Before I got married I did a short stint in the Canadian Armed Forces pursuing chaplaincy. While I was there I got into a discussion with a few of the Catholic students in my course about my perspective of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I was asked why I think it’s wrong to pray to Mary, and how I view her if not in that kind of veneration and devotion.
The answer to the first question is two-fold. First, the Bible says that we are not to pray to images and idols (Deuteronomy 5:8-10). This covers the worshipping of statues and pictures of Mary. But for those who claim they are not worshipping an image but praying to or venerating Mary as a mediator, 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men – the testimony given in its proper time.” Throughout Scripture it is seen that under no circumstance should anyone other than God be prayed to.
I would like to now shift our attention to the second question. If we are not to worship or venerate or pray to Mary, what should our attitude be towards her?
Mary was a woman of great faith. She had the faith courage to say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be done to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Mary is a picture of faith and obedience to God. As such, she is someone who is to be viewed as an example for our faith in life.
Besides putting her trust in God, Mary proclaimed God’s glory (Luke 1:46-55). She remained faithful to her betrothed and remained pure until after the Lord’s birth (Matthew 1:25). She fulfilled the requirements of the law (Luke 2:39) – that same law which her child would ultimately fulfill once for all on the cross. She treasured everything the Lord was doing in her heart (Luke 2:51).
This Christmas season, let us remember that the faith of the young woman Mary is one to be emulated in our own lives. May we also say to the Lord “I am the Lord’s servant,” and submit to do everything he has called us to do.