Yesterday morning, a friend asked me, “Why do Catholics pray to Mary when the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ is the one true mediator between God and humanity?”
My quick reply was, “Yes, it’s true that we can go directly to Jesus during prayer but intercessory prayer through Mary as well as other saints such as St. Peter or St. Faustina still makes sense because it’s no different from us as in the same way that we ask Christian friends and family on earth to pray for us. This is encouraged in 1 Timothy 2:1-4. We ask our Christian family in heaven, Mary and the saints to pray for us.”
His response was to grab his tablet and find 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and read them aloud. When he was finished, he said to me, “These verses say nothing about praying to Mary and the saints in Heaven. First of all, they are not in Heaven. So, it doesn’t make any sense to pray to them. Paul in his letter to Timothy was encouraging believers to pray for each other, communities, people in general and for leaders.”
“We believe that Mary is in Heaven as well as the saints. And we pray to her in particular because it is the quickest way to Jesus. Mary was most probably one of the people Jesus was closest to on earth during his life besides the Father. We see that at the wedding of Cana in John 2: 1-12. It was because of her that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine.”
“Jesus didn’t perform the miracle right away. He said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ He doesn’t call her mother but woman, out of respect, of course. And she’s not offended. Instead, she encouraged the servants to obey what ever instructions Jesus gave them. She wasn’t usurping His authority. This is the Mary of the Bible not the Mary your church portrays. She was a humble woman who had remarkable faith. She would have a major problem with people going to her instead of to Jesus who encouraged His disciples and us to ask the Father for what we want in His name.”
“Why did He go ahead and perform the miracle then if she had nothing to do with it?”
“When He said that His hour had not yet come, it was a gentle rebuke to her. He was reminding her of what transpired when He was twelve. When Mary reprimanded Him for causing them to worry when they couldn’t find Him for three days, He told her that He was about His Father’s business. At the wedding He was going to do something but in His time. Mary understood that and it is why she instructed the servants to do what ever Jesus told them. Mary didn’t have special privileges because she was His mother. She, like everyone else, acknowledged her need for a Savior.”
“But, she was sinless.”
“Where in the Bible does it say that?”
“Well, two special factors rendered Mary impeccable or unable to sin. The first was her constant awareness of God, living always in His presence, and the second was her reception of special and extraordinary graces. Mary was free from all sin, original or personal.”
“That sounds more like your church’s dogma. No where in the Bible is there any scripture saying that Mary was sinless. Only Jesus Christ was without sin. And Mary herself said, ‘My soul rejoices in God my savior’ in Luke 1:47. She acknowledged that she was a sinner in need of a Savior and that Savior was her own Son. Search the scriptures and you won’t find any which support your church’s doctrine that Mary was without sin.”
My friend was right. I have searched the Bible and no where does it say that Mary was sinless. The teaching that by the grace of God, she “remained free of every personal sin her whole life long” is found in our Catechism.
I spoke to Father Christensen who said, “We don’t deny that Mary was saved and that she too needed a Savior. However, Mary was “saved” from sin in a most excellent manner. She was given the grace to be “saved” completely from sin so that she never committed even the slightest transgression. Protestants always speak of God’s “salvation” as it relates to the forgiving of sins actually committed. However, Sacred Scripture shows that salvation can also refer to person being protected from sinning before the fact like in Jude 24-25. They like to use 1 John 1:8 to argue against Mary’s sinlessness but that verse has nothing to do with original sin but personal sin which is why in verse 9, he encourages us to confess our sins. Our blessed virgin Mother was born without Original Sin because she, too, was conceived without Original Sin.”
I thanked him and when I was alone, I read the verses in the book of Jude which he had mentioned. To me they were saying that God will keep us from stumbling but we have to do our part. It is God’s will that we be saved and spend eternal life but we have to do our part. God can’t force us to do anything. He will work with us but ultimately, it is our choice if we decide to walk in the light, as He is in the light.