Chapter 12. Mary: The Church’s First and Most Perfect Member • 147
But this does not deny the possibility that Christ would permit oth-
ers to share in his mediating role. Here on earth we routinely ask oth-
ers for prayers. Instinctively, we turn to holy people for their prayers
because they seem nearer to God. Why would we stop asking saints for
their prayers after they die? If we believe they are in heaven, would not
their prayers be even more effective?
From the earliest times, Christians have sought Mary’s prayers and
help. There has been the basic sense on the part of the Church that Mary
continues in heaven to be concerned for the growth of all members of
the Church into holiness and an intimate relationship with her Son.
1. How would you explain to others the connection between Mary
as the Mother of God and all her special gifts: the Immaculate
Conception, perpetual virginity, and the Assumption? Why is it
important to understand that Mary, too, needed to be redeemed?
2. In what ways can you identify with Mary’s “yes” to God at the
Annunciation? If Mary’s life serves as an example for us of an undi-
vided heart in response to the love of God, how are you able to daily
demonstrate your love for God?
3. Mary was the greatest disciple of her Son. How are you growing in
your call to discipleship?
• “What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it
believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in
turn its faith in Christ” (CCC, no. 487).
• “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a
woman” (Gal 4:4).
• An essential part of God’s saving plan for the mother of his Son
was that she be conceived free of Original Sin. “Through the centu-
ries the Church became ever more aware that Mary, ‘full of grace’
through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception”
(CCC, no. 491). This is the doctrine of her Immaculate Conception.