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Why do Catholics pray to Mary?

Devotion to our Mother is a hallmark of Catholic living.

Protestants often ask Catholics why we pray to Mary instead of going straight to Jesus. Isn’t Christ the one mediator?

Christ is the one mediator in terms of the one Sacrifice that He offered for our sins. But this does not preclude the idea of intercessory prayer by others. Christians always ask for one another’s prayers, and we always oblige out of love and charity. We are always interceding for one another.

Similarly, we ask Our Lady and the saints to pray for us. Our Lady’s prayers are particularly powerful before God due to her sinlessness—St. Gabriel hailed her as “full of grace” and “blessed among women”—and the fact that, as His Mother, she has the closest relationship to Christ of any human being.

A good scriptural example of Our Lady’s intercession is the wedding feast at Cana. Our Lady interceded on behalf of the bride and groom who had run out of wine, and Our Lord obliged her request by performing His first public miracle. She continues to intercede for us, her children, in Heaven, and just as He honored her wishes on earth, He continues to do so in Heaven.

Furthermore, Our Lord made it very clear at the end of His life the role He desired His Mother to play in our salvation. As He hung on the Cross, He said to her, “Woman, behold your son,” and to St. John, “Behold your Mother.” The Gospel tells us that from that hour, St. John took her into his home as his own Mother. At the very moment of salvation, the very moment when Christ gave His life for our sins, He brought His Mother before our eyes and introduced her into our lives.

So, our devotion to Mary is supported not just by our common experience of praying for one another, but also the command and example of Christ Himself.

Love your Mother—it’s what Christ did. And what a magnificent, divinely-given gift is this Mother, who certainly loves her children as the brethren of her Son, the precious souls that He came to earth to save. She loves us and desires to make us holy, to bring us to Heaven into the kingdom of her Son.

Learn how to explain and defend the Church’s teachings on Our Lady in Behold Your Mother: A Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines. In this work, convert Tim Staples explains the scriptural and historical roots of our Marian doctrines, dismantles common arguments against them, and shows them to be essential components of our faith in Jesus. Available today at The Catholic Company!

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