As Catholics when praying at our local abortion mill, we often times recite the Rosary, of which the vast majority of spoken prayer is the Hail Mary. To a non-Catholic observer there may be the sense that there is not enough Jesus being said. Or perhaps that Jesus is merely an after thought or has been given a back seat. Maybe this observer even thinks that the words being spoken are not even prayer at all.
Hold on there my little Sola Scriptura friend! Surely you recognize that the entire first section of this centuries old prayer is directly from scripture, beginning in Luke 1:28?!
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
These are the words of greeting from the Archangel Gabriel. In speaking them, not only is there a quoting of sacred scripture, but a bringing forth of the living Word himself. The Word and the One that was in the beginning. The One that was with God and the One that was God. So how can this recitation of scripture be anything other than prayer? And how can it be directed at anyone else but God, and the person of Jesus specifically?
This prayer is a remembrance of the fact that it is and was God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who endowed Mary with blessing. By this contemplation, we not only recognize but are in awe of the blessing. Because it is by this blessing of Mary that God makes manifest His love for us, and gifts the human race the opportunity to be a conduit, or pathway, through which His saving grace flows to us sinners.
Ask yourself how often you find yourself in trouble or facing a difficult health situation and you turn to your God fearing friends and ask them to pray for you? Now consider this, is there any single human throughout all of human history who has had more respect for and from our Creator than Mary, by virtue of her role in salvation history? So why would one not ask the intercession of that Saint in Heaven, whose very body contained within itself the embryonic infant flesh of our Savior? Do you really think that any of YOUR acquaintances know Jesus better than the Saintly woman he called mother? Elizabeth, the wife of Zachariah, in Luke 48 refers to Mary as the Mother of her Lord.
If we combine the methods of greeting given us by the Archangel Gabriel and by Elizabeth, then we arrive at the second half of the Hail Mary. An intonement that asks that Mary pray to her Son for our intentions. What is so strange about that? Through the Father we converse to her and ask,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now
and at the hour of our death. Amen.
But I can hear you saying, “Now wait a minute, you said Jesus was at the literal center of the Hail Mary, and I have counted the words of that prayer above and I come up with 23 words before the word Jesus and 18 after.” Hold on there my little Sola Fide friend, the one true Church’s language is Latin and if you look right in the middle or center you’ll find Jesus. 15 words before and after His name.
The center is where Mary placed him in her life and it is where those who pray the Hail Mary place him as well.
Ave, María, grátia plena,
Benedicta tu in muliéribus,
et benedíctus fructus ventris
Sancta María, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.
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