Why such devotion to Mary?


#1

I’m Catholic, but I just don’t get it! I accept all the ex-cathedra doctrines(Glorious Assumption, Immaculate Conception), and official teachings, (Mary Ever-Virgin, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, Mother of all believers) I get all that on an intellectual level, but I still feel as if I’m missing something, and it is bothering me.

When I watch The Journey Home, I have heard the question asked, “What role did Mary play in your conversion?” I would think the more appropriate question would be, “How difficult was it for you to overcome the hurdle of the Marian doctrines, in your journey to the Catholic Church?”

I just see such a heavy devotion to Mary, among Catholics, and I need to admit, that I lack that same level of devotion. I will aggressively defend the Catholic doctrines and beliefs about Mary, but when I do so, and really look at my motivation, what I’m really defending is the authority of the Catholic Church, and my own self-righteousness in being Catholic. I don’t view attacks on the Marian doctrines as being attacks on Mary, but rather attacks on the Catholic Church and attacks on me for being Catholic. (Hey, I’m being honest here.)

I’m wondering if any converts or reverts TO Catholicism can explain to me how you developed a personal devotion to Mary. What were your EMOTIONAL hurdles that you needed to overcome on the manner? (I’m not looking for intellectual apologetics on the licitness of Marian devotion.)

I’ve been taking the attitude, that unless I’m required to do so for penance, since there is no obligation to pray to Mary, I don’t.

I’m not questioning the licitness of praying to Mary, but the why, when we can direct our prayers directly to God? I guess my mentality on this issue hasn’t shifted from Protestant to Catholic, only in the sense that I would not condemn someone else for doing such. I’ve heard it compared to asking a living person for prayer. I’ve heard the argument, “The saints are perfected in Heaven, so how much more righteous will their prayers be?” Then the James reference, but still, again the LICITNESS is NOT what I’m asking about, but the usefulness, or reason, I guess.

In one sense, I feel like I’m missing out on something great. In another sense, I wonder if some Catholics have taken the whole thing too far, to the point where their dependence on Mary has usurped their dependence on God. When I see the way certain Catholics talk about Mary, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that many Protestants believe (erroneously) that we worship her.

Please don’t give any cliched responses. Don’t quote Scripture or Church Fathers, because that would just be explaining Mary on an intellectual level. I’m looking for someone who really has experienced Mary on an emotional level here, and who can HONESTLY say that such an experience has brought you CLOSER to GOD. Thank You.


#2

I shall quote Fr. Corapi.

“If she’s good enough for Jesus. She’s good enough for me.”

If you feel you don’t want to give her any devotion or honor, feel free to do so.

I haven’t prayed the rosary in a while. I have prayed the Vespers, and Divine Mercy more than I do pray to Mary. The week, I’ve been praying been the morning and evening Vesper prayers (Liturgy of the Hours)

Even though I don’t recite the rosary as often as I should, that doesn’t mean I give her less honor. I do love Mary.

I do have to confess that my mother is devoted to the rosary, and many times she often pray the rosary in behalf of her sons. I believe Mary intervene sometime in my life and now I am discerning the priesthood. I’m actually coming closer to God than 3 yrs ago. I think Mary heard my mother’s prayers, and petition them to her son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ then send the Holy Spirit upon me, and awaken me and filled me with grace.

Since then I’ve been a practicing Catholic.


#3

I can say that devotion to Mary has, on an emotional level, brought me closer to God.

It makes Christ more approachable to realise that He had these family relationships with her and Joseph - and cared deeply for His mother, like most children do. Almost His last words were for her comfort and welfare by entrusting her to St John (and for John’s too of course), which shows the depth of His love for her.

And to consider the trust He put in her to make Himself vulnerable and entirely dependent upon her as a baby - it’s another facet of His totally selfless nature.

Although I’m not married, most married people will tell you that you do get to know and understand your spouse a lot better by knowing and understanding their family. Know, and dare I say, love them a lot better too? I feel the same with Jesus and Mary.


#4

You might find some of the answers you seek in St. Louis de Montfort’s book-length work, Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, which you can download for free, here, in the Catholic Books section, under the title, True Devotion to Mary.


#5

As someone already pointed out- you don’t have to have a Marian devotion. It’s not required. If you aren’t called to it, don’t worry about it.
Not all of us are called to certain devotions or practices.
It makes you no less of a Catholic.

And my father converted 10 years ago, and he still has some issues with Mary that he continually prays about. It may come with time, it may never come. Don’t worry about it, brother.


#6

What there is to get is similar to what MannyFit said…God chose her to bring His Son to us! As well, when you pray to her, she makes your prayers much more powerful, being so righteous (James 5:16). And also, Christ is brought to us through her, i.e. by her acceptance of God’s plan. And not only that, but through her, we can better see Jesus because her soul magnifies the Lord and all generations will call her blessed! (Luke 1:46-48)

There are so many other reasons, but that’s a quick nutshell.


#7

I’ve heard the argument, “The saints are perfected in Heaven, so how much more righteous will their prayers be?” Then the James reference, but still, again the LICITNESS is NOT what I’m asking about, but the usefulness, or reason, I guess.

That question doesn’t just explain the licitness. That IS the reason and usefulness.


#8

I hope what I have to offer is helpful. . .

My devotion to and relationship with the Blessed Mother has been a development. I can not remember a time when I didn’t know her or pray to her. From the time I could speak, the words of the Hail Mary could roll off my tongue. But, like with most prayer, the words did not mean much until I knew to whom I was speaking.

First, let me say that if–as you suggest–that a person’s relationship with Christ is somehow displaced by a relationship with His Mother, then the there is something wrong. But, what I think some people misunderstand as displacing Jesus for Mary is actually more of a development towards Christ.

Jesus Christ is God. He can do anything. If he wanted us all to know him without the help of others, He could do it. But, in His Wisdom and Love, He desires that we help each other to know Him. He wants us to introduce others to Him in ways they could never know Him on their own. This is often how we know Him in this world–through the Body of Christ we come to really know the Lord.

Enter Mary. Before I knew her, there were things about Jesus that I couldn’t know. For instance, I almost lost a child. Without listing the many crosses born from this time, I was able to enlist the immeasurable assistance of the Blessed Mother. In the throws of pain, worry, and sorrow, I reached out to my Mother in heaven. As I considered the fate of my own innocent child, I knew I had a most powerful advocate in the Mother who watched the most perfect, innocent, and loving of all children beaten, tortured, mocked, and killed for the love of the whole human race.

The Jesus I knew as my Lord, my Savior, and Friend, I began to see as the Son of God and the Son of Mary. I was able to appreciate so much better His sacrifices in life and and in death through my experience as a mother and knowing the trials of His Mother. She was there with Him. She never left Him. Through her gracious intercession, Jesus opened my heart to willingly accept any pain and any danger for my own child. And through Mary, I learned to place my trust in Jesus. I knew that if He allowed His own Mother to watch Him suffer and die, I could trust Him with my child. I truly believe that Jesus allowed His Mother to draw me to Him.

And there would certainly be those who would listen to my testimony and percieve a displaced Jesus because of my deepening relationship with His Mother. However, this could not be further from the truth. Yes, there have been times when my relationship with Jesus was lacking. Yes, I have displaced him in my heart at times for a number of outside idols. Mary is not one of them. By leaning on her, she took my fear, my trust, and my faith and led me closer to her Son than I have ever been in my entire life.

I thank God that He used my trials of motherhood to introduce me to His Blessed Mother. And I thank Mary for magnifying my Savior that I can see Him better for the salvation of my soul.

And, finally, I think, too, that there are times in our lives when certain people have bigger roles. Just be open.


#9

Why such devotion to Mary? Love. We love without need for a “use.” Using people is not what love is all about. We don’t love because we’re looking for benefits–quite the opposite in fact.

Read St. Alphonsus Liguori’s book “Glories of Mary.” That will show you all you need to know about why we have the relationship with Mary that we do.

I also suggest reading the chapter from the Second Vatican Council’s document “Lumen Gentium” on Mary. :

CHAPTER VIII
**THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
IN THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
**
vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html


#10

I don’t have an overboard devotion to Mary that would make me suspect among Protestants or Catholics. I would say that my devotion is underdeveloped.

My experience in prayer tells me something important about the Blessed Virgin. When I pray the rosary regularly my entire prayer life improves. I try to pray at every spare moment during the day. Praying the rosary in the morning helps me pray in other ways the rest of the day. When I don’t say the rosary my other prayers diminish in number and quality. Sometimes I wind up not praying at all.

When I pray the rosary I am thinking of the mysteries and most frequently of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Most of the time, I am not focused on Mary.

I had an interesting thing happen to me one day when I was heading to the adoration area in our Church. I was about half way up the aisle when it occured to me that Mary the Mother of Jesus was walking beside me and holding on to my arm. In my thoughts I heard her say, “Jesus, look who I have brought with me to see you.”

I loved this moment but I have no idea what prompted these thoughts. I don’t know if this was a real gift of God to me or simply my imagination. For someone without a great devotion to Mary, it was a total surprise. Whether it was my imagination or a gift of grace I do not know. In any event it has left an impression on me that prompts me to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament as often as I can.


#11

I can say it had no impact in my conversion. History did, as my name implies I love and am a student of history. The First time I came into a Catholic Church I could feel the history ooze from everywhere and that’s where I wanted to be. Maybe not the best reason but there it is.

I never have, though I can say I have a better respect for Mary. I try to pray the rosary and never been good at it and I did try, the one thing that has always have bothered me was the heavy devotion I have seen from some community’s.

As an example on EWTN Bob and Penny were in some place and they were making clothes for a statue. I kept thinking paint it and be done with it, it’s just stone.

I feel the same, myself.


#12

As a mother myself, my devotion to her is partly based on the sacrifice she made to remain a faithful servant to God. Every time I feel myself getting cranky about giving of myself when I’d rather just be selfish, I think about the example of Mary. Here was a woman who gave the one thing no mother would ever ever give- her Son.

When I have to defend my faith against people who attack it, and I wish I could just sort of gloss over the whole conversation because it’s too uncomfortable, I think of Mary, who stayed by Jesus’ side even while He was on the cross dying.

When I feel my faith wavering during the trials of everyday life, I think of Mary at Cana, who had complete and utter faith that her Son would fix even the mundane problems like wine running out.

When I feel like griping at my children and sending them all to their rooms until their Daddy comes home, I think of the patience and humility of Mary, and try to imitate just a little of that.

I try to imitate Christ as the ideal, but I try to imitate Mary’s example of a disciple.

Looking back at the train wreck of my life before I converted, I see the mantle of Mary draped over me even at my darkest times. Like mothers everywhere, she never left me, even when I wanted to leave myself, and through her prayers and intercession, re-introduced me to her really great Son.

I get very emotional, but not articulate when discussing Our Lady.


#13

My bit will be two posts long since it was a tid tad too long for one post. :slight_smile:

I am a convert. I, like you, never had a great Marian devotion. I felt like I was missing out on something. Then, well… things changed.

One of the first things I wanted to learn when I converted to Catholicism was how to pray the rosary. I saw it as such a “Catholic” thing to do, and so I wanted to learn too. My mom bought me a beautiful rosary, so I thought I might as well use it. I read things such as the rosary being a powerful weapon against the devil, and I am not one to turn down something that helps to combat him so for these reasons I started to pray it. I prayed it every now and then. I started to pray it everyday. I stopped for a while. Started back praying it every now and then. Then I started to pray it again daily. Even though I was praying the rosary and I had no problem with Mary I still didn’t … click with her. I wanted to know her better. I wanted to know what the big deal was about her because I wasn’t getting it. I felt, like you mentioned, that I was missing out on something. I wore the Miraculous Medal. I prayed the rosary. Still… nothing emotionally did I really feel for her. So, I prayed about it. I told Jesus that I wanted to know His mother better. Well Jesus, I believe, likes people to know His mom. Jesus’ mom was and is … wonderful. She was the first disciple. She was there for Him always. Just think what an impact she had on His entire life…the love He had for her. So, I think when one asks to get to know her better He is all for introducing you too her. After that prayer… I just grew to have a great affection and honor for Mary.

I read the book True Imitation of Mary. It was little bitty, and I like Thomas a Kempis… so I bought it. At first, when I got home, I thought: I can’t get into this. After some perseverance though I got to about the middle of the book and every paragraph was filled with new insight and thoughts about Mary. Some of the these things I read I had never thought of. It made me just kind of fall in love with my mother Mary. She is a person. One can as easily grow to have a great affection for her by finding out more about her as one can meeting a new person, finding out more about them, and soon growing to have an affection for them as a true and dear friend.

I ran across the devotion to Maria Bambina.

mariabambina.org/

Who can turn away the little Mary baby? Think of what a child she must have been! And the great love God ( her Father, Son, and Spouse) must have had for her when he looked down and saw her playing or praying to Him.

Then the devotion to the seven sorrows of Mary. Just meditating on this helps me to understand Mary and love Mary a little more each time.


#14

My bit continued……

And then, Mary as my mother. I love to think of her as my mother. She is our mother. Jesus gave her to us. She wants the best for us. I am very close to my earthly mom. She is my best friend. I go to her with everything and I love her oh so much. But as wonderful as she is she pales in comparison to Our Lady. Our Lady had no sin. She was all compassion, kindness, purity, beauty, etc. She is the best mother. She loves with a great love. We are her children. She continues to love us even when we don’t pay her any honor or love her in return. She always prays for us. She frets when a soul is lost. It causes her sorrow. She goes to her Son, on her knees, and says, “they have no this… they have no that.” She is attentive to our needs and always wants to help through her prayers and her special place in Heaven as Queen and Mother of God. Just recognizing, through meditation and prayer, that I have Mary as my mother causes me to want to return love for love. She is beautiful. She is pure. She is faithful. She is good. She can truly show us how to love Jesus and please Jesus.

Over the last six months my affection for Mary has grown so much. It started the moment I talked to Jesus about it. I am very close to her. I tell her things like I tell my earthly mom. She prays for me, and she teaches me how to love Jesus and please Jesus. Some kids grow up without an earthly mother. They end up in the same situations and places we, who had earthly mothers growing up, do. But, they miss out on something special. They know it growing up. It saddens them. They miss out on having mom there to help them, love them, care for them, and just be there for them. And we who have had earthly mothers… cannot and do not want to imagine our lives without them. We are thankful and realize what a blessing having them in our lives was and is. It is that way with Mary. You don’t have to recognize her as your mother. You don’t have to go to her. You can feel motherless if you will it and if you choose to ignore her. You may, like you said, feel like your missing out on something, but you will still, by God’s mercy and love, end up in Heaven despite never having a great affection or love for Our Lady. I do choose to have a mother though. I choose to love her and accept her and talk to her, and it is wonderful. She can offer so much wisdom, love, and help through her prayers and relationship with Our Lord. I cannot imagine and do not want to imagine my life without her. What a blessing she is! I love her so much. I kind of feel sad for you that you don’t care to have her. I pray that you come to have a special relationship with Mary.

If you have an interest and desire to know Mary better ask her Son to introduce you to her. Pray the rosary (and even if you don’t care to know Mary any better I still encourage you to pray the rosary… it is such a beautiful and powerful prayer). Read the Imitation of Mary, The Glories of Mary, and True Devotion to Mary. From my point of view, you are missing out on something very special.


#15

Each one of us is brought to God by different ways. Each one of us has different devotions. I can only say from my own experience that Our Blessed Virgin Mary gas brought me and my girlfriend to God; thus our devotion to Her is great. This doesn’t mean She is above God. She is doing God’s work and God has granted her very important role, and those who has experienced it know.

To develop a relationship with anyone, one must talk to the person. To know Virgin Mary, one must talk with Her.


#16

I agree. St. Louis gives the best explinations in his writtings about our Blessed Mother.


#17

I’m tempted to say you either have it or you don’t. And as a Catholic you don’t have to have that devotion to Mary. But I think you have to cultivate it if you want it. You started another thread a day or so ago about the same thing. You got lots of responses and reading suggestions as you have on this thread. I know you think you can’t cultivate a devotion to Mary; and that’s OK… But what’s the harm in saying 3 Hail Mary’s every day. Just once a day. Maybe something will happen and it’ll turn into the Rosary and a true devotion. I’ve never had any emotional hurdles to overcome; I just did it. But I am a cradle Catholic; come back. And understand as an ex-Protestant it must be a huge hurdle for you; there are other ex-Protestants that have over came that hurdle on these forums hope they can help you.

I’ll just say YES my 3 little Hail Mary’s and praying the Rosary has most definitely done exactly what it’s suppose to do!!!

God Bless you Frank


#18

I second this. :slight_smile:
In the past, I did 10 Hail Mary’s per day just because I wanted to please my earthly mom. Little did I know, our Heavenly Mother actually knew what I was doing. :slight_smile:


#19

What there is to get is similar to what MannyFit said…God chose her to bring His Son to us! As well, when you pray to her, she makes your prayers much more powerful, being so righteous (James 5:16).

MarcoPolo, I agree with the rest of your post, but this quote is taken out of context. I don’t reckon that twisting Scripture to say what we want isn’t being honest with others or yourself aswell. Most of our devotions and doctrines about Our Lady have come from Tradition, and maybe implicitly in the Bible, but not James 5:16.


#20

How is it out of context? Are Mary’s prayers not powerful due to her righteousness?


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