Michael Geiger wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why do Catholics pray to the Blessed Mother?

Michael

  { Why do Catholics pray to the Blessed Mother? }

John replied:

Hi, Michael —

Thanks for your question.

In a nutshell, Catholics ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us, just like we'd ask one another to pray for us. The difference being, that Mary is already in heaven and better knows the perfect will of her Son, Jesus. Hence, her prayers for us will always be much more powerful because they will always be according to His Will for our lives.

Now, our terminology can be confusing because we say, "we are praying to Mary", which, if we were speaking old English, would be fine. Technically "to pray" also means, "to ask", but when we commonly say pray, we usually mean a conversation with God, or we are at least reciting something intended for God.

It's taken the Church a few decades or centuries to catch up with the changes in modern languages.

All well educated Catholics should understand that when we say: we pray to Mary, it means we are asking her to pray for and with us. Even the Hail Mary, says: Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. At no time is this ever meant to be worship, which is reserved for God alone and there, is where a lot of misunderstanding arises.

Many non-Catholic Christians (Protestants) don't believe Mary can hear our request. They also confuse the act of making a request with an act of worship, but that's entirely another question — which you did not ask — but if you look hard enough at our extensive database of answers,
I'm sure you'll find both the question and multiple answers. I want to encourage you to explore that area of the site.

You'll learn a lot and probably think of a bunch of other questions to ask us.

John

Mike replied:

Hi, Michael —

Thanks for the question.

Catholics pray to Mary, or to be more Scriptural, pray to the Blessed Mother (Luke 1:48) because of her primary importance in cooperating with Her Divine Son, Jesus. No matter what other saint a Christian may have a devotion to, no saint can do what our Blessed Mother did:

Say YES, to becoming the bearer of the Divine Child Jesus who would save mankind from their sins.

Mary's Yes, allowed God the Father's Son to become incarnated in Mary's womb.

In line with the Father's plan, this couldn't have been done with Mary's, "Yes". (Luke 1:38)

  • Could the Father have choose a different way. Sure!
  • Did He? No.

In the same way the ten commandments were in the Immaculate Ark of the Covenant, so to,
Our Lord Jesus was in the [Immaculate|sinless] body of Mary, His mother.

  • Again, Could the Father have choose a different way. Sure!
  • Did He? No.

Because of her Immaculate body and soul and how she cooperated with Our Lord in the Father's plan of salvation, many Catholics look to Mary first when they need help in a problem.

  • Is this required? No.
  • Can they ask the Lord for help? Sure!
  • Can the ask another saint for help? Sure!
  • Can they can all three for help. Sure!

Why? Because we have a family relationship with each other in the Church, whether they are members in Heaven (the Church Triumphant), in Purgatory (the Church Suffering), burning off remaining self-love, or on earth, (the Church Militant).

As I side note, as a cradle Catholic, it stumps me how our separated brethren can perceive their loved ones as dead after they have passed away. Many will say, "Why do Catholics pray to a dead person?" when Our Lords says in Scripture, "He is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him." (Mark 12:26-27)

I think part of the confusion stems from hearing sermons or eulogies given by clergy and parishioners after a person has passed away. Catholics will:

  • "Pray for the dead"
  • the word "dead" will come up in a sermon and
  • we offer a "Mass for the dead"

The use of "the dead" in this context should be understood in contrast to those "living" and those listening to this sermon or eulogy.

"The dead" or "faithfully departed" are more alive than anyone on the face of the earth AND because their souls have been purified or are being purified, they CAN and WANT to help us.

All we have to do is ask! I work with, talk and ask my temporal father, who passed away three years ago, to pray for me on a regular basis.

Hope this answers your question.

Mike

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