An Anglican Asks: Do Catholics Go Overboard with Mary?

Last week I asked EPG, an Anglican reader of this blog, to pose some questions for Catholics, to provide a forum for discussion. I gather that these questions represent reasons why he, and others, are not (yet) Catholic. His first question concerns what may be the biggest stumbling block: the role of Mary in Catholic worship. Listen carefully, answer respectfully. I will put in my two cents after citing his question verbatim:

I have some concerns about the extent of Marian devotion. I can understand devotion to Mary in the context of the communion of saints. Asking Mary (or any of the saints) to intercede would be analogous to asking a good friend, an older brother, or one’s mother for prayers on one’s behalf. I am perfectly comfortable with the respect and even veneration for Mary arising from her actions, from her first assent at the Annunciation, and from that time on. I have no issue with the titles “Theotokos,” or “Mother of God.”

But there does seem to be a point at which the partisans of Mary go overboard, and attempt to direct our attention to her, in place of Christ. For example, I find myself deeply uncomfortable with the thought of considering Mary as co-Redemptrix. See, for example, this blog.  The author is a former Episcopal priest, who has apparently been accepted into the Catholic priesthood. Is he an exception, or in the Catholic mainstream?

And there is a radio program (played on our local Catholic station, and syndicated widely) that seems to go overboard in its emphasis on Mary.

So how do all of you respond to Mary in your lives as Catholics? Are there areas in which you see excesses in Marian devotion. (I could throw out that fine old epithet “Mariolatry.”) Or, coming from an Anglican Protestant background, am I missing something? If so, what?

EPG, I can’t give you formal Catholic apologetics on this one. But I’ll pass this post on to Ferde, because I know he can.

What I can give you is my experience. Among Catholics I know, I do not see an extreme emphasis on Mary, and I never hear talk of her as co-Redemptrix. (Oh, there was some rumbling about it in our men’s group one day, but we rumble about everything.) But just as I was drawn to the Catholic Church by the example of the saints, who were never reverenced or even referenced in the Episcopal parish of my youth, I have friends, including Mitch, who say they were brought to the Catholic Church by the Blessed Mother.

When I first started coming to daily Mass, I didn’t have much feeling for Jesus. Who was he exactly? I thought only of God—like a good Unitarian, I suppose! But now, through readings, Father Barnes’s homilies, daily reception of the Eucharist, Eucharistic Adoration, and, notably, I think, my participation in Communion and Liberation, I recognize Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and I seek a deeper relationship with him.

Mary? Except during Lent, Saturday morning Masses at our church are usually dedicated to the Blessed Virgin (as the church itself is dedicated to Mary in one of her many roles, “Star of the Sea”). Two candles are lit on Mary’s altar at the front left of the nave; Father Barnes says a couple of extra prayers; and as a recessional he leads us in “Salve Regina” or another Marian hymn. That’s it. (“Our” Mary illustrates this post.)

Now, it’s my understanding that Father Barnes is a doctrinaire Catholic priest, in the best sense of the term. He is true to the teaching of the Church and faithfully communicates it to us. (Let me tell you: If he weren’t that way, Ferde would be all over him!) So, by association, I suspect that this level of reverence—one day a week, say, along with the Marian Feast Days like the Assumption—is pretty much the norm.

One more point: While I have tried warming to Mary, as explained here and here, I haven’t fully succeeded. I don’t feel any less a Catholic for that. My devotion, if I have one, is to St. Joseph, who was also a favorite of one of our great female saints, Teresa of Jesus (of Avila). I recently bought one of Ann Burt’s lovely retablos of St. Joseph. I have it hanging in the “prayer corner” of my private office at home with a candle under it. I light the candle every morning and say a prayer to St. Joseph. And I am trying to learn more about him, especially now during Lent.

I do not think my devotion to St. Joseph gets between me and Christ. Joseph and Mary were Jesus’s earthly parents, who sheltered Him and educated Him, and to whom He was obedient. I trust that whatever may be my level of devotion to either of these unique parents, they will only bring me closer to Christ.

But I’ve taken too much space here! Readers, respond please! Not only with doctrine, which I need help with, but especially with your personal experience. Do you think the Church goes overboard with Mary? What about the blog and radio program cited by EPG? Are they typical?

  • Anonymous

    Um, no.

  • Wendy C.

    As a former Protestant this too was one of my final holdups in joining the Church. I know it is still and upsetting thing for many of my Protestant friend and I have heard the Co-redemptrix argument many times from them but I have never heard it from a Catholic. While I cannot explain completely how differently I see Mary now here are a few things I never understood as a Protestant. First, Mary is the model example of what a Christian should be, willing to say yes to God when he asks us to do something and willing to live with both the joy and pain of this "yes". I never understood her role as the new Eve until someone explained that Mary's "yes" to God undid the "no" from Eve which brought us Original Sin. All this to say I can look to Mary's response to God and the way she lived her life as a guide of how I should respond to God.Second, as pointed out by one of my Protestant friends. Catholics treat women better than other churches because of Mary. She said "Catholics have such a deep reverence for Mary they in turn understand the value and wisdom of women and it carries over into how they interact with women." (I realize there are many people who claim the church discriminates against women). Instead the church reveres women and their roles and has a deep respect for them in part I believe due to the devotion to Mary. I have experienced more respect and, yes, reverence as a woman in the Catholic Church than I ever expeiences as a woman 35 years in the Protestant church.Third, I personally take great comfort in having a "heavenly mother". As I heard a speaker say once "when a little child falls down and scrapes his knee, who does he run to for comfort?". This is how I feel about Mary. She is there for me and will intercede for me in times of deep need and perhaps selfishly, I believe a woman just gets me better than a man.I find that I struggle putting into words the richness that has come in my spiritual life by allowing Mary to be an actual part of it but I hope my few words can at least illuminate things a little for EPG.

  • Matthew

    Webster,This is one of those topics that is tough for a lot of Catholics. Marian devotion is an important part of our life as Catholics. We look to Mary as the ultimate example of faith and unselfishness. She put her whole life in Gods hands in a profound way. As you mentioned there are many healthy and vibrant ways of participating in Marian devotion.There are also some within the Catholic church who have taken Marian devotion to a whole new and I would say, unhealthy level. I specifically think of those individuals who I dub "apparition devotees". In the last 30 years there have been an abundance of supposed apparition's of Mary throughout the world. From my experience there are people and groups who latch on to these apparition experiences with an unhealthy degree of devotion.I believe that apparition's do occur. Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe are examples of such. I am sure that some of the modern ones have been valid. The vast majority however have not been approved by the church. What has always bothered me about many of these and the people that follow them is how they circumvent the proper church authorities. Devotees often continue to flock to these sites and continue their devotions even after the church has said there is no evidence of supernatural occurrences.So my opinion is this. The "Church" meaning the proper church authority in Rome and the local bishops have got it pretty much right on with the proper amount of devotion, feast days, etc…(I have never really understood the co-redemptrix part so I will leave that for someone with more theology background). I think we see the going overboard when local groups of people or even individuals go outside of the church norms and establish their own devotional patterns.I personally have a strong devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. But that devotion never replaces my devotion to Christ.

  • Ferde

    EPG, my dear brother Webster has handed this topic over to me, but unnecessarily according to the comments I've read so far. Wendy C. has noted Mary's willing 'yes' to God to be the mother of the Savior. Until fairly recently I never understood fully the implications of that 'yes.' In that time the penalty for being unmarried and found with child was stoning. To death! Mary's 'yes' was not only a willingness to do the will of God, but to offer her life in the process.Matthew discussed Mary's appearances and the sudden glut of them in recent times. I agree with him. The three he mentioned, Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima are well documented and have been accepted by the Church. Most of the rest are pure quackery and are treated as such by the Church. While some of them MIGHT be legitimate, along with the myriad bleeding and/or weeping statues, the 'appearances' in a a frosty window or a toasted bagel, the only one the Church is even looking at is an alleged Marian appearance in a small town in Egypt whare Mary was supposed to have appeared above a Catholic Church in a predominently Muslim town. The event was witnessed and attested to by a leading Muslim cleric, so there might be something to it.You say you are bothered by the 'co-redemptrix' notion among some Catholics. So am I, so are many Catholics and so was Pope John Paul II, who was petitioned to make the concept Church teaching. He rejected the request as soon as he got it and used the occasion to remind us that Jesus Christ is our only Redeemer.You think some Catholics go overboard in their devotion to Mary. So do I. In Mary's appearaances at Fatima, she said to the children that the Lord wanted an increased devotion to her on earth and that was the beginning of the excess. All we are required to believe by the Church are the obvious; that Mary is the mother of the Lord, that, as such she is the Mother of God, that she is a perpetual virgin, she was conceived immaculate in her mother's womb and that, after her life on earth was over, she was assumed bodily into heaven. The rest is optional. (If I have any of that wrong, anyone with more knowledge is free to correct me.)All that said, I am grateful for the witness to Mary by Wendy and Matthew. When I was a teen-ager, I had a very serious problem I saw no way out of. I prayed fervently for Mary's intercession and the problem was solved in a way I never could have anticipated. It was God who solved the problem. It was Mary who prayed for me.

  • Warren Jewell

    Bad arm or not, I had to answer this one. On the one hand, and a most important hand, is Mary Theotokos, Mother of God. Here, we have a unique peak, the very highest peak, the very most crucial of only-human experience by which, at very least, God was given Mary’s genetic code in male form for His becoming man. As vital human experience, I cannot put it but second to Jesus the Man accepting tortuous death to save us.Do you know what most intimately endearing term little Jesus was taught to call Mary? She is ‘Ima’ to Him, as “Mom” or “Mama” many of us English-speakers call our mothers. Stop and note: what does “Mom” mean to you? What do you think His Ima means to Jesus Christ, now King of all and Judge to humankind? We call Father “Abba” – Mary was “Ima”, and beloved beyond beloved to Jesus Christ. It is an important point not to forget, at all. As I just messaged to a correspondent, you honor His Mother, and you honor Him. You honor Him, and you cannot imagine His powerful ways to seek to show His love for you.Those who seem so “Marian” as to pray the Rosary during Mass act a bit exaggerated, even extreme, it is true. However, those who invest “too much” in Mary can be countered with those who pull verses out of Scriptural context to prove and rather poorly their own choice of religious point. Back to Mary among Catholics, especially for women, Mary is the approachable human to Jesus Christ, God-Man. Yes, when they speak of Mary, they offer her first, foremost and seemingly almost solely. But, to them, she is who gets them to approach Christ. They see Mary as the very one who can offer their prayers of every kind to Christ. They just end up seeming overboard. However, I suspect that most, questioned closely, would acknowledge Who is our Eucharist, Who is our Bread. And, without much pushing, they would acknowledge Who is our Primary Master. They would not capitalize the “who” of Mary as they would the “Who” of Christ.

  • Mark Scott Abeln

    The Marian mysteries all protect and point to Christological doctrine. Denying one or another Marian doctrines leads to the denial of Christ. Consider the widespread apostasy found in Europe today, where they first rejected Our Lady before rejecting Christ and ultimately God the Father.There was a prominent young theologian at the Second Vatican Council who also had many doubts about Mary. Co-redemptorix? He thought that strange and unnecessary. After much reflection, he realized how important they were – and he is now known as Benedict XVI.The 'co-' in co-redemptrix means 'with', and not 'another'; this title should be understood in its Latin sense, and not English sense. Mary is and was 'with' the Redeemer, all of the way to the Cross and beyond.Much Marian doctrine comes from ancient tradition: see the Orthodox for examples. Part of this traditional Catholic (and Orthodox) understanding comes from our way of reading scripture, taking both the literal and the typological senses. We see this in Scripture itself, where Jesus says that he is the fulfillment of bronze serpent in the desert, and that the people will receive the sign of Jonah. The Baptist also uses this when he calls Christ the Lamb of God, fulfilling the Passover.Mary is also seen typologically in the Old Testament. Consider the parallel passages where Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, and where the Ark of the Covenant is taken to King David; from this, we say that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, the true tabernacle wherein dwelt the Word of God. Paul tells us that Christ is the New Adam, and so it can be seen that Mary is the New Eve. We see Old Testament references to the Queen Mother (that is, the mother of the King), to whom even the King himself defers, and Christ is the fulfillment of the line of Old Testament Kings, who will reign forever. Mary is not a judge, she is a loving mother.Biblical typology is not a Catholic invention, but was used by the ancient Rabbis. For an excellent overview of this topic, listen to these audio lectures from the Association of Hebrew Catholics: the Magnificat, Mary says "from this day, all generations will call me blessed". I must admit that finding devotion to Mary was difficult for me upon my conversion, but I take to heart Our Lord's command, "behold this is your mother".

  • pennyyak

    "It was God who solved the problem. It was Mary who prayed for me."Beautifully said Ferde.On Mary as co-Redemptrix, I have not a clue – while it sounds most unlikely to me, this is what I believe and do: What Jesus ordains, the Church imitates, and I follow in turn. She is my trusty guide. This is a point also that as a Protestant would have been fairly meaningless to me. For many years after embracing Catholicism, yes, all Marian things sounded quite foreign to me. Now, her name is inextricably associated with Jesus (as are the saints), and I am really unable to think of Mary without thinking about our savior. Not to be disrespectful, but the communion of saints is absolutely meaningless apart from Christ – that seems so obvious I can't think why I'm typing it.So when I hear intensely Marian centered talks (on various media or medium?), I "hear" about the glory of our God. It's just something that happened (on some day I can't name) – but I don't fret about Mary, and her place in the Church, or her place in my life, anymore.

  • Laude Arts and Gifts

    EPGThank you for your question. As a convert, I too had many questions about the apparent over emphasis on Mary in the Catholic church. I am not a theologian and can not even attempt to answer your question theologically. I can, however, answer from my experience with Mary which started during my conversion. The physical backdrop of my conversion happened at a La Salette Shrine in Attleboro MA. I went there often to pray during an extremely difficult time in my life. As a Methodist turned Episcopalian, my prayers were directed to Our Lord Jesus. I felt His presence often during my visits to the shrine. Even tho I was at a Marian shrine, I never directed by prayers to Mary because I thought that was just a half step away from idolatry.However, as time went on, I began to notice another presence at the shrine gently making itself known to me during my visits there. I began to be able to identify that presence as Mary. I can not tell you how I knew it was her, but then I can't really tell you how I can recognize our Lord's presence either. I don't think anyone can answer the "how" of that question except to say that "the sheep know the Shepherd's voice." I think it can be safely said that the children know their Heavenly Mother's voice. I believe that faith and trust in Mary is born out of an experience with her and out of a relationship with her. Just like many people find it impossible to believe in God without and experience with Him, I think the same is true of Mary. I also believe that if you desire to know Mary, all you have to do is ask her to reveal herself to you and she will.So often our spiritual journey is one of experience and relationship. I think much of the extreme enthusiasm for Mary found in the church comes from people who for one reason or another can more easily relate to Mary than to Jesus or to Our Heavenly Father. I don't worry about this because I know, that just like she did at the Wedding at Cana, Mary will always direct "the servants" to her Son.

  • Allison Salerno

    Recently my parish hosted a sacred music concert. Folks from across the community came. I happened to sit next to two neighbors, both of whom have left the Catholic church for Protestant churches.In the program notes, it stated the concert was dedicated to Mary."Oh, how I miss Mary," said one woman. "YEs we don't have her any more."I felt sad for them.

  • Ferde

    Laudes Arts and Gifts said: "I also believe that if you desire to know Mary, all you have to do is ask her to reveal herself to you and she will."The owner/Moderator of a Catholic debate site I frequent is a convert. He's said, when he was struggling with the decision to convert to Catholicism, he did just what you suggest — he asked Mary to talk to him, to let him know what he should do. She did. He is now one of the most effective, knowledgable Catholic apologists on the internet. And elsewhere.

  • Ruth Ann

    As a life long practicing Catholic of more than six decades, I can say that loving Mary is second nature to me. But even from childhood I learned to distinguish devotion and veneration given to Mary from worship of God. This was always clear. In a different but recent post someone wondered whether or not so-called "cradle Catholics" have read the Documents of Vatican Council II. I, in fact, lived through VC2, having been 15 years of age at it's opening. So, I will refer you and your readers who are interested in what the Catholic Church teaches concerning Mary to Chapter 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, aka, Lumen Gentium. Here you can find pretty much everything a Catholic needs to know, theologically, about Our Lady. The footnotes are good, too.Part 4 of Chapter 8 talks about the cult of the Blessed Virgin in the Church. Here are a few quotes:"This cult [the Marian cult], as it has always existed in the Church, for all its uniqueness, differs essentially from the cult of adoration, which is offered equally to the Incarnate Word and to the Father and the Holy Spirit" par. 66This means Mary is NOT on an equal footing with the Holy Trinity."But it strongly urges theologians and preachers of the word of God to be careful to refrain as much from all false exaggeration as from too summary an attitude in considering the special dignity of the Mother of God." par. 67I take that to mean don't over do it or under do it. Find a happy medium. The fact is, there are some groups who over do the Marian cult. By the same token, there are those who are weak in their devotion."Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile nor transitory affection, not in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to recognize the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love towards our mother and to the imitation of her virtues." p. 67I think this means be LIKE Mary, faithful to her Son.

  • Maria

    I was named after Mary in the Marian year of 1954 and I am very close to Mary…Pray the rosary and she will reveal herself, and her Son, to you. She will tell you everything… I like what one priest said in repsonse to those deemed too devoted to Mary. On the contrary, he said: " We cannot honor her enough".

  • Mary R above web address is an article about the origin and support by the Catholic bishops concerning Blessed Mary under the title as co-redemptrix. The bassic jist of the article is that there are many Bishops (800) who have sign a request for the Pope to affirm a 5th Marian dogma. Many Popes have recognized Mary in speaches as a co-redemptrix but none have put forward as a new infalable teaching. I recommend reading the article for a better understanding of this title for Mary.Sincerely,Mary R

  • Mary R

    More: The site I went to is Zenit.orgI type in "co-redemptrix" and found many articles concerning this title for Mary. In the list included the letter requesting support by the Bishops to the Pope, Cardinal's Letter Promoting Marian Dogma". Again I recommend going to this site for more information. Sincerely,Mary R


    I have many thoughts on "Theotokos." I will write one thing only for now. A good Catholic friend who has four older brothers, all of whom are master plumbers, said to me recently "My brothers always remind me that, whenever a man is dying in the trenches in war or in a fire – whatever, they will always grab their rosary, because they want their Mother near them when the going gets tough." I myself have a great devotion to the Blessed Mother, have most of my adult life. I can only explain that it is through Mary that I am always pointed to Jesus, her Son.

  • Warren Jewell

    EPG, have we given life to the love of Mary among Catholics? We will never adore her, but we will love her like we do her Son. And, we will beg her to be like our Mom, too. Oh, that love between sinless mother and divine and human Son, perfect love as earth has witnessed it. In Mary, through Christ's own Incarnation through her as His vessel, His first ciborium, His first tabernacle, Christ has given her the very Queenship of His Kingdom.Finally, I offer, Hail Holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope . . . be ever with your children, God's children. We can get lost without your tender motherly hand for us. And, O holy Mother of God, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary, pray for us.

  • Erin

    A few years ago, I considered leaving the Catholic Church and converting to another Christian denomination. I was struggling to reconcile the Church's "political" stances on many issues with Jesus' teachings. Being Catholic without agreeing with Church teaching seemed hypocritical to me, so I ended my involvement with the Church until I could fully understand and stand up for its teachings. Eventually, I was ready to convert, but Mary's absence in other Christian faiths was a huge problem for me. As a woman, I found it hard to relate to Jesus and God. They were sort of unapproachable, like Warren said. So I prayed to Mary. I worried that I was starting to replace devotion to God with devotion to Mary. I probably did, but I guess praying to Mary is better than not praying at all. In the end, after a lot of prayer and discernment, she pointed me back to the Catholic Church and, of course, her Son. I guess you could say Mary is one of the primary reasons "YIM Catholic." :)

  • Allison Salerno

    @EPG and everyone else: Check this out;=PlayList&p;=83B7F766A2F90321&playnext;=1&playnext;_from=PL&index;=5

  • Frank

    EPG, I sat in the pews for 18 years before becoming a Catholic. I never noticed a strange, overweening infatuation with Mary that you may fear. Not from the Liturgy either. This should not be a stumbling block to you brother. In RCIA, I learned there are 4 Marian dogmas that Catholics must believe. I believe them all. If a 5th comes along, so be it.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I think everyone has said most of what there is to be said :). Still, I thought I would add my experience. I've been Catholic since the day I was born, so Mother Mary has been part of my life. But until some time ago, I must say I couldn't relate to her. At the time, I found her 'too perfect'. I could say I felt a bit 'intimidated' by her holiness against my sinfulness. (I can't even believe this now!)But I knew there was something wrong with that thinking, so I asked for help to understand her and become closer to her. Now, I really love her and in times of greatest difficulty, I speed to her. Jesus is my first and only love and God. But she is the one I lean on when things get REALLY desperate. I also believe that if you are sincere in your seeking, Mary will always, always lead you to Jesus and nowhere else. Rose

  • EPG

    Many thanks to all for your responses — Mark Scott Abeln's comment was particularly helpful: "The 'co-' in co-redemptrix means 'with', and not 'another'; this title should be understood in its Latin sense, and not English sense. Mary is and was 'with' the Redeemer, all of the way to the Cross and beyond."However, I'd have to add that the "co-," when used in English, leads to confusion, as it implies equality. And the author of the website I came across (a former Episcopal priest) and some of the broadcasts from the radio program to which I referred, can give the wrong impression.

  • Patrick

    Webster wrote:"When I first started coming to daily Mass, I didn’t have much feeling for Jesus. Who was he exactly? I thought only of God—like a good Unitarian, I suppose!"I was the same way. I always had a deep belief in God, but who was Jesus? How did he fit in. I was, however, drawn to Mary. I now pray the rosary frequently, and find it an amazing and powerful way to meditate on and learn about the life of Jesus, our savior. Mary has helped me and is helping me to develop a personal relationship with Jesus, which is what I lacked before. Although I am endeavoring to learn more about my faith every day, I've realized you don't have to be a theologian. Just start praying.

  • Shane

    I can't add a whole to the points raised above but I wanted to give an example of the explanation of the relationship of Mary to her Divine Son which I have come across here in Uganda. There was a tradition amongst the Baganda people where the Queen Mother had a lot of influence at the court of the Kabaka (King), much more so than the Queen. Often if you came to petition the Kabaka, the advise was to visit the home of the Queen Mother first to get her support to intercede for you. Generally her home was set apart from the main compound of the Kabaka but within the defensive perimeter and you would call to her before entering the main court. When the European missionaries arrived, they took the analogy of the Queen Mother and applied it to Mary, as in when you approach the Divine King, you should first seek the intercession of the Queen Mother of Heaven. It also led to the tradition that beside every parish church where the Divine King was present in the Blessed Sacrament, a Lady Chapel (house of Our Lady) was constructed so you could call to petition the Queen Mother for her intercession. It is a simple idea in some ways which has lead to a great devotion to Mother Mary but for me has helped to explain the relationship. As a cradle Irish Catholic, I have had my own issues with what I have seen as excessive Marian devotion (especially amongst Irish people the numbers who travel on pilgrimages every year to Lourdes, Fatima, Knock and Medjugorje is extremely high)and this simple analogy has helped in the process of understanding the relationship. Sometimes it is easier to start with a smaller idea before trying to grapple with the bigger theological ideas. But as Mark Scott said the idea behind the Marian teachings are to point beyond Mary to Christ as God-Man. I prefer the title of Theotokas for Mary above others especially as we share it in communion with our Eastern Brethern from the Council of Ephesus (431 AD).

  • Duane

    The key in all of this is whether Marian devotion brings one closer to Christ and in communion with His church. For many the answer is "yes" but I see how this devotion is off-putting to protestants.There is an old saying that I like about this: "A fool stares at a pointing finger." Our devotion to things on the periphery of Jesus (the Church, Mary, the Bible, etc) can draw us near, but if we gaze too intently on them we can fail to illuminate the savior.Because of this the protestant is want to declare "only Jesus!" but this comes at a cost too. Mary *can* draw you closer to Jesus and has done so for many over the centuries. In all things, temperance.

  • UrbanRevival

    No need to worry about going "overboard" with adoration for the Blessed Mother. She would never allow us to put herself before her Son. Every time we go to her she points us directly to Him.If Jesus is the narrow door through which only a few shall pass, then Mary as Mother of all, is the wide back door, with a vast and forgiving apron to cover our faults and advocate for us. That is IF we pray to her and honor her role as Mother and Queen.Ever heard the phrase "ain't mama happy, ain't no body happy!" Somehow I think it might apply! :)Read St. Louis de Montfort's books on the Rosary. He pretty much clarifies it.And remember: without Mary's YES, we will never have known God.

  • newguy40

    The rosary is my weapon." "Our Lady has never refused me a grace through the recitation of the rosary." "Love the Blessed Mother and make her loved. Always recite the rosary."–St. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina"let me but put the Rosary around the neck of a sinner and he shall not escape me"St. DominicWhen I returned to the faith, my first prayer efforts were (and remain) the rosary. I am absolutely convinced that she led me back to her Son."To Jesus Thru Mary" For me, Marian devotion has been just that simple.A previous poster hit the nail on the head when he said that Mary would never allow herself to take the place of her Son in our prayers and love for Him. In humility, her entire existence was focused on her Son, Our Lord. Trust the words of Padre Pio.

  • D’artagnan

    I usually respond to the Mary question with a question of my own "If Mary wasn't to have a special purpose beyond giving birth and raising our Lord, then wouldn't it have been cruel for Christ to make His mother watch His Crucifixion?"

  • Peggy

    Mary has been instrumental in my life and in coming back to the Church. At three weeks old, my mom took me to St. Mary's school to pick up my 7 year old brother. His teacher, Sr. Boniface, snatched me from my mom and took me to the convent. She laid me on the altar of the Blessed Mother and devoted me to her. Two years ago, I was in DC visiting my parents for Easter. On Tridium Saturday afternoon, I told my mom that i thought God had abandoned me since I was going through some difficult times. She was shocked! That night we atteneded the Easter Vigil Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We got there early to get good seats. I took sometime before Mass started to visit the undergound of the Shrine where all the Marian Shrines built in honor of various nations are located. At a large stature of a young Mary I light a votive and said a prayer. I went up to sit with my Mom in the Shrine and she told me that we had been picked to bring the Gifts up for the offatory! Now this is a huge Mass with a couple of hundred people. I told my Mom of my votive prayer and told her, 'that is sign that God is with me and he wanted me to participate in that Mass!I recently had a dream that I was walking through a hallway to a door. I hesitated before I went throught the door and turned around and nearly ran into a full size statue of Mary. It wasn't there when I went through the hallway prior. I interpreted it as 'you are not alone and do not be afraid to go through that door'.I am getting married this summer and my fiancee (currently in RCIA )choose Saturday 8/14 for the Assumption Vigil Mass to get married. It is my way of thanking her for seeing me through and back to Jesus and assisting me in my Faith.

  • Peggy

    Sorry about the double post. Had a time of it getting it post. One more note godfather was a special forces general. He was a convert and carried a rosary everyday, especially in combat. He died in his sleep peacefully three years ago. I think about the promises of Mary for various devotions, such as the First Satruday and First Friday Masses. One them mentions a peacefull passing and her being with you when you die.

  • Anonymous

    A cradle Catholic, I have always honored Mary, not only as the earthly Mother of Christ, but as an example of obedience to God. Imagine God asking any one of us to do what He asked of Mary. Her faith and obedience to God – Mary's 'yes', changed everything. Imagine what our world would look like today if each of us, in whatever way we could manage, could muster a 'yes' to God in even one act a day. Mary directs our attention not to her but to God, I have always understood this.

  • Anonymous

    It is confusing to refer to Mary as co-redeemer whether in an absolute or relative sense. Simply put: Mary is the greatest of all saints and should be honored as the Mother of God for after all she was honored by God above all women by the fact that he chose her to be the mother of Christ, the second person of the one triune God. We certainly should do the same and honor her as well. Her role is to point us towards her son. Remember that Mary herself said upon her visit to her cousin Elizabeth that for henseforth "all nations will call me blessed" because of her role as the mother of Christ. Indeed, she is blessed and Catholics hold her in high esteem for that, but it is not right to create roles for her that God himself has not given her.