Q: Is it proper to pray through Mary and the saints although the Bible says to pray only to Jesus and our Lord, God?

A: There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying the Hail Mary. The ground rules for authentic Christian prayer are the following:

1) Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and us.

2) He taught us how to pray, makes our prayer accessible to God, and gives it the merit to be granted through His salvific action.

3) Prayer makes sense in Him and through Him only.

4) Prayers we entrust to fellow brothers and sisters, to saints and Mary must follow these ground rules. We do not take away from Jesus but try to help ourselves by multiplying our friends who happen to be also Jesus' friends, in the case of Mary His very mother.

5) Saints and Mary help us as models and intercessors. They teach us how to pray and discern God's will. They also go with us to Jesus supporting us in our faith and worries. Then it is up to Jesus to do the rest.

6) Is it ludicrous to believe that Jesus is blind and deaf to what his friends tell Him, his mother in particular? It was His intention to make of His followers a Communion of Saints, meaning a community of interdependent believers helping each other in the name of Jesus. Nobody is an island, isolated from everybody else.

7) This is the sense of 1 Timothy 2,1-4: an invitation to all to offer "supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving...for everyone." This is not in contradiction with verse 5 (one God, one Mediator), not in Paul's mind for sure. Now if we should pray for each other, isn't it even more appropriate to have the saints with and for us? The saints are not dead but alive and well with God. Thanks to their spiritual intimacy with God they have His ear.

8) As for Mary's help – never that of a goddess! – we should reread two passages from John's Gospel:

(1) John 2,3 f. which shows clearly what Mary's role is. She intercedes with her Son for the newly wed couple (v.3). Jesus rebukes her (v.4) not to tell her that she should refrain from interceding but to let her know that it was His decision as to whether, when and how he would help the couple. He is the master, the sole mediator. Mary accepts. She does not insist with her Son but prepares the servants to follow Jesus' order (v.5). We understand how Mary acts on our behalf: She brings our concerns before the Lord, entrusts them to His infinite wisdom, and tells us to listen and follow Jesus' will.

(2) John 19,25-27 is Jesus' testament regarding Mary's role in our life. He entrusts her to John, and the apostle John to her motherly care. Being disciples of Christ ourselves, we have mutually inherited new hearts. Her role on our behalf is that of a mother: Mother of her Son she is also our mother. Could there be any conflict between sons of the same mother?

 

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