Why do you pray to Mary?
Have you gone through life as a Catholic and always done this, without thinking about why?
Have you ever engaged with someone who asked you why you pray to Mary and not Jesus / God directly? Have you not had the answers when they did so?
I actually experienced the latter recently. One of my wife's friends noticed a relatively large statuette of the Blessed Mother in our living room. She - a Christian but not a Catholic - asked why Mary was so important to our faith. I posed my usual "She is a saint" (understanding saints are available as intercessors for us before God), but when confronted with the friend's challenge that what we do is Mary worship, I was a little taken aback, mostly because I had no idea how to counter that.
While I've been devoted to the Blessed Mother for several years, and pray the rosary often, I asked myself why Mary was so revered above all other saints. I think I reasoned it was because she was Jesus' mom. Not exactly good scriptural background there, which my wife's friend was seeking.
Thankfully my wife, apparently with incredible intuition, had purchased for me several months before Hail, Holy Queen, by Scott Hahn, which I had not yet read but just finished.
Hahn (no relation) :), a Catholic apologist, is great at challenging questions like the ones posed above. And in this book he nails it by giving sound evidence of how Mary - like Jesus - is important to us because she, like her Son, was foretold in the Old Testament.
You might be saying "Huh?"
That's okay, because there aren't any obvious foretellings of a powerful Savior mother in the Old Testament. But that's what makes Hahn's book so great.
His breakdown of The Bible reveals that just as Jesus is the new Adam, Mary is the new Eve. The mistakes Adam makes in Genesis, Jesus reverses. The mistakes Eve makes, Mary redeems.
While Adam brought death to humanity by eating of the apple in Eden, Jesus brings new life by dying on the cross. While Eve is seduced by the devil's temptations, Mary becomes the pure creature of God who conquers Satan.
But the parallels don't stop at the obvious Adam and Eve references.
Hahn reveals many New Testament passages about Mary (most notably in Revelation) which are paralleled by events throughout the Old Testament, even showing us Mary herself is the new Ark of the Covenant (Word of God). Considering Our Lady of Medjugorje has told us she is here to bring us messages from God, it makes perfect sense.
And Hahn shows us that during Jesus' time, the role of a queen mother was a powerful place in nobility. Queen mothers were not merely figureheads in kingdoms of the day, but instead sat at the right hand of their king sons, and yielded tremendous influence and power. He gives great examples of this.
Read this book to gain a sound foundation of why Mary is important to our faith and to more fully understand her role for God and us.
And it doesn't hurt you will have something to say to those who challenge your devotion to Our Blessed Mother. It's always good to know why something is so important to you, right?. I've found reading this book has even helped me pray my rosaries with more understanding of what I'm doing, confidence and conviction.
You can read the cover, table of contents, and a few pages of the book at Amazon.com by clicking the image of the book to the left (clicking the link does not put the book into a shopping cart). Used softcover copies are selling for as little as $6 and change at the time of this post, and the Kindle edition is $9.99.
Enjoy the book, share it with others, and comment on it afterward either here or my Facebook page!
Medjugorje Book Reviews