Catholics and Mary
Have a look at page 51 of the book “How to Survive being Married to a Catholic”.
Here’s what it says about praying to Mary.
Why do Catholics pray to the mother of Jesus? Why can’t they pray directly to God?
Catholics can, and do, pray directly to God. They also address prayers to Mary, the mother of Jesus. But they do not pray to Mary in the same way that they pray to God. Prayer to God is worship, and worship can be offered to God alone. Catholics do not worship Mary. When they address her in prayer it is to ask her to pray to Jesus for them. There’s nothing unusual about that. We often ask our relatives or friends to pray for us. Catholics, believe that, because of her special relationship to Jesus and the part she played in cooperating with God to make our salvation possible, Mary’s intercession is particularly valuable.
At the marriage feast at Cana (narrated in the second chapter of John’s Gospel) it was Mary who told Jesus, “They have no wine.” And this prompted Jesus to work his first miracle. In the same way, Catholics ask her to make their needs known to Jesus.
Catholics look upon Mary as their spiritual mother, but the honour they show her does not arise from her own merits but from the special relationship she has with Jesus, her son.
I think this book presents this really well.
Mary in the bible
References to Mary by name taken from Young’s Analytical Concordance
There are other references to the “mother of Jesus” which are found in;
Matthew 12: 46, Mark 3: 31, Luke 8: 20, John 19: 25-27
There is an oblique reference in; Luke 11: 27-28, where Jesus seems to be both drawing attention away from his mother, in a protective way, and blessing her at the same time.
The references to Mary by name take us through the Annunciation, the visitation, the birth of Jesus, the presentation, the early ministry of Jesus and with the apostles in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.
The references to Mary as mother of Jesus show her at the wedding feast in Cana, in Galilee and then in Jerusalem at the crucifixion.
Overall these references show that where Jesus is, Mary is often nearby.
Title – Mary, Mother of God
Catechism of the Catholic Church
ccc495 – Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus,” Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother mf my Lord.” In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became he Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).
The Visitation – Luke 1: 39-45
Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, “Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
So the title Mother of God is scriptural.
The prayer “Hail Mary” is scriptural drawing on the words of the angel Gabriel at the annunciation (Luke 1: 26-38) and of Elizabeth at the visitation (Luke 1: 39-45).
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art though among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
I can remember having a conversation with a non-Catholic Christian in college that went something like this;
Him – How can Mary be the Mother of God?
Me – Are you saying that Jesus isn’t the Son of God?
Him – No, of course not. I’m just saying how can Mary be the Mother of God?
Me – Mary is Jesus’s Mother – right.
Him – Yes
Me – Jesus is the Son of God – right.
Him – Yes
Me – So Mary is the Mother of Jesus who is the Son of God.
Him – Yes
Me – So Mary is the Mother of God.
Him – (after a pause) Mary is the earthly mother of Jesus.
Me – Now you’ve just added an adjective.
Him – Words are important,
Me – In acknowledging Mary as the Mother of God, I an acknowledging
Jesus as Lord. I sure you wouldn’t want me to be denying Christ.
And so on….. We didn’t particularly agree but I think I got a concession.
Mary given to the Church, given to us
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, Woman this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother”. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.
From the Gospel of John 19: 25-27.
I’ve always found John’s description of himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” a bit hard to take. Is John claiming a position for himself which is above the other apostles? No, we know that Jesus loves all his disciples and John uses this as a device to put us right there as these events are taking place. So, at the cross Mary is given to us and we are given to Mary, our Mother.
Hail Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promise of Christ.
O God, whose only begotten Son, by his life, death and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant we beseech thee, that meditating on these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may both imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
And there’s more……..
966 “Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”506 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:
In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.507
. . . she is our Mother in the order of grace
967 By her complete adherence to the Father’s will, to his Son’s redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church’s model of faith and charity. Thus she is a “preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus)508 of the Church.
968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. “In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.”509
969 “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”510
506 LG 59; cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950): DS 3903; cf. ⇒ Rev 19:16.
507 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition, August 15th.
508 LG 53; 63.
509 LG 61.
510 LG 62.
Note: LG – Vatican 2 document “Lumen Gentium”
 How to Survive being Married to a Catholic, Redemptorist Publications, 1986 & 2007, p51
 Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 1989, p647
Sorting out the Marys
Here is the full list of bible references for all those Marys of the New Testament from Young’s Analytical Concordance.
Mary, the mother of Jesus
Mary, mother of James and Joses, the apostles
Mary, the wife of Clopas
Mary, sister of Martha in Bethany
Mary, mother of John Mark, nephew of Barnabas
Mary, a female believer in Rome who helped Paul