Why Catholics Venerate The Blessed Virgin Mary

And how veneration is different from worship due only to God

Image by Dorothée QUENNESSON from Pixabay

Catholics venerate Mama Mary. We love her and have the utmost respect for the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do not worship her as we worship God. She is a human being, but one most blessed because she has the honor of being Jesus’ own mother! Mary is part of God’s wonderful plan. She has been the channel blessed by Grace through which God’s own Son became flesh and dwelt with us.

Here are some of the things we can remember about Mama Mary, things that remind us to praise God all the more because of the many graces He has given through her.

-Mary always points to Jesus, and does not desire worship for herself.

This is something important. To be able to turn away from the self, from our own self pre-occupations and self-righteousness towards the source of all that is good, towards God Himself. With Mary, we may always remember that aside from ourselves, no matter how blessed we think we are, there is still another who is worthy of all our love and worship — GOD.

Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord.

My spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour,

for he has looked at the humble state of his servant.

For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed.

For he who is mighty has done great things for me.

Holy is his name.

His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him.

He has shown strength with his arm.

He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He has put down princes from their thrones.

And has exalted the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things.

He has sent the rich away empty.

He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy,

As he spoke to our fathers,

to Abraham and his offspring forever.”

-Luke 1:46–55, WEB-BE

-Mary stood by Jesus at the cross, a mother who loves and who suffers deeply for the suffering of her Son. Could we not be led to the same, to suffer with Jesus for the sake of others and to realize what a great gift God has given us?

Joseph and his mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning him, and Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” — Luke 2:33–35, WEB

-Mary was greeted as full of grace by the Angel Gabriel

And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. — Luke 1:26–28, DRA

It was Angel Gabriel himself who greeted Mary as “full of grace” and “blessed” among women. How could it not be true? And how could one not be full of grace and blessed if one were to conceive the most Holy only Begotten Son of God?

-Upon Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s child in her womb leapt for joy and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit as she says:

Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby lept in my womb for joy! Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!” — Luke 1:43–45, WEB

If Elizabeth can render such honor to Mary, is it wrong for us to do the same? How can we not do the same?

-A model of faith and obedience. When the angel announced that she will bear a Son through the Holy Spirit, she did not refuse or worry but submitted meekly and with full confidence to the will of God.

The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God. Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing spoken by God is impossible.”

Mary said, “Behold, the servant of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.”

-Luke 1:35–38, WEB-BE

-Mary’s role at the miracle at the wedding at Cana where water was turned into wine by Jesus at Mary’s request

The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.” Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ way of purifying, containing two or three metretes* apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it. When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

-John 1:1–11, WEB-BE

It’s something important, it shouldn’t have been included in the Gospels if there is no significance to this event. After all, why would Jesus perform a miracle after He said it wasn’t His time yet? Mary knew her Son, and Jesus was indeed being a Son to Mary.

-The sign of the woman clothed with the sun as written in Revelation whose description could very well fit Mary, as the woman who bore the Son.

A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” — Revelations 12, WEB

Such an image was also very similar to the one in the apparition of Mary connected with the miraculous medal. How symbolic indeed. How prophetic.

I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will bruise your head,
and you will bruise his heel.”

-Genesis 3:15, WEB

As Eve brought sin by disobedience to God, Mary brought salvation by obeying God and conceiving the Savior of us all, Jesus Christ.

-The humility that is invoked and developed in us through following Mary’s example.

If the mother of Jesus could be as humble and meek as she is, how could I not aspire for the same? How could I not feel humbled by my own sins and shortcomings?

-The grace of contrition or feeling sorry for our sins and the avoidance of sin as we pray the rosary (contemplating therein Jesus’ life, death and resurrection) which Mary recommends. It is almost impossible to keep on sinning and to keep on praying the rosary wholeheartedly at the same time!

-The grace of growing in the virtue of chastity as we contemplate Mary’s own chastity and virginity.

-How the apparition of our Lady in Guadalupe helped stop Aztec child sacrifice at that time.

Mary protects our family, and being the good mother that she is, she protects the children. How timely indeed to remember the importance of life and of family and of protecting the innocent little ones against harm.

-Apparition at Fatima warned great evils in the form of war and communism.

I am touched by the kind of motherly love Mary has shown by warning us against terrible tragedies and dangers that are to come.

-Mary’s message of prayer and sacrifice

It’s the simplicity of Mary’s message that leads us to the truth. Prayer seems something so simple, yet it is something so easily forgotten and overlooked. Sacrifice is also another thing we often forget or fear to consider. Yet it is by sacrifice that we are able to prove the depths of our love.

-To have someone like Mary pray for you.

We often ask people, particularly close family and friends to pray for us. We ask them because we know they care for us and love us, and because they have faith in the God who loves us most. And if it’s true that the more a person loves God, the more he is able to love others, what then can we say about Mary’s love for us? Was there any person who has ever been closer to Jesus than His mother?

-Mary can be likened to/considered as the new Ark of the Covenant.

And just as in the days of Noah, so also will be the advent of the Son of man. For it will be just as it was in the days before the flood: eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, even until that day when Noah entered into the ark. — Matthew 24:37–38 (CPDV)

Mama Mary was like unto the Ark of the Covenant, having carried God Himself inside her womb. She is full of grace, for the ark must be holy as that which it carries is holy. Hence, in the first coming of Jesus upon the earth, Mama Mary has been the Ark which brought Him upon us.

In the last days, that Ark will be like unto the ark of Noah where Noah’s people hid to be saved when the time has come for God’s terrible judgment. Where there is no safety, God Himself provides a place for us to be saved. God uses such humble instruments of His grace to save those whom He has called.

And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt enter into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and the wives of thy sons with thee. — Genesis 6:18 (DRB)

And the temple of God was opened in heaven. And the Ark of his Testament was seen in his temple. And there were lightnings and voices and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail… And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars… And the dragon was angry at the woman. And so he went away to do battle with the remainder of her offspring, those who keep the commandments of God and who hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ. — Revelations 11–12 (CPDV)

For as it was when Jesus was dying upon the cross, when all is yet dark and His disciples had no hope, He gave us His own mother, and He gave her to us when He said, “Woman, behold your son!” Then to His disciple, “Behold, your mother!”

Mama Mary is the Ark that carried the most holy covenant, Jesus Himself within her womb. She is the New Ark of safety as in the days of Noah. And she is the Ark with which we shall march and fight to win the last battle against evil in the last days.

I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel. — Genesis 3:15 (WEB)

Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before Yahweh’s ark.” They said to the people, “Advance! March around the city, and let the armed men pass on before Yahweh’s ark.” It was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before Yahweh advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of Yahweh’s covenant followed them. — Joshua 6:6–8 (WEB)

-Jesus Himself entrusted us to Mary as our own mother when He entrusted her to John. If we are commanded by GOD to honor our earthly mother and father, should we not do the same to the mother of Jesus?

But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home. — John 19:25–27, WEB-BE

Honour your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you; that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you, in the land which the LORD your God gives you. — Deuteronomy 5:16, WEB-BE

“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. By her maternal charity, she cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led into their blessed home. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix. This, however, is so understood that it neither takes away anything from nor adds anything to the dignity and efficacy of Christ the one Mediator. No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source” (Lumen Gentium 62).

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Jocelyn Soriano is a Catholic devotional writer and poet. She wrote the books 366 Days of Compassion and Poems of Love and Letting Go. Aside from Medium, she also currently writes at I Take Off the Mask and Single Catholic Writer.

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