3

Do Catholics worship Mary?

Catholics do not worship Mary

Do Catholics worship Mary?

No, but like Jesus we love, honor and venerate His blessed mother.

The Catholic Church has never worshiped Mary, and never will. Catholics worship God and God alone.

Heaven is not a “dead” place. Catholics believe people in heaven are very much alive. (Mat 19:29, 25:46, 10:17-22, Mk 10:30, Lk 10:25-30, Lk 18:18-30, Jn 3:15-16). We think Mary is totally alive, and is praying for us the way a faithful pastor would pray for his congregation, except much more so. She’s interceding for the unborn, for mothers contemplating abortion, and for many others who are experiencing sorrows in our world, and who want to grow closer to Jesus.

Why do we as Catholics honor, love and venerate her so deeply? We love Mary first of all because Jesus did. As Saint Maximilian Kolbe said, “Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”

Catholics do not put Mary on par with God. Mary is certainly worthy of reverence, but not worship. Catholics believe that Mary is the highest of God’s creatures because of her exalted role. Yes – Mary, a woman, is considered by Catholics to be one of God’s greatest creations. The Holy Trinity chose Mary, from all eternity, to be the mother of Jesus.

But of course, like any other human being, Mary had to be saved by the mercy of God. She herself said, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Lk 1:47). We believe that God saved her by taking away all stain of original sin at the moment of her conception (the Immaculate Conception). The very fact that God took on flesh and became man (Jn 1:1, 14) indicates that He wished to involve human beings in His plan of salvation for mankind. Mary was a key person for this purpose, so this is why Catholics honor her so highly.

The Hail Mary is not a prayer of worship, but it is a recitation of Scripture and then an asking of her to pray for us to God; much like asking our other Christian brothers and sisters to pray for us. The rosary (Blessed Pope John Paul II’s favorite prayer), is a Christ-centered prayer. It is like holding the hand of Our Blessed Mother and walking through the gospels and she leads us gently to her Son.

The Gospel of Luke 1:48 says, “Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.” Any time the Bible uses the word “behold” it means pay attention because what is about to be said is very important. In Luke 1:42 Elizabeth calls Mary “Most blessed among women” Mary is ‘most blessed among women’ and ‘highly favored’ by God. Elizabeth also refers to Mary as the “Mother of my Lord.” How many other people in Scripture have received such designations? None.

Mary knew she was called by God to be the Mother of Jesus. If Jesus chose to be born into this world through Mary how much more do you and I, “all generations”, need her to help us draw closer to Christ in our daily lives. What human on earth knew Jesus best? His mother. Mary’s sole purpose is to bring us closer to her son. You honor Jesus more by loving His mother.

We also love Mary so much because she was given to us as a gift. When Jesus was dying on the Cross He chose to give His mother to us. He could have given us any gift, but the Gospel of John tells us He gave us the gift of a Mom:

“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”

Think about it, if Mary had any other children, it would have been scandalous in Jewish culture for Jesus to entrust Mary to a friend. Jewish tradition was for a child to care for a widowed mother, not a friend. From the cross when Jesus uttered, “Behold your mother” (Jn. 19:27), she became not only the mother of John, but of all whom Christ redeemed through the crucifixion. She is the mother of the Church – the mystical body of Jesus.

Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must be concluded that she is also the Mother of God. (Jesus is God.) Although Mary is the Mother of God, she is not His mother in the sense that she is older than God or the source of her Son’s divinity, for she is neither. Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God in the sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus Christ, God “in the flesh” (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and in the sense that she contributed the genetic matter to the human form God took in Jesus Christ.

Catholics believe Mary’s soul still “magnifies the Lord” for Christians of our generation who choose to relate to her. Currently, Catholics continue to honor, love and call her blessed, which was intended for all generations, and for all Christians.

Our dear Blessed Mother, pray for us.
Love

Advertisements
2

The Catholic Mass

Mass

The Mass is the most important and sacred act of worship in the Catholic Church.

The Mass incorporates the Bible (Sacred Scripture), prayer, sacrifice, hymns, symbols, gestures, sacred food for the soul, and directions on how to live a Catholic life — all in one ceremony. Through time and space, we connect with the original Last Supper.

The Church teaches that the Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary. This is misunderstood by many who claim that the Mass is a re-crucifixion of Christ. It is not.

Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded.

Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church.

If you are Catholic, you are obliged to go to Mass every Sunday – not just on Sundays when you wake up early enough, it’s convenient, or when you feel like it. You love and feed your family whether you feel like or not right? You need to feed yourself and your family spiritually whether you feel like going or not too. (Legitimate reasons to miss Mass would be along the lines of illness, needing to care for the ill, and lack of an available Mass within a reasonable distance.)

A lot of Catholics don’t attend Mass as they should, perhaps because we do not realize it is a requirement and a mortal sin to miss it, or possibly because we take for granted what is really happening at the Mass, and it is not a priority in our lives. But if you really understood and knew what was happening, you wouldn’t just go on Sundays, you would want to go every day. Think about the hours you spend on Sundays watching sports, sleeping in, or going to the gym to get physically fit. What if you went to the gym just one hour per week? How physically fit would you be with just one hour? God asks for only one hour per week at Mass. (Please give him many more hours of this throughout the week in prayer, reading the Bible and other Catholic books, or at daily Mass.) Mass will help bring us closer to Him, bring grace in our souls and is a beautiful way to start your week.

It’s human and natural to forget, want to sleep in, take it for granted, or become numb to it, but we have to continually work to overcome that trap. The devil is real and loves it when you stay home. At Mass we are being offered the greatest gift God has to offer – the source and summit of our Faith, Jesus Christ Himself in the Eucharist. Go whether you feel like going or not. Love God always, even when you don’t feel like loving Him. He never abandons you so please do not abandon Him. Love is much more than feelings. Love is a sacrifice and putting others before yourself. Going to Mass is good for your eternal soul.

Attending Mass is not just an obligation, it’s a privilege. God knows we need it, and it is His gift to us. Mass should be the highlight of our week. We should look forward to it and want to go. And when we don’t, it’s a reminder that we need to work harder to more fully understand the reality of what happens at Mass.

Staying home thinking missing Mass doesn’t matter, or that watching it on tv, or being a good person is enough – is wrong. If you are a Catholic, you are supposed to go to Mass every week, and on Holy Days of Obligation. If you don’t understand the Mass, or are bored, and are looking for better “entertainment” – then pray for understanding. We don’t go to Mass to be entertained, or demand that the priest’s homily be exciting, or if it isn’t we aren’t going back. Some priests are more gifted with amazing homilies. Some are not. Pray for them all and listen to God’s word and participate in the Mass regardless. Learn your faith. Ask questions, study, read the Bible, and learn what it means to be a Catholic Christian. We go to Mass to worship God. We get down on our knees at Mass to humble ourselves before our King. It’s not about “us” remember. We go for Him.

When we receive the Eucharist, we truly, physically receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, of God Himself – at every Mass. If you’re looking for a personal relationships with Jesus Christ, you can’t get any more personal than when you receive Him in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic faith.

Christ is truly present in the Eucharist with or without a dynamic homily. Notice how it is the altar that is front and center at a Mass, not the pulpit. The Mass is a sacrifice. We go to Mass to worship God, hear His holy word in the Liturgy of the Word, and receive Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. An inspiring homily and beautiful music absolutely add to the beauty of the Mass, but even without these things, Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. That alone should make you want to never skip Mass, be there on time, not leave early without a good reason, and thank God for this wonderful gift.

Read, study, seek more understanding, and most of all, pray that you will come to a better appreciation and love for this most beautiful gift that Jesus Christ Himself (not man) gave to us nearly 2000 years ago. God loves you. Please go.

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday!

0

Morning Prayer

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day.

I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all you saints of God, pray for me.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen.

Bird flying