“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
When I pray alone, I often begin my prayers echoing the words of Mary. "Lord God, Here I am..." I find that nothing centers my mind on God more than reminding myself that what I am about to say, what I am about to offer, is for Him and because of Him. Such a simple statement from a Jewish girl not much younger than me defines what it is to be a Christian more than any other words ever spoken. I cannot ask to be like Jesus. I cannot be like Jesus. I cannot be "Christ-like" for as much as I may try, I have failed and I am doomed forever to fail. Fail, completely. Fail as in not get a single answer on the test correct. But I can be Mary-like. I can seek to say yes to God when asked and give myself over to His will.
Co-redemptrix. Mediatrix. These are confusing terms even to many Catholics. By allowing Mary to mediate for us in Heaven or by granting her a place of importance as a "co-redeemer" of mankind, are we worshiping Mary? Much of the confusion comes from a failure to understand the meaning of "co" in the term co-redemptrix. Think of the co-pilot of an airplane. Is the co-pilot the same rank as the pilot? Do they fly the plane and command the flight equally? Of course not! The pilot is fully in control but the co-pilot holds an important position of responsibility in assisting him in getting everyone to their destination safely. It is this special place in salvation history that Mary holds that provides the basis of the adoration (as opposed to worship) of Mary in the Catholic Church. Jesus could have begun His public ministry at any time, but it was upon simple prompting from His mother that He chose to do so. "They have no wine."
As Mary mediated for the wedding party at Cana, she mediates for us. I do not believe in the no-strings-attached concept of sola fide
; we must cooperate with the freely given gift of Grace (as we must cooperate with any freely given gift, starting with accepting the gift
). As we must cooperate with our salvation, we are shown Mary as the ultimate in cooperation with Christ's mission: the mission to save mankind.
I know that many feel alone and may find it hard to "approach" God. After all, how does someone who is shy, depressed, or ashamed approach a deity that is all-powerful and all-knowing? You have been given the gift of the young girl whom He chose to be His mother when He gave Himself to us in human form. You can always talk to God, but if you feel that you cannot, you can talk to the girl who said Yes.Did this clear up any misconception you had about the role of Mary for Catholics? Would you consider incorporate making petitions to Mary into your prayer life? What is the role of Mary as an example for the Christian life?