I have talked about this before but I am still having a really hard time understanding who Mary is. I am a convert to the Faith, ( just converted in march) and I’m still having a hard time fully understanding. I see so many people pray and worship her yet I find that wrong. I only want to worship Jesus and talk to Mary… What does it mean when we pray the Hail Mary? That’s praying to her, but why?
The Communion of Saints is family. Seriously, they’re a bunch of older and wiser brothers and sisters. They lived well, God has made them perfect, and they want nothing more than to give glory to God and help out their journeying little brothers and sisters. They’ll pray to God for you, if only so that God can be more glorified through you.
Even in this life we ask people to pray for us. The saints, by the grace of God, are able to do the same.
Mary is a saint, but in many ways she is like an adoptive (human) mother, and that’s in two respects. (1) We are raised again as brothers and sisters of Christ, who is her son, and (2) she’s like the Queen Mother of Israel, mother of the king and an advocate of the people. She’s not God. She just wants to pray to God on our behalf.
Consider the words of the Hail Mary: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.”
That is basically verbatim quotations from Scripture, the words of the angel at the annunciation and the words of Elizabeth when Mary visited her. As Mary declares in the Magnificat, all nations will call her blessed because of Christ.
The second part of the prayer,
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” This is simply us asking for her to pray for us, like we do with the saints, and like we do with pther Christians in our daily lives.
You just converted in March this year. Did you get much instruction or opportunity to ask questions at that time?
If this is what you are doing, it’s as Catholic as can be. That’s what a Catholic does.
There are two books I wish I’d read sooner in my journey (another convert here).
First is Fulton J Sheen’s classic “The World’s First Love”
Next is Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God”.
As non-Catholics, we equate the word “prayer” with the word “worship”, but, remember “pray” simply means to “ask” (Pray tell what did he say about me? or in formal legal language “We pray that the judge will release the documents for review.”)
Praying to Mary means we ask Mary to pray for us, the same as I might ask you to pray for me.
When people say the “worship” Mary, think of old wedding vows “with my body I thee worship” or when a love song says “I worship the ground you walk on”. It is romance language.
I read that, you may have posted/linked before. It’s beautiful!
Help us understand your view of Mary right now, who is she to you? And what have you learned from what people have offered, when you asked about Mary, previously?
We are not “worshipping” Mary. We honor her as The Mother of God and we ask her to pray to Jesus for us.
I think you need to get a grip on this basic point before you can understand anything else related to Mary.
As for the Hail Mary, the first half is straight from Scripture, basically repeating what the angel said to her and what Elizabeth said to her; the second half is asking her, as the Mother of God, to “pray for us sinners.”
I have a Rosary prayer card and on the back is written;
‘The Rosary is the story of the New Testament. Through the beads we follow the life of Mary and Jesus.
We follow Mary from the day the Archangel Gabriel came to ask her to become the Mother of Christ, to the day she was crowned Queen of Heaven.
We follow Jesus from the moment the Holy Spirit came down on Mary, through His childhood, His public life, His cruel death on the cross, the joy of Easter when He rose from the dead, to the day he ascended to Heaven in glory.
Mary waits for your prayers. If you speak to her she always listens. She is our mother. … ‘
I was converted just over 2.5 yrs ago myself and I didn’t fully understand about Our Lady either but she is Queen of angels, Queen of heaven and Queen of the universe, and my heart for what it’s worth. Build a relationship with Mary through prayer, I have had much help myself.
Get a cool pair of rosary beads -
and a cool pouch - to keep them in -
and then a cool container to keep the pouch in.
The rosary - is a mighty weapon - against Satan !
I would never had guessed that, Lee !
You have some great answers - to people -
You’re very kind seagull, but please…I’m trying to cut down/out on self pride!
(I also use a secret method truth be known, I pray for guidance.)
I became Catholic last year and when I entered RCIA I needed the relationship with Mary and the Saints clarified too. What others have posted here is what I also learned, but I want to add one more thing. We pray the Rosary to honor Mary, as the Mother of Jesus. Jesus loved his mother very much. Why would we not honor her? It’s not the same as worship. As many have said, asking her to pray for us is asking for intercession, or for her to pray on our behalf.
Hope this helps. God Bless!
Authors like Scott Hahn are very helpful for people coming from an evangelical background, as he was an evangelical himself before becoming Catholic, so he is very insightful from a biblical perspective. He has a book “Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God” that might be worth checking out.
I just imagined a seagull walking up to me on the beach and screaming this at me. That would be awesome.
She is the daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit!
I strongly recommend that you read St. Louis de Montfort’s “Treatise on True Devotion”. (Sometimes it’s also titled “True Devotion to Mary” - the text is the same.)
You can find it free on EWTN here:
St. Louis de Montfort called himself the “slave of Jesus in Mary”. Yet he ALWAYS preached that Jesus Christ was our Last End. His work makes incredible sense and I find it a very useful resource when educating people about the practice of Marian devotion.
Some parishes have a program called “33 Days to Morning Glory”. This is the practice of total consecration to Mary as described by St. Louis de Montfort.
This is the book that gives sooooo much confusion to those who are not Catholic.
I would not recommend it until someone is well acquainted with Mary. It is most definitely an “acquired taste”.
Remember that Mary was the one person who was with Jesus from his conception, through the Nativity, through his childhood, through his adulthood, throughout his public ministry, at his death, and beyond the Resurrection. If she was the one person Jesus chose to keep closest to him… I bet she learned a thing or two or three along the way. Even when the disciples were bumbling around arguing who was greatest, or cowering in fear behind locked doors— she was the one person who Got It.
Her entire earthly life’s work comes back to the theme of bringing people closer to Christ. Now that she’s in heaven-- her mission hasn’t changed. It’s still the same.
We honor her because God honored her first. All of her significance hinges on Christ, and everything that makes her stand out is a gift that she received from God.
She’s not a stopping point. She’s more like a giant beacon that encourages people to draw closer to their destination-- which is God.
Read the gospels and see the relationship between Mary and Jesus Christ.
Maybe Greek can help a bit with the worship word. There are three words for it in Greek:
1 Latria is used for the Trinity
2 Hyperdulia is for the virgin Mary, Mother of God
3 Dulia is for our fellow human beings
Venerate and honor are better words with Mary and the saints than worship.