So many times I have heard people wrongly assume that Catholic’s worship Mary (and other saints, but today I’m focusing on Mary). As a Catholic, I am here to say that we do not worship Jesus’ mother.
The other day, my Religion IV teacher explained the Catholic relationship with Mary in a way that I believe sums it up best: when we pray to Mary, we aren’t praying to her as though she is equal to God. We’re recognizing that, because she is the mother of Jesus, it’s probably safe to assume that she has a lot of “pull with the big guy upstairs.” Praying to Mary is our way of knocking on Heaven’s door.
When I pray the rosary while thinking about the children lost to abortion, I’m not saying, “Hey Mary, you have the power to save these poor children’s souls and change the minds of women considering abortion.” I’m simply asking the blessed virgin to pray for them, and to maybe bring up the issue with her son – not that he’s not already aware.
Think about it this way: if your mom comes to you asking for your help for something important, you would bend Heaven and Earth to get her what she needs, right? So we’re simply asking Mary to intercede with her son for us.
Consider the words to the Hail Mary:
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou 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.
The first verse of the Hail Mary comes from two paraphrased quotes out of the Bible. The first, “Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee,” is from Luke 1:28 when Gabriel comes to Mary. The second, “Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb,” is from Luke 1:42 when Elizabeth greets Mary and recognizes that she is with child. The second verse is clearly asking her to pray for us.
No where in this prayer do we recognize Mary as God, but instead as the Mother of God. The basis of every Christian religion is that God was sent down to Earth fully human and fully divine, born of the virgin Mary, crucified, buried, and on the third day He rose again. Catholics are recognizing how important Mary’s role is in all of that, and we’re giving her the recognition she deserves by asking her to pray for us.
It’s just like when you ask a friend to pray for you because you’re going through a rough time, and that’s not considered worship.