I said last night I would list the things about Mary that Catholics really believe, according to what Kimberly Hahn learned when she was learning about the Catholic Religion. Kimberly wrote:
“1. Mary is not a goddess–she is worthy of honor and veneration but not worthy of worship, which is to be given to God alone.
2. Mary is a creature uniquely fashioned by her Son as no other mother has ever been or will be.
3. Mary rejoiced in God her Savior, as she stated in the Magnificat, because Jesus saved her from sin from the moment of conception. In other words, her sinlessness was a gift of grace, saving her before she sinned. (Certainly God had saved many of us from wild profligacy before we got into it; perhaps he saved Mary even earlier. I granted that it was possible.)
4. Mary’s title as Queen of Heaven did not come from being married to God–as I had thought–but was based on the honor of being the Queen Mother of Jesus, the King of Kings and the Son of David. In the Old Testament, King Solomon, the son of David, elevated his mother, Bathsheba, to a throne at his right hand, paying her homage in his court as the queen mother. And in the New Testament, Jesus elevated his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to a throne at his right had in heaven, bidding us to pay her homage as the Queen Mother of heaven.
5. Mary’s mission was to point beyond herself to her Son, saying, “Do whatever he says.” At this point I realized that certain examples of Marian piety that focused on Mary to the point of neglecting Jesus perhaps were not faithful to Catholic teaching on her. Perhaps these dear souls did not even realize it, but they were offending the Blessed Virgin even in their attempts to honor her, if they were neglecting her primary mission to bring us to her Son.”
Scott added a description of Mary as God’s masterpiece that Kimberly found helpful: Mary is God’s masterpiece. Have you ever walked into a museum where an artist was displaying his work? Can you imagine his being offended if you were viewing what he considered to be his masterpiece? Would he resent your looking at that instead of at him? ‘Hey, you should be looking at me!’ Rather, the artist would receive honor because of the attention you were giving his work. And Mary is God’s work, from beginning to end.” Scott continued, “And if someone praises one of our children to you,(Kimberly) do you interrupt with, ‘Let’s give credit where credit is due?’ No, you know you are being honored when our child is being honored. LIKEWISE GOD RECEIVES GLORY AND HONOR WHEN HIS CHILDREN ARE HONORED.”

I do hope this helps both non-Catholics and Catholics understand the position of the Catholic Church when we honor Mary. The pictures and statues are to remind us of Mary, like we then have a picture in our mind, just as we have photos of our loved ones at home.
The prayer, “HAIL MARY FULL OF GRACE THE LORD IS WITH THEE, BLESSED ART THOU AMONG WOMEN AND BLESSED IS THE FRUIT OF THY WOMB, JESUS… comes from the new testament, the words that Elizabeth said to Mary..HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF GOD, PRAY FOR US SINNERS NOW AND AT THE HOUR OF OUR DEATH. AMEN ….this is a request to ask Mary to intercede to her Son, Jesus, for us now and when we die.Since she is a Saint in Heaven, we can ask her to join us in prayer.

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