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Our readers asked:

How often should I pray to Mary?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:

First, let me make an important clarification: Catholics are not required to involve Mary in their prayer lives. Doing so is totally voluntary. Many people pray to her and ask for her intercession; others never do. It’s a matter of choice.

That, of course, begs another question: why do many Catholics make her a part of their prayers? Ultimately, it comes down to our beliefs about Mary. Catholics have traditionally regarded her as a powerful intercessor (you can see a biblical example of this in the story of the Wedding at Cana), and as a woman who can draw us closer to her son. For centuries, Catholics have also honored her as a powerful example of living a God -centered life. In the apostolic exhortation Marialis Cultus, Pope Paul VI explained it thus: “Mary’s ‘yes’ is for all Christians a lesson and example of obedience to the will of the Father, which is the way and means of one’s own sanctification.”

By giving her life totally to the plans that God had for her, Mary shows us the power and beauty of discerning and following the ways of God. It can’t hurt to ask for her prayers as we try to do the same.

The Author : Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
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  • Ginny Kubitz Moyer

    Julie — I hear you, too. I had the same struggle myself several years ago. What helped was to realize that Mary’s action at the Annunciation (essentially agreeing to become pregnant out of wedlock) was incredibly courageous and even gutsy. The more closely I have explored and reflected on her life, the more I’ve realized that she must have been a pretty strong and even radical woman for her time. Many of the traditional images of Mary don’t capture that, but if you look beyond the downcast gaze in the statues, there’s a pretty incredible woman there.

  • julie

    I on the other hand feel the opposite… I’m told I’m supposed to emulate Mary, who never sinned, remained a virgin throughout her married life, and is never portrayed as particularly outspoken. I strive for a better relationship with her, but sometimes it’s frustratingly difficult.

  • Ginny

    Hi Rachel — Thanks for sharing. Your comment touches on a theme that I’ve definitely encountered in speaking to women about Mary. Many of them (many of us, actually; I include myself in the mix) like including Mary in our prayer lives because we know that she “gets” us. It’s like hanging out with friends; though you have lots of close male friends, there are times when you just need to talk to another woman who knows exactly what you’re going through.

    Other women have told me that there were times in their lives when God seemed too remote or distant or scary to pray to — and, at times like those, Mary served as a kind of bridge to bring them closer.

    I’ll be going into this in more detail in a future question. Thanks for your comment and stay tuned!

  • rachel

    I think I choose to pray to Mary because I sometimes feel as though it is easier to relate as a woman when I am praying to another woman.

    Again, Mary does not replace God, but I find comfort in the commonality of gender.

    In your experience, have women given similar comments?

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