarchs and prophets and all the Saints of the Old Law were not able to find that grace.
Mary gave being and life to the Author of all grace and that is why she is called the Mother of Grace.
God the Father from Whom every perfect gift and all grace come, as from its essential source, has given all graces to Mary by giving her his Son: so that, as St. Bernard says, "With His Son and in Him, God has given His will to Mary."
To go to Jesus through Mary is truly to honor Jesus Christ, for it denotes that we do not esteem ourselves worthy of approaching His infinite Holiness directly and by ourselves because of our sins; that we need Mary, His Holy Mother, to be our advocate and Mediatrix with Him, our mediator. It is to approach Jesus as our Mediator and Brother, and at the same time to humble ourselves before Him, as before our God and our Judge. In a word, it is to practice humility, which is always exceedingly pleasing to the heart of God.


Dear Chedder,

The most impressive thing about Mary, to me, is that she was the first person to say “yes” to receiving Jesus into her life. She is the true monstrance to carry the Host. She most closely followed Jesus and suffered silently as He went through His passion and death. I hope this helps to simplify something that is beyond our human ability to understand. So much is written about the Mother of God, you should have no trouble finding books with the imperatur that could help to guide you. Just that you ask is enough to be sure Mary & Jesus are helping us to help you.
God Bless.


Hello Cheddar,

In the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church, Our Lady is never depicted alone. She is always venerated with her Son. She is referred to as Theotokos or God bearer. This is not to denigrate the Western Church which often depicts the Blessed Virgin alone.East and West, the concept remains the same–St Mary always brings us to her Son. Perhaps the people in this Church were thanking her for that. :slight_smile:



Thank you for starting this thread and thank you to those who have responded with some great resources. I, too, am struggling with the Mary thing. Had I lived prior to the two proclaimed dogmas of the Assumption and Immaculate Conception, I might be Catholic now. I don’t understand why these have to be required beliefs now when before they had no bearing on one’s salvation. I don’t understand why the Assumption of Mary is a day of obligation, but the Ascension of Jesus can be celebrated according to the preference of the diocese on either the appropriate Thursday or the Sunday after. Shouldn’t such an important event in our understanding of Christ be a holy day of obligation more so than an event in Mary’s life? To me, this draws attention AWAY from Jesus. I am not saying that Marian devotion is wrong, but I think you can see how it can be perceived by other Christians as worship. Again, thanks to those who posted with some great resources. I will definitely be doing my research into those. :slight_smile:


People brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.

I don’t see how Peter’s shadow was considered an idol or in any way diminished the roll of Christ. It is clear that Peter was acting as a conduit of God’s grace by his faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

God also did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

So I also don’t see how handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched Paul was considered an idol or in any way diminished the roll of Christ. It is also clear that Paul was acting as a conduit of God’s grace by his faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Mary is viewed no different than Peter and Paul in this regard, except that she, as the queen of heaven, has more God-given influence than they had.

I guess I’m not understanding the concern you have.


I know this thread was supposed to be a cut on Mary and how the Catholics have it all wrong for allowing devotion to her.

But I’m not able to get past the sadness I felt when reading about how much your family wants you to return to the true faith and how painful it must be for them to see you rejecting it.


Meditate on the mysteries of the rosary, (you don’t even have to do the assumption of Mary, or her coronation) and you will come to realise, through reason alone, that she is immaculate, and deserving of honour.

It worked for me, and I wasn’t even trying to make it work. :slight_smile:

Peace and Happy All Saints Day!


This thread is NOT meant to be a cut on Mary or Catholicism. It is meant to help seekers understand. I see that the Virgin is very integral to the practice and faith of many Catholics, and I am trying to understand, via real personal experience, what that is about.

I really appreciate all the heartfelt responses.



Speaking as a Non-RC.
It looks like worship to us or should I say it gives the appearance of the worship of a Mother Goddess whether it actually is or not.


It is not a concern, it is a lack of understanding, what the personal experience is of those who have a devotion to Mary. I was a Catholic, and worked on fostering a devotion to the Blessed Mother, but without the fruits. I want to know, from those who have been more successful than I , how it works for them.

Maybe that is like asking a person “how do you know when you’re in love…” but…I’m asking.



I work with a pastor. He carries his Bible with him everywhere. The stain is rubbing off the leather cover from where he holds it so much. In fact right now he is in his office with his head in his hands and his nose buried in his Bible. I guess he could be giving the impression that he worships the Bible, huh?

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