Why Catholics Ask Mary's Intercession

Why Catholics Ask Mary's Intercession

A few years ago I went to see the tall ships that were visiting Boston harbor. On my way home I stopped at Saint Anthony’s Shrine downtown. As I was walking toward it I noticed a tall, thin man hanging around in front of the church, sort of huddled into a corner wall. Though he looked around furtively through his black-rimmed glasses and seemed a bit timid, he didn't appear to be begging. True to my New York upbringing, I began to walk quickly past, pretending not to notice. As I went by, he suddenly reached into a white plastic grocery bag, pulled out a leaflet, and waved it in my face. I realized immediately that it was one of those anti-Catholic tracts, so I didn’t take it.

After a short time praying in the church, I got an inspiration that on my way out I should stop and talk to this man. I felt reluctant, since I generally don’t approach strangers on the street and talk to them. But I thought: Here’s this person handing out anti-Catholic leaflets in front of a Catholic church, so why should I just go by without responding in some way? So I asked him, “What’s that you're handing out?”

He handed me the leaflet, listing some typical fundamentalist objections to the Catholic Church. He said he had been Catholic but now was going to another church. His big point was that the Catholic Church has “man-made” beliefs and practices, and of course, the intercession of Mary and the saints was a huge issue. So I talked to him for a while about this. I wish I could say that he converted back to the Church, but it’s never that easy. Only the grace of God can bring that about.

Hopefully, however, if Catholics had a better understanding of why we have devotion to Mary and the saints, they would not fall away so easily when challenged about this. So the question arises: Why do we ask Mary’s intercession at all? Can’t we just go directly to Jesus? Yes, we can and certainly do pray directly to God and to Jesus, who is the “one mediator between God and humankind” (1 Tim 2:5). In this, as in so many other things Catholic, it’s not a matter or either/or, but of both/and.

Jesus came to earth for our salvation. He redeemed us by his death on the cross and his resurrection. Without that, we could not be saved. But Jesus established the Church and wanted us to play a part in helping others to be saved. For example, shortly before he went back to heaven, he told his disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:15–16). Jesus gave the disciples a role through which others would be saved. Their role was subordinate to that of Jesus, of course, but it was still a true role. Something similar is at work with the intercession of Mary and the saints. It is part of the plan of God, by which he wills that we can help each other along the way of salvation.

Jesus merited for us the gift of grace, which is how we become like God. Jesus undid the evil of the original sin committed by our first parents at the very beginning of the human race. The irony is that in sinning they thought they would become like God, as the tempter told them (see Gen 3:4–5). But in reality they were already like God since he had given them the gift of original grace, and they lost it when they sinned.

So how do we become like God? The short answer is through faith and the sacraments. Looking at it more broadly, however, Saint Thomas makes an interesting point. I’m paraphrasing a bit, but basically he says that we can become like God in two ways. First, because God is good, we become like him by being good. Second, because God is the cause of goodness in creatures, we become like God by bringing goodness to others, by doing good (see Summa Theol., I, q. 103, a. 4).

That second point is the key aspect in regard to the intercession of the saints. By praying for us, they play a role in bringing goodness to us. It’s part of God’s plan. It’s more perfect for us to reflect God’s goodness by doing good rather than simply by being good. We’re meant to be active, to reach out, to help others, and that reflects God. And while we can help others in all sorts of ways, to help them get closer to God is the best thing we can do for them. The intercession of the saints does precisely that.

When you think about it, isn’t this the way God acts in regard to other things? He brings about goodness through other creatures. For example, he could have just directly created all the people he wants, instead of having them come into the world through their parents. But by giving parents a role in procreation, God is acting through them to bring goodness to others. And the parents’ role is not only good for their children, but good for themselves too. It gives them the wonderful ability to cooperate with God in bringing life into the world.

That’s good for us, because it’s an important part of the way we become holy. We reflect these two aspects of God by both being good and doing good. God isn’t concerned about doing things in the most efficient way. If he were, he would just do everything himself. God is concerned about drawing us into his very life, and he doesn’t want us to come all by ourselves. He wants us to come with a lot of other people.

The Catholic faith takes this seriously. It’s not just a matter of me and Jesus, but of me, Jesus, and the whole community of the Church. …

On Calvary, Mary offered up her sufferings at seeing Jesus die such a cruel death. She joined her sufferings to his and so she became the Sorrowful Mother, the mother who understands our own pain and sufferings. As Jesus was dying, he saw Mary standing there with the beloved disciple. Turning toward them, Jesus said, “‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then [turning to John,] he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home” (Jn 19:26–27). Even though we usually think of Saint John as being the beloved disciple, and he probably was, he is never named in John’s Gospel. Some writers think this is because he is meant to represent all of us as disciples. So in giving Mary to him, in effect Jesus was giving her to all of us. He was asking us to bring Mary into our lives, to welcome her and give her a place. It’s as if Jesus was asking us to develop a relationship with Mary.

So how do we do that? Basically, we can do it just as we develop other relationships, by getting to know the person and sharing knowledge of ourselves. Granted, it may be a little harder to do this in regard to Mary, since prayer operates differently than when we speak to others face to face. And even though when we pray we may not hear a response, we can know without a doubt that she is listening to what we say and bringing it to Jesus. She will ask him for all the graces we need.

Mary Help In Hard Times  Excerpted from the book: Mary Help in Hard Times, written and compiled by Marianne Lorraine Trouvé, FSP.



Mary, saints, intercession, prayer


Inspiration, Living the Faith Today



  • Thiis is a topic that's near to my heart... Thank you! Where are your contact deails though?
    5/17/2019 3:17:23 PM Reply
  • Hello everyone, it's my first visit at this webb site, and article is truly fruitful foor me, keep up posting these types of articles orr reviews.
    5/14/2019 2:46:43 PM Reply
  • It is the Church which is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
    3/31/2019 2:39:30 AM Reply
  • Protestans are so misguided. Your the branches that fell off the tree. Jesus never intended to have 1 million denomination. Just one. The catholic faith that he started. And Catholics do t pray TO Mary but with. She is the co redemptris .. and GOD allows Mary and the saints to hear all prayers .. there is no time in heaven. Just one example .. my friend who prayer the rosary and and asked for Mary’s intersection cured his cancer , where doctors said 3 months to live. Peter you are the Rock ( first pope ) and on this rock I shall build gods church ... now who said this ? Protestant religion was started by a man not Jesus
    12/17/2018 11:40:17 PM Reply
    • @Robert : I challenge you to do two things. Read the Word of God daily and pray this simple pray, Holy Spirit show any lies that I am not even aware I believe.
      12/21/2018 12:21:50 AM Reply
    • @Robert : I challenge you to do two things. Read the Word of God daily and pray this simple pray, Holy Spirit show any lies that I am not even aware I believe.
      12/21/2018 12:21:47 AM Reply
    • @Robert : I challenge you to do two things. Read the Word of God daily and pray this simple pray, Holy Spirit show any lies that I am not even aware I believe.
      12/21/2018 12:18:54 AM Reply
  • It's pity many Christians like you are succumbed to the teachings of church leaders without adhering to the words of the Bible. 1. Where in the Bible does it state that the dead can intercede for the living? 2. Where in the Bible does it state that the righteous dead are in heaven but not asleep(in the grave), waiting for the resurrection? 3. If the righteous dead(saints) are asleep whilst waiting for Jesus 2nd second coming(as Paul said) then how can they be in heaven at the same time in the grave? (don't forget the soul and the body can not exist independently. They're like a computer hardware and software; without the other, the other is useless. In fact I understand soul as the record of a dead person with God and not a conscious being capable of existing independently without the body. That must be heresy if your leaders teaches so. It's a pagan belief and not found in the Bible) 4. If the souls of the righteous dead are conscious and able to go to heaven upon a person's death, able to experience how heaven is, then what's the essence of the resurrection which I and you are yearning for? So my dear dear sister in Christ, think, think! and don't burden yourself with the teachings of the church leaders after all they were/are humans like you and God can equally use you. Read the Bible you have sincerely. For God will open your understanding when He realise you're ready for the truth.
    12/6/2018 7:00:07 PM Reply
  • The missing power in a catholics life - The non indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Catholics have replaced the 3rd person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, with Mary, Saints, Idol worship, Novenas, Rosary, etc I want to ask them what they think about Sin and how they intend to overcome Sin by all these rituals? For example, if you cannot control lust and have lustful thoughts about any woman (other than wife), how do they overcome that by all these endless rituals or by keeping Lent or some other fast? They should read Romans 8 and understand what is written: Romans 8 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Only through the Power of the Holy Spirit can we overcome Sins. I wish they stared reading their Bibles and see what is the message given. Or listen to sermons explaining about who the Holy Spirit is.
    9/11/2018 2:40:58 AM Reply
  • To believe St Mary as an intercessor is simply to believe that she is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient which means Mary has the attributes of God. That also means Trinity has fourth person. For instance 10000000 car rush on the road, 10000 aeroplanes fly at high altitude at high speed. How can she be present in all these machines and hear intercession? Must have Omni Attributes!!!??!!??
    2/24/2018 2:38:55 PM Reply
    • @Le Haskel: Point well made, the Truth shall set us free! amen. To read the scriptures and start to elaborate something that is clearly not supported by scripture is to deceive others. Christ paid the price on the cross, He claimed I am the way the truth and the life "no one" comes to the FATHER except through ME. The FATHER said Exodus 20:4 Not to make any image of what is up in Heaven nor Earth. There is no reason whatsoever other than the Redeemer to intercede for all of us, If I was to do so then I will be denying HIs Power, HIS word, the FATHER.
      5/14/2018 10:13:38 AM Reply
  • To believe St Mary as an intercessor is simply to believe that she is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient which means Mary has the attributes of God. That also means Trinity has fourth person. For instance 10000000 car rush on the road, 10000 fly at high altitude at high speed. How can she be present in all these machines and hear intercession? Must have Omni Attributes!!!??!!??
    2/24/2018 2:36:15 PM Reply
  • Christ is the ONLY mediator (1Tim 2:5)and/ Holy Spirit - our intercessor (Rom 8:26-27)
    1/20/2018 9:47:51 AM Reply
    • nnc
      @Chege : https://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/maryc5.htm go to official teachings when researching these topics. alot of people online and off pretend to be catholic to confuse people with lies.
      2/4/2018 6:42:09 AM Reply
  • Actually, John is named in the book of John. John 1:6
    1/5/2018 2:55:14 PM Reply
  • 1) We all have to know our Gods ways and policies. God spoke to Mary through Gabriel before her marriage, after her marriage God didn't spoke to Mary but to Joseph bcz now she is a wife of Joseph (Christ is the head of man, man is the head of woman, God always consider authority) 2) Mary wants Jesus to help the marriage house in Cana: Even though, it was not Jesus time and hour though he did the miracle against the will of his mighty father to observe the commandment 5 "Honour your father and mother". 3)Sure Mary is blessed and she knew that it was wrong that she intervened in her son Jesus mission and it is against her mighty Fathers will so from that movement she kept herself silent and didn’t place any request to her son till his death. 4) Jesus handover his mother to John at the cross because, to observe the commandment 5 "Honour your father and mother”, and John was the only one near the cross. All apostles and his brothers and sisters are scared and run away. 5) Why Apostles didn’t mentioned anything about Joseph or Mary bcz, salvation is only through Jesus and not through anyone. They knew clearly that if they specify more about Mary and Joseph people in this generation will be diverted from Jesus. See, on their minute references about Mary people are stumbled. 6) Apostles didn't mention anything about Whether Jesus met his mother after his resurrection or not bcz of the same reason in 5 7) Our God is a God of living ones and so he will listen to our prayers and so we have to pray for each other, even apostles request prayers for them. Why they didn't intercede to Abraham, Moses, Elijah , John the Baptist or to Mother Mary (if she is assented or assumed to heaven in their life time). 8) Mary was with John, before his death, he wrote many revelations, why he didn’t mention anything about Mary? Her death or taken to heaven? The woman with 12 stars is Jerusalem and Gods son was born in Jerusalem and Jerusalem was mentioned as “She”. 9) All apostle wrote book in Holy spirit why they didn’t mentioned anything about her death or taken to heaven? Why Holy Spirit didn’t reveal it to them? 10) Why we follow something not in the bible if we are truly following bible? 11) Every congregation have their own version of bible, then why Catholic don’t incorporate their belief -Mary death or taken to heaven in to their version of Bible? 12) Satan wants to divert people from Jesus, so he takes several forms in this world, even the form of Holy ones. In the end times he even takes the form of Jesus and presents himself to us, but the true Jesus will appear in clouds with his holy ones that Satan can’t do. Here we need spiritual Wisdom. My true belief in bible is that, if God want to glorify or want everyone to intercede to Mary, our God would have revealed it to all apostles. Jesus is the mediator between father and us who intercede for us in heaven and the helper given for us is Holy Spirit in all our need in this world
    11/3/2017 1:42:09 PM Reply
  • You said it yourself when you quoted scripture. There is only one mediator between us and the Father and that is our Lord Jesus. Mary was a human being guilty of sin just like the rest of us. She is blessed and full of grace but scripture says nothing of her being an intercessor.
    10/10/2017 7:36:06 PM Reply
  • I wish us protestants were as devoted and sacrificial as you are. Although i love my catholic friends, nevertheless we cannot twist God's word to fit our customs which seem pagan. Mary was a human and died like anyone of us. She was a sinner just like any other human born in flesh. She needed forgiveness of her sins just like us. She is not the mother of God.God is above everything, everyone. But she is esteemed among all women because God chose her to give birth to His son. Jesus Christ was born to Mary , just like Joseph was His father. Jesus lineage is with Joseph and not Mary. Neither Joseph nor Mary are alive today to be the intercessors. Jesus Christ is One and Only intercessor.
    8/20/2017 9:04:17 PM Reply
  • Also all of you Catholic Warriors Please Pray for me God Bless you all Emilio
    8/19/2017 2:31:02 AM Reply
  • To reduce the divinity of Jesus Christ by eliminating the trinity and then claiming that Jesus was also Michael the archangel Is folly .All we can do is pray for the JW's I know many of them Most of them do strive for a Christian moral life as twisted and insane as their Theology may be .Keep in mind many of these teachings are indoctrinated from a young age .The watchtower also holds the threat of shunning over their heads if they leave the organization .It was Mr Charles Taze Rusell who inspired this movement .They basically sell you on the notion of an earthly paradise and then strange and bizarre theology is thrown into the mix .They believe the United nations and all governments to be the Anti-Christ.It is a peculiar belief system .The most effective way to evangelize a witness is to have those former JW'S who are now Catholics They have the inside scoop on all their strange apocalyptic end of times beliefs Move in and explain Catholicism .. Charles Taze Rusell the founder of JW/ Russelites supposedly prophesied the end of the world over 10 times and failed .We are warned about false prophets Deutoronomy 18:22 when a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him. They have transformed the non binding Mosaic Law and because of this many die unnecessarily due to lack of blood transfusions pray for them they are more vulnerable than you think .If you go to this link you will see the whole blood transfusion confusion in this Catholic Article https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/transfusion-confusion..
    8/19/2017 2:28:36 AM Reply
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