Why does the Catholic Church make such a big deal about Mary? Whenever I talk to non-Catholics about Mary, they quote 1 Timothy 2:5: There is one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. “You don’t have to go through Mary to get to Jesus,” they say, “Just go straight to God.” So I ask them: “If your child were very sick, would you ask me to pray for her?” “Yes.” “Would you ask other family members and members of your church to pray for her, too?” “Yes, of course,” they reply. So I say, “Why bother asking us for prayers? You don’t have to go through me or anyone else to get to Jesus. Just go straight to God.”
Then I add: “Mary is in heaven, where we hope to be one day. Is she literally closer to God than we are here on earth?” “Yes.” “And because she is in the presence of God, is she—in a real sense—more alive than we are?” “OK, I agree with that.” “Then, since Mary is more alive and closer to God than we are, why wouldn’t we ask her to pray for us?”
What the Church teaches about our Blessed Mother, properly understood and practiced, does not lead believers away from, but rather more deeply into relationship with Christ. Through Mary, God intervenes in human history, setting into motion a plan for our redemption: since it was through the woman—through the heart of love—that sin entered into the world, it will be through the heart of love that God effects salvation for the world. The covenant of love and life lost through the “No” of Eve, the “mother of all the living,” will be restored in Christ through the “Yes” of Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer. The Old Eve offered us fruit born from the tree that lead to death; the New Eve brings forth the fruit of her womb who gives us everlasting life.
©2012 Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers