By Tom Quiner
Catholics love the Bible.
Interestingly, about a quarter of a typical Catholic Mass is comprised of scripture, which we call the “liturgy of the Word.” We read a passage from the Old Testament; we sing a Psalm; we read a New Testament passage, typically one of Paul’s letters; and culminate this portion of the Mass with a Gospel passage, followed by the priest’s reflection on the readings,which Catholics call the homily.
What’s the point?
As a convert to the faith, frankly I was surprised at how important sacred scripture is to Catholics and Catholic teachings. I grew up in a mainline Protestant church, dabbled with evangelical Christianity, and maintain a healthy respect for these traditions to this day.
I never realized the centrality of scripture to Catholicism until I became Catholic. Even then, it took me a long time to discover the richness of Mary, Mother of God, in the lives of Catholics, and the biblical underpinnings of Marian devotion.
A Quiner’s Diner reader, a Baptist, asked why do Catholics pray to Mary?
It’s a great question, because it was one I asked before, and even AFTER I converted to the Roman Catholic Church. And yet the answer begins with sacred scripture.
The Bible suggests that the power of intercessory prayers is real and powerful. Mary, as the greatest of the Saints in the eyes of the Church, is a natural person for us to ask to pray for us. And ultimately, Mary leads us to Christ.
That is what she’s all about, as she demonstrated at the Wedding at Cana (John 2) when she had her Son perform his first public miracle. Mary obviously has her Son’s ear! She interceded on behalf of the family throwing the wedding to help them avoid the embarrassment of running out of wine.
Nothing in scripture suggests that God cuts off communication from those living in the world and those living in heaven, as suggested by the Transfiguration.
In fact St. Paul tells us that we’re surrounded by a “cloud of witnesses” in Hebrew 12:1, in other words “saints in glory,” who see us and pray for us.
Standing above these saints is the “Queen of Heaven” herself, Mary, as described in Revelations 12:1.
When I had surgery last year, I asked my wife to pray for me along with my friends and family. I also asked Mary to pray for me.
Did I pray to Jesus? Yes.
Did I pray to the Father and the Holy Spirit? Yes and yes.
But if you have ever asked someone to pray for you, you believe in the efficacy of intercessory prayer. Catholics believe the Blessed Mother of God is the most powerful intercessor of all.