Mary, Mother of God
Today is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. I am not well versed enough to talk with any authority on the Church’s teachings on the assumption. Maybe that is something I can tackle over the course of the next year. I do feel like I can talk about a Catholic’s understanding of Mary, and maybe clear up some of the misconceptions.
Misconception #1 – Catholics worship Mary.
Catholics do not worship Mary, per se. They view her as the new Eve, and as the best of all of us. One has only to review the spectacular construction requirements for the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant to understand how holy the New Testament Ark of the Covenant must be. Why would one compare Mary to the Ark? The Ark contained the word of God (10 Commandments), Aaron’s priestly staff, and manna. Jesus is the word of God, the high priest, and the bread of angels. In other words, Catholics respect Mary as the ideal person we are all called to be, and will fully become in the next life. We place her on a pedestal, but still acknowledge her as human. She deserves our deep admiration, and not our worship. May she forever be the example that leads us all to be handmaids of the Lord!
Misconception #2 – Catholics pray to Mary.
This is true, but it can be taken out of context. As a Christian, we believe that Christians who die are now in Heaven. They are still a part of the Body of Christ, and are thus available to perform intercessory prayer. So, as one might ask their friend to pray for them, one might also ask those who are in Heaven to pray for them. In fact, the Hail Mary Prayer is part scriptural and part intercessory.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. (Luke 1:28. Note: “favor,” the usual Biblical translation, is tied to the Greek word for grace). Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (Luke 1:42) Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Unfortunately, there is not a word for talking to people on the other side, except through the use of the word pray.
Another point to remember is that in Luke 1:48, Mary prophesied that all generations would call her blessed. So, in some respects, Catholics view their admiration of Mary as carrying out this prophesy.
This morning, I pray that Mary take each of us by hand, and lead us to a deeper understanding of her son, for who knows a person better than that person’s mother.