Working with teens, most of my favorite questions deal with Mary. Mary is awesome, and there are a lot of misconceptions about what Catholics do and do not believe regarding her. One of the most common questions is, “Why ask for Mary’s prayers when we can just ask God or Jesus?”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation . . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.” (969)
First of all, moms are amazing. They are all things to all people. Regardless of the time period they lived in, domestic peace is usually mom centered. Happy Mom equals happy home. We as Catholics know and publicly acknowledge Mary’s awesome motherhood through the Feasts of the Annunciation and Mary Mother of God. But to all the moms who are reading this, how often are you asked by a child, “Can you ask Dad about this for me?”
I am 26 years old and I still do this.
One of a mother’s great gifts is the ability to know their spouse so well they know how to obtain a favorable answer, if they also have a favorable answer to the request. So that as Mary intercedes for us, she is simply asking “Dad”, God the Father, to have a favorable answer for our prayers in accordance with His will.
Mothers also have a great influence over their sons. For example, my husband is 6’2″, his brother is about 6′ and my mother in law is about 5’2″. As teens she would ask her sons, to stand on their knees to hug her more at her height. In honoring his mom, my husband will still do this for her. It’s a loving and endearing sight.
Mary’s motherhood is eternal. She is always in contact with her son and Jesus is an obedient child. We must remember Jesus is part of the Trinity, Mary’s intercession cannot go against the will of God. However as at the wedding feast at Cana, she can encourage his will along.
In the same respect that we do not treat God as a vending machine, we are not to abuse the love that we are given by asking Mary to intercede for items that could potentially harm us. For example if I were to ask Mary’s intercession to pay the bills this month would be fine but asking for her intercession to win the lottery may do me great spiritual harm in the long run.
Lastly, just because we have Mary, our mother and Mother of God, does not mean we treat her as a God. No matter what great jobs our mothers’ do, they are still human. That’s what makes what Mary has done amazing. She is completely human, although by God’s will preserved from sin. She completely trusted in God when faced with the impossibility of conceiving a child while maintaining her virginity. Mary continued to voice her “yes” through every moment, even as her son was dying on the cross.
So in those moments when I don’t know how to address God, I often turn to Mary. As a mother she understands the struggles children face and has the unique gift to decipher what is it I, as a child, need. That being said… Mom, can you ask Dad about…