Why Mary? Indeed.
Because at one time, Our Lord and Savior was three years old--and if you've ever been the mother of a three-year-old, you know what a challenge that can be. But it goes far beyond successfully raising a three-year-old to manhood.
For most people who aren't familiar with the Catholic faith, there is a misconception that Catholics worship Mary. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First we have to ask what is worship? Dictionary.com defines worship as the "reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred". In the Catholic Church, we would have to go the dictionary one further and clarify that worship is the honor, reverence, glory, and homage paid to God and Him alone; to worship anyone or anything other than God is to break the law of God.
So, if we aren't worshipping Mary, why do we spend so much time and energy on her?
What about your own mom? You talk to your mom, sit and eat with her, love her, go out with her...and worship her as God, right? Of course not. You spend time with your mother and love her because, well, she's Mom, and she's very deserving of love and respect. And that's as it should be, as long as you don't bow down to your mom and declare her to be the One Creator of the universe and everything that is good, beautiful, and true.
And it's the same with Mary as well. We pray to Mary* because we love her as the mother given to us by Christ. As He hung on the Cross, struggling for breath, every single word served a specific, pointed and perfect purpose; with the dying, every word counts. Christ proclaimed "'...to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother'" (John 19:27). Indeed, Christ gave His mother not only to St. John, but to all of humanity, His love for her (and us) was so great. When we pray to Mary, we do this in complete confidence, because she is our mother as well.
And when you stop to think about it, the power of Mary's intercession is incredible and undeniable. Jesus was like us in all things, but sin. Mary consented to the will of God and carried Him in her womb when the discovery of her unmarried pregnancy (regardless of betrothal) could have brought her death by stoning--and she knew this. But her trust in God was absolute. She went on to raise Him up from the tiniest baby to a full-grown man, teaching Him in the ways of love, patience, kindness, and everything else that true man would need to learn in order to reveal His Divine nature as True God. It's a given that children learn by watching the examples they see every day; what an incredible example He must have had before Him in St. Joseph, and His mother, Mary.
It is with joyful confidence that we ask Mary to pray for us, and we know without a doubt that she hears our prayers. We know that He listens to her and as the perfect Jewish Son is obedient to His mother, thus keeping the fourth Commandment. At the wedding at Cana, Jesus resisted helping, citing that "My hour has not yet come", until His mother told the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:4,5) And He did, and they did.
It is my hope and prayer that you, too, will find great love, solace, and comfort - and a powerful intercessor - hidden in the mantle of Our Lady, Mary, the Mother of God.**
* Important note: When we Catholics say that we pray to Mary (or to any Saint), what we mean is that we are asking her to intercede for us to her Son, Jesus. We "pray" and "intercede" interchangeably, which, admittedly, can cause a lot of confusion.
** Referring to Mary as the Mother of God has been known to make some go weak in the knees thinking that we worship Mary as the Creator of the Christ. I offer my most sincere and profound apologies to anyone who has suffered due to this misunderstanding. "Mother of God" is a title given to Mary that is proven by simple logic: Mary is the mother of Jesus; Jesus is God; therefore, Mary is the Mother of God. That's it--no more, and no less. The Catholic Church has not ever, does not currently, and will never teach that Mary created Christ's Divine nature as True God. Our Blessed Mother was His mom, who loved Him, raised Him, and was there at the foot of the Cross because He was her baby--and she knew that she needed a Savior, too.