Mary the mother of Jesus has many titles.

 

Not long ago, a woman was driving along a road and looked at the wall of an underpass where she thought she saw an image of Mary, the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  “Our Lady of the Underpass” was  born and became a national news hit and a local pilgrimage site.  Where some saw a miraculous image, others was a mere salt stain on the wall of the underpass.

Most of the excitement has disappeared and died off, there are still those who ensure that the underpass remains adorned with candles, flowers, and a makeshift alter.  There are thousands of stories like this one floating around the country.  Some Marian shrines become permanent pilgrimages, such as Lourdes and Medjugorje.  Others simply pass away.

The veneration and adoration of Mary is as old as the church itself.  The earliest record that I could find of Mary being venerated was in the year A.D. 431 at the Council at Ephesus.  The church fathers affirmed Mary as the God-bearer.  The title stuck with her and today we refer to her as the “Mother of God.”

This name of Mary as the Mother of God is really at the root of Catholic veneration.  Mary is the link between our broken humanity and the boundless divinity present in the triune God.  Mary is redeemed, as she is human, but she is also considered to have a special and unique relationship with God, as she shares DNA with Christ.  Mother Teresa once remarked, “She gave Jesus his body, and his body is what saved us.”

Mary has come to occupy a powerful place in the Catholic spirituality.  She has many faces and names, among them Our Lady of Guadalupe, She Who Ripens the Wheat, Queen of Angels, Undoer of Knots, and the Light Cloud of Heavenly Rain.  She is said to appear on occasion, mostly to children or others who are weak, disempowered, or on the margins of society.  She is has been known to procure miracles.  Some have even said that in the last days, Mary will lead the army of angels in the final battle against evil.

All the titles and miracles are considered to be a result of Mary’s close relationship with her son, Jesus.  As the mother of the Kings of Kings, she is also the saint of saints.  Now, because the church is the body of Christ, and Mary is Christ’s mother, she is also the mother of the church.  This means that in addition to having a special relationship with her son Jesus, Mary also has a special relationship with the church.  Mary belongs to the church and the church is hers, the church belongs to her.

So when we pray the rosary, or bow our heads during the creed, we are honoring our mother, and the mother of our Lord.  Although she is not God, she has earned our respect and devotion.

 

What are your thoughts about Mary the mother of God?  Please leave us a comment below.  Remember to be respectful and nice.

One thought on “Why do Catholics venerate Mary?

  1. Thanks for this great information! My wife’s catholic, I’m protestant, so I’ve never really understood this as we see Mary as just a regular person. I’ve always been confused why she was held so high since she seemed confused as to Jesus’ presence there, such as when she scolded him for running off to the synagogue. I agree she should be held to high regard for being the mother of the Son of God, but am battling this a bit. Sorry ranting a little, but great article! Thanks for the info!

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