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Michael Geiger wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why do Catholics pray to the Blessed Mother?


  { 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 would 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 an another question — which you did not ask. 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.


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 without 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 too,
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 before entering the bliss of Heaven, or on earth, (the Church Militant).

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 Lord says in Scripture,

He [God] is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.

(Luke 20:38)

I think part of the confusion stems from 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 or eulogy, and
  • priests will say they will offer a Mass for the dead

The use of the dead, in this context, should be understood in contrast to those living — those listening to this sermon or eulogy while still on their Earthly pilgrimage.

The dead 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.

To clarify this misperception within the Church I would encourage pastors, priests, deacons, and seminarians to use the word faithfully departed instead of the dead. We should always ask the faithfully departed to pray for us and have Masses said for them. All we have to do is ask!

I work with, talk, and ask my temporal father, Stephen, who passed away three years ago, to pray for me on a regular basis.

Hope this answers your question.



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