|Praying mantis praying through, not to, Mary. I didn't know they were Catholic.|
This is one area that Catholic and non-Catholics get tripped up on all of the time. What is it with Catholics and Mary?
|The most realistic picture of Mary I've ever found|
Catholics have a thing about saints. We have a ton of them.
Best estimates are somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000. And being canonized doesn't mean that you then get to go to heaven. It means that the Catholic Church recognizes by your life, works, and miracles in your name that you are already there. We know there are more saints than are formally recognized by the Church.
Now, I start by talking about the saints because Mary is a saint. She is considered to be the highest and most perfect of the saints, but she's still a saint. Now, what makes her so much better than the other saints?
First of all, there must've been something about her that made God choose her to bear His Son. Catholics believe that Mary was born without the stain of original sin. Original sin is a stain that we all get from our first parents Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God in the garden. We believe that she must've been sinless because she carried God in her womb and God cannot co-exist with sin.
Then we observe human nature. All good kids honor their mothers, right? And Jesus must've been the best kid of all, right? So. we know Mary is in heaven and as the mother of God, we figure she's pretty close to the throne.
Through the centuries, the Church has held Mary up as a role model for all the faithful. We see her willingness to have Jesus (Luke 1:26-38). We hear about her pondering things in her heart (Luke 2:19). We wish we had the openness to Jesus that Mary had and the ability to ponder Jesus' deeds and sayings like she did.
Praying through a saint is like asking your best friend to pray for you. We figure these saints are in heaven and they can talk to God directly about our needs. Mary is considered the closest of the saints, so she is given the most respect and attention from the Church. That is the best summary of an answer that I can give.
We call her the Queen of Heaven because that's what we figure she is.
She did give birth to Jesus, after all.