Q. Why do Catholics emphasize Mary so much when most other Christian churches rarely mention her?
A. St. Louis de Montfort, one of the greatest proponents of devotion to the Virgin Mary, remarked that compared to the glory of Jesus Christ, Mary is but a grain of sand on an infinite seashore. What he was trying to convey was that any praise and honour we give to Mary is never to remain solely with her, but is to be directed toward the Lord Jesus. We honour her for being a humble handmaiden of the Lord, allowing God to use her to play a role in our salvation in Jesus Christ. Any fear that Christians may have about Mary overshadowing Jesus can be alleviated if we always use this question as a guiding principle: Does what is being said about Mary give greater glory and praise to Christ or does it lead us away from Him? All of the Marian dogmas are meant to point us toward Christ and glorify Him, echoing the words of Mary spoken long ago – “The Lord has done great things for me and Holy is His name.”
The divine motherhood of Mary shows how God especially chose her to bear His only begotten Son. He did not want her to be a kind of divine incubator where Jesus would enter her womb, grow for 9 months and then be born without His mother having any role in the formation of the blessed humanity of Jesus. Rather, she is truly the Mother of God, Theotokos…the God Bearer. For Jesus is bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh. Her DNA is his DNA – He took His flesh from His mother. We can imagine that He looks like His mother, and so we can proclaim with St. Elizabeth, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” In addition, she is also the mother of all Christians, for as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, we were (along with the beloved disciple) given Mary as a mother as Jesus looked on her from the Cross. She is available to intercede for us as all good mothers do!