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.