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1.39 Mary is not God – so, why all this devotion to her?

Mary and the angels

Mary is not God. However, she is the mother of God. Because of this special role we can honour her. Honouring is different from worshipping, which is reserved for God alone. Devotion to Mary is rooted in the Bible. When she was pregnant with Jesus, Mary predicted: “Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.” (Lk. 1:48) Lk. 1:48: For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

The Hail Mary prayer consists of several phrases from the Bible. The archangel Gabriel said to Mary: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Lk. 1:28) Lk. 1:28: And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”, and Mary’s cousin Elizabeth said: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Lk. 1:42) Lk. 1:42: She exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”. The Hail Mary and other prayers to Mary can be found in the #TwGOD app.

Jesus gave us Mary as our mother. Therefore we can pray to her and ask her to put in a good word for us with her son, Jesus.
The Wisdom of the Church

How does the Church pray to Mary?

Above all with the Hail Mary, the prayer with which the Church asks the intercession of the Virgin. Other Marian prayers are the Rosary, the  Akathistos hymn, the Paraclesis, and the hymns and canticles of diverse Christian traditions. [CCCC 563]

What are the words of the “Hail Mary”?

Hail, Mary,
full of grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

In Latin:
Ave Maria, gratia plena.
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

[Youcat 480]

How do you pray the Rosary?

  1. In the name of the Father …
  2. Apostles’ Creed
  3. Our Father
  4. Three Hail Marys
  5. “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”
  6. Five decades, each with one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be to the Father.

The complete Rosary consists of Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries.

  • The Joyful Mysteries (Monday, Saturday)
    1. The Annunciation
    2. The Visitation
    3. The Nativity
    4. The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple
    5. The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
  • The Luminous Mysteries (Thursday)
    1. The Baptism in the Jordan
    2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
    3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God and Repentance for Sin
    4. The Transfiguration
    5. The Institution of the Holy Eucharist
  • The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday, Friday)
    1. The Agony in the Garden
    2. The Scourging at the Pillar
    3. The Crowning with Thorns
    4. The Carrying of the Cross
    5. The Crucifixion
  • The Glorious Mysteries (Wednesday, Sunday)
    1. The Resurrection
    2. The Ascension
    3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
    4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    5. The Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven

[Youcat 481]

What kind of devotion is directed to the holy Virgin?

It is a singular kind of devotion which differs essentially from the cult of adoration given only to the Most Holy Trinity. This special veneration directed to Mary finds particular expression in the liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and in Marian prayers such as the holy Rosary which is a compendium of the whole Gospel. [CCCC 198]

May we worship Mary?

No. Only God can be worshipped. But we can revere Mary as the Mother of our Lord.  

By worship we mean the humble, unconditional acknowledgment of the absolute superiority of God over all creatures. Mary is a creature like us. In faith she is our Mother. And we should honor our parents. There is a biblical basis for this, since Mary herself says, “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48b). so the Church has Marian shrines and places of pilgrimage, feast days, hymns, and prayers, for instance, the Rosary,  It is a compendium of the Gospels. [Youcat 149]

This is what the Popes say

The increased knowledge of Mary's mission has become joyful veneration of her and adoring respect for the wise plan of God, who has placed within his family (the Church), as in every home, the figure of a Woman, who in a hidden manner and in a spirit of service watches over that family and carefully looks after it until the glorious day of the Lord. [Pope Paul VI, Marialis cultus, intro].