Recently I received a question from someone who is not Catholic. Although she thought it might be a silly question (it wasn’t) she wanted to know if a Protestant owning an object with the image of the Blessed Mother, Mary, on it was objectionable to Catholics (it isn’t). Apparently, this dear sister in Christ has a great affinity for our Mother and finds comfort from her. What a gift! Many Catholics could take a lesson from this question – I know I did.
So What is the Answer?
Finding comfort in the Mother of God is natural when we remember that Jesus is our Brother. Many Scripture verses confirm that we a children of God and that Jesus is our brother. If He is our Brother and Mary is His Mother then she is our mother as well. Through the Fatherhood of God, the Fraternity with Christ, and the Motherhood of Mary we truly become one family.
We may well ponder the words in John 19:26. There Jesus speaks from the cross and says, “Woman, behold, your son!” and to John, “Behold, your mother!” Through these words of Jesus, our Brother, Mary becomes our mother, too. She exemplifies everything a mother is: comfort, support, unconditional love, and someone who pleads our case for us (intercession). This makes Mary a natural refuge in times of trouble – for all Christians.
Mary’s Intercession for Us
Sometimes we find that those unfamiliar with Marian devotion are uncomfortable with the idea of asking for Mary’s intercession. “We can pray directly to Jesus”, they say.
While it is accurate that He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Light“, there are many ways to approach Jesus. One of those ways is through the intercessory power of Our Lady. We see an example of this at the Wedding Feast of Cana. The news that the hosts have run out of wine doesn’t come directly to Jesus, it comes through Mary. When she petitions Jesus on their behalf He answers, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” Yet His insistent mother comes to the rescue, saying to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Thus Jesus complies, showing His deep regard for His mother and her requests. She is the singularly sinless creature in the history of the world (besides the God-Man, Jesus). As the Queen of Heaven and earth, she plays an important role in the Kingdom of God. She is the Mother of Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Her entreaties, then, are held in high regard.
The importance of Jesus’ first miracle cannot be downplayed. It begins His public ministry and foreshadows the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, His mother’s prominent role cannot be denied.
The Difference Between Honor and Worship
Fellow Catholics, how many times have you sought to explain that we don’t worship Mary?
While we Catholics understand the difference between the honor given to Mary and the worship (adoration) reserved for God alone, many non-Catholics mistakenly believe they are the same. As the mother of Jesus, Mary has a very special place in salvation history. Her “yes” delivered a Redeemer to the world. As the vessel who carried Him in her womb, her participation in the Divine Plan is unmistakable and undeniable.
This unique role, as well as Jesus’ own obedience to the fourth commandment – honor your mother and your father – dictates that we, His brethren, honor her as well. As we emulate His honor of Mary, we are doing as He has shown us by His own actions.
As the prayers for the intercession of Mary indicate, we are asking her assistance while remaining firmly in worshiping Him alone. Just as you and I may ask for prayers from other Christians, so too we ask our Heavenly Mother to remember us. She, along with all other saints, is not dead. Fully alive and in the Divine Presence, she glories in her Eternal Home and ever worships God.
O Mary Immaculate
O Mary Immaculate, Virgin so fair
Mother of Our Savior, please hear my prayer
Intercede, dearest Mother
to your heavenly son.
Tell Him I am truly sorry for all the wrongs I have done.
Ask Him to guide me by the Gifts of The Holy Spirit
in all of my deeds and way.
So that I may give Him glory, honour and praise at the end of my days.
The Hail Mary Is Scriptural
Arguably the most famous Marian prayer is the Hail Mary. While it may seem confusing, without proper discernment, the lines from this prayer can be found in Sacred Scripture.
Luke 1:28 – “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” These words, delivered by the angel, Gabriel, come from God. Catholics, when reciting this verse while praying the Rosary, are quoting the Scriptural words of God.
The Greek translation of the phrase “full of grace” is the word “kecharitomene.” Mary alone is given this unique title, which suggests a perfection of grace from a past event. Mary has been perfected in grace by God. The only other person described as “full of grace” is Jesus Christ. John 1:14
In Luke 1:42 Elizabeth utters the words, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed the fruit of your womb. (Jesus)” Just as Elizabeth blessed Mary first and then Jesus (the Fruit of her womb), so too can we go through Mary to praise Him. This hyperdulia honors Mary but is not the latria which is the worship belonging to God alone.
“And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43 The equivalent of “Holy Mary, Mother of God” contained in the Hail Mary, this title makes an important distinction. Jesus is divine and is God. Mary is His mother. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.
Can a Non-Catholic Find Comfort In Mary?
In summing up the divinely revealed, Biblical truth about Mary we come to the conclusion that Mary is the mother of all Christians – those who believe in Jesus the God-Man.
- We are God’s children by adoption.
- Jesus, the Son of God, is our Brother.
- Mary, His mother, is our mother too – given to us from the cross.
- She played a special role in the Divine Plan for our Salvation.
- Jesus honored and obeyed her, as a good son is charged to do.
- Mary, was able to petition Jesus to perform His first miracle.
- As the role model of motherhood, Mary brings comfort to anyone who seeks it.