What can Mary actually do?

My whole life I’ve been kind of timid praying to the Virgin, because I know there are certain prayers I should give only to God.

I know there is nothing wrong with asking for her intercession, as we do in praying the hail Mary, but after a recent confession a priest suggested I “pray to the blessed mother for strength in times of hardship”.

Now asking to receive things like strength or courage was one of the specific things I had figured it was only appropriate to pray to God Himself for. Does Mary have the authority to “give me strength”? Or to actually bless things herself or give “graces” like that (loose meaning of the word grace)? Or did I misunderstand what my priest was saying? (I would have asked him but didn’t realize the meaning of what he said until doing my penance)

I had thought that was beyond Mary’s authority as simply a person (albeit a uniquely holy one) in heaven. Though as the queen of heaven maybe she has more authority than the average saint for things like that? Can someone clear this up for me?


Mary has as much authority as GOD sees fit to give her. Anything she does is through HIM.
And HIM happens to be her son who is GOD.
Can she give you strength? Well if you ask her to intercede for you to her son so that you have the strength to fight temptation, I imagine she will do that.
Remember, in the end all comes from GOD.


I quite understand your feelings… I ran somewhat into something similar. But at the other end… As I was reading about the consecration to Saint Joseph, we are told to do the rosary and to pray 10 hail Marys… Which makes me wonder, there is already a chaplet of Saint-Joseph and many variations of the Hail Joseph prayers… Why not go directly?

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My understanding is that Jesus only wants you to pray to Him and not use any intermediaries. He is your connection to those on the other side. They are not your connection to Him. I am just giving you my opinion, I have no desire to get into an argument with any Catholics.


The only thing we know for sure is that she is a powerful intercessor.

Whatever else she does is a mystery to us, but we can be assured that whatever she can do would only come from God who gave her the grace to do it.


Mary is our mother, who loves us in a motherly way and does things that a loving mother would do, such as comfort us, hear our prayers, be there for us.

Mary is our mediatrix with Jesus, just as Jesus is our mediatrix with God the Father. Mary always works to lead us closer to her Son and to intercede for us with him.

Mary is also the mediatrix of divine grace. God tasked her with distributing his grace to his people. The graces come from God. Mary just hands them out.

Mary is also tasked by God with fighting Satan.

I would say Mary is rather busy.


What Mary actually did was raise a very good son.

The talents she learned doing that have transferred to dealing with us more unruly children. She can provide support and encouragement when we try to do something. She can lift you up if you fall down when you take your first steps. She can help you find your strength when you think you have no more to give.

Sometimes these things take a more concrete form, giving you actual strength alongside supporting you in your efforts.

Prayer is talking. You do not have to talk to Mary! Mary is the mother of Jesus who is God! Jesus is priest, profit and King. Mary is the Mother of the King. In King Saul’s time it was said that King Saul could not refuse a request from his mother! Mary demonstrated her influence with her Son at the wedding feast at Cana!

Have you ever asked a friend or family member to pray for you?


Yeah I’m familiar with the reasoning behind talking to Mary. But I’m wondering if asking her to “give me strength” as opposed to asking her to pray for strength on my behalf is wandering into idolatry. I don’t want to ask Mary for anything that I ought only to ask God for.

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Again, as I said above, Mary gives graces that God allows her to distribute. Pope Leo XIII explained this in Iucunda semper expectatione back in 1894.

It’s perfectly fine to ask Mary for the grace of strength, or holiness, or wisdom, or anything else good. There are entire Rosaries and devotions where we make these requests of Mary.
She’s NOT the source of those graces. They come from God. She distributes them. It’s like God made whole piles of grace cupcakes and asked his mother to please be in charge of handing them out to the children in the neighborhood.

You can ask her for anything, but she will only give it to you if it’s God’s will that you have it. She does everything in perfect conformity with God’s will. Never does anything on her own.


This makes sense. Thanks for the help.

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I haven’t heard that before. Can you cite a reference?

Mary magnifies the Lord, like she says in the magnificat. She is like a clear pane of glass with no smudges on it that allows the Blessed Trinity to shine through. She was made for us, to be our spiritual mother.

Have you ever asked a friend to pray for an intention you have? Catholics believe that we are family and can ask our friends on earth, and in heaven to pray for us. We acknowledge what the Lord did for them with His grace! They are our friends. And, Jesus’ mother Mary was given to us at the foot of the cross.

Of course I pray to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit first of all…

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You may be confused on what worship is. Our worship service is the mass and we worship the Trinity. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

There are some exegetical problems, but the root of the idea are:

I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head,
while you strike at their heel.
Genesis 3:15

Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.
Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back,8but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.
Revelation 12: 4-9

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Right, that’s the basis.
The Exorcism prayers reference Mary.

Pope JPII also addressed this.


Also there’s plenty of old traditional art reflecting the Catholic tradition that Mary fights off the devil.

All power comes from God. Mary is our most wonderful intercessor, but God has to grant whatever she gives. IMO it is a mystery why it pleases God to grant us gifts and graces through intercession of saints. And more recorded healing miracles have come through intercession than directly from God. So I do not question why, just accept all the help I can get from Heaven.

This is the difficulty I’m having. Of course I have asked a friend on Earth to pray for me, and I’ve prayed for others. But I would never go to a friend and say “please grant me strength”. I would definitely see that as a form of idolatry.

Yes, but they are in the world, not in heaven. I don’t think you have access to people in heaven outside of God. You can’t bypass God who is your connection to heaven in order to get a blessing from God.

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