Why Do We Pray To Mary?

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is someone we can pray to for guidance and love.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is someone we can pray to for guidance and love.

Do Catholics Pray to Mary?

May is the month of celebrating and honoring Mary in the Catholic Church. We commemorate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s extraordinary role as a mother to both Jesus Christ and the whole Catholic Church. The Church encourages praying the Rosary during May, placing flowers around statues of Mary, and devoting prayers and petitions to Mary. A popular way Mary is honored in May is by having a May Crowning celebration where a crown of Spring flowers is placed on the head of the statue of Mary symbolizing rebirth and and honoring Mary as the Queen of Heaven. Yet, even when we are not in the month of May, Mary is very visible and celebrated in the Catholic Faith. All Catholic churches have a statue or statues of Mary as well as images. We see statues and images of Mary in our Catholic schools, in the classrooms, and in homes. It is evident that Mary is quite honored and revered in the Catholic Church. Why is this? The obvious answer is because Mary is the Mother of Jesus; Mary gave birth to Jesus here on Earth. However, the Church teaches that there is an important distinction to be made when praying to Mary.

Catholics believe that as Mary is the mother of Jesus, she has a powerful connection to God and can bring their prayers and petitions directly to God. Mary is a central figure in the Catholic Faith and her life illustrates how our Almighty Father works in our lives. This is what is meant when the Catholic Church refers to Mary as an intercessor. Catholics pray to Mary to “intercede” and describe this form of prayer as a “prayer of petition” or an “intercessory prayer.” An intercessory prayer is requesting Mary to pray on one’s behalf, to act as an intermediary between the petitioner and God. One example seen in the New Testament is at the wedding in Cana, Mary interceded for the wedding couple explaining to Jesus that there was no wine and He performed his first public miracle by turning water into wine. This is an example of Mary bringing to Jesus the needs of others.

Mary lived her life in the most simple of ways. In our world today, we get distracted by material wealth and we are blinded by fancy cars, vacations, and restaurants. It is important to remember that putting these things before God is not living a simple lifestyle. Being simple encourages us to trust more in God and to use His divine standards as our yardstick for life rather than in our own shallow and superficial standards.

Praying to Mary is not an act of worshiping Mary. Catholic teachings explain that worshiping is only for God. When Catholics pray to Mary it is similar to asking a friend to pray for you. As Mary is a maternal figure in the Church, she is also looked upon as a mother figure for Catholics who is concerned for her children and of course would want to help and support them. Praying to Mary is akin to asking your Mom to help advocate for you with God.

Catholics do not see Mary as an equal or a rival to God. Mary’s intercession is believed to be effective because of her relationship as the mother of Jesus. Catholics believe Mary is with God, can see God clearly and know His will perfectly. As such her intercession is powerful and effective and can therefore obtain favors from God more effectively. Devotion to Mary, does not draw Catholics attention away from God; it does the opposite.

In summary, Catholics actually do not specifically “pray” to Mary. Catholics petition Mary to intercede or advocate on their behalf using her direct connection to God. Next time you are praying to Mary, think of Her as a friend that you are asking to help you with your prayers to God. Some prayers that are most popular to say to Mary is the Hail Mary and The Fatima Prayer.