Sunday, October 8, 2017
Oct 5, 2017
Over the last 69 years I have seen many beautiful images of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. I clearly remember the very plain ivory statue at my parish in Batavia, St. Mary’s. In recent years I have sat in front of our beautiful wood carved statue in our Chapel, the image of Mary caressing the baby Jesus in her arms. There is also the statue of Mary at Sacred Heart Cathedral which portrays a youthful Mary which I find inspirational.
As you may know the months of May and October are times our Church calls special attention to Mary, Our Blessed Mother. With this in mind I offer these thoughts for your reflection.
Why do Catholics pray to Mary?
There is a saying among some Catholics, "To Jesus, through Mary." This does not mean, "To Mary, through Jesus." Nor does it mean, "To Jesus and to Mary." The saying simple affirms that Catholics do not pray "to" Mary as an equal to God. They pray "through" Mary as an intercessor who prays to God on behalf of humankind. If Catholics were to pray to Mary, this would imply that they are worshiping her as a god, which she is not. We honor her as the Blessed Virgin Mary, we accept her as the holiest of all the Saints and believe she is successful in obtaining God’s favor.
Does the Bible support our belief to call upon Mary to intercede to God on their behalf?
There is no absolute statement that says Mary intercedes for us, but there are many Scripture quotes which certainly allows us to know she has holds a special place with God. Interestingly much of this belief is based in the Old Testament.
First, Catholics recognize the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God as the birth mother of the humanity of Jesus as stated in Colossians 1:19,2.9 "the fullness of the deity (God) was pleased to dwell bodily".
Secondly, Mary, in Luke 1:30, was "favored by God" when she was personally chosen by the Lord to become the mother of Jesus, God incarnated.
Thirdly, the above beliefs are partially based on the fact that Jesus is the King of kings and Mary, as the mother of the King, is the "queen mother." Jewish history tells the institution of the "queen mother" was established during the reign of King Solomon.
In the Old Testament, we learn of the favored position of the queen mother through the following words, "... then the king sat on his throne, and had a throne brought for the king's mother, and she sat on his right. Then she said, 'I have one small request to make of you, do not refuse me.' And the king said to her, 'Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you.'" [1 Kgs. 2:19-20]. Following the reign of King Solomon, many of the kings kept this practice. The mother of the king, through who the king received his throne, was trusted as a confident and advisor. So important was the function of the queen mothers is mentioned in the following places: 1 Kings 14:21, 15:13; 2 Kgs. 12:1, 14:2, 15:2.
In our own life, as a child, we may desire a favor and cannot obtain it from our parents, frequently we may make the request to our grandparents to intercede on our behalf. This does not mean that the child is seeking the parental favor from the grandparent. Rather, the child is seeking the intercession of the grandparents before the parents.
We cannot deny that those who were called to Heaven, including Mary, are still alive in spirit in the Kingdom of God that coexists with our world. If in fact we believe this we should be in conversation, that is in prayer, with them. All generations have called the Blessed Virgin Mary blessed, including this generation, because she has never stopped interceding on behalf of the world, including cures and other favors. Cures and other favor documented in many sites around the world, such as Lourdes, France. Lots more can and should be said about Mary, but perhaps another time, happy October.
Let us continue to pray for peace and for the end of terrorism in our world!
In peace and courage,