Sometimes people of other faith traditions think that we worship Mary. While they can clearly see that Mary holds a special place in our faith, all our worship is directed toward God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Collect Prayer for our celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel reminds us of this:
All gracious God,
may the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother and Queen of Carmel, protect us,
and bring us to your holy Mountain, Christ our Lord…
Mary is certainly the most blessed of all women, and a person without equal. As our mother and sister in faith, she intercedes for us, and leads us to the divine mystery in which we believe. This echoes through a number of the prayer texts we use on our feast day today.
While we certainly honour Mary at different times throughout the liturgical year, the liturgy is still focused on giving thanks to God for the Paschal Mystery – the life, death and resurrection of Christ in which Mary played a crucial role. It is why, for example, that prayers to Mary (such as the Hail Mary) don’t form part of the proper texts for Mass. It is also why Marian devotions, such as the rosary, or private prayers at the Marian Shrine, have their own time and place.
So as we give thanks for Mary’s patronage and protection, let us remember her first and foremost as a woman with deep faith who embraced the will of God. Let us pray that by her prayers and example, our faith and love will become like hers.