Some people think it is wrong to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray for us. When catholic pray, we hear prayers like “Holy Mary pray for us”, “Holy Mother of God intercede for us” etc. Sometimes many people who are not of the catholic fold have tried to criticise this. Their reason is that we have our Lord Jesus Christ as the mediator.
Even many Catholics wander into confusion, and some do not say their rosary. Though they are Catholics, but for them, telling the Blessed Mother to pray for us is erroneous. I have taken time to write this.
This is not actually because I was taught to pray through her intercession but because I have gone through the bible and also experienced her powerful intercession and have decided to let people know that asking Mother Mary to pray for us is highly biblical and very efficacious. Only those who have experienced this gift given to us by God would explain better. Take time and read through these top ten reasons.
1. There is a difference between divine worship and honour given to people we respect. Many people think that both are the same, and this is why they commit errors. In Daniel 2:46, for example, Nebuchadnezzar fell and worshipped Daniel. Daniel did not correct him because he understands that this is a form of respect from the king.
Divine worship is given to God alone, and it is to Him that all prayers go to, either through us or the saints. Honour and respect can be given to anyone, even to human beings and people we deem to be of high status in the spiritual, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, the saints and the angels.
The Catholic Church has not come out one day and told her followers to worship Mary as God. All the words of the Holy Mass, which is the greatest sacrifice is offered to God. So in the Church, these forms of worship and honour are grouped into three: latria, hyperdulia and dulia.
2. St. Augustine while explaining this says: “what is properly divine worship, the Greek calls Latria, and for which there is no word in Latin both in doctrine and in practice; we give only to God”.
According to St. Augustine, we never offer or request anyone to offer sacrifice to a martyr, any Holy Soul or an angel. Anyone falling into this error is instructed either in the way of correction or of caution, for holy beings themselves, whether saints or angels refuse to accept any worship meant for God alone. (Reply to Faustus the Manichaean).
The Church has not anyway substituted divine worship or even the Eucharistic sacrifice to be offered to angels or the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every divine worship and sacrifice in the Church, we give to God alone. So, this worship that is due to God alone, we call latria. This is in keeping to the demands of Exodus 20:1-5.
Hyperdulia is then the honour and respect we accord to the Blessed Virgin Mary for what she is. It is not in any way wrong when people who said they are close to Jesus do this. In Luke 1:48, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother Mary refers to this honour and respect that all generations on earth have to give to her.
Dulia is the honour and respect given to God through His holy saints and angels. It is not erroneous to give honour to whom honour is due. It is also an honour to ask someone who we think is closer to God more than we are to help us in our request. In Romans 13:7, Paul writes “Give to everyone what you think you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; then if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.
3. No spiritual being would allow the form of worship that is due to God to be given to her or him. In Revelation 19:10, John recounts how he fell at the feet of an angel to worship Him like the way the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures did in verse 4 of the same chapter, but the angel stopped him from doing that. How then can the humble mother of God allow it?
Even God would not allow such. To become like God in power and majesty led to the fall of Adam and Eve ( In Genesis 3:5, the serpent told Eve that God knows that when they eat from the tree, their eyes will be opened, and they will be like God). The fall of Lucifer also is because He wanted to ascend His throne above God ( Isaiah 14:12-13). I think the Blessed Mother Mary would have fallen if God does not in any way permit our prayers through her. The truth here is that the humble blessed mother would not accept if seeking her intercession is wrong.
4. The act of honouring Mary is also in keeping to the 4th commandment to honour our mother and father (Exodus 20:12). If we can honour our earthly parents, don’t we think that God would command the same respect for the mother of His Son. Those who dishonour Mary forget that they also go against the 4th commandment.
5. The truth here is that there is no single place in the bible that tells us not to pray to Mary for help. But some places suggest that we can do that.
In John 2, Her intercession led to the first miracle of Jesus. In Luke 1:48, She sings that henceforth all generations shall be calling her Blessed. Then, in Revelation 5:8, we saw the four living creatures and twenty-four elders offering the prayers of God’s people to God. Then how much more the mother of God.
In Revelation 8:4, we saw how the prayers of the saints are rising like incense, and Mother Mary is also a saint. In James 5:16, the bible says that the prayers of the righteous are availeth much. That means their prayers are highly effective. Is then mother Mary not among the righteous?
6. Jesus is omniscient. He is all-knowing God. In Mathew 12:25, 22:18, Mark 2:8, Luke 6:8 etc, Jesus read the hearts of men. He even knew that Judas would betray Him and in Mathew 26:21, He told His apostles “One of you would betray me”.
At the wedding at Cana, the omniscient nature of Jesus did not disappear. He would have known that the wine has finished and of course, He was present and would have acted immediately. But Jesus allowed His mother to do her work as a way of letting the world know the intercessory power of this woman.
At the wedding at Cana, Jesus reveals to the world three things: 1. The intercessory power of Mary His mother, that though His time has not yet come, He was willing to do it for her
2. He respects His mother so much to the extent, He cannot refuse whatever she asks.
3. That whatever that comes through His mother is always the best. That best wine at Cana was the result of her intercession. But many people are yet to know the intercessory power of this woman.
So we ask Mary to pray for us not because she is God nor because she is dragging the mediatory role with Jesus, No. But that she would make our requests easier and bring our needs to Jesus just as she did for the wedding couple.
7. The truth here is that Jesus is not envious nor drags His glory with His mother or anyone, rather He is willing to share His glory with them.
Some people use Acts 4;12 which says that Jesus is the name by which we shall be saved and 1 Timothy 2:5 which says that there is only one mediator between God and man, Christ. Nobody doubts that. But we do not have to forget that the same Jesus gives His apostles authority to work in His name.
In John 17:22, He says “the glory you have given me, I have given unto them”. So Jesus is not dragging His glory with anyone even with His mother. He ready to share His glory.
At the foot of the cross, He eventually handed His disciples to His mother and His mother to His disciples, when He said “woman behold your son and then son behold your mother.
In literal expression, we can say, “son see your mother here” (John 19:25-27). Here, Jesus is telling us “see your mother here”. This is the reason any act of dishonour to her is not only an act of disobedience to Jesus but an act against the 4th commandment.
8. We often hear people say that the Blessed Mother Mary is dead and as such has nothing to do with the living. This is erroneous. There is nowhere on earth we know as the tomb of Mary, for instance. Otherwise, both Christians, Muslims and Protestants will always go there for their annual pilgrimage, a sign that she was truly assumed into heaven.
Secondly, bodily death is not the death of the soul. In Revelation 7, John saw a multitude of saints and martyrs, who underwent trials and even killed in this world. The angel revealed to him that they are those who washed in the blood of the lamb. Verse 15 says that they are now in the throne of God, serving Him, day and night. So, because they died in this world is not a reason to say that they are dead.
In John 11:25, Jesus tells Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life, whoever believes in me though he dies will always live. In John 3:5 and John 6:47, Jesus says that whoever believes in Him must have eternal life.
Wisdom 3:1-9 says that the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, in the eyes of the foolish, they are dead, but they are at peace with God. Verse 8 says these righteous ones will govern nations and rule over the people, and the Lord would reign over them.
Revelation 22: 5, says they will also reign forever. This is the glory that God grants to His righteous ones. Then we can imagine the honour God would accord to the Blessed Mother.
Being the mother of Jesus, He is still close to His mother. Jesus would not abandon the woman He loves so much. And if Mary is still alive and very close to her son, she would also be accorded this glory even to a greater degree. We can then imagine how powerful her intercession would be.
9. Do not forget that we can tell people also to pray for us. In Job 42, God instructed Eliphaz to go to Job that He may pray for Him. James 5:16 admonishes Christians to pray for one another. Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1 admonishes that prayers and supplication be made for all people. The point here is that, if we can ask people to pray for us and hence the Blessed Virgin Mary is still alive and very close to Her son, there is nothing wrong to request for her intercession.
Historically, extra-biblical sources affirm that devotion to Mary is as old as Christianity itself. Even Martin Luther was an ardent devotee to Mary. You can read most of His beautiful quotations on the Blessed Virgin Mary here. It was his followers who began the confusion.
10. The prayers we use in praying the rosary has a very strong biblical background. One thing we do not know is that the recitation of sacred words is very powerful.
The words of the “hail mary” are highly sacred and hence very powerful. These words are actual words from God and the Holy Spirit. The Angel Gabriel greeted Mary with “Hail Mary full of grace; the Lord is with You, blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:28). This forms part of the Hail Mary that we pray.
The angel is only a messenger of God and hence greets her with the title God reveals to him to say of Mary. Then in Luke 1:42, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth says “Blessed are you among women (which is also part of the angel’s greetings) and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”, which constitute also the first part of the Hail Mary.
The second part of the Hail Mary, which says “Holy Mary mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death” is added by the Church.
Remember that in Matthew 18:18, Jesus says to the Church “Verily I tell you, whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”.
So, the Church acts through the authority and power granted to her by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, if the words of the Hail Mary comes from the Church, it still has a divine origin.
When we go through the lives of the saints and many great popes, we would observe that almost all of them are ardent devotees to the Blessed mother Mary. It is not wrong to ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray for us. Let us always run to her for help. May the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for us. Amen.
Written by Fr. Chrysantus Okechukwu Ugwoegbu (Sanctus Mario) and published first at www.sanctusmario.com. You can use the share button if you want to share to educate others. God bless you.