December 11, 2012

Why Do Catholics Worship Mary?

"Why do Catholics worship Mary?"  That is a question that most Catholics will be asked, as many people have this misconception.  However, Catholics do not worship Mary, and they also do not pray to Mary.  

Let's take a look at the Hail Mary.

"Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with you."

This first part comes from the Angel Gabriel's words when he came to speak to Mary. "And coming to her, he said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you' " (Luke 1:28).

"Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus."

This part comes from the words of Elizabeth when Mary went to visit her.  Luke 1:41-42 says, "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Most blessed are you among women, and how blessed is the fruit of your womb.' " Mary is indeed very blessed, and we should recognize that.  Mary herself said in Luke 1:46-49, " 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessedThe Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name." 

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now, and in the hour of our death.
Amen.

When we say this last part, we are simply asking Mary for prayers, not praying to her.  We do not pray to Mary believing that she is the one who will cause something to happen.  That would be idolatry.  However, we do ask for her intercession, just like we would ask a friend, priest, or church member to pray for us.  I have not yet done an in depth study on Revelation (we should be doing one at church soon), but there seems to be evidence that people do worship and pray in heaven. 

Finally, Mary was the first one who accepted Jesus as her savior.  She is also a beautiful example for women in the way she completely submitted herself to God's will: " 'Behold, I am the handimaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (in Luke 1:38).  That is an incredible attitude, and we should all strive to have that mindset and be more like Mary. 

So no, Catholics do not worship Mary.  We adore her and admire her as the Blessed Mother of the Lord.  As a woman in our Bible study said, Mary does not take away from Jesus - she points to Jesus.  Our priest made a great point at the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  He said that that we all love and adore our mothers, and it makes us happy to see other people who love our moms and say good things about them.  Wouldn't Jesus also love seeing people admire and appreciate his mother? 

Love,
Caitlin 


18 comments:

  1. This is beautiful! Thanks for the great post to start my day :)

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  2. I love getting to explain this to my students (many of whom are not Catholic even being a Catholic high school). There are so many misguided, preconceived notions about our Blessed Mother and Catholics' relationship to her. It's great pointing out the difference between worship and veneration. "If we worshipped Mary we'd be committing idolatry." That always throws the kids for a loop! Great post, Caitlin.

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    1. Thanks Martha! There are definitely a lot of misconceptions! It's so interesting to hear what people think we believe.

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  3. I agree 100% Caitlin! I just listened to a Lighthouse Catholic Media about praying the rosary. It was called "Praying the Rosary Like Never Before" by Dr. Edward Sri. It was really good!

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    1. I need to check that out! We read one of his books for a Bible study and it was SO good!

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  4. Awesome post!! Whenever I am defending my faith when people throw the "Catholics worship Mary" accusation, I always use The Hail Mary to explain it as well!!!! I always let the person see that the first part of the prayer is straight from the bible, and the second part is just asking Mary FOR prayers, since she is our heavenly Mother...and that this is equivalent of asking your own earthly mother or even your friends for prayer....nothing more nothing less. :-)

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  5. I also explain that we do not worship her, we HONOR her....it is one of the 10 commandments to honor your Father and MOTHER...thus we are honoring our heavenly mother just like we would our earthly mother.

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  6. Beautiful!! Thank you! As an Episcopalian I know we share a lot of similarities and have always wondered about that. Thank you for your explanation!

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    1. I am so glad this was helpful!! :) Have a great week Amanda!

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  7. What a simple, yet beautiful way of explaining the topic. I love me some mama Mary!

    Andrea

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  9. Came across your blog from the Blog Working Link up. I am so glad I did. I just had my Pre Cana class and its revived my faith.

    This is such a great way to explain that we do not worship Mary, we honor her! I can't wait to read more!

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    1. That is so wonderful that you have revived your faith! And congratulations on your engagement! :)

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  10. good explaination- I never really understood this before- thanks! visiting via the blog hop! I have a giveaway on my blog in case you'd like to enter!

    Lindsey
    http://thriftandshout.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm so glad it helped! :) Thanks for letting me know about the giveaway!

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  11. I love this post Caitlin! I was explaining this just the other day to someone. It seems so natural to me, but not to so many people who didn't grow up in the faith. Thanks for sharing the break down of the Hail Mary too:)

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