Loving Our Blessed Mother

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” That is a quote by St. Maximilian Kolbe, priest and martyr.

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Whenever I mention a young Jewish girl, who lived in Nazareth over 2,000 years ago, I brace myself for an attack. Yes Mary, Jesus’s mother, seems to hit a nerve with many non-Catholics. I was lectured yet again the other day on how I am raising Mary to the height of a deity.

Yes, social media, where everyone has an opinion. See my post about that here.

Well, I come from a Protestant background myself, and I suffered a block of my own during my conversion when it came to Our Blessed Mother. It took years of study, prayer, and meditation to really understand Mary’s role in God’s salvific plan. I’m not sure anyone can fully understand the complexity of it. That is why there is a whole theological study of Mary called Mariology.

I admit, I get a little unnerved when people dismiss centuries of theology with a flippant comment.

So, here is where devotion to Mary (in its simplest form) is addressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church . . .

 II. DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN

971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." 

We pray for Mary’s intercession—in other words, we ask her to pray for us. I’m not sure why there is so much confusion, or even anger, over asking someone to pray for you.  Even when I didn’t understand Mary’s nature, I was never angered by Catholics honoring her. I was actually curious about the devotion and wanted to know more.

Do we need Mary to pray for us? I guess not. But it sure can’t hurt. We can go directly to God, and Catholics do go directly to God all the time. But I ask people on earth to pray for me. Why is asking someone to pray for me from heaven any different?  We ask our earthly mothers for help. Why not ask our Heavenly Mother for help?

Does Mary answer prayers?

Well, God answers prayers, but indirectly, by placing our prayers and petitions in the hands of her Son, Mary intercedes for us.   

Is Mary different than other saints? You bet she is. And to say she is like any other person is wrong. She is the Mother of God, who with a simple and humble “yes,” submitted to the will of God and aided in bringing Salvation to the world. Why would we not love her in a special way?

The timing of my social media exchange was perfect, actually. I’m about to begin a retreat centered on Our Blessed Mother and her role in helping her children. I’ll keep you posted.

Photo by Alex Gindin on Unsplash