Q: Why do Catholics worship or pray to Mary?
A: Catholics don't worship Mary, they pray to her.
To “Pray” does not mean to “Worship” … There’s a big difference. Praying means “communicating” i.e. “I pray thee tell me the truth!” or “pray tell, was the story good or bad?” This is a play on words. Don't get pulled into word games. This is a distraction tactic from the Enemy to divide Christians rather than have them be united. (I will discuss "praying" to Mary a little later.)
I believe most people that have a problem with Mary is that they believe Catholics worship her and I can assure you, we don't. We honor her. We believe she is very special and we honor her for the following reasons to name a very few...
*God honored Mary by allowing her to be the mother of His only Son.
**We follow His example and honor her as well.
*He sent a special emissary to her, His Angel Gabriel to announce his plans for her and her Son. She said yes to Gods will regardless of what Joseph or other people might say or think.
**May we follow her example and unconditionally say yes to Gods will.
*She was the first Christian. She knew this was the child of God, the Messiah and since she was a virgin, she had 100% faith and accepted Him as her Lord and Savior the moment she said yes to God.
**We hope to have that faith without seeing and still believing.
She was with Jesus all of his life. Even to his death she was by his side and never left him.
**That we may stay consistent in our walk with him, even to death.
I could go on and on but I would like to touch on some other points.
At this point, I should mention that many have the same issues with Catholics praying to the Saints as they do with Catholics praying to Mary. For more information on Catholics praying or worshiping the Saints, please click here. You may want to take a moment and read that before continuing here. It will make more sense.
So when we kneel before a statue of Mary, it is kneeling in respect and honor just as Jesus follows the commandment “honor thy mother and father” we imitate him and honor her but as one would kneel before a bride asking for her hand in marriage or before a king or queen. As far as the statue goes, if we can erect a statue for a general that was victorious in a war killing thousands of enemies, we can certainly erect a statue honoring someone that God Himself honored in so many ways.
As far as the “Hail Mary” goes, we are just fulfilling scripture when she said “all nations will call me blessed.” We are just repeating and greeting her in our communication or “prayer” just following the example of Gods angel Gabriel.. Tell me if you disagree with any of the following… “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb…Jesus!” Is there anything there that you object to? Ok, then WE add, “Holy Mary, mother of God (because Jesus is God, that is one of the primary beliefs of all Christians) pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death! Amen. Now Joe, we don’t say, Mary, we worship you or Mary, forgive us our sins, no… She’s not God, we don’t worship her! But we do Honor her, just as God honored her by letting her carry Himself made Man in her womb, just as Gabriel honored her in his greeting, just as Elizabeth honored her when Mary came to visit her and her own child in womb leaped for joy and she said, "who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to visit?". My question is why wouldn’t any Christian honor Mary? Could it possibly be that they have been deceived or lulled into thinking or believing that Mary is one that is not deserving of Honor? Could it be that the Enemy would have us forget Mary and the Saints that have been martyred in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?
The bottom line though brothers and sisters, is that Honoring Mary isn’t necessary for Salvation. Jesus is. However, the more lies and confusion that spread between Christians, the more it benefits the enemy. Christians bicker and argue about things that are non-essential for salvation and this is just one example! I would ask you to please find the truth about Catholic Christians and spread it to other Christians. The word says a house cannot stand against itself. We are all one body in Christ! We need to focus our attention and witness to those who don’t know Him yet.
What did Martin Luther have to say about Mary?