Every true child of the Church should have a tender and constant devotion to the Mother of God, and not let a day pass without recommending himself to her protection. Her influence with God is all powerful, and she will never desert her faithful clients. Through her all blessings come to us.
DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE
The most common prayer said to the Blessed Virgin is the Hail Mary, which in Latin is called the Ave Maria.
THE HAIL MARY
Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst 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.
A. The first part of this prayer was composed by the angel Gabriel and St. Elizabeth. The angel Gabriel, coming to announce to Mary that she was to become the Mother of God, said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women" (Luke i: 28). When Mary visited her cousin St. Elizabeth, the latter under inspiration greeted her with the words, "Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb" (Luke i:42).
B. The second part of the prayer, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death," was composed by the Church.
C. The word hail means "I salute thee," or "I greet thee."
D. Mary is styled "full of grace," because she is the most holy and exalted of all mere creatures, and adorned with all graces and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. From the first moment of her existence in her very conception, she possessed sanctifying grace. Hence we speak of her Immaculate Conception.
E. "The Lord is with thee." God is truly with all good persons by His presence, His love and His assistance. But He is more closely united to Mary in love and power than any other mere creature.
F. "Blessed art thou amongst women." Mary is most blessed among women, because she is higher than all others in holiness, grace, power and glory. Eve, our first mother, brought a curse and misery upon the world: Mary, the second Eve, brought us salvation and joy.
G. "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." All the greatness and glory of Mary arise from her Son. Because of Him we love and praise her.
H. "Pray for us sinners now." We say these words so often, because we place the greatest confidence in Mary's intercession, knowing that a mother has all power and influence with her son. Thus we Catholics feel that if we can gain Mary to our side, we are sure too of having Jesus with us.
I. "And at the hour of our death." We pray for help especially at the hour of death, because:
1. Death is the moment on which eternity depends;
2. It is a time of agony and temptation;
3. Perseverance to the end also requires the special help of God which we cannot merit, but may obtain by prayer.
Pray Your Rosary Every Day
Religion Doctrine and Practice
for use in Catholic High Schools,
Loyola University Press, Chicago