Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why Go To Mary?

Marian devotion takes on a higher profile in May (May crownings, Marian additional prayers, etc.), which means Catholics are often asked to explain their love for Mary. So let’s be ready to answer perhaps the most common form of this question: Why go to Mary instead of going straight to Jesus?

I want to propose three reasons. But even before that, we must amend the question. It’s generally phrased as “why go to Mary,” but as Catholics we don’t merely go to Mary. With go through Mary (or with Mary) to Jesus. And we certainly never go to Mary instead of Jesus! Even if our prayers only explicitly address Our Lady, they always implicitly address Our Lord, who is the source of Mary’s power and holiness. That clarified, now we can discuss why we go through Mary.

“Therefore be imitators of God” (Eph 5:1a)

We’re called to imitate God, and so we go through Mary because He did. God gave us Jesus through Mary…He chose her to be the mediator of the One Mediator. And therefore we ought to love and acknowledge both the mediator and the Mediator. In other words, just as God thought it right to give us Jesus through Mary, so we ought to go back to Jesus through Mary. Mary always leads to Jesus (just ask Elizabeth and John, cf. Lk 1:39-45).

Mama’s Boy?

Jesus chose Mary to be His mother, created her without original sin, and lived with her for thirty of His thirty-three years, so you can bet He loved His mother! And again, since we’re called to imitate Jesus, we must love His mother too. To love Mary is Christ-like.

Sometimes people get nervous about loving Mary, as though if they love her there will be less love for Jesus. But not only is that not how love works, it’s also not something we have to be concerned about. Since Jesus loves Mary infinitely, and we’re called to love Mary like Jesus, we can never love Mary enough or too much. We can never love her more than Jesus did, so we don’t have to hold back love out of fear of offending Him. What good son wouldn’t want those he loves to love his mother?

Heavenly Aid

Scripture urges us to pray for others (1 Tim 2:1). Why? Because we’re all part of the human family and, frankly, because we all need the help and grace prayers bring! We know that “the prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects” (Jas 5:6), so we should especially want good, holy people interceding for us. Now if Scripture specifically commands we pray for each other, and the holier the person praying the more powerful the grace, why would we want to dismiss the intercession of the holiest creature ever? I need all the help I can get, so there’s no way I’m not invoking the prayer of such a righteous woman!

Furthermore, there has never been a human heart more conformed to Jesus’ than Mary’s, so who better to help us conform our hearts to His? Mary is the most perfect disciple of Christ in human history, and as such, she desperately desires to help us become better disciples of her beloved Son! Her life has always been about loving God and bringing others to Him, and that hasn’t changed now that she’s in Heaven. So let her lead you closer to Jesus in this month of May and beyond!

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