Jeff Cavins gave an incredible lecture on The Virgin Mary. Here is my surmising of it:
Our Lady is a role that not everyone in the Catholic Church understands, much less those who do not share our faith. And, the adoration expressed by certain cultures increases the confusion and can make it seem like the Catholic Faith as a whole worships Mary.
We have great veneration for Mary but we do not worship Mary.
Theotokos means Mother of God. Jesus is God and she is His mother. We only worship God – Latria or the supreme worship allowed to God alone. We do not worship any created being. Veneration for the saints is Dulia, which means we have great affection for them. Same as displaying pictures of your family in your home. Hyper-Dulia is reserved for Mary alone because of her unique role in the mystery of Redemption, her exceptional gifts of grace from God, and her pre eminence among the saints.
Why do we need her? Jesus believed we needed her – He gave her to us. Jesus, on the Cross, told John “behold your mother.” So, Mary was given to us to be our mother at the Cross. At Canna, Mary took our cares and concerns to her son. She served in an intercessory role between us and our Lord.
In Israeli culture during the time of King David, the King would have multiple wives but only one mother. The “Giverah” or Queen Mother, or mother of the King was an advocate for the people and an intercessor. They would come to her and ask her to petition the King on their behalf. Some examples of this to reference in the Bible are:
- 1 Kings 2:13-20
- 1 Kings 14:21
- 1 Kings 15:9-13
- 2 Kings 24:12-15
- Jeremiah 13:18-20
How come we can’t go straight to God? You can! But why not use every means available to you? What’s wrong with that? Remember, as a child asking your mother to talk to your father when you were in trouble?
Sometimes, when we are trying to convince someone, we ask others to explain it in their words – to mediate on our behalf. Sometimes we petition multiple people to share our message to create a unified front. When someone is in need of prayers, we believe in the power of prayer of many. How is petitioning the saints and our Holy Mother different?
If she was at the foot of the cross with Jesus, wouldn’t she be at the foot of your cross too? Wouldn’t she want to help you with your burdens? She understands suffering and wants to be part of your life.
Saint John Paul II once reflected on what it would be like to be the mother of Jesus and carrying Him in her womb and then receive Him in the form of communion after His death and resurrection. Receiving the same body she conceived in her womb, His Body, through the Eucharist, she would receive His body back into her womb and their hearts would beat again in unison. Imagine the longing she had for her Son.
We carry God inside us when we receive communion. Like a protective pregnant woman protecting her baby in the womb, we should be cognizant of the gift of God’s Grace when we receive communion and protect Him inside our souls each time we receive Him.