Hail Mary, Full of Grace!

Today, we hear the incredibly beautiful words from St. Luke’s Gospel, where the Angel Gabriel confronts Mary with a profound and timeless message. He calls to Mary, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you…. Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (NAB, LK  1:28, 30) The Angel announces that Mary, although a virgin, will be the God-bearer. While Mary cannot understand how the words of God’s Messenger will come to pass, her trust and faith were far greater than her doubt and lack of understanding. Thus, she responded with the words of eternal consequence and perfect unity of will: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (1:38)

Mary is the example par excellence of faith and discipleship. Being the mother of our Lord, she is also Queen of all Apostles, since she was the first one, literally, to carry the Gospel, to carry the Good News, the Word of God made flesh in her womb. Mary is not to be adored, but because of her special role in salvation history and her immaculate nature, being full of grace, she is due a veneration that is higher than that of other saints and loved ones. She is not our biological mother, whose water broke open to give us life in this world; rather, she is the Mother of the Son of God, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. When Mary’s water broke open, the world received God made flesh, whose very presence sanctifies the womb and woman who carried him and who sanctified the waters of our own baptism in his. Mary, our Mother, was set apart from the moment of her conception, as she, from that very moment, was completely filled with saving grace of Almighty God.

Heavenly Father, give me your grace. I am in this world as a broken, homeless soul, restless and uneasy in heart because of my nature. Make me a true disciple like Mary, your mother, my mother, who let faith and trust lead her to your truth, and when I am confused, in doubt, or don’t understand, may I repeat the words given to me by our mother: I am the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word. Amen.

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