Why Do Catholics Pray to Mary?

If you could choose any woman in the world to be the mother of your child, what criteria would you use? 

Would she be beautiful, generous, virtuous? 

Would she be from a good family that had raised her to know the Word of the Lord and the ways of His people? 

Would she be beautiful and tender, yet willing to train your child to become a righteous young disciple of the Lord? 

In thinking of these things, we begin to answer the question, Why do Catholics pray to Mary?

Continuing further, what if you could choose any woman in the world, any woman in history, to be your own mother? 

What characteristics would you seek? 

Would you want your mother to be strong in faith and gentle in spirit? 

Would you want her to speak words of wisdom when you needed guidance and listen intently when you needed clarity about life? 

Would you want a mother who wraps you in her mantle when jealous tyrants threaten you, and who walks with you every step of the way when you are on a mission to save the world?

Mary is the woman chosen to be the Mother of God’s only Son. Mary is the woman chosen to be the Spouse of the Spirit. Mary is the woman chosen to be Christ’s Mother.

Many Wonder, Why Do Catholics Pray to Mary?

Mary was the special woman whom God the Father selected throughout space and time. God, through His angelic messenger, invited Mary to be the mother of His one and only Son. Mary retained a particular holiness beyond that of other human beings. However, like us, she had the gift of free will.

Therefore, God asked Mary if she accepted the special mission He had for her to form His Son—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She could have considered the task too daunting. 

She could have refused the enormous responsibility. Although Mary felt hardly worthy, she trusted in God’s judgment; she humbled herself and said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” Luke 1:38.

Mary, Full of Grace

Mary gave the Lord her fiat, her yes. And from that moment, she was “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit, “the power of the Most High” (Luke 1:35). In that instant, the Word of God became incarnate.

He used Mary’s genetic material to form His own blood and bone. He took refuge in the safety and comfort of her womb. Her breath was His life-sustaining oxygen. Her meals were His daily nourishment.

In order to form the Son of God in body and soul, Mary had to have retained absolute purity. Therefore, God permitted Mary to receive the merits of Christ’s saving sacrifice, even outside of time.

The graces of the Holy Cross were bestowed upon Mary from the earliest moments of her conception so that she might be preserved from Original Sin. This disposed her to adhere closely to God’s most holy will, although it did not impose upon the freedom to choose it above her own, time and time again.

Upon Mary’s fiat, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and granted abundant graces so that she might grow in every virtue and practice each to the fullness of its perfection. Thus, it was Mary who more than any other human creature in history, practiced perfect Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.

For this reason, in our Christian quest to “be perfect as [our] heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), we honor Mary as a saint among saints. We ask her to guide us in how to heroically practice virtue. We ask her to lead us directly to Jesus, trusting that in her motherhood, she knows best how we may be pleasing to her Son.

Mary, Exalted in Her Humility

Mary was human yet honored above the angels for her impeccable submission to God’s will. Mary lived every day for God, consistently choosing His holy will above her own.

She chose to follow the will of the Father even when it meant risking her own unblemished reputation. Even when it meant living as a perpetual virgin within her marriage. Even when it meant leaving her homeland to flee from danger. 

Even when it meant trusting Jesus when he remained in the Temple to be about His Father’s business. She chose the will of the Father even when it meant seeing her own Son—flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone, her pride and joy, her Savior—submit Himself to scorn and beatings and a shameful death on the Cross.

Mary prayerfully gazed upon Jesus, uniting her heart to His and fortifying Him as He took on the sins of the world and offered Himself as the Paschal Lamb for the salvation of souls.

Mary teaches us to humble ourselves and exalt God’s greatness. She teaches us to trust the Lord in all things. Even when it feels like the whole world is crumbling and everything we love is being degraded and wrenched from our lives. She teaches us that in the end, good will triumph.

Why Pray The Rosary?

Mary is first and foremost Jesus’s Mother. She is also the mother of all humankind, as Jesus entrusted us to her care during His final agonizing moments on the cross (John 19:26). Therefore, her primary goal is to form us to be Christlike, the way she formed Jesus in the ways of the heavenly Father.

To fulfill this mission, Mary has endowed us with the most holy rosary—a spiritual weapon by which we, her spiritual offspring, shall crush our enemies (Genesis 3:15).

Many people confuse the rosary as a recitation offering worship to Mary. It is not. The rosary—referred to as such because the prayers offered are sweet and pleasing like a bouquet of roses—is a string of meditations upon biblical references to the life of Jesus.

Why Do Catholics Pray to Mary? — Learning from the Best

The Rosary is primarily a meditative prayer which allows us to enter into the mysteries of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Each decade—composed of an Our Father, ten Hail Mary’s, and a Glory Be—provides the “background music” for contemplating the deep mysteries of what Jesus came to teach us.

We are called to spend a quarter hour every day thinking about the joyous events of Jesus’s Incarnation, the Luminous events of how He taught His disciples to follow Him as The Way to heaven, the Sorrowful events of His supreme sacrifice, and the Glorious events of how He conquered Death.

So, why do Catholics pray to Mary? Because we sincerely desire to be holy, and so we choose to learn from the best. Because it leads us closer to Jesus and bolsters us with graces to overcome daily trials.

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