Hail Mary

Holy Mary, Our Lady, Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace and at least 75 other titles reflect the deep devotion Catholics hold for the Mother of God. We do not worship her, but we do venerate her (as we do all the Saints) and ask for her intercession.

What makes her so special? Many, many things. Unlike the first Eve, she said “yes” to God – responding to the Archangel Gabriel “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38). She put her trust in the Lord when the safe move was “no.”

Mary said “yes” by her own free will. God, timeless and omnipotent, knew she would and filled her with divine grace from the moment of her conception. Mary was free of the stain of original sin (Immaculate Conception) preparing her to be the vessel, the tabernacle, of Our Lord.

Jesus was then born of the Virgin Mary, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary was not only a virgin then but throughout her life (ever virgin). Jesus may have had cousins (Aramaic had no word for cousin, using the same word as brother) and it is also possible that He had step-brothers. No Holy Scripture reference is correctly interpreted however, to mean that Mary had biological children.

Having carried the Holy Infant from conception to birth, Mary was His mother. Jesus was both fully human and fully divine, both natures simultaneously. Mary was therefore the Mother of God. This Catholic dogma is sometimes misunderstood. Rest assured, Catholics do not believe that Mary created God. It is wrong however, to suggest that Mary was only the mother of Jesus the man – Our Savior was never just a man!

Let no one presume to hope for the mercy of God, who dares to slight or offend God’s mother.

Saint Louis de Montfort

The woman chosen by God Himself to be the mother of Our Lord never displeased Him. She was the model of perfect obedience to God in a challenging life tested by suffering. Upon the completion of her earthly life, Mary was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Holy Mary is the new Eve to Our Lord’s new Adam. She is not only the Mother of God but the Mother of the Church.

Mary’s motherhood is defined as “eminent and singular,” since it represents a unique and unrepeatable fact: Mary, before carrying out her motherly role for humanity, is the Mother of the only begotten Son of God made man. On the other hand, the Church is a mother because she gives spiritual birth to Christ in the faithful, thus carrying out her maternal role for the members of the Mystical Body.

In this way the Blessed Virgin is a superior model for the Church, precisely because of the uniqueness of her prerogative as Mother of God.

Pope John Paul II

This brief (and incomplete) overview of Mariology brings me to the Hail Mary, said often by millions of Catholics. The Hail Mary is said so often that we are in danger of doing so mechanically. One Hail Mary well said fills the heart of Our Lady with delight and obtains for us indescribably great graces. One Hail Mary well said gives us more graces than a thousand thoughtlessly said.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.
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