Can Mary answer our prayers?

Do you have a devotion to Our Blessed Mother? Do you talk to her often, asking for her intercession and prayers? Josephine in Union, New Jersey, wondered this about her prayer to Our Lady: “When we pray to her, does she have the power to answer our prayers or does she go to her son and ask him to answer our prayers?”

Msgr. Swetland, host of Go Ask Your FatherTM on Relevant Radio®, replied: “The answer is both, of course. Mary and all the saints and angels do whatever they can to help us. Their work in heaven is to help us get to the point where we can join them in heavenly glory. They continue, of course, to offer glory and praise to God; they’re united to God, they’re in friendship with him and friendship with one another. But as St. Therese pointed out, she’s going to spend her time in heaven until the second coming doing everything she can to help us join her. So in that sense, the work goes on in heaven, the apostolate goes on in heaven.”

Christ’s grace works through Mary and the saints. “When we ask Our Lady to pray for us, it’s very clear in scripture that the angels and saints offer prayer for us. So Mary answers our requests for prayer and she prays and offers those to her son. Now, we don’t know exactly how God has arranged for grace to flow through Our Lady to us, but that he has is part of our understanding of Mary’s role in salvation history. And of course, in history, all grace came through Jesus and since Jesus came to us through Mary, we see that way quite clearly. How it happens exactly in the order of grace is still a theological debate among theologians and mariologists.”

Even we can be instruments of God’s grace if we allow ourselves to be used to help others. “We shouldn’t be surprised by this. The other day, someone helped me see something that I was a little perplexed about in the spiritual life and that person was a grace for me. God enlightened him to be able to make that good point that I needed to hear, and so God worked through him and I can honestly say he was an answer to prayer. He was a source of grace for me. Do I believe that grace came from that individual? No. I believe it came through Christ to him. But the point is that God uses other human persons to help us and it’s not surprising that humans continue to do this in the Communion of Saints in heaven.”

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.