Hello to all. I have just registered. It is wonderful and I am elated to have seen your forum.
To answer the topic at hand, I have to go back right from the beginning. The key to understanding everything about God is be like a little child - trusting, loving, and obeying. Loving a perfect God with perfect obedience and perfect love. As a father to my 3 children, I came to this realization. In a family, we are dependent to our parents (as we grow and mature in our lives) and co-dependent with our brothers and sisters.
Surprisingly, seeing God with the eyes of a child, reading the bible became easy to understand. I began to realize that the Holy Bible actually speaks or tells of a story of a family (ever wondered why the Holy Bible is littered with stories and parables about a father and his children?). It is a blueprint of our past, present, and future and who God is in relation to us. It speaks of our God wanting to have a BIG family...us. He started creating a stable environment that would support life, especially His precious children thus He created earth and everything around it. Then there is the story of our fall. All these can be found in the book of Genesis.
Rather than abandon His children, as a loving Father, God decided to save us. Work with us and make us whole again. Thus the story goes on as reflected in the succeeding books in the Old Testament with the promise of a Savior proclaimed by the prophets.
When Christ came, not only did He shared in our humanness but also He shared to us His divine Son ship. He even taught us how to pray to His Father...The Our Father prayer. Again everything is about a family.
It is important for us to understand about this family so that we can better understand everyone's role (including the saints and mama mary) in the entire salvation history AND about the family of God revealed to us by Christ.
First about Mother Mary.
Without her, the salvation of mankind cannot happen. Same is true as without the prophets, mankind will not be waiting for anything or anyone to give them hope - The Messiah.
God, in His infinite wisdom uses instruments to bring about salvation to the world. 1st was His 10 commandments written in stone. It was placed in an ark and was then brought to the heart of the Jewish nation. To be clear, inside this ark was the WRITTEN WORD OF GOD. Same is true with mama mary. Inside mama mary's womb (ark) was the LIVING WORD OF GOD - His only begotten Son.
Moreover, nothing impure can hold THE LIVING WORD OF GOD for Christ is God. So in a single act of pure love to all humanity, to fulfill His promise of salvation to us, God made mama mary immaculate (conceived without sin). Mama Mary was in the same state as that of adam and eve before the fall - sinless. This is what the Angel Gabriel meant when he said - "Hail Mary FULL OF GRACE!" - gospel according to Luke.
Lastly, on the cross Christ said looking at His mother "woman, behold your son" and after that He then looked at His disciples and said "behold your mother". Christ who is God is now giving us this precious wonderful gift. His own earthly mother. As God used mama mary to bring His Son to the world so is He using His own mother to bring the world closer to Him. And who can better do this; to bring the world closer to God than His own mother who is intimate with Him right from the beginning. Who knows Him far better than any known mortal. She played her role as God commanded, obedient to Him to the very end.
What I have said is not to be confused with something else. Mama Mary IS Mama Mary. And Christ IS God who alone is the Lamb of God that redeemed the debt of the world. The term "co-redemptrix" is properly translated "the woman with the Redeemer". The prefix "co" comes from the Latin term "c u m" which means "with" and not "equal to." Co-redemptrix therefore as applied to Mary refers to her exceptional cooperation with and under her divine son Jesus Christ, in the redemption of the human family, as manifested in Christian Scripture. Oh how I praise God for giving us His own earthly mother. Glory! Glory! Praise be Your Name oh Holy God.
Now about the saints.
Christ said it Himself "I am the way, the truth, and the life”. Christ revealed this truth to us...who God is in relation to us. In the Old testament, God was a father of a nation – Israel. In the New Testament, through His own Son, God became the Father of the gentiles too demanding nothing less but perfection from everyone who listens and to act on it.
Also, Christ did not just re-opened the doors of this divine kinship with Him (this door was closed after the fall – and if Salvation did not come, we were all doomed to die), He has shown us the way AND how to do it by following Him without ceasing. And those who followed Him, some of them are elevated by the Church to sainthood...to be our 'idols' for everyone to see. In lay mans term - like heroes in a military sense or the american idol winner...lol. Like Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa, Saint Paul, etc. as a visible reminder of how we ought to live our lives if we truly want to follow Christ. Every generation have a saint for those who have eyes to see. People don't need miracles to see God's grace. All they have to do is to look at lives of these people. It actually is so simple to really see this...yet due to our bondage to sin...is quite hard to do. Thus the Holy Spirit works with us.
Some people may confuse this 'using' saints to go to heaven or worst, as a form of worship. No! To worship saints is fallacy. An error that can cause someone’s salvation. Catholics used saints as models. In my case I look at Pope John Paul II as my visible guide towards my own salvation. Comparing his acts to mine…I know right now…I still have a looong way to go…LOL. This is a man completely intimate with Christ.
As I participate in God’s fatherhood (as I am a father myself) and in God’s family (as His adopted son), I am more than willing to kneel down and pray for my lost brothers and sisters. I ask for prayers too from the saints and mama mary herself. I know this is pleasing to God as I myself am pleased when I see my children help each other. Oh how I love this sight.
To end let me just profess this:
I love God so much! So much! My heart is burning to know Him more each day. Like a loving child to a loving parent. I know I do not deserve His love for my sins ARE great. And yet I feel Him. Loving me. I see how He truly blessed my life. Not of the material things but I mean...from my earthly parents, my beautiful loving wife, three wonderful obedient children...I mean I see it! There is nothing I could ask that is better than this. And I love Him even more because I see this. I am so so x infinity grateful to Him because of what He has given me. I love you Lord with everything I am.
I strive to please Him each day. To follow Him without ceasing. So that one day, through His grace coupled with my works, I'll worship Him, serve Him for all eternity.
This may sound crazy to some...I see God two ways. He is Holy, He is mighty, He is all powerful, He is all knowing, He is ever present, He is Glorious that deserves nothing else from us but our perfect obedience and perfect love. I worship Him each day and give Him Glory every single second of my life. Yet I also see Him also as a humble, loving parent having all these emotions (we were created in His image and LIKENESS)...like being upset with us because we don't know Him, Someone that I fear when angry (just like the way I fear my earthly father when he is angry - when I was still a child).
With all this, I have come to fully appreciate my Catholic background. I approach God as both my GOD and my Parent at the same time.