Faith/Spirituality Forum: Why Mary ???
Why Mary ??? QUESTION from William Alexander on September 28, 2002 Hi ! I have a few questions regarding Mary and the Saints.
1. Why Mary ? Why do we ask for her intercession and not others, lets say, Peter or Paul ? After all, Peter and Paul did a lot for the church too, right ? What makes her prayer more 'powerful' than those of others ? Surely it cannot be because she is Jesus's Mother and Jesus has to listen to her??!
2. Do you think that by paying so much attention to Mary, we are paying less attention to Jesus ? Sometimes, when I look at my fellow Catholics, I see that they are thinking more about Mary than Jesus. My protestant friend pointed that out too. I understand that we ask for her prayers, but shouldn't we pay more attention and pray more to Jesus than Mary ?
3. Are devotions and prayers to Mary and the Saints optional ( other than the Hail Mary which is needed as penance )? Can I pray to Jesus and to Jesus only in my daily life ?
4. What is the concept of Patron Saints ? Do some saints have an area of 'speciality' in which their prayers are 'more effective'?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on September 30, 2002 Dear Mr. Alexander:
1)------------ Surely IT IS because Mary is the mother of Jesus. She is the Queen Mother and has a special relationship with her son that others do not have -- just as you do with your mother. Also the concept of the Queen Mother is hard to understand for Americans in the 21st century, but it is an ancient concept that goes as far back as one can go. Bathsheba was the Queen Mother to Solomon the King and the Bible shows us she had particular intercession with him. Bathsheba is the prototype and forerunner of the Queen Mother in Mary.
But you are mistaken to think that it is ONLY MARY. We may ask for the intercessions of any Saint. Sts. Peter and Paul are patrond of my community. We pray to them all the time.
The Catholic Mass included prayers to Peter and Paul all the time and to a whole litany of saints. It is not just Mary.
2)------------- No. The Bible says that Mary will be honored above ALL women. When we honor Mary, we honor God just like when your child is honored by someone, you are honored too.
If one's devotion to Mary remains balanced there is no danger of focusing too much on her. Mary ALWAYS points to Jesus, not to herself. The closer we get to Mary the closer we get to Jesus. And Jesus is pleased that we honor his mother for we honor her NOT for herself, but BECAUSE she is the Ark of the New Covenant -- Jesus.
3)---------------- In one's pesonal like devotion to the saints, prayers to the saints is totally optiional. Now, in the Mass you will be praying to the saints whether you like it or not because those prayers are included in the Mass. But personally you do not have to pray any prayers to saints and you also do not have to pray a rosary -- (unless that is your penance from Confession).
The Rosary is not my favorite prayer. I focus more on the Divine Office.
But the Bible tells us that WE ARE to be involved in intercessory prayer. This we cannot just be totally alone with Jesus and Me. There is no evidence anywhere in the Bible of the Jesus and Me concept. We are a FAMILY and we need to care for each other and pray for each other. While you can pray directly to Jesus, Jesus WANTS YOU to ask other people to pray for you. If you ask me to pray for you, then for that intention, you are not praying directly to Jesus, but I am praying on your behalf. This is intercessory prayer. That is what prayers to the saints is -- no different than me asking you to pray for me. This is the way God wants us to live.
4)----------- Yes, God has ordained certain saints to be specialist I guess you can say. God is a God of order. To have patron saints provides order in that a singular patron can be the focus for a particular issue.
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