“To pray to Our Lady means not to substitute her for Christ, but to glorify her Son who desires us to have loving confidence in His Saints, especially in His Mother.” -from ‘Behold Your Mother: Woman of Faith,’ National Conference of Catholic Bishops
I read that this morning at the start of a new chapter in Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of GodInspirational Catholic Books) by Ginny Kubitz Moyer. This chapter, Our Heavenly Intercessor: Praying with Mary, explains why Catholics go to Mary for intercession and what this has meant to other women and how it has helped them personally grow closer to Christ. I love how Ginny puts all the women’s experiences together to showcase the beauty and power God magnifies to us through Mary’s intercession. Here are some excerpts:
“Prayers to Mary are often misunderstood, both inside and outside of the church. Many are suspicious of those who seem to elevate her power, or put her on a level with God. The church, though, is clear that Christ alone is the source of grace. When we pray to Mary or to the saints, we are asking them to add their prayers to ours, much as we would ask a good friend to pray for us. In the tradition of the church, Mary is viewed as a particularly powerful intercessor, not only because she played a critical role in salvation history but becasue of her unique relationship to Christ. As many Catholics like to say, when a loving mother asks a favor of her devoted son, how can he refuse?”
“When discussing Marian prayers, one of the first devotions that comes to mind is the rosary. With its circle of soothing Hail Marys, it appeals to many modern women, for whom life moves too quickly and quiet time is rare….in addition to bringing peace, the rosary also has the effect of drawing women into a closer relationship with Mary.”
One of the women Ginny interviewed for this chapter shared how her connection and perception of Mary changed after praying the rosary more consistently. She shared that when she prays the rosary she knows she is “praying with Mary, not to Mary..asking her to stand with me in the presence of God and to hold my hand in times of sorrow and petition. She’s [Mary is] stronger than I ever thought possible and her stregnth is contagious.”
The rosary is not really about Mary though. It is about Jesus.
“Though the mysteries of the rosary include some of the most significant moments in Mary’s life..their primary purpose is to draw us into relationship with Christ. As Pope John Paul II wrote in his letter Rosarium Virginis Maria, ‘To recite the rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.” As many women have learned, by meditating upon the events of Christ’s life [by praying the mysteries of the rosary], he becomes more fully present in our own.”
How has your faith life deepened as result of Mary’s intercession?