"From Mary's body comes the gift of God; from her lips comes the command of God. Her role is to lead us to be obedient Christians...Mary's role is to teach us that once we have seen Jesus' glory, we must also walk in obedience to Him" - Dr. Kenneth Howell
These words really sum up the Catholic position on Mary's role in the life of the Christian. When I was still a Protestant, I used to think that Catholic devotion to Mary detracted from Christ; but now as a Catholic I realise just how mistaken I was. Rather, Mary really leads us to Christ more than we can ever know. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said "No Mary; No Jesus". And that is so true. A priest earlier this week in a homily reminded me of this when he said that Mary always leads us to Jesus; and if you weren't being led to Jesus, then you weren't really following Mary.
What a wonderful gift God has given us in Mary - in His wisdom He gives her to us to lead us to obedience in Christ, because we are simply too frail and feeble to do it on our own. Looking back on my many years as a Protestant, I now acknowlege that it was Mary holding my hand leading me to our Lord, even though my misconceptions didn't allow me to see it.