Very often the point disputed passionately among the Protestant brethren is that why we, Catholics have devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. If I am not wrong, some of the Catholics too raise such a question in their mind. I would like to explain briefly, why we have devotion to Mary in the Catholic Church. Subsequently in the weeks to come, I want to share with you, why the Catholics hold firmly some of the Marian doctrines of faith.
First of all, it must be clearly understood that the Catholic Church expresses Veneration, not Adoration to Mary. Adoration is the unique worship given only to the Triune God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Veneration or devotion to Mary is simply an honor given to Mary, since she was uniquely privileged to become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God.
People, who hold cold attitude towards the Catholic devotion to Mary, fail to understand objectively, what is written in the New Testament and thereby, fail to see the blessings and the privileges that God has given to her. Let me give two examples: In the Gospel according to St. Luke, the evangelist has written that Mary was greeted by angel Gabriel as highly favored by God, so as to become the mother of the Incarnate Son, Jesus (Cf. Luke 1:28-31). Moreover, at the visitation of Mary, Elizabeth exclaimed, inspired by the Holy Spirit saying, “Blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:42).
Reading through the Gospel according to St. John, one can see, that the evangelist has precisely recorded Mary’s presence at the beginning and end of Jesus’ public ministry, particularly at the foot of the Cross (John 19:25-27). Thus St. John has recorded, how Mary has cooperated faithfully in the plan of salvation from the moment she gave her consent to given birth to Jesus till he sacrificed himself on the Cross.
The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church (Lumen Gentium) of the Second Vatican Council (1964) declared the participation of Mary in the Salvation history thus: “…the Blessed virgin was on this earth the virgin Mother of the Redeemer, and above all others and in a singular way the generous associate and humble handmaid of the Lord. She conceived, brought forth and nourished Christ… In this singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior in giving back supernatural life to souls. Wherefore she is our mother in the order of grace” (Lumen Gentium # 61). One of the components of the Catholic veneration to Mary is the focus on her participation in the process of salvation.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V