5th Sunday after Easter 21.5.17 Praying through Mary
Our Lord, in today’s Gospel, is encouraging His disciples to pray to Him directly. They had been praying to the Father; now they can pray to the Son.
He is opening another avenue for them to reach Heaven with their prayers.
God wants us to pray, which is to communicate with Him.
He wants us to feel the assurance of His closeness to us. He does not want our prayer to be like a desperate shouting in the void, hoping someone is going to hear it.
He wants us to see ourselves as part of His family; somewhere we belong. So we can pray to the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Our Lady, the saints, the angels; and we have each other to intercede for our needs.
Sometimes we pray with other people; always we pray with the communion of saints, the citizens of Heaven, who join their prayer with ours, especially if we ask them.
We need not fear that prayer addressed to someone less than God in any way takes away from our duty to put God first.
Seeing the Church as family - if I speak to my mother, does that mean I love my father any less? No, in a happy family people can talk to each other without any fear that someone else is being left out. All feel comfortable with each other.
This is how God wants us to be. With increasing faith will come increasing charity, whereby we all believe and want the same things.
There is a concern for many Christians that prayer to Mary, in particular, is somehow in opposition to God.
If we pray to Mary, however, the prayer will be improved not weakened. We can be assured that any prayer directed to her goes also to God; made more pleasing to Him because it is now her prayer as well as ours.
If we include her in our prayers we will benefit as we reach a deeper maturity in praying. We are not just asking for things all the time; and not just wanting material or physical blessings. Instead we learn to value the spiritual qualities that are so much better for us.
We come, in short, to be more like Mary herself, totally conformed to the will of God, and joyful in that state.
She will teach us to be humble. Our prayer is confident, but it must also be reverent and deferential, never demanding.
Son, they have no wine, is the model! Not telling Him what to do, but in the security of a loving relationship, able to mention a problem.
The demanding approach is to hold God to ransom. Hear this prayer, or I will stop believing in you!
With Our Lady we learn to trust God in all things at all times, so apparent disappointment can be absorbed in a larger hope.
We feel her gratitude to God, her humility, in short, all her good qualities. We benefit more from that, probably, than if we are granted whatever we are requesting!
Our prayer will become increasingly a natural expression of an existing sense of trust.
We ‘pray’, not just ‘say prayers’. We know we are being heard. There is no shouting across the void; no fretfulness or impatience; no grumbling. Only trust.
This is how it should work. If we have not reached such an ideal, that itself becomes matter for prayer.
Our Lady will help us to pray, as she helps us with all our needs.