Do Catholics worship Mary? This is an issue that is often misunderstood even among Catholics. This short video clip taken from the Symbolon Series, produced by the Augustine Institute, offers beautiful insight into why Catholics hold Mary in such high regard.
The historical background discussing why we give Mary the title of Queen is certainly helpful information to know. (This seems to be true for most Catholic teaching; our faith offers an explanation for everything we believe that is rooted in biblical and historical tradition.)
Catholics do not worship Mary. We honor her and esteem her because she is the Mother of God. As the Ten Commandments state, we only have one God whom we worship, adore, and glorify. We also do not pray to Mary. We ask for her intercession and for her to take our petitions to the Father (just as the video mentioned the Queens of old did). Below are 10 quotes from Holy men and women of the faith that clarify the way we view Mary.
1. “We never give more honor to Jesus than when we honor his Mother, and we honor her simply and solely to honor him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.” – Saint Louis Marie de Montfort.
2. “God, who made the sun, also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. The moon would only be a burnt-out cinder floating in the immensity of space were it not for the sun. All its light is reflected from the sun. The Blessed Mother reflects her Divine Son: without Him she is nothing. With Him she is the Mother of Men. On dark nights we are grateful for the moon; when we see it shining, we know there must be a sun. So in this dark night of the world, when men turn their backs on Him Who is the Light of the World, we look to Mary to guide their feet.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
3. “Mary points to Jesus,” he said. “She asks us to bear witness to Jesus, she constantly guides us to her son Jesus, because in him alone do we find salvation. He alone can change the water of our loneliness, difficulties and sin into the wine of encounter, joy and forgiveness. He alone.” – Pope Francis.
4. “Woe to those who despise devotion to Mary! . . . The soul cannot live without having recourse to Mary and recommending itself to her. He falls and is lost who does not have recourse to Mary.” – Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori, Doctor of the Church and Founder of the Redemptorists.
5. “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.” – Saint Maximilian Kolbe.
6. “Mary’s greatness consists in the fact that she wants to magnify God, not herself.” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
7. “The world being unworthy to receive the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, he gave his Son to Mary for the world to receive him from her.” – Saint Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church.
8. ” As mariers are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary”. – Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church.
9. “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. 516 The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary”. – Catechism of the Catholic Church 971.
10. “To give worthy praise to the Lord’s mercy, we unite ourselves with Your Immaculate Mother, for then our hymn will be more pleasing to You, because She is chosen from among men and angels. Through Her, as through a pure crystal, Your mercy was passed on to us. Through Her, man became pleasing to God; Through Her, streams of grace flowed down upon us.” – St. Faustina.
Read the words of wisdom from the Saints and allow them to resound in your heart. Understanding Mary’s role is crucial to our spiritual growth. As Catholics, we have been given a gift through Mary. She is near us to help us and encourage as she points us towards her Son. Accept this gift with open arms from our Heavenly Father as our Saints and spiritual leaders so strongly encourage us to do.
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you amongst women and blessed is the Fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
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