Why do Catholics need Mary to guide them to Jesus?

Why do Catholics need Mary to guide them to Jesus? Why can’t they just pray to Jesus directly? I see that Mary should be venerated, because she is the mother of God and has carried Jesus in her womb for a very long time. And I understand the sentiment of paying respects to her for giving birth to Jesus. She is, after all, his mother as much as she is his disciple and probably deserves the honor. But still, why do Catholics feel the need to ask Mary to guide them and other people to Jesus? What power does she have that God doesn’t have? What kind of role does she play in salvation?

Also, I have visited a Catholic Mass a couple of times, and it seems that the liturgy seems to be very directed at God: “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.” If Mary is so important in Catholicism, then why don’t Catholics mention her name during the service? Instead, all glory goes to God during the liturgy!

I am seriously confused. :shrug:

First of all, HJ3822, I want to explain a “principle” to you because I think it may help you answer your own question (it has to do with the participation In Christ, that He wants to bring humanity into).

I would like to do this with a series of questions of my own that I think you will be able to answer, and thus possibly lead you deeper into answering your own question.

You asked:

Why do Catholics need Mary to guide them to Jesus?

How would you answer this question:

Why do Catholic Christians or Non-Catholic Christians for that matter, need Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John to guide them to Jesus? Why is Paul necessary? Why does Jesus need Jude?

I’ll watch this thread and try to go deeper into this mystery with you, if you are interested.

God bless.


I do not think that we “need” Mary to guide us to Jesus. We find our complete salvation in the sacrifice of Jesus and need no other than God. However, Jesus in His glory wishes to give praise and due reverence for His mother who through her fiat, or acceptance of the Will of God, gave the world her beloved Son. Mary is due all reverence for her immaculate conception gifted by the Holy Spirit, as the greatest woman ever created. But only a woman, never to be worshipped as worship is given only to God.
Why then ask for her attention; prayers and intercession? The intercessional power of Mary is best illustrated in the wedding feast of Cana. Jesus made his position very clear. His time had not yet come for public exposition of his power. Mary, if we are to believe the Bible, completely ignored his response, knowing that His love for her was enough to brook no discussion on even the minor social issue of her Host’s embarrassment at the lack of wine. If she has this influence in such a matter; how best are we to use such influence on matters as important as our souls. We would be stupid not to take up this intercession of Mary so well documented and accepted within the entire tradition of the Church.
Why the sole emphasis of Jesus within the Mass? We celebrate the continuous, out of time, sacrifice of Calvary in every Mass. Where else should our eyes be guided but this offering of our Christ and the glory of His Resurrection. No one else deserves our worship .All else is as nothing in our concentration on our Christ and the glorification of His supreme offering of His Godhead on the cross for our salvation. No other name is important as He is our sole salvation and our hope.

We do indeed ask Mary’s intercession at a couple key points during the mass. In addition to that, there are a number of feasts throughout the liturgical year dedicated to celebrate this or that aspect of our heavenly mother…if you attended mass on such a feast day you would find far more references to her. That being said, the mass is the perfect prayer / sacrifice of Christ Himself offer to His Father. The Church, as the mystical body of Christ, makes this perfect offering Her own. It is only fitting then that the prayers of the mass be directed primarily to the Father, and that, as an action of Christ through His priest and body, to Christ.
Why do we need Our Lady to guide us to Christ? Why do Protestants need their parents or pastor or whoever else to guide them to Christ? Jesus has decided to work through His servants. Jesus could appear to each of us individually, but instead He chose to establish a Church to continue His ministry on earth: Then said Jesus to them again, “Peace be unto you. As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21). If Jesus chose to work through human instruments on earth, why not through those in heaven? Jesus doesn’t NEED Our Lady to guide us to Him, but He chooses to work through His Mother whom He loves above all other creatures.

We do not need Mary to lead us to Jesus.

Mary had a relationship with Jesus that no other person on earth ever had. She knew him intimately as she carried Him in her womb for nine months. She felt him inside her growing and kicking. When he was born it was she who nursed him watched over him as he grew. A mother knows her child in a very different way than anyone else possibly could.

We may ask Mary to help us know Jesus better and guide us to Him because she of all people knew him best.

No one has anything that God hasn’t given them. That’s just the nature of being a creature.

But that shouldn’t imply that God has given the same role to each part of His creation, and some are clearly given far more graces than others, and they use them to accomplish far more good.

A good example is St. Thomas Aquinas. What intellectual power did he have that God doesn’t? Absolutely none. But yet God gave him a vast intellect and an amazingly precise memory. God also gave him the patience to sift through hundreds of books, distilling from them the good; and He gave the Saint the will to compile it all into an incredible lifetime of work.

All of that was an amazing grace which God gave to St. Thomas, not because He wanted him to be able to enjoy academic life and impress his peers, but because God wanted St. Thomas to be an influence on Christ’s Church.

Well why use St. Thomas? Why not just give those gifts to everybody in the whole world all at once by direct revelation? Because God wants us to participate in each other’s salvation.

That’s why He wants you to ask Catholics these questions, rather than simply infusing this knowledge into you like some massive data download. That’s why He wants me to try to answer you, as ignorant as I may be.

The Virgin Mary was given a special role in the order of grace: through her, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity came into the world. Likewise, through her, God wills that his adopted children should come to Christ. Furthermore, her role is to be a sort of mold for us, forming us into other Christs. She is our mother.

Why? Why not just go directly to Jesus? Because, frankly, we stink. We don’t know how to ask, we don’t know how to love, and we don’t know how to adore. God wills that we can be assisted by Mary, that she can purify our prayers and make them more efficacious. He wills that Mary can acquire graces for us that we would never even think of asking for. Through Mary, we can be a lot more holy than we ever could be on our own.

Why?? Because He thinks it’s a good idea. The Virgin Mary is the absolutely most perfect creature He ever created, and frankly, He loves her far more than anyone else. She has a relationship with God which no one else will ever have, or can ever have. No one loves Him as much as she, neither does anyone ask as perfectly as she.

He hasn’t given her such beauty simply because He wanted her to enjoy the Beatific Vision more than anyone else, although that’s a part of it. He did it because He wanted her to have THE most preeminent place amongst mere creatures in the role of salvation. And just as He wants Joe Schmoe on the internet to explain things to other Catholics, He wants the Virgin Mary to assist them as well.

God saves us in bunches, like grapes. He doesn’t save us as individuals.

Now, the problem most have with the above, is that it’s a Catholic teaching that’s built off of Catholic assumptions on how we know and understand divine revelation. THAT is a different question, and it’s one that revolves around authority, like all of this ultimately does.

But if you want to learn more, I would suggest you listen to some lectures.

There’s an awesome philosopher and theologian named. Dr. Lawrence Feingold. Amongst other things, he’s given talks to the student Brothers at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. I know a priest who has heard him speak, and his recommendation alone should suffice.

Dr. Feingold has tons of free lectures available on the internet, including a whole series on Mary.

Spend a couple of weeks listening to these lectures, and I assure you that you will have a far, far better understanding of Mariology that the vast majority of Catholics do. It’s almost like an under-graduate course on the subject, so please, do yourself a favor and get a good education in this. :slight_smile:

Well, whoever lives in the first century has to be dead by now, so I presume you mean the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and those gospels are traditionally assumed to be written by the apostles themselves, but doubts about the authorship of the gospels exist. I am going to go with the traditional route, quite arbitrarily, and assume that the gospels are written by the apostles themselves completely and truthfully, because I believe that is what Catholics assume. So, Catholics need Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, because they, according to tradition, wrote the canonical gospels. They witnessed Christ firsthand and knew him intimately. So, it’s best to consult them for guidance by studying the gospels. An extension of this idea is to canonize them into saints and ask them for help in understanding the scriptures, assuming that their souls exist somewhere, perhaps in heaven. The same probably goes for Paul and Jude.

I’ll watch this thread and try to go deeper into this mystery with you, if you are interested.

God bless.


Are you using the general definition of “mystery” or the Catholic technical definition?

I am aware that they are not the same thing, because one time, I erroneously assumed the general definition, but I noticed that Catholics treated the mysteries of the rosary like praises for God, not like questions about how Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

I see the logic behind that.

I’m not going to pretend to speak for all Catholics, but only for this Catholic:

It’s not a matter that I NEED the blessed virgin to GUIDE ME to Jesus.

It’s a matter that I am blessed to HAVE her **with me **on the journey to him that I was called to at Baptism.

Peace and all Good!

My question is:
Why do so many Christians fail to understand the relationship between a mother and her son?
The topic of defending Mary comes up at least once a day. I don’t get it.
Does no one remember that it was this small, pure and holy woman who brought forth God into humanity by her willingness to serve in the history of salvation?
Why would she not be honored?
Why would she not be a vehicle by which to send prayers to heaven to her flesh and blood Son?
Other denominations have hymns dedicated to various Biblical stories and persons…but then, Mary is always questioned. No Christmas carols without her input. :wink:
On the last day, I don’t want to have to look at Jesus and explain why I didn’t ever consider loving His mother the way He does or having dismissed her either!
Mary desires nothing for herself, Never did on earth, still does not. She points to Christ. Her entire life, she never abandoned Him. So many of us do when times get tough.
She was always there. I believe she has a very special place in heaven with her Son.
As such, I ask her to pray for me, with me. I ask her to recommend my problems to her holy Son for resolution.
Who else knows Him best?

As for Mass…it’s all about Christ and the Paschal sacrifice. Mary’s there…just as she was at Calvary. But no, she’s not mentioned specifically unless in the Scripture readings of the particular day.

God bless you.

Lets say a little kid breaks their father’s iPhone. You know he will forgive you, but you’re afraid he will be mad. Do you go straight to him?

If you do, great!

Some kids, though, would want to go to mom first, because she could help bring the news to him. Your issue isn’t with your mom, it’s with your dad, and she helps reconcile you to him.

I think the other answers are good, hopefully they help answer your question.
God didn’t “need” to have Mary in the plan at all. Jesus could have simply walked into town one day, and started his ministry. God had other plans, which I think still have relevance to me today.
Jesus came to Earth as part of a family. Do you think God’s choice to cooperate with Mary and build a family was a lesson relevant only 2000 years ago, or do you think the family might be under attack today?

Half the heresies about Jesus deemphasize the Incarnation. They make Jesus into an Ethical Society, or a graduate program in Peace and Justice, or movement towards self actualization. Devotion to Mary, both by Jesus Himself and by us, right now, helps pull us away from that temptation. Jesus was flesh-and-blood, and we know where he first got that flesh-and-blood. Catholicism is sacramental. If you say Mary is no longer relevant as part of God’s plan now, then you might say the same thing about the Eucharist, and all the sacraments. I think the Bible is still relevant for Christians today; but I have never seen any Protestant asked to prove that. Why not?

Devotion isn’t the only aspect of Christianity, but it still is an important one. Marian devotion is still relevant, not on a level of worship of God, but as part of the larger life.

Its the way God set things up.

If God had a more perfect or more beautiful plan then he would have given it to us. Mary is part of God’s plan.


Maybe they don’t understand it, because some Christians have neither been a mother, which means female parent or a son, which means male offspring.

Alternatively, maybe they do understand it, but they do not understand why Mary is venerated simply for being close to God, giving birth to him, raising him, nursing him. It’s like an argument that I had with my Dad once. I argued that Franklin Delano Roosevelt deserved more credit than Richard Nixon for having more accomplishments in his life and for triggering some events in history that led to Richard Nixon’s actions. My Dad counter-argued by asking me about George Washington and his mother, and which was more important. I said George Washington, not his mother. Then, he remarked why I didn’t select his mother, even though she gave birth to him. Hence giving birth to George Washington’s actions. I thought about it and felt that he had a point.

That said, why should Mary, Jesus’s mother, be venerated, when Jesus accomplished far more greater things than her? On a related note, should George Washington’s own mother be honored for giving birth to her son?

She points to Christ.

That wording is the basis of the topic of this thread. “She points to Christ” seems to imply that Catholics, and perhaps Orthodox Christians and high-church Protestants, need Mary to guide them to Jesus.

However, I think the wording is misleading. Perhaps, it’s best to think of the veneration of Mary as recognizing Mary’s role in Jesus’s life and asking her to mediate between God and humanity. Somehow, I am starting to get the impression that, in the Catholic cosmology of the world, there is an unique hierarchy.

  1. God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - Good
  2. Virgin Mary
  3. The Other Saints
  4. The Catholic Church’s interior hierarchy of popes, bishops, priests and deacons
  5. The Laity
  6. Non-Catholic Christians
  7. Non-Christians
  8. The Devil - Evil

“points to Christ”

She desires people to give all the glory and honor to her Divine Son. She takes nothing for herself. Just as we Catholics do not make her a god.
We do not regard her as some sort of spiritual gate-keeper. I think that is where the problem lies. People think we can’t approach the Almighty. We can, and do. :slight_smile:

I see that the whole veneration thing is a choice, made by one’s own preferences. Some people may feel closer to the mother and so may tell the mother, who would tell the father about the issue. Some people may feel closer to the father and so may tell the father directly about the issue. The child feels that he deserves punishment from the father for the action of breaking the iPhone and may feel that he/she needs to make amends by working to buy a new iPhone. Now, the father may either forgive the child of the wrongdoing and accept the child’s gift of penance or be less merciful and punish the child anyway for breaking the iPhone. Eventually, the father may realize that punishment will go nowhere, and he needs to forgive and work with the child in order to do better from now on.

In that case, the Protestant Reformation may be One Big Misunderstanding, because Protestants do believe in “glory to God alone”, which excludes the veneration of the saints, including Mary. Martin Luther, though, was raised Catholic and had been a Catholic monk, presumably venerating Mary. So, he and his Lutheran followers had a special regard for Mary, but he still rejected the Hail Mary and replaced it with his own rosary. The Lutheran rosary is very similar to the Catholic version, but minus the Hail Marys.

Anyway, you are telling me that the veneration of Mary is really a recognition of Mary, mother of Jesus, as a mother of God and as a faithful disciple of God. Since Mary fills an unique space as both mother and disciple, she deserves greater veneration than the other saints. Other saints, including the apostles, may have been faithful disciples and holy people, but they are not related by blood very closely to Jesus.

Is it really so unreasonable to think that, if God were to become Incarnate as Man, that He should choose to do so through a pure vessel, and that this vessel would in turn be held up in high honor? Of course not. That’s the most reasonable thing in the world.

Moreover, and I’m sorry, but comparing Mary to George Washington’s mother is like totally silly. Mary is in an utterly singular position amongst all mankind.

The problem is that, for a lot of Protestants, this type of honor “feels” like adoration. On an objective level, however, it most certainly is not.

Subjective feelings should not trump an objective reality.

Clare, I’m sorry for jumping in here, but I’ve got an itchy trigger finger.

Mary deserves greater veneration than all other Saints because she *was utterly filled with grace way beyond any other Saint. *God Himself honored her more than any other creature. In fact, St. Louis de Montfort would say Mary had more merit than all the other Saints combined.

This isn’t about what *she *did, but about the sort of creature God created when He made Mary. No one on earth could ever merit the sort of graces she was given, regardless of how much we cooperate with God’s grace.

It’s all good. But remember, she could have said no. So in a way, she did do something extraordinary. Just like all of us, she had free will.
She chose Christ, her savior.
Her circumstances of perpetual Virgin are not lost in the discussion either, but then, don’t some denoms dismiss the notion of perpetual virginity? That’s a whole 'nother thread! LOL

To the OP:

It seems to me that the devotion to Mary is especially keen among the poor, broke, and hurting and I would say that God has given us the gift of the Theotokos so that her comfort and example may point us to the Cross and Him Crucified.

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