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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.