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Kevin Fitzgerald wrote:

Hi, guys —

O Lady, since thou art the dispenser of all graces, and since the grace of salvation can come only through thy hands, our salvation depends on thee.

— St. Bernardine of Siena

This is a prayer from a Saint of the Catholic Church but it seems to be wrong.

  • How should this prayer be understood?



  { How should one understand this prayer from a Catholic saint seems to be wrong? }

Bob replied:


Thanks for the question. The prayer seems wrong if it were to put Mary against God, making her independent of Gods will; it would indeed be even blasphemy to make God answerable to Mary or somehow subservient to her.

You can say, however, that in some way God is dependent on Mary. He depended on her yes to take up the role of motherhood. He depends on you and me to bring his light and truth to the world. In other words, God has chosen not to act alone in this world. We are part of his solution and at the center of this plan is Mary and The Baby born to her, who grew into a young man, in the fullest sense, only to die and be raised again. Mary was there the whole way and she is still there today.

The truth is that God chose Mary to be His and our (spiritual) Mother, because the Christ, who is the source of salvation and grace, came through her by His choice. She is forever Mother and in some way is inextricably linked to her Son.

We too are channels of God's grace, not independent of Christ, but because we too are linked with Him. Our role in the plan of salvation is to a lesser degree than Mary, but it is real nonetheless.

  • Has anyone been touched by the light of Christ in you?

This is the fruit God asks of us, so he really does need us to step up.

The language of the prayer is flowery and perhaps overstated, but the intent is the recognition of Mary’s perpetual motherhood, in and through Christ, always interceding and bringing grace to all her children as any good mother would.

Pious Catholic devotions, especially those who are devoted to Mary, pay little deference to political correctness as the reformation would have it. Since Protestantism has severely denigrated Mary and her role we have become hyper-sensitive to any language that seems to support their accusation that we worship Mary as we should only worship God. We need to recover our great appreciation of the immense gift of motherhood in Mary — for it is a gift from our Father!!

That is what Protestants have lost. Christmas is not just about a baby, but a mother too!


Bob Kirby

Eric replied:


There is an idea floating around in Catholicism that Mary's active intercession is required for every grace. It has been taught in several encyclicals and attested to by several saints but has not been defined dogmatically.

  • My reaction to it is that while there is little biblical support for it, and little patristic support for that matter, it fits the symbology and if God wished it to be so, who am I to object?

When I say it fits the symbology, first of all, Jesus is the source of all graces and came to us through Mary who consented to the Incarnation, so in that sense, all grace comes to us through Mary. In another sense, Mary is the mother of the Church (see Revelation 12:5,17). Typologically speaking, Mary is identified with the New Israel, the Daughter of Zion, which is our mother (Galatians 4:26). She is the prototype of the Church. Since the Church is the Body of Christ, no grace comes to us except through Christ and His Body, that is, the Church, that is, through Mary's intercession.

It's a deep topic, and one I'm not qualified to really delve into, but if you want more understanding, I'll bet Tim Staple's book Behold Thy Mother would have it.


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