Scripture has within it lots of symbolic
language, understood better by ancient
Semitic peoples than by us. What
is certainly not symbolic is Jesus'
Death and Resurrection, signifying
that the disembodied soul rising
to Heaven or Hell is not the end
of the story.
The Resurrection of humanity will
take place at the final judgment
on the last day when Christ comes
again to judge the living and the
dead. There, as far as we know, the
soul will be reunited to the body
and the whole person (body and soul)
will then spend an eternity in Heaven
where there will be no separation
between God's presence and His creation
or Hell which is "eternal fire
prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew
25:41). In the meantime, we know
that Jesus and Mary are not simply
disembodied souls but are already
complete with their resurrected,
glorified bodies because of the Resurrection
and Assumption, respectively. It
was sin, beginning with Adam, that
caused death (body-soul separation
and the decay of our body). The
new Adam and Eve — Jesus and
Mary — whose mission it is
to fix what the original representatives
of mankind broke by their sin, were
conceived without any stain of sin
and lived in total obedience to God.
Catholics honor Mary and the saints
in heaven by asking them to intercede
for us because of their closeness
to God in the economy of salvation.
God set it up so that we may be secondary
causes for each other's salvation;
the ultimate cause, of course, being
the sacrifice and grace of Jesus. In
the process, until history
is concluded, we can help each other
with our prayers and sacrifices uniting
them to the Cross as a body, the
Church in Heaven and on earth, unites
itself with its head, Christ.
If you notice, in John chapter two,
Jesus Himself was prompted to perform
a miracle at the request, or by the
intercession, of His mother Mary
on behalf of the bride in Cana.
Mary continues that role from Heaven
of being chief intercessor to members
of Christ's Bride, the Church.